'Bigg Boss 8' fame Mahek Chahal reveals her fitness and beauty secrets (Exclusive interview)

The actress loves kick-boxing, yoga and running. Read more on how she maintains her svelte figure.

Mahek Chahal made her Bollywood debut in 2003 in the film Nayee Padosan. After that, the actress climbed the ladder of fame and success with many more projects in Bollywood and the Indian television industry. She was noted for her screen presence in Salman Khan starrer 'Wanted.' She was also a strong contender in the most-talked-about Indian reality show Bigg Boss 5 and was seen once again in the recent season of Bigg Boss 8. Her killer looks and hot body is what makes her a head turner in the industry and the sultry actress definitely knows this. Mahek reveals her beauty and fitness fundas in a t te-a-t te.

Maintaining this level of fitness and a figure like yours takes a lot of hard work. How do you manage?

My fitness routine is diverse. I include a lot of variety with exercises along with a combination of sports. This is to break the monotony one might feel in doing the same kind of exercise over and over again. My morning starts with an hour of yoga followed by spinning and then it could be a session of either weight training or kick-boxing. I also swim a lot and go for long runs to de-stress. However, yoga is something that s never knocked out of my schedule.

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Sometimes we get comfortable with a few exercises over the others. Does that happen to you?

Yes, I do have a few favourites in my routine. I love my kick-boxing sessions and running. Running, in fact, helps keep my mind clear and focused. I feel it cleanses my whole body from within as I sweat a lot after a good run. On the other hand, kick-boxing is my favourite form of exercise for a variety of reasons. It is a kind of combination training; it improves concentration, helps improve self-defence mechanism and doubles up as a cardio workout. Read more on kick-boxing here.

What would you say is your problem area? What exercises do you do to work on it?

Hahahaha, I would have to say it is the butt. I am tall so I don t have the right curves at the right places, I would really look flat, on screen especially. So I incorporate kick-boxing, squatting, spinning which target my thighs and butt. Going for a fast walk where you completely squeeze in your stomach and buttocks also helps. And being a sardarni, it is in my genes to put on weight really fast on the hips, so I have to make sure that I am really careful. Here are expert tips to tone your butt.

What about strength training?

The core of your body needs to be strong as it is holding up your entire body, so the lower back and the core becomes weak over the years and needs continuous care. Strength training helps in giving your core, lower back and knees the strength. Also the field I work in, I have to be dancing, and I need to make sure that my body has the strength to endure the long hours which can only happen with strength training. So I think at least 2-3 times a week one should do weight training and not heavy weights but weights for strengthening. Weights aren't just for men, women should also do it as our bodies go through a lot more. Here are five strength training exercises that can help you lose weight.

Did you ever face problems with weight management -- weight gain, weight plummeting or struggling to reach your desired weight? Care to share your experiences?

Of course, I have. A lot of women I think have gone through a phase where they have put on weight or had some weight related issue. Well in my case I think weight has to do a lot with how you feel, think and what you are going through in life. I have gone through ups and downs too. Those were the times when I lacked the discipline required to stay fit. I started to put on weight more easily due to lack of exercise, binge eating, etc. But then I got back on my feet, I got stronger and I got back to my routine and I straightened up myself.

Staying fit without being disciplined with your diet isn t possible. What are your diet secrets?

I eat only from 8 am - 8 pm to give my stomach that break to digest well. I eat small meals throughout the day, so I don t overeat. And lots of water also helps in cleansing the body of toxins and helps in losing weight. However, my diet is devoid of sugar, wheat, canned juices, aerated drinks, rice and roti. I mostly have grilled stuff, lots of fish, lots of vegetables, lots of different natural juices and vitamin supplements daily. Here are six diet tips to lose your belly fat.

What are your comfort foods and cheat foods? Don t you indulge in them?

My comfort food is chocolate. I love chocolates a lot. I also like Bolognese; I love pizza, burgers and my mum s home-made butter chicken. Six days a week I make sure I stick to my diet, but one day, probably a Sunday, I cheat with all my favourite foods. I feed the mind on that day!

Share with us your beauty secrets.

I let the skin be as clean and make-up free as possible. Being in a profession where I have to be on film sets or events and look presentable doesn t mean I apply heaps of make-up, but it is important. So the secret is to keep the skin pores as free of dirt and make-up as possible. And yes, the last thing is water, lot of green juices and water is good for you.

Not taking stress, doing yoga and getting enough sleep are a must. The whole world knows these things, but one needs to have the discipline to follow these things. I also cleanse, tone and moisturise my skin every night. Also, going for regular clean-ups and facials help in keeping the skin tight and glowing as the pores are free of dirt and grime.

How do you maintain your hair and look ravishing always?

I am very particular about my haircare. I oil and deep condition it, and visit the salon for hair protein treatments. I try not to blow dry it, colour or straighten it too often either. Also, I believe beauty comes from the inside so having a healthy diet helps in nourishing your hair. I also eat my vitamins that are good for hair and skin. Here is an expert guide to oil your hair the right way to make it look healthy.

What are your best-kept make-up secrets?

I love the Mac range of cosmetics. A nice compact powder that should obviously be close to the skin colour to avoid looking caked up is a must-have. I also love playing with different colours of lipsticks. Nudes are my favourite because I have a wheatish skin tone. I like wearing mascara, and I don t like too much kohl inside my eyes. I also like a fresh pink cheek look. My favourite make-up essentials are the Mac studio fix, the Dharma face cream base (applied before the studio fix), the Bobby Brown bronzer, which can be also used as an eyeshadow and highlighter on your cheeks.

How do you motivate yourself to be fit?

Staying fit for one reason is that it is part of my job, so one has to maintain oneself as we get trolled very fast for any imperfection. I also look at it as how we clean our car or house or how we maintain everything in our lives, relationships, etc. in the same way your body is even more important to be taken care of.

People also say that your body is your temple, so one has to take care of their temple. Taking care of your body is respecting and loving yourself. Yoga also has been a very motivational factor in helping me motivate myself to stay fit. I also admire people who try to keep themselves fit and seeing someone run in the park makes me get motivated even further. It is part of my day, my life, and I know that after a workout I will feel energised, happier, my mind will work sharper, and I will be fit.

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