Strong determined Man of Steel did not bound himself to the wheelchair of steel – The Story of Mr. India ‘Yatinder Singh’
Mrs. Mesho Singh
Mr. Ravinder Singh
25th December 1982
Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh
Proudly says ‘imd1’ for
A Fitness Freak, an Entrepreneur and what not? Yes, we are talking about none other than Mr. Yatinder Singh who is World Body Building Champion and Mr. India 2016. This Mr. Never Giving Up Body Builder's story is no less than a Thriller Biopic as he rose above to fame, met with major injuries which made him stay away from his passion for at least 3 years, but his consistency and valour were the things which kept him in pace and again starting from the bottom he went on winning humongous amounts of Awards and Accolades for his Hulk like physique. Having years of experience and achievements in bodybuilding, he has also been acknowledged as one of the Finest Fitness Experts in the country, holding a Professional Qualification as a Certified Personal Trainer by “The American Council on Exercise (ACE). Today, he has to his credibility the title of Mr. India 2016 and Silver Medal in World Body Building Championship. Let’s jump to the story of true motivational as how to accomplish something by believing in yourself and willingness to achieve any milestone.
We are keen to know; how did your journey begin?
My journey began in 1999 when I was told by my Physical Education teacher to gain some weight if I intended to become a sportsperson, as I was severely underweight, at the time. Interestingly, my physical training routine consisted only of ground exercises and I went to a professional gym only in my 11th standard. In all honesty, when I began to frequent the gym in earnest, I had no intention of becoming a professional body-builder! In fact, my initial motivation was that of any average teenage boy; to have an aesthetically appealing personality. In 2001, my coach observed that my body was responding exceptionally well to the training and asked me to participate in a stage show, but I had faced the traditional impediments like everyone else, both external and internal, as my parents didn’t think of it as viable career option and I had my apprehensions too. But I managed to coax them into allowing me to participate and with the grace of god, I won the event! The sweet taste of victory spurred me on and I managed to convince my parents to let me pursue it full-time. I am grateful that my parents kept an open-mind and let me pursue my passion, because the rest as you know is history.
What’s your success mantra?
I think I can summarize my success mantra in three simple words; ‘Hard-work’, ‘Consistency’ and ‘Sacrifice’. I think that it’s important to blend those three virtues together in your journey towards your goal. It’s all important to have other qualities such as patience and perseverance, because it’s not a given that you will find success in a stipulated time, it may take years and years to reach accomplish your targets. But one thing is for certain, without the shadow of a doubt, that if you adhere to these values, success is yours.
Your Quote for life
Sacrifice is the secret ingredient apart from Consistency and hard work to become successful in Life
My Grandfather, Lt. Chaudhary Hukum Singh
Food I Love
Mom made Kheer
Food I Hate
Had I not been a Bodybuilder then...
Like Vacations at
Favorite Past time
Chak De! India
What were the hardships / hurdles your encountered and the way you overcame in your journey?
It would be obtuse of me to say that only I have faced hardships in my life because I know that everyone faces hardships in the journey of life and frankly I’m grateful that I suffered those hardships as they have only allowed me to appreciate my current life even more! The first hardship I’d say was to convince my parents, but more so myself, to leave my hometown Saharanpur, as the people there are content with their lives and it was clear that my lofty ambitions wouldn’t flourish there. I shifted Meerut and joined a gym as a trainer, for a modest salary. It was especially difficult to ask my parents to not visit me as I knew that if they would see my struggle, they would have taken me back to Saharanpur with them, as I belonged to an upper middle-class family and didn’t necessarily have to face those hardships. However, I continued train people and appeared for shows and events in Meerut itself. Another significant professional hardship I’ve faced occurred in 2007, when I unfortunately gravely injured my spine while working out. I was on a wheelchair for almost 20 months after that. Plus, the negative murmurs from distant relatives and neighbors bogged down my parents down and even I must admit that thoughts of self-doubt did creep into my mind during that difficult phase, but I decided to keep a positive outlook during that adversity and came back hale and hearty in 2010 and my journey thereafter had more ups than downs!
Do you think bodybuilding and its learning’s can be helpful in life even if one does not want to consider it as a career goal?
I think it’s easy to mistake body building as an activity one engages in to build his/her physique, but, it teaches us about various other virtues such as the importance of discipline and routine in one’s life. Plus, physical well-being complements mental well-being.
Who has been your influencer in this journey & how?
My grandfather has had a massive influence on my life. I consider him to be my ‘Idol’ due to his irrefutable commitment towards his family and his profession. Unfortunately, he passed away a while back, but I still distinctly recall being in awe of him as I was always amazed how he could juggle so many things in life without compromising on any of them! The other such person in my life is my tutor- Mr. K.N Sharma; but I feel like the word tutor is too small a title for him as he has been besides me through thick and thin. The lessons he has taught me are going to stay with me forever.
Which was “that” moment when you considered yourself as “I Am The 1”?
I’ll admit I have had phases in my career where I’ve felt like “Yes, I Am The 1”. But fortunately, I’ve always managed to dispel these narcissistic thoughts and I’ve tried to adhere to my ideology of becoming humbler with every success.
Success is incomplete without its share of failures. How should one overcome them to move on?
Failures are part of life. We all face failures at some point in our lives. And there is no harm in that. All we need is a good support system to be our backbone. Parents, family friends need to cheer us up to survive through that phase of life. For me, my coach sir has been that pillar of support. He is like my best friend with whom I can share anything under the sun. Although there is a wide age gap between us, he is 58 and despite that generation gap he is the strongest backup that I can vouch for. He knows me all inside out. I think that is very essential for a mentor and student relationship, the mentor should know his/her student’s strengths and weaknesses. Only then will the bond bloom into achievements.
Did you get any formal training and how was that journey?
I realized that there was a dearth of actual and practical knowledge amongst the trainers in many of the gyms, as almost all of them had become self-taught trainers. I joined ACE – American Council on Exercise to learn about the finer details of the art and gain holistic knowledge about subjects such as human anatomy, physiology and biology. I managed to clear their course after 7 attempts! After that, Mr. K.N Sharma took me under his wing and I learned a lot from his unrivaled experience.
Could you reflect on the importance of systematic training in Bodybuilding?
It’s imperative to undergo systematic training, as even the best of the best, refrain from engaging in self-training. Even I need trainers, nutritionists, physiotherapists and chiropractors for my training, because they are the experts in their respective field.
What are the pre-coaching essentials e.g. Right age, mindset or any other?
In my opinion, the onset of hormonal changes in one’s body is the perfect time to start actual weight training. It’s a different thing to engage in normal sporting activities and a completely different thing to engage in serious strength training. It’s also important to have a specific goal in mind before joining the gym because if you treat it as an activity to pass time, then it will be a short-lived endeavor and you’ll not have a lot to show for it; hence commitment is important.
Technology and scientific training have been changing the way people get trained in Bodybuilding. What’s your take?
I feel that the quality and range of fitness equipment has increased massively. In addition to that there’s an array of supplements on the shelves today and it’s easier to reach you fitness goals with these supplements. Earlier we had to choose between eggs and chicken for our protein intake, but now we can opt for protein shakes too. But a word to the wise would be to study about the pros and cons of a supplement before consuming it as improper supplement or dosage can have serious repercussions. It’s important to take an expert’s opinion on the issue too.
How can one select an ideal ‘Guru’ for getting formal training for Bodybuilding?
I think it’s difficult to find ‘Gurus’ these days, because there are no ideal students or teachers these days. Yes, it’s important to take an expert’s point of view into consideration today, but don’t follow anyone blindly.
What according to you, can be a scope for improvement in training for Bodybuilding in India?
Today’s atmosphere is as conducive as it has ever been for bodybuilders. I don’t think India lacks anything with regards to equipment, supplements and even experts. It’s easy for those people who lack motivation to come up with excuses.
What do you suggest for better accessibility of Bodybuilding in remote parts of India?
I think Government of India should try and take moderate steps to encourage bodybuilding, such as setting up small gyms in the remote areas of the country to give the youth there a platform to better their physique on. Additionally, experts should also be present in such village clusters to provide appropriate guidance.
Your piece of advice to parents and new generation especially when some people are skeptical about career in extra curriculum.
I implore parents to not push their children unnecessarily into preset career brackets and to ask their child as to what he or she truly wants to become. If Sachin Tendulkar’s father hadn’t allowed his child to pursue his dream, then we would have had a global ambassador for the game of cricket like him, making India proud on the worldwide stage today. Parents should realize that it’s possible to make career in sports too. Parents need to find and hone their child’s special talent.
One thing which you feel you want to change from the past while you walk down memory lane…
I wouldn’t want to change anything, to be honest. I wouldn’t even change my injury phase, simply because the lessons of my past are references for my future. I’d also like to share my experiences and knowledge with my son, and in that manner my experiences become an important learning curve for him to understand life a bit better.
How can one identify & encourage talent in the family?
Parents should try their best to encourage and maintain a conducive environment for the child, because it’s easy to undermine your child’s talents, and hence waste it. Plus, I think it’s important to mould the child’s interests and talents right from the beginning. There’s a reason why Chinese or Japanese children win medals at Junior Olympic level at such an early age.
Any other thoughts you want to share?
I’d like to convey a message to the youth of our country that, it’s important to realize that there’s a specific time for everything; hence you need to have patience if you hope to succeed. It’s important to take life as it comes and it’s not a necessity that to be successful, you need to surrender everything and just run towards your goal. You must enjoy the finer moments of life too.