Humble beginnings, big dreams, and an envy-inducing physique – that would be the best way to describe Delhi’s bodybuilding champ, Tarun Dutta. He has just won the title of Mr. Pan Pacific 2017 at the Pan Pacific ProAm International 2017, held in New Zealand, and is the only Indian to have done that. Looking at him today, it’s hard for one to imagine that he, at one point, weighed a meager 45 kgs. “That had been my motivation. I used to be so thin during school days that my peers would bully me, and that’s when I decided to start gaining weight,” he says, talking about how his interest was sparked. Dutta tells us that he reached 108 kilos before thinking of becoming lean again, post which he again lost a few kilos
“I’m from a very middle-class family. Bodybuilding wasn’t as huge then, so my family would ask me to focus on my studies. They’d say: ‘Tune itna gain bhi kar liya hai, itna khaane lag gaya hai. Padhai pe dhyaan de le’ (You’ve gained so much weight, you eat so much…now start studying),” he continues, adding, “And back then, a jar of protein was around ?4000, so, it was hard to arrange. Toh tab main stalls lagata tha (I would put up stalls), and I would earn ?100 per day. Then, I started coaching in gyms, borrowed some money from parents and invested it all in my body. Woh din the aur ek aaj ka din hai.”
The 39-year-old has won over ten international titles and is a medallist at events organized by International Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation, including Mr. World 2015 and 2016 and Mr. Universe 2016. Ask him about the hard work that goes into it, and Dutta lists four hours of working out a day and a strict diet. “Even during the offseason, I diet for ten days non-stop before indulging in a cheat day. Then I gorge on golgappas, ice creams, and vegetarian food. If I ever give up bodybuilding, main non-vegetarian food ki taraf dekhunga bhi nahi – Maine itna kha liya hai (I won’t even look at non-veg, I have eaten it so much!),” he jokes.
And despite all his successes, he believes he still has a long way to go. “For now, I want to continue participating in competitions, for at least the next 10 years. I also want to bring fitness to every house and I am working towards that,” he says.
Finishing up, Dutta says that credits for his success go to his parents and gurus. “Apart from my gurus and my parents, no one has supported me. For all those of you who want to scale new heights in life, find a guru, and respect and follow him or her,” he concludes.