Malayalam film lovers still remember actor Nivin Pauly’s dialogue regarding a ‘six-pack’ body in the movie ‘Thattathin Marayathu’. “Do the young men in Kerala need a six-pack?” the actor asks in the movie.
In ‘Thattathin Marayathu’, Nivin’s character asserts that Keralites would not be able to develop a six-pack physique. This comment gave relief to several youths in Kerala. However, many girls who admire Bollywood actor Tiger Shroff’s chiselled torso and young men who consider John Abraham their role model may need to change their opinion. A Kerala-based bodybuilder has now proved that a figure more attractive than these actors can indeed be developed - Chacko Tharakan, the Keralite to win the Mr India title in 2018.
Chacko (28) has won three national championships and has also been placed among the top ten contestants at the Seoul Mr Universe championship. With firm muscles and a body that seem sculpted on wood, finely groomed beard and long hair, Chacko is giving wings to the dreams of youngsters in Kerala who wish to flaunt a six-pack.
The champion youth has a cinema link too. He is a first cousin of popular actor Kunchacko Boban, who is popular as ‘Chackochan’. Boban’s father and Chacko’s mother are siblings.
On top of the world
Everybody calls him a bodybuilder but there is a subtle difference. “Though everyone calls me a bodybuilder I concentrate only on beach physique category. I started competing at the professional bodybuilding events from 2017. That year, I lifted the Mr Ernakulam title. I later retained it. In 2018, I won the Mr India title at the championship held in Namakkal, Tamil Nadu and my career and goals took off to another level. There I gained the confidence to achieve many things in this field. I won the Mr India title leaving 50 people behind. Soon I lifted the national championship thrice. Most recently I was selected to represent India at the Mr Universe event held at Seoul. It was a big honour and my hard work payed off as I finished among the top ten,” Chacko explains his career so far.
According to Chacko, competitors taller than him are a big challenge. “Competing against them is difficult but I have developed a special look that helps me match their body structure and presence. This earns me prizes in each event,” says Chacko.
Diet, exercise crucial
Chacko resorts to a special diet and exercise regimen to build and maintain his physique. He describes his fitness story, “My day starts at 5 am with a one-and-a half-hour walk. This gives me the necessary charge for the day. After the walk, I eat an apple. Then I head to the gym where I train for around 2 hours. My diet mainly comprises chicken four times a day. But it is not a tasty dish because there is no masala, chillies or any other flavour,” says Chacko.
Chacko’s food is plain boiled chicken. He consumes at least 3 kg of this bland chicken every day. Side dishes include vegetable salad and chapathis. He also takes the white of 30 eggs daily. Chacko has included avocado and broccoli in the diet chart. “What you include and exclude in the diet are most important. Many people’s resolutions on diets often fail. I totally avoid items like sugar, oil, milk, curd and butter,” says the champion bodybuilder.
In the evening, Chacko devotes around four hours to training at the gym. Starting from a few days before the championship, he intensifies his preparations. Instead of water, he drinks fruit juice. Even rice is dried to remove the water content before it is eaten.
“I spend around Rs 1,000 every day for my diet and exercises. But this is no luxury. Some expenses have to be incurred to build such a fine body. After all, nothing comes cheap,” says Chacko.
No easy matter
“I have put in strenuous effort to achieve this physique. That is the message I can give to youths who wish to build a body through ethical methods. Though a six-pack looks great, the efforts behind it are not so pleasant. I had wished for a healthy body since young and so kept off all bad habits. Subsequently I started regular training and that, along with my willpower, helped me achieve this fine body,” according to Chacko.
However, Chacko is quick to add that a six-pack is not an indicator of a totally healthy body. “A beautiful body does not mean a body with fine muscles alone. Can you look at somebody’s face and smile sincerely? Your body language would then undergo a total change. I believe that the basic beauty of the body originates from such a gesture,” feels Chacko.
In awe of Chackochan
“Kunchacko Boban is my first cousin - he is the son of my mother’s brother. But Chackochan is much senior to me in age, but he appear to be young, thanks to his glamour. When ‘Aniyathipravu’ was released, I was studying in class six. But even now I feel shy before him,” says the bodybuilder.
Chacko’s father is Mathew Tharakan and his mother is Tess Kunchacko. “Our family is engaged in pharmaceutical business and I am also involved in it. But for me, bodybuilding is the biggest passion,” says Chacko.