Hyderabad: There’s no doubt that Samantha Akkineni is one of the fittest actors in the Telugu film industry. And whenever Samantha is in Chennai, she trains with Sandeep Raj. The lockdown helped the duo connect even more. “She is dedicated to the core and loves to lift weights. She loves eating good food and exercising properly. She turned a vegan in the lockdown period, so it was an amazing journey to help her in the diet aspect as well. I trained her every day for one and half hours without fail,” says the 29-year-old trainer. “Audiences can see Samantha’s fitter look in the TV series The Family Man,” he adds.
Sandeep feels that he is lucky to get time and trust from celebrities. But how did it all start? “I was actually very fat and not at all into fitness. My fitness journey began in 2014. I am an Electrical Engineer from IIT Kharagpur. In college, I started preparing for weightlifting and powerlifting. I got into the Inter IIT team and won gold all three years. I became competitive and started taking part in various sports. The transformation in me was amazing. So, I wanted others to experience it as well,” he says.
Sandeep says that there are a lot of people these days struggling with anxiety and other mental health issues. The best way to overcome them is to start working out. “Any form of exercise… takes care of a lot of things we don’t understand unless we do it. Once, I got to transform a friend who had met with an accident and the doctors had told him that he can’t walk for 6-7 months. He was depressed and I wanted to help him out by training him. I changed his whole perspective and he is totally alright now. That is what got me to quit my well-paid, coding job in IT and start doing something meaningful,” he says adding that the satisfaction he gets transforming people is “priceless”.