For Harmeet Singh, social stigma around age failed to overpower his passion for bodybuilding as he quit his thriving career to pursue the sport professionally. In a matter of six years, Singh switched careers to climb the ladder in bodybuilding and today, he trains young aspirants in his own gym besides winning accolades internationally for himself.
Singh began professional bodybuilding at an unlikely age. He already had an established career as an art director with an advertising agency when he decided to switch at the age of 35.
Although he was already working out, taking it professionally was something that had never crossed his mind. “I worked in advertising and was simultaneously interested in work-out to stay fit and healthy. Around six years back, I switched to bodybuilding,” he says.
Now, Singh owns a gym and trains young bodybuilders. Defying popular belief that bodybuilding is only fit for those who are under 30, Singh built himself in the profession. Quite evidently, there were challenges for him: he had already passed the age where his body could take heavy-lifting, his skin had become loose which did not serve him well in competitions, and then there was the stereotype that he was too old to take it as a profession.
“I work harder than usual because I know that the people I am going to compete with are young”, he says. He not only participates in 40+ competitions – also called Masters Category – but also in competitions that are below 40, where the opponents are predominantly younger than him.
Singh has won Mister World 2021, held in Uzbekistan by Indian Body Builders Federation. It is one of the only two bodybuilding organizations recognized by the Government of India, the other being Indian Bodybuilding & Fitness Federation. Singh has also won Man of Steel 2020, Rainbow Classic 2019, Mister India 2018, and Mister Delhi 2017.
During the course of events, Singh never removed his turban in the competitions. “In Uzbekistan, I put on a proper turban and beard. I had to trim my body because that is a criteria, but turban is something that I did not remove”, he explains.
Singh started a project during the pandemic to motivate the youth to stay fit and healthy during difficult times. In his gym, he motivates young clients to achieve what they aspire.