He invested his time and energy in fitness activities, and this self-discipline worked out well for him. Meet Haryana’s fitness influencer Ankit Baiyanpuriya who joined PM Narendra Modi on Sunday in the mega cleanliness drive (‘Swachhata Hi Seva’ campaign) on the eve of Gandhi Jayanti.
Raised by labourer parents, 25-year-old Ankit – from Sonipat’s Baiyanpur village – had initially joined wrestling in a village akhara to avoid beating by classmates during his school days.
Ankit started his fitness activities when he was just 10. Initially, he would just run, but for the past 13 years, he has been working out twice a day.
Today, as the nation focuses on Swachhata, Ankit Baiyanpuriya and I did the same! Beyond just cleanliness, we blended fitness and well-being also into the mix. It is all about that Swachh and Swasth Bharat vibe! https://twitter.com/baiyanpuria?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@baiyanpuria; Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js
A graduate from Rohtak’s Maharshi Dayanand University (MDU), Ankit has 5 million followers on Instagram and 1.82 lakh on YouTube where he keeps posting his workout videos. Sunday’s video with Modi, which Ankit shared on Instagram, was liked by 3 million viewers.
Ankit says: “I studied in a government school where I was class monitor, but physically, I was a little weak. Children used to beat me up and I would always terrified. Once a student even snatched my answer sheet during an exam and wrote his name on it. My family members wanted me to go to the akhara to become strong.”
However, injuries to his body thrice during different wrestling events “tortured him mentally”. “After these injuries, I used to think that life is over, nothing is left. I used to think that these injuries will harm me in future too. After my last injury – on my shoulder – during a village ‘dangal’ in 2022, my weight increased from 87 kg to 95 kg. But because of the support from the family, I gained fitness again,” says Ankit.
His rise also didn’t come in a day. The poor financial condition of his family had forced him to do menial jobs for eight years. “I used to go to marriage events with a ‘halwai’ to cut fruits as a daily labour for Rs 200-250 per day. I also worked in a rice factory for Rs 300 per day, apart from working as a construction worker, a helper in a gym and for a food delivery company.” His most recent job was at a supplement store where he earned Rs 9,000 per month.
Ankit says reading Bhagavad Gita has stood him in good stead to stay mentally stable. “It’s like meditation if it’s read daily,” he says. “If my videos change lives of even 10 people, I would feel my aim has been fulfilled,” Ankit adds.