A fitness influencer, YouTuber, motivational speaker, leadership coach and podcaster, Ranveer Allahbadia gets candid in a chat with us about social media, his journey and also doles out some fitness advice.
Tell us about your childhood?I was born and raised in Bombay and belong to a family of doctors. I pursued my engineering but figured during college that I didn’t want to stick to engineering or go down the traditional route of an MBA or MS graduate. Most people end up going overseas to do an MBA or get a job straight out of college. But I wanted to do something different and tried launching a fitness start-up. Then someone recommended that I market my start-up on social media. And that’s how I forayed into the world of social media and one thing led to another. We grew the YouTube channel, then eventually started a talent management firm and now I am in the process of launching my next couple of start-ups — a production house and a tech product. So, I ended up doing what I originally thought I would be doing.
What profession did you want to pursue as a kid? I always knew I wanted to be famous but couldn’t ever really articulate it. I used to say that I wanted to be an actor but that’s far from what I wish to do right now. The reason I stepped into the spotlight was because I wanted my voice to be heard so I guess I landed up with the right career.
When did you decide to become a fitness influencer? What prompted you to move in this direction? I was an overweight kid and faced a lot of health problems. I started hitting the gym at 19 and that set my life straight. I soon enrolled for a fitness certification and completed it at 21. Thereafter, I began creating fitness content because I wanted to market a fitness start-up which I had built right after college. Eventually, that start-up wrapped up because we realised that putting out content on social media garnered a wider audience. It all helped me pay my bills better and have a fuller career. But again, we are back to square one and trying to launch something in the health domain.
When did you begin your social media journey? When did you realise you wanted to be a content creator? It happened very organically. I used to run social media pages in college, which was more of a meme page. It was mainly for fun as I never thought it was a skill that would actually pay. So, when we began our content generation journey, we were a fitness and a health cooking channel. And it really picked up in August 2015.
What was your family’s reaction? How supportive were they?For two years, I told them I am working for my fitness start-up and then, I would upload videos and explain how it was a marketing tool. Now, they get it!
How would you describe yourself?I am an entrepreneur and I create content online. I am a positive person with a lot of energy. At work, I am consistent, curious and always learning new things. I have been a nerd all my life and I am carrying that into my adulthood as well. I am continuously learning and applying it all in business.
Who has been your inspiration?I used to look up to a lot of American and British influencers back in the day. I religiously followed Elliott Ignatius Hulse, who created a lot of content for young men. Jay Shetty and Gaur Gopaldas have also inspired me in a lot of ways.
So do you believe in spirituality considering you are influenced by Jay Shetty and Gaur Gopaldas? Yes, spirituality is a big part of our content.
Your content borders on spirituality a lot. What do you have to say? Honestly, the kind of content we create especially in terms of spirituality is evergreen content, which would help people in 2030 as well as in 2040. It is basically my learnings from reading spiritual textbooks and relaying it to the audience.
Your thoughts on the social media industry in India and abroad? It is growing, we haven’t even seen the peak yet. The Internet is spreading into Tier II and Tier III towns and cities so we are yet to see all of India gravitate towards it but it’s happening extremely fast. We have already seen generations of content creators; the fourth generation is coming up now. There is a lot of money, business opportunities and career opportunities in and around the industry as well. A lot of future business leaders of the country are going to begin their journey as content creators and then turn into business.
So do you think there’s scope for more content creators? Yes, 100%. Human beings have a need for storytelling and that is basically what content is. All forms of content are effective, either knowledge or storytelling or a combination of both.
What are your thoughts on influencers promoting body positivity? Do you think that will help us bring a change in society?The world is becoming a better place because of the internet. Contrary to what people say, Gen Z and Generation Alpha, are way nicer and more sensitive as human beings. So, they are making the world a better place.
Is social media trying to change conventional norms of beauty and fitness? Yes, conventional norms surrounding beauty and fitness are changing due to body positive content out there. Everyone realises that social media as a platform helps to normalise insecurities. People are comfortable knowing that everyone is insecure about something or the other. Insecurities have come to the forefront in a nice and friendly way.
Why the name Beer Biceps? When we started out, it was a fitness channel and we needed a gimmick so I came up with the idea of having balanced fitness like – “Have fun but workout as well”. However, now I have reached a point in my life where I don’t drink, so the name is not something I vibe with anymore but the brand has been built on it so I can’t change it either.
What were the challenges you faced during Covid-19?I am an entrepreneur so we used to work from an office. During the pandemic, I had to go back to working from home overnight, which was a very difficult thing for me. I had to shoot my own videos. Two of my colleagues moved in with me and we built an office near my house, which also doubled up as quarters for my team mates. In the long run, content is like sports where teamwork is important. We had to kind of adjust to a new version of life overnight. In terms of content that worked, fashion and grooming didn’t do well, but content around mental health and home workouts did better. Deeper content, psychology-based videos started to do better as well during Covid-19. So that’s how things changed.
Tell us a little bit about the Ranveer Show
It was a dream to start a podcast. Initially, we did a lot of self-improvement based content, now it’s more of knowledge-related content that tries to fuel my own sense of curiosity. We touch upon subjects such as astrophysics, spirituality, ancient Indian culture, world history and ancient history. It’s all evergreen content but we plan to catch up on bits of current affairs in the near future.
Any tips to stay fit and happy? Happiness comes from within us. Taking care of yourself, getting sufficient sleep, having peace of mind, consuming Satvic food, thinking positive thoughts can all help in maintaining and achieving happiness. Surrounding yourself with people who are not toxic, engaging in physical exercise, and meditating are a few other tips for your overall wellness.
What do you suggest when it comes to losing weight. How to lose weight? Your weight loss journey depends on the food you consume, and the magic of intermittent fasting. It’s just as important to treat yourself once in a while for the good job you’re doing. Also, the combination of a zero sugar diet and an active lifestyle is the key to long term health.
How responsible do you feel as a content creator?You learn that pretty early on as a content creator. When you see millions following you, you feel responsible. Individuals become more and more careful of what they say and what they put out on social media. As you grow older as a content creator, you realise, our moods, our thoughts, our content can actually affect other people’s personalities, their thought patterns. So there’s that sense of responsibility you feel where one sentence that comes out of your mouth is actually going out to 100,000 people.
What challenges have you have faced and what lessons have you learnt while creating a niche for yourself in this space? Reinvention is the biggest challenge in the long run. We have done it for six years now and there have been countless reinventions. Like every year, we have to reinvent something or the other. It could be an entire genre or an IP that you are running. So, there’s a lot of sprinting in this industry, that’s what most people don’t understand, how aggressively fast this industry changes.
Any messages you want to give to young content creators? Do it only if you enjoy video content, filmmaking and writing, don’t do it for money or fame. Because if you do it for the wrong reasons, you will lose motivation very early on. Even in the long run, people who are passionate about this career, constantly find new sources of motivation. So in the end, you have to enjoy the process and it is genuinely not for everyone.
I want to encourage people to write a lot, journaling your own thoughts helps with mental health. Generally, writing as a habit is beneficial, even the stories you write have elements of your own mind, the way you look at life, it kind of helps sort out your own head. It’s a health-based practice that people usually don’t speak about.
Any controversies you have courted during your time in this space?Way back, I had called out Aamir Khan for consuming steroids during the shooting of the film Dangal. And it was my first viral video.
Parting comments Content creation is not for everybody!