What Was Your Life Like Prior To The Change?
I used to workout (since the age of 21) when I was in college, but ever since I started working, my life was restricted to a chair, a desktop computer, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. This, coupled with eating lots of chips, soda, and fast food at my desk made me shoot up from 140 pounds to 192 in almost no time.
The two final nails in the coffin were when people starting to wonder on which side of 30's I was on, since I was just 26 at that time. The other one was when kids repeatedly used to call me an ‘uncle’. This made me realize that I was ‘actually’ looking more than 30 as I had a bulging tummy and wore size 38 trousers. It was then I made a plan to get back in shape and gave myself a whole year to look and feel great again. Plus, I didn't want to be in a situation where in a few years, when I would have kids, I wouldn't be able to physically play ball with them due to my health or lack of stamina.
How did you make the change?
I read a lot to understand what most people were doing to lose weight and look good. I designed a simple, 3-step process from all these transformation stories, which focused on 1) workout routine, 2) diet, and 3) cardio. I wasn’t able to get a right combination for all three, so I went to a fitness instructor, who designed a workout plan, keeping in mind my work schedule. As for the diet, I followed it religiously and tracked whatever I ate and whatever I worked on in a little diary that I always carry with me.
I tried keeping a record of it using Excel, but feel more comfortable carrying a diary since I can revisit my old workout routines and diet plans. Another thing to note was that the music at my gym wasn’t too great for my taste, so I always kept loading my iPod with songs and videos that would make me rush straight to the gym. Personally speaking, I never listen to hip-hop or rap music, as the lyrics can be distracting, instead I prefer to listen to songs that will make push for that extra rep.
Diet And Training
What diet approach did you use during your transformation?
I knew that if I wanted to get back into shape, I would have to eat clean. My first diet plan was simple – to cut out on fast food stuff, soda, and chips, and to gun for a certain number of calories per day. The equation that I used was ‘Ideal Weight X 15’. After making a few dents into my fitness goal, I decided to study more about good and bad carbs, and realized where I was going wrong after I hit a plateau in losing weight - I was taking in more of bad fats and bad (simple) carbs. I quickly replaced my carbs with whole-wheat products, and left out bad fats such as egg yellow (minimum permitted cholesterol level per day for us is 300 mg, and each egg yellow has 200 of it. Go figure).
Once I saw major improvements in me, I once again changed my diet plan to include 55% protein, 25% carbs, and 20% fats. The key thing to note here is that I constantly re-visit my workout and diet plans and change them, if required. As of now, I probably know the nutritional break-up of almost all common food items at my finger tips. This knowledge helps me whenever I dine at a restaurant or go out of town on a vacation, where I don’t have my supplements handy.
What was your training split and routine?
As I mentioned it before, I constantly re-visit my workout routine to prevent from monotony and hitting a plateau. I often switch between a full-body circuit training program, 4 days a week, and a 5-day workout program wherein I focus on each body part once a day. When I began my goal, I was using the following routine, which was kind of light for me since I had to make sure my heart gets used to this new kind of workload:
- Monday: Chest, obliques, and cardio (30 minutes chest, 20 minutes obliques, and 20-30 minutes cardio)
- Tuesday: Triceps, biceps, forearms, upper and lower abs, and calves (20 minutes triceps, 20 minutes biceps, 20 minutes of abs, 10 minutes of forearms, and 15 minutes calves)
- Wednesday: Back, obliques, and cardio (30 minutes chest, 20 minutes obliques, and 20-30 minutes cardio)
- Thursday: Rest
- Friday: Shoulders, upper and lower abs, calves, and forearms (30 minutes shoulders, 20 minutes abs, 10 minutes of forearms, and 15 minutes calves)
- Saturday: Hamstrings and quads, obliques (40 minutes legs, 20 minutes obliques)
- Sunday: Rest
Advice For Others
What advice do you have for others?
Whenever people come up to me for tips and suggestions (I also maintain a fitness forum on Facebook), I always tell them that if I can do it, someone who works 8 hours a day in a corporate firm, anybody can. I also read it somewhere that “Rome was never built in a day”. Some key things I would suggest others to do are:
- Give yourself time.
- Be honest to yourself. If you are cheating on your diet, you will not get results.
- Always track your workout and diet. It helps.