Your experiences in life make you who you are. These are my experiences and they have made me who I am today.
- I was born in Chennai, India. For 17 years my diet consisted of rice, wheat, lentils, yogurt, milk, sugars, oils, fruit and little vegetables. Snacks were frequent and either savory, fried stuff or sugary, fried stuff… or both.
- At the age of 9, I was hospitalized with typhoid. It took me weeks in the hospital to recover. Once discharged I remember being advised to eat only biscuits/cookies soaked in milk for a month. So I gobbled in 2-3 family size boxes of biscuits/cookies with 1-2 liters of whole milk. Following this I was advised to eat only rice, yogurt and lentils for a month. I ended up a 115 lbs (52 kgs) 10yr old.
- At the age of 10, I was diagnosed with sinusitis. A month later I was diagnosed with asthma.
- By 1994, I was the sick fat kid who could not play any sport.
- I was forced to go for Karate and Tennis classes to lose weight. When made to run laps, I would collapse with an asthma attack within 3 mins of starting to run. I’d cry because I couldn’t breathe.
- I would be admitted in a hospital every single year without fail. I would get the flu twice every year.
- By the time I turned 12, I figured out that physical exertion was the source of my asthma. In an effort to treat the disease at it’s source I stopped exerting myself physically. Life was good.
- I went on a “diet” when I was 13 and lost weight. I ate no breakfast, 2 idlies (rice cakes) for lunch and 1 roti for dinner.
- When I turned 14 I discovered cricket - a sport that requires minimal physical exertion. I always had a runner.
- Meals in college revolved around white rice, bread, potatoes, soda, chocolates and ice cream. I was not fat because I never ate. I was not tired because I never played.
- In grad school I tried my hand at squash once. I was out of gas and had an asthma attack just 15 mins into the game. I hid the discomfort and ran out of the gym.
- In 2006 I got my first job – a well-paid desk job, and finally could afford 3 good meals a day. I discovered cuisines. I fought hard to finish my giant plates every meal, every day. I forced myself to like Starbucks.
- I cheated on pizzas with burritos… threesomes were pretty frequent too. Jack-in-the-Box and Carl’s Junior were my midnight booty calls.
- By 2006, I made my way to 185 lbs (84kgs) @ 5′ 7″. Body fat was unknown and irrelevant. My lipid profile was a mess!
- Nov 2007 – a series of bad incidents made me want to fight back and redeem myself .
- Running had been my greatest enemy and I decided to fight that first up.
- The first week of running was torture to say the least. I would run 1/10th of a mile, have an asthma attack and sit on the curb. My will power and my inhaler helped me go further. My first ever mile took 23 mins (+ 4 puffs of the inhaler at the end). I ran more… and then some more. In a few months I was clocking in 45-50 miles (70-80 kms) per week.
- By mid 2008 I could run 15 miles @ 9 min/mile at any point of time on any given day. I didn’t fear the junk foods. I could burn off anything by running some more.
- I lost 50 lbs – A proud 132 lbs light weight with aching joints.
- Early 2009, I conquered P90X and p90X+. I saw body composition improvements and muscle gains for the first time. Tony did me good and I will be forever grateful.
- My endurance got way better but my inhaler was still my best friend.
- I realized the importance of fueling my body right. I started geeking out on nutrition.
- Hours and hours of obsessive reading followed.
- Oct ’09 I took the fitness trainer certification exam. I scored more than I did in any course in my life. Passion trumped everything.
- I tried Crossfit. I was humbled. My inhaler was still in my left pocket.
- Early 2010 I discovered Mark Sisson, Robb Wolf, Dr. Kurt Harris, Dr. Michael Eades, Martin Berkhan, John Welbourn, Richard Nikoley and Petro Dobromylskyj.
- I dropped the grains, upped the fats and embraced intermittent fasting.
- In 3 months my asthma disappeared! The demon that screwed my life for 18 yrs was defeated just like that. As a plus, my lipid profile became impeccable with a HDL value in the 80s!
- I gained about 20 lbs of muscle during this time and resurrected my joints that were pounded over and over from running.
- I believe nutrition is king.
- I read nutrition related papers, books, blogs and articles for ~ 3-4hrs everyday.
- I program my workouts and design my diet.
- While I push my limits all the time I also realize the importance of listening to my body. I don’t just train hard. I train smart.
- I lift/push/pull as heavy as I can, run as fast as I can and jump as high as I can.
- I train to take on life and whatever it throws at me.
- Today I am healthier, faster, stronger and leaner than I’ve ever been. I want to be able to make the same claim when I’m 50.