Who am I

Your experiences in life make you who you are. These are my experiences and they have made me who I am today.

1983-1994:

  • 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.

1994-2006:

  • 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.

2006-2008:

  • 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 .

2007-2009:

  • 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.

2009-2010:

  • 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 SissonRobb WolfDr. Kurt HarrisDr. Michael EadesMartin BerkhanJohn WelbournRichard 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.

Now:

  • 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.

My Goal:

  • 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.
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9 responses to “Who am I

  1. Lavanya September 9, 2010 at 10:42 am

    Amazing! Hard to believe this fitness fanatic is the obligatory fat kid sitting out sports! Well done!

  2. Anjana September 9, 2010 at 11:00 am

    That’s impressive!

  3. Meera September 9, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    Love your matter-of-fact writing. [Were you like this in 2000-04? 🙂 ]
    I am amazed t(though not surprised) that the right nutrition has weaned you off the asthma reaction!

    Do you have any recommendations for good reads on nutrition (esp. for kick starting my understanding) ?

    cheers!
    meera

    • RG September 10, 2010 at 8:56 am

      Was always like this. Just never wrote back then!

      Books – Depends on what you’re looking for. ‘The Paleo Diet’ by Dr. Loren Cordian is an awesome book to have in your library. That’s a wealth of information. If you’re looking to read about food quality check out ‘In Defense Of Food’ by Michael Pollan. If you’re interested in learning about over eating and how to avoid it check out ‘The End of Overeating’ by David Kessler.

      ‘Food Rules’ by Michael Pollan is a must have. This is a little pocket book with DOs and DONTs. Pretty awesome.

  4. Cupboard Love September 10, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    Wow – I had no idea you were Indian, too! I was born a Punjabi Sikh and always wondered why everyone in my family was so unhealthy.

    I’ve loved your blog since I first read your blogpost about the numbers (of grains vs. veggies), but this gives me further impetus to keep reading!

    I started changing my diet and lifestyle because I was afraid of becoming diabetic (runs in the family) and because I learned how especially poisonous the Western lifestyle is for Indian people. I’ve read that we’re actually supposed to be what is considered slightly underweight for optimal health.

    • RG September 13, 2010 at 4:18 pm

      Glad you’re enjoying the blog Gabrielle. You’re definitely right about the western diet not doing us any favors. I have your blog bookmarked too. Will pop in regularly.

  5. Mahesh September 11, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    Inspiring!!
    Remember when you use ask me to wake you up to go for early morning cycling at BITS :P.. Jokes apart., this is amazing and will motivate a lot of people to start leading a healthy life style.. This post will Also give confidence to do whatever they want to:)
    I remember Nov 2007 exactly 🙂 how you were back then when we had met for a hiking trip.. also remember your p90x journey.. thanks for letting me know about such a wondeful workout and it helped me to love being fit.. as a chronic cardio person back then this was a change for me and helped me understand fitness much more than just plain cranking out miles eveyday!
    All the best!

    Best

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