Do you go to the gym regularly but always wonder why you aren’t making any real progress or look any different?
This is how Raj felt after going to the gym three times a week and not seeing any real physical results.
Simply going to the gym is not enough. As well as having consistency and direction to your training, you also need to build structure in your everyday life, know how to control your diet, be self-disciplined, adopt a growth mindset, and be open to change.
Raj joined KMAK Fitness during the third UK lockdown, trying his hand at online training despite initial reservations.
As you can imagine, these doubts were that online training meant signing up to receive an impersonal training and diet plan and being left to your own devices to figure it out for yourself.
But this isn’t how we work – and certainly not how Raj completely transformed his body composition and finally saw real, tangible results!
With direction and precision in his training, diet, and transformation protocols tailored to Raj’s physique, lifestyle, and long-term goals, Raj was able to get the most out of his training and maximise his potential for results.
But Raj’s transformation journey goes a lot deeper than just vamping up his training regime.
Shoot day: 60.3kg
Raj’s aim was to build muscle mass. His body type to begin with could be described as being “skinny fat”, so while he looked slim on the whole, he didn’t have a lot of muscle to begin with and carried a lot more body fat than expected.
Our goal with Raj was to first shred him down, stripping him of this excess body fat to get visible abs. Despite already being slim, there’s no point in working on developing muscle if you can’t see it, which is why the first stage of Raj’s process is fat loss.
From this lean condition, the next step is 12-18 months of pure muscle building to increase the muscle mass to give Raj the aesthetic he desires.
“I’ve always led a fairly active lifestyle and luckily been blessed with a high metabolism which means I can over-indulge in a lot of comfort food but gain minimal weight. However, all too often I’ve seen guys at the gym pushing heavy weights regardless of their form and still looking the same 5/6 months down the line. Surely, there was a cheat code to getting leaner?”
What Raj didn’t know is that it wasn’t just his training regime that needed to change, but his entire lifestyle.
Pushing heavier weights is not going to result in an amazing transformation if other lifestyle factors are off kilter. As well as your maintaining training form and consistency, other lifestyle factors, such as eating habits, activity levels, sleep quality, and stress management impact your progress.
You must tick every box, not just lift heavier weights, to expect decent, long-term change. To put it one way, a physical transformation requires quality, not quantity.
If Raj was to make progress, he needed to change his mindset and his outlook towards his fitness journey. Like many, Raj was reluctant to step out of his comfort zone – which meant frequent snacking and slacking on the weekend.
You can’t expect change to happen if you don’t change yourself and you keep repeating the same processes. To alter his physique, Raj needed to understand that he had to change his lifestyle and behaviours to be in-line with his long-term goals.
“I think one of the biggest struggles for myself personally was completely changing my mindset which in turn meant drastically changing my daily routine that I was already comfortable with. I had to learn from very early on that in order to become more regimental in the way I tackled my day, I had to structure it a lot better.”
Creating structure allowed Raj to focus his attention on what was needed and not necessarily what was wanted, like snacking, and ensured that Raj retained consistency and adherence – including on the weekends! This helps filter out the bad habits from the non-negotiables and prioritise what really matters.
This is how Raj started to make a change and see real results coming through – and it didn’t have anything to do with lifting heavier. Starting his transformation during lockdown meant that Raj had to home train with just 10kg dumbbells at his disposal.
But, by making new lifestyle changes, having structures and rules in place, working towards developing new, positive behaviours, and keeping consistent with his training, diet and lifestyle, Raj managed to lose over 10kg of body fat and get shredded using just body weight and 10kg weights.
A love of food and family: genetics, social stigma, and Asian culture
“My journey was met with some resistance very early on because of course I was going against the norms that my family had previously believed in. Sometimes the hardest factor to overcome is convincing your family that what you are doing will positively impact yourself and also them indirectly. Although they will push their insecurities onto you through no fault of their own, but only because they have never seen or been brave enough to take the leap of faith themselves and jump into the unknown.”
Social stigma is to be expected with many transformations, but coming from an Asian background where food comes first over fitness, resistance is to be expected.
In a situation like Raj’s too, in which he was not obese to begin with and looked slim on the whole, many do not understand why he is trying to lose weight, especially those closest to him. But they only see what is happening right now and not the bigger picture. This is why it is important to explain to family and friends what you are doing and the reasons why you are doing it to give them a better understanding and realise that this is just a small part of a bigger journey.
Throughout the first stage of Raj’s journey, he wasn’t losing weight to be skinny, he was shredding down body fat to get lean before he packs on quality, defined muscle after. This is all part of a transformation process, which people often fail to see past the surface.
Sadly, Raj has lost many close to him due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and this is one reason why he has decided to prioritise his health and also be an inspiration to his friends and family and motivate them to look after their health more.
Raj’s journey has greater meaning to him than getting bigger, and by not being afraid to break the mould and go against the tide of Asian culture norms, he can be a positive influence on his friends and family.
“It’s been a difficult journey as we’ve had a lot of bereavement within the family during the pandemic and this provided me with the tunnel vision that would ultimately help me in achieving my goal. It’s imperative now, more than ever that we really make an effort to look after ourselves and prioritise our health.”
With the first stage of Raj’s transformation journey complete and his physique looking better than ever, the next step in Raj’s journey is to focus solely on muscle building.
Even though his fat-loss phase has only been temporary, there are key long-term lessons that Raj has taken away from his journey so far. Yes, the process might have been temporary, but if you have a temporary mindset, so too will be your results.
Raj cannot simply go back to his ‘comfort zone’ of snacking and slacking on the weekend. This is why he needed to work on changing his mindset and seeing the long-term vision and understanding the importance of consistency, structure, and self-discipline. Otherwise, he will simply rebound and lose all his efforts and progress.
Making a change is never easy because it does mean stepping out of your comfort zone, experiencing new challenges, and facing resistance – even from the ones closest to you. But you cannot see change happen unless you make a change to begin with.
Raj’s incredible progress has been made possible by making these changes, proving that there is so much more to getting into shape than lifting heavy weights as Raj achieved what he has so far at home using just 10kg dumbbells!
Despite initial doubts of the lockdown and home training, cultural clashes and social stigmas, and genetic body composition, Raj proves that you can see results with the right changes in place. And the first thing you have to change in order to make progress is your mentality.
“I want to be the proof that you can be a massive foodie and still suck it up for 4 months to get into the best shape of your life! I challenge you all to take the first step and start off because believe me you’ll look back at this in a few months’ time and be glad you made the right decision.”