Identifying His Why
Six months ago, Miraj was doing his survey for KMAK, and during the course, one of the first things he was asked was his reason. However, he wasn’t entirely truthful in his response. There was a particular aspect of his motivation that he felt was not compelling enough to share.
Perhaps he felt that his reason was not strong or impactful enough to be worth mentioning, or maybe he feared being judged or criticised for it. Whatever the case, Miraj felt it was necessary to hold back, leaving him feeling incomplete and somewhat unsatisfied with his response.
Inspiration From His Grandpa
His grandpa, who pretty much brought him up, actually started the first gym in Tanzania, which was open to all for free. He used to also box and put on shows for the public, doing things like bending iron bars and having people break bricks on him to earn extra money for the family. As one may be aware, weightlifting and the gym are not actually the more prevalent or accepted form of fitness in Indian families, and as much as he was into all of it, his dad and his siblings were polar opposites and were more focused on work than taking care of themselves physically.
That dream for his grandpa to have a family and bloodline of fit people was going to put an end to him, up until he was born. His coming into the family reinvigorated that hope in his grandpa, and ever since he could remember, his grandpa used to make him workout, whether it was pushups during commercial breaks when they were up late watching movies on cable or taking him on 5 a.m. runs followed by 6 a.m. swims in the ocean every holiday he had. He was the first Indian person he saw with a six-pack (this was before Bollywood actors also got on the trend, then even actors were largely unfit), and all he ever wanted was to be like him.
Strength In The Midst of Sorrow
Sadly, before he turned 18, his grandpa passed away in his arms. The passing of his grandpa was a profound and life-altering experience for him, one that left an indelible imprint on his heart and soul. Holding his grandfather in his arms as he took his final breaths was a heart-wrenching moment that he would never forget.
As he made his grandfather a solemn promise to prioritise fitness, he knew deep down that it was a promise he would keep. He took up working out as a way to channel his emotions and found that it not only helped him physically but also mentally.
He developed a passion for sports and quickly became a natural at them, excelling in everything he tried. Despite his athletic prowess, he never paid much attention to his physique, thinking that as long as he was active and working out, that was all that mattered.
It was only later in life that he came to understand the importance of nutrition and recovery, realising that they were just as vital to his overall health and fitness as his physical activity. He began to take his diet seriously and incorporate rest and recovery into his routine, leading to a more holistic approach to his fitness journey.
Although he wished he had realised the significance of nutrition and recovery earlier, he was grateful for the lessons he had learned and the lifestyle he had created. He knew that his grandfather would be proud of him for keeping his promise and making fitness a priority in his life.
The Heavy Weight He Needs To Carry
Fast forward to late 2019, when his dad’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s shook the family and him. His dreams of living in the UK with his sister were short-lived, as he had to come back to Africa to manage everything his dad had been working for as his partners started taking advantage of his situation. The stress was immense, and he was shortly after diagnosed with IBS. He lost about 15-20 kg and most of his muscle and looked like he had never lifted a weight a day in his life.
Despite the challenging situation, he tried to find solace in lifting weights because it was the only thing that made him feel peaceful and grounded. It also made him feel closer to his grandpa, whom he had promised to make fitness a priority in his life. He flew back to Tanzania in a gruelling 32-hour journey and attempted to get back to lifting weights.
Seeking Guidance And Nurturing Pride
The injuries, his IBS flare-ups, and his lack of real guidance and knowledge meant being in and out of the gym over the next couple of years, that’s when he decided to seek out KMAK for help. Today, looking at some of the photos from the shoot, he knows how proud his grandpa would’ve been. He had this habit of printing photos, writing a note at the back, and laminating the photos to show his friends. He just knows these pictures of his would be something his grandpa would’ve laminated and shown off to all his friends, and that his grandson is following in his footsteps.
He had been asked to have sweets pre-shoot and through the shoot, and as an ode to his grandpa, he bought and sucked on this specific sweet his grandpa used to give him every time he made him proud (usually always physical-related), whether he swam a longer distance than he expected or ran a distance in a shorter time than before. The whole experience just felt like a full circle, and he could feel how proud his grandpa must be of everything and how he’s looking out for his family, but especially because he kept his promise to be and look fit! This is just the beginning. He knows they have a way to go, and he’s more excited and pumped than ever to get this next phase under way!
Miraj had always been an active person, participating in various sports and activities. However, he noticed that his body didn’t necessarily reflect his active lifestyle. He realised that it was time to take his fitness more seriously and become the best version of himself.
He had specific goals in mind. He wanted to be in the best shape of his life, increase his muscle mass, improve his posture, increase his strength, improve his flexibility, get structure in his day and life, and learn the right way to approach his fitness goals, including nutrition and rest.
Although he had been very active throughout his life, he recognized that his nutrition was something he needed to focus on. He was a foodie with a massive sweet tooth, and tracking calories and the science of sports nutrition felt intimidating and difficult. He had tried eating “clean” for a few weeks, but he wasn’t seeing the results he wanted.
Additionally, he had picked up a couple of injuries from playing sports, which made it difficult for him to consistently go to the gym. He would go for three to four months, then take a month or two off because of the lost gains.
His rest also wasn’t great, and he tended to sleep inconsistently throughout the week. Although he knew he needed to sleep a good 7-8 hours a night, he often stayed up late and only got 5-6 hours of sleep.
He Finally Took Action
Despite these challenges, Miraj was determined to reach his goals. He wanted to learn more about the nutrition aspect of fitness, gain discipline and focus, and improve his posture. He hoped to change his eating and sleeping habits to create a structured program that would help him achieve his goals.
In the next two to five years, he envisioned himself at the peak of his fitness journey, both aesthetically and personally. He hoped that fitness would become a lifestyle for him, and he would maintain his fitness, mobility, and pain-free body well into his 40s and 50s.
He knew that he needed guidance, and he was determined to find it. Despite the lack of good fitness facilities and guidance in Tanzania, he was committed to finding the right resources to help him achieve his goals. He was excited about the journey ahead and looked forward to becoming the best version of himself.