RIVERSIDE, California: I grew up watching Hollywood and Bollywood heroes with extraordinary physiques and six-pack abs. My wife, Shilpa Sheth, is a fanatic about John Abraham and his physique. Deep down inside she always wanted her own John Abraham.
I always wanted the physique and six-pack abs (the look) in my 20s, 30s, and 40s but never could achieve it. I was able to lose weight and able to get in good shape by eating healthy, kickboxing cardio, and weight training, but was never able to achieve that look. Even when I spent one to two hours at the big-box gym every day, things were not improving.
At age 55 I had enough, and I was determined to get in the best shape of my life and prove it could be done. I stumbled across Elite Fitness Training (http://elitefitnesstraining.com/), a boutique gym in Riverside, California. The gym owner, head trainer, and coach Jarrod Weymar created an exercise and nutrition program for me and that is when my transformation began.
HOW I ACCOMPLISHED MY GOALS
As I mentioned, at age 55 with Jarrod’s significant experience behind me, I set out to get in the best shape of my life. Four months prior to the Steve Karr NPC Classic (https://www.npclasvegasclassic.com/), my gym friend, Les Atchley, convinced me to participate in the competition. I decided my age would not hold me back and I took a leap and entered my first NPC Men’s Physique competition at age 55.
I needed to lose 16 pounds in 16 weeks while maintaining muscle mass for the competition. Elite’s Men’s Competition team manager, Justin Richard, prepared a meal plan for me and helped me with conditioning and posing.
The key is that I set a self-perpetuated goal for myself. Once I set this goal, I let everyone know about my decision to compete and there was no turning back. I needed to cut down my daily caloric intake below 1,500 and increase my protein intake to over 160 grams while keeping on a low carb and low-fat diet.
I used to have a couple of social drinks per week and I stopped that completely. I tracked everything I ate in a “Lose It” app, weighing all my protein and carbs and measuring out every macronutrient. Setting a goal in this manner worked well for me. It gave me purpose and a clear direction. I knew where I was and where I wanted to go.
Success didn’t come easy. It was physically and mentally challenging. It required discipline, dedication, and a very concerted effort. While I was preparing for the competition, my wife was going through her own health issues. She always showed her unconditional support and always encouraged me to go for it. She prepared my meals and she would take them in containers everywhere as you would for a baby when we went out. The last few weeks leading into the competition were physically and mentally challenging. I had lost body fat and I was so depleted I didn’t have energy and I was hungry all the time because I had cut down my caloric intake below 1,400.
My wife, son, daughter, and in-laws traveled to Las Vegas for the competition to show their love and support. During the last four months, my body transformed into the look (physique and six-pack) I wanted. The pre-judging for the competition began at 10 a.m. and the finals were at 6 p.m. I was competing in a Men’s Physique 50+ Category and I placed first with a gold medal. My family and I were exuberant with joy and happiness. Even if I would not have won the competition, I was completely satisfied with the transformation. Shirtless on stage, posing, flexing muscles in front of strangers was completely out of my comfort zone but I completely stepped out of my comfort zone to gain bragging rights forever.
SUGGESTIONS FOR ASPIRING TRANSFORMERS
- Step out of your comfort zone
- Focus 80 per cent of your effort on your diet (be honest with yourself) and 20 per cent on weight training
- Start your diet and exercise today and don’t wait for tomorrow or Monday
- Abs are made in the kitchen
WHAT IS NEXT FOR ME?
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle
- May consider participating in a local physique competition
- Help and encourage others in the community
(The writer is a resident of Riverside, California.)