The reality of today is that junk food is a lot easier to access than healthy alternatives. Fast food and snacks are readily available to be it in the office canteen or in a supermarket. And with the busy work schedules that people have these days, these are the only options available at times. Things were no different for Sagar Arora, 26, who made fitness a priority but seemed to fall short always thanks to poor lifestyle choices.
All it took was one episode of extreme digestive issues thanks to aerated drinks, caffeine and other junk that crept into his diet to push him harder to achieve what he always dreamt of – a fit physique.
Sagar talks about his extreme health issues that prevented him from eating anything at all for months. The results were obvious, he began to lose muscle and his body became weaker by the day. Then, he made his way to the gym one day and realized that it was impossible for him to even do a simple push up comfortably. That is when he decided that he had had enough. That is the day he decided to kick old habits and make way for newer, healthier lifestyle choices.
Today, he flaunts washboard abs and looks younger than ever. From 89 kilos to 69 kilos of pure mass, his transformation journey is truly the motivation that you need. If you have any health issues or habits that are preventing you from achieving your fitness goals, his transformation journey is just what you need, to get yourself going.
Can you think of one incident that made you realize that it was time to make a change?
I was always keen on fitness and even began my tryst with it way back in the year 2011. I had even started to consume the proteins that I needed to start building muscle and looking bulkier. But, I cheated. All the time. There was always room for coffee and coke in my diet. Not to mention tons of junk food. It was the latter that really took a toll on my health, leading to extreme digestive issues. It was so bad that all I could eat was plain khichadi for several months. This was in 2017 and I remember feeling disappointed with myself all the time.
Here I was unable to jog for 15 minutes straight or even do a few push-ups correctly. I rejoined the gym in 2018 but the real wakeup call came when I tried to do my push-ups and failed miserably.
Give us a glimpse of your lifestyle before you actually got hooked onto a fitness routine
Let me tell you that I am a complete sweet tooth. So sugar was a huge part of my diet. Be two desserts each day or 2 packets of biscuits, I just need that sugar rush to function. So, this was possibly the hardest thing for me to give up. Like I said, I always wanted to be fit. This is why I even went on a high protein diet when I first joined the gym.
As expected, I did develop muscles fast. But all the junk that I included in between my meals had a bad effect on my digestion. My stomach was completely messed up and I could only eat certain bland foods. All the muscle that I developed for the last six years disappeared before I realized.
But, for me, it was not just about how I looked physically. I hated the fact that I was completely drained at the end of each day. For the most part of the day I felt lazy and lethargic. All I can blame this on is my sugar intake at that time. And the worst part is that I always knew that these foods were bad for me, but continued eating them anyway.
What is your typical exercise routine now?
It was in the year 2018 that I started going to the gym again. It took me until summer of that year to be regular though. When I did start, it was a basic 5 day weight training and 3-day cardio combo. As I got stronger, I was ready to move on to a more complex training routine.
Today, I usually work two muscle groups a day and ensure that I get a few minutes of cardio along with it. So, my typical fitness routine is
For me, form is everything. I also try to keep my muscles going in between training and avoid resting for more than 1 minute in between sets.
My HIIT consists of 30 seconds of cycling or sprinting with a break of 45 seconds in between.
I usually hit the treadmill for my cardio. When I use the treadmill I like to keep the inclination level at 10 and the speed at 6 km. I also use the elliptical from time to time at level 15.
- Breakfast: A protein shake immediately after I wake up. Then, the actual breakfast includes an 8 egg white scramble with a cup of boiled oats and one apple. If I am on a low carb cycle, I avoid the apple.
- Lunch: 250g of chicken with a bowl of salad and brown rice. During the low carb cycle, I cut the brown rice out.
- Evening Snack: 5 boiled egg whites with a single slice of toasted bread and a few nuts: During the low carb cycle, I avoid bread.
- Post Workout: My regular protein shake. If I am not on the low carb cycle, I include a nutrition bar as well.
- Dinner: A plate of salad and 250g of Roasted chicken.
- Night Snack: If I am out late or am working into the night, I may either have half a scoop of protein shake or some nuts.
Do you have any advice for people who are struggling to achieve their fitness goals?