For Kunal Kumar, a 38-year-old Risk Manager from London Bridge, becoming a new father was a turning point in his fitness journey. He wanted to be mentally and physically strong; set a good example for his daughter and be the best version of himself for his family.
Before his transformation, Kumar was in “average shape” and had been weight training for a few years but, with a very young daughter and family commitments, he was concerned that he would miss the mark with his fitness. Not so — below, in his own words, Kumar explains how he built fitness for life, transformed his energy levels and learned a few bodybuilding hacks along the way.
The turning point came when my daughter was born. I wanted to be the best father to her that I could be and husband to my wife and that meant being mentally and physically strong. I also wanted to set a positive example for my daughter, with the hope that one day she will look back and be proud of me.
I’ve been weight training for a while, but through my time at Ultimate Performance with my trainer Marc Overton, I feel like I was learning from the very beginning. I have learned where my technique was incorrect and potentially leading to injuries and how to focus on the mind-muscle connection, where you mentally focus on the muscle you’re working on and isolate it. It has been an enlightening journey.
Physically I was in average shape. Mentally, I would be constantly thinking about how to juggle a demanding career, our new-born daughter and trying to keep fit and healthy. I wanted to give all of these areas my very best and sometimes that would mean my health and fitness would take more of a back seat which can have a knock-on effect on all other aspects of my life.
My nutrition has been life-changing. The macros have been extremely helpful in providing a structured framework that has helped me to be more in control of what I consume. It has allowed me to experiment with and learn more about different foods and their nutritional value, as well as optimize where I get my source of protein, carbohydrates and fats. As a result, I have been having a far more varied and controlled diet that incorporates a lot more vegetables.
I have become a lot more intuitive with my nutrition, which was one of my key goals. Another improvement I’ve made is to space out my meals over the day and avoid skipping meals or eating too late. This has helped my overall wellbeing and I feel more energized throughout the day.
Operating on a calorie deficit or even a surplus means you need to think about each meal. They need to be spaced out to make sure you do not feel hungry and it becomes a very natural change. My typical meals would be oats soaked in almond milk mixed with protein powder or eggs and smoked salmon for breakfast, okra and chicken breast mixed with tomatoes and feta for lunch and beef fillet with a side salad and organic olive oil for dinner or quinoa mixed with minced beef and tomatoes. As a snack throughout the day, I will tend to have walnuts and sometimes adding 100 percent dark chocolate or have a raw courgette with olive oil.
Before the transformation, I was trying to hit the gym three times a week which was often difficult. The timings would not be consistent week-on-week. However, since joining UP that has completely changed. I have been training early morning 3-times a week every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday without fail and then once at home on Sunday.
On days where I feel relatively less motivated, I just remember again why I chose to do this. That powers me on. The one tip I would give is to constantly reassess your form as you are doing any exercise and I have found the conversations with my trainer in-between sets so helpful in making corrections that make a big difference.
In the first phase of the program, over 12 weeks, I went from 71.4kg (156 pounds) and a body fat percentage of 19.6 percent to 62.4kg (136 pounds) and a body fat of 8.6 percent. At the end of the first 12 weeks, my lean body mass was 57kg and over the muscle-building phase we increased that to 58.8kg (127 pounds) while keeping the body fat at 8.9 per cent.
It has improved my body confidence, given me more energy to focus on my career and I feel a lot healthier and in control with my nutrition. My wife has noticed how the program has had a very positive impact on me both physically and, more importantly, mentally.
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