From an 18-year old book nerd, who found happiness in eating to a 26-year old gym geek, Sarthak Sachdeva has inspired many to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Not only did he make fitness his passion but also his profession. He now runs a successful gym in Delhi.
- What was the turning point in your life that prompted you to take up fitness?
When I was fat, people made jokes about my body and my weight. There came a point where I refused to step out of the house, when all my friends were out socialising. I lacked the confidence to even interact with people.
Also, I had to get my clothes tailor-made, as it was hard to find ones that fit me. That was very embarrassing at times. It was a combination of these things that made me take up fitness.
- What were the challenges you faced initially and how did you keep yourself motivated?
I remember getting on the treadmill on the first day to run, but could only manage a short distance walk. My body was literally dead after that. It was challenging in the beginning and I even thought of quitting a few times. But each time I weighed that thought against the problems I faced, it kept me going.
Slowly I progressed from walking to brisk walking and eventually to running and strength training. Every time you feel de-motivated, look at the distance you have covered, not how long the journey is.
- What are the changes that you’ve noticed in your day-to-day life post the weight loss?
I feel more energetic. I take less stress now. If I workout even one hour daily, my brain functions better. I am able to take better decisions at work and on the personal front. I am more organized and disciplined.
Also, earlier whenever my friends played cricket or football I used to sit at home and wait for them to get done. Now I get to play with them, which has improved our bond and that is the best change that has taken place.
- Do people look at you differently after your transformation?
Definitely. People look at me from a whole new perspective. Some people have even told me that I have inspired them to lose weight. Recently, a 16-year old boy asked me for advice after hearing about my transformation. So people have also started taking me seriously.
- What has been the total change in weight and waist?
I touched 125 kgs and now I am 84 kgs. And most of my weight now is from muscle. I remember buying a 44 size jeans when I was 19 years old and now my waist is 32.
- One piece of advice you wish you had received when you were starting your fitness journey.
Start strength training from day 1! Doing only cardio leads to a lot of muscle loss. Strength training ensures you drop only fat and not muscle, which is the healthy way to do it.
- If you could inculcate one habit among gym goers, what would it be?
I see a lot of people coming to the gym and saying they don’t feel like working out. Coming up with excuses like they’re tired because they were stuck in traffic. Be honest with yourself and don’t find excuses to avoid exercising.
- What is the strangest request you have received from any of your customers?
“I want six pack abs in one month”. And this was from a person who was visiting a gym for the first time.
- Your advice to people who want to lose weight but don’t know where to start?
You need to constantly motivate yourself; no one else can do it for you. The journey is hard but not something you cannot complete. You need to set certain boundaries and listen to your mind and not just your heart. Be very goal oriented.