Joel Eric Pinto went from being a 17 year-old overweight couch potato, who hated the PT period in school to making an enviable physique and acquiring an array of fitness certifications.
Over the years he has experimented with various forms of workouts and is here to share his journey and some of the best practices that he has learnt, with you.
- What was your first day at the gym like? Was it challenging initially?
I remember the first day the trainer asked me to do push-ups and pull-ups. I could do only 2 push-ups and pull-ups were out of the question. Also, like most people I was very irregular initially.
It was challenging in the beginning but the trainers pushed me a lot. It’s important to have someone who keeps pushing you initially, whether it’s a trainer or a friend.
- A lot of people give up in the first month itself, what kept you going?
One day a friend of mine who loved running took me to this stretch that was at a 60-degree incline and about 400 meters long. He had tried many times to reach the top and failed and challenged me to finish it. I did it in the first go! The only difference was that I was doing both cardio and strength training at the time and he only used to run. That gave me a big boost. And once I saw the change in my physical appearance, it became an addiction. Of course, the attention I received was a morale boost for me. Also, outperforming myself in the Devil’s Circuit and other bench press or deadlift competitions really motivates me!
- Did working out help you with your other day-to-day activities?
Absolutely, it transformed my life. Working out taught me that if you put in the effort, you’ll see the result. And if you don’t see results, you try to figure out where you’re going wrong. I started applying this learning to everything I did. My grades improved significantly and I went from a 4.0 GPA to 9.0 GPA.
Fitness instilled discipline in me. I became more organised. I developed healthy habits and I chose hiking or rock climbing over partying and drinking.
- There is a lot of debate these days about bodybuilding/ workout supplements. What is your take on that?
Supplements do exactly what the name suggests. They fill voids in your diet depending on what your goal is. So first and foremost you need to be clear about your goal. For instance, if your goal is to be healthy and free from diseases, then you don’t need supplements. You can get all the nutrients in sufficient quantity from a well balanced diet.
However, if your goal is to be fit or have a chiseled physique or build muscle, then you need your nutrients in a greater quantity. That is possible only till a certain point with a regular well balanced diet. Taking supplements can take you beyond that point.
Also, I recommend people take multi vitamins and mineral supplements on a regular basis, as it’s often difficult to get the required dosage from a regular diet. So supplements can be useful if you take the right ones according to your goals. However, it’s absolutely necessary you do your homework before taking supplements.
- You work almost 12 hours a day but still manage to take out time to exercise. Your advice to beat the post office slump?
There’s something known as ‘enclothed cognition’, which is how your clothes have an impact on your thinking and psychology. Your attire is very important. Invest in proper gym gear. When you put on your gym clothes you’re preparing your mind for the upcoming physical activity.
Another thing that works for me is having a pre workout ritual. You could eat a banana everyday before you go to the gym. Overtime that becomes a trigger and this prepares your mind for what’s coming up next.
- What has been the total change in weight and waist from when you were the heaviest you been and now?
Earlier my weight was 72 kgs and it is still 72 kgs. My waist size has changed from 36 inches to 28 inches. Basically, earlier I had a lot of fat and I lost that and put on muscle.
- One nutrition myth you would like to bust?
That fats are bad. In fact Fats are very important you should know the basics. Not all fats are bad.
- If you had to inculcate one good habit amongst gym goers, what would that be?
Put the dumbbells back on the rack after using them.