Farhan Ahmed Mirza
Farhan Ahmed Mirza before (left) and after Image Credit: Supplied

He couldn’t walk for the pain. When Pakistan expat Farhan Ahmed Mirza went to the doctor, he was told he’d need surgery because of a slipped disc between the L4 and L5 vertebrae. He was apprehensive about going under the knife when he learnt there was another way to alleviate his pain; lose some weight.

Mass had been a growing concern for the five-foot-11-inch Dubai resident, who told Gulf News in an interview that once he got married, he’d let himself go. “Once I got married in 2013, life became very easy for me because my wife was bringing me food on the bed and stuff. [She’d do everything], so there was no hard work,” he explains.


Off and on since then, says 35-year-old Mirza, he had tried to shed the kilos, but somewhere along the way he’d give up. “Then corona happened and I put on more weight. I reached 118kg,” he says.

Shocked by his reflection and concerned about his health, he decided to alter his diet; he was determined that this time would be different.

He started eating two meals, with only grilled meats and salad. He gave up on sugar and carbs and fried treats. “No roti, no rice, nothing,” he says. “It’s not easy to do this – you really need motivation.”

The thing that helped him get his act together, explains Mirza, was knowing the alternative. “You may be ok now, but after 30 your body [degenerates] and if you don’t take care of it, the health issues with come.”


His diet helped him get to 112kg, which is when he went shopping. “I purchased a treadmill,” he says, adding that next, he spent time reading up on what to do after all, movement restrictions were in place and his back was still giving him trouble.

“First I got treadmill and started walking, then running. [Eventually] I could run 30 minutes continuously,” he says.

He also got himself a bench and some dumbbells. “Now, I exercise two hours a day, 5 days a week. I do 30 minutes of cardio, then 30 minutes of aerobics and 45 minutes of weight training.”

Aerobics, he explains, helped him tremendously – especially the stretching exercises.

It took him 2 months to settle into a comfortable routine unencumbered by pain and uneasiness. In four months, he was down to 86 kilos. Since then, he’s been building muscle mass and is currently at 89kg.

“Before I used to feel several issues with my body. I couldn’t feel motivation to do many things. But now I can do it easily. Before I was not fully efficient in office also, now I am. I can work for longer also.”

Plus the back pain is gone. “I don’t want to be a body builder. But I want to be lean and fit,” he says.

“I just want to be fit.”