Siddharth Shinde
Siddharth Shinde before (left) and after Image Credit: Supplied

“I would bang my head on the wall and bang my hand on the wall and just make noise, just to control myself, says Siddharth Shinde, a 176cm-tall, now 71kg Indian expat, whose daily endeavor is to spend at least three-and-a-half hours at the gym.

He wasn’t always like this. Last Christmas, his friends in India gave him the present of an intervention, mid-celebratory dinner. He weighed 110kg, had breathing trouble, walking issues and a general cloud of exhaustion that went with him everywhere.

When he returned to the UAE and did a body composition test, he sat down. “My body-fat percentage was 55 and my BMI was 52,” he recalls. (A healthy body-fat percentage for men is thought to be 8-19 percent; a normal BMI is 18.5-24.9.)


He took action – starting with finding a gym that was right for him, fobbing off attempts to sell him personal training classes, and taking a photo that would fuel his motivation for the months to come.

He also reached out to a friend of his – a personal trainer based in India – who recommend a particular diet and exercise regimen.

“I started my journey from January 3rd,” he tells Gulf News. “I was on zero carb, zero sugar, zero salt for the first 3 months. So I was eating just a lot of vegetables and that’s it. Everything was boiled,” he says. In that first month – where the worst day came with cramps and the best with a sense of tired exhilaration – he lost about 10kg.

How he got there

Shinde attributes his 25kg weight gain over a period of 10 years to a lack of exercise and the delicious food he’s surrounded by every day. As a hygiene officer at a Lebanese bakery, he’s constantly making checks on the quality of freshly baked goods and other, sometimes fatty, things. “This food is healthy, but not all the time. If you make [eating] it a habit, of course you’ll gain weight. [Or] if you eat this no problem, but at least you have to walk, do some exercise,” he says.

Time to get back to fitness

And so this January, he began on his transformation trip. “[The] first few days - it was torture for me, because I stopped everything suddenly and then [there was] no option for me what to eat and what not [to]. My friends were eating a lot here in the restaurant and I would feel jealous,” he recalls. Still, he had decided to drop the excess kilos and he stuck with it. Nights were particularly tough, he says. “When I started eating [little] in the night, it was giving me uneasiness.”

The first 10 days was tough. [After] 15 days, 20 days, 25 days, slowly it changed,” he says.

Siddharth Shinde's transformation
Siddharth Shinde's transformation Image Credit: Supplied

There were of course doubts and frustration that flitted through his days. And, says Shinde, one time he decided to just call it quits. One day – in his second week – he just didn’t go to the gym. “I told my friend, ‘I can’t, I give up’. He said,’Look at your picture and [remember] why you started this. if you don’t want to do all this, what will be the circumstance?’

“So that whole night I thought about what he said and then the next day, I went to the gym - I double worked out what I skipped.”

This was a turning point for Shinde; he never skipped gym again. In four-and-a-half months, he’d lost 30kg. Today, he goes to the gym 5 days a week – he does 4 days of weight training and one day of cardio plus weight training.

Current diet
Early morning: Protein powder shake with oats and peanut butter.

Breakfast: 5 egg whites with multigrain bread and 5 lettuce leaves.

Lunch: Brown rice + grilled chicken breast/fish + vegetables.

Dinner: Grilled chicken/fish with veges. No carbs.

His weight fluctuates between 70 and 71kg – because of his muscle-building workouts.

Heath is of utmost importance, believes Shinde – and he’s happy he got his back, with a little help from his friends.

Exercises for the newbie:

Skipping, jumping jacks, pull ups, pushups and then lunges. “This is a full-body workout,” he says.