Eighteen kilos into his journey in Dubai, 29-year-old Arsalan Tariq was stumped. When the 174cm Pakistani had moved to Dubai three years ago, he was a healthy 69-70 kilos, but with a new opportunity came new chances for procrastination. Work was the focus, health took a back seat. “I became very bulky,” he tells Gulf News in an interview. “My tummy come out and when I wear clothes it’s very ugly, I can’t walk and it’s not good for me and I feel lazy,” he recalls.
So he decided to make a change a year ago. He joined a gym and began to go every day. When a month had passed, he lost his motivation and his way to the workout area. This became a cycle, he says. “Whenever I start, I go for only one month and after a month, my motivation comes down and I leave that gym, and then again I start-stop, start-leave,” he explains.
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Then three months ago, he decided that he’d get professional help. “Three months ago I met up with a trainer, I discussed with him all these things and then I started working with him and then he guided me with like proper food, cardio exercises and he pushed me, motivated me,” he says.
“I started by running and the Stairmaster and then some cardio exercises like burpees, jumps, squats. After one month [of this], I started with body building equipment,” he adds.
What the professional also made him realise, he explains, is that 70 per cent of weight-loss is about what goes on your plate; 30 per cent is the workout. “[When] I started [last year] I was having roti and burger and all those things,” he says, adding what he knew about exercise was basic at best. “Those things I learned when I hired a personal trainer. Because of him I got this result.”
Tariq’s first few days at the gym came with the soundtrack of ‘I can’t’. With each kilometer he ran, with each flight of stairs he climbed, his mind said, “I can’t.” His trainer helped him work through that. When he stood on scale at the end of that first month, he was down 4kg, and motivated to keep moving. The first month there were no cheat meals, few carbs and not a hint of sugar.
The second and third months were easier, but Tariq has decided on a stricter diet this month, “Yesterday I took my weight it was 70.5. I want to do it like 65 and then I have to start building up muscles. My plan is I want to compete this December in the competition in Abu Dhabi,” he says.
The two hours he now dedicates to his food and exercise has proved to him that change is possible. “It’s not easy, but everyone can do it,’ he says. As long as they have commitment - and perhaps a little help from those who know how to go about it.