R Devipujak, is a 23-year-old former retail sales manager who now works as a personal trainer. Years of bullying for being thin and weak, as well as his smoking habit, had worn him down, and he was desperate to gain weight. Fueled by a desire to gain muscle and an even stronger desire to be strong, here’s how he did it, in his own words.
I knew I always wanted to be strong and muscular but couldn’t see any solid results despite doing everything I could think of to get into shape like home workouts and joining a sports team. I knew I wanted to change this, but I just didn’t have a clue how to go about doing that. It wasn’t until I joined a gym four years ago when my close friend Aidan asked me to come to the gym with him as a joke that I was able to truly change my body.
I oriented my gym training around hypertrophy routines to build muscle after realizing that walking six to ten kilometers a day burnt so many calories. I did a “bro-split” routine in which I trained a different body area every day of the week. Monday was, for example, chest day, Tuesday was back day, and so on.
I made it a point to make friends with the bigger, more muscular guys at my gym, and it was through them that I was able to put the knowledge I had obtained from online research into practice in the most efficient manner possible.
I just moved to a “push-pull-legs” (PPL) regimen, which I found to be more beneficial in terms of muscle development. I started this plan and haven’t changed it since: a Push, Pull, Legs split for six days a week, with a chest, back, hamstring, and glute day, triceps and delts day, upper back and biceps day, and finally, a quad day.
To obtain more benefits and work on a muscle, I trained most of my muscle groups twice a week (compared to one muscle set once a week). I always knew I wanted to put on as much muscle as possible, and that goal has remained constant over the years.
I was training weights, consuming protein shakes, and being pushed mentally by a friend who was already into weightlifting within the first month. I even increased my weight by ten pounds, going from 142 to 152. I stayed motivated in the gym because I wanted to improve.
After reassessing my previous lifestyle, I decided to stop smoking, going out, and partying all of the time. Looking back at my previous photos gives me a sense of responsibility. I never want to be like the old self again, thus I strive to improve on a daily basis. I always establish goals for myself in order to keep moving forward.
I gained a lot of information and experience over the years from research and training with people who were more experienced than me, eventually cherry-picking the best of everything I had learned and building my own personal workout regimen.
During this voyage, my body has grown considerably, but the body parts that developed the most are my genetic strong points, which are my chest, back, shoulders, and traps.
Prior to beginning my fitness adventure, I ate like a typical youngster, consuming a lot of fast food or whatever my mother prepared for me. I was able to take control of my nutrition and track where my calories were coming from and going after I became self-sufficient.
I increased my protein consumption by adding an extra chicken breast or deli meat slice to each meal. Walking 6-10 miles a day helped me lose weight because I didn’t build much fat mass, but it wasn’t until I started monitoring calories that I noticed a significant change in my appearance. I made sure to stay inside my daily calorie allowance of 2,400 calories for weight maintenance and 1,900 calories for leaning out.
When I kept track of my calories, I felt more satisfied than when I didn’t. To get more out of my meals now that I’m more careful of what I eat, I avoid low-volume calorie-dense items like nuts and oils and instead focus on high-volume low-calorie foods like lean meats and crisp veggies.
I grew addicted to the process after seeing the physical changes in my physique and couldn’t quit. Unsurprisingly, this is the greatest my body has ever looked, emphasizing the necessity of a healthy diet.
As my training progressed, I was able to identify my weak spots and alter my workouts to achieve a more well-rounded physique.
I acquired 20 pounds of lean muscle in a year and weighed 165 pounds. I was ecstatic with the results, and I saw a new version of myself that the old me could never have imagined.
Seeing my accomplishments and how the gym had a great impact on my life kept me motivated to meet my goal of working out 6 days per week. I did miss a few months of going to the gym, but I believe those breaks were vital during my fitness journey. I was able to get some physical and mental recuperation, as well as rediscover my love for weightlifting. I still go to the gym six out of seven days a week to lift weights, minus all of my old bad habits.
Dealing with body dysmorphia was and continues to be my greatest difficulty. I’m rarely content with how I appear, which is ironic given that so many people have said that my figure is their ideal physique. Trying not to compare my body to others was the most difficult element of my fitness transition. It was discouraging to watch others in the gym who I believed were better than me, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that everyone is unique and responds to stimuli differently. I’ve taught myself that comparison kills all joy and that I should just focus on myself.
Overall, the adventure has been life-changing and has shaped me into the person I am today. I’ll always be grateful to the younger version of myself for going to the gym and adopting this lifestyle. It wouldn’t be any other way for me.
My family and friends have always been supportive of me throughout this journey, and I am grateful to have them in my life. Everyone was astounded and delighted by how quickly I progressed. Almost everyone in my life now refers to me as “Mr. Fitness,” yet every now and then I get a compliment from a buddy congratulating me on my improvement.
My next aim is to maintain my current body fat % while achieving a weight of 190 pounds. Over time, I’d like to develop my own supplement company as well as my own gym. I’m never satisfied with what I’ve accomplished and am constantly striving to achieve new goals.
I’m more disciplined, more confident, have a new sense of purpose in life, and a greater understanding of the value of consistency. My recommendation to anyone who is thinking about starting or has recently started is to figure out why you want to do it. This path is full of ups and downs, sacrifices and sorrow, and without a strong enough driving force, it may appear that it is not worth it.
The second piece of advice I would give to someone just starting out in the fitness field is to set reasonable, detailed, attainable, and timely goals for themselves. Hold yourself accountable, be honest with yourself, and identify obstacles and hurdles that are preventing you from achieving your goals. Visualize what you want, think about it, and never give up or allow someone to tell you that you can’t achieve your objectives.
Rahul is a sports and performance consultant. Over the course of his 15-year career in the fitness sector, he has held positions as a strength and conditioning instructor, gym owner, and consultant.
He is deeply committed to assisting people in finding happiness and feeling good about themselves.
Rahul has a master’s degree in exercise science and is a certified NSCA CSCS and CISSN.