Before you try to accomplish anything, you need to establish your ‘why’.
Getting in shape is no different, and what we have noticed in those most successful in transforming their bodies is that their ‘why’ is usually the strongest.
It could be anything from wanting to look good for an upcoming birthday, holiday or wedding.
Or it could be to regain your health, improve your energy to be a better parent and partner, or to create structure in your day.
Or it could be to improve self-confidence, self-esteem and overall mental health.
The possibilities are endless, and the exact reason doesn’t matter. It’s individual to you, your own life and your own path. The common denominator is that it needs to mean enough to you to keep you on track with your goal at all times.
Every once in a while though, you come across a story with such depth that it just blows you away.
Meet Akash Desai.
Akash’s ‘why’ was strong. Most importantly, he was crystal clear about it, and knew exactly what he wanted to achieve. Which is why he got the results he did.
In today’s case study, we’re going to take a completely different direction, and take you through Akash’s lifetime journey in making his dreams a reality.
The Early Years
Everyone has scars from growing up that shape much of their behaviour, values and attitude later in life.
Growing up, Akash said he was a wimpy kid and not very popular with the ladies.
Diving deeper, he revealed:
“I used to get bullied really badly when I was a kid, so my self-esteem was extremely low. On top of this, I was below average at school, in a system where excelling at education was the only skill and attribute that was valued. In addition, my dad was always telling me I wasn’t good enough. His highest life value was education, and mine wasn’t. Mine was health and fitness. Because of this, we always clashed and it made things worse.
When you combine the two, I was left with very low self-confidence and self-esteem. And it’s something I’ve always struggled with.
When I speak to many others who’ve been training from a fairly young age, it’s largely driven by similar factors stemming from low confidence, self-esteem issues or insecurity. Training can provide an escape and/or protective mechanism from certain hardships, and serve as the subconscious drive to start and continue.
In Akash’s case, he was doing karate from the age of 3. Once he reached school he started getting himself involved with every sport possible, and also began to find inspiration in 80s movie action heroes.
Stars like Arnold, Sylvester Stallone, Van Damme and Jackie Chan all served as role models for Akash. In particular, it was the self-confidence they exuded that particularly drew him towards them. He was inspired by their incredible physiques, and wanted the same.
As he entered into his 20s, his training started to get even more serious. He began to train with a multitude of different martial arts including Jiu Jitsu, Kickboxing, Wing Chun and Kung Fu. He trained with the British gymnastics squad for a period of time, and even featured in a short parkour video!
He tried everything. But despite all of this training, he never achieved the results he wanted.
On reflection, Akash said:
It’s crazy to think that even through all these different martial arts, sports, and training modalities, I still had the body of a typical Indian male. I had a fat stomach and skinny arms, and I just didn’t understand it. I was almost done with it all.
Two things changed:
1. Seeing Hrithik Roshan (a Bollywood actor). I began to make excuses and blame my Indian genetics, but when I saw Hrithik, I had no excuses. He proved me wrong and showed me it can be done.
2. Seeing Akash Vaghela’s transformation, as well as that of his RNT members. I saw Akash’s bodybuilding prep blog in 2017, along with his track record of transforming members with body types just like me, I knew I needed to speak to him.
Akash got in touch with RNT when he was on the verge of giving up on his health and fitness goals. He was almost 40 years old, running two successful property businesses with a beautiful family, but he still hadn’t cracked the code on achieving the 80s action hero physique he so badly wanted.
When he discussed his training history with us, it was clear there were some missing pieces in the puzzle that needed addressing.
Akash won’t mind me sharing this, but when we heard his passion and attitude towards health and fitness, we were expecting an already killer physique underneath, that was just in need of a little polishing.
When he sent me the following pictures, I knew there was work to be done. He was 75kg at 165cm, with an estimated body fat of around 25-30%.
This was the critical missing piece of the puzzle. We needed to make big changes in this area, so initially we started with a diet on the following macros:
Due to his busy schedule balancing business, family and fitness, he needed the easiest possible diet to plan, prepare and execute.
He wanted a set meal plan whereby all decision fatigue was removed, and so we decided to use this structure (exact amounts aren’t given):
Breakfast: 3 Eggs, 2 Slices of Toast, Greens
Mid Morning: Whey & Almond Butter
Lunch: Chicken, Greens, Olive Oil, Rice or Wrap
Mid Afternoon: Whey & Almond Butter
Dinner: Chicken, Greens, Olive Oil, Rice or Wrap
Akash had been training from a very young age, he had a lot of interest in martial arts and had been following a system. Unfortunately that system wasn’t giving him the results he was seeking.
After joining RNT, he tried to stick to his old training schedule and practices but he soon realised his progress wasn’t in sync with his efforts,
“I finally had to just let go of my ego and give in to the experts. I had signed up to a system so I needed to let go of what I thought was the right thing to do and just trust the RNT team. This period of unlearning, to be honest, was rather difficult - to give up control of my training and just follow the plan was hard. I sat with it and thought about it and realised I had the solution but I was refusing to act on it. That’s when I decided to throw aside my ego and just trust the journey. I was stubborn, and if you’re reading this, don’t make the same mistake I did.!”
Prior to joining RNT, Akash was the typical sedentary ‘working from home’ business owner. I know how easy it is to fall into this trap, and if you’re not careful, you can go through a whole day without having moved.
This can play a tremendous role in determining the state of energy balance in the body, so it was important Akash became as active as possible.
Once he saw the benefits of increasing his daily activity, he was sold on it. He began to walk everywhere, and even managed a couple of days where he’d clock in all his steps before 9am!
At the start of the process, we started with just a step goal of 8-10,000 a day. Once we booked the shoot in, we added low intensity steady state cardio (LISS) in, and sprinkled in some high intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions too.
Dominating the Morning
The most common question I receive from people who are interested in transforming their body is this:
‘I’m busy, where do I find the time to do all of this?’
It all goes back to gaining clarity behind your why, and then organising your day to enable you to get the work done.
We’re all busy. Akash was no different. He was juggling running two successful businesses with looking after his pregnant wife and his 3 year old daughter, and not once did he ever complain about time.
“It’s all about the morning. This whole thing was a massive journey for me. I quickly realised that if I left my training or meal prep to later in the day, I was more likely to slip up. Waking up early and getting my training done before the rest of my family woke up was the key to my success. I knew if I got my training done first thing, there was no chance to miss it, and I could get on with my day. Same with food. I knew if I spent an hour or so on Sunday prepping for the whole week, I was going to be on track.”
Becoming the Warrior
Growing up watching martial arts and action movies on the big screen, Akash always wanted to embody a physique similar.
This journey for Akash had been a long one, and it was about becoming who he was meant to be: The Warrior.
“I’ve always thought and intrinsically known that the best version of yourself starts with your health. This is where you can most easily see change in your life over other areas such as mindset and spirituality, where the results are not so easily seen.
I’ve lived all my life trying to fit in, having personas for different people in my life as society dictates. The physical transformation has allowed me to be comfortable with who I am, and become the best version of me, rather than a lame copy of someone else. I’m now content and confident in ‘being me’, and I’m done trying to fit in.
Being the warrior means everything to me. It’s an expression of my true self. The best version of myself. It represents my life’s highest value which is growth. It used to be something I kept inside, someone I was embarrassed to express to the world. Even someone I was picked on for. I’m not embarrassed anymore. I embrace it, I live it, and after all these years of walking this journey, I’ve finally become the man and the warrior I always knew I could become.”
Not Just The Physical
The more lives we transform, , the more we realise that what we do transcends way beyond the before and after aesthetic transformations.
What a physical transformation allows you to do is trigger growth in every aspect of your life. It creates belief that you can achieve similar transformations in your relationships, spirituality, self development, business and finances.
It’s a catalyst for the ‘real’ growth that allows you to be comfortable in your own skin. It makes you hyper-aware of the different domains in your life, and what needs to be brought up in order to make you a better, more well-rounded person.
The physical, is the easiest to change. But what it does is instil you with the confidence to make similar changes across the board.
“Through my transformation, I’ve been able to achieve my life’s greatest goal. One I’ve been working towards my whole life. If I died now, I would honestly die fulfilled. Now I have achieved a physical transformation, I know I can achieve similar transformations in all areas of my life.
Remember, I was that wimpy, bullied kid with zero confidence. I now don’t mind walking around with my top off if the weather’s good. While this may be a small thing for many, I couldn’t imagine doing anything like it before. It’s huge. I’m a completely different person. And I’m one step closer to becoming The Warrior.”
Lessons To Learn
There’s a lot to be taken from Akash’s journey.
His why was incredibly strong and powerful, and this was a mental battle just as much as it was a physical battle for him over the years.
Besides the lessons of planning and preparation, establishing your why, dominating your morning, the real lesson is one of being relentless in your pursuit of what you want, and never stopping till you get there.
Just at the point of giving up on his dreams, Akash had one more fight in him. And it was this last one that delivered the result he so badly wanted.
At a recent local business networking event, Akash surprised us all by delivering one of the most powerful testimonials I’ve seen, and this encapsulates everything this means to him:
Final Bodyweight – 61kg (-14kg)
These were his final comparison pictures:
4 years into his journey with RNT, Akash’s mindset and approach has changed. In this time he has progressed immensely. His commitment to the process has resulted in an impressive physique but has also empowered him to improve on all areas of his life. His business, his relationship with his family have all improved thanks to his new found self-worth, he believes in himself and that self belief helped to channel his energies in a positive direction.
“Looking back the first couple of years of my RNT journey is a little bit of a blur. But I do remember that my ego came in the way and I didn’t fully trust the system. I wanted to take the advice from RNT, mix it up with my own knowledge, as I thought I knew so much! But it really wasn’t working as effectively and I was stuck just spinning my wheels.
I think the best way to approach the program is to go with your cup empty, so you can fill yourself up with all the knowledge, and then you can really transform. It was the ‘ruthless consistency’ one of RNT’s buzz phrases that really got me where I am today. It really is that practice makes progress, it isn’t about practice makes perfect, but progress! To consistently make progress towards self-mastery. These 4 years with RNT has really served me very very well in making that progress.
I do believe that my first year with RNT was all about unlearning the parts of your training that just wasn’t serving you. The 2nd year was about finding that rhythm and the 3rd year was about accelerating progress and performance with all the learnings I have got from reading all the amazing content and the wonderful guidance.
Now one of the biggest changes is the way I approach my own identity: identifying as a lean healthy person means I make different choices, especially with relation to food. Food is fuel, and the choices I make are all based on what I need to ensure I function at my optimum. I have gone from stress eating, eating what I want and eating for pleasure to eating for purpose, and that serves my lifestyle. Of course I enjoy my treats and my meals out, and when I do I take my time and enjoy every bite, which means I feel satiated and satisfied.”
Akash’s commitment to the process stems from a deeper purpose -
“I want to now help my daughter conquer life starting with her physical journey as she joins me in training. She’ll learn through her hard work in training that anything in life is possible. She’ll be able to use the lessons taught through training to conquer all aspects of her life. And so the journey continues from one generation to the next…”
Here’s what Akash has to say about his overall experience of working with RNT Fitness:
“I initially came to RNT when I saw a transformation picture on social media. I thought to myself this is exactly what I’ve been looking for!
I had been training for a very long time in all types of martial arts and gymnastics, but had never achieved the results I wanted. I was about to pack it all in as I was jumping from one regime / sport / martial art to another. I’d already seen Bollywood actor Hritish Roshan prove that us Indians could achieve a great body, but I just didn’t know how to do it.
I contacted RNT, we talked about my goals, and we jumped right in. I even booked a photoshoot to make it real and hold myself accountable.
Through my transformation, I’ve improved my self-confidence tenfold, If you are serious about getting results and are done spinning your wheels, don’t think too much, sign up and take action!”