Biraj Nakarja Case Study: How Biraj Got Into The Shape Of His Life Before The Big 4-0

Biraj Nakarja Case Study: How Biraj Got Into The Shape Of His Life Before The Big 4-0

I still remember the initial call I had with Biraj.

He was telling me how he’s always been involved in some form of training, whether it was with cookie cutter gym plans, martial arts, cardio classes or home workout DVDs. Despite this, he’d never been able to achieve the results he wanted.

By working with RNT, he wanted to break out of this cycle of jumping from program to program with nothing to show for it, and get into the shape of his life before he turned 40 in two years time.

With two young kids and a busy job that involves a ton of travelling, it was never going to be an easy feat. But with the right planning and preparation, it was certainly possible.

In typical RNT fashion, we’re going to break down step-by-step how Biraj got into the shape of his life before the big 4-0.

Starting Point

Prior to starting at RNT, here’s what he was following:

Training – The odd workout here and there, but no real structure in place.

Cardio ­– Wing chun kung fu twice a week with an occasional bike ride.

Diet – His diet wasn’t terrible, but it was certainly far from optimal. Breakfast: cereal, Lunch: chicken and pasta or salad, Dinner: chicken and rice. In between meals he’d snack on mixed nuts, crackers and/or biscuits.

Starting Bodyweight ­– 78kg

Starting Umbilicus – 34 inches

Biraj’s Comments: Ive always been fairly active, having played a lot of football and doing martial arts twice a week. However, two big injuries in as many years meant that my football took a back seat, and with the pressures of family and work life (which includes frequent travelling) I fell into a rut and started to notice my weight slowly increasing and energy levels dropping. Couple that with a recent BUPA health assessment through work where all of my stats (weight, cholesterol etc) were creeping into or were firmly in the Amber Zone. This was a real kick up the back side and I said to myself that I need to do something, and fast, before I hit the big 4-0 in two years time, at which point it would become even harder to get back into shape. 

The decision to sort myself out and a post from Akash on Shyam Kotecha’s recent transformation I believe wasn’t just a coincidence. To me it was meant to be that I trained with Akash and RNT to get into the best shape of my life! I got in contact via Facebook, we spoke on the phone and the rest is history….. 

Initial Changes

To start Biraj off, here’s what we did:

Training – We started with 3 days a week of weight training, using a full body approach, alternating between two different workouts.

Day 1: Full Body

Day 2: Rest

Day 3: Full Body

Day 4: Rest

Day 5: Full Body

Day 6: Rest

Day 7: Rest

The reason for this was to get Biraj accustomed to the movement patterns quickly. By limiting the exercise selection and workout variety to begin with, it allowed him to learn exercises quickly and develop strength as fast as possible.

He was also recovering from a calf tear while playing football, so we had to limit lower body work.


His starting macros were as follows:

Protein: 200g

Fats: 80g

Carbs: 70g 

Biraj wanted a set meal plan to begin with to take all the thinking out of what to eat and when to eat, and allow him to focus purely on execution.

As the diet became easier to follow, Biraj would use the RNT nutrition tracker to adjust certain foods that he fancied instead.

Here’s how the diet looked to begin with:

Meal 1 – 4 Large Eggs, Any Greens

Meal 2 – 40g Whey, 30g Almond Butter

Meal 3 – 130g Chicken Breast, 40g Rice, ½ Medium Avocado, Greens

Meal 4 – 40g Whey, 30g Almond Butter

Meal 5 – 130g Chicken Breast, 40g Rice, 2 teaspoons E-V Olive Oil, Greens

Supplements – Here’s what we used to begin with:

  • Whey Protein (Reflex) – as per meal plan
  • Vitamin D3 (Reflex) – 2000IU with breakfast
  • Creatine Monohydrate (Reflex) – 5g with any shake
  • EAAs (Anabolic Designs) – 1 scoop during workouts
  • Fish Oil (Aliment) – 1 tbsp with breakfast

Cardio – No traditional cardio to begin with. All we aimed for was a daily step target of 10,000 a day. As he worked a sedentary job, we needed to get him moving more in his day-to-day life.

2 Weeks In – 74.6kg

Biraj was off to a flying start in the first 10-14 days of the diet, and dropped a total of 3.4kg in this period.

With a cleaner diet and much healthier food choices, Biraj experienced more energy, mental sharpness and reduced bloating.

The only issue right now was a struggle to hit the 10,000 steps a day on a daily basis, so we sprinkled in more walks throughout his working day to help break it up a little.

He also had the first of many trips abroad for work, but making the right choices when out in restaurants, staying active and training in hotel gyms made sure progress was always being made.

No changes to training, diet, supplementation or cardio.

3 Weeks In – 74.4kg

Half a pound down this week. While not quite in line with the drop expected, strength was flying up and waist circumference was coming in, so there was some recomp effect happening.

Steps were still a little inconsistent, and the wing chun wasn’t always being done twice per week due to work/travel commitments.

As a result, we added in 3 fast power walks on his three days off weight training.

Changes to be implemented: Add 3×30 min LISS on off days

No changes to training, diet or supplementation

4 Weeks In – 73.5kg

Strength was continuing to climb, and everything was being nailed. A little hunger was creeping in during the day, but I always like to think of this as your body burning into its fat stores.

No changes to training, diet or supplementation

5 Weeks In – 73.6kg

Weight was sticking again despite everything being nailed, but pictures were showing Biraj getting visibly leaner each week – he was just laying down lots of new muscle tissue!

This was also the first week he began to use our RNT nutrition tracker to make tweaks on certain meals and include some more variety into the diet.

At this point we added in some 10-15 minute ab circuits twice per week on two off days.

We also started some carb cycling too. On his three days off training, we removed the rice from lunch, making his carb intake on these days 40g.

His macros were now:

Protein – 200g

Fat – 80g

Carbs – 70g or 40g (3x rest days)

Changes to be implemented: 2x ab circuits. Introduced carb cycling by dropping rest day carbs to 40g.

No changes to training, cardio or supplementation.

6 Weeks In – 72.4kg

Big drops this week after last week’s changes, and the love handles / low back were really beginning to tighten up.

No real issues this week, besides the fact he was beginning to max out in the 10-12 rep range we were working in, so we expanded it to 8-12 and introduced some reverse pyramid sets to help elicit more strength gains. You can read more about these here.

Changes to be implemented: Opened up rep range from 10-12 to 8-12.

No changes to diet, cardio or supplementation.

8 Weeks In – 71.6kg

Biraj was continuing to drop nicely. Everything was working nicely and things were beginning to take shape well.

No changes to training, diet, cardio or supplementation.

Biraj’s Comments: 8 weeks in and I was completely surprised at (a) how much weight I’d already lost, but more so (b) the increased strength over that time. I was waking up at 05:30am to train or get my steps in and was really enjoying my workouts. Looking back at my logbook the progression in terms of weights compared to when I started was really motivating. People had started to comment on how much better I was looking and my clothes at this point started feeling loose as well! The support from Akash in terms of what to do/eat whilst travelling abroad for work or when I had clients/family commitments was fantastic and I knew at this point that I’d made the right decision to train with RNT.

9 Weeks In – 71.4kg

This was the first week Biraj didn’t eat 100% according to plan as he found himself a little caught out in some tricky situations. Nevertheless, he did the best he could in bad situations, and still managed to get half a pound off.

We decided to step things up a little this week too.

The first change was to drop fats by 10g by dropping some almond butter, and replacing a whole egg with some egg whites. The second was to increase LISS to 5 days a week at 30 minutes, and increase steps to 12,000 a day.

Lastly, we added one extra day of ab circuits, so he was now doing it 3 days per week.

His macros were now:

Protein – 200g

Fat – 70g

Carbs – 70g or 40g (3x rest days)

Changes to be implemented: Fats dropped by 10g, LISS up to 5×30 min, steps up to 12K per day, one extra ab circuit.

No changes to supplementation

10 Weeks In – 69.8kg

Up until this point, Biraj’s gym was pretty limited, and he was beginning to max out the dumbbells. So he changed gyms, and with this move, we progressed the training plan to four days a week with the following split:

Day 1: Chest/Arms/Posterior Chain

Day 2: Rest

Day 3: Back/Shoulders/Quads

Day 4: Rest

Day 5: Chest/Back/Shoulders

Day 6: Legs/Arms

Day 7: Rest

In this plan, we varied the rep ranges so earlier in the week the focus was more in the 6-8 rep range, and later in the week, aiming to progress in the 8-12 rep range. Varying rep ranges in this manner is one of my favourite ways to train, as you can read more about here.

This week Biraj also had his annual BUPA health assessment from work, and the doctor was impressed with the results! (His words were ‘whatever you are doing continue because the difference from the previous year was fantastic’). Since his last test, he was down 9kg with a reduced belly circumference of nearly 10cm. In addition, all his other stats including cholesterol were way down and now all firmly in the ‘green zone’.

It was also during this time his wife, Sital, decided to jump on the RNT program!

Changes to be implemented: Training up to four days a week with a new split.

No changes to diet, cardio or supplementation.

11 Weeks In – 68.8kg

Travelling was picking up with both work and leisure, but Biraj was ticking all the right boxes and staying sensible throughout.

Despite a big drop, I decided to push on a little harder as we still had a lot of body fat to chop off.

We kept cardio and weights the same, but initially pushed steps up to 14,000 a day. At the same time, we reduced protein by 10g and fats by 15g.

His macros were now:

Protein – 190g

Fat – 55g

Carbs – 70g or 40g (3x rest days)

Changes to be implemented: Fats dropped by 15g, protein reduced by 10g, steps up to 14,000 a day.

No changes to training or supplementation

12 Weeks In – 67.7kg

Despite all the travelling, we were still progressing nicely and things were coming together nicely. It was at this point the infamous ‘Biraj selfie’ came out:

With a few more trips lined up still, we decided to set a 6 week goal to get the abs out, which would time well with Christmas too.

No changes to training, diet, cardio or supplementation.

13 Weeks In – 67.5-68.5kg

Weight was bouncing around this week due to different foods when travelling, some bloating and perhaps a little water retention. While we weren’t off track, I did want to ramp things up this week.

We dropped protein by 15g and knocked 5g of fat off too. I kept carbs where they were at for now and opted for the bigger drop from protein simply because he was so much lighter now, and didn’t warrant 190-200g protein anymore.

His macros were now:

Protein – 175g

Fat – 50g

Carbs – 70g or 40g (3x rest days)

We pushed cardio to 40 minutes daily at this point too, and increased the daily step target to 15,000 a day.

Changes to be implemented: Fats dropped by 5g, protein reduced by 15g, steps up to 15,000 a day.

No changes to training or supplementation.

14 Weeks In – 66.9kg

Christmas parties were coming on thick and fast, so I wanted to make sure we didn’t lose any ground. To that end, we implemented some more aggressive carb cycling by introducing some zero carb days.

On the two hardest training days, we kept the same training day diet (175P, 50F, 70C). On the two easier training days, we followed the previous rest day diet (175P, 50F, 40C). On the three rest days, all starchy carbs were dropped (175P, 50F, 0C).

His macros were now:

Protein – 175g

Fat – 50g

Carbs – 70g (2 hardest days) or 40g (2 easier days) or 0g (3 rest days)

Daily LISS was bumped to 45 minutes daily, and steps were now pushed to 16,000 a day.

It was this point I also floated the idea of a photoshoot. With 2 weeks till the Christmas holidays, here’s what I suggested:

  • Blast for two weeks until Christmas
  • Implement a diet break for 3 weeks over the holidays
  • Push hard for 3-4 weeks and peak for a photoshoot

Biraj was down for the plan, so we set the wheels in motion!

Changes to be implemented: Introduced zero carb days on rest days, LISS up to 45 mins, and steps up to 16,000 a day.

No changes to training or supplementation.

15 Weeks In – 66.1kg

2 more pounds of body fat off, the shoot date was set, and we were right on track.

16 Weeks In – 65.7kg – Christmas Break

We were only about 5-6lbs away from shoot condition now, but with Christmas coming, we decided to diet break, reverse calories up, and then chip away again in the New Year.

For 3 weeks, we dropped daily LISS to 25 minutes and reduced steps right down to 10,000 a day.

We pushed food up too, with the majority of the increase coming from carbs.

His macros were now:

Protein – 150g (-25g)

Fat – 60g (+10g)

Carbs – 150g (+80-150g)

The focus during this period was to make the most of the extra rest and calories and really chase after progressive overload in the gym.

After being in a hard deficit for a while, this diet break came at the perfect time.

Changes to be implemented: LISS 25 min daily, steps down to 10,000 a day, new daily macros of 150P, 60F, 150C.

No changes to training or supplementation

Biraj’s Comments: At this point I felt like I was flying on this journey and looking back at my weekly photo check-ins with Akash I could really see the difference compared to day one. It was at this point I felt that I genuinely might get a six pack at the end of this. When I saw transformations online in the past – it was always a dream to look that way but I never feel that it could be me. At this stage, for the first time I thought it could actually be me, which is why I committed to the photoshoot as a target in the calendar to work towards. 

The food deficit was hard up to this point and the hunger was insane so when Akash told me that we are going to push hard for 2 weeks before a diet break, it was music to my ears. Also the break would be over Xmas so I would be able to enjoy the social events and time with my friends and family, which is exactly what I did – although I didn’t touch any alcohol on Xmas day! Instead, I was enjoying my training so much that I went to the gym on Xmas day morning with my wife (who was also on her RNT journey) to make some extra room for my Xmas dinner later that afternoon!

New Year Update; 4 Weeks Out – 67kg

The additional food and rest did Biraj a load of good, and he came back from the Christmas break looking way fuller, tighter and vascular.

We now had four weeks to drop the hammer and start the #VaghelaGrind.

Instead of slowly increasing the deficit, we took advantage of the previously higher calories and less cardio, and went straight in.

We pushed cardio up to 45 minutes daily and steps up to 15,000 a day.

To help provide a boost for these cardio sessions, we added in 200mg caffeine beforehand.

At this point we also added in two HIIT sessions per week on rest days, which we hadn’t done previously. This was done for 24 minutes, using my favourite protocol of 20 seconds fast, 1 minute 40 seconds slow.

We kept protein the same at 150g, but dropped carbs to 100g and fats to 50g.

His macros were now:

Protein – 150g

Fat – 50g (-10g)

Carbs – 100g (-50g)

This was actually a higher carb intake than at the beginning, and this time we opted for slightly lower protein and more carbs to keep performance high in this final stretch.

Changes to be implemented: LISS up to 45 min daily, steps up to 15,000 a day, added in 2x 24min HIIT. New daily macros of 150P, 50F, 100C. 200mg caffeine pre cardio.

No changes to training

3 Weeks Out – 65.5kg

We got a nice initial drop in the first week as expected. At this point we just had that last bit of stubborn fat on the lower abs that we needed to grind off.

This week we increased HIIT up to 26 minutes, LISS up to 50 minutes daily and steps up to 17,000 a day.

We kept protein and carbs the same, but lowered fats down to 40g.

His macros were now:

Protein – 150g

Fat – 40g (-10g)

Carbs – 100g

Changes to be implemented: LISS up to 55 min daily, steps up to 17,000 a day, HIIT up to 2x26min. New daily macros of 150P, 40F, 100C.

No changes to training or supplementation

2 Weeks Out – 65kg

This was the first time Biraj told me he’d had a really tough week. Lethargy and fatigue was kicking in, and he was beginning to feel cranky during the day. Hunger was off the charts, and with work and family commitments at an all time high, it was a real struggle to fit it all in.

But… as with all successful transformations, when the ‘why’ is big enough, and your focused on your goal, you’ll make it happen. That’s what Biraj did.

We only had two weeks left of hard work to go, so I continued to push him.

We increased HIIT up by 2 minutes, so it was at 28 minutes twice a week now. Steps and LISS remained the same.

On the diet front, I dropped carbs on the three non weight training days to 50g, but kept protein and fats the same.

His macros were now:

Protein – 150g

Fat – 40g

Carbs – 100g or 50g (3 non weight training days)

Biraj also mentioned at this point that his training was suffering, and he couldn’t make progressions in the gym anymore. I told him this was completely normal, and that in these final few weeks it’s better to put the weights on maintenance to ensure safety and preservation of muscle mass.

Biraj’s Comments: This was by far the lowest point in my journey. I was making such good gains in the gym that when I couldn’t lift the same weights anymore it was so demotivating. I was always tired, REALLY grumpy and felt like I was snapping at the smallest things (huge apologies to my wife and kids – sorry!). Work and family commitments started to increase again and I remember sending Akash an email asking why my performace in the gym has dropped so dramatically. He told me this was completely normal as he had been on the same journey himself and had felt exactly the same things. This was reassuring as it wasn’t just me, but part of the process. I had the support from my family and Akash to push me through this tough period as they all kept reminding me of the final goal and the photoshoot that I had committed to!

Changes to be implemented: HIIT up to 2×28 min. Dropped rest day carbs to 50g.

No changes to training or supplementation

1 Week out – 64.2kg

Another great week in the books, and now the obliques were starting to show.

I just wanted another 2-3lbs off still in this final stretch to complete his look, so I told him to drop carbs by 25g everyday, and increase HIIT to 30 minutes twice per week.

His weight was bouncing around throughout the week, which was coming from a lack of regularity. We fixed this by adding in some psyllium husk (I didn’t use this in the end as it finally stabilised) twice per day, which did the trick!

Biraj also had a trip to Dublin with work this week for a few days, but I told him at this stage, he had no choice but to take his food with him!

Final Week – 63.1kg

Metabolism was racing at this point, and we were nearly at the finish line. The last bits of stubborn fat were off, and Biraj was ready. All we did in this final week was deload his training and cardio, and bring his carbs up a little towards the end of the week to help fill him out.

To peak for the Wednesday shoot, here’s what we did. As you’ll see, no tricks or secrets, just a simple plan to bring his best on shoot day!

Game Day:

7.30am (2 hours before) – 3 whole eggs, 70g rice mixed with soy sauce

During shoot – 2-3 scoops HBCDs from Raging Full

Lights, Camera, Action!

Final Stats / Testimonial

Bodyweight: 63.5kg

Umbilicus: 27.75 inches

As we went through the final week, Biraj’s weight dropped as low at 62.6kg, but as we started filling out with the carbs, it came up a little.

These were his final comparison pictures:

Next Plan?

Build muscle!

Here’s what Biraj has to say about his overall experience with RNT Fitness, and training with Akash: 

After 2 big injuries in as many years, coupled with the increased pressure of work and family life, my general level of activity had decreased and I found myself slowly but surely adding on weight with reduced energy overall. It was at this point that I decided to get back into shape before it was too late and before I hit the big 4-0 in two years time. I found Akash on Facebook, made the contact and decided to join the RNT journey.

It’s been a fantastic 6 months and with his training and nutrition guidance, plus the real life experiences that Akash has in this field, he has helped me to get into the best shape of my life. 

I never in a million years though I could look like this, but it just goes to show that with the commitment, will and determination, coupled with the right trainer who knows what they are talking about and supports you all the way, anything is possible!

I can’t thank Akash enough and I look forward to the next phase of my RNT training.

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To read similar case studies like Biraj’s:

How Anand Went From Skinny Fat To Shredded At 43 Years Young

How Gita Got Abs As A Mother Of Two At The Age Of 40

How Shyam Went From Chubby City Worker To Photoshoot Lean

How Sakhi Took It To The Next Level And Achieved A Fitness Model Physique

How Karan Got Ripped For Ibiza

Emily’s 5 Week Rescue Prep


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Akash Vaghela

Akash Vaghela is the Founder of RNT Fitness, where his mission is to see a world where everyone experiences the power of a physical body transformation to act as a vehicle for the greater good in their lives. Akash has produced 200+ blogs, 100+ videos and hosts the RNT Fitness Radio podcast, which has amassed over 110,000 downloads in 90+ countries across 100+ episodes. Alongside this, he's been seen in Men's Health, BBC, T-Nation, Elite FTS and the PTDC, while also regularly speaking nationally and internationally on all things transformation.