27 Nov Maneet Dharia Case Study: How Maneet changed his lifestyle to drop 50lbs and truly transform for life
The ultimate goal is to get into incredible shape while still living your life to its fullest, never sacrificing what you’re doing, and maintaining it forever.
Maneet’s achieved this.
In the past 12 months, he’s dropped 50lbs of body weight (and arguably much more in body fat given his muscle gains) and got as strong as he’s ever been all the while moving from Detroit to Los Angeles, and then rebuilding his life in a new city as an IV sedation dentist.
With long working hours, extensive commutes, multiple networking events to build clientele, and lots of socialising, Maneet knew he needed something different if he wanted to reach his fitness goals as well.
Growing up, he’d always admired the strong guys in the movies. He was an avid reader of the fitness magazines, and always interested in his health and body composition. At 19 years old, he wrote in his journal that he’d love to be ripped and strong one day.
Despite educating himself on traditional training and nutrition practices, his results never reflected his efforts.
Throughout the next decade, he kept yo-yo’ing, repeating cycles of dieting, rebounding and worst of all, constantly getting injured. Whilst he’d acquired the skills over the years, what he was lacking was direction and accountability. He’d had enough.
Which is when Maneet, now in his 30s, came to us at RNT. We understood his frustrations, his needs and what exactly he wanted.
His goals were music to our ears. He didn’t want a short sharp fat loss program. He didn’t want a singular 12 week blast. He wanted a lifestyle approach that slowly changed his body composition for the better. An approach he could maintain for life, and one which would fit seamlessly with his busy, on-the-go lifestyle. He wanted to be in complete control of his body, and have the ability to be flexible, free and live life. He was in it for the long game.
In this case study, we’re going to break down how we helped Maneet create a lifestyle that allowed him to drop over 50lbs in the past year and create a real, sustainable true transformation.
Maneet’s Comments:“I’ve always been someone who considered himself to be “really into health”. I’d lifted weights, was eating ‘healthy foods’, but I was never getting the results I wanted. It was a frustrating process. I soon learned that the problem was that I had no direction and accountability. When I came across RNT, I sampled their training content and read some of the articles. The more I learned, the more I got hooked, and after a few weeks of following along, I decided to get some accountability. I was too forgiving of myself. If I messed up, I would tell myself I’ll make a better decision next time. I needed structure and an expert to answer to. At the same time, I needed flexibility, and for this to fit with my lifestyle.”
At a starting bodyweight of 185lbs with a body fat percentage in the mid to high 20s, Maneet had work to do.
Given the refreshingly slow approach we planned to take, our focus was dialled into optimising all facets of Maneet’s lifestyle. We needed to build the habits, behaviours and discipline required to have a healthier and leaner body composition.
Habits take time to build, but they also need to be built in an environment that caters for them, nurtures them, and allows them to be maintained. The five habit and mindset approaches that made the most difference to Maneet were:
1) Move more, and as much as you can
Working a sedentary job as a dentist meant most of his day was spent sitting. Coupled with a 2 hour daily commute, this meant little time actually spent moving.
Arguably the most powerful and underrated aspect of living a healthier, leaner lifestyle is NEAT (Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis). Which is why we’re big fans of setting step targets to encourage general daily activity. But NEAT extends to anything from standing, fidgeting, washing up, cooking, etc. It’s anything that requires you to move.
With a packed schedule in a profession that encourages precision by stillness, Maneet first changed his hobbies. Instead of happy hour, he took up mountain biking and hiking in his spare time, and used every opportunity in his day to walk. Whether it was lunchtimes, time between patients, or going to the gym, Maneet walked.
A big part of lifestyle design is creating the right environment to succeed in. Which is why a few months into the process, Maneet was fed up of his daily commute, and moved to within walking distance of his practice. Now he’d automatically opened up an extra 2 hours in his day to be more active, sleep more, and live life.
2) Educate yourself as much as possible
For long term, sustainable change, you need to stay in tune with your body and have a real desire to learn. Meal plans work great at the beginning of a program, as it allows you to build habits, focus on the new task at hand, and give you a ‘base’ to work off and learn from. Yet, when following meal plans, it’s critical to actually pay attention to them.
Learn the nutritional information of different foods. Learn which foods make you feel good and satiated, and which foods make you feel bloated and lazy. Always stay critically self-aware and become passionate about nutrition education so that you can transfer the knowledge into everyday life, and make informed decisions.
An example of this is in learning how to create ‘buffers’ in your day, and at the same time, know how to adjust on the go. But this can only be done from a self sufficient understanding of macronutrient and calorie contents. This takes time and effort, but pays big dividends.
This is a significant reason as to why Maneet was able to live life to the fullest while achieving his fitness goals. He was able to navigate his calorie intake depending on what he had going on. He had a ‘base diet’ he’d use most days, but when he was out socialising, he was able to navigate seamlessly.
This might not be the most ‘optimal’ approach for maximum fat loss, but it’s arguably the most sustainable in the long run, providing you educate yourself, and you’re content with the process being longer.
Note: For beginners, or those new to the process, this approach won’t work well to begin with, as you’ll first need to build your nutritional knowledge to be able to apply this level of ‘flex’ in your day.
3) You can’t manage what you can’t track
Lifestyle design is all about knowing your variables and data. It sounds counter to the idea of flexibility, but you need to know where you’re at in order to have the freedom to make sensible decisions.
Maneet tracked everything. His workouts, his calories, his macronutrients, his steps and his bodyweight on a daily basis. The last one was an important one for him, and one which he passionately speaks about on our podcast about a variable that you must track daily, and never attach emotion to. You should be able to weigh yourself, and not feel guilty, or beat yourself up over it. It’s purely data that allows you to make informed decisions on the next day or so.
4) Intermittent fasting
For our clients who have busy entertainment schedules, one of our favourite strategies is to incorporate fasting into the day. There’s a time and place for sacrifice (which we’ll come onto later), but for the most part, having the best of both worlds sensibly is necessary for long term, ‘slow burn’ success.
This worked great for Maneet. During the day when he was practising with his clients, he’d fast, and slowly introduce small feedings of protein (to maximise muscle protein synthesis). In the evening when he was out, that’s where he’d have most of his calories. This allowed him to stay under his maximum calorie allowance, and reach his minimum protein threshold.
5) ‘Mindset Lifestyle’
A critical and overlooked part of lifestyle design is your internal state. Given we live and experience life through our head, creating a healthier lifestyle all starts here.
In a recent conversation with Maneet on episode 52 of the RNT Fitness Radio podcast, we spoke in depth about the importance of self awareness, introspection, forgiving yourself, and creating a positive, forward approach to living.
Maneet also highlighted the benefits he’s received from writing in a journal, and spending time both reflecting, and creating a vision for his future. Circling back to the start of this article, achieving his goal now was purely a manifestation of his journaling from his younger days. As was moving to California, where he wrote he felt like he was a ‘West Coast kinda guy’ as soon as he first visited the place in his 20s.
Writing can be a powerful tool, and allow you to share your deepest thoughts, create space in your head, and enable forward progression in life. If your goal is optimal lifestyle design, it’s essential to spend time working on yourself, the health of your mind, and the health of your emotions.
A drive force behind Maneet starting with us was the need for direction, and to have a coach to be answerable to. He was too forgiving of himself, and while a great quality to have, it was holding him back here. The need for accountability, objectivity and a ‘3rdeye’ is why all of us at RNT hire coaches too, despite being coaches ourselves!
Accountability is a critically overlooked piece of the puzzle in achieving body transformation success, especially if you’re after long term changes, and/or in lengthy muscle building periods.
Maneet knew this, which is why he told everyone he knew what he was doing, he took regular progress photos, and he had a workout buddy who was on the same journey – fellow RNT’er, Hirsh.
After seeing the results of Hirsh’s own photoshoot in June, Maneet decided to flip the switch and add two more layers of accountability: a photoshoot in October, and making a promise to go to a rooftop Halloween pool party topless as a honey farmer who got kidnapped by a bear!
Time to Grind
Up till 5 weeks before his shoot, Maneet was down about 40lbs, and looking on track for his goals. But with a shoot on the horizon, and the need to ‘peak’ for one specific day, we had to decide whether to continue at the same pace, or whether to pull the pin.
The answer was the latter, and so we tightened everything up and really went for it. With the habits and behaviour patterns already engrained, this was a walk in the park for Maneet. All it meant was sticking to his macro and calorie breakdowns every day, eating out less, and adding in some more formal cardio.
Before this, it was all lifestyle focused, but for a short stint to get him ready for his shoot, it was worth making the short-term sacrifice to get the final 10 pounds off.
Building Strength Around Injuries
A concern many people have is how to deal with and train around injuries. The key is to focus on what you can do, as opposed to what you can’t. With a history of lower back problems (PSIS specifically), shoulder and neck issues, we had to program accordingly.
Simple modifications like no conventional deadlifting, swapping bench presses for floor presses, and programming lots of upper back work all helped Maneet continue to progressively overload his lifts, and build more muscle.
In fact, Maneet’s now lifting the heaviest loads in his life despite weighing 50lbs less!
Key Lesson To Learn – Play The Long Game
If there’s one lesson to learn from Maneet’s story, it’s that it’s always better to play the long game, and focus on building sustainable habits that you can take forward to maintain your results for life. Short, sharp phases are great, but if you want a true transformation, then you need to invest in educating yourself, learn about your body, and create as much high level, long-term accountability as possible.
Stats & Pictures`
Current Bodyweight: 135lbs
These are the comparison pictures:
Now that Maneet’s manifested his long-term goal, he now wants to consolidate and continue building on his lifestyle habits. He’ll also be shifting gears towards muscle growth, as he aims to put the extra calories coming in to good use and take his physique to the next level!
Here’s what Maneet had to say about his overall experience of working with RNT Fitness so far:
Living in Southern California, after growing up in Detroit, I’ve always played a lot of sports, been active, and always been someone who considered himself to be “really into health”. I had been lifting weights and thought I knew what I was doing, but I had no direction and accountability. Even with the right workout philosophy and knowledge of what’s good for the body, I learned that one can’t get ideal results without executing a perfect formula. RNT knows that formula.
I was eating “healthy foods” but not getting the results I wanted. I learned there’s a big difference between eating for body composition and eating for nutritional content. Eating for nutritional purposes left me wondering why I wasn’t also getting physical changes despite working out. It was a pretty frustrating process. There were so many foods I thought were innocent, that were incredibly malicious. I also needed to rebuild my habits and discipline. RNT’s process has helped me with the habit and discipline formation necessary to achieve the results and they have passed on into everything I do.
I remember when I first came across RNT’s work online. I sampled the workout plan a bit after my exposure and read some of their articles. The more I learned, the more I got hooked. After a few weeks I decided to get some accountability and sign up. I was too forgiving of myself. If I messed up, I would tell myself I’ll make a better decision next time. I needed structure and an expert to answer to.
Working with RNT has been easy, low stress, flexible and educational. RNT provides everything you need and will guide you step by step to the results you’re looking for. For me, I needed flexibility, and so we worked together to incorporate my lifestyle into my goals. My background has an IV sedation dentist with a nutritional sciences degree really helped in understanding the concepts being taught. It was really enjoyable to discover a new way of life that includes both freedom and life satisfaction.
I now feel great. I can now eat guilt free and make up for it when I make a bad decision. I’m still training hard so my body is really responding well to the increased food. I really feel like my result would never have been something I could imagine when I was first starting. I have never been so satisfied, energized, and in control of my body. I have to give a big thanks to RNT.
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