Sonayna and Nim · Long-term

Power Couple Nim And Sonayna Have Gone From Strength To Strength In Fitness And Life

We are proud to say that there are quite a few RNTers who really absorb all that we offer them. They make it their mission to run with it until they create a perfect structure, system and strategy to live the best life possible.

Young couple Nim and Sonayna are one such example. When they joined RNT in 2018 their ‘why’ was based on enhancing their aesthetics.

Sonayna especially wanted to look her best at her wedding. She had a clear image on how she wanted to look in her Indian outfits at the ceremony. But once she started her RNT journey she realised the aesthetic benefits just about scratched the surface.

Sonayna: “I’ve always been into health and fitness. I was always going to the gym and trying to eat healthy. I wanted to learn more and educate myself. At first, I just wanted to look good for my wedding. I’d seen all the transformations, especially the women on Social Media and I was inspired! But then my ‘why’ evolved and I realised the benefits that training and nutrition had on my mental health, I felt stronger physically and mentally, and I realised I didn’t just want a short-term goal, I wanted to incorporate this into my daily routine as it made me feel so good!”

From Fat Loss to Muscle-Gain

When Sonayna started on her journey, she didn’t really have a lot of bodyfat to lose. She was already rather slim, “skinny-fat” would best describe her physical fitness levels. So once she hit her Checkpoint for her wedding and after their honeymoon, Sonayna decided to shift gears and move her focus from fat loss to building her strength in the gym.

“After the honeymoon, I got back into training and I started a glute program, and primarily worked on legs. One of my key indicator lifts was the hip-thrust and when I started I was at 50kgs but now a year into my journey I am hip-thrusting 140kgs. Every time I go into the gym I want to get better, I want to get stronger. It’s what motivates me.”

The fat loss phase is rather binary in nature, as long as you stick to the plan and keep to a good structure you will see the weight drop off. Muscle building on the other hand is a lot more complex and it takes time to grow muscle.

Women especially tend to shy away from muscle building as they have this mis-conception that muscle building will make them look bulky or masculine.

“At first I was worried about it too. I thought I’d get ‘fat’ again. I was conscious of that and when my calories went up I was a bit hesitant. I realise now that muscle building takes time but you really see the benefits in terms of strength gains. But I’m still learning to embrace the fluff. And I realise that a few extra pounds is something only I can see, no one else can notice that. It’s not about how you look but rather how you feel in your body and your mind”

The shift in Sonayna’s viewpoint on muscle building changed gradually as she went along the process. She was honest with the RNT team and discussed her reservations. The shift to muscle building was very progressive and as she got stronger she learnt to trust the process.

“It was done slowly so I didn’t see much of a change. I used food as my fuel at the gym. If I had this massive bowl of porridge with peanut butter and bananas I would go to the gym and really push myself in the gym!”

The Non-Negotiables

For a journey to be really successful, you really have to dial-in on the basics. The rules that you live by and the level of adherence to those goals is what makes a phenomenal transformation.

Sonayna and Nim had their 3 non-negotiables in place to make sure they wouldn’t slip up on their journey.

  • Meal Prep - Twice a week, typically on a Sunday and Wednesday they would prep their meals and make sure all the ingredients they needed for the week was in.
  • Training - They made sure they went to the gym 4 times a week. Sonayna in the morning and Nim in the evening after work.
  • Sleep - Ensuring they got their 7 hours of sleep was key to ensure they were firing on all cylinders.

Even during lockdown, when the gyms were closed, they ensured that they stuck to their routine. They knew that it was even more essential to keep things in place at the time of the pandemic as it was easy to let go of familiar structure in a situation that was totally devoid of structure.

A question we get asked a lot from new members is, “Can we still have a life or do we need to become hermits?”

Sonayna and Nim have learned to Integrate their healthy lifestyle without interrupting social life, of course it took some learning and some fine-tuning but they now have a formula that works well, without them feeling like they are giving up on the things they enjoy.

Nim : “It doesn’t happen overnight. I’ve been on this journey for 2 years, Sonayna has been on her RNT journey for a year and it took as a while to fall into a rhythm.

I have to admit navigating the social scene when you are on The Grind and during fat loss is hard and you have to be very careful and intentional.

During The Investment Phase it’s a lot more complex as you have the extra calories so you tend to go off the rails. You have no self awareness of what you are consuming. During my first investment cycle, I would still eat a lot over the weekends, our date nights would become like treat nights as I thought I have the extra calories so I’m going to pile it on.

But now I have more education and I know more about meal hygiene. Now when we go out to eat, our choices have changed, we probably share a starter and eat just one main. And we take our time to eat.

Before I was like a hoover and I would polish off my food in minutes, now we take our time and we eat less in a lot more time which means we are actually satiated. Now after we have had a meal outside, we don’t end up feeling bloated and have a meal hangover!”

Sonayna: “I thought I was the buffer queen during the fat loss phase. I would have buffered so much through the week and I had so many extra calories thinking this would give me a free pass and I could eat something really good. This was OK for The Process Phase but it wasn’t sustainable. Later, in my Investment Phase I had the increased calories but I was still focusing on buffering. I would feel a bit hungry but I would somehow push through and then blow out and binge on the weekend. But it was using so much mental energy during the week, it felt really draining, all this for just one meal on a Saturday, just didn’t seem worth it!

Now I don’t really buffer, I just try to be normal and be more sensible with my food choices when going out. Now I just pick and choose a particular special occasion so I can indulge a little bit but not every social event. It used to be me wanting to indulge in every social occasion, but I’m more controlled now.”

The Benefits Of Longterm Investment

The Investment Phase or the muscle building phase is really where you get the life lessons you need on how to live a healthy, well-balanced life.

Sonayna: “During the fat loss phase you really feel good when you see the drop in bodyweight. But in The Investment Phase it is harder to see the muscle grow but you feel stronger and when you see the numbers go up you feel stronger. Investment gives you a stronger mindset and the focus shifts - it’s not only about how you look but your lifestyle.”

Nim: “The Investment Phase has really helped me increase my confidence. I was always skinny so during fat loss people were getting concerned when they saw me lose more weight. But now during The Investment Phase, people see me build muscle and getting stronger and that has helped me feel much better about myself.

Sonayna: “I have always suffered internally on how I want to lose weight or look a certain way. And I would lie to people in an attempt to justify my food choices. I didn’t really want to share why I wasn’t ordering or eating something they approved of. But now, I feel more educated, now I truly believe that this type of lifestyle and exercise and diet has made me a better person. I am just more vocal about it and I am more honest with myself. I am less of a people pleaser.”

Nim: “It’s funny really, first everyone around mocks you when you are on this journey and then they laugh and then finally they want to know more and now they want to follow you!”

Being Coachable

True transformation happens only when an individual starts their journey with an open mind and eagerness to learn. This means being open to feedback and suggestions and not letting your ego come in the way of your progress.

Nim: “To me, honesty is a big one. If you are honest about the mistakes you have made and you are then willing to work really hard towards correcting that mistake. Change will happen and happen quickly.

Another one, for me, is the willingness to be accountable. If you don’t have that accountability with the RNT team you will never progress.

It is also essential that you are proactive and learn and read all you can about training, nutrition and mindset rather than being just reactive to a situation. For example - if you know that you are going to have a tough week at work, it’s better to put things in place so your nutrition and training isn’t as badly affected instead of waiting for the structure to fall apart and then course correct.

I always use my performance at the gym as an indicator - if I’m too tired and I’m not able to push myself as hard as I normally would, it would mean that something else hasn’t been on track like my sleep or nutrition. My performance at the gym acts as a marker for the other aspects of my life.”

Training As A Couple

The support that couples can give one another during a transformation journey can be wonderful. When both partners are in sync and committed towards a similar health goal, there is less chance of being tempted by takeaways and Friday night pizzas and booze fests.

What can be less supportive however is the tendency to compare. Of course a bit of healthy competition is good but when you get put off by the other’s progress it can be a bit of a mood killer.

Sonayna: “I’ve come to understand that our journeys are different and it doesn’t make sense to compare myself with Nim. I have to remind myself to take a step back. I try to focus only on what I want to do in the gym and keep my mind focused on that and not about what Nim will be doing. It is still a struggle sometimes but I am more aware and accepting.”

Nim: “I try to remind myself that we aren’t in direct competition with each other but that we work together as a team. We are completely opposite in so many ways and we complement each other. Our lifestyles and goals are in sync and we push each other in the gym and we hold each other accountable - there are times when I struggle to go to the gym in the evenings and Sonayna gives me the push I need to go.”

Next Steps

Nim and Sonayna continue on their RNT journey and are focused on continuing to build and refine their lifestyle solution. They have the foundations solidly in place so they never have to worry about being out of shape or overweight in their lives. They have the tools to adapt according to their situation. It is going to be amazing to see their strength gains and their physique journeys improve over the next few years.

Podcasts

To better understand how Nim and Sonayna worked together to create a lifestyle fitness solution listen to their podcasts on your preferred platform

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