“Life in school was challenging. I was teased often for my disability. Much time was spent watching the other kids play. I was not allowed to play inside the tennis court because my orthopedic special shoe would damage the clay court. It was very discouraging.”
During these tough times, Shreejith Nair knew he had to make the most of his situation! Today, he’s far from those days and is an American Council on Exercise Certified Personal Trainer and Certified Lifestyle & Weight Management Coach. Bangalore-based Shreejith can also do an incredible 67 Pistol Squats in 8 minutes. This is how he changed his life and managed to deal with the problems that come with being born with a club foot – a condition that wouldn’t let him place his feet flat on the ground.
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This is what he told us about his fitness life and life in general after being brought on as a mobiefit Youth Icon. Now, Shreejith makes a living as a personal trainer. Check out his Instagram Channel or head over to his personal training website to train with Shreejith.
Tell us more about how you managed to overcome the tough times in school
I coasted through high school, often with a fake smile plastered on my face, still wondering why all of this had to happen to me. However, these experiences and imperfections gave me the strength to embrace my club foot, courage to handle criticisms and stop being ashamed of being different. It made me into a REALLY strong person.
My mother. She gave me the courage to handle criticisms and how to face adversities.
We’re a family of 3: my mum, dad and me. I was usually home because both of them worked and I liked spending time by myself. I liked my ‘alone space’. This gave me a lot of time to reflect on little things in life.
Weight Loss, Weight Gain, Muscle Toning, Muscle Building, Lifestyle Management, High-Intensity Interval Training and of course Diet Plans
What made you take fitness seriously?
The recovery period post my leg surgery led me to a sedentary lifestyle. I was made redundant in sports. I began my plunge into unhealthy habits by binge eating and getting addicted to online gaming. And within no time I went from weighing 60 kg to a 108 kg. At this point in my life, I had absolutely no self-confidence. I was so socially awkward in college that I remember buying a packet of Lays, just to make a conversation with girls. I had hit my rock bottom. I had a shot at life, and I definitely did not want to get through life by being fat. Things HAD to change.
I was SICK of being overweight. I felt very awkward to start a conversation with my friends and classmates. I was made fun of pretty much throughout college
What were the challenges you faced and overcame to be where you are today?
I was born with a club foot. Walking was challenging, and to run around like normal kids was far from my imagination. All I wanted to do was to walk normally. So I had a special shoe designed for my needs. Growing up was hard. To see the other kids run around and play, and to realise I could never run was very disheartening. But I never gave up. Nobody could stop me, or break me. Nothing you tell me will stop me from dreaming. I will make my dreams come true. I believe in myself, and I always will.
Do you have any coaches or mentors?
Are you a full time fitness professional? If not, how do you make time for workouts or runs in your daily life?
Workouts play an important role in my life. I love working out! I am a fitness entrepreneur. Work has been fun, it’s my passion. So I have never really “worked” a day in my entire life.
How many hours do you work out or run in a week?
6 days a week
Who are some of the people in the Indian fitness community who inspire you?
Bani J. I look up to her.
Describe how staying fit changed your life.
I was SICK of being overweight. I felt very awkward to start a conversation with my friends and classmates. I was made fun of pretty much throughout college. Girls would run away at the sight of me. People took me for granted. THIS HAD TO STOP! I took control of the situation and made drastic changes to my diet, and managed to squeeze sometime into my schedule for my workouts. The results were AMAZING! Everything about me had changed. People often speak negatively about addictions, but there is a positive side to it as well. I was addicted to seeing results and enjoyed waking up to who I had become. I JUST LOVED MY TRANSFORMATION! I will never take my life, my health or happiness for granted EVER AGAIN!
Any advice to amateurs who want to adopt a fit and healthy lifestyle?
Build a strength base. Understand what proper exercise form is, and improve your conditioning and workload very gradually. Lifting/nutritional experience and discipline only come with time. A lot of people who find it hard to put on weight or lose weight “think” that they are lifting right and eating perfectly but in reality they simply aren’t. Instead you need to focus on improvement. Try to get a little stronger each week and learn to enjoy your training, and trust that results are coming. You can’t rush progress.
Five things you avoid (habits, food, etc.)
– Smoking – Alcohol – Starving myself – Excessive Cardio – Soft Drinks
How do you learn about new diets or workouts?
I constantly research online, take new fitness courses and read various fitness articles to keep myself updated.
What do you eat before, during and after your workouts?
Pre Workout – A fruit + Black Coffee; During workout: water; Post Workout: 1 cup Oats + 1 Tbsp Peanut Butter + Small banana + 1 scoop Whey
Do your friends or family complain about your fitness-first lifestyle?
They did before. They don’t anymore after seeing the changes.
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Three hacks you have discovered which help you in your workout sessions
– Drinking a lot of water before workout
– New Playlist of songs every week
– A palm size cut rubber from a cycle tube helps with gripping the iron bar.
One inconvenience/challenge you faced in your first run or workout which no one warned you about?
How should one keep his mind busy while working out?
You shouldn’t. Complete awareness during each set, each contraction of your muscle and complete awareness of your body while you run plays a vital role in achieving your fitness goals. Mind Muscle Connection and being aware of how your body moves is key!