Hi! Tell us about yourself and your training
Hi, my name is Ishaan Verma. I’m 23 years old and come from U.P (Uttar Pradesh), India and currently living in South Delhi.
I work as a personal Trainer and freelancer. I’m an ACE, FIT and EREPS certified professional who has been working professionally in the fitness industry for the past 2 years. I have almost 4 years of lifting experience.
My other qualification, beside health & fitness, includes a bachelor’s degree in computer science.
People often ask me why I choose a career in fitness after doing my bachelor’s degree in computer science. Well, the answer was and is always that I wanted to make my passion into my profession.
I’m really happy that I took this decision coz helping myself and other with their fitness goals doesn’t feel like a job to me and that’s what I like the most that. My work is not a burden for me.
Our body is meant to move and I can’t sit like others do in their 9 to 5 jobs.
In terms of further education, I’m planning to do at least one certification per year to learn new techniques in this growing field. I also try to keep my current certifications up to date per the requirements.
Since my school time, I have been very atheletic and I used to play basketball, badminton and table tennis.
After my high school, I started focusing more on my studies and less on physical fitness. My diet was basically anything I could find to eat, and at that time I had no knowledge of nutrition and how to balance it with my schedule.
The result was as expected, I got fat. When I went to university for my bachelor’s, I used to feel very tired and even walking from the university gate to my college felt like a task to me.
My legs (especially my ankles) used to pain at night and I had little to almost no endurance.
That was the time I knew I needed to start doing something about it. So I took the decision to start working out and tried to avoid any junk food and outside food.
Being a beginner, I didn’t know what to do at the gym. Luckily, that’s where a trainer who was also the owner of the gym helped my out with the basics and withing 3 months, I felt awesome.
I was gaining strength, muscles and no longer felt tired in my daily activities. After 1.5 years of training at that gym, the owner invited me to train the clients over there because of my good communication skills and my good form when I executed exercises.
My whole schedule changed. I got up early in the morning, prepared my meals, went to college, came back home, had a snack, went to the gym to train myself, then went onto training the clients as a part-time job and finally reached home late at night.
That was the moment I knew that this is what I wanted. Training myself and others is what makes me happy. I knew I no longer want to be a software engineer. I wanted to make my career in health and fitness.
After I completed my bachelor’s degree, I left that gym and went to South Delhi to learn more and did my certifications one at a time.
After I cleared my certifications I got a job in Fitness First, Saket at the heart of South Delhi. I’ve been in Delhi since then, but switched to a different club.
My hobbies include working out, experimening with different exercise variations and meals, MMA, gaming and listening to metal music (my pre and intra workout fuel).
Describe a typical day of training
My training philosophy is just two words: hybrid training.
What hybrid training means is you take at least two components and mix it up with your training.
I don’t just train myself for hypertrophy, strength, mobility, stability, flexibility or power. I train at every phase and try to make my workout plan include at least two phases.
I love lifting heavy weights, but also incorporate a yoga session to keep it balanced. I use machines but also use functional tools like ViPR, BOSU, suspension trainer, etc. to keep my endurance up and challenge my mind and body.
The philosphy behind this is that if you just train at a particular phase, your body will adapt to that routine.
My goal is not to be a powerlifter, bodybuilder or a strongman, my goal is to be like a monk who trains both his mind and body.
I usually train 5-6 days per week and my current routine includes a 6 days/week plan. My session ranges from anywhere between 1 to 1.5 hours.
I don’t follow a particular program for more than 12 weeks. Normally I switch every 4 weeks and sometimes weekly.
If I follow a workout plan for a longer interval of time, for example 12 weeks, I make sure that I keep a deloading phase of 1 week to help my muscles, tendons and ligaments to recover amd function properly.
I train at the gym where I work. I train there because it’s easy to manage my time by not going to another place and it’s also near to where I live. It has all the machines and functional tools which I require in my workout. Hence it’s a perfect combo.
I usually train alone because sometimes it’s difficult for me to train at a fixed time regularly. There have been days where I did my workout at 6 am and even at 10 pm. Right now I’m training in the afternoon, usually at 3 pm.
My preparation of training starts in the morning at 5 o’clock when I wake up. I prepare my meals, put the supplements and workout clothes in the duffle bag and go to train the clients.
Before my training starts I make sure that I have my earphones charged up, my mind is not into another dimension and my body has enough carbs to fuel me up for the workout.
After my workout completes, I use whey protein and a carb source as my post-workout and takes a shower. The carb source can be either white bread or a banana. The whey protein I’m using right now is Impact Whey Isolate by MyProtein.
I don’t like using cardio equipments for my cardiovascular training. Instead of the treadmill, I prefer walking outside and the same with cycling.
But when I have to train with resistance for improving, performace and agility, I use S-Drive. S-Drive is a performance trainer by the company Matrix. It has various resistance options and can be used at different intensity levels. It also has a harness with which you can get the feel of parachute resistance.
I don’t have a particular exercise which is my favorite, but I do love training my back, legs and triceps the most. So yes, you can say that these are my favorite muscle groups to train.
I don’t use any fitness tracker, pulse watch or any other fancy equipment. I believe people sometimes get too dependent on technology, so much that they forget the basics.
For some technology is a great tool to actually track their progress, but for the most, it is just to show off that they workout. For them, it’s nothing more than a post to share on social media.
How do you keep going and push harder?
My main reason for pushing harder and keep going is that I don’t wanna feel and look the way I did when I didn’t use to workout.
I can’t go back to that low energy phase and tiredness. I can’t go back to where my joints were hurting and I had a double chin.
I very much believe that those who have intrinsic motivation continue to adhere to the fitness regime. They know that what they were will be faced by some consequences in the future. That’s why they keep training and never go back.
Those who just join a fitness club or gym because they saw an actor, or an athlete, or even their colleague, tend to lose the interest much faster than those who had intrinsic motivation.
I fall in the first category because I know I have to do something to keep going further, to do daily activities with ease.
When you have been training for a longer period of time (years), making time to train becomes a habit. So it is my habit to train, just like brushing my teeth, eating, sleeping etc.
If you find that you have difficulties finding time out of your schedule to train, then clearly it’s not important to you because literally everyone has at least 20-30 mins free throughout their day.
My biggest challenge, in terms of training, has been the injury of my left shoulder. First I had bicep tendonitis and then rotator cuff issues which took so long to recover that I still don’t feel like it’s 100%.
It is cured 100% but it still doesn’t feel like the way it was. Doesn’t feel like it’s new. So I have to do extra warmup to get the blood flowing to the muscles before I lift something heavy.
How are you doing today and what does the future look like?
My training is going fine. I’m spending more time on my mobility and stability and less on strength.
The feeling of lifting heavy ass weights is something which is irreplaceable for me and I try to incorporate 5×5 routines to keep my strength game to the point.
What I mean is that even when I’m in a phase of mobility and stability drills, I still incorporate my strength workouts in between so that my strength doesn’t decrease.
Living alone outside of your home city sounds good, but sometimes it gets difficult and there are many challenges which I had to face when I first moved to Delhi and I still face some of them.
But for me, this has been a part of my mental growth because now I’m challenging both my body and my mind, my skills to the next level and if I was still in my home city, I would be in the comfort zone.
My goal for the future is to open my own health and wellness gym which focuses on every aspect of training, but before that, I have to complete my sub goals like at least one certification per year, learning new skills and techniques in terms of training and nutrition, get a good hold on the city I’m living right now, helping out potential clients and upcoming atheletes.
Beside fitness, I would also like to open up a heath cafe which will serve all your healthy meals and smoothies. I have no plans in competing as of now.
If I could start my fitness journey all over again, I would change nothing. The things I learnt, the techniques I applied might not be the best ones (unlike the ones I do today), but I guess everyone starts somewhere and something is better than nothing.
If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t change a damn thing in my life because that’s what made me who I am today.
How do you recover, rest and handle injuries?
My main recovery fuel is food and sleep. There have been times when I didn’t pay attention my nutrition and because of that my results were not like I expected.
But the whole game changed when I learnt the balance of exercise, nutrition and sleep. Believe me if any one single component is fluctuating, it will affect your results.
I make sure that I do my warm up for a good amount of time before lifting heavy. The shoulder injuries in my past have taught me enough not to make the same mistakes again and to be aware of the surroundings.
Injuries can happen to anyone and the reason can be anything, even just a small spill of water.
To tackle an injury, I make sure that I get it diagnosed and go to a physiotherapist to get a proper consultation. The first step is to always remember the guidelines I learned while studying for my certification, RICE – Rest Ice Compression Elevation.
I usually try to sleep 8 hours a day, but sometimes I’m not able to complete even 6-7 hours due to work (both personal and professional) which results in the downgrade of my performace in the gym.
I don’t do much travelling, but when I do it’s usually for 3-4 days max. I make sure that I carry a foam roller and suspension trainer with me. That’s all you need to do workouts literally anywhere, believe me.
The recovery techniques I use to recover is stretching (dynamic and static), myofascial release, massage, sleep and nutrition.
How is your diet and what supplements do you use?
Since nutrition plays a very important in sculpting a physique, I pay too much attention to the food I’m consuming throughout the day.
The best and easiest thing, which will help anyone, is how to read nutrition labels so that you know what you are actually consuming, instead of just buying random things in the shopping mall by looking at the front image of the packet.
I usually change my diet every 3-4 months. Eggs, chicken, rice, bread, vegetables, beans, oats, mixed nuts and fruits are some of the foods I consume on a daily basis.
I stay away from packaged food and cook my own food. Soft drinks, candies, chocolates, etc. are some of the things I stay away from.
Changing my diet every 3-4 months is not about following a specific diet (keto, paleo, etc.), but to change the foods and spices in my meals so that my taste buds doesn’t get bore.
I used to count my calories but I don’t anymore. Because of a lot of experimentation in the past, I now have a good idea about how much I’m consuming.
I cook my own meals, so it would also get difficult to manage that together with my work if had to start counting calories.
Right now I’m on a lean muscle building phase in which my macro ratio is 4:2:1 (carbohydrates, protein, fat) and I’m consuming around 3000-3200 calories.
The only thing I keep the track of is how much protein I’m consuming throughout the day and if I’m able to meet my daily requirement. Rest is all balanced.
When I go out for any family function or gathering of friends, I don’t hold back in consuming what I’m gonna get. I don’t hold back coz the day before I go on a very low carb diet and deplete as much water as I can to prepare for the next day of high carb, high fat food.
I used to be very picky while eating outside in any gathering, but not anymore.
The supplements which I take are whey protein, multivitamins, fish oil, creatine, vitamin D3, glucosamine and ashwagandha.
I take these supplements on a daily basis except creatine which I cycle monthly. I don’t use a specific brand all the time.
But when I’m following my program for let’s say 8 weeks, I make sure all the supplements I’m using at that time is from the same brands the whole time.
I don’t have cheat days and I don’t believe in cheat days. But I do like to have icecream at least once every 2 weeks, which I can burn easily due to fast metabolism. Cheat meals or cheat days are not the correct way to fuel yourself unlike what some ‘experts’ say.
I do lean bulking but not dirty bulking and no matter what anyone says, dirty bulking is crap. People usually think if they dirty bulk and eat anything they want, it will make their muscle grow faster, which is nothing but a lie.
What you will gain if you dirty bulk is fat not muscle. And when people then start with the cutting phase, they realise that they didn’t gain those muscles but it was just fat.
I don’t cut for a longer period of time but I manage my diet and training in such a way that I stay lean and muscular throughout the year.
While cutting, I usually focus on less carbs and adequate amounts of proteins and fats. Chicken breast, eggs, oats, fruits, mixed nuts, and vegetables are some of the food which I consume to get shredded.
For craving while cutting, I usually take a shot of olive oil from the bottle cap or try to take sips of BCAA whenever I feel like I need something sugary.
What has inspired and motivated you?
My biggest inspiration for starting to workout was myself. I knew how I was getting fat and how much my endurance had gone down.
The second reason was Lee Priest. I knew that I didn’t wanna look like a freaky bodybuilder, but yes I did admire his physique and I still do.
I don’t read books or listen to podcasts but I do use YouTube as a source of motivation sometimes when I’m having a low day.
The genre of music I listen to while working out is Rock and Metal. Metallica, Slipknot, As I lay Dying, BFMV, Avatar, Betraying The Martyrs, Pantera, Orbit Culture, Parkway Drive and System are some of the bands I listen to while lifting.
Advice for other people who want to improve themselves?
The best advice I can give to anyone who wanna start working out for their goals is to stay CONSISTENT.
Believe me, you have to be consistent and disciplined to achieve results. Hire a trainer if you don’t have an experienced partner to workout with coz wprking out by yourself in the beginning can cause injuries.
Get a workout and diet plan made specifically for you and adhere to it. Most importantly, never quit.
The only recommendation I have for my fellow experienced bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts is to not promote stuff to the newbies just to make money.
Sometimes even highly experienced bodybuilders have little clue in what is right and what is wrong because they don’t know the actual science behind some stuff.
The wrong things, which I normally see people doing in the gym are:
- First, they talk too much, either with each other or on their phones.
- Second is that they don’t ask a professional before executing an execerise whoch they haven’t done before which results in the poor form.
- Third is that some people do ego lifting which also most often results in injuries.
Are you taking on clients right now?
Yes I do take on clients and am working full time as a personal trainer and freelancer. I also do online programs and sell them on some platforms.
Fitness is not just about building muscle or loosing fat. It’s also about how conveniently and comfortably you can do things in your daily life without having to deal with pain. Hence it is a good idea to hire me as your peronal trainer because of my experience and education.
Also, both new clients and old clients often have had problems finding a good trainer to meet their requirements. Not everyone knows how to train special population groups, how to train pregnant women, how to train a diabetic client and many other conditions.
The results of training with me are visible within weeks or months, depending upon the goals and consistency of a client.
People usually don’t understand the meaning of transformation and think that if a 100 kg obese person gets a visible six pack abs, then that’s tranformation. But that’s not entirely true.
If he/she lost 5 kgs within 5-6 weeks in a healthy and proper way, while gaining strength and muscle, then it is also a transformation. Getting abs is not transformation.
I do take on real-life clients as well as clients over the internet.
Where can we learn more about you?
For consultation or to know more about me and the services I provide, you can contact me via email: [email protected]
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I’m Mads Phikamphon, founder of Bulk Hackers.
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