Back to School Days
I was your cliched top 5 kid school – bright in studies but bullied often because of being overweight and acne all over my face. This changed when I started going to the gym in the second semester of college(2017). For the first time in my life, I enjoyed physical activity, watching tons of youtube videos to figure out the best chest exercise I’ll hit tomorrow morning. Following the workout splits of Rich Piana, Steve Cook, etc. gave adrenaline rush like no other – it was solace. Per workout (sour as hell) black coffee became something to look forward to. The first month into my gym, I noticed skinnier biceps, extreme soreness every next day and no direction. It was then I realised there are no other components to Fitness – Diet and Sleep, and I was lagging on the former. What followed for the next 6 months is an endless marathon of trying to follow a Keto, Paleo, Carb Cycling, No fat, etc. diet. I realised something that is a top kept secret in fitness.
6 Months Down, Zero to One
I was lagging on consistency – I wasn’t following sustainable diets. Coming from a typical Indian family that follows a Vegetarian diet, I was trying to have Tofu, Panner, Dals, Peanut Butter, and Eggs(convinced my family somehow) – all day! Restructuring my approach, I went back to my original diet but just ensured I’m hitting two major benchmarks – having less sugar and having more protein in every meal. This diet was not only sustainable but it was easily enjoyable and manageable as well. Goodbye to white tiffins filled with eggs and white rice. I never had the urge to cheat because it felt like I wasn’t following a diet. Just adding extra eggs or peanut butter to your meal didn’t feel like a major lifestyle shift. I was able to go from 90kgs to 70kgs in 6 months by just making incremental changes and hitting the gym 3 or 4 times a week. I could follow the routines easily and enjoy life simultaneously. Below is a parallel that will help you not just in fitness – but in life as well.
Sustainability and Consistency > Fads.
In most endeavours in life, results will be driven by sustainable effort. What part of your effort drives results is a mystery. As mentioned in the Pareto principle, 80% of the results are driven by 20% of the efforts. But, you must make 100% efforts to discover the golden 20%. An approach where one tries to pre-empt the 20% effort based on assumption and completely abandon the other 80% is likely to fail. The same is the key with health and fitness – following a sustainable diet that can be followed 100% of the time. In the next section, I talk about an extremely important ratio in health and nutrition which can’t be ignored.
Secret to Consistency
What’s the irony about secrets? They don’t seem like secrets at the first sight! I believe having the correct balance of health and taste – is the most important aspect. Because inclining extremely towards any one of them is likely to leave you with an unendurable routine. Making better choices – like replacing fried chips with baked, replacing Nutella with Peanut Butter, etc. are steps in the correct direction. And sustainable in the long term as well. Compounding works not just in finance but in fitness as well. If you make your diet just 1% better every day, you’ll get thirty-seven times better after one year. Of course, there will be days you cheat or go down the opposite spiral, but that’s easier to resist when all you’re doing is making incremental changes instead of completely transforming your routine. Below, back to my story. Sit tight, grab a cup of coffee and read on!
Corporate Life and more
By the end of college, I was pretty fit – managed to get my body fat down 10-15% and got a visible six-pack couple of times, but for the most part, tried to strike balance wherein I could enjoy life as well as feel fit. I started working with AXA group in analytics, and covid struck. What followed was a long WFH marathon, countless hours of sitting on a chair for 7 hour-long calls, and no fresh air. Applied the same principles here – started with home workouts, got a nice lil home gym and tried to work out thrice a week along with morning walk.
Meanwhile, I was also a Board and Core Team member of SK Children Foundation, an NGO serving 1000+ unprivileged children 365 days a year. Having helped in building the organisation from the ground by leading a team of 100+ interns, I had caught the entrepreneurial bug and wanted to give back to society in more ways than one. I was hell bound on starting up in 2020 – trying a solve any genuine problem which would add value to the world. Being from a tech background with a distinct interest in health and fitness, it naturally was the sector I chose. I began working on a fitness trainers aggregator platform (marketplace for trainers) – where all trainers would get a chance to sell their online plans and clients would be able to select trainers based on their needs. I could never bring the idea to life – perhaps lacked the ideal team. In 2021 I began exploring the D2C space. While working in my job I started visiting several manufacturers across India to understand the FMCG sector. The principle was sustainability and consistency – a product which strikes the correct balance between health and taste. I had absolutely no idea about anything in D2C/FMCG business – CAC, ROAS, Super Stockist, Distributors, etc. were alien terms as I was still working in data analytics. However, I had the confidence to figure things out along the way. Furthermore, my experience in corporate coupled with my leadership skills in NGO was a serendipitous encounter(in my opinion) and would eventually pave the way to start a brand of my own.
Bring on FitFeast!
Many manufacturers were not ready to take me seriously. A young 22yo guy is probably visiting the factory to get free samples. However, I persisted and started working on my first product with a Delhi based manufacturer – Protein Chips.
Several months of RnD, failed sampling attempts, ambiguity on a lot of things, tons of problems.
But I was hell-bent. Started seeing a semblance of hope that my brand would soon be a reality. “Whatever it takes, I was ready to do it to launch a brand that adds value in the health and fitness space.”
Chose the chips product as my first one because I believed it lacked the added protein innovation. FitFeast was found. Being a bootstrapped business, tried to do everything from – Building Brand Strategy, Brand Growth and Customer Acquisition, Digital Marketing and Sales, Inventory Management, Orders Fulfilment, Website Upkeep, Team Building and Legal – myself, terribly failing and learning again at most of them. As one would expect, I was burned out and decided to focus on FitFeast full time. It hasn’t got any easier, but probably I got stronger.
Our product would always be based on consistent and sustainable fitness, and we strive to strike the correct balance between heath and taste. We launched recently and our product is already being received well by the market! Have you tried it yet?