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Arunima Maharshi

IWB Blogger

Fitness Blogger Sheena On Finding Gym Buddy In Hubby And Achieving The Ultimate Couple Fitness Goals

  • IWB Post
  •  February 11, 2018

‘Couples who sweat together, stay together.’ And Sheena and Alpha, who will be celebrating five years of marriage this year, are totally rocking this philosophy.

I have been a gym person for the last eight years, and I wouldn’t be lying if I say that I looked forward to strength training and functional workouts much more than the cardio days. Why I’m telling you this? Because the day I landed on Sheena’s Instagram Sheenafit, I squat-ed with joy to have e-found a woman who was all geared up to break the conformist ‘strength training is not for women’ attitude, and the longstanding myths around the same.

“I had been telling myself that I needed to lose weight, get fit, and start exercising. But I didn’t really believe I actually needed to. I was happy with my life, or so I thought at the time, and was never motivated enough to make fitness a priority.” If reading this has caught you giving a painfully awkward smile, her words have hit the right chord!

Scroll on to find more about Sheena’s journey to fitness, and what she has to say about the perks of having your husband working out alongside:

Sheenafit

Let’s begin with talking about your fitness journey first – would you give us a quick recap of the past few years?

It’s been a crazy 1.5 years since I first stepped into the gym and really started focusing on my diet. Before then I tried a bunch of things that were either completely unsustainable or false advertising, like the Whole30 diet or “detox” juices. Medically speaking, you can’t detox your body! The time gone seems like nothing at all, but now that I think about it, A LOT can be achieved in that time if you’re willing to prioritize. Not only did I completely transform my body physically (dropping 44 lbs./20 kg, almost 10 dress sizes and going from 35% BF to 22-24% BF), but mentally too.

And how would you describe the ‘before and after’ in words?

Before I decided to take control of my life, I was a very lazy person outside of my job, ate at least 1-2 bags of chips a day and drank like a fish at least 4 times a week. I couldn’t boil a pot of water to save my life, hardly ever ate meals at home, and working out? A BIG LMFAO! While I worked very hard in my job, I completely neglected my health and how my body was reacting to this lifestyle. Not only in terms of how much weight I gained, but also the persistent acidity, for which I was popping Digenes constantly, and was diagnosed with a bunch of back problems including the onset spondylitis at the age of 27. And the hangovers! Oh, the hangovers!

Sheenafit

Today is a completely different story. Most people who knew me then can’t believe how I live today. I can cook meals from scratch – everything from biryanis to burgers (to my family’s surprise), I get grumpy if I can’t train, I rarely ever fall ill and the only pain I feel is soreness after a crazy leg day, laughs. I probably haven’t had a Digene in over a year, and good nutrition is almost second nature. I have soaked up an immense amount of knowledge on nutrition & training and continue learning new things every single day.

Wow! Speaking of transformation, it is said that you can’t train your body without having trained your mind first. Share with us your personal experiences?

I had been telling myself that I needed to lose weight, get fit, and start exercising. But I didn’t really believe I actually needed to. I was happy with my life, or so I thought at the time, and was never motivated enough to make fitness a priority.

I’ve been thinking hard over the past 3 days about whether or not to post this picture. Mainly because of the sleazy comments but also because of the fact that is this me, in all my unedited, unflexed, 26.5% body fat, 50 kg glory. Some will say I’m too small, some will say I’m fat, some will say I look weak, some will comment about why I’m not smiling or posing or meeting their standards of beauty. To them I say, “let me make a note of your opinion…on my list of things I don’t give a f* about.” This message outweighs the haters . . It’s time I tell you about my prior insecurities and my current disposition. On my last cut, I looked at pictures of fitness models and wanted to look like them. Imitate their curves, their rock hard stomachs, their chiseled legs and their hella sculpted arms. Then I actually started working towards that goal and you know what I realized? That it doesn’t come easy. But if you don’t try, it doesn’t come at all. And through trying to build someone else’s body on my structure, I realised what I ACTUALLY wanted. That is why THIS cut is so different from last time. Yes, I want to feel and look amazing at the end of it, but more importantly I want to feel and look like ME. Certain parts of my body look a certain way & are bigger than others because I enjoy training a certain way. I also enjoy eating a certain way and prefer a slow, steady but pleasurable diet over a crazy restrictive one that may help me reach my goals slightly faster. I don’t do cardio everyday because I don’t enjoy it, I eat carbs everyday though because they fuel my workout, I don’t go “hard or go home” in the gym because that’s stupid, I DO however train smartly 5 days/week because that’s my therapy. I don’t think I’m too small or too fat or too skinny or too bulky, I DO however want to be better everyday ~ in the gym, in the kitchen, at home & with the people I love. To me, the opinions & outcomes of those 4 are all that matter . . So, my message to you is to be inspired by the people you admire, but ASPIRE to be only YOU. We are all built differently and it’s only when you accept your weaknesses AND strengths that you will truly understand how beautiful you are. ✌

1,179 Likes, 53 Comments – Sheenafit (@sheenafit) on Instagram: “I’ve been thinking hard over the past 3 days about whether or not to post this picture. Mainly…”

It’s only when my mind caught up with what my body was telling me did I realise a change had to be made. The first step was to actually accept that I was not only overweight, but also medically obese. Once I accepted the gravity of the situation, it became that much easier & motivation came quick. It’s simple, if something is not a priority; you’re probably not going to do it.

True that. And if we get onto the couch of excuses, the most common excuse you gave to yourself earlier?

Ha-ha. Does it have to be one, because I had way too many. Starting with, you’re not THAT fat, you’re still in better shape than *insert friend’s name*. There’s nothing wrong with being overweight. Big is beautiful – you should accept and love your body the way it is. I don’t have the time to cook. I don’t have the time to go to the gym. People will laugh at me in the gym and I wouldn’t know what to do even if I went. I’ll just go for an evening walk instead or maybe I should buy a cycle?

A lesson in how to he happy in your skin! ✅ Strive for tiny ways in which you can progress as much and as often as you can. Noone can go from obese to supermodel overnight, heck I’ve been doing this for 1.5 yrs and I’m so far away from where I want to be. But, you CAN go from completely unfit to slightly less unfit every week, till the weeks add up and suddenly you’re closer to your goals & further away from when you started. Every small change for the better IS progress ~ whether it’s the difference in how you look, how you eat, how you train, how many more stairs you can climb before becoming breathless, how many more steps you take, how many treats you’ve cut back on or even how many more times you smile & laugh each day. Don’t pigeon hole yourself by focusing primarily on a weighing scale when you could be changing in other countless ways. I promise if you focus on the other things like your meals, your protein intake, your strength, your mental well being and your general disposition, your goals will come to you. Don’t just change your diet, change your life.

1,929 Likes, 16 Comments – Sheenafit (@sheenafit) on Instagram: “A lesson in how to he happy in your skin! ✅ Strive for tiny ways in which you can progress as much…”

 

There are many more excuses I made on a daily basis. For those reading this, I can now honestly say, for every excuse you have, the reasons against them are always going to win.

Bingo. On that note, let’s get talking about the ‘on the way’ failures – how did you manage to get up?

Looking back, I can honestly say that I’ve experienced more ups than downs. I wouldn’t call it a failure, but I remember that around the end of 2016, by which I’d successfully lost 20 kg, I still didn’t feel too excited about the way I looked. I had assumed at the start of my journey that there was going to be an end date by which I would look exactly the way I envisioned. The truth is, it takes time and work to build significant muscle and get strong. You can’t expect to go from obese to athlete in a year.

So this was an EPIC FAIL 👎 Woke up today at an all time low weight of 45.6 kilos (100 lbs) 😞 with a terrible stomach bug. That should’ve been sign enough not to attempt this weight but I’m terrible at handling failure (something I’m working on) and was too stubborn to listen to @alphamadhu 😬 Got 155 lbs (70 kgs) off the ground after a massive pull and the lock out was a total grinder. My form broke down majorly and I’ve vowed never to attempt unnecessary maxes ever again! 😳 Was in two minds about posting this but you should know that with the ups, the down are inevitable. Don’t do this at home kids! _______________________________ Gonna take 3 whole days off from any kind of workout (except eating & dancing!) Also no heavy deadlifts for a while – my legs are going to be pissed off tomorrow fosho! And, yay!! Gotta start packing for Thailand 🏖 #womenwholift #weightlifting #fitfam #strengthtraining #weightlossjourney #bodybuilding #femalebodybuilding #powerlifting #likeagirl #powerbuilder #gainz #transformation #weightlosstransformation #gains #getfit #instadaily #strongstrongfriends #weighttraining #training #deadlifts #girlswholift #sumodeadlifts #legday #deadliftsandchill #indiafitness #fitindia #independentwoman #indianfitness #girlpower

178 Likes, 15 Comments – Sheenafit (@sheenafit) on Instagram: “So this was an EPIC FAIL 👎 Woke up today at an all time low weight of 45.6 kilos (100 lbs) 😞 with a…”

 

It took me some time to really come to terms with that and I told myself what I constantly keep telling my clients and followers – you can only get results for the work you do. If you do nothing at all, expect nothing at all.

Can’t deny that. Moving on to food, how do you make your fitness goals a part of your meal preparation?

Regardless of one’s fitness goals, most of the work is going to happen in the kitchen. If your food doesn’t fuel your goals, it’s going to make them that much harder to achieve.

Yes! I DO eat…ALOT…Presenting exhibits A to Z! I eat carbs and fats and fried things and desserts, I also drink beers & margaritas & iced teas. But, I make sure to do it the right way by making good choices alongside the evil ones, working out consistently, being active and generally being conscious of what and how much I’m eating. First video on the agenda as soon as I head back is to tell y’all how NOT to gain weight on a vacation 👙 P.S. Damn! I’m gonna miss all this food! Thailand you’ve been amaze! #thailand #fitfood #instafood #foodporn #foodgram #foodgasm #bangkok #vacation #travel

112 Likes, 2 Comments – Sheenafit (@sheenafit) on Instagram: “Yes! I DO eat…ALOT…Presenting exhibits A to Z! I eat carbs and fats and fried things and…”

 

Simply put, some of the basics include consuming sufficient protein (between 0.8-1.2g/lb. body weight for the average person – I consume at least 1g/lb.), eating 1-2 handfuls of veggies at every meal, and consuming a reasonable amount of omega 3. Over and above that, it depends on what style of eating works best for you, your lifestyle and personal preferences. I cook my own meals, weigh my ingredients, and track my macros/calories so that I can understand exactly what I need to eat & how much. 

Whoa. Now I’m curious to get a peek into your fridge? (*winks*)

Ha-ha-ha. Sure! So you’ll always find the following sections in my fridge –

FREE FOODS – while these aren’t really free in the sense of money, they’re mostly zero or super low calorie and can be eaten/drunk without guilt. These include diet sodas, black coffee, zero calorie sweeteners, some veggies (except potatoes & other starchy veggies), some sauces like mustard and chilli sauce. I stock my fridge with these as they usually make for really good snacks and diet sodas help if you have a sweet tooth. Caution – Just remember to be smart and don’t drink black coffee before bed.

PROTEIN – after the number of calories you consume, protein is THE most important goal to meet. Protein makes sure that you lose fat and NOT muscle. It also has the highest TEF (thermic effect of food) of all 3 macros, which means you’re burning the most number of calories while processing protein itself. It’s also the most satiating, keeping you full longer.

Sheenafit

PROTEIN & FAT COMBOS – there are certain foods that fall in a combination category and that’s mostly because dairy is a good source of protein but also contains some fat and a tiny trace of carbs (because of lactose).

CARBS – aka the yummy stuff! While I don’t recommend anyone cutting out carbs completely (we don’t want to restrict ourselves, we want to limit ourselves), it is important to consume them in moderation, as they’re not the most essential macro. 

Ahem. That was quite a view! And you often write about not forgetting the fitness regimes while on vacation – an extract you’d like to share?

Absolutely. Fitness shouldn’t be a fad or something you do for a few months in a year. In order to truly achieve and keep your goals, it needs to become a lifestyle.

Feeling shitty after a crazy week of eating & drinking everything in sight? 😬 Say “aye 🙌” if you’re sailing in that boat! It’s absolutely normal to feel annoyed with yourself for going overboard during the holidays. But, it’s important to understand that it’s not as easy to gain as much fat as you think you have just because you binged for a few days. Those extra 3-5 kgs on the weighing scale aren’t pure fat and mostly represent water retention due to higher sodium and/or carb consumption. (And no! This doesn’t mean carbs are the reason for fat gain!) Water retention ≠ fat gain. So, stop beating yourself up for what you did on a few days of the year and definitely do not go on some crazy diet that involves giving up everything you love or includes hours upon hours of cardio. Instead, focus on what you’re going to be doing for the majority of the year and start making tiny, sustainable changes every week. These changes will add up over time & you’ll never feel like you had to sacrifice the world. At the end of the day remember that you’re trying to get fit in order to be happier…you cannot get there by being miserable along the way. ✌️

1,741 Likes, 27 Comments – Sheenafit (@sheenafit) on Instagram: “Feeling shitty after a crazy week of eating & drinking everything in sight? 😬 Say “aye 🙌” if you’re…”

So while we do vacation and have a lot of fun (and sometimes even a few too many drinks or too much junk food), we always remember to follow some basic rules to keep us on track and not derail us from the bigger goals. For e.g., getting in our steps (we walk almost everywhere we can), consuming sufficient protein (we eat protein at every meal & carry our protein supplement with us), training (we always find a gym close to our hotel or Airbnb), and most importantly, getting enough sleep.

We almost always come back looking and feeling the same as the day we left, albeit more relaxed and tanned.

Awesome. So let’s decode the ‘We’ here – how was it finding your gym partner in your husband, and did your fitness goals also help you explore some “relationship goals”?

Haha, yes, definitely! Not only is he my training partner, he’s also been on the same transformation journey alongside me.

Alpha, my husband, has always been deeply immersed in fitness since he was a young boy. He started training at the age of 15 and when I met him at 28, he was in amazing shape. Unfortunately, over the next few years, things would only go south for him. After we started dating, we would often spend nights eating and drinking, and binge watching TV. And after we got married, he probably never saw the entrance of a gym for many years. He gained 20 kg and completely gave up on trying to get back his physique. In fact, there were many days he would think of heading to gym and then skip it saying, “What’s the point. I’m going to look like this forever anyway! Where’s the beer?”

Sheenafit

Ah! Tell me more – I’m all ears!

Losing a great amount of fat and completely changing your body and life requires a lot of discipline and over time, it’s a complete overhaul of your life. While it was easy in the beginning, as time went by we had to rely on each other’s strength a lot. We kept each other strong, he taught me about lifting and evidence based nutrition & training, we learnt to cook together, we were both constantly doing our research on how to better the entire process, and shared any new information with each other. Either person’s small victories were marked as common achievements. And of course, we have bad days, but it’s taught us patience and empathy.

We started our coaching business together recently and can spend hours talking about our client’s progress, problems and discussing solutions to overcome their issues. Helping other people has helped us a great deal.

Hello fam! I don’t usually post transformation pictures back to back but this popped up on my phone recently (I like to make before & afters for fun and save them for no reason whatsoever – mainly to remind @alphamadhu how I still loved him regardless of how fat he was.) 😂🤣 🤓 No longass posts here…just spreading some happiness & hoping to inspire you to get off your butt! Lose fat the way we did, sustainably & forever, by using our Fat Loss Guide. Get the guide at www.builtbygoals.com or by clicking the link in my bio. ⚡ Okthanksbye! #physiqueupdate #womenwholift #flexibledieter #losingweight #fitfam #flexibledieting #strengthtraining #fitness #weightlossjourney #bodybuilding #nutrition #bodypositive #bodygoals #bodypositivity #fitness #weightlossinspiration #transformation #gymrat #fitspo #girlpower #fitspiration #gains #transformation #physiquetransformation #diet #cut #goals #health #instafit #weightlosstransformation #fattofit #fatloss

1,375 Likes, 26 Comments – Sheenafit (@sheenafit) on Instagram: “Hello fam! I don’t usually post transformation pictures back to back but this popped up on my phone…”

 

In short, having a common goal has made us gain good habits, a positive outlook, keeps us disciplined and helps with mental health. And has definitely brought us closer and made us happier than ever before. 

That’s awe-dorable. Oh and I ought not forget mentioning your fitness gears, would you talk a bit about that subtle fitness fashion statement of yours?

Fashion has always been a part of my life – when I was a kid my goal was to be a model or a designer, I ended up studying fashion in college, worked with labels in NYC and India and started and sold my own successful clothing label. So, fashion is a part of who I am and it was only after having gained weight, I stopped caring about what I wore and lived in sweats and baggy t-shirts.

F* thigh gaps and skinny arms! Let’s build quads & guns instead 🤘Here’s my piece of mid week advice – DON’T STARVE, SQUAT! #womenwholift #flexibledieter #losingweight #weightlifting #fitfam #flexibledieting #strengthtraining #fitness #weightlossjourney #bodybuilding #nutrition #bodypositive #bodygoals #bodypositivity #fitness #weightlossinspiration #transformation #gymrat #fitspo #girlpower #girlswholift #fitspiration #gains #instafit #goals #progress #legday #strongstrongfriends #girlswhopowerlift #quads

439 Likes, 19 Comments – Sheenafit (@sheenafit) on Instagram: “F* thigh gaps and skinny arms! Let’s build quads & guns instead 🤘Here’s my piece of mid week advice…”

 

The way I look at it, if you’ve got a Lamborghini, why hide it away in the garage? In fact, I believe that’s true for anyone of any shape or size. When you look good for the gym, you also tend to put more energy and excitement into your training session. Your workout shouldn’t be a chore; it should be a celebration. Dress like it is.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BSu0itMlpuh/?taken-by=sheenafit

The one time in your life your were really honest with self?

When I first tried to start my weight loss journey in January 2016, I used an exercise app called Freeletics. They were popular for putting out transformation videos (you know as a marketing tool) and that inspired me to make my own ‘before’ video. I used my laptop’s webcam, the quality is terrible and I’m barely audible. In January 2017, after I lost 20 kg and looked like a completely different person, I decided to shoot another video and did it slightly better this time. But, it wasn’t until I went back after a whole year to put the videos together that I actually saw my ‘before’ video.

https://youtu.be/egVlrxnaP2Q

 

In that moment, I was probably the most honest I’ve ever been with myself. Looking back on how unhealthy I was, how nervous, anxious and insecure, well, that really opened up my eyes to the person I would’ve become if I had never embarked on this journey. I don’t regret anything, but in all honesty, if I had continued down that path in 2016, I would’ve definitely had a lot to regret today.

Well put. And finally, beyond the obvious improvement in terms of health and body, the most significant change this journey brought for you?

CONFIDENCE. More than anything else, even more than my physical appearance, the biggest change has been my confidence. The reason for that isn’t just because I lost fat, but because of the process it took to get there.

Haven’t done one of these in a hot minute! 😛 You know you’re doing something right when you’re the fittest you’ve ever been at your oldest. And it can only gonna get better from here. Many people who’ve met me recently (post my “after” phase) don’t believe that I’m old enough to be married or close to 30. The reason I look (or at least I think I do) and feel younger than I ever did is because I now nourish and take care of my body so that it can push itself and become better every single day…Literally. ________________________________ People who knew me at 23 would’ve probably been shocked to meet me at 25. I went from a confident, care free girl working in the fashion industry in NYC, who liked to dress up & party to someone who only lived in big baggy kurtas, never made or met any friends, drowned herself in work & bad eating habits and became more uncomfortable and under confident as each day passed. While it took me only 2 years to go from A to B, it took me almost double that time to really get straight with myself. _____________________________ Through lifting, learning about nutrtition, giving up many bad habits and practising a few good ones, I’ve been able to find myself again. Not that young wild thang, but the person that got lost in the middle for a few years. Don’t become or remain a shell of the person you’re meant to be just because you’re too lazy or too busy or because people tell you you’re fine just the way you are. If you know something is wrong and if you really want to change it, you HAVE to put in the work. It took me 2 years to put on all that weight and it just got worse as time went by. But ONE year of dedication transformed me and my life in ways I never thought was possible. 💥 Don’t be scared to start. Be scared that you never do.

2,963 Likes, 74 Comments – Sheenafit (@sheenafit) on Instagram: “Haven’t done one of these in a hot minute! 😛 You know you’re doing something right when you’re the…”

 

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