Meet Daryl Marak, a resident of Tura and a banker by profession. He weighs 59 kilogrammes, is five and a half feet tall and has abs that one would die for. However, his fitness was not always so rosy, even until recently as the beginning of 2020. This is his story.
“I belong to Tura and am presently residing here due to my job. I graduated from St Edmund’s College, Shillong in 2008. I have always been average when it came to sports and athletics since as a child though I was extremely fond of table tennis,” said Marak in an introduction of himself.
Born in 1987, Marak, before his transformation, weighed 73kg.
Marak is a manager in a nationalised bank and his work requires him to sit for many hours at his desk handling files that never seem to end. Added to his sedentary work life, regular consumption of alcohol after work added to his troubles, leaving him obese.
With obesity came problems with his health. In mid-2019, Marak visited a doctor after feeling a sudden pain and inflammation in his chest.
“I was informed that I had high triglycerides, which is basically lots of fat in my blood, a sign of heart disease and diabetes. I was advised to start exercising and also to give up alcohol. However, giving up is never easy. I started procrastinating and days became weeks and weeks became months, as the adage goes – ‘Old habits die hard’,” admitted Marak.
However, for the banker, the Covid-19 lockdown changed everything.
“The crisis was the turning point in my life. Being part of the essential services, I had to go to work every day, even though the working hours were considerably shorter as we were advised to close early. Being used to long hours, I suddenly felt useless and bored,” he added. “So, in April, I started walking 3-4 kilometres every day for nearly three weeks. I began to feel better physically but didn’t see any changes. My expectation of drastic results was unrealistic in hindsight.”
One day during his walk, he saw a few boys running and decided to test himself. He began enjoying the run.
“Running was good. I finally felt I was losing weight and feeling lighter. Soon enough, I started running 10km four days a week. Meanwhile, I started changing my eating habits as well. While all this was fine, I still had no idea about what I was doing,” said the Tura lad.
After two months of regular running, he lost 8kg and was finally under the 65kg mark.
“My BMI (Body Mass Index) was normal. I felt lighter, my face changed, as did my arms, which were smaller. However, my belly continued looking like an extra-large pizza. Despite the exercise, my belly would not desert me.”
That is when he met a friend of his – Freddy – who was happy with the changes he had made. It was Freddy who advised him to start with HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) and resistance training (weight training).
Taking Freddy’s advice, Marak bought a pair of dumbbells and a barbell and started training at home while also looking for videos on YouTube to work out better.
“I learnt then that simply exercising wasn’t enough. A good combination of rest and sleep and calorie deficit diet was the key. Initially it was tough and the progress was slow but I was adamant and stubborn,” said the now lean man.
With continued exercise, the strength and growth of his muscles became evident and he continued challenging himself with harder forms of exercises and increased weights.
“In three months, the changes became quite evident and with it came the realization that it only works if you challenge yourself,” added Daryl.
Talking of the challenges he faces in continuing his lean form, the biggest hurdle, according to Marak was the management of time.
“I had to make time and so started waking up 40 minutes earlier than usual. I divided my exercise timings in such a way that I could work out twice daily, five days a week,” he said.
On the mantra of staying fit, Marak felt that staying fit did not only mean exercise.
“We tend to undervalue the importance of rest, recovery and sleep. Diet also plays a crucial part. In fact, diet may be the biggest stumbling block for many when it comes to embracing a healthier lifestyle. I am currently keen to learn calisthenics (strength training with the body). What started for me as a challenge has slowly turned into a hobby that has paid huge dividends in improvements in my quality of life,” he added.