Fit for fighting

08 Aug 2019 / 14:58 H.

ON HIS 31st birthday, Ayez Shaukat-Fonseka Farid shared a picture of himself on Instagram. The photo was dated June 2018 and in it, he looked flabby.

It shocked many of his friends and followers.

“People thought I was always muscular,” says Ayez, the founder, lead trainer, and a wrestler at Malaysia Pro Wrestling (MyPW).

In the ring, he is known as The Prophet of Pain, and he looked the part – fit, healthy, and muscular.

Last year, he gained 10kg while working as part of a stunt unit for a UK TV series. At first, he didn’t realise how much weight he had put on.

Then while doing a fight scene for the movie Sangkar, Ayez dislocated his knee. According to him, his knee only dislocates when he is overweight.

“That was when it really dawned on me that I was out of shape,” he says, and he then started his journey of losing the extra kilos.

“I wanted to lose weight to improve my performance in wrestling. My stamina was very low and I was sluggish. I could not even keep up with my kids, who are two and four years old.”

He was also motivated to inspire the wrestlers he was training.

“I thought to myself: ‘Now that I’m fat, I can begin my journey to get ripped again and show them it is possible’,” Ayez explains.

His philosophy to losing weight is to be conscious of the calories in the food you’re eating.

“Know your macro-nutrients,” he advises. “When you’re just starting out, don’t focus on what you eat, instead, focus on how many calories you’re consuming.

“To determine how much you should eat in a day, multiply your body weight in kilogrammes by 2.2, and multiply that number again by 12. That is your daily caloric ceiling.

“Check your weight every two weeks and recalculate your caloric needs again.”

When his weight loss plateaued, Ayez removed sugar from his diet, then oil. It was a journey that had to be taken step by step.

He explains: “Let’s say my total calories for these two weeks are 1,900 calories per day, out of which 40% comes from protein, 30% from carbohydrates, and 30% from fats.

“If I check my calorie intake after this and it has not reached my limit, then I can treat myself to ice cream, rice, or potatoes.”

He adds that he takes mostly home-cooked, whole foods, and only eats out with friends or at functions.

“I cook my own meals unless I’m busy, then my wife would help out ... I only use herbs, spices and condiments.

“I would still eat something beyond my set plan if offered. For example, if I go to my mum’s and she cooks for me, I can’t tell her no.

“My carbohydrates come from rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and oats, which are easy to find and cheap. When it comes to protein, I eat mostly chicken breast ... a kilo a day. Fats come from extra virgin coconut oil or nuts.”

Ayez says it is actually easier and cheaper to eat this way. “It costs me approximately RM15 a day.”

Ayez admits to skipping breakfast because he feels it makes him sluggish, but will snack on plums when hungry as they are “high in fibre and low in calories”.

He only drinks plain water, black coffee or green tea. And when he gets a sugar craving, he grabs a zero-calorie soda.

In addition to monitoring what he eats, Ayez says the fastest way to lose fat is to build muscles by lifting weights.

“I tell the wrestlers I train to add some cardio to their activities once their weight loss plateaued.

“Slowly increase to about an hour of workout three times a week. Add weights to their workout once progress slows.”

Ayez says many people give up early when they don’t see immediate results. He notes that it took him a year to look as good as he is now.

“This is a marathon, not a sprint. It actually takes about three months before you see any drastic changes.”

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