A Ju Jitsu fighter who lost 7kg in weight and 10 per cent of his body mass has shared the secrets of his transformation and how simple changes to his diet made a huge difference to his life.

Rizwan Khan, 29 thought it would take up to six months to get into the shape he had always desired.

He also told of how family’s medical history inspired him to make the change during the month of Ramadan.

He said: “I wanted to feel confident again.

There are several medical issues within my family history -  high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and obesity.

"As I was approaching my 30s, I wanted to make a change to set my path early for the life I wanted to lead, where I knew what my body was capable of and that I was in charge of it in making a change..

I have been weight training for a long time, but infrequent and rather aimlessly to be honest. No true understanding of what I am doing, how to do it correctly and effectively. Higher weights to me meant success – when that is not necessarily the case.

“I was stressed from work, not comfortable with the shape I was in, not at the fitness I wanted to be at, especially since Covid. Fearful of the future if I continued was probably my main concern, with the health issues that would inevitably creep in. I want to be a dad one day and be able to run around with my kids.”

Rizwan of Leeds works for KPMG says he signed up for Ultimate Performance’s Leeds gym.  Ultimate Performance (U.P.) was founded in 2009 in London by personal trainer Nick Mitchell.

Rizwan said: “Before starting at U.P., I was using food as an over-indulgence and enjoyment mechanism. My rationale being I do jiu jitsu and exercise during the week, therefore I can eat what I want and however much I want.

Like others I was eating plenty of healthy and nutritional ingredients, with no real idea of the macros I was eating.

“Breakfast would usually be a whole avocado on two slices of toast topped with an egg and a bowl of yogurt and black coffee or a heap of overnight oats with loads of nuts and seeds including fruit and cinnamon and a black coffee.

“Lunch would consist of what was available near the office, I would gravitate towards something protein and carb heavy, such as a katsu chicken bowl, burrito or sandwich – which would always be accompanied by a sweet pastry and a coffee to wash down with

“Dinner was usually something centred on carbs (potato, rice or bread) along with a protein source (vegetarian or meat). Chicken, salmon and lentils. With something sweet to boot.”

He decided to track what he was eating, I began to understand what the nutritional information on a packet meant and what I should be looking for, for the goals I wanted to achieve.

“This awareness meant that I was now seeking food that was lower calories but had high protein content.

"There were some easy swaps, there were some swaps that were harder, taking out carbs (bread and rice) out of my diet for a period was tough, but it was for a period in time to achieve a specific goal. I wanted to avoid developing a toxic relationship with food and the nutritional information as I do enjoy my food.

“During my transformation, I was making adjustments to my diet which meant taking out certain food groups and bringing in others. There were some items considered to be not included and could be consumed without needing to track.

Rizwan shared details about the challenges he faced during Ramadan.

“There were a few challenges with Ramadan, people are aware of the no food restriction, but some still do not know this applies to water too. Lacking food and water does create lethargy. Some of the specific challenges I faced were:

“Impact on my sleep: An often less talked about challenge. To aid understanding, try consuming a day’s worth of food, within a few hours before bedtime and tell me how comfortable your sleep is when your stomach is engorged. Although uncomfortable this was the approach I took.

“Most of my family took the alternative approach of waking up at 3:30am each morning again to eat, but this I felt would mean I would have a disjointed sleep and impact my ability to focus during the day. There is no right or wrong answer to this but what works best for you.

“Consuming the right kind of food to fuel my day: Making sure I had enough protein intake in the short one meal sitting to fuel my day and achieve my goals was tricky.

“At the end of the day, I am human and eating the same things can become boring such as eating chicken breast. I therefore would substitute different protein sources and try different salad combinations to accommodate.

"Naturally over the course of the day you begin to crave certain things, as all you can think about is food when you cannot eat – but these cravings might not be the things you should be eating.

“Consuming the right amount of food to achieve my goal: The tendency can be to overconsume; you feel it is warranted because you will be starving for the day to come, and you’ve ‘earned’ the right to consume as much as you want after not eating for a whole day. But this might not be helpful if you are consuming way too many calories for the amount you are burning throughout the day.”

“There were times I would get a dry throat in between tough reps and exercises that led to a sick feeling as a result of not being able to drink water. The way this was counteracted was taking a slightly longer rest between sets and exercises to recover.

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He said he adapted fasting during Ramadan around his dietary and workout programme.

“James Gill, my PT and I had a good chat about our plan of action during this period and I found him to be really knowledgeable and forthcoming with advice and tips.

“We adapted the dietary needs where we remained true to the principles of protein centred calorie-controlled meal, but we upped protein intake even further and we incorporated some carbs to help provide energy and sustain me throughout the day.

"It was all done in a very calculated way by James and I really appreciated his support throughout.

“Again was leaning on James’s expertise helped me immensely in not only maintaining but making progress.

“We abandoned our end of session cardio exercise, we focussed on reducing reps and increasing weight load.

"This was to counteract any onset of fatigue for the rest of the day. We still maintained our usual early morning gym sessions three times a week, which I would usually attend whilst still being full of food from the evening before.”

He said since adjusting what he eats he feels much more energetic is keen to maintain what he has achieved

I have noticed significant strength and endurance benefits. I find myself being able to go for a longer at a sustained intensity.

“A positive of being more active and feeling more limber has been that I find myself getting injured less and recovering quicker when I do so.

“I want to get back into competing regularly at jiu jitsu tournaments. I want to progress towards black belt in jiu jitsu in the near future. I have found a new perspective on how exercise and diet can work for me and how I can use it get what I want to achieve.”

He has this to say to anyone thinking of dieting, Make sure you have a firm grasp on what macros are and what they mean for the body, what foods are low calorie, what foods are high calorie – these are the kinds of questions we should know. What we ultimately put into our body is the output we get. You cannot out train a bad diet.”