ONE BYL CLIENT'S JOURNEY TOWARDS TRANSFORMATION
People are drawn to yoga, particularly Bikram Yoga, for a range of reasons. For some, it's about developing calm and focus, while for others it may be to seek detoxification, get more flexible, or overcome an injury or chronic physical ailment. For many, such as BYL newcomer Muhammed, the goal is to get fitter, leaner and healthier. Muhammed joined BYL as a complete yoga novice at the end of December 2016, seeking to lose some weight and overcome chronic back pain that had dogged him for years.
Within 4 months, he had shed a whopping 26 KG, healed his back, and transformed his life. His story is inspiring, and for some, may just be the motivation you need to get started on your own yoga journey towards total transformation!
Editor's note: This article is not intended as a nutritional guide or as a recommendation that weight loss is appropriate for everyone. Each person's journey is unique, and individual results and suitability for weight loss may vary. As always we recommend discussing your nutrition with a qualified medical professional.
When did you take your first steps into Bikram yoga and why?
I started Bikram yoga in December 2016. I wanted to lose weight and cure chronic back pain which in turn was caused by damage to my knee a couple of years ago. I was going for physiotherapy and the practitioner recommended that I try yoga.
Were you a newcomer to hot yoga?
I was a complete beginner. In fact, I had never done any form of yoga at all before I started at BYL in December 2016.
What was your first impression about the yoga?
When taking my first Bikram yoga class at BYL, I found that this all felt strangely familiar even though I had never done any form of yoga before, probably because it's a form of interval training. I've being playing sports for as far as I can remember so I've being doing interval training nearly my whole life, this made Bikram Yoga slightly easier for me from the start.
You mentioned you wanted to lose weight. What was your typical diet when you first began your Bikram Yoga practise?
My diet before and during my first 30 days of Bikram yoga was as follows: Very high in protein, save carbs for dessert and not enough water. Typically I would have two big meals a day.
> AM: Lightly fried steak and some boiled vegetables: dessert: rich high in fat high sugar curd/cheesecake/frozen yogurt
> PM: Salmon steak boiled vegetables: dessert: rich high in fat high sugar curd/cheesecake/frozen yogurt and a glass of wine
So, when you started did you have a nutrition plan?
No I didn’t have a diet plan of any kind. I knew I wanted to get some results and listened to what was told to me on my first class, namely that the more I practiced, the more my diet would change naturally. After doing the Intro Offer and coming nearly every day I found that my craving for the wrong foods began to lessen.
How did your nutrition evolve and how did it help?
After a month of practising Bikram nearly every day, I started making changes to my diet, and 40 days later, on 7 January, 2017, I decided to go Vegan. I know that Veganism may not be for everyone, but it made me feel and look better. My whole practice changed. I immediately noticed that I was more flexible in the poses, however, my energy levels were lower and I felt more tired at the end of every class!
I realised that to stay on a Vegan diet I would have to eat considerably more often to keep my energy levels up during the day. When Frank [BYL’s Yoga Advisor] gave me the idea to eat smaller portions and to eat more often to speed up my metabolism, I did that and began to see fast results.
I decided to eat 8-12 meals a day, if possible every hour. By eating small and more often, your body works harder to absorb nutrients and thus your body burns fat faster. At the end of every meal you should never be full or hungry. Around the same time I also invested in a water distiller unit to give me absolutely pure drinking water, gave up my glass of wine a day and began drinking 5 liters of water daily.
Once you changed your nutrition with daily Bikram practise, how did you feel when you first began to realise the change to your physique was happening so rapidly?
Losing 26kg in under 4 months has been amazing. I saw changes very quickly at one point during the FEB 30 DAY CHALLENGE. I would weigh myself after every class and found I was losing 1 kg after every 90 min class. At first I really didn't think too much about the weight loss, and whenever people mentioned that I had lost weight, I would respond with “it's no big deal, it's only flesh!” It only hit home when I realised none of my clothes fit, and I had to spend a fortune on a new wardrobe! I went from an ‘X-L’ to a ‘Small’ in the space of a few months! Overall, I feel more relaxed and happier within myself.
OK, so following your initial 3-4 months of intensive practise in which you saw some powerful changes happening, how often do you practice now?
Now I am more on a ‘maintenance plan’ where I come 3 to 4 times a week and try and do the different styles in order for me to get a full body workout.
What’s your goal for the future? What drives you to achieve it and how does the yoga help?
My goal now is to introduce Bikram yoga to ten friends and get them to join the club. I'm now also thinking about entering a yoga competition!
Also, I would like to thank all the teachers for having patience with my practice, and all the great BYL staff and members for all their advice and health tips. [Editor’s note: you’re welcome, it’s what we’re here for!]
What advice would you give someone just starting out?
Be patient with yourself and if you are seeking change fast then massive action needs to be taken with no expectations. This is your journey and very personal to you, so find what works for you.