One of our “Comedic Relief” Awardees at Bent On Better, Rao, has graced us with his presence for this insightful episode of the Better Fitness Proof Podcast. Get to know how he battled diabetes and reflected on how the culture he grew up in affected his lifestyle. Let Rao’s story guide you into living better not only for your health but also to live a more active, energetic, and overall comfortable life.
Effects of a Carb-Dependent Culture
Rao is just one of our awesome members born and raised in India. He jokes about how most Indians don’t move much except for their hands when they’re in front of a keyboard. Growing up Indian, Rao explains how their diet of mostly carbs and sweets slowly began to catch up to him when he reached his 50s. Diagnosed with being pre-diabetic and having to increase his medication was what pushed Rao to seek out a healthier lifestyle.
A good glucose level for normal people usually ranges from 5 and a half to 6; when Rao got his A1C test (which is a test to get your glucose level), he was almost an 8. He recalls how three years ago, he noticed himself getting very lazy. Although he still had to commute to work as a software engineer five times a week, his company and clients would let him spend over $100 a day on food and drinks. He would eat and drink whatever he wanted and noticed some significant weight gain and losing energy to do things he used to enjoy, like tennis or golf.
Being a Member of Bent On Better
Rao’s primary motivation for going to the gym was really to handle his health. When he started, he weighed 207 pounds and wanted to bring it down below 190. As for his glucose levels, he wanted to bring them close to 6 and a half. Although he recognizes that it took him 25+ years to get to the state that he was in and that a month or two of working out won’t give him the results he wanted, he didn’t want to give up.
He wanted to reduce the amount of medicine he was taking and improve his health without relying too much on his prescriptions, so he tried his hand at fitness. Although his job would let him stay at nice hotels with excellent gyms, he could never utilize these facilities to his advantage either.
The pandemic affected so many people’s lives– some for the better and some for the worse. In Rao’s case, he tried to see the light in the situation, like how the pandemic allowed him to start working from home. That way, he could focus more on his health.
Rao wasn’t a fan of 1-on-1 training sessions. He describes himself as an 80% guy, meaning if he’s left alone, he’ll do 20% worth of work; when he’s being monitored, he’ll try to get it up to 80%, but when he’s doing a 1-on-1 he’ll have to do 100% of his best which he jokes he obviously couldn’t handle. The small group training at Bent On Better works best for him because of the hands-off attitude of the coaches. Rao says that the coaches won’t push you too hard but will nudge you enough to get you in the right direction.
In the three years that Rao has been with us, he’s happy to have pushed his weight down to 191 pounds, one pound left until he reaches his goal. Most importantly, on his recent A1C test, Rao got a 6.2 for his glucose levels which is already beyond what he aimed for initially.
It wasn’t just in the numbers either; Rao’s tennis friends noticed how he was starting to get balls that he previously couldn’t get. He was more active at golf in the summer too. Rao mentions that at this point in his life, whatever he’s paying for in the gym, he is paying for his health and that it was a worthwhile spend. In India, they have a saying: “Health is your wealth.” If you don’t have health, forget about what you already have.
Rao is also happy to share his journey with his growing subscribers on Youtube. As of date, he has posted around 120+ videos of his fitness journey, and his motivation has garnered him plenty of views and subscribers.
Whether as a member of Bent On Better, or our comedic relief at the gym, there’s no doubt that Rao has become the glue that holds this community together. His consistent attitude to keep showing up and his random challenges or quips have become something our members and coaches look forward to during training.
Watch the video here: