Mukund pursues a fitter life


Junior Abhishek Mukund lifts weights as a way to unwind after taking a test.

Junior Abhishek Mukund lifts weights as a way to unwind after taking a test.
Junior Abhishek Mukund lifts weights as a way to unwind after taking a test

“I wasn’t mad at him, I was mad I wasn’t him.”

Before the summer of his freshman year, when a day at the pool with a friend changed his life, junior Abhishek Mukund weighed 183 pounds, but he didn’t let it bother him.

“To me, being fat was something I didn’t care about,” Mukund said.

It wasn’t until that day that he found himself conflicted with his weight.

“He was super fit: abs, defined muscles, good looking. I was fat as [heck], no muscles, and my face was extremely chubby,” he said. “There were these girls and they giggled about something and disappeared into the nearby gym, so my friend wanted to follow them. He showed off by working out, something I couldn’t do at all—all I did was sit and watch as both girls talked to him and he eventually ditched me and left with them. I decided then that I would need to change pretty soon.”

When he got to Kerr, he saw the opportunity for what he wanted. “Every day after school, I worked out a little. It was nothing major, just a few pushups and sit-ups,” he said. “Then I got P.E. as a class, so now I had a place to work out at. I ran full speed for an hour every day and I did that by playing tag almost every day. By the end of the term, I had dropped 50 pounds and weighed 134, but now I looked weak, so I needed muscle.”

After freshman year, he did research on how to live a healthy lifestyle.

“I looked up about what to eat, how to eat, and how to work out,” Mukund said.

Once he got back to school, he put his knowledge to use and started working out again, lifting more weights this time. Unfortunately, he noticed it was more difficult to gain muscle than lose weight.

“At first there weren’t many results,” he said. “It took nearly three months before any actual muscle became evident and even then I wasn’t happy with it so I kept lifting.”

But with help of a men’s clothing ad and P.E. coach Jorge Diaz, Mukund was able to motivate himself.

“I found a picture online of Mark Wahlberg in a Calvin Klein ad and immediately made it my goal,” he said. “Around the same time, I began talking to Coach Diaz who helped me get workouts put together and gave me advice on how to work out certain muscles. That school year ended with me being pretty proud of myself.”

Outside of school, Mukund spent time at 24-Hour Fitness.

“I still wasn’t very big and the huge people at the gym intimidated me. I would do a quarter of their weight almost every time and it hurt my pride,” Mukund said. “It affected me so much that I almost didn’t want to go anymore.”

After a difficult experience he had at the gym, his confidence and motivation in himself started to deteriorate.

“One day, I was about to do the bench press but I didn’t realized the weight I put on it was more than I could handle,” he said. “The minute I picked it up, it landed on my chest and I couldn’t make it budge and I found myself stuck underneath it. I didn’t want to call for help because I thought it would make me look like a coward.”

Another regular gym member, though, helped change his mind.

“After a few minutes, a guy came running over and got the weight off my chest. He asked me if I was okay and I said yeah but with disappointment. I felt I had failed,” Mukund said. “That random guy at the gym talked to me for awhile and he told how he started off scrawny and was bullied for it. Then he said how everyone starts off with a little weight and eventually can lift anything they can dream of.”

After that talk, Mukund’s perspective of working out in a gym changed direction completely.

“I started understanding how important it is to be who you are in the gym, so I started to work out every day there for about five hours,” he said. “It was a really good summer.”

Now he is in his junior year and after all the improvements he has made, he continues with his exercise routine.

“When I got back to school, all my lifts had nearly doubled,” Mukund said. “I was able to do so much more this year than ever before.”

Although he is keeping healthy and exercising, maintaining a healthy diet can be a struggle sometimes.

“Eating properly can get really hard since you really want McDonald’s that night, or you think pizza would do, but more and more, I’m realizing it’s pretty easy to live without that stuff,” he said. “Other times it’s hard to get the will to work out because you don’t want to be sore, but then I think about how I used to look and I change my mind.”

In the end, Mukund finds the real reason he took the challenging journey to a healthy and fit lifestyle.

“Sometimes I question who am I really doing this for, if it’s girls or to show off. Then I realize I’m doing it for me and no one else.”