Gurbaksh Chahal | How You Can Work 18 Hours a Day and Still Be Fit
The 4:30 am Start: The Routine, Diet, and Exercise.
As most people know, being a CEO is a tough job, especially when you’re building a company from scratch. Business is the toughest sport you can play as an athlete. You need the endurance to deal with the highs and lows, the stamina to handle the rejection, and the courage to master the art of sacrifice. Discipline becomes your biggest strength and time your biggest enemy.
Doing all this while maintaining your health becomes challenging. But, like anything in life, we can do it – we just have to put in the effort by showing up and increasing our tolerance for pain.
Many have asked what my diet, routine, and workout regimen is like. So, here’s what I do:
Weight is irrelevant, BMR is everything
Get your Body Fat % checked immediately. Weight as a number is irrelevant. If you are able to get your starting body fat %, you can now begin to determine how long it will take you to realize your fitness goals. You also will get a reading of your basal metabolic rate (BMR). BMR is the amount of energy expended while at rest (also known as the calories you need to consume just to maintain your current weight).
One general rule of thumb (if you are doing everything right) you can only lose 1 to 1.3% of body fat per week. In my case, at 26 weeks I lost an average of 1.18% body fat per week.
In March, my BMR was 1700 calories. So, in order to understand everything, I looked at everything as a simple math equation.
Input calories = How many calories I consume through food.
Output calories = My BMR + Exercise.
Weight Loss = A Caloric Deficit
For every 1 lb of fat, there are 3500 calories. If you are trying to lose 10 lbs of fat, you will need a 35,000 calorie deficit over time. If you are trying to lose 30 lbs, you need a 105,000 calorie deficit.
If I wanted to lose 2 lbs of fat per week while building muscle I will need a 1000 calorie deficit per day.
1,000 calories x 7 days = 7,500 caloric deficit ÷ by 3500 = 2 pounds.
I can generate my caloric deficit in two ways. Either by reducing my input calories and/or increase my output calories through exercise. If I wanted to do that equally, I would reduce my caloric intake by 500 calories and workout an additional 500 calories daily to reach my caloric deficit.
And, remember for each 1 lb of muscle you gain at the gym, your BMR will increase which means, the more calories you can eat (output calories).
Get A Routine Going
It’s necessary to have a routine every day. This is mine.
4:30am: Wake Up
4:30am – 5:30am: 1 Hour Steady-State Cardio (Incline Jog, 4.0mph with an 8.0 incline)
5:30am – 7:00pm: Work
7:00pm – 8:00pm: 1 Hour Strength Workout (Weights)
8:00pm – 8:15pm: 2 Mile Evening Run
8:15pm – 12:15am: Finish Work
1:00am – 4:30am: Sleep
Sunday is my only rest day for Strength Training. However, I still do Cardio (steady-state cardio + evening run) every day on Repeat.
Note: I also don’t consume any alcohol and don’t party. Calories from alcohol are ’empty calories’, and they have no nutritional value. Therefore, I choose to have a disciplined lifestyle and when I do get the time to unwind, I choose to rest. On the other hand, I do make it a point to drink 2 to 3 gallons of water per day
Here are 5 workouts laid out by my personal trainer, Victor Tsui, to help build muscle. You can simply adjust the weight based on your starting point but the goal is to hit the big muscle groups twice a week while increasing your weight over time. Do 3-4 sets of each exercise.
- Morning Steady-State Cardio for 1 hour. 4.0mph with 8.0 incline on the treadmill.
- 15 minute, 2 miles run in the evening. Also, helps me unwind mentally for the day.
Workout #1 Legs Shoulder
A1) Walking Lunges 16kgs x 12 reps
A2) Dumbbell Shoulder Press 26kgs x 12 reps
B1) Goblet Squat 28kgs x 12 reps
B2) Arnold Press 16 kgs x 12 reps
C1) Single Leg Step Ups 16 kgs x 12 each leg
C2) Side Raises 8 kgs x 12-15 reps
D1) Kettlebell Swing 16kgs x 1min
D2) Plate Hold (in front of body) 10kgs x 1 min
Workout #2 Chest Biceps
A1) Push Ups 15 reps
B1) Flat Dumbbell Press 30kgs x 10 reps
Or Flat Smith Machine Bench Press 60kgs x 10 reps
B2) Standing Bicep Curls 14kgs x 12 reps
C1) Incline Dumbbell Press 24kgs x 10reps
C2) Hammer Curls 12kgs x 15 reps
D1) Flat Dumbbell Flyes 14kgs x 15 reps
D2) Incline Bicep Curls 14kgs x 12 reps
Workout #3 Back Triceps
A1) Dumbbell Row 30kgs x 10-12reps
A2) Skull Crushers 10 kgs x 10-12reps
B1) Chest Supported Row 18kgs x 12 reps
B2) Cable Straight Bar Tricep Pushdown 17.5kgs x 10-12 reps
C1) Seated Single Arm Cable Rows 17.5kgs x 12 reps
C2) Tricep Bench Dips (20kg plate on lap) x 12 reps
D1) Lat Pulldown 40kgs x 12reps
D2) Alternating Single Arm Tricep Extension 7.5kgs x 15 reps
Workout #4 Shoulder Core
A1) Smith Machine Barbell Shoulder Press 45kgs x 12 reps
A2) Plank 1min
B1) Arnold Press 16kgs x 10-12 reps
B2) Reverse Crunch 1min
C1) Side Shoulder Raises 8 kgs x 12 reps
C2) Russian Twist 12kg kettlebell 1min
D1) Front Shoulder Raises 10kgs x 12 reps
D2) Plate Crunch 20kg x 15 reps
Workout #5 Full body (minus shoulder)
A1) Smith Machine Incline Chest Bench Press 20kgs (each side) x 12 reps
A2) Bent over Dumbbell Row 22kgs x 12 reps
A3) Heel Tap 60 reps (each side)
B1) Cable Chest flyes 12.5 kgs x 12 reps
B2) Walking Lunges 16kgs
B3) Mountain Climbers 1 minC1) Decline Push-ups 15 reps
C2) Chest Supported Row 18kgs x 12 reps
C3) Reverse crunch 1 min
You Make Muscle at the Gym and Make Abs in the Kitchen.
Your Diet is essential to any fitness goal you set. It’s your “input” of calories. To make my life easier, I do meal preps as I find this to be crucial to know how much I am consuming. Many times when we don’t measure our meals – we end up eating way more calories & servings that we don’t account for.
My Diet consists of Low Carb, Medium Fat, High Protein. On the weekends, I opt for a similar breakfast but for lunch and dinner I eat extra chicken with salad. I also love Quest “Hero” Protein Bars, make at least 1 Protein Shake, and eat 2 tablespoons of Peanut Butter after dinner.
For every 1 lb of weight, I consume at least 1 gram of protein. If my weight is 170 lbs, I make sure to get at least 170 grams of protein from food daily.
The following is my typical diet for 3 measured meals daily Monday through Friday.
Everyone’s Results Will Vary
When I put my mind to anything, I obsessively push myself to get it done. I was focused on achieving my fitness goals all while never compromising my demanding and hectic 18 hour workdays.
Starting results from March 2019.
Weight: 204 lbs
Body Fat: 38%
BMR: 1700 calories
Results at September 2019 (six months, 26 weeks):
Weight: 170 lbs
Muscle Increase: 26 lbs
Fat Loss: 34 + 26 = 60 lbs
Weight Reduction: 34 lbs
Body Fat: 7.2%
BMR: 2900 calories (by adding 26 lbs of muscle)
To me this was a personal decision to get back into my normal shape and make health a priority again. If I wanted to be successful in my professional life, I need to make it a priority to take care of my health. Otherwise, if I can’t take care of myself, how could I take care of my company?
Remember to take everything one day at a time. It can be done and you can do it. I’m rooting for you. It takes 45 days to create a behavior into a habit. Memorize yours: Routine, Diet, and Exercise.
P.S. The benefit of going of going to the gym for 2 hours a day, is not to look good. It’s to increase your tolerance for pain in the real world.
P.P.S. The thing you’ll resent isn’t whether or not you can make it. The thing you’ll resent is now that you know you can…will you actually try?
I wish you luck in your fitness journey.
For more of my fitness posts you can follow me on Instagram: https://instagram.com/gchahal
Chairman & CEO, ProcureNet | Founder, Chahal Foundation | 3 Exits $400MM+ | 4X Entrepreneur | Author | Guest Lecturer |Hong Kong | Bay Area
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