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Paanwala by day, bodybuilder by night - The incredible story of Harish Soni

Soni always wanted to build his body naturally and eventually, managed to achieve it.

FEATURED COLUMNIST
Exclusive 12 Jan 2018, 20:24 IST
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Harish Soni, the paanwal from Chhattisgarh

At some point in life, every man wants to be stronger, lose muscle and gain weight. But we lack the consistent effort to achieve what we want. Whether it is working out at the gym, watching your diet or simply taking a jog, we lack the commitment.

We are too busy with work – the modern man has no time.

Or so, we tell ourselves.

In reality, it all comes down to dedication and commitment. And, Harsih Soni is a living testament to that.

A paanwala by profession, Soni has trained himself to gain a shredded body naturally despite the many hardships of poverty.

Love at first sight

It was in 2010, that he, accompanied by his elder brother, visited a gym for the first time. The gym was located some 10 Km away from where he lived in the city of Korba in Chhattisgarh. The long journey, though, did not bother him the least.

Instead, the youngster was enthralled to see the striking physique of the boys working out. Before that, he had seen such physique only in movies and did not even think that normal people could also attain it. It was love at first sight for him.

Like many young people, until then, Soni too was a victim of poor dietary habits and consequently, carried a thick waistline. However, he started working out and after one year of a regular workout, he lost some weight and gained some muscles. He felt stronger and looked better. Soon, weight training and bodybuilding became his passion.

It wasn’t until 2013, though, that Soni gave some serious thoughts about getting ripped. The young boy wanted to develop his abs and began asking every senior bodybuilder how to do so. He even messaged some famous models and bodybuilders on Facebook but rarely got a response. The few replies that came were all same…“You need to diet harder and take steroids if you want to look shredded.”

Soni
Soni always wanted to build his body naturally

No steroids, I want to build my body naturally

Soni was so obsessed that he even considered trying steroids. Only, he could not really afford them. His father was a paanwala and even managing the monthly gym fees was difficult for him. Moreover, he always wanted to achieve his dream physique naturally. At this point, someone advised him to consult a doctor before even considering about getting into the steroid cycle.

On consulting one, Soni came to know about the dire side effects of anabolic drugs. He literally got scared and decided to transform in a natural way. And then, came the hardships.

As Soni started looking for a proper diet, his father warned him that it is an expensive sport and only rich people could afford it. He was asked to stop working out and put his focus on work at the paan shop. Getting hitched in 2014 made matters worse as now he was directly responsible for the well-being of another person.

So, Soni started going to the paan shop and stopped going to the gym. It depressed him but his wife lent him mental support through the difficult phase. When it became too much to digest, he decided to take some time out of his busy schedule and resume working out.

Rachit Dua, a member of Team Aminder, said, "Soni opens his shop from the break of dawn. In the evening, he takes a 60-90 minute break to work out. During this break, his father looks after the shop as money is a real concern.

"Right from the beginning, he refused to take any supplements and worked really hard. He had to manage the shop, and yet, he found enough time to work on his dream body. It wasn't at all easy for him."

Aminder's guidance made a world of difference

In his quest to build the perfect body, Soni stumbled upon Mr Aminder Singh of Team Aminder, an online Personal Training organisation that helps out people to achieve their perfect physique naturally. He was amazed to learn that it was entirely possible to see astronomically impressive transformations naturally.

On hearing about his financial situation, Aminder decided to waive the fee and gave him proper diet plans, workout plans and even monitored his progress on a regular basis. Eventually, under the experienced trainer’s guidance, Soni was able to achieve his dream physique in just six months.

Dua revealed how Soni was intent on building his physique without the aid of any supplements. “He always wanted to transform himself naturally. His aim was to compete professionally in bodybuilding. But he knows that this sport involves taking steroids and dope”, he said.

“However, now that he has achieved a perfectly ripped body, he does want to take part in natural bodybuilding competitions like MuscleMania,” he added.

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