International Transformation Of The Month: Pankaj Dhiman

Pankaj Dhiman was tired of his extra weight, his health problems, and his constant pain. Find out how he transformed his mind and body and became a competitive bodybuilder!

Getting Started

In January 2013, I weighed a whopping 230 pounds (104 kilos). I couldn't climb stairs, started to have breathing problems, and was consistently outgrowing all my clothes. I was overweight, depressed, and suffering from continuous back problems.

I knew that I was digging myself a bigger hole every day, and that if I didn't take any action soon, I might end up on a hospital bed. That thought scared the hell out of me, so I enrolled myself in Fitness First [a gym chain in India] and got started on January 9, 2014.

From late-night drinking and binge-eating sessions, I moved on to purposeful and results-oriented gym sessions. I hit the weights with a vengeance. I was angry for putting myself into this situation, and I wanted to correct it. So I waged an all-out war against fat. I replaced all the oily, fried, processed food with egg whites, steamed or grilled chicken breast, green vegetables, and fruits. Once I got my nutrition in order, I started to see great results. After that initial change, I wanted more after each session, each rep, and each pound.

There is a warrior inside me and he wants more. He refuses to give up and wants a new challenge every day. I am going to start competing and have my eyes set on the Mr. World title.

I am going to get it, no matter what.

Before /// 230 lbs
After /// 187 lbs
AGE 30 / HEIGHT 5'11" / BODY FAT 35%
AGE 31 / HEIGHT 5'11" / BODY FAT 9%
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Small Steps, Big Reward

When I started exercising after a gap of almost 2 years, I couldn't walk on the treadmill for more than 10 minutes in succession. I had to do just 5-minute intervals. Despite my early struggles, I always knew that I was capable of changing my body. I had done it before, and I'd do it again. I had to make it happen in my mind first. Then everything just followed.

I was determined to shed all the extra pounds and I wanted to look my age. From low-intensity steady-state (LISS) cardio sessions, I moved to weight training. I shed another 22 pounds (10 kilos) and gained some lean muscle mass. The change I saw in the mirror gave momentum to my dreams of competing in a bodybuilding show. I pushed myself harder each day, and today I am sitting at 9% body fat.

My lifting has improved, my nutrition is in place—which couldn't have happened without my wife—and there is more method, purpose, and technique in my training thanks to my coach, Keshavanand Sharma. I train under him at his gym The Body Temple in Dehradun, Uttarakhand India. He has really been a calming influence.

It took about a year for me to get to this stage and I am hungrier than ever. During the last year, I have also completed my BOSU international certification and I also intend to get my Certified Personal Trainer certificate from the American College of Sports Medicine.

Supplement Program

The timing of the supplements has to be spot on.

Morning: 7:30 A.M.
8:45 A.M. Pre-workout
10:00 A.M. Post-workout
11:30 A.M.
3:00 P.M.
5:45 P.M. Pre-workout
7:15 P.M.
10:00 P.M.


Meal 1: 10 a.m.
Meal 2: 11:30 a.m.
Meal 3: 2 p.m.
Meal 4: 4 p.m.
Meal 5: 7:15 p.m.
Meal 6: 9:30 p.m.


I alternate doing A and B cycles every week. This helps me target a particular muscle group from all the angles using different exercises. Every set is done "to failure" using strict form. I also concentrate on keeping my muscles constantly under tension.

Week 1: Cycle A

Day 1: Chest/Biceps/Forearms
Day 2: Quads/Triceps
Day 3: Back/Abs/Calves
Day 4: Hamstrings/Glutes/Delts/Traps
Day 5: Biceps/Triceps/Abs/Calves
Day 6: Thighs/Chest/Lats
Day 7: Rest

"There is a warrior inside me and he wants more. He refuses to give up and wants a new challenge every day."

Week 2: Cycle B

Day 1: Chest/Biceps/Forearms
Morning: Pectorals
Day 2: Thighs/Triceps
Morning: Quadriceps
Day 3: Lats/Back/Abs/Calves
Morning: Lats/Back
Day 4: Hamstrings/Glutes/Delts/Traps
Morning: Hamstrings and Gluteus
Day 5: Biceps/Triceps/Abs/Calves
Morning: Biceps and Triceps
Day 6: Thighs/Chest/Lats
Morning: Thigh Special
Day 7: Rest

Fitness in India

The fitness industry in India is at its nascent stage. Only a tiny fraction, less than 1 percent, of urban Indians have a health club membership. But the new fitness trends are quickly growing and spreading.

Unlike the west, though, we don't have any sponsors whatsoever for amateur or professional bodybuilders. Bodybuilding as a profession is still looked down upon. If there were more opportunities and better support available, we could produce world-class bodybuilders.

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