Ashwet Sthapit: SCRAWNY TO BRAWNY
Photos: Bibhas Maharjan Suwal
Ashwet Sthapit pays his dues at the Pitbull Gym, Chucchepati and has been doing so for the last 2 years. The muscle bound figure you see today wasn’t sculpted by sitting on the couch in front of the television. A scrawny 65 kg party animal, Ashwet took life by the scruff of its neck and transformed himself into 85 kgs of mass and even took part in a nationwide bodybuilding championship.
He shares his experience throughout the journey which transformed his petite frame into that of a Greek god.
When did you consciously start focusing on fitness? How did you get into it?
It was almost 2 years ago that I told myself it was time to get back into shape. It wasn’t like I got jumped into the gym and started pumping iron. First I started with morning jogs and bodyweight exercises every morning for a few months, and then I thought to myself it was time to make some serious muscle development.
At the time you started working out, were you aiming to get into bodybuilding? Or did something else motivate you to get into it?
Bodybuilding and fitness became a passion for me really quickly. I believe people should do what the love, if they want to be happy. Success comes to you easier that way. For me, the first step into the gym, was a moment of triumph. After a few days of training I knew what I wanted, and I went straight to my trainer, and told him that I wanted to compete in the Nationals someday.
Do you have a certain philosophy regarding fitness?
Yes, I absolutely do. I believe in mind over matter. First of all comes the most basic philosophy of fitness, which every person who trains should know, No Pain No Gain. Now these are 4 simple words combined, but it has a strong effect on you and your time at the gym. When you are lifting weights, heavy or light, the continuous reps, and never-ending sets will hurt – very much. Eventually, a time will come when the pain will seem unbearable and you will want to give up. Your mind will tell you to give up, due to the excruciating pain your are feeling deep inside your muscle tissue, but what you have to understand is that your mind fails, before your body actually does. If you can slowly overcome this barrier, you will make more gains. I believe everything in the universe has a nature of changing, change comes with acceptance, and this is how I overcame pain. If you can somehow train your mind to love the pain you will win. When you’re sore, you develop muscle. Of course, there is the good pain you get when you work out at the gym and then there is the pain which signals there is something wrong. Do consult with your trainer if you feel any kind of discomfort, besides the muscle soreness that feels oh so good.
Tell us about your transformation, fitness journey and your involvement in competitive bodybuilding?
It has been a long and exciting journey. I started bodybuilding 2 years ago. Transformation for me took place in my mind before my body. A person becomes what he thinks he wants to be. So, I first made a sketch of what I wanted to look like, and more importantly what I wanted to be as a person. Then I dedicated myself to become that person. When I first entered the gym I weighed a lean 65 kgs. The first week at the gym was basic exercises, later I indulged in more intense weightlifting. It’s actually not about how long it takes to transform but more about how eagerly you train every day , how hard you train to make every minute at the gym count, and – as I like to pit it — kill it! It’s important to set goals and stay disciplined. I did everything my trainer told me to do down to the nitty-gritties. I ate, slept, and trained, exactly the way I was told to. When you regularly train dirty and eat clean and rest properly, the results starts to show. As it did for me. From a lean 65 kg I went to a 80 kg heavy built person in my first year. It felt good to be big. The instructors were awesome and I owe a lot of my success to my guru. His training and trust in my ability, is one of the main reasons to have gotten me this far. I competed in the National Bodybuilding Championship this year. It was a fruitful experience. I had a lot of fun, and a great experience out of it. Training for it was the best part. Almost 6 hours of training every day for 2 months, is something I will never forget in my life.
Your lifestyle must have gone through a massive over haul, tell us about it.
I was a party animal back then. That was my lifestyle. Now, I live a more disciplined life. A lot of changes have taken place when I made the switch in lifestyle. When you change your lifestyle everything connecting with it changes, that means the people you associate with. Also habits change. I was a smoker and a drinker back then. For the past two years I have been eating healthy, I don’t smoke, I drink plenty of water, and also alcohol has been replaced by Whey Protein.
Which was the most difficult thing to do for you, in order to bring the change you were lookingfor in your body?
Quitting cigarettes was pretty hard. Besides that, consistency is the key. You have to train hard every day, and it’s hard to do that sometimes. But I get through.
Is there someone who you take as an inspirational figure?
Yes, for me it’s the one and only Arnold Schwarzenegger. An average guy from Austria who won the Mr. Olympia title 7 times and also became the Governor of the State of California. What a man!
In your opinion, what things should one focus on most when it comes to building muscle?
There are a few main things actually. You have to be in the correct state of mind, which means you can’t be too worried or moody. You have to eat right. Train hard (but safe at the same time), sleep properly and drink plenty of water.
By how much did your measurements change?
My Guru Kishor Dai always gives this example. Suppose you gained 10 kgs in the gym, imagine you are buying that much meat at the butchers. How many bags would be filled by that much meat and how many people could you feed? A LOT! I gained 15 kgs and went up to having 17.5 inch arms and 10 inches + gains in chest size at one point. My gains skyrocketed.
Which is the most difficult body part to train and develop for you?
For me it was my shoulders and leg muscles.
What supplements do you use? How important is it?
There are a few basic supplements that I use. I take Whey Protein, Creatine, Amino acids and BCAAs. These supplements help develop lean muscle, recover the muscles and also give you that extra power while training. Supplementation is a very basic and important part of bodybuilding. Supplements fuel your muscles with necessary nutrients, which isn’t possible through your regular foods alone. You do need to be aware of what products you are using and where you get them. I get all my supplements from Pump and Power ltd.
What is the best suggestion you’ve received regarding fitness and bodybuilding?
Don’t compare yourself with others; only compete with the person you were yesterday. Bikash Rai told me this.
What’s on your workout music playlist?
I don’t have one actually. I like to be aware of my surroundings while I train. Safety first!
I was a party animal back then. That was my lifestyle.Now, I live a more disciplined life.