I lost 157 pounds in 2 years – “pain free” exercise was key

When he wanted to undo, he turned to the sled.

An obese tech entrepreneur who landed in hospital due to heart palpitations credits a heavy sled with helping him lose almost half his body weight in two years.

I kept thinking, one day I’ll lose weight, one day I’ll get in shape, until one day I landed in a hospital emergency room. I clearly remember that moment, lying in the hospital bed, when I decided to take charge of my health, Dhruv Agarwala, 53, told the South China Morning Post this week.

Agarwala reached his peak weight of 334 pounds in February 2021, had a heart attack eight months later, during a business trip to India.

The Singapore-based CEO lost about 157 pounds in February 2023, dropping four shirt sizes from 3XL to medium.

An obese tech entrepreneur credits a heavy sled (also known as a push or sled marauder) with helping him lose nearly half his body weight in two years. South China Morning Post / Dhruv Agarwala

Dhruv Agarwala reached his highest weight of 334 pounds in February 2021. Dhruv Agarwala

Dhruv Agarwala reached his highest weight of 334 pounds in February 2021. Dhruv Agarwala

I stopped all medications in November 2021. My cholesterol and blood pressure levels are normal now, I’m off the sleep apnea machine and I’m no longer pre-diabetic, Agarwala told the Hong Kong newspaper.

Agarwala, who has an MBA from Harvard Business School and is the co-founder and chief executive of real estate technology platform REA India, initially set a goal of dropping 110 pounds.

He was inspired by the physique of retired tennis player Roger Federer, 42, who weighs 187 pounds, according to tour stats.

Agarwala agreed to participate in strength training sessions three times a week, walk at least 12,000 steps each day and push a heavy sled to build muscle mass.

Agarwala agreed to participate in strength training sessions three times a week, walk at least 12,000 steps each day and push a heavy sled to build muscle mass.  Dhruv Agarwala

Agarwala agreed to participate in strength training sessions three times a week, walk at least 12,000 steps each day and push a heavy sled to build muscle mass. Dhruv Agarwala

Mens Health reports that pushing and pulling a sled loaded with weights may be the best-kept secret to building muscle and burning fat without pain.

The benefits of a sled push exercise are enormous. It engages your quads, hamstrings, calves and glutes and also strengthens your core muscles, Farren Morgan, founder of The Tactical Athlete, told British magazine T3 last year.

It’s also a great cardio workout that gets your heart rate up and engages your entire body, Morgan added. This results in a high calorie burn and is a great way to improve your endurance as it challenges your cardiovascular system.

Justin Timberlake, 43, pushed a sled carrying 440 pounds to help drop 24 pounds last year, while Khlo Kardashian, 39, added daughter True, 5, to her workout routine sledding last month.

Heavy sleds are popular with celebrities like Justin Timberlake and Khlo Kardashian.  Getty Images

Heavy sleds are popular with celebrities like Justin Timberlake and Khlo Kardashian. Getty Images

For her part, Agarwala also transformed her diet by giving up alcohol and reducing her calorie intake to less than 1,700 a day.

I was used to eating unhealthy food, which was hard to give up. I had tried the Atkins and South Beach diets and intermittent fasting in the past, but I didn’t find them sustainable, Agarwala told the South China Morning Post.

The Aha! The moment for me was when I realized I could eat whatever I wanted as long as I controlled the portions, she added.

The India native says he eats at least 120 grams of protein at every meal, with cooked vegetables, grilled chicken and fish as a starting point.

His metamorphosis has increased his energy levels, which means he can work even harder in the gym.

Agarwala also transformed her diet by giving up alcohol and reducing her calorie intake to less than 1,700 a day.  Dhruv Agarwala

Agarwala also transformed her diet by giving up alcohol and reducing her calorie intake to less than 1,700 a day. Dhruv Agarwala

The Aha!  The moment for me was when I realized I could eat whatever I wanted as long as I controlled the portions, she said.  Dhruv Agarwala

The Aha! The moment for me was when I realized I could eat whatever I wanted as long as I controlled the portions, she said. Dhruv Agarwala

Gone are the heart palpitations that sent him to the hospital that turned out to be heartburn.

It was the wake-up call he needed, Agarwala confessed.


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