• April 20, 2024

Dumindha Meddegoda

Dumindha Meddegoda is 27 years old and works in Corporate Finance, Treasury & Strategy. What makes him win in the corporate jungle and in life is his dedication to training and staying in great shape. His story, in his own words, will motivate and inspire you to hit the gym and get in the best possible shape to reap the benefits of fitness in all aspects of your life.

How did I get in to fitness / how did I get started?

I started training at the age of 18, and this was simply to put on some muscle and size to my skinny frame; I was only 59kgs at the time. I used to play football at school and had a very difficult time putting on weight. In hindsight, I realise that was predominantly because I just wasn’t eating anywhere near enough food to exceed my daily caloric expenditure. I knew nothing about training or nutrition when I started, and information was not nearly as widely available as it is now. I figured going to the gym thrice a week would be enough.
After school, I moved to London for university, studying for a Masters in Civil Engineering at Imperial College London. This is when I actually started to make some sort of visible progress. As I made progression and gains, I learnt to appreciate the discipline that the training brought (and obviously the gains). Since university, I’ve become less concerned with how much weight I am lifting. Proper form and time under tension will get you far better results than just lifting as much weight as you can, and it will also massively reduce the risk of injury. I currently weigh between 78 – 79kgs.

Why do I train?

The results are addictive and they keep you pushing. But it’s not only the physical transformation aspect; the mental discipline and effort that it takes to regularly push through training after finishing work at 7pm (I’m not talking about doing it once or twice a week here, 4 days a week for 4+ years). This commitment pushes you to do more in other aspects of your life too. For me, fitness is a lifestyle more than anything else. Choosing to have such a lifestyle goes beyond the gym and what you do in the gym. It’s where the other aspects of your life are also in sync with what you do in the gym. For me that means my eating habits and diet (don’t get me wrong, I love the occasional ice cream) but when I am eating healthier, I feel better about myself. A “Fit Lifestyle” also means you get adequate rest and allow your body to recover. There’s nothing quite like getting in a great workout. It has positive knock on effects on the rest of your life.

What motivates me to keep going and to push harder?

My single biggest motivator today is still the late Greg Plitt. If you guys haven’t heard of him, definitely check his videos out! When people approach me and ask me for advice on training etc. that in itself motivates me to keep pushing. Knowing that I’ve motivated others to train is pretty inspiring.

What has been my biggest challenge?

I injured my lower back in May 2015 and it kept me from lifting any weights for 2 months. That was the longest break I had taken since I started lifting at 18. I had to return to the gym and work on stretching and mobility. And even after that I was lifting a fraction of what I did before. Coming back in to the gym wasn’t easy but it’s about being determined enough to push through.

Balancing work and fitness

This has been a challenge for the past 9 years, ever since I started lifting weights! And it doesn’t get any easier; you just learn to manage your time better. My final year of University and then my postgraduate studies saw my workload pick up significantly, finding time to train wasn’t easy. I had to make it a priority and in return it paid good dividends; getting a good workout was a great stress reliever and a good break from studying! When I moved back to Sri Lanka, I started working at MAS Holdings, in the Corporate Finance, Treasury and Strategic Planning Function. This is a cross functional team where no day is the same. It was a big change to get used to at first, from studying engineering to working in Corporate Finance. But I get bored easily, so a dynamic role was ideal. Again, working out and working aren’t always the easiest combination. If I have work to finish off for the next day, I’ll make sure to get my workout (the gym closes at 9) and then finish off my work at home. Sometimes you just have to put in the work and sacrifice a bit of sleep.

Working Out When Travelling

My work sometimes requires me to travel both within the country and out. Obviously travel makes it very difficult to stick to a workout routine and a meal plan but the important thing is to try your best to stay on track. What I often do is try and find a gym where I can squeeze in a workout. It might not be my full workout because often you’re crunched for time and hotel gyms are small with very limited equipment, so you have to improvise. I might do a full body routine utilizing just dumbbells. The key though is not to set yourself back too much. You might think that you’ve put on “fat” after just a week of travel, but if you’ve maintained a reasonable diet and managed to train a couple of times, there’s nothing to worry about. The “fat gain” is not really fat; it’s more likely to be excess water which is simply your body’s acute reaction to its circumstances (e.g. inconsistent levels of sodium).

What are my favorite exercises and body parts to train?

the moment is back, I just love getting in volume and a crazy pump. It was one of my weakest muscle groups and seeing progress over the years is a pretty good feeling.

My favorite exercises have to be:

  • Pull ups – I think this is the best overall upper-body exercise. It beats the bench press, rows etc. A lot of the time, experienced lifters dismiss it. If doing 15 pull ups is easy, add resistance!
  • Dumbbell pullovers – great for hitting your serratus and getting an awesome stretch in your diaphragm
  • Incline dumbbell bench press
  • Standing hammer curls – because who doesn’t like curls!

What is my current training philosophy?

At the moment, I’m following a push, pull, legs split. Where I train 3 days in a row and take one day off. However with work and other

commitments, I inevitably miss a day here and there. So I’m not too boxed in by my plan. It’s important to be flexible and work around your other commitments. So I might train 2 days in a row, take a day off and get back.

I’ve decided to give this three day split a go in order to train each muscle group almost twice a week. I want to see how my body responds to the increased frequency of training. Before this year, I was following a very segmented split, where I would train each muscle group once per week (your standard bodybuilding type split).

What is my approach to nutrition?

My approach to nutrition has changed so much over the years. hat I realized the importance of caloric intake, and even then it was more about consuming a total number of calories rather than paying attention to macro nutrient split. I started off by trying to eat as clean as I could whilst shooting for approximately 3000 calories a day and a protein intake of about 180g. This has stayed relatively consistent over the past few years. The only change being in my views on flexible dieting or IIFYM (if it fits your macros). Based on the scientific research out there and the results that others have got using flexible dieting, I personally think it’s an effective style of diet and one that is relatively easy to stick to.

With more sources of fitness/nutritional knowledge out there, I’ve gradually educated myself in the different principles. And now it’s just about striking a balance between eating what I enjoy and clean eating. I don’t count macronutrients (macros) but I do “guesstimate” them and I’ve read enough nutritional labels to be able to do that. I would recommend anyone who has never done that to try it for a month.

When dieting, go for something that you can sustain over a period of time and that doesn’t deprive you of everything you like. I strongly advise against crash diets, they just don’t give you long term results. People nowadays are always looking for the easiest route, however there is no easy route. You just have to put in the work, consistently over a period of time. Your physique is 60% diet, 30% training and 10% rest.

What are my best tips for someone looking to reach their dream physique?

advice to someone would be, find something you enjoy doing, but at the same time challenges you. It might be lifting weights, running, playing football. Find whatever it is you enjoy doing because sticking to it and performing that activity regularly is important.

Favorite Quote:

Greg Plitt- “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain”.

If you can embrace this in and out of the gym, you’re heading in the right direction.

Lex Fitness – “Lift it, don’t shift it”

Unknown – “If you’re having a difficult day, think of it as a character building day”

Greg Plitt – “You are what you do repeatedly. If excellence is something you’re striving for, then it’s not an accident. It’s a habit.”

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