On his wedding day in 2001, Solomon Thomas, a photographer with Malayala Manorama, weighed 78kg. Sixteen years later, in 2017, when his weight shot up to 98kg, Solomon felt the heat and went straight to a gym.
"I joined Titanium Fitness Club, Jagathy in Thiruvananthapuram, did workouts for more than a year under the guidance of Sankar Ramesh. Later, he asked me to try bodybuilding," says Solomon.
Solomon took the advice seriously and concentrated on body building with an unflinching commitment. His perseverance paid off in 2018 – he was 46 at that time - when he won gold in the Thiruvananthapuram District Body Building Championship in the above 40 years category. He continued his impressive show, retaining the title in 2019.
"It took a lot of hard work, pain, tears, injuries, sacrifice, dedication, passion, struggle to get to this point. But this is not the end, this is just perhaps the end of the beginning. I always keep saying, 'You can do it'", he says.
Solomon had shed 14kg - from 98kg to 84kg - in just six months, thanks to a rigorous fitness training regime and a low-fat diet.
"In body building there are two types of diets. One is to gain size and the other is to achieve lean muscle for competition,” he says.
The low-fat diet Solomon follows includes, chapatti, basmati rice, oats, chicken, egg white, vegetable salads, fruits and dry fruits. He also drinks 7 to 8 litres of water everyday.
His diet for lean muscle includes predominantly egg whites and chicken. He also drinks of juice of carrot, beat root and cucumber.
He completely avoids white sugar, coffee, tea, ice creams, pastry cakes and oily foods.
Solomon's tryst with sports, in fact, began when he was a Class 6 student at M.D. Seminary school in Kottayam. The 11-year-old began learning the nuances of wrestling from Kottayam Gymnasium, and went on to win state championships four times.
Solomon, who lives in Thiruvananthapuram, admits that he has achieved the feat by the support of his family, trainer, friends and, above all, his never-say-die attitude. “It is a wonderful moment standing with the Champions title,” he quips, “but winning gold is not an easy thing.”