Shuttle run, belt run & 1000 push-ups: 50-year-old Keralite turns hunk during lockdown

Joby Michael
Joby says he maintains the beard to let the world know that age is just a number. Photo: Gremin Manadan
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The lockdown season has had various positive impacts on people across the world. While some explored newfound interests, some others passionately honed their long-lost skills. Joby Michael Chirayath, who is in his 50s, decided to build up his body a bit. What resulted is an amazing transformation of the man into a hunk sporting six-pack abs!

The physical director at Thiagarajar Polytechnic College in Thrissur for over 20 years, Joby has been staying fit, but he never felt the need to transform his physique. “To be frank, I had no time for it. Coaching camps and college duties kept me busy always. When lockdown forced us indoors, I thought of giving it a try,” he says.

His day starts at 5 am where he went for an hour-long shuttle run (two-three kms) in his courtyard, followed by belt running for 20-minutes in a room, which he has converted into his exercise room. As part of his high-intensity workout regime, Joby does 1000 push-ups a day! But Joby thinks that his greatest achievement is learning superman push-ups.

“Push-ups are not hectic to me. I can do it. I can do 1000 ab moves in five varieties in 40 minutes,” says Joby who is a state-level veteran triple jump champion for the past two years, and has been into power lifting for the past one year. A marathoner too, he is a regular at marathon events in the state.

Joby Michael
Joby Michael with family. Photo: Gremin Manadan

Along with the core strengthening and sculpting regime, Joby made sure that he ate cautiously. He started with a controlled diet, cutting down on carbohydrates, completely avoiding sugar and oil, and including meat, pulses, egg whites and leafy vegetables to his daily food intake. “I avoided rice and had wheat dishes and potatoes as carbs. For protein, six egg whites and boiled chicken would suffice. I eat four times a day, ensuring a 12-hour break between dinner and breakfast the next day.”

Joby weighed 63 kg on the day the lockdown was announced. Now, with seven and a half kg down and more energetic than ever, he admits to feeling young again. “I have never seen myself as a handsome man, not even in my younger days. I feel that I am 18 again,” he laughs.

The photos of the hunk flaunting his perfect chiselled body sporting salt-and-pepper beard oozes charm. Joby says that he maintains the beard to let the world know that age is just a number. “I want to tell people that if one has the will, there’s no need of gym or trainer or protein powder for a toned body and a high self-esteem that comes with it. If there is a little space and the heart to work out, anyone can do it. Just make sure that the exercise is done properly.”

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The physical transformation has shot Joby to fame among his students, friends and those whom he hasn’t even met, calling him up asking for advices and congratulating him for the grit. “Many have started cardio fitness programmes at home. I am happy to be an inspiration to them. But this makes me more responsible now. As a teacher, I am expected to not let my students down,” says Joby, who thanks his family for the support throughout. He adds, “My son John Michlet is my chief advisor. He is the one who has kept motivating me and helping me with training.”

Joby’s wife Dijee Bastian is a professor at Kerala Agricultural University. Their children, John, a class VI student, and Domenica Seventh, studying in class XII, are swimming champions. Lockdown, for the family, was a great time to bond over fitness. “This time, we understood how to develop a creative lifestyle. All that matters is to love your heart and keep it happy. For me, it’s the fitness way,” he concludes.

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