Weight Loss Specialist & Fitness Instructor Dinuka Perera Talks With T&T
Dinuka Perera’s Stats:
Occupation: Fitness/Nutrition Consultant/Weight Loss Specialist
How Did You Get Started In Bodybuilding?
I had an uncle who was an old school bodybuilder in 1960’s and he had this old bench, bar and few plates in his unfinished upstairs which was used as a storage area. This got my attention and I started curling this with the bar without any weights in the beginning, this uncle gave me my first program which was an old school 8 x 3 program with 3 press exercises. Then came the high school gym, around when I was 16 and from that point onwards till now I have been lifting weights one way or the other.
What Workout Routine Has Worked Best For You?
Over the past decade I have possibly tried and done so many various workouts and training methods, with all the collective experience what I figured out is I’m a hard gainer when it comes to gaining muscle, my body has gone through series torture over the past decade with various training methods and martial arts training so I got to go that extra mile when it comes to stimulating muscles if I need to grow them.
Though given my age and stage of life I’m very happy with where I’m today and I’m not looking for adding any serious mass, unless I’m in an commercial assignment that requires more mass. If I’m trying to add any then I find keeping the rest periods less than 1 minute and super setting or adding plyometric or superband sets with 15~20 rep range between each set instead of the rest period has always given me great results.
It will take your intensity over the roof so it will be a sort of a cardio workout as well, while adding some lean muscle. Lately this has become the norm for me, with normal sets I hardly feel anything or getting even the slightest burn, so I had to figure out a way to stimulate the body part I’m working at the time and stimulate it by doing whatever it takes. Super bands can do magic if you throw 1~2 sets in between your sets instead of the rest periods, those are the ones that has helped me to get that extra definition and loose that last layer of fat covering the muscles.
I pay extra attention to basics like full range of motion, form and making sure I’m hitting the muscle that I’m trying to work on etc, it’s all about the fundamentals, if you want to become a master you got to master the fundamentals.
My training split changes all the time and most of the time I do instinctive training based on my schedule, if my schedule is not tight then I do a 3 Days split or a 5 Day split and take the weekend off.
Sample 3 Day Split
Day 1 – Legs
Day 2 – Chest and Back
Day 3 – Shoulders and Arms
Day 4 – Rest Day or I might hit a body part that needs some extra attention like calves
Sample 5 Day Split
Monday – Legs
Tueday – Chest
Wednesday – Shoulders
Thursday – Arms
Friday – Back
Top 3 Favourite Exercises And Why?
Squats – I love squats and I hate squats, If my energy levels are high I will be very excited break my PR, If my energy levels are low I’m like oh f…….rk its squats specially if I’m on low carb and cutting down etc, either way its always a challenge doing squats, the only way you can progress is by challenging your self.
Explosive Jump Squats – This is a great exercise that you can throw in between any of your leg exercises, I usually superset between my squats or throw them anywhere I fell like, no matter where you throw it will give great results if you are training at the right intensity.
Try this just before your last two sets of squats: Do 20 reps of explosive jump squats instead of the rest period, then increase weight and complete your last set of Squats, then immediately do 20 full motion Jump Squats, you will be luck y if you can walk straight, given that you are using a reasonable weight/reps during your squats.
Calf Raises – I thought I had trouble making my calves grow, but after reading “Education of a Bodybuilder” by Arnold I realized how much trouble Arnold had developing his calves. Enough said and its always a game day when I have to train calves.
Favourite Form Of Cardio?
Simply HIIT and it does not seems steady state cardio has any affect on me, It’s just plain boring and I don’t like to waste my time on the treadmill while watching tv, In a cutting stage I do early morning HIIT on an empty stomach for about 20 minutes followed by some core or plyometric work, and as stated above my workouts are very intense with very short rest periods so the workout itself is cardio a workout. Back in the days I did steady state cardio and it haven’t given me any great results. It’s more time-consuming and the other hand HIIT is short and you can perform a session in quite short period of time.
Time is always a concern for me and if anything saves time I would always go for that, but in this case it’s both time and results HIIT has given me over steady state. HIIT can save me 10 minutes per session and I do 3~4 cardio sessions per week. It saves 30 minutes per week, in a year 30 x 52 = 1560 minutes = 26 Hours per year.
If it saves 1 full day per year, I don’t think I need a better reason to do HIIT.
What Is Your Diet Like?
I was an avid Men’s Health reader in my early twenties and thanks to Men’s Health I came across “Gregg Avedon” though his column on Men’s Health Magazine. After a while I decided to get his book for Healthy eating and Muscle Building called “Muscle Chow”. From that point onwards I started learning (Obsessed would be the correct word I believe) about Nutrition and making eating healthy habits part of everyday life. This has paid off for me so tremendously and it has been one of the primary pillars of my success for where I’m today and building this physique.
My diet is quite clean through out the week and I take it easy on the weekend with 1~2 cheat meals during the weekend. During this journey I have tried possibly all the diets on the planet and after all these experiments I realized a balanced diet is the key to success in building a great physique. Discipline is good, but you can’t be disciplined all year long, most likely you going to burn out sooner or later based on how much will power you have got, and specially if you have got family, kids etc balanced approach is the best.
Fruits are a big part of my daily routine, apples, oranges , blueberry, spinach etc and lean protein sources like chicken breast, tuna, wild salmon and of course eggs.
I always keep carbs on the watch unless it’s a cheat meal and when ever I have a high carb meal I always have protein shake on top of that to balance out the glycemic effect.
Egg salad or omelette with 4 egg whites,2 whole eggs, onions, pepper and tomato
½ Cup plain boiled oats
Smoothie with below ingredients
Whey protein 1 scoop, 1 fresh orange, ½ cup blueberries and ½ cup spinach
Grilled or baked chicken or fish
Big leafy green salad or vegetables
Sweet potato or brown rice
½ Apple or grapefruit
Evening Snack (Pre Workout)
Salmon or tuna
Sweet potato or brown rice
Handful of dry fruit – prunes,dates,rasins
Post workout whey protein shake with ground flax seeds
Optional – creatine
Grilled or baked chicken or fish
Big leafy green salad or vegetables
Low glycemic fruit
Any Classic Healthy Meals That You Always Eat? What Is Your Favourite Cheat Meal?
Classic Healthy Meal:
Below is my classic healthy breakfast recipe, its bit high in carbs and calories but its breakfast and helps me to start the day with full of energy.
• ½ Cup of plain boiled oats [Old fashioned, not the quick 1 minute type] • ½ Banana
• ½ Apple
• 10 Unsalted almonds, if salted just wash off the salt
• 1 Tbsp of ground flax seeds
• 1 Scoop ON All Natural Vanilla or Chocolate Whey Protein Powder
How to Prepare:
Boil the oats with 1~1.5 cups of water, chop the ½ apple, ½ banana, almonds altogether in to small cubes, add to the boiled oats in a large bowl, finally add the protein and Flax seeds, mix well and you know the rest.
I’m not a junk food fan and being a nutritionist I have dug quite deep into fast food industry, so definitely it’s not a burger with fries.
Usually it’s up to my wife as she pretty much end up eating what I eat throughout the week so when the weekend comes out its relaxed and I take it easy on the weekend. In most cases we would probably go out to all you can eat restaurant where there is wide variety of food choices. Just because it’s cheat meal I don’t start stuffing up myself with all the free food, All-you-can-eat restaurants always have loads lean protein choices so the first thing I would do is grab my share of protein with some lean chicken dish or fish etc and enjoy reasonable amount of carbs through any of the other food choices available, it could be pizza, ice cream, cake, or some bread or what ever is available or I feel like eating.
I have few rules for the cheat meal, first the lean proteins, and then some cheat food. The last thing I would do is stuff my self with tomato or broccoli either as I eat enough of those during the week, when it’s the time for the cheat meal I don’t try to replace the cheat meal with tomato and broccoli.
Its always about the balance, the more balanced you are the more longer you will run. In most cases I try to avoid the cheat meal for dinner so I don’t go to bed with all those excess calories in the system.
What Supplements Do You Use?
I simply do the basics and try to stay as natural as possible. There are many definitions for being natural and my version of being natural is, if I can supplement that though food, its OK to supplement that through supplementation, you can supplement protein through food, so Whey Protein is good to go, so is Creatine and L-Glutamine.
Below is my supplement stack:
• Whey protein – Optimum Nutrition And Dymatize Nutrition Have Great Tasting All Natural Versions.
• L-Glutamine – Optimum Nutrition
• Creatine – Optimum Nutrition
• Omega 3’s – Fish Oil, Flax Oil, And Ground Flax Seeds
• Greens Powder – Amazing Grass or Barleans
• Berry Powder – Barleans and PhytoBerry
• Vitamin C – Fat Burning Power Of These Is Heavily Underestimated
• Multivitamin – Optimen, Alive All Natural
• Antioxidants – COQ 10, Alpha Lipoic Acid and Grape Seed Extract
What Are Your Tips For Success For Beginners?
Train with a purpose, don’t train for the wrong reasons. These days some guys are trying to build muscle not because they want it but to impress other people, whether it be friends or the opposite sex it’s not a good enough reason if one of those are the reasons they are trying to build muscle or get ripped. It’s such a waste of time and life to spend all that time, money, energy, blood, sweat and tears to impress a third-party. If you really need lasting results and change the path of your life then you really got to train with all your heart and a purpose.
If you are one of those types, STOP doing it for all the wrong reasons, be honest with yourself, have some integrity and ask yourself why I’m going through all this pain? If you answer no matter what “I love this sh.t” you are in there for all the right reasons and I’m right beside you, but if you can’t justify or even doubtful why you’re doing it think again if it is worth all the trouble and specially the pain if you really want to be in this for the long run.
It takes a lot more to hang in there when times get tough, you won’t last unless you’re doing it from your heart and your soul. The only thing that’ll keep you going is just the love of the game and the burning desire to better yourself which will eventually lead you to a better life and a purpose. If that’s not the reason you are “Pumping Iron” end of your stint at the gym should be around the corner. Just ask yourself if you will be doing this if this was the last day of your life?
Have A Clear Vision Of Your Goals
Have a goal on what you want to accomplish physically, most of the guys just go to gym, Throw some weights here and there hoping they will look good or even get ripped though inside their head they have no clue on what they actually want to achieve.
This is way too common sense, how you going to get there if you don’t know where you want to go? You have to have a very clear understanding of what exactly you want to do, Build Muscle, or Get Shredded, Get a Six pack, or even look like Jay Cutler if that is what you want.
Whatever that goal and vision has to be imprinted in your mind then you can start working towards that goal by analyzing where you stand, see the distance you need to go then devise a plan to get there. The plan is learning about the muscles and how to stimulate them and make them grow, nutrition and supplementation and whatever else that will take you to your goal.
Not many guys ever do this, they just get a workout from the coach or even download and start mimicking the workout most of the time.
At a minimum you should pay some attention to this plan and learn about how your body works, how to feed it with the correct nutrition etc, if you start doing this slowly you will start to see your body taking the form you want it to be.
Get A Mentor
This is exactly what I did very long time ago, I picked a world class mentor who was top in his game, then I started to listen to his advice and pretty much did everything he did filtering out what didn’t apply to me.
Coach Vince Lombardi said
“You can’t attain perfection, but if you chase perfection you will catch excellence”
This is exactly what I did over a ten years ago, even I have not heard the above quote at that time, I looked up for the most perfect physical specimen I could found on the planet and started chasing it. Find a good role model, who’s been there, done that and walking the talk, start following them and definitely you will find excellence if you are dedicated and consistent.
What Is The Best Advice You Have Ever Been Given?
Do the work, pay your dues and be patient, Rome wasn’t built in aa day. You reap what you sow.
Did You Make Any Mistakes When You First Started Out?
You name it and I’ve probably done it at some point, but for education purpose of the readers I will name few very common but ignored areas, bad form, short range of motion, over train, lifting too heavy, not training legs, ignoring the fascia, missing the kinetic chain, ignoring the core, bad tempo and I could type all day, my biggest one was not learning enough about human body, nutrition and not paying attention to details.
I think those two are the biggest ones still out there hindering anyone’s progress or the reason they are stuck at that plateau.
Where Does Your Motivation Come From?
I have experienced the benefits of being fit and healthy first hand from a long time, it can make a real difference in your life and take it to a whole new level, get you many new opportunities and open many new doors like being featured here. The possibilities are limitless. It can make a lasting difference in your family, friends and people around you. You can make an impact on their lives and help them achieve their fitness goals and a healthier life style.
Other than that it would be my family and being a father, being the best version of myself is a given and I take no excuses for that, to serve the best I can, I shall be in the best possible state I could be. Simple as that.
“Obsession is the starting point of greatness, go out there and make a dent on the universe” – Robin Sharma
“For me life is continuously being hungry. The meaning of life is not simply to exist, to survive, but to move ahead, to go up, to achieve, to conquer.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger
“Everybody pities the weak, Jealousy you have to earn.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“Perfection is not attainable, but if you chase perfection, you will catch excellence.” – Vince Lombardi.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” – Aristotle
“Be proud of how far you have come and have faith in how far you can go.”- Christian Larson.
“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time” – Thomas A. Edison
“If you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right” – Henry Ford
Weight Loss/Nutrition Questions:
What Is The Most Common Question You Are Asked?
I think its “How can I lose weight”?
This comes in many different formats, styles, wordings etc, but when you drill down the question to the bottom of it final interpretation is the same.
What Is Your General Advice To The Average Gym-Goer?
First have a goal on what you need to achieve, once you have the goal make plan on how to achieve that goal. Stick to the plan till you reach the goal while measuring your progress. If you are not progressing then your plan is not working. Remember the old saying “What got you here want get you there” so always keep watching on how you doing and if you are not doing well you need to modify or change the plan accordingly. If you stick to this simple method you can achieve almost any goal you desire.
What Are 5 Simple Things People Can Implement Into Their Routine/Diet To Achieve Great Results?
Pay Attention To The Basics
If you need to become a master you got to master the basics like form, tempo, mind muscle connection, full range of motion, kinetic chain etc.
Warm Up Or Foam Rolling
Do some warm up sets or some foam rolling this will help you stretch the muscles and release of the tension out of the muscles before you hit them hard, it will warm up the fascia and get your muscles ready, give some disaster preparedness notice, that a storm is coming so be prepared.
Keep The Body Guessing. Challenge It
We all perform better when we’re under pressure, same with your body you have to push it and keep it on edge, while respecting its limitations. Remember if it does not challenge you then its does not change you.
Intensity Is Key
Keep your intensity on the check, forget the old adage “Rip and Rebuild Is the name of the game” intensity is the name of the game. Rip and rebuild is the science, unless you train at the required intensity you will not rip anything for the rebuild process to kick in.
Get The Magic Pill
There is one magic pill that can do anything and will take you anywhere you want go. It’s the Right mindset, so get your mind right. It’s all about your beliefs, if you think you can you will do it, if you think you can’t you won’t do it.
“Nothing can stop a person with the right mindset from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help a person with the wrong mindset” Thomas Jefferson
1. Plan your meals for the week in advance, if you do so very unlikely you are going to fall off the wagon wondering what you are going to eat for a specific meal on specific day. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail
2. Try to keep your blood sugar levels regulated through out the day, eating 5~6 small meals throughout the day is the key here, This will prevent sudden drop of blood sugar levels which will result in unexpected binges.
3. Add more vegetables and fruits to your diet, don’t worry about the calories or carbs in vegetables and fruits (Except Banana and Pineapple). The benefits you will receive are much higher than the carb content.
4. Stay away from processed and refined food as much as you can, and when you consume pay attention and consume mindfully.
5. Feed your body with all the proper nutrients it needs for proper functioning, the key to lasting sustainable weight loss is feeding your body right with all the nutrients it need, though most current diets on the marketplace suggest the opposite most of the time, which suggests to cut the calories and put the body in a nutrient deficient state and force the body to lose few pounds, this will work for few of pounds which will gain back later with interest.
What Is Your Advice To Lose Those Last 10-15lbs?
This is a tough one for most people, most people lose most of their unwanted weight but get to a plateau in this last 10-15lbs. Here is what to do in my opinion.
Remember “What got you here wont get you there”
Human body is the most sophisticated adopting machine that was ever created, the adopting abilities of the human body is so marvellous and its way too smarter than us or the diet guru’s who create endless fad diets. So if you lose some weight and hit that plateau what you need to do is change what you have been doing as your body has already adopted to the process and not responding anymore.
Hitting harder with more intensity and cutting down even less calories is definitely not the thing to do here, but this has become the norm these days.
Tips To Break A Plateau:
• Change your workout, and add more variety – Try different exercises, different machines, do different types of cardio like swimming, mountain biking or hiking
• Change your diet – Do this while keeping a close eye at the nutrient density of the new foods you are adding to your diet
• Add fat burning foods to your diet – Ex red chillies, apples, grapefruit etc.
• Take some supporting supplements for weight loss – A good omega 3 fish oil supplement, some extra vitamin C with daily meals and a multivitamin if this is not already incorporated in your regimen.
As a last resort if none of the above seems to break the plateau carb cycling might be an option, but I rarely recommend this option unless for professional competitors or fitness models.
What Are Some Weight Loss Myths You Encounter A Lot?
As a weight loss specialist and nutrition consultant deciphering these myths are a big part of our job. Unfortunately the more we decipher the more seems to be getting invented by someone or some fad diet. It does not seem to get any easier or any better any soon.
In my opinion these myths are part of the industry and fuel the weight loss industry in some way. Imagine there was no weight loss myths and everybody knew exactly how to lose weight? So the best we can do is to decipher these myths in a better way normal people can understand and help them reach their goals.
What Are Your Future Goals, Dreams And Plans?
Right now my top priority is to take my Fitness Education and Nutrition Consulting Company to the next level and expand to other parts of the world. We want to help and educate as much as people we can on fitness and healthy lifestyle. The power of “Healthy Living” is heavily underestimated these days and key to that is “Fitness and Nutrition”.
In most part of the world and in many countries there is a massive lack of education on fitness and specially nutrition area, people are suffering with many diseases due to the chemicals and artificial “crap” they eat everyday without even knowing and taking their lives down the drain. People are not aware of what they can achieve or how they can take their life to the next level if they were physically fit and had a healthy lifestyle. People who have achieved this already know this, but there so many people out there who does not know this or how to get there.
We have developed a series of signature seminars that can help anybody to understand the benefits of fitness, nutrition and then make lifestyle changes and take their life to the next level. There is so much misinformation out there with so many fad diets, fad weight loss programs etc so choosing the right path seems to be quite difficult, the reason for that lack of education on health and nutrition.
Our goal is to help as much as people possible to make the correct decisions, it’s not rocket science, but for some reason not many people understand this fundamental concept, “Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live”.
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Photo Credit: Nick James [Sanjaphoto.com]