(Featured in Masala Lite January 2013, Thailand)
[For the original article please click on the link below]
Once you get past Shervin’s dimpled smile and ripped body, you’ll find a deeply spiritual guy. Often talking about God and how he wants to make a difference, he also talks of his passion for bodybuilding. Once at 135 kilos, 30 year–old Shervin Sondhi, made a resolution to get fit. And boy, did he. Now, a frequent at noted bodybuilding competitions such as the Siam and Latchford Classic, he has gone from being a gawky teen to an Asian Hercules. Here he speaks of his heartbreaks, finding God, and of course, lifting weights. —REENA KARIM
What was your childhood like?
I was born in Iran during the Iran-Iraq war. A few years later my family moved to Delhi because my father felt a warzone was no environment to raise a family. We lived in India for a year then moved to Dubai where my mother started a fitness and beauty spa. So I grew up with the fitness centre as my playground.
How did you start lifting?
By the time I was 18 I had hit 135 kilos, my worst point. I had just started college and had a bad breakup with my first girlfriend. After 2-3 months of sulking, my mom forced me back into boxing and basketball. Once I was in the gym soon enough things started to change.
Were you training under someone?
Just before I left Dubai in 2007, I had met this personal trainer Amin Shirazi. He saw me working out at the gym, but I lacked technique and diet principles, which he noticed right away. He offered to train me and the progress was unbelievable. It sealed my new journey into fitness forever. I partied less, stopped drinking, and enjoyed cooking healthy meals. It was just a feeling of bliss.
What does your diet look like?
I eat more of the Paleo diet, consisting of whole natural foods, and I stay away from anything processed. A cave man diet of sorts, rich in meat, lentils, fruits, greens, nuts and lots of water.
What was your favourite bodybuilding moment?
My first competition was in Mumbai, Mr. Maharashtra, in 2009. I was training partners with Amit Roy, who won the title. One of the Bodybuilding Association members said I should compete. I learned all I could from him and my coach and close friend Mohamed Roghani in Oxygen Gym in Tehran. During my personal pose, the crowd jumped to their feet and screamed, “Once more!” It was too modern and unprofessional according to the contest standards, and they stopped my posing routine when the crowd got too wild.
What brought you here to Thailand?
After the Mumbai Competition in 2009, my childhood friend from Dubai was going to Thailand for a Muay Thai camp. I came here with him for six weeks and fell in love with everything! I decided to transfer my credits to Webster University Thailand. I moved here in 2009 and made Hua Hin my new home.
How did you end up competing in Thailand?
I used to train in Power Zone gym in Din Dang in Bangkok, and many of the pro bodybuilders there encouraged me. I competed in the Latchford Classic in 2010 and did not qualify. In 2011, I went back for round two and to my delight, I won third place. In October this year, I competed in The Siam Classic, Thailand’s largest bodybuilding contest. It was an awesome experience because many people remember me from other contests and cheered for me by my Thai name Singto, meaning “like a lion”. I made the top ten and it was definitely a stepping stone in my career here and for the future.
How do you prepare for a competition?
I go through conditioning, using calorie cuts and lots of balanced cardio. I also have to cut my water intake the last two days to get all the water out from under my skin so that the judges see only the fine muscle fibers and striations in every detail. Low sugar and sodium depletion helps us look like Greek statues.
What type of guy is Shervin Sondhi outside of the gym?
Many people would not think it because of the way I look and my profession, but I am very spiritual and universally connected. I was born in a Hindu/Muslim household but was always given freedom of will and choice. On my journey I practiced a lot of religions, but never felt a supernatural connection. A high school friend had a near death experience but getting to know Jesus Christ saved his life. After spending time with him, I too felt the same and realised my potential in a spiritual sense. Even my family embraced my spirituality, and that has been a great blessing and has made my life much easier.