Kal is the founder of Kalibre Fitness, a weight training enthusiast, and a blogger. He is an ex-skinny guy who gained 40lbs of lean muscle over 2 years, through compound dumbbell lifting and homemade meal planning.
“Building muscle as a Hardgainer is frustrating. I conquered my goals and want to help fellow skinny dudes do the same!.”Kal (M.S, B.S)
Kal’s Professional Story
The Early Days
I began working physical jobs at a very young age.
When I was 14, I started my first part-time job helping my father carry buckets of chips (“fries” in the US) and cutting fish in his takeaway.
In hindsight, this was my first taste of weight training!
I also juggled this with a full-time position as a car audio fitter and getting the grades required to enter University.
By 21, I had graduated with a biochemistry B.S and a biomedical sciences M.S.
Science was my thing.
I loved learning about how the body works!
But as a young life sciences graduate in London, I struggled to find a job that I resonated with.
I loved biology, but the thought of being cooped up in a lab every day was enough to dissuade me from pursuing a career in this field.
Restraunt waiter to company Director
Whilst looking for my perfect career job, I also started part-time watering for a small restaurant chain in Central London.
Long story short- within 3 years I had somehow found myself in the General Manager position.
And after another 3 years, I became company Director for the restaurant.
Life does not always follow the path you originally intended, but sometimes you just gotta roll with it!
The money was great.
Yet I found myself very dissatisfied.
I also knew that the restaurant gig was not something I could stay in for the long term.
It was a very transactional industry.
The customer comes in, you get paid, the customer leaves, repeat.
I did not feel like I was serving a meaningful purpose to the world.
And I sure as hell was fulfilling my deeper desire to help others (which is why I studied biomedical sciences in the first place).
So I decided to pack it in after 6 years.
The resturant industry had drained my health.
The other major reason for my decision to quit the restaurant world is that my health had taken a beating.
Early mornings, late nights, and constant physical/mental stress had taken a toll on my body.
At 5″5 I’m not exactly the tallest guy in the world.
But at 125lbs, I was also a bag of bones.
I was your typical skinny guy. And I hated it.
Up to this point, I had dabbled in training for a long time.
But despite my efforts, I never had any progress to show for my training.
And the most frustrating thing was I didn’t know why!
Looking back, I now know this was in large because of my physically exhausting lifestyle.
The joys of hindsight!
Anyway, I decided to concentrate on restoring my health whilst doing part-time work here and there to pay for the bills.
It was at this stage that I also took a deep interest in exercise science, started to apply training principles, and began to see a lot of success.
Aspirations to be a PT quickly vanished.
It was during this period where I started to see positive changes in my body.
This ignited a desire to become a personal trainer.
After all, being a PT would provide me an avenue to utilize my enthusiasm for exercise science and to help others overcome their skinny struggles.
But the more I trained, the more I took a more jaded view of the PT industry.
From what I saw, it was full of bullshitters and assholes with over-inflated egos.
Many used overgeneralized programs for their clients, and very few actually took the time to understand the client’s problems.
Now, I’m not saying every PT is like this.
That’s far from the truth.
But from what I experienced, a lot of them are.
And I had no desire to work with such colleagues.
That’s when I decided to start Kalibre Fitness.
Blogging to help fellow skinny guys overcome their struggles
The idea for Kalibre Fitness started when friends and family began asking me for personal training advice.
At first, I was hesitant.
Who am I to give advice right?!
But having overheard countless BS advice given by PTs to their clients at the gym, I knew I had valuable knowledge.
After all, said friends began seeing results after following my tips.
So rather than entering the very PT industry I despised, I decided to start a personal fitness blog.
Kalibre Fitness offered me a platform to offer FREE science-backed personal training advice to skinny dudes.
Kal’s Skinny Struggle
Enter the skinny rookie.
I’m no stranger to skinny struggle.
For most of my life, I weighed a measly 125lbs.
I also spent most of my teen and adult life being frustrated at my scrawny physique and feeling like the smallest kid on the block.
The physical nature of my previous jobs also further compounded my frustrations.
I often found I lacked strength, constantly felt weak, and had no energy to carry out daily tasks.
I suffered from low self-esteem, taunting from peers and girls, and had body image issues.
But you know what THE most frustrating thing was?
No matter how many bicep curls and sit-ups I did, or how many eggs I ate, I just couldn’t build any muscle!
Protein powder didn’t seem to work either.
And I felt physically sick from consuming just my maintenance calories (never mind surplus calories!).
I always thought of the gym as a one-way ticket to gains.
But gym anxiety prevented me from actually using my membership.
Ready to accept deafeat.
Having fruitlessly trained for 5 years with no results to show for, I was ready to give up and admit defeat.
Maybe this was the hand God dealt me.
And I should just accept the curse of the Skinny gene (which by the way doesn’t exist!).
My health was also at an all-time low whilst I was working in the high-pressure restaurant environment.
Stress, late nights, and early mornings made it even more difficult to gain any weight.
I wasn’t eating enough, and even when I tried, it always felt like my stomach couldn’t physically handle that amount of food.
But deep down, I was not ready to throw in the towel.
Do you know the saying “knowledge is power”?
This is a saying I firmly believe in.
So I began to do some serious (and rather obsessive) research into how to gain weight.
I binged on Youtube, consumed scientific research, and heeded the advice of various bodybuilders and strength coaches.
Entelechy- the act of realising or making actual, what is merely potential.
I also began to apply what I learned.
This didn’t work at first.
I was still struggling to gain weight.
But my fighting nature kicked in and I began to tweak my program to accommodate for the fact that I struggled to eat enough food.
I kept on learning and experimenting.
I also realized that I was wasting my time on fruitless exercises like the bicep curl.
So I revamped my entire training program.
Revamping my training and nutrition
I tried experimenting with different types of free weight and bodyweight exercises.
I ditched the bicep curls (and other isolation exercises) for exercises that provided better returns.
Heavy compound lifting began to form the focus of my training.
I started with a cheap second-hand barbell that couldn’t have weighed more than 40lbs (and looked like it was about 40 years old too!).
I also began implementing small changes to my diet, and this allowed me to eat more and more.
My protein and calorie intake were steadily increasing, and I was seeing some gains.
As I progressed, I gained more and more confidence.
It was during this period, that I decided to overcome my fear of the gym.
Now I could shift even heavier weights, my strength was skyrocketing, and I was nailing my diet.
My body was being pushed harder than it ever has been, and positive changes were happening.
The gains started coming.
Gains came slowly at first.
As much as I could, I avoided weighing myself in the early days (I was so ashamed of my weight).
I didn’t notice any major changes in the first couple of months. But I did notice a bit more definition (maybe this was a placebo effect?).
But these small wins were enough to keep me driving forward.
I continued to eat more and more and pushing progressively heavier weights.
Oh, I also nailed my first un-assisted pull-ups during this period.
People started noticing!
The next few months came like a blur.
I was so in the zone and was laser-focused on making gains.
But the next thing I knew, I was standing in front of a mirror and noticed that a V-taper was taking shape.
My chest was wider than it had ever been, my triceps were cut, and my back was flaring out from the pull-ups.
I decided to weigh myself and realized I had gained 10 pounds in 3 months!
People really started noticing, and this positive feedback was all I needed to keep pushing.
165lbs and jacked!
As I continued pushing, and applying the principles I had researched, I was able to gain 20lbs by the end of the year and 40lbs by 1 and a half years,
I then started my cut and got to 165lbs at 11% body fat.
Im happier than ever with my physique- jacked ripped, and athletic-looking.
Now, I offer free advice to friends and family who are looking to embark on their own physique journey.
And I use Kalibre Fitness as a platform to do so!
Kal’s Bucket List
- Get my PhD.
- Live in central London (DONE- had an apartment on Old Compton street, Soho, London whilst working for the restaurants. London soho has a quirky charm to it. I highly reocmmend you to visit if you’re ever in London!).
- Live in California, New York, and Tokyo.
- Reach 150lbs <12% body fat (DONE- first weight gain milestone. Did this through heavy compound lifting with barbells and dumbbells and optimising my nutrition. Reached 170lbs at 15% BF before cutting. ).
- Reach 170lbs <12% body fat (DONE- second weight gain milestone. Did this mainly through dumbbell work. Reached 180lbs before at 15% BF before cutting.).
- Reach 180lbs <12% body fat.
- Be the author of a book.
- Travel the world before I’m 35.
- Run a half marathon (DONE- raised money for Multiple Sclerosis Society UK in 2021. Completed 21km in 2 hours 15 mins).
- Run a full marathon.
- Learn fluent Japanese.
- Write a research paper (DONE- authored my study on the role of LRRK proteins on Parkinsons disease in 2013).
- Win a bodybuilding competition.
- NASM qualification (on the way).
- Be able to sing to an acceptable standard.
- Learn to play the piano.
- Hike Mt Fujii.
- Cycle the entire length of Japan.
- Build a thriving a community for skinny folks to share common struggles.
- See the 7 wonders of the world.
- Make positive contributions to the climate crisis.
- Explore Northern Japan (DONE- travelled Hokkaido and the Tohoku region in 2020. Beautiful region of Japan and not as many tourists as Tokyo!).
You Can Conquer The Skinny Gene Too!
That’s my story!
One of the most enlightening things I learned during my journey is that gaining muscle shouldn’t have to be a frustrating or expensive endeavor.
I started Kalibre Fitness to teach fellow skinny dudes how to conquer their goals through dumbbell training at home.
Dumbbells are cheaper than barbell training, take up less space, and it means you don’t have to visit the dreaded gym!
You can check out the Kalibre Fitness story here.
Or if you like, you can also read the Kalibre 6-Step Blueprint To Build Muscle here.
It’s completely free and contains all the details you need to build a more powerful physique.
Good luck guys!
Bulk. Cut. Gain. Repeat.
All the best,
(Biochemistry BSc, Biomedical Sciences MSc, Ex-Skinny Guy)
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