Varun Narayanan started packing on pounds during the holidays a couple of years ago. And when the scale hit 230 pounds, that was the last straw for the 5-foot-11-inch man.
“That wasn’t my size,” Narayanan said. “That’s not what I wanted to be.”
In the last year, the 26-year-old from Omaha started working out and revamped his diet. He’s dropped down to 195 pounds and has found a workout partner in his fiancee, Harshini Mohan.
Q: When did you start working out and why?
A: I used to work out in high school, and I kind of quit. I picked it up again this last year.
Q: Describe your workouts. How many days per week do you exercise?
A: I work out six days a week. I do two days of cardio and four days of weights. I want to lose another 10 pounds, so I’m planning on adding an extra 15- to 20-minute workout in the morning.
Q: What is your current fitness goal?
A: My goal, in particular, is fat loss and to gain endurance. I do endurance treks and have trekked two active volcanoes. A trek is over rugged terrain; there is no path. That volcano trek took three days in the Philippines. I couldn’t have ever done that when I was 230 pounds.
Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment?
A: To trek the active volcano. It was 10 miles one way and different kinds of terrain, like small streams. It got to 120 degrees, so I had to start at 2 a.m.
Q: What has been the toughest hurdle and how did you overcome it?
A: Food control. The gym is fine. When you go to the gym, you’re going to work out. Food is hard. I’m a vegetarian, so finding the right sources of protein is a challenge.
Q: What helps you stay on track?
A: It helps if you have a workout partner. I work out with my fiancee, Harshini Mohan. She’s lost 34 pounds. We come together. If I’m feeling like I don’t want to go to the gym, she says she’s going anyway. Then it’s like, “Oh, fine. I’ll come, too.”
Q: What is your gym pet peeve?
A: I always want the weights to be stacked in a particular order.
Q: What do you do when you aren’t in the gym?
A: I travel quite a bit. I’ve been to about 32 states in the U.S. and a bunch of different countries.
Q: What is the piece of equipment, supplement, clothing, etc. that you can’t live without?
A: Probably my Chuck Taylors. They’re really good to lift in. The sole is rubber, and you don’t slip.
Q: What advice would you give to someone who is just starting their fitness journey?
A: Consistency. If you can’t do it consistently, it never works.
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Squeeze in a free midweek workout in the park. Wednesday Night Workouts, an outdoor exercise series, is held in Turner Park at Midtown Crossing. Instructors from Prairie Life lead attendees in an hour-long workout each week. More information.
Mark your calendar: Wednesdays through Aug. 20. Classes start at 6 p.m. No class is held July 4.
Get your steps in with Fido by your side. Lauritzen Gardens is open to pooches on select Mondays through fall. Water and treats will be available at select stations. Admission is free for garden members and $10 for non-members. Dog admission is free for garden members and $5 for non-members. Two dogs can be admitted per adult.
Mark your calendar: July 9, Aug. 6, Aug. 13, Sept. 3, Sept. 10, Oct. 1. Hours are 5 to 8 p.m.
Let pizza motivate you. The La Casa a La Casa Ride lets cyclists hit the trails between two of the pizza restaurants. One is near 82nd and Grover Streets and the other is near 45th and Leavenworth Streets. After the ride, cyclists can purchase pizza and beverages at the restaurants. More information.
Mark your calendar: Tuesdays through fall. The ride runs from 4 to 9 p.m.
Meet at Scriptown Brewing Company, near 39th and Farnam Streets, before tackling the Field Club Trail. The event is open to walkers, joggers and runners. Head back to Scriptown for discounted drinks in the tasting room or on the patio. More information.
Mark your calendar: Every Thursday at 6 p.m.
Breathe in some fresh air and gaze at beautiful scenery during a morning walk. The informal walking club at Lauritzen Gardens is open to all ages and fitness levels. The program is free to members or included with daily admission. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 6 to 12. More information.
Mark your calendar: Tuesdays through Oct. 30. Walks start at 8:30 a.m.
Log your boot camp hours at the riverfront with the Get Fit Outside series. Classes, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, are held at Lewis & Clark Landing in downtown Omaha. The event is free and open to ages 10 and up. Attendees should bring their own water and a towel or mat. The series is hosted by the Downtown YMCA and the Omaha Downtown Improvement District Association. More information.
Mark your calendar: Tuesdays and Thursdays from June 12 to Aug. 30. Boot camp starts at 5:30 p.m.
Take in the sounds and sights of the forest during your yoga sesh. Bellevue's Fontenelle Forest hosts yoga classes year round, either out on the patio or indoors. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own yoga mats. Yoga, open to all skill levels, is free for members or included with daily admission, $7.50 to $9.50. More information.
Mark your calendar: Every Wednesday and Sunday, except holidays. Wednesday classes start at 6 p.m. Sunday classes start at 9 a.m. Classes are offered year round.
Mark the halfway point of this bike ride with tacos. The Taco Ride takes cyclists along the Wabash Trace Nature Trail from Council Bluffs to Mineola, Iowa. Most start the trek between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. Tacos are available at Tobey Jack's Mineola Steakhouse, 408 Main St. Cost to ride the trail is $1 or $12 for an annual pass.
Mark your calendars: Thursdays through fall.
Practice yoga in front of seasonal blooms and to the tunes of chirping birds and bugs at Lauritzen Gardens. The basic classes are open to yogis of all skills levels, but advance registration is required. Cost is $10 for members and $15 for non-members. It includes garden admission. More information.
Mark your calendar: Classes are held Wednesdays and Thursdays. Wednesday classes are at noon and run through July. Thursday classes are at 6 p.m. and run through mid-September. Additional classes will be offered in fall and winter.
Runners can tackle a 3- or 5-mile distance on this weekly group run. The 12-week series, dubbed Run Happy Hour, starts at Peak Performance, near 76th and Cass Streets. Runners can go at any pace. After running, they'll meet back at the running store for beer, snacks and music. Cost is $5 per night. More information.
Mark your calendar: Mondays through Aug. 27. Runs start at 6:30 p.m.
Head straight to a workout after picking out fresh produce. Two fitness classes are held in the park next to the farmers market. Lotus House of Yoga and Healing Tender Hearts will lead the all-ages sessions of Get Fit in the Park. More information.
Mark your calendar: Sundays through Oct. 14. Yoga classes start at 10 a.m., and Zumba classes start at 11:30 a.m.
Relax in the gardens with tai chi. The twice-a-month sessions at Lauritzen Gardens are designed for all fitness levels. Advance registration is required. Cost is $15 for members and $10 for non-members. It includes garden admission.
Mark your calendar: July 11 and July 25. Classes start at 6 p.m.