Abhay Lodhi lightheartedly acknow-ledged he probably was slightly more cross than fit the first time he stepped into Columbus’ 812 CrossFit a year ago. As best he can remember, he struggled to execute a smooth overhead squat with no plates on a 45-pound barbell.

Today, a 115-pound overhead squat is, well, squat for the local resident with much more strength and less stress.

“Now, I know guys who can do 225 (pounds), but I’m not competing against them,” Lodhi said. “I’m actually competing against my own goals.”

The Cummins Inc. engineer now has found new strength and energy in his work and family life.

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So he would like to encourage others to find a place for exercise and to exercise.

“It’s not just CrossFit,” he said. “I know many people can find the same thing with something like soccer or tennis.”

» Briefly describe your daily/weekly workout routine.

CrossFit. I like it because it has just about everything in it: Gymnastics, cardio such as running, Olympic weightlifting and more variety.

» What inspired you to begin a regular fitness routine?

Cummins does this annual health screening in which they will monitor your weight, cholesterol, blood glucose and body mass index. I discovered I was trending up a little on the cholesterol. I just wanted to get a little healthier. I wanted to find some exercise I could do regularly and learn to control my diet. I knew then that I needed something regular (with exercise). I was playing some tennis before — but wasn’t playing it regularly.

» What do you do regarding diet?

When I began coming here, (head coach) Nicole Holcomb helped me with what I should be eating and how much, including the amount of healthy fats I should be targeting. Before this, I wasn’t paying much attention to my diet, even though I thought at the time that I was eating healthy. But I didn’t know how many grams of protein, carbs or anything like that. Now, I just try to eat natural and avoid most processed food.

For breakfast: steel-cut oats — the least-processed — with berries and chocolate protein powder.

For lunch or supper: a lot of grilled chicken and vegetables or chicken curry.

» How do you make time to work out or even to change your diet to eating healthy?

For me and for my wife — who had been kickboxing until she became pregnant with our third child — it’s all about the planning. We do all of our cooking for the week on Sundays in three or four hours. We’ll make enough of a grilled chicken dish or a chicken curry dish to last all week. And we’ll prepare the vegetables or other things like stir fry ahead of time. And then we store everything in the fridge.

» What about “cheat foods?”

I love the local craft beers.

» Besides the squats, what was one of the biggest challenges of your first week at CrossFit?

I remember we had to do something like three rounds of 20 toes-to-bar movements (hanging from an overhead bar and using your abs to touch your toes to the overhead bar). After that workout, it was hard to stand up straight.

» What do you do on days when you’re tired or just don’t want to work out?

I know that if I can just get to the gym, I’ll forget about everything and at the end of the workout, I’ll feel good. It’s a stress reliever to me.

» Are you spreading the gospel of CrossFit?

I’m talking to my wife about convincing her to come here. I see so many families coming in here, especially because we have a playroom inside.

— Brian Blair, staff writer

bblair@therepublic.com

About Abhay Lodhi

Age: 38.

City: Columbus.

Hometown: Bhopal, India, in the central part of the country. Came to the United States in 2001 to earn a master’s degree in mechanical engineering.

Occupation: An engineer who leads the after-treatment performance team of Cummins emissions solutions.

Family: Wife, Gieselle. Daughters, Abigail, 5, and Grace, 4.

Where you work out: Columbus’ 812 CrossFit.

Hours per week: Five.

Author photo
Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at bblair@therepublic.com or 812-379-5672.