The newly-minted Marvel star said he would go from admiring his abs to seeing the “flaws”
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Kumail Nanjiani
Credit: Emily Shur for Men’s Health

Kumail Nanjiani’s newly-ripped physique sent shockwaves through social media — but internally, the Marvel star had been struggling with how he saw his body.

The former Silicon Valley star, 42, said he would go from admiring his new abs to critiquing his body in a matter of minutes.

Nanjiani said his issues were not severe, but they were similar to body dysmorphia, when a person sees issues in their body that are not there.

“I don’t want to discount people who genuinely have debilitating body issues. I don’t have that. But I did start getting some body dysmorphia,” he told Men’s Health for their April cover. I’d look in the mirror and I’d see my abs — and when I looked again, they would fade. I would just see the flaws.”

Nanjiani said that going public with his buff body on social media actually helped him overcome those thoughts.

“When I saw that reaction was when I was like, ‘Okay, I clearly don’t see what’s actually there,’ ” he said. “It’s something I’m trying to be aware of and be better at, because that’s not a good way to be. You want to be easy on yourself.”

Kumail Nanjiani
Kumail Nanjiani
| Credit: Emily Shur for Men’s Health

His new look all started when he was cast in the new Marvel movie Eternals. Nanjiani decided that if he was going to be a Marvel star, he didn’t “want to be just part of the Marvel movie; I wanted to be a Marvel superhero.” That led him to accept Marvel’s offer of a trainer and chef to bulk up.

Nanjiani said the workouts — which also included getting electric shocks to his biceps to get his muscles going — were a major change.

“I realized, if this is what working out is, I’ve never really worked out a moment in my life,” he said. “… I had to change my relationship to pain. You’re so designed to avoid it, but in that situation you really have to be okay with it. You have to want it. It’s almost trying to rewire your brain.”

Kumail Nanjiani
Kumail Nanjiani
| Credit: Emily Shur for Men’s Health

Nanjiani also switched up his diet. He would try out different trendy diets — paleo, keto, fasting — for several weeks until he started to plateau.

“Now I take all of the lessons I’ve learned from all of them combined,” he said.

And Nanjiani said that while he initially dreaded his 1-hour trips to the gym, he loves his workouts now, as tough as they may be.

“Today, I drove to that gym and five minutes into my workout, my mood brightened. I love it,” he said.

Kumail Nanjiani
Kumail Nanjiani
| Credit: Emily Shur for Men’s Health