Fat, sick and nearly dead

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I watched part 1 and 2 of this documentary on Netflix recently.  It is about a fat guy, Joe, who goes on a juice diet for 60 days. He loses lots of weight, meets many people along the way, inspires a few to try the juicing diet, continues eating fruits and vegetables and working out and gets off all his medication.

I don’t agree with diets but some parts of the documentary made sense.

  • Juice diets are very difficult. They lead to a loss of energy initially and should be tried by those who can curb cravings. The documentary shows people who don’t eat healthy start off on juice diets. While I wouldn’t recommend it, staying away from fatty foods does reduce the cravings. There is one simple funda- the less you eat, the less you feel like eating and vice versa. I don’t miss pizza anymore and have it once every few months. The more desserts I eat, the more I crave for them. Jumping straight into a juice diet does give people the confidence that eating right isn’t all that difficult. 
  • Part 2 talks about how kids today influence their parents by forcing them to eat healthy. A friend had mentioned how her son is taught in school to eat healthy and refuses to eat junk food. 
  • There is a truck driver, Phil, who was one of the first people to start juicing and lose weight. 5 years and a divorce later, he has gained it all back. He has to start all over again but this time he decides to take help from the community. The support system is so important and a big reason why I go to a gym far away from home. I want to have access to the right kind of support. 
  • Most of the people go online for support. While I know many runners and trainers, I have a support community online too. Like, am constantly in touch with people for whom fitness is important. 
  • The first thing most people did was throw out junk food from their house and stop storing it within reach. This simple step can reduce junk eating by 80%. 

All in all, this is a good documentary and I can’t wait to go back to Mumbai and get back on the bandwagon. 


Nerd Fitness- this blog knows what I need to hear

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I was reading an article yesterday on Nerd Fitness while completing a lot of boring work I have been procrastinating for the last 2 months. This article talks makes so much sense and this is how my fitness journey changed and I started seeing results. I have bookmarked the article so my phone reminds me to read it everyday at 7 am. I want to start my day with these thoughts in my head.

Some highlights of the article and how they apply to my life:

  • I focus on someone I want to be like. I want to be like Amit, the trainer who introduced me to TRX. I want Shubhra’s abs. I love Madhuri’s muscles. I like how cute Anand is. I love Mac’s core workouts. I love the energy in Mohit’s body pump class. I miss Chandan’s core class. I love Ritesh’s physique and his madness. These are all my heroes. I pester them for advice and soak up like a sponge any morsel they throw my way. I want to be them someday. I want people to look at me and go “Wow. I wish I had that”.
  • My food choices changed when I started asking myself “Would Amit or Shubhra eat that? Hell, would I eat that if I had abs?” Desserts, ice creams, fries, fried foods, maggi etc just didn’t seem important suddenly. THIS is the how I managed to change my diet. It isn’t perfect right now which is why am going to read the article every morning and ensure I started make the right food choices everyday every minute of my life.
  • Train towards something. Another change has been training FOR something instead of going to the gym and killing an hour. I want to build muscles so stopped running very long distances. I have a specific objective when I register for a half marathon. Long distance running burns muscles and messes with my fitness goals. I run smaller distances but try and make them intense. At the gym, I focus on body pump and body weight (TRX) workouts mainly. I need to start setting goals for each month once ADHM is over.
  • I started my fitness journey after I crossed 30 years. I am a slow runner. I am at a disadvantage when it comes to those who were into fitness or sports in their 20s and continue to have a high metabolism. I have to train harder for a particular timing while I see newbies with better timing. It is ok. We all start somewhere and get somewhere else. Compete with yourself. My journey is different from someone else’s. And the journey is more fun. I am saying this on the eve of ADHM and know that the timing I achieve is not going to validate anything. I trained hard. I am proud of it. Nothing can take that away from me.
  • Stop thinking in days or weeks or months. This is a journey which will take years. Are you ready for that kind of commitment? I want to get abs… not today or next week or next month … but next year.
  • I stopped focusing on results and started following the process. The results came automatically. I make a plan and follow it. In the process, my body changed and results could be seen by everyone around me.
  • I surround myself with people I want to be like. This also means I stay away from “you HAVE to drink” and “you HAVE to eat dessert” people. I respect your choice to not respect your body, please respect my choice to respect mine. Yes, a hubby who won’t force you to drink or eat dessert or eat junk food is a big support.

I don’t have an amazing transformation story

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I wish I could tell you I lost 10 kgs in 6 months and 20 kgs in 12 months.

I wish I could say I went from being couch potato to a half marathoner in 3 months.

I wish I could say I have reached my goals or that am even half way there.

I wish I could tell you I have the willpower to stay on track everyday.

I wish I could say that I follow my workout and food plan to the hilt.

Alas, I would be lying. Each year has been a journey.

From walking to jogging to running half marathons.

From heavy dinners to light dinners to salads for dinner.

From going to the gym 10-15 days in a month and lifting 2 kgs to working out everyday and pushing myself to take a rest day.

From skipping breakfast to making it the main meal of the day.

From eating desserts whenever I wanted to eating a few spoons of it once in a while to satisfy a craving.

From waking up at 8 am to waking up at 6 am and sometimes at 4 am for a run.

Every year I push forward a little. Many days and missteps take me months back but I don’t stop, don’t give up. This is all I have, after all.

I lost weight when I started working out but then the weight loss stopped. Initially, I didn’t care, I was getting fitter, lifting more weights, doing more push ups. How does weight matter? But isn’t that why I started on my journey. Getting fitter is much easier than losing weight. Much, much easier. It was only when I changed my eating habits that I got the results I was aiming for.

Eating right is everything. If you have to pick between joining a gym or changing your food habits, pick the latter over the former.

I wanted to lose 10 kgs this year but am still struggling to get to my lowest fat weight. That’s ok though. 6-7 kgs is good enough and it shows.

I can trace the milestones of each year. This isn’t going to be done in days or weeks or months. We are talking years. It has been 3 years for me and am so glad I started. I am also confident am never going back where I was 3 years back. I have already come too far and know too much to go back there.

As New Year approaches, don’t just make a resolution, start on the journey. You won’t be sorry. Sure, some days are bad. It is frustrating when the results don’t come. But what’s the alternative? Give it a year and if you are not happy, stop and go back to whatever you were doing before.


Bad week followed by a good week

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BMA last week for bad. It was HORRIBLE. And it pushed me into getting back on track. Not completely though but 60-70%. Today’s BMA made me jump with joy. And even before getting on the BMA machine, the body pump instructor said “You’ve lost weight. I can see it”. I lost 1.1 kg of fat and gained 600 gm of muscles in 1 week. Overall the weight remains the same.

I am noting down the learnings from this week so I can come back and motivate myself in the future:

  • Except for long runs on Sunday, I have missed cardio because I haven’t been able to wake up most mornings. If I didn’t love running, I would never do cardio again because it is so damn useless and has zero contribution to weight loss.
  • Instead of spending hours at the gym, most of my workouts have been short but intense. I do body pump 2 days in a week (Tuesday and Friday nights), strength train 2 days and 1 day of core on TRX. I don’t need to do 10-15 exercises, instead do 5 and make them intense. Keeps it interesting as well.
  • I haven’t managed to eat omelette for breakfast most days. I either have idli at the restaurant below my home or order in at office. Eating eggs will help me get better results this week.
  • Dinner has been light and mostly salads. Even if the salad has pasta, I eat the vegetables and proteins and ignore the carbs.
  • Lunch is still unhealthy and too heavy. I should just either have idlis for lunch or carry homemade dalia khichdi or egg bhurji.
  • I have cut down on snacking. Instead of eating every 2 hours, I eat when am hungry. And I realised I don’t feel like snacking. I may have chai (very little sugar) at 11.30 am or 4 pm if am hungry and bananas at 6 pm before gym.
  • I had popcorn (regular+cheese+caramel) on Saturday and Sunday and 1 pepsi. Also indulged in dessert on Sunday. The results would have been so much better if I hadn’t. Oh well, not too much harm done. Though I did skip dinner on both days to balance out but didn’t go hungry.
  • I did eat chocolate (1-2) on all days and no, am not giving them up.

Plan for this week:

  • Workout everyday. Try and get some cardio done. Focus on short but intense workouts for strength and cardio.
  • Have omelette for breakfast and eat 1 boiled egg as snack
  • Try and carry lunch from home or order in idlis
  • No junk
  • Continue to eat salads for dinner

My target is to get to 18 kg of fat from the current 19.6 kg and am hoping to get there in 2 weeks. It’s a good thing I don’t celebrate festivals so Diwali isn’t going to make any difference to my life.

Ciao. Off to bed. Tomorrow is hill repeats day.


Are my shorts too short?

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When I started running, I didn’t have the confidence to wear shorts outdoors. Like a normal person, I had spent hours in front of the mirror looking at my flaws and wearing clothes which covered them up. Since I had cellulite on my thighs, my dresses and shorts were a certain length to cover the flaw. For example, I don’t have any strapless dresses in my wardrobe because I don’t like my upper arms. My life was made harder by all the sportswear brands which only have teeny tiny running shorts for women and for knee length shorts I had to scout the men’s section.

During an organized run, I remember admiring the confidence of the female runner ahead of me. She had a similar body type and I could see the cellulite jiggling on her thighs but she still wore teeny tiny shorts. That is when the realisation hit me that I don’t need a perfect body to wear what I want but rather the confidence. I bought my first pair of shorts and ran in them. I hated the way I looked. The touching of my inner thighs while running gave me chafing. I couldn’t wear sleeveless for long runs for the same reason. But I continued to wear shorts.

It has been 3-4 years since I started running and working out regularly. The other day I couldn’t see the cellulite on my thighs. There are faint traces when I jiggle them really hard. Running in shorts and sleevless tee does not make me chafe because the fat is all gone. Yesterday I ran in the shortest pair of shorts I own. They are so short that I started using them for nightwear instead and now am thinking of running at ADHM in them.

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Men and women – wear what you want. Short. Long. Confidence has to be built, it doesn’t come automatically. And you won’t transform into who you want to be unless you work hard for it.


Taking a break vs falling off the bandwagon

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Today morning I was checking Timehop and came across the fb post from 3 years back where I was overjoyed at working out 6 days in a week. It reminded me of the time when I was trying to run/gym 24 days in a month. It took a few months of pushing myself to get there and I started with 15 days, then 20 days, 21 days and finally, 24 days. One step at a time. Pick the battle, win it and get to the next one.

Years of training makes you recognise the thin line between falling off the bandwagon and taking a break. Even experienced runners with timing of sub 2 hours at their half marathon can fall off the bandwagon and come down to 2 hrs 30 mins.

I missed my 18 km run 2 Sundays back because I was exhausted. Last Saturday night I was in Pune staying over at a friend’s house. The food didn’t agree with me and I ended up puking my guts out. Travelling 45 mins at 5 am for a 18 km run was out of the question. I decided make up for it on Tuesday when I was in Delhi. But everything seemed to be going against me:

  • None of the running groups were planning more than 10 km run and the route wasn’t the one where I would be able to find an additional 8 km
  • I woke up late and had to plan logistics of a late morning run without having to run loops. The only option was Sanjay Van but I hadn’t run there alone and late in the morning. Was it safe? I decided to take a chance
  • I had left my bottle of water home and forgot to buy one on the way. So, there I was, at Sanjay Van at 8 am, alone and without hydration

There was every reason to back out and cancel the run but getting back on track would be double the hard work. I told myself “I am going to run 18 km, no matter what”. And I did. 1 km at a time, one track at a time. The weird part was it wasn’t hard at all. There was a drinking water tap which served as my hydration point. There was a clean loo. The weather was quite pleasant and the heat stayed away in the shade of trees. There were many other runners training for ADHM.¬†When I needed a change, I ran on the road outside IIFT. I wasn’t happy with the timing but I can either train for distance or for speed.

Things don’t change overnight. You can’t go from a couch potato to a fitness freak or from junk eating to eating healthy in a few days or weeks. It takes months and sometimes years. And it never ends. Everyday is a struggle, everyday is about making mistakes, getting up, learning from them and moving on. I am struggling to get 15 mins in the morning to cook breakfast. That is step 1 for me. Below are others that I need to focus on this month:

  • Have breakfast of omelette or sunny side up eggs every morning
  • Have boiled eggs as snack
  • Salads for dinner

Once I have tackled above, will change my lunch.

Ciao. Am off to bed.

 


Body Pump Module – First step into the world of fitness professionally?

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I registered for the body pump module yesterday and now am wondering if I have taken up too much. What kind of a crazy person flies to Bangalore on a Friday night, travels 2 hours to a friend’s place (all my regulars are busy next weekend or out of town and I have literally forced my company on someone), travels 2 hours to the gym on Saturday morning, spends 8 am to 6 pm training/presenting/learning, travels 2 hours back to mentioned friend’s place, repeats the same on Sunday and reaches office on Monday morning from Bangalore? Like A, a body pump trainer, told me last night, “You won’t be able to walk after the 2 days. It is that intense”.

This is how it works:

  • You pay for the module (after they have minimum 6 confirmations which is why I had to pay only a week in advance instead of 15-21 days)
  • You receive a kit with manual, forms, videos, choreography and allotted tracks. Received them this morning.
  • Every body pump class lasts 55 minutes and has 10 tracks which cover all the body muscles. Every participant is allotted 2 tracks – they have to present one track during the training and the 2nd track has to be shadowed (a trainer will perform and you have to imitate).
  • This is done at the end of day 1, after which you are given feedback. You work on the feedback after class and present again at the beginning of day 2. You are given more feedback and you present the track again at the end of day 2. You will either be accorded “Pass” or “Withheld” or “Try again next time” basis this final presentation.
  • “Pass” means you have to shadow a trainer at your gym for 4 classes, after which they will let you take classes independently. You have to shoot a video of the class you are taking and send it to Les Milles. If they are satisfied, you get the certification and can train at any Les Milles certified gym.
  • “Withheld” means you have 4 weeks to send a video of your tracks and then you get a go ahead for shadowing.
  • “Try again next time” means you can do all the above steps again.

Right now am freaking out. Sure, I have attended lots of body pump classes but never paid attention to the choreography or music. Les Milles workouts are all about the choreography and technique (mainly). The latter is not a problem, but am worried about the former. I just need to prepare 2 tracks of 4 minutes each but I have to train a class. I need to know them perfectly and be able to give the right cues, use the right tone etc etc. I wish I had more time. This week is kind of busy. KC is here so I may or may not go to the gym till Wednesday. I need one whole day to sit and do this which I don’t have right now.

I am using every spare minute to read the booklet and have gone through the track video twice. Here is what am going to do next (lists help me sort out my priorities. I don’t know anything without a list):

  • Save everything on the phone – booklets, choreography write up, music, videos
  • Break it down into parts and perfect each part. So 4 minutes of biceps workout may be broken into 24 parts of 10 seconds each. Practise each part with music no words, only words no music, no music no words. Practise the whole thing till I can do it perfectly any time of the day or night.
  • Do the same for the lunges workout
  • Attend a body pump class this week and ask the trainer to check my form and technique
  • Shoot a video performing both tracks and see where it needs to be improved
  • Go through other 8 tracks as well because I have to know them this well soon enough

Once am done with above, I will be happy with the effort I have put in. Even if I don’t get a “Pass”, I will know body pump in and out and understand it better. The knowledge I get in the 2 days is irreversible and will help me in my fitness journey. There is no downside to this. It is a win win irrespective of the final result. In case, I don’t get a “Pass” or a “Withheld”, if you are in Bangalore, let’s catch up for a hot chocolate and conversation- am going to need it desperately.

I don’t know if I will attend the course again or not if the result is not a “Pass”. I haven’t thought that far ahead. And yes, the thought of standing in front of a class full of students and taking the class freaks me out. But am hoping my passions for fitness comes through and gives me the confidence and the energy that a great trainer needs to have.


Apples vs apple sauce

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Most moments in your life are “This isn’t as good as I thought it would be. It sounded like a good idea in my head. Not so much in real life. This person is more interesting online. Why did I have to bring him/her into my real life?”. Basically, things are rarely as good as you expect them to be.

And then, there those few moments which are as good as your expectations, nah, even better. Yesterday was that day for me when I was in the TRX training and kept thinking how awesome it is. From 8.30 am to 6.30 pm, those were the few best hours of my life. Before the training, the answer to “What will I do next?” was “Figure out a way to start training”. But now it is “I need to get better, learn more, create my own workouts”.

I have been doing TRX for 1.5 years and know it is the best workout. But I didn’t know why. Why is it intense? What benefits does it have? NOW I know.

We started yesterday with the most basic and important exercise – the plank. I thought I know how it’s done. I didn’t. Here is the secret:

  1. Lie on the floor flat on your tummy
  2. Bring your palms next to you. The elbows must be below the shoulders. Push the palm into the floor
  3. Dig your toes into the floor
  4. Lift your knees (not your thighs) and straighten them
  5. Clench your butt. Very, very important. We all had to do the apples vs apple sauce test, wherein our partners touched our butt to check if it was tight as an apple
  6. Lift up. Stay

Everytime we had to do a workout with a plank variation, we had to start like this. You couldn’t start the plank if your butt wasn’t clenched.

Checks to see if butt is still clenched. Unclenches

What the course did not cover was how to take group classes and how to create a workout for the same. But TRX has 2 other courses for this. Most of the people who attended are personal trainers who will incorporate some bit of TRX in their client’s workout. I was the only one who hasn’t worked in the fitness industry but the one with the maximum knowledge about TRX.

All in all, it was a great learning experience. It is going to help me get better and take me closer to my goals.

 

 


TRX Certification

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By the end of tomorrow, I will be a certified TRX trainer. I am not sure if I will get the opportunity to train anyone in the next few months, but am going to try. If I was in Gurgaon, I would have started shadowing the TRX trainers – Amit or Mac every Thursday or/and Fridays but I have just moved to Mumbai and building the same kind of rapport and network is going to take time. The objective is to perfect my basics and understand the nuances of the workout. For 8 hours tomorrow, am going to do what I love the most.

This is a good time to talk about how I got acquainted with TRX. When I joined Fitness First, I attended the different group classes to figure out what I like the best- RPM, core, yoga, body balance, body combat, body pump etc. TRX was one of the last classes I tried. I had to register 20 mins before the class started else it got packed. Amit was the trainer and I was blown away. Not because he was hot, FF is full of hot men and women of all kinds, but because he gave personal attention to everyone. TRX was the only class where the trainer taught beginners the basics and pushed the intermediates to do better. That is what hooked me onto it. I wanted to do TRX everyday of the week but the class was only on Fridays. I started attending it regularly and getting better at everything. I couldn’t do 5 crunches when I started, now I can do 100 comfortably. Amit started pushing me harder and harder till I was among the best.

I NEVER missed TRX. The 7.30-8.30 pm (7.20 pm during winters) was sanctimonious and highlight of the week. If I went off track for a week, Fridays would be when I got back to the gym. I realized that the only way to do this everyday of my life was if it was my profession. I got Amit to spare an hour from his busy schedule and give me tips. He told me about the fitness industry, the amount of money one can earn, certifications required etc