Fitness is a journey

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I am sure everyone has heard this. It sounds like a cliche or one of those motivational lines a corporate person picks up and peppers every conversation with. But it’s true. I haven’t come across one person with an interest in fitness who doesn’t agree with this. Sometimes I like to trace my journey of the last 5+ years. The first time I did 100 body weight squats (and didn’t die) or the first time I ran 1 km (and lived to tell the tale). Every year the goals change. My life revolved around running and training for 21 km for the last 5 years. It taught me discipline, consistency, planning, logistics etc etc but I don’t want to do it again. The goal post has moved.

Right now the focus is on getting fit. Specifically, losing fat weight so that it is easier to do full range push ups, pull ups and more other workouts which are the hallmark of truly fit people and make me go “Wow. Superhuman”. I want to be the fittest person in a room in my 40s or late 30s and look like it.

I should apologise for skipping over the part where I struggled and failed everyday. But I have been failing at so many things recently that I would like to celebrate a small success instead.

As on date, am at my lowest fat weight and fat % in the last one year. Maybe if I push hard for the next 2 weeks, I could reach the lowest fat % in the last 4-5 years.

What this journey has been like :

  • Step 1 : Track and measure. People will tell you that weight doesn’t matter. The scale weight doesn’t matter because only muscle mass and fat mass are the true indicators of fitness. Fitness First has a BMA machine and I use that every Saturday morning before a workout to track the progress. The numbers aren’t accurate but it’s the trend that matters. You can’t compare the results of one BMA machine with another and the results from morning to those in the evening. Tracking and measuring keeps me on track and focused. Even if there is no specific goal in mind, I know where I stand and how the week has been. Even if the week has started on a lazy note, I will end it by getting back on track because BMA day is looming ahead.

 

  • Step 2: Nutrition. 16 hrs IF has been going strong for 2 years and is now a lifestyle. All that research about eating a heavy breakfast for fitness has been thrown out of the window. Breakfast was also my favourite meal of the day. I needed an extra push and contacted Kripa Jalan from Burgers to Beasts (IG handle). She was a friend’s nutritionist and I have been following her nutrition plan for the last 2 weeks. She asked me what I eat, gave me plans for morning+evening workout days, only 1 workout day and no workout day. Everything that I normally eat has been included in it with a focus on eating more vegetables. The best part was when she asked “What food item do you normally crave for?” “Rice. I love rice. And giving up rice is the hardest”. Rice has been included on my workout days. I push myself to hit the gym just so I can eat rice. You can get me to do anything for a bowl of white rice. Anything. She also asked me to send her details of what I eat everyday and she replies to every email. I could possibly get a friend to do this too but that would mean actually talking to people and I’d rather pay money to avoid any social interactions. Last 1 week has been bad with too much sugar consumption at work and not enough vegetables but I have learned to balance it out.

I also read the 4 hours body recommended by a friend (thanks Ginny) and followed that nutrition plan. Basically, you can eat whatever you want on Sunday but stay on track from Monday to Saturday. It didn’t work for me. I don’t like binge eating and it gives me major guilt pangs.

  • Workout : Cardio doesn’t work for me. It has never helped me lose weight or become fitter. I run because I like being outdoors and it makes me mentally calm. The less I run and more I lift weights, the faster the results. FF members have a complimentary membership to Curefit. I love the kettlebell, boxing and yoga classes at Curefit. The fact that I have to book the class on the app and get penalised if I don’t turn up (don’t know what the penalty is because am consistent and punctual af) ensures I make it for class. There is always the option of cancelling a class one hour earlier. And it is walking distance from home so there is literally no reason to miss a class.

I want an ideal week to look like this – 1 day kettlebell class, 1 day boxing class, 1 day yoga class, 1 day TRX workout, 1 day kettlebell workout or body pump and 1 day long run. Maybe I will get there in a few weeks.

Wish me luck for the next 2 weeks. Ta Ta. I am off to binge on vegetables.

 

 


Dhadak vs Sairat

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Sairat is a superhit Marathi movie I watched a few years back with subtitles. The cast is great, the story realistic, the music awesome and the climax suitably shocking. When it was announced that Dhadak is a remake of Sairat, it got the Maharashtrians hopping mad. With good reason. I am surprised they didn’t ban the screening in Maharashtra.

Sairat is the story of a small caste boy who falls in love with a high caste girl in a small town. They elope fearing for their lives and end up in Hyderabad. Reality sets in when they have to struggle for basic needs. But it was too late to turn back. Things improve. Until the horrifying climax. Nothing we haven’t seen already.

Dhadak capitalises on the popularity of Sairat by remaking a remake of any 90s Bollywood movie. Ishan Khattar is amazing. Janhvi Kapoor is very pretty and has potential. My apologies for underestimating her because of nepotism. I guess it does run in the genes. The music is a ditto copy of Sairat. I mean, every damn song? How much did the music director get paid? Did they pay royalties to the Sairat producers and music directors? Very conveniently, the movie glosses over the struggle that a couple who elopes has to face. These guys land up in a new city, get help from a relative’s friend, find jobs, a house and even wine. Wow. I didn’t get even half of that when I “eloped”. With due credit, my life didn’t end the way the movie did. Not that the thought of what could happen didn’t cross my mind. And the news reports of honour killings did seem very real for a few years.

Overall, Dhadak is meh. Not worth spending money and time in a theatre. I wish they had remade it scene by scene instead of making it Bollywoodish. I guess copying is an art too and people can mess this up too.


Advocator of Lizard rights

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I never understand why people get creeped out by lizards. They are most harmless reptiles on this planet. I haven’t researched this fact so please don’t quote me.

I like lizards. This is how they make my life awesome.

Female is claustrophobic.

Female loves open doors and windows. Female is obsessed with keeping the balcony door open for ventilation.

Female has to deal with insects and bugs because the balcony door is open.

Lizard eats up the insects and bugs hence, female can enjoy her balcony breeze.

Sounds perfect.

But there is a always a villain. Someone who has an irrational hatred of lizards.

Villain doesn’t care about ventilation or balconies.

Villain only cares about hibernating in front of the TV and under the AC.

Villain is irrationally annoyed by insects and bugs.

Villain wants the balcony door closed.

Villain has no use for lizards in his house.

Villain fights with (awesome) female every night over the lizards and threatens to kill them.

Female stands up for the lizards. In his absence, she makes friends with the lizards and takes the joke a wee (tiny bit) too far. She names the lizards.

Ruby – loiters around the house. The TV and the couch are her comfort spots. She loves perching near female’s shoulder to catch great shows on Netflix. She is ambitious and always goes after the biggest bugs. She is currently hooked to Korean shows and is tempted to move to North Korea.

Paul – Protector of the balcony. He is an outdoors man. Between the bedroom window and balcony, he has it all covered. The female encouraged him to sneak into the neighbour’s house but he loves the new lights in the balcony and refuses to abandon the space.

Rudy – The baby of the family. His favourite haunt is the dining table. He has been waiting for scraps of food but the villain and female are always perched on the couch and hardly move their butt once they are home. Ruby helps him out with his kills. After all, he is just a baby yet.

If you decide never to visit my home, I will understand. Also, mission accomplished.

But my favourite lizards related incident happened when I was in college. I was in the government girls hostel in Ahmedabad. 3 other females who were in boarding school with me were my roommates. We were staying in an old building and it was a little dilapidated (to put it mildly). 3 lizards inhabited this room and it drove my flatmates crazy. They tried everything to drive them away – garlic, peacock feathers etc etc. If there was a nuskha out there, they had tried it. One night the frustration levels went through the roof and they started hitting them with paper balls to drive them away. It didn’t work, of course and they burst into tears. 3 females cried because of lizards and I tried hard not to laugh out loud. Thinking about the incident always makes me crack up.


Men vs Women

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The most entertaining conversation is listening to men justify why they are such chuts. They always turn to evolution and nurture vs nature to normalize their assholic behaviour.

There was a discussion on colours and as usual I was vociferous in my distaste for men’s clothes and how limited their fashion sense is.

X : There is a reason for this. In the caveman days, men were the hunters so they were focused on their task and had no time to notice colours. But the women were the care givers for kids so they would notice the environment and bright colours etc.

My poker face deserves a selfie.

 

 


Foreplay

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During a conversation with a friend/acquaintance last week he made an interesting statement. He said that women like foreplay even in their friendships while men don’t really care. I realised that he was right.

Before all of you will comment with #notallmen, let me put a disclaimer for this post “#notallmen #notallwomen #somewomen #somemen”.

This is what happened a few weeks back. I put my work related travel on hold in April because there were more important things to do. When I was in Mumbai, KC would hang out with his friends/colleagues on weekdays playing badminton or hanging out at the food trucks. This stopped once I moved back. After 2 months of ignoring his friends, he met them when I started travelling.

Me : So, you just picked up the phone, called your friends after 2 months of ignoring them and you guys went out?

Him : Yep

Me : And they didn’t nag you about ignoring them once your wife moved back?

Him : Nope

Me : And they had no issues meeting you after 2 months of complete silence?

Him : Yep

Me : I would NEVER do that

Maybe it is me. Maybe I just have high standards for people. Maybe I like consistency and every interaction should enhance my relationship with a person. Maybe I prefer if the time spent with a person translates into a deeper friendship. Maybe I don’t like the idea that someone wanted to hang out with me because they were bored or because they didn’t have anyone else to hang out with. Maybe the payoff for putting on a bra and stepping out of the house is a big deal. Maybe I prefer it if someone spends time with me because they WANT to; over anything else they could be doing.

I guess this is also why I don’t have too many friends. Because my expectations are too high and intense.

Men, on the other hand, love hanging out with bros. They just pick up the phone and make last minute plans. They don’t compare conversations with friends with the discomfort of putting on a bra.

Maybe that is what it is. Not nurture. Or nature. Just the bra.

#kidding #justajoke #pleaselaugh #italktoomuchaboutbrasandchaddis

Basically, if you ask me to “hang out”, I will have the “where is this going?” conversation in my head. And with you. Because I got no chill. And foreplay is the best. Even in friendships. And it is important. Sometimes as important as the orgasm. Actually, there is no orgasm without foreplay.

#italktoomuchaboutsex #day30withoutsex #justkidding #hashtagsruinedlanguage #thisisaddictive #icouldtypeawholepostlikethis #someonemakemestop #iamoutofcontrol #hashtagswhore


Things I have in common with 5 year olds

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  • We love candies and sneak them from the fridge right before lunch
  • We love winning bets. The simpler, the better
  • We get easily manipulated by adults
  • Simple things make us happy – playing with water on the terrace, firecrackers, windchimes
  • We hate being disturbed when we are glued to our favourite TV shows
  • We get cranky when we are hungry, haven’t pooped or slept well
  • We have so much energy that adults find it difficult to keep up
  • We love cuddling with our soft toys and are insanely possessive about them
  • We hate losing at board games
  • We prefer home cooked food over anything else
  • We are very transparent with our feelings. If we don’t like you, we let you know
  • We love the city we live in and let everyone know that
  • We LOVE speeding while driving. Speed limits are for sissies
  • We love our shorts and hate covering up
  • We are awfully fond of our biceps
  • We suck at art projects but our imagination makes up for it

Netflix is bae

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Something in the Rain

This Korean series on Netflix has my heart. I was all mush and jelly while watching the lead characters. It is the story about Jin-ah and Joon-hee. She is a 35 year old supervisor of the franchises of a coffee chain living with her parents and dating a creep. He is the 22 year old brother of her best friend who works at a gaming company and has returned from the USA after 3 years. They banter. There is chemistry and they fall in love. The build up to their affair is the sweetest thing ever. From being aware of each other’s physical presence to holding hands to their first kiss, it is the kind of foreplay we feel only once in a lifetime. Korean society is very similar to India. So, the age is a factor in the resistance from their family and friends. But the bigger issue is that Joon-hee is from a broken home and Jin-ah’s mother wants her to settle down with someone well connected.

I would highly recommend this series if you are in the mood for something romantic and slow. Sure, the series isn’t perfect but I would ignore everything for more than 16 hours of Joon-hee’s perfect face and smile.

Sacred Games

I was supposed to finish reading the book before the series started but at 900 pages, the book is slow and very detailed. I haven’t progressed beyond the 100th page and was torn between finishing it first or binge watching the series. I wondered how the writers (hats off to Varun Grover) managed to compress 900 pages into 8 episodes of 1 season. So glad it ends at a cliffhanger and I can finish reading the book before the next season.

Of course the series is brilliant. After all, Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane are the directors and producers. It wasn’t going to be anything less than perfect. When something is very, very good, the internet goes into an overdrive finding faults. Here is some of the criticism that has come it’s way:

  • A marathi actor should have been cast instead of Nawazuddin. Can these people please go fuck themselves? Enough with the regionalism. Nawazuddin is perfect and deserves all the accolades coming his way. Who would have thought a dark, ugly actor would get such prominent roles in Bollywood and pull in the crowds? And he has sex scenes. I am just so happy he gets (half) naked onscreen and has sex with so many women.
  • Nawazuddin is only doing gangster roles. Well, what is he supposed to do if nobody is offering him a lead romantic role? By the way, I would watch that movie. He is perfect, ok? Stop criticising him.
  • Radhika Apte is the go-to actress for Netflix and playing the same kind of roles. I love her. I think she is hot and a brilliant actress. She is one of those women I could sit and stare at while she talks non stop. She can do no wrong in my eyes. I loved her in the series. She blends into her character so well that you almost wish she stood out. All you haters, please leave. Just leave. Now.
  • Why didn’t they cast a transgender in Kukoo’s role? I get it. Representation matters and this was a big opportunity for the producers to have sent the right message to the industry. It would have given them good PR for free. But then the argument that only Marathi actors should be cast in Marathi roles stands. Where does it end? Where do you draw the line? Does this mean that a white, straight person can only play roles written for white, straight people? Kubra Sait was brilliant in the role and looked the part. And it was brave of her to play this part. Let’s not take that away from her.
  • The female characters were given a raw deal in the series. This criticism I do agree with. Maybe the book only has males as lead characters and the women are insignificant but the book was published 11 years back. Maybe Vikram Chandra would have added stronger and more central female characters in today’s times. The series wouldn’t pass the Bechdel test (a test which asks if two women in the soap/movie/book talk to each other about anything apart from men). Hopefully, they rectify this in season 2. After the disastrous segment by Anurag Kashyap in Lust Stories, he owes us better female representation in this one.

I can finally go back to reading after ignoring the 3 books am reading currently.


Compartmentalising people

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“Hey, I didn’t know you had a sister or a brother”

“Well, they don’t know you exist either so I guess it’s all even”

On a serious note, I get this ALL THE TIME. “You never talk about your family”. To be fair, I don’t talk about most people in my life. My close friends in Mumbai do not know about the existence about my closest friend in USA and vice versa.

When I was in Bangalore over the weekend, a close friend messaged “What are you doing there on a weekend?” I realised that I have never told him about my close friend who I meet in Bangalore every year. Sure, I hadn’t travelled to the city in 2 years and we weren’t that close earlier so the topic never came up.

I wouldn’t call it compartmentalisation. It is like all these people live in different dimensions and unless their lives are going to intersect, there is no reason for one to know the other person exists. Like, my parents know my friends from school but I can’t just tell them who my friends are now. They would want to know the back story – how we met, where is this person from, what is his/her caste, who are they married to, their jobs etc etc etc. It is easier to pretend I don’t have any friends. Also, maybe I should start by getting KC to meet them first and then other people can be introduced. What say?

Maybe I started doing this when I had to keep my life with KC separate from my life with my parents. And then it spilled into every other sphere. Or maybe this is how it is once you get older. Your flashbacks don’t go back more than 5 years and even then the origin of a conflict has to be in those 5 years.

I met an acquaintance in Bangalore I had a conflict with 11 years back. Thanks to social media we could put the differences aside and find other things in common, which wouldn’t have happened otherwise in real life. The only person I discussed this with was someone who was aware about the context. Telling KC would mean giving him the long backstory which wasn’t even relevant anymore.

Every story of your life isn’t interesting to every person in your life. You have to pick and choose and only introduce them to what fits for them. What they are going to be understanding about. Issues in marriage are only discussed with married friends. Single friends won’t get it. Issues with kids should be discussed with those who have kids. Career problems should be discussed with those who work for a living. Etc etc etc.

Is this manipulation? I don’t know. That isn’t the intention. It isn’t lying or whitewashing either. There is only so much time we spend with our friends having a conversation. There isn’t enough time to tell them everything. And hanging out doesn’t equal having a conversation. They are two very, very different ways of spending time with people. I prefer hanging out alone but love one-on-one conversations with people.


Training in the summers

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Summers have ended so this post does not add any value for this year. But if you are like me, you have already started planning for next year.

The half marathon season starts in autumn, in the month of October. Till September, the high humidity levels make the weather quite unpleasant. Specially in places like Delhi NCR where rainfall is lower than other parts of the country.

If you plan to run a half marathon, the training starts before June. If you are beginner, the earlier you start the better it is. The summer months are crucial training months. And as a runner in India, you have to get accustomed to all weather conditions. After all, how many good weather months do we have in a year?

When I moved to Mumbai 2 years back during the monsoons, I asked runners on Twitter if they run during monsoons. In Mumbai the monsoons last for 4 months and the rains are incessant. It never stops raining. Not for a minute. What do runners do? They run, of course. Without or without rain ponchos. But definitely with a plastic cover for their phones.

I started my training regime after a break of few months (due illness and injury) at a pace of 8 mins/km. Though I wasn’t trying to go faster and all runs were less than 10 km, the pace went up to 7.5 mins/km. When the good weather rolls around, a slight push will take me to 7 mins/km and even faster.

If I would have waited for good weather to start training, the effort required to get to this pace would be double.

But weather isn’t a priority for regular runners. If I move to a country where it snows, I will figure out a way to run during winters. It will be hard but if it was easy, everybody would be doing it.

Fuck easy.

The only run I regret is the one I didn’t get out of bed for.


Mann’s evil cookies

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I am not a big cookies fan. Like, cookies aren’t a food item you could bribe me with. I don’t even walk down the biscuits aisle in a store. On Sunday, Mann handed me a birthday gift – blue cheese cookies “inspired” from Nigella Lawson’s book that I gifted her. This was O Henry’s ‘The Gift of Magi’ in reverse.

(Mann modified the recipe because that is what an expert baker she is now).

I looked at the box of the cookies and gleefully told her am off sugar, while pouring extra condensed milk into my cold brew coffee at Perch. She rolled her eyes, made a snappy comment about the amount of sugar in condensed milk and told me the cookies are made of blue cheese. “Meh”, I thought. They are just cookies.

I came home and bit into one out of politeness and all the happy memories of my childhood came flashing by. I like cheese. I really, really like cheese. The best breakfast buffets are one which serve different kinds of cheese. I would hoard Amul cheese cubes as a kid and eat them over the course of days and weeks. That is how (pesudo) Gujju I am. The cookies touched a raw pulse and I realised I had to ration them out and test my adult will power. They were too many to binge eat in one day and could end up ruining my daily nutrition for days together.

2 nights back I asked KC to bring me 1 cookie. “Bring only 1 cookie. Not more. Just one. I don’t trust myself around the box. The box is quite pretty too, which means I have to return it”. KC brought the whole box to me and I binged on 3 of them. The box had to be physically pushed away to resist them. Normally, I can eat a bite of something delicious and not be tempted by more. I am all for eating whatever you want in small portions. But there is something very evil about these cookies. They are like the apple Eve ate. The first bite is all it takes to ruin your life. As long as I can resist that first bite, I am good.

So far, it has been 48 hours since I was tempted to consume the cookie. If I get to the weekend with similar control, I shall be allowed to treat myself to one cookie. Of course, someone will have to physically restrain me from consuming the 2nd and the 3rd. I am not even ashamed to admit that I could possibly eat them till I puke.

I am afraid to shag these days because the only porn in my mind will be these cookies. Are there any cookies de-addiction centres? Please share contacts.

All this drama for a box of cookies. Everyday am surprised when I come home and my partner hasn’t packed his bags and moved out of the house and my life.