Friday, 23 June 2017

Cucumber & tears- An insider's guide to fitness

(Article written exclusively for India Today- Click Here)

Like many mortals, this year, I too decided to take the plunge into the world of fitness. Not so long ago, manoeuvring the blanket using only my legs to reach a cosy position pretty much represented the pinnacle of human fitness for me. However, like most things in life, I was wrong about this one too.
The universe had conspired against me. My doctor and family members all held the opinion that diet control and weight loss were the need of the hour.
One evening, when my roommate and I were shopping for groceries and simultaneously debating which oat cereal looked more disappointing, he happened to utter the damned B-word.
Yes, you read it right: brown rice. A Punjabi aunty happened to be eavesdropping over our conversation and thought it her moral responsibility to show two misled obese millennials the path towards enlightenment aka brown rice.
Besides, she also effortlessly rattled away about some brown rice recipes. Call it inherent Punjabi love, but had we stood there with the same hopeless looks in our eyes for a minute more, she would have indeed called us for dinner and, later, maybe adopted us too.
After much delay, I finally joined the gym. I distinctly remember the first day at the gym where my trainer handed me a barbell stick without any weights on it. Call it my innocence, but I gave it back candidly, saying, “I am not into body building” just like one would say, “I am into biographies not fiction.”
It earned me a blank stare from my trainer, who instructed me to do shoulder exercises using the stick. It does feel humiliating to practise with a stick when people around you are weightlifting. Nonetheless, there is always a silver lining you know. At least my trainer didn’t tell me to do a pole dance for the collective amusement of the other gym members.
Which, come to think of it, is not a bad idea: to punish people who don’t lose weight in a few months, with a compulsory once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to pole dance to glory. I never thought I would ever say this, but the gym is a great place indeed for the sheer assortment of fellow human species you get to witness.
For example, one of the guys at the gym who would easily qualify as the love child of Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Great Khali, has this unique quality of shouting "finish" after every exercise set, just that he yells it out in Dolby Digital surround sound so the whole gym knows the progress he has made.
Call it inferiority complex, but I don’t understand why only people doing body building get the privilege of grunting.
An egalitarian society is one where everyone gets equal rights to grunt in the gym even if you are trudging along on the treadmill at speed level two. No offence. #MakeIndiaGruntAgain

It didn’t take me long enough to understand the core responsibility of trainers in this gym ecosystem:
a) Giving undivided attention only to women.
b) Going up to the mirror and smiling while staring at your biceps precisely every 15 minutes.

Now don’t get me wrong. Self-adulation is a good thing, especially if you have done something great in your life.
You know like giving your country independence from foreign rule or maybe eradicating apartheid in South Africa. However, narcissism for simply lifting dumbbells for a long time doesn’t make sense.
Once you get into the fitness mode, things change indeed. Deep within, I feel I am cheating my neighbourhood snack vendor as my daily evening visits have been converted to fortnightly ones.
When he asks where I have been all these days, I need to come up with impromptu excuses like travelling, work pressure et al. And what do I get in return after living this dual life — cucumber, carrots and broccoli.
Till we meet again, I am off to pen my first novel “The 7 habits of highly effective procrastinators”.
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