A Passionate yet Unofficial Fitness Follower
I don’t call myself a fitness professional because by profession I handle the Sales portfolio for my company, Moolya Software Testing Pvt Ltd.
But I have always been fascinated by strength, power, agility, flexibility & different fighting techniques.
Before I introduce myself & my credentials in fitness I want to share with you an incident that happened in my life that made me unravel the onion layers of my personality.
It was in August of 2011. Exactly 10 years since I had begun exploring my passion for bodybuilding & martial arts. I had been nursing minor niggles in my ankle, shoulder, biceps, etc. for quite a few years till they all reached a tipping point. I couldn’t even walk for more than 10 minutes without pain or do a single push-up. The muscle & ligament tears had aggravated to such a degree. I was forced into a sedentary life. Something a hyper enthusiastic personality like me was never used to. I carried sadness in my heart. After 6 months when my pain wouldn’t recede & scar tissues had formed in my muscles tears I gave up hope. I had begun as a slim guy before I started to train and it had taken years of working out & eating right to build my muscles. Now all my muscles had shrunk. My Abs were gone. I looked like an average Joe now. But more than anything I deeply missed the feeling of being pumped, with hot blood coursing through my bulging veins. It felt like my years of Tapasya was gone, and I had nothing to show for it.
I called up one of my best friends with whom I used to train & told him,
“This is it dude. I have probably achieved whatever I could have achieved in my life. I have resigned myself to a normal life now.”
He told me this, “Anil, I have seen many people in my life take up fitness for all the wrong reasons. Some wanted to impress others, some wanted to get into movies, some wanted to just have a flat stomach. But you know deep inside, working out makes you who you are. It is who we are. We are internally wired to push our boundaries physically. Trust me, the day you don’t feel pain & you feel you may have healed, the next day you will be in the gym.”
He was right. I was back in the gym on July 12th 2012. I haven’t looked back after that.
But his words stuck with me. It is who I am. So I tried to unravel this aspect of my personality. I went back to my childhood. Those formative years of my life when both my parents were working & my grandparents would take care of me. My Granddad was a retired Air Force officer & also a great story teller. He would tell me stories of Hanuman, Bhima, Arjuna & their heroic tales of valour. He had made up his own superheroes & stories about them. As a young, impressionable boy I would listen to these stories wide eyed, mesmerized in absolute amazement. My mother would feed me healthy food (like Dal, Rice, Chappatis, eggs, vegetables & fruits) saying if I eat them I will grow up to be strong just like my heroes and I would eat with all excitement. After finishing my food, I would flex my arms & ask my Mom if I have become stronger.
Something else that added fuel to my fire was that I was bullied in my neighbourhood. Many a times I would come home crying, having got my ass kicked in a fight with the bigger boys.
Add the above two scenarios and what do you think I shaped to be? That’s right. I vowed to myself that I will never cower down in a fight again. I would keep myself not just fit but fighting fit all my life. I got to know that there was Karate Lessons in my school after school hours & I enrolled at the age of 10. That made me hard. Taught me discipline. Taught me how to swallow my pain & focus on the task at hand. It made me a warrior.
During the age of 0-7 a child is like a sponge, absorbing all the overwhelming sensory inputs in his life and imbibing them. Parenthood is so crucial in the healthy development of a child’s eating behaviour. The orbito-frontal cortex is active at this age and it is constantly programming a child’s eating preferences based on the taste, texture, temperature, viscosity and consistency. These are the foods that later on go on to become comfort foods for the adults. So an obese child will undergo tremendous emotional stress in adult life to move away from his/her bad dietary habits to align to a healthy way of life.
Ditto with discipline levels of being a sportsman. The mental & physical discipline is something that is inculcated in a child through daily routine that involves a physically gruelling regimen.
I would like to think of them as precious gifts upon which I built the foundations of my fitness. Most people think that I resist all that tempting, delicious food & suppress my cravings. But I am not tempted by these foods like others are. I eat a salad with relish. When it comes to training I push beyond the pain barriers in my head because I love exploring the frontiers of my own limitations.
Now when someone comes to me & asks for help in meeting their fitness objectives, I don’t start by giving them a diet and a workout plan. Instead I ask them about their childhood. What did they eat? What games did they play? How competitive were they in the sports activities they took up? What is their outlook to fitness?
I have had clients who came to me looking docile, benign & mild mannered. But suddenly something triggered inside them when put under the weights & there was a flash of rebelliousness in their eyes. To not give up, even when I pushed them beyond their limits. Yeah.. Now I know a warrior when I see one.
When someone is passionate about something, then hunger for increasing their knowledge is but natural. I started reading about different diets & their pros & cons. I started reading about different workout principles. As I started implementing what is written I started my own experimentation with the unwritten, based on my instincts. This led me to understanding the correlation between different diets & training principles & how they tie in to achieve the fitness objectives faster.
I feel like a scientist in a lab, experimenting with different workouts, different diet plan, food sources, meal timings, meal quantities and continuously measuring myself to see what it is yielding.
It is a continuous process. I live everyday as an adventure. An opportunity to explore & live my life with enthusiasm and vitality.
But my friend was right – FITNESS is WHO I AM. I am internally wired to live like this & no other way!