Fitness 101


Disclaimer

The views in this article aren’t from a certified nutritionist. I don’t intend to advise all and sundry with a blueprint to losing fat or gaining muscle. This article as well as articles posted after, will be more about my personal journey and how I train, and how I eat, and the results I see from my own personal experiences. The supplements I talk about are those I’ve actually taken myself and the effects I’ve experienced as a consequence. Don’t do anything without consulting a proper trainer/doctor/nutritionist first ESPECIALLY if you already suffer from any pre-existing diseases or medical conditions. It would be daft not to know your body well before making any kind of decision in the field of dieting or physical training. None of us are competing bodybuilders. None of us are trying to get up on stage to pose for aesthetics or size or strength. All I’m doing is trying to better myself, for myself, to make myself feel better and to be healthier and stronger. Thank you.

Introduction

Like I said earlier, this is for beginners like me, and people who are hoping, wishing, and praying to get off their butt and get to working out. The results are a long way away, but initially there’s a will and wish to get started. Most people start reading articles online and watching Youtube videos on working out. The articles get read, the videos get watched, but the alarm always gets snoozed, and a little more sleep is always achieved until it’s time to try again tomorrow. This rigmarole will continue until you end up only reading articles and watching Youtube videos but never actually spending time exercising. That’s why the first rule of the game is this. Having the will is never enough. You’ve actually got to make a start and get your lazy butt to the gym or even just up on time to exercise at home.

From quite a few years ago, when my office had a gym, and my friend and I would use the neighboring college gym, or even using the gym at university when I was in England, I always had this brief relationship with a gymnasium. The basic exercises, the tried and tested stuff for each muscle group, simple movements and solid results are something I know pretty well now. But let’s take a few steps back. Let’s actually try to get you going. Let’s take it step by step from the beginning. This will be mostly a mental game to begin with, and then the physical will start taking over and intertwining with the mental.

Why do you want to work out?

Most people who want to transform, like me, crave to do so because they’re insecure about their own bodies. Most of this insecurity stems from your gut, the hanging jiggly fat, or the saggy chest (for men) , or skinny arms and legs. This insecurity mostly originates from past trauma, such as school bullying, or more commonly from popular culture that vastly mocks obesity, movies, television shows, print media, comics, stories, the internet, memes, you name it. Fat is funny, fat is unhealthy, and fat is downright terrible. There are proven health and medical complications with hyper obesity or obesity in the long run, which is a cause for concern, which is why I feel overall, the fundamental basic is that it’s not good for your mental and physical health to be obese. The popular culture references, the school bullying, and the general thumb rule of society to look down upon fat people is to be worked out of your system. Everywhere you look, models are slim, actors and actresses are slim, and advertisements all show successful people and beautiful people to be aesthetically pleasing, mostly with slim waists, and big muscles. Throw this yardstick out of your brain. Apart from the actual physical ramifications of being obese, these parameters are not important.

Teach yourself to tell yourself that it’s not something to feel depressed or upset about. This negative feeling always comes from a comparative assessment of yourself to people and images who do not represent the status quo. They are not reality. You are who you are, and you should try and stay fit as a general wellness rule and to overcome your own boundaries and obstacles. If you’re five feet two inches tall and weigh over 70 kilograms, it’s okay. Don’t tell yourself that you’re ugly or undesirable, tell yourself that if you don’t start making an effort and overcoming your mental hindrances, that you’ll face problems when you’re older. I’m sure it’s not fun being out of breath just climbing a flight of stairs. You can overcome that with some basic mental and physical conditioning and improve yourself to feel better every day. And when you do feel better, you’ll automatically want to stay that way and feel good doing so! Your body is capable of being lighter, stronger, and much much more positive on a daily basis.

Where do you begin?

The first chance you get. Procrastination is the easy bit. Overcoming it is your first victory. Try incorporating a basic morning routine after you wake up. Timings for rest and activity you’ll find, are crucial to feeling more cheerful and active during your work hours. Sleeping at 3 am and forcing yourself to be up by 8 am so you can get to work isn’t going to sustain a healthy body or mind. You’ll have to get at least a solid 7 to 8 hours of sleep if you want to make changes to your mind and body.

Explore gyms and parks around where you live. Getting a membership is easy, but running and working out in the park can be even more cost effective if you’re on a tight budget. What happened with me is that I started incorporating gym into my daily routine. Whether it was after work, or even before I started working, I used to go to the gym in the evenings just to perform the usual exercises for different muscle groups on different days. If you join a gym, you’ll have instructors to help you. All you need to do is go there and ask someone to guide you. Start with an overall workout, use the different machines on light weight settings. Don’t push yourself too hard. Start feeling the muscle pains and cramps set in the next day and know that you’ve already started experience positive outcomes from your first step into getting fitter and stronger.

What do you eat?

The key is moderation and management of quantities. Always make sure you’re getting enough of every category of food. Carbs, protein, fiber, fats, vitamins, dairy, water etc. Again, don’t go crazy trying to eat everything, that’s where moderation kicks in. Don’t go too hard on things like sugar, saturated fats, and late night binge eating. What you’ve got to understand is, if you’ve been following an eating lifestyle according to what you crave to eat, and if you crave junk, it’s more than possible that you’ve already reached a stage where your body has packed on some stubborn fat here and there and you’re not in the best of shape. What follows is that you’ve got to change that diet to see changes in your body. It’s not rocket science. Make changes to see changes. Hydration is exceedingly important. I try to do 4 liters of water a day, 3 minimum. Don’t overthink too much in terms of grams and types of meats and types of fat, and types of carbs. Just keep it simple, keep it fresh, don’t overdo things. There’s a specific reason I’m keeping things so vague with regard to minute details right now, and the reason is because I’m not a certified nutritionist. I’m just telling you what I try to eat to see decent results over a period of time in my body, coupled with good gym sessions and exercise. When I go for long periods of time just eating what I feel like, when I feel like, and binge eat all the delicious junk I want? I will see more fat in my body, I will see drops in motivation to go work out, and I get fatter and lazier the longer I let it slide.

What next?

In subsequent articles I’ll try and narrate my training methods, what I’ve learnt from my personal trainer and nutritionist (over 4 months of my transformation), how I change my eating habits and what they do to me, and various supplements that I’ve tried. This is an ongoing personal blog experience, nothing more.