A disclaimer before you read this.
Am I a fitness expert?
Am I a fitness freak?
Do I exercise regularly?
The answer to all these is NOTA ( None Of The Above)
So if my answer to all the questions is NO,why should I be writing on fitness related issues and why should you read it?
Well the answer my friends is not blowin’ in the wind , I am writing this like any other lethargic person who believes in procrastination in matters related to exercising and fitness.
I am in my late forties and try to work out 4-5 times in a week. By profession I am a lifestyle photographer( changed my career to photography from Finance around 15 years back).
As a kid I was very thin,with a lean bone structure I was very skinny. Till school I was aware of missing flesh on my body and didn’t bother much about it but real shocker was the expression of the tailor while taking measurements for stitching a shirt- chest & waist measure the same, he sarcastically mentioned with a smile.
This hurt me and made me sulk for many days till I came across and noticed these advertisements in some magazines.
At that time Bullworker was the most advertised product for body building . It used to feature Mr. Universe kind of models showing all the muscles in full glory ( it continues to do so). So either it was joining an ‘akhara‘( a local practice area for wrestlers) or buying this product. Gyms were not around in small,medium or big way.
And then I decided to invest (out of pocket money of course) in a Bullworker in partnership with a friend who bought my idea of exercising together. My friend also had some old rusty dumb bells belonging to his father. So the fitness regime started. In the evenings after coming back from college, we used to jog for half an hour and then go to friend’s terrace with the dumb bells, Bullworker and detailed instruction manual for exercising.
This continued for some time even after we both finished our education and started working.
The job changed the food habits totally,from healthy home made food to outside not-so-healthy one. The job also helped me in becoming spiritual ( alcohol is another form of spirit). So the process of putting on weight began but because of regular exercise it was well under control. The body had taken some kind of shape,not V as shown in the Bullworker advertisement but chest size was definitely more than the waist size.
And then the inevitable happened, we both got married. The Bullworker was forgotten and stayed neglected in a ‘duchhatti‘ ( a small partition created between floor and roof-mostly in toilet or kitchen, to store unwanted item. The items can also be given away but because of emotional attachment with them,these items are stored out of sight,though not out of mind ).
The food prepared by wife,mother and mother-in-law combined with outside food( now with wife also) started taking its toll. In around 3 years,the tyres started appearing on my waistline and the weight touched almost 85 kgs. I was no longer the skinny boy,I now belonged to ‘khaate peete ghar ka‘ category ( well fed,a common description for over-weight people). The wedding suits stopped fitting and my wardrobe was changing frequently.
Though there were no health issues but somehow I was not liking with the way my body was expanding. Appearance of paunch and double chin made me uncomfortable in front of the mirror.
I decided to start the exercise regime again,but this time I thought of going solo.
A friend lent a book on diet control – ‘Fit for life by Harvey & Marilyn Diamond‘. Why I liked this book was that it highlighted on eating at right times and right combination of food instead of abstaining from food and following a strict dieting schedule.The book says that we should eat between 8:00 am to 8:.00 pm during the day,and suggests breakfast consisting of fruits only and light dinner. Rujuta Diwekar also advises in similar fashion but she suggests eating other food items(including fried & sweets) also in the breakfast and I follow her book (Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight) and articles regularly.
A combination of regular brisk walking ( for an hour) and managing diet helped me in bringing my weight to around 75 kgs in around 6 months ( loss of 10 kgs) . During this time I started playing badminton also in the evening for around 1 hour. Lost another quick 7-8 kgs in 3 months but my knees gave away because the badminton court was cemented and I was not wearing properly cushioned shoes. So badminton was out,it was just walking and some exercises to strengthen the knees( Also wasted some money in buying a Tummy Trimmer inspired by beautiful models in TV commercials).
The disadvantage of walking in a public space is that over a period of time you make friends on the track and end up joining some kind of ‘ morning walkers club ‘ and I also happen to join one of these groups. Most of the times the group activities are not restricted to exercising only , eating and drinking together,celebrating birthdays,anniversaries (of not only the group member but of all family members ) also becomes an indispensable routine. This meant sitting for a cup of coffee with high calories cakes after exercising on almost a regular basis and being a large group there was always a reason to celebrate.
So the bell in the mind rang again( dimaag ki ghanti baji) and ‘dil ki khwahish‘(heart’s desire) to enjoy daily cup of coffee lost by a big margin in the battle between heart & mind. It was time to join a gym and it is almost 5 years that I am regularly going (regularly means 3-4 days in a week). My current weight is 74 kgs which is around 4 kgs more according to my height. The weight increased in last few months because I think I ate too many ice creams and chocolates and skipped exercising for 2 months because of travelling . The diet plan of eating in moderation at the right time and light dinner is back and hope to lose 4 kgs in next 3-4 months.
Last week I was invited for the launch of ‘Fitbit‘ in India through a bloggers forum(Indiblogger). Fitbit makes fitness trackers and is a leading brand across the World. Though this is not related to my area of blogging( mine is more of a photography blog) but the word ‘fitness’ generated interest and I registered myself for the launch.
Now what is a fitness tracker?
It is not a magic wand which by wearing on wrist or clipping will make you fit and lose weight instantly. It is a tracker device which monitors the activities undertaken during the day like number of steps taken,distance covered,calories burnt. The whole idea is to make you aware of the physical activity undertaken during the day and not necessarily only the exercise part.Simple walking is an activity which burns calories,climbing stairs will burn even more calories.
At the end of the day it is the act of balancing calories consumed and calories burnt like a bank account. When calories consumed exceed calories burnt,there will be a deposit which means weight gain & vice versa.
It also measure the heart rate (bpm or beats per minute) and if worn during the night in bed,also measure the time of sleep and pinpoints the time when sleep was disturbed.
The advanced feature helps in keeping a tab of calories consumed ,water intake but these need to be fed into the device manually. It then tracks the number of calories which can further be consumed and whether enough water is taken during the day.
The basic data can be viewed on the device itself but for detailed information the device can be connected to your smart device or PC( supports most of the OS)
So how does it benefit ?
-a goal for number of steps can be set and looking at the number of steps already taken,there is motivation to meet the target.
-While resting(sleeping) it measure the heart rate in rest mode which otherwise is very difficult to measure and this reading is the indicator for a healthy heart.
-Sleep pattern can be analysed and reason for disturbed sleep can be identified- excess tea or coffee,late dinner etc.
Fitness tracker is actually more of a motivational device which over a period of time will make it a habit to keep track of daily physical activities and will inspire to put in that extra effort.
A combination of healthy diet and regular physical activity is the best solution to remain fit for life. Most of the heart based ailments and Diabetes which are considered as lifestyle ailments can easily be controlled by changing the way we live. Time to get up and put your best foot forward ,literally..
© All rights reserved Ravi Dhingra
Disclaimer: All images of Bullworker advertisements and all other registered trademarks are property of their respective owners.