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My endeavor is to delve into certain issues to give you some perspective, help you understand the world better, attempt to understand why we do what we do, and maybe in all of this, make the world teeny-weeny better! 

Disclaimer: It may be a tad bit opinionated!

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The 3 Pillars of Fitness


Are you onboard the fitness train yet? If yes then great, if not, how about you take out time and read my previous article on ‘A journey to fitness: How it all begins.’ before reading this one? If my article hasn’t moved-moved you then how about you watch a small video that I had made on ‘Why it’s time you need to give a shit about fitness’. If still not, then God help you! If you can’t take out time to read this, then God save you!


Okay, so now if that is taken care of, here in this article I talk to you about the three pillars of fitness. Just like the ones you see in a heritage structure, metaphorically speaking, a big spherical tomb enclosure signifying your health bolstered by three pillars. These pillars form the foundation. Without further ado, let me jump right into them -


#1 THE PILLAR OF VITALITY

Our bodies are meant to be active. Since time immemorial we have only been moving and moving. According to Yuval Noah Harari in Sapiens, for nearly all history approx 70,000 years ago, our species have lived as foragers – as hunters and gatherers. Today it’s an arduous task for us to shift from one home to another, but foragers back then moved every month or sometimes even every day. Their movements were influenced by food, changing seasons, climate and growth cycle of plants. They hunted bison and mammals, picked berries, ripe fruits. Gathering for wood & bamboo also formed a major activity. They were occupied with constant mobility - exploring their territories and lands in order to get a detailed map of the territory, imprinted in their minds.


With the onset of the Agricultural Revolution approx 10,000 years ago the activity had reduced to taking care of wheat and its cultivation. Since wheat didn’t require stones and pebbles the Sapiens labored to clear the fields and weeding under extreme conditions. Then they graduated to building structures, fencing around fields, where then settlements started to take place in the form of villages. In the Scientific Revolution which began only 500 years ago and closer to this date in the Enlightenment Age, where inventions, innovations took a majority of the space in the history books, our activities have moved from physical to psychological.


Over a period of millions of years, our physical bodily activity as Sapiens has reduced vis-a-vis the development of our minds, however, vitality is still very much part of our DNA – but we have forgotten about that. Our societies today are more ‘convenience’ driven now and our activities mainly constitute sitting in front of a desktop, driving our vehicles or surfing our mobile phones. The more our lives move towards convenience, the more get used to physical inactivity and sedentariness, and the more health problems begin to emerge along with psychological problems. However, our bodies are so designed that they need to be challenged on a regular basis otherwise they become frail and weak.

We can’t afford to undermine the importance of vitality, and it doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do something.

Remember Elijah Price (played by Samuel Jackson) in M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable. Okay, now that may be hypothetical as Elijah was too, too frail and had brittle bones. But we can’t even be David Dunn (played by Bruce Willis) as the extreme opposite, so we would have to settle for something in between. If we do not consciously make our bodies go through this pain and stress, I am afraid Elijah Price might become a reality for you ;)



#2 THE PILLAR OF EATING RIGHT


Do we eat right? No. We don’t, mostly. We are living in the age of gobblers and not eaters. We simply eat. Whatever we get, we gobble it up, without having to bother about stuff like, protein usability, GI of the food or good/bad carbs, etc.

We simply eat, coz it is time to eat. Or even better, we are hungry (giving two shits about the time it is!) Food is the fuel to energy. And we need the energy to do our daily activities. Hence this pillar lends most of the strength to the foundation of fitness. We call ourselves foodies but we know shit about food. Thanks to social media the importance of food has only been reduced to #chickenlegpiece (see TikTok for this trending hashtag)


You don’t need a degree to understand food. But just basic common sense and a couple of books to catch hold of, that’s all. One such book I highly and unhesitatingly recommend and urge you to not just take out time to read but devour is, Rujuta Diwekar’s Don’t Lose Your Mind Lose Your Weight. Eating Right is kind of like a pattern and is no rocket science. Dieting however is a misnomer. It’s become a misconception and made-to-believe rocket science. Fads are for idiots just like tips. Don’t be a fool to go hunting for a quick-tip to lose your weight. Since you have been eating all your life, you do understand what’s good for you and what isn’t. So why do you fall for crap or go online and search for ‘5 tips to get a flat stomach’? Why do you choose to have a chocolate brownie over a healthy veg/chicken salad for a meal? Why do you choose to have samosas over a healthy mixture of nuts for the evening meal with tea? I too have grown up on eating Maggis, sausage pizzas, maharaja macs, HCFs, etc. The fridge used to be stocked with these. But sooner or later I realized about their shittiness and the impact the shittiness had on me. I learned the importance of vitality early on in my life (thanks to Mr. Well-wisher; if you haven’t been reading my blog then click this to go to the earlier article to find out who was Mr. Well-wisher) but the importance of Eating Right got to me much much later after I realized I wasn’t making much progress. No matter how much you exercise but if you aren’t Eating Right, you are screwed - its only 20% your exercise and 80% what you eat. Yes, Pareto’s all-pervasive principle works here too. As much as vitality needs to be an integral part of your life, so does Eating Right.


Okay okay Mayur I get it! Enough of harping on Eating Right and will you please elaborate that for us? Again, if you think that I am going to reveal a secret formula in a bit, you are grossly mistaken. There isn’t any. It’s simple and easy.

Eating right is about eating the right food, in the right proportion at the right time.

It constitutes three parts namely -

  1. Eating the right food,

  2. Eating that in the right quantity, and last but not the least,

  3. Eating it at the right time when it is supposed to be eaten.

Now, we have been socially conditioned to believe for donkey’s years that our meals are three per day - breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Haven’t we? We can’t be farther from the truth. The paradox of Eating Right lies in eating a lot many times throughout the day and not eating at lesser times or not eating at all. Why do we need to eat a lot many times? Coz we want our metabolism levels to be good all the time and not be screwed up. If our body is not fed for prolonged hours, then it goes into a starvation mode - that screws us up coz it draws energy from not only fat stores (which we want) but also muscles (which we do not want!) as our intention is for metabolism to mobilize the fat stores. Technical shit, right? It is. To put it easy, increase the frequency of your meals and reduce the portion size per meal. Have you ever noticed within you - if you go hungry for long, you tend to become irritable and cranky types? Trust me, this crankiness is not confined to only toddlers and kids. It has a scientific reason for it. If you are not eating at ‘regular intervals’ or ‘in a timely fashion’ then there is a drop in carbohydrate levels in your blood. If we don’t get our carbs we are unable to think straight, so we feel frustrated, irritable. If we do get them - then our brains release a chemical called tryptophan in the blood which is responsible for giving us a ‘happy feeling’. Again technical shit.


But, what’s the right food? Briefly, I’ll touch upon this. Every food has a Glycemic Index or GI as they call it. High GI or Low GI. High GI causes the food to release sugar fast into the bloodstream i.e. increased chances of it getting converted to bad fat. However, what we actually want is Low GI – the ability of the food to release sugar slowly into the bloodstream i.e. good for us. This needs to be our main focus. Keeping the GI-info in mind, we categorize the timing of the food i.e. when is it good to have that particular food. So, ideally, you can figure out what food is to be eaten when. High GI is junk. Low GI is the nutritious stuff. High GI fucks up your arteries, causes obesity, etc. Low GI prevents all that shit. Does this seem like an oversimplification? Yes, it is. Do not also undermine the importance of proteins, vitamins, and minerals- in Eating Right by focusing too heavily on one. All these are very much essential, in tandem. So look up that shit on google too. And let me put this in bold here;

Just like proteins and good carbs, your body also needs GOOD FATS! And the elixir of life is not a bottle of Black Label – you dumbass, its Water.

Please do not fall for cutting out good fats, good carbs and water from your diet. Focus on the word ‘good’ (as in good carb and good fat) and research. All of this is what constitutes Eating Right and what the gurus have been harping on i.e.– a balanced diet. All this is needed and hence it needs to be balanced and very much a part of your diet. Go back to your ninth grade biology textbooks if required. But you ought to know what the shit that you eat constitutes. You owe that to yourself.


Having said all of this, you can’t paint everybody type using the same brush. The pattern remains the same. But your diet will get modified based on your goals, your body type, what suits you and what doesn’t et al. For that you will have to come on a one-on-one coaching program with me. Are you up for it, what say?


#3 THE PILLAR OF PEACE


By this I do not mean world peace. We are at war my friends, but a war with what lies within. What I refer to here is in the connotation of Rest and Sleep. During exercise your body especially the muscles go through microscopic wear and tear. Muscles, you may think? Yes whatever it is you do, running, swimming, the trending cult-fit, aerobics, pilates, Zumba, dance, yoga, golf, bodybuilding et al....yes in all these activities your muscles (and I mean muscles) go through wear and tear. But it isn’t that these muscles are lost. The old microscopic muscle fibers, what I refer to, get replaced with new ones. When does that happen? When you rest. And when you eat. This is called the process of recovery. Or in layman terms your body’s way to adapt. Do not undermine your body’s ability to adapt.


It is this power of adaptation that causes a bodybuilder to keep pushing on his weightlifting limit. It is this power of recovery that causes runners to run ever greater distances. It is this ability of your body that records are set and records are broken.



Did You Know?

If all 600 muscles in your body pulled in one direction, you could lift 25 tons of weight!





THE TAKEAWAY IS...


There is a saying in the gym-world that – “Great bodies are not built in the gym, they are built outside.” And that means, what we do outside. So many times I have encountered people who crazily work out in the gym morning and evening, or I see them running in the morning, then when I go out in the afternoon, to my surprise I see them walking then too, then as I return back home, I again find them walking or running. And I think to myself – “so much effort this guy puts in, but he ain’t making any visible progress.” It’s only ‘coz of lack of effort on pillars #2 (eating right) & #3 (rest) that progress gets stalled. You can’t also be naive to presume that I follow pillars #1 (vitality) & #2 (eating right) diligently and forget about pillar #3 (rest). Not possible. If you aren’t taking adequate rest, your body again goes into a stress mode – thereby halting any calorie-burning activity or metabolic activity that goes on., or any progress that you desire.


"The toughest part - All pillars need to be given equal weightage, equal attention and equal focus.

We keep harping about our busy lifestyles, busy work schedules, etc as a result of which we make little or no progress on our health. But what we actually are doing here is – unable to focus on one or more of these pillars due to our busy-ness. That fucks us up. Visualize your health as a tabletop with three of these pillars as its legs. If you are unable to focus on either one of these table-legs (or pillars) – imagine that that leg’s height has been reduced causing the tabletop to tilt or become lopsided. That tabletop is your overall health.


Diagrammatically this can be simplistically sketched as follows ( Please mind my lousy handwriting)


The 3 pillars represented as a three-legged table. i.e. your overall health.



The table i.e. your overall health becomes lopsided or tilted or gets affected if you do not focus on any one of the legs or pillars.





GODDAMMIT!

You were really hoping for some magic formula, some magic tip right? Okay, okay, I get it. I will give you a formula. I will let out. It’s not a magic pill but it’s worth a million dollars. And you know why I give it for free? Coz I give a shit about your health and that’s my mission (and yes I choose to accept it!). It’s not a tip but a pattern. It’s a blueprint. It’s a mindset.

Oversimplifying it, it is as follows with these ten things, here goes -

  1. Don’t wake up directly to a cup of coffee or tea, on an empty stomach.

  2. Eat within 15 mins of waking up. Preferably have fruit at this time.

  3. Eat every 2.5 hours

  4. Have lots and lots of water throughout the day.

  5. Get to Know what to eat and when, and how much to eat.

  6. All you need to do is work-out or exercise for 35-40 min for a minimum of 4 days every week

  7. Prefer eating home-cooked food (which is best), and carry your meals with you.

  8. Have your dinner by 8-830 and avoid later.

  9. Don’t forget your vitamins, minerals, and supplements!

  10. Stop eating shit.

Easy right? Wait for my next article to go more in-depth on these. Interim check out my video ‘Five Things to do every morning to keep fit’ Lol! but this ain’t a hack, it’s long-term.


"Knowledge is power, they say. But it’s only potential power. The real power lies in its implementation."

Hello hello! But the stuff doesn’t end here. There is a key element still left. Yes, the pillar structure is a 3-legged table. But there is a mysterious rug underneath it. This rug is on which the table stands strong and everything rests on this rug. And if I pull that rug, you will fall flat.


That rug is.... your MIND. And do not underestimate the role it has to play in getting fit and staying fit. If its 20% your exercise and 80% your eating right, then this entire 20-80 thing rests 100% on this ‘rug’. It is here in this organ where neuron firing causes you to take action towards something or sit ducks. It is here that fears, apprehensions are formed and courage is born. It is here that habits are formed and habits are broken. It is here that ideas are created and beliefs are demolished. It is here excuses are created. It is here where we succumb to temptations and feelings. We can either choose to utilize it by taking action or fill it with junk.


Stay Tuned.

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Grunge Texture

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In no other time has this issue attained such a high significance level as it has in these adverse times that we are in right now. But where there is a lot of noise on social media and the frantic rush to get fit by ‘sporting six-pack abs’ my book nudges that notion aside and focuses on the long-term benefits of having the right mindset and consciously working towards a healthy lifestyle.

If you stand on the edge of confusion, deliberating on what to do when it comes to your health, this is just the right book for you to begin with. What you need are tools, tenets, and strategies that will help you adopt the right mindset and help you maintain it. That according to me is the most important prerequisite of leading a healthy lifestyle ‘coz Honey, It’s not about six-pack abs!

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