By Esha Shah
To be honest, we are all brought up playing various games as kids and we only move away from those healthy habits after we grow up. I have been playing tennis all my life and I love the game. But I didn’t really gym with a purpose before. I lost a tonne of weight living and walking around my university which was in the little, hilly county of Durham, which was very close to Scotland and as a result, very cold.
I got back to India and began running, a little at a time. To my surprise, I took to running since I enjoyed it and it seemed to soothe the restless energy in me. So I ran and I got skinny, and I assumed I was fit and strong because I played tennis and ran. And then I moved to Pune.
On my first body composition, the trainer told me that I had managed to lose muscles from indulging largely in cardio and neglecting weight training altogether. That came as a surprise to me and so I took up weight training in addition to running. I had cut down on tennis. One day at the gym, a trainer offered an hour-long session and he chose functional training. He had observed that I had a high endurance. I performed better than I had imagined I could and despite being in a world of pain after the workout, I had thoroughly enjoyed the hour. As a result, he offered to design me a workout plan and I was thrilled.
He created a wonderful plan for me that incorporated weight training, functional training, CrossFit and cardio in balanced proportions. Slowly, my body changed. I gained about 8kg, most of which were muscles. I looked and felt fitter and stronger. I enjoyed my workouts because I continued (and still do) to try new forms of exercises and pushing my body to do better, be faster and my body kept surprising me.
Fitness has always been an integral part of my life and now it is more than that to me – now it is therapy.
I have come a long way. I currently do weight training and yoga, I am learning kickboxing and I undertake various forms of cardio like tennis, running, climbing at Sinhagad, etc. I have also learned what everyone in the fitness industry already knows – weight is merely a number. Although I only workout for an hour unless it is an outdoor activity like tennis, that hour is enough for me to find my calm and drive for the day.
Everybody reacts differently to every form of exercise and every mind reacts differently to every stimulus. There isn’t a standard formula so try out different things to find out what makes you tick. I have found that most people struggle with finding the motivation to even go to the gym and I always let them know that while weight training is vital, it is not the only method to inch towards a healthy lifestyle.
Decide what you love and chase it accordingly. Eventually, you will love yourself enough to alter your eating habits as well – not an overhaul, but intuitive eating. You will be amazed by everything your body can do and most importantly, you will be happy.
Here’s a simple truth to get you started – ‘Most people have no idea how good their body is designed to feel. (Kevin Trudeau)