Tipping the scales

A lot of tough love is coming you way. Sorry, I am not sorry. 😛

I love what I do. I love guiding and being a partner in people’s fitness journey. But unfortunately, that’s not how most people see it as. They forget about the journey and just want to fast forward to the destination. And what gives them the possibility of this delusional idea is the numerous fat to fit transformations in 30, 60 and 90 days being sold out there.

Let me tell you a secret. If you are on either side of the weight spectrum (appropriate for your demographics and height), i.e. if you are overweight (I am not calling anybody fat. I hate that word.) or underweight you need to make life style modifications to have sustainable and healthy results which, my dear friend takes time. Every half decent fitness trainer knows this. They definitely do. So, how do we have so many of these transformation programs in the market? Because, there are 3 types of atleast half decent trainers when it comes to this topic.

  1. They know it’s not going to work in long term but they still sell such programs because it’s the latest fad and makes money.
  2. They know it’s not going to work in long term but they still sell such programs because their clients badger them to and the market demands and they have to make money after all.
  3. They know it’s not going to work in long term and so refuse to accept such clients.

So what about those before and after pictures with ripped muscles and wearing 2 size smaller clothes? They are real. I am not getting into some serious technical conversation now, but if any of you have gone through such program you know how extreme and far from normal they are. The workout regime and diet given to you is not something you can follow for life. 2 weeks from the moment you finish your 3 months, you see the waistline getting thicker, you see the weighing scale inching higher.

Transformations should be about the change in the lifestyle of a person. About inculcating healthier and better choices and habits. Not about the number on your weighing scale or measuring tape. This is not magic, and fitness trainers aren’t magicians. If you are somebody who is working towards your fitness journey, whether it’s weight loss, weight gain, toning up, working on your strength, getting ready for an athletic event, or recovering from an injury, it will do you good to remember some very important things.

  1. It’s not going to be easy: Face it. No change comes easily. The workouts are going to hurt. Not just the first few days, but every time you add or change your routine to make it more challenging, which is the right way to go. The diet is going to be difficult to change. To let go of things you love, to consume new things, new food types. The sleep time might have to change. The weekend plans and scenes might have to get altered. You don’t have to drastically change all immediately. But, you have to start working towards them. If you can’t commit to this, just walk away right now.
  • Get out of your head: Stop listening to that annoying yet extremely convincing voice in your head telling you how hard it’s going to be, how you can’t do it, how you are missing your favourite sinful bites. STOP. Making lifestyle changes is a more a brain game than brawn. Work on your attitude, focus and commitment issues.
  • YOU have to do the work: Yes, YOU. The trainer can guide you with the workout and the nutritionist can give you the diet plan. But, you have to follow them. You have to push yourself to do that one last rep, you have to resist the temptation to give in to that fry or a drink. Your trainer isn’t making you lose weight, YOU are doing it. They are just guiding you in that process. Take the ownership and accountability for this change. Stop putting the onus on others.
  • Stop comparing: We all want to turn into a Malaika Arora or a Shilpa Shetty or a Disha Patani or a Vidyut Jamwal or a Tiger Shroff. You are not them and they aren’t you. We have to move away from the idea of a standard body type. We all are made differently and there is no template to which your body has to fit to. Aim to become a healthier and fitter version of yourself. I am saying -ier and not -iest, because there is no end to it. You can spend your life constantly trying to get better and better. Your comparison has to be with your old self and nobody else. Also, it will do good to remember that the people I mentioned above HAVE to look like that. A big part of their livelihood depends on it. They not only have their own personal trainer, but most probably also a nutritionist, chef, manager for their work, scores of house help and nannies for their kids. And, they have been working on it for years. It hasn’t come easily to them either. Getting fit is a part of your life and not all, unless well, your livelihood also depends on it. The most important thing to remember is that, every body is different. Two fitness journeys or destinations need not and will not be the same. What worked for someone else, needn’t work for you. Get information, ask for advice but use your own brain.
  • Spot reduction doesn’t work: You can’t just trim your waist, or just get thinner arms or lose that double chin. When it comes to weight loss, you need to work for calorie deficit, which means burn more calories than you consume. And, which part of your body will rid of fat first, is not something that’s predictable. So don’t ask to just get a thinner butt or any such thing unless you are not overweight and just are working on toning or bulking. Stop crying and work out.
  • Make a plan: Select a goal. Choose the pathway. Commit yourself. Be realistic. Make long term and short term goals. For eg: You want to lose 15 kilos is your long term goal (will take a few months if done the right and healthy way). Being able to do 5 burpees without a break and cutting out junk food from your diet is your short term goal. (this is going to aid you in your long term goal) Now, you can choose to do this through weight training, Zumba or any other method you enjoy. Make sure you stick to it, commit and follow. Make realistic goals, that you can keep up. If not, you will just feel dejected.
  • Don’t cheat yourself: You can tell the world you are following your diet and working out hard when you are not. Make sure you aren’t lying to yourself. Remember point no. 3? It’s YOU. YOU are responsible! You aren’t doing all this for anyone but yourself. So, atleast be honest to yourself. Invest in yourself. Stop being a big fat cheat.
  • It’s going to take time: You have abused and not taken care of your body and health for years. But, now in a few months you want all that to magically disappear and get that sculpted body. Nah. No can do. Remember those burgers, shakes, chips, soda, the biryani, the beer, the shots, the pastry? Well, they aren’t going to leave you that easily. Apparently, they love you more than you ever loved them. Any healthy, sustainable change will easily take an year if not more. Don’t get disappointed when the results don’t show soon. Stay on your path and keep working.
  • Be consistent: Whatever you choose stay with it. Don’t be impatient and jump from one diet plan or workout method to another without giving it enough time to actually start working. The nutrition and workout plan helps you condition your metabolism and it won’t happen overnight. You have to give atleast 12 weeks to any method you choose and make sure you stick to it throughout. 10 days this way and another 10 days that way is an absolute waste of your and your trainer’s time. You tend to lose all the gains in exactly half the time you took in making them, given you are still eating healthy. So, a month long of gain will go away in 15 days when you stop working out. Add some unhealthy lifestyle to it and you can surely speed it up. So stop looking at the 3 months you have being going to the gym and start looking at the number of times you have missed it and/or binged on food.
  • Be SMART: Set a Specific goal. Find a way to Measure progress. Make sure it’s Achievable. Make sure it’s Reliable. Set Time commitments. I am sure this is self-explanatory.
  • What’s on your plate?: Almost 75% of your fitness journey is based on the diet. No amount of workout is going to help if you don’t eat clean. Cheat days are stupid. I am sorry, but it is a big load of stupidity that will cost you your whole week’s sweat. Again, you aren’t doing anybody but yourself a favour by eating right. “Just one pastry, just one drink can’t harm me.” They do. They always do. Nobody is asking you to live like a hermit, but don’t act later like you are doing it all with no results and the whole world is conspiring against you. Nobody has the time or interest to do that. So, stop that sob story and take charge of your own body.
  • Are they really your friends?: Lifestyle changes are hard and painful and physically and mentally taxing. You cannot do this by yourself. You need a support system that keeps you on the right path and motivated. People who not just guide you but walk with you in this journey. It isn’t going to help if they remind you to eat your salad while they gobble a double cheese loaded pizza in front of you. Ask you to stay home and sleep on time but go galavanting and partying their life out. After all, we all have FOMO. Close family and friends will have to alter their lifestyle too and why not? Our inner circle needs to be in sync with us, because eventually you need people with same interests. And it isn’t going to work if your day begins at 6 and theirs ends then.
  • Reward yourself: Not with a piece of cake you fool! Do you hate yourself? Food as a reward has a very negative impact, for clear reasons. Why don’t you treat yourself for a massage, buy a new set of headphones for that morning run, get a new hairstyle, watch a movie and the best, plan a vacation!

I believe humans are the most trainable creatures. You spend time watering your plants, feeding your pets, teaching your dog tricks, but refuse to train and nurture yourself. You can learn and unlearn at any age. It’s going to be an uphill task, but it’s doable. They say, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I believe you can. But, are you ready to put that time and effort? If you aren’t, ask yourself wtf is wrong with you. You aren’t ready to invest in yourself? You freak! What is your priority then?! You want it to just fall into your lap?!

Things will always go wrong, there will always be hardships. Nothing is possible until you put in work. Especially when it comes to your body. Sorry, chum but you can’t get delegate this to someone else. Get that ass moving and tip the scales.

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