Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Gymming over the years

After fretting over a topic for the last few days - I am going to write about my "Gymming" experiences over the years. My earliest fascination with the gym began way long back in 1990. I clearly recall, my brother and I eagerly enrolled into a gym at Mafatlal's - club at Chowpatty, Bombay (yes it was Bombay then - still is to me).

The gym was nothing fancy. It had basic equipments. In those early days when we went swimming - I would always take peek into the gym. I would be in awe of all those people who had bulging biceps. The initial fascination was purely with biceps. If you ever want to test if this fascination still exists, just ask anyone, "Show me your muscles?". What do you get. The guy would simply roll up his sleeves and flex his biceps. There you go, I've proved it that the fascination with bulging biceps still exists.

So back to our initial days at the gym. First day. My brother and I eagerly go to this "Sir". He guides us with the initial stretches. My eyes were fixated on the dumbbells lying around in one corner of the gym. However we were beginners and were prohibited from going anywhere near the dumbbells or the machines. So we had to make do with the desi pushups ("dun" as they refer to it in real "dehati" style). Finally before we left - some fancy sticks were handed to us that we were supposed to use for stretching. I did my turn. My brother did it next. He was so exhausted that he puked before we left the gym. I think that was the last time that, that gym "Sir" ever saw my brother. I probably attended that gym for a couple of months before i decided it was not my cup of tea.

My next tryst with the gym was at the Vispy Kapadia' gym. Must have done that for quite a while. Something interesting to note - there was huge hall next to the gym where they trained students for Karate. So every now and again one would peep in to see whats happening there. After a few months of gymming i decide to test my strength - I saw a female Karate trainer - who was kicking the students in their stomach and nothing happened to them. I decided to get my stomach muscles tested. I stood in line. My turn. Deep breath taken. Stomach held in. She enquired light or medium. The male hormones in me said, "Medium". 1. 2. 3. Pooooooooffffff. I must have gone flying at least 2 metres and landed on the floor with a big thud. That day i learnt a big lesson - "Never - I repeat NEVER listen to the rush of the Male hormones".

Finally in 2000 I moved to Nasik - From the NIWEC club gym initially i moved over to the TAJ fitness center. I simply loved the facilities there. Even though the gym was small - barely enough equipment, the shower area, steam and the jacuzzi covered up for it all. If we would spend 1 hr at the gym - we would probably spend as much time at the Steam, Jacuzzi and the shower put together. The weekly games of Throw ball in the swimming pool was the cherry on the cake. The only hitch - I never developed the physique I always wanted and it was a bit too far off from home.

Next stop THE ZONE. This was a nice place. Closer to home. One could get out of bed and be there in 5 minutes. This was where i met a lot of interesting people. I met (name changed) Chitra. She was bloody good at running. She would be on the treadmill for almost an hour running at the speed of bout 10 or so. Wow. The weights she lifted gave me a complex (initially only - thank god for that). Then we had a Mr. Hector Troy (name changed again). The weights in the gym weren't enough. He would make people climb over the Leg press or on him at times while doing his favourite donkey calves. He would never fall short of variations - all he needed were some weights, a rope, a bench, a wooden raised platform - with all of these he would come up with some of the weirdest exercises. I was there for about 3 years and then began to learn and read more about body building / fitness.

Finally at 5 fitness is where I learnt about what makes the body. It was hard to give up the fascination with biceps. From 4-5 types of exercises, I have learnt to make do with only 2 for it. Even the eternal favourite Bench press had to make way for the decline dumbbell press. The women reading must be saying - what on earth is he talking about. There are something better left not understood.

Finally let me give you people some advice - based on my experience over the years -

1) Never target weight loss - Always talk about fat loss.
2) Only cardio or treadmill will never help you lose fat - it will only help in weight loss not fat loss. You will tend to lose muscle (thereby reducing body weight) first. The fat remains there.
3) Never workout without a pre work out meal.
4) If you don't follow a proper diet (maybe not the right word) (read as "proper food pattern") - no matter what you do at the gym - its all a waste (I learnt this very very late)
5) EAT 5 (yes you read correctly - 5) meals in a day.
6) A woman should not do weights as she will develop over sized muscles - is the biggest myth.
7) Concentrate on your rest and sleep - that will build muscles - the gym workout only breaks it down.
8) Fruit diets / Atkins diet / GM diets / Blood type based diets are all bull.

I'm targeting a six pack by end of 2010. Whats your target?


Annoymously said...

Hey. You seem to be living up to your nick by racing ahead to make up for lost time.

Still chuckling over your karate trainer story..

I know you won't believe me at this particular moment but am a bit of a fitness freak myself - though I've never wanted biceps :). I've always believed in aerobic sessions to keep myself in shape and to build stamina - esp during work days. I had this fantastic trainer at Talwalkar's. She made it so much fun. I'd even make it to the gym post work days 8 or 9ish sometimes if I'd missed early mornings.

Too much of moving around got me out of my last gym membership and unfortunately, have gone all soft now. Of late it has petered down to just walking. Yoga is next on my checklist, am probably the last person on the planet to get around to it.

Your checklist is factually correct... meanwhile I just succumbed to a Lindt dark orange. I tried sticking to one square a day. I really did try.

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