Best Exercise Ever – The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Healthy Living

I don’t know about you guys, but for me, it all began with Casino Royale. I used to be content with watching ageing Bonds with telltale paunches get all the women they wanted on the silver screen. I watched in awe as Sean Connery waddled up to Kim Basinger in Never Say Never Again and floored her (of course, his Scottish charm had nothing to do with it). I watched in utter amazement as Pierce Brosnan worked his way around a hairy paunch to bed Hale Berry. I lived my life vicariously through these heavyweights on the silver screen.
Connery, Basinger and the Paunch
And then, horror of horrors, along came Daniel Craig with muscles bulging out of every Goddawful pore on his body. And he didn’t look like a hired thug in a tux either. Not cool. I decided I needed to lose weight and rent a tux. I mean, what’s the point of living in a consumerist society if you do not let your matinee idol motivate you to bulk up, drink alcohol, bed women and gamble?
So began my focused efforts to lose fat and bulk up. Like many before me, I ran to the nearest gym (well, not so much ran as walked really fast. I was out of shape too, y’see) and threw myself onto all the weights I could see. And like many before me, I reported to the nearest physio the next day with an elbow that refused to straighten up and a stomach that seemed to be contorted in a permanent state of cramp. While struggling to straighten my arm with the aid of an infrared lamp, my physio gently asked me if I would mind sticking to the smaller weights next time onwards.
Then came Crossfit training. For those who do not know, CrossFit is a training regimen developed by the CrossFit Ltd. company founded by Greg and Lauren Glassman (you can read all about it here). It is described as a “strength and conditioning program with constantly varied, high intensity functional movements”. If that sounds too much of a mouthful, just imagine having to live as Tarzan for a day. Jumping over obstacles, lifting heavy logs over short distances to throw them at oncoming rhinos, fighting lions with your bare hands, scratching your ass along with fellow Gorillas, that sort of thing. In the sort of high testosterone environments in which CrossFit thrives, these and more are commonplace. After vomiting up everything I had eaten since a week before, I realized that I was a MisFit at CrossFit (excuse the bad pun. Connery might have been able to pull this one off)
I tried Yoga and Youtube in that order. Although I have nothing against Yoga per se, YouTube was a lot more fun. Of course, the sort of YouTube videos I ended up watching didn’t really help with the exercising either.
This continued for over 3 years before I realized three very basic, important and often overlooked tenets of healthy living:
1. Each person’s body is unique. What works for you may not work for me in the same way
2. You are what you eat (I, for instance, am a chicken sambhar vada)
3. Daniel Craig gets paid to look that good. No one pays me anything to vomit my heart out on a daily basis
Once that realization dawned, I felt like a changed man. Not to say that I instantly attained Nirvana and lost 5 kgs the day after, but I started to look at my eating and exercising habits in a much more efficient manner, targeting to achieve maximum results in minimum time through a complete understanding of my body. For instance, I changed my eating habits drastically. I started eating only sambhar and chicken. No vada. I stopped watching reruns of Casino Royale. I kept track of what I ate and drank. My circadian rhythms. Times when  I felt like strangling my roommate for playing “Ishq waala love” on a loop. (Emotional eating is just as dangerous as vada). As a matter of fact, I did everything short of chemically analyzing my vomit daily. But my body never improved.
That is, until I hit upon the simplest solution; something that, in retrospect, has always worked for me. Walking. Plain and simple. An exercise developed by our ancestors who wished to cross over from Africa to Europe to escape noisy neighbours who were playing their drums a bit too loud. And I dare say it has started working. I don’t vomit nowadays. The fresh air feels good. I am losing weight.
Best of all, Daniel Craig will retire after playing Bond in one more film. I can wait.

6 thoughts on “Best Exercise Ever – The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Healthy Living

  1. Yes…. It is an unrealistic dream to be in that shape and to wear a tux. Partly because, frankly speaking, any Indian guy, however high class or grand, looks like a waiter waiting on tables after wearing a tux. And this isn't racist since I am an Indian 😛

  2. Nice perspective. I like this. There are somethings which might be considered sexist here. An average female might question you over girl weights but you can of course blame your physio for making that statement and not particularly endorsing it. Overall, hilarious and insightful. Nice read after a long time

  3. When I read, hear & talk about 'health' I feel like I am getting old 🙁 This is all because of the media showing us sculptured and scalpelled bodies every where. The fitness is over hyped, look at old era where dharmendra, shahshi kapoor, rishi kapoor all with their respective bellies wooed equally bellied heroins.

    Perhaps, for us good eating and moderate exercise can do enough considering the need of looking moderately fit and minimizing the medical bill of old age.

  4. Agree with you Kedar. Fitness and health are closely related, but a sculpted body and health need not be so. However people have fallen into the error of equating sculpted bodies with health. Not a good thing in any age, especially nowadays when we have started earning enough to buy chicken tikka masalas four times a week.

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