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Set the pace: Being fit and active is not a luxury but a necessity

There are ways to keep up the training regimen and achieve the kind of fitness one wants and, more importantly, can

By Anwar Wahhab
  • Published 21.09.19, 7:54 PM
  • Updated 21.09.19, 7:54 PM
  • 4 mins read
  •  
Be it in a gym or just on an open field, remember you are not exercising to lose weight. You are exercising regularly because of how you feel as a result of exercising regularly. You will get leaner and will have more energy and higher self-esteem Pictures: Bakstage and Margub Ali

If four things are followed — having a great aim, acquiring knowledge, hard work and perseverance — then anything can be achieved.

— A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

Survival is of the fittest. Being fit and active is not a luxury but a mere necessity to sustain a quality standard of living. Not working out because of too much work is no excuse. It is often work that leads one to lifestyle disorders, such as diabetes, blood pressure, obesity and stress. Taking an hour out to work the body is not much to ask of one’s self because health is priceless. The body demands being active and fit to sustain itself.

Everyone wants to be fit and remain so. There are, however, exceptions. Report making, assignment submission, late work hours, attending social gatherings or simply wishing to do nothing on the one day of holiday hinders one from sweating it out and getting the heart pumping. It is important to accept the fact that exercising regularly and eating right is the only way one can stay healthy.

Most of us start training programmes on a rock-solid mode. However, the curve of the graph declines after a fortnight when an excuse to quit crops up. There are ways to keep up the training regimen and achieve the kind of fitness one wants and, more importantly, can.

One can begin by accepting a fact — working out is as significant as everything else in life. It can even be said that it is as crucial as life itself. It is good health that enables one to lead a pain-free retirement life everyone often dreams of. Being fit will help you continue doing all the fun things you always wanted to do. There are people who are 60-plus and still enjoy rock climbing and trekking, simply because they worked out to beat ill health.

Realisation of this simple truth will permit one to be able to make exercise a key component in the day’s plan. Should you fail to imbibe a consistent workout programme, the enthusiasm of the first workout plan would prove futile. Here are some ways to ensure a consistent approach to workouts…

  • Fix the exercise time on your schedule and follow it much as you would for your important meetings and conferences.
  • Maintain a journal. Make a note of the workout timings and days on your phone’s calendar. Abide by them just as you would for an important meeting with your tax officer.
  • Keep it plain and simple. It is more likely for one to adhere to a simple schedule in the long run. Should going to the gym be a task itself much as the workout, you would invariably fail to visit the gym. Identifying a gym location in the proximity of your residence or workplace will save time in travelling and not hinder family and professional obligations.
  • Many commence their training with great zeal. They tend to invariably exceed their limit. In the bargain, they get too sore and fatigued. Such a workout could lead to injuries, such as tissue or muscle tear.
  • Each training session should not exceed 42 minutes or else you are working on your stress hormone (cortisol) and it’s detrimental to the benefits of exercising. The body requires adequate time to rest and recover for better performance for the next session. So the most ideal approach is to set attainable and realistic goals.

It is realistic to work on short-term goals

When you’re starting out new, there will be some people who would either be with you in your new endeavour or tear you down. It is in your best interest to overlook all forms of negativity. Remember, your aim is to be fit and work towards a disease-free life. If anyone has a problem, let them deal with it.

Without a doubt one must work under a skilful, experienced, qualified fitness coach to get the best results and this should be your long-term goal. Coaches need to make sure they aren’t overloading or not adequately challenging their clients. Experienced coaches will be able to make the exercise regimen effective and enjoyable to your liking.

Rather than seeing too much into the future, it is more realistic to work on short-term goals, phase by phase, such as intermediates week (someone working out at intermediate level will see progress in four to six weeks) or monthly. Set a meaningful and practical goal that would not only be attainable but would also be powerful enough for you to overcome laziness and encourage you to train. It’s all in the mind; your mindset will determine your punctuality.

Be it in a gym or just on an open field, remember you are not exercising to lose weight. You are exercising regularly because of how you feel as a result of exercising regularly. You will get leaner and will have more energy and higher self-esteem. Exercise will boost your general health and enhance your mood because it releases two good neurotransmitters — serotonin and norphenylephrine — during training. The actual increase of endorphins occurs after an hour of high-intensity training. Endorphins are a reaction to stress that are released to decrease pain. So to truly get that release, you must get your body to a point of pain. However, the difficult part is if you put too much stress on your body, it may be counterproductive, resulting in exhaustion and irritable mood. I would suggest that you find your sweet spot. Understand and listen to your body.

A lot of people make excuses because they are being pushed out of their comfort zone. It appears that they are more apprehensive rather than being lazy. It is a mental phobia that provokes people to make an excuse. The only way to deal with it is to face the fear.

Working out is about determination; a strong resolve to be fit and healthy. You learn to embrace and appreciate the pain and soreness after a while, and your mind will generate the tale why it’s nice. The post-exercise soreness — DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) — actually feels good and you’ll miss the DOMS once you’re regular.

Anwar Wahhab is a metabolic analytics practitioner and a strength and conditioning coach

Venue: Bakstage