I posted a progress picture on my Instagram recently. A lot of people asked about my workout routine.
My quick response was that – It’s not just about a routine. It is about developing a healthy lifestyle. Deciding to get into fitness and sticking to it was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life.
In this blog post, I am sharing how I go about living healthy.
Disclaimer: I am not a certified fitness or food expert – these are the results of a lot of trial and error over the past few years.
Fitness is a relative term. You can always be less or more fit than someone else – no matter at what stage you are at currently.
Fitness can be the cornerstone of many things in my life. The improvement in fitness also came with a lot of confidence, which has helped me in my career.
After my first startup shut down, and my lack of movement due to a ligament injury, I weighed around 92 KG. It was also one of the lowest points in my life personally – jobless, depleting bank balance, the worst shape of my life.
Rock bottom is often the best launchpad.
After I joined my next job, I decided I to lose weight. In around six months, I went from 93 to 72kg. I made all the classic mistakes beginners make – desperate to bring down the number on the scale. I ended up losing a lot of muscle mass. I realised that it was only the beginning.
Following this, I educated myself on better ways of doing the same, getting stronger and eating sustainably.
These pictures are three years apart. I’ve done a lot of things in between these two pictures – including getting married, building a startup, travelling to a bunch of different places.
Currently, I weigh 75kg, which is also my maintenance weight. I am 183 cm tall. My fitness goal now is to grow stronger. Do things I have not been able to do before.
Sidenote: I also suffer from Gynecomastia aka Man Boobs. I used to be embarrassed of taking my shirt off in public due to this. Indian boys who had to go to temples in their childhood can relate.
While getting fit won’t fix this completely – it was a confidence booster.
My definition of fitness
Being fit is primarily about feeling energetic every single day. Every morning, when I wake up, I want to have enough energy to achieve my goals for the day.
Living a longer life and looking good in the mirror(Yes – I like it when I am leaner, but that is totally up to you) is a useful by-product of this. There is no guarantee that you will live a long life if you stay fit every day – but the chances are higher.
The second aspect is to grow stronger over time. To do things I was not able to do before. I sucked at doing pushups, and when I did ten pushups for the first time, it gave me so much joy. I can do a lot more now, but the point is, growing stronger feels good.
Here are two real-life examples of how to measure the strength and endurance
- Be able to hike very long distances with a backpack
- Be able to lift heavy luggage into the overhead compartment
Do not diet. Diets are something done for a short period. It is not sustainable. Instead, adapt your lifestyle to fit your goals. Try different things and see what sticks for you.
I love rice. Any lifestyle that does not include carbs cannot work for me in the long term. Just be mindful of what you eat. If you crave something, do not restrict yourself from eating those things.
I also follow intermittent fasting. I have been doing it for almost three years now.
I make sure I eat enough protein and vegetables too. Find the food that you love with enough carbs, proteins, and vegetables. You do not need to eat boring foods. Eating boring foods is not sustainable.
Recently I have been trying to eat more plant-based for environmental reasons.
I also take food supplements. It is impossible to get everything your body needs from food alone. I take omega 3(fish oils), multivitamins, and magnesium for better sleep. In winter I consume vitamin D3.
Tip: Try to eat when you are hungry, not when you are bored.
The core of my work out routine is resistance training. Currently, due to covid, I do this at home. I use resistance bands to do a full-body workout three times a week. (You can find a lot of routines from experts on Youtube)
My cardio right now is the occasional walks I take. In summer, I will do more frequent jogging and HIIT(High Intensity Interval Training).
Core training is another crucial aspect of the workout. Core strength is a lot more than the six-pack. It helps you maintain a good posture if you do you work all day sitting at a desk. I train my core at least three times a week, sometimes more.
I also pursue some specific goals to make it fun. Currently, I am working towards handstands. I do not know if I would be able to do this. But remember, it is not about the end goal. It is about the journey.
You might not always have the motivation to work out but do it anyway. Getting started is the hard part. There are some good days and bad days. It is ok to slack sometimes. It is ok not to be perfect. Remember – consistency is the key.
You need to be patient and give yourself at least 6 months time.
The most important thing
Everything is better when shared with people you love. So are workouts and healthy fitness routines. My workout partner is also my life partner. We work out together, both share almost identical workout routines with a few customisations. Having a workout partner, having someone to keep you accountable will help in the long run.
Move around. Eat well. Stay fit. Learn, adapt and evolve.