The weekend before the first day of my #100DaysOfFitness with Reebok, I ran away to Thailand. But it was all part of the process. If you’ve ever given an exam in school, you already know that in order to be really efficient about studying for it, the first thing you have to do is clean and set up your desk for three weeks. Get the right pens, new notebooks, files to store your notes in, highlighters to colour code the hell out of them, whine about the chair destroying your lower back… it’s not so much a delaying tactic as it is part of some very necessary mental/physical/existential prep.
So in Bangkok I drank my last 15 litres of vodka for the next 100 days, and checked in for close to 1,500 massages. I flew back, hungover and ready, to be greeted by an email from my “Master Trainer” Kompal Gaur. Her title was intimidating, and her email sounded way too chirpy for someone who was planning to show me no mercy. Something wasn’t right.
I realised I had plenty of stories about hiking and gymnastics tucked away in my endless Box of Half-Lies, and was always telling them to anyone who questioned me, but when I did the math… these stories were from 20 years ago. When I was in boarding school. And didn’t really have a choice about it.
Fitness, I’ve been told five thousand dozen times already, is a state of mind. A line that of course only makes me think of Goa, but let’s not get distracted already. “Together, as a team,” her email started encouragingly, “we shall make smart adjustments to your routine, and raise your basal metabolism substantially, so you will burn more calories even while sitting [oh, very good] or sleeping [best!]. Of course, regular exercise is the key trigger to keep your BM up for life. But let’s begin methodically.”
My method for most things I have to tackle in life is usually pretty chaotic, so I was slightly relieved to have someone offer to take over. Yes, make it your problem. Perfect. On Day One, I received just one instruction: to eat a banana two hours before reaching the gym. Cool.
But first, The Gym. Sometime last year, a little after my 30th birthday (and by a “little after” I mean a couple dozen months), I started to panic about my fitness levels. I realised I had plenty of stories about hiking and gymnastics tucked away in my endless Box of Half-Lies, and was always telling them to anyone who looked like they were questioning me, but when I did the math… these stories were from 20 years ago. When I was in boarding school. And didn’t really have a choice about it (if you didn’t get your ass out for PT, you didn’t get grub — two Marie biscuits and a piece of Parle’s Rol-a-Cola, seriously sacred stuff). Over the last two years, I’ve tried a bunch of things to get going — the longest was a three-month obsession with pilates, the most recurring was yoga — but everything was either too boring, or too far away, or not really doing much. I finally got conned by the gym at Three Graces in Vasant Vihar only because their annoying call centre caught me at the exact moment (Sunday morning) that I was making deals with every god in the house about never drinking again and getting my youth back. So when they called with “an offer no one can refuse” I was all “THIS MUST BE A SIGN OKAY FINE TAKE ALL MY CASH I’M YOURS FOR A YEAR”. I was very serious about it for the first three months. Then it was winter and too cold to do anything outside the cave of my duvet. Then…I was travelling a lot. Then I forgot. Then I suddenly remembered again so I went into overdrive one day after five months and injured myself.
A full six months later, I was back, this time with Gaur breathing down my neck. Day One was a quick test — a little running on the treadmill, a little cycling, some weights, some failed experiments with a Stability/Exercise Ball, a lot of me gasping ARE WE THERE YET? Now? Now? Nowww? By the end of the week, with Gaur changing just one small thing at a time, I started getting both used to, and excited by what I was being able to cover in an hour. We’re both still trying to figure out how my body responds to the things she’s throwing at me, and I still don’t have the right shoes, but that’s what next week is for.
It’s too early to start claiming to be a world class athlete, but my biggest takeaway so far might be that bananas are a GREAT pre-workout snack. I usually avoid them as far as possible, but I’m pretty sure they’re the reason I could cover 6.3 km in 45 minutes by Day 10. That’s right, Milind Showoff Soman, watch your sexy back.
Lesson 1: Banana is arguably the greatest natural pre-workout snack as its loaded with digestible carbohydrates (fuel) and is packed with potassium which boosts nerve and muscle function.