Muscle, strength, endurance, fat loss; these are the most common terms we associate fitness with. Do you feel that you have hit a plateau? Working out is a part of your daily schedule but now, there is no shift on that scale. The muscles don’t realize your daily routine may be stunting your progress. Fitness experts say that working on the same exercise can pause your advancement. Shweta Bhatia speaks to some fitness experts who explain why their preferred form of fitness could help change the game
Jonny Young has been into fitness since six years of age. He started attending karate classes. After having achieved his black belt, he then moved to boxing in high school and then escalated to middle and long distance running. Today, Young’s fitness regime involves variation. That includes, weight training, running, and a new addition called calisthenics training. Usually people get comfortable with their preferred form of fitness and are hesitant to try new forms. So, how would bringing in variation in your weekly workout really help?
“Adding all these different elements into my training has allowed me to stay very fit and healthy without losing motivation or becoming bored,” he says. According to Young, many people say they don’t have the time to workout and put exercise in the same category as chores but if they start to enjoy the workouts they will look forward to it. “If you don’t like to workout indoors, find an outdoor gym; if you don’t like running, don’t run. The idea is to find the right kind of exercise for yourself and it will become the best part of your day,” Young says. All this sounds great. But what about the men who lead busy lifestyles. The common feedback, when you ask around, is that men hardly have the time as jobs take up a big part of the day and then the body just feels too tired to do anything else. “Set realistic goals. We men tend to get carried away when embarking on a new journey. What people need to realize is that motivation alone isn’t enough to lead a fit and healthy lifestyle. The reason being is, motivation comes and goes in waves and bursts, then seems to disappear for a while. If I only worked out on the days that my motivation was super high, it wouldn’t happen nearly as often as it does now. You need to plan your schedule and your goals in anticipation for those days when you may feel under motivated. If you usually wake up at 7am for work and go out socializing over the weekend, setting a goal that you are going to get up and run every single morning at 5am is most likely not going to work. All it takes is one late night and before you know it you’ve missed your run, labeled yourself a failure and then decided you might as well forget the diet as well as you’ll only quit at that too. Don’t worry everyone’s been there. So, think realistically, how many times a week could you go workout? Whatever that number is, slightly reduce it. If the answer is four times per week, set your goal to three times per week. Psychologically this really helps. If you do end up working out four times a week, then you can give yourself a big pat on your back for exceeding your goal. If you workout three times then give yourself a pat on the pack for reaching your goal. If you miss a workout because of unforeseen circumstances, instead of beating yourself up about it, you can make up for it on another day and therefore still achieve your goal. It’s all about making your fitness journey as positive and rewarding as possible,” Young says.
Morovan Viorel on the other hand recommends boxing. He is 46 years old and has been boxing since 1983. He got into boxing as a form of strength building because he was physically weak and bullied as a child. But the sport, as aggressive as it seems, taught him to be calm and handle life in and outside the ring. Viorel went on to become a national champion. He believes that one should include boxing in their fitness as it develops the mind. It helps work on the reflex reaction time and full body coordination. Today he’s an instructor with Round 10 Boxing and has seen an incredible increase in the number of people who have resorted to this sport. “Boxing keeps you healthy and strong. It’s a sport you will never get bored of,” Viorel says. So then, how has the sport changed his life? “Boxing did not change my life, it just became my life.”
So while Young is trying out variations and Viorel is loyal to his sport, Wayne Theron believes that cross fit prepares people for the unknown and always keeps your body guessing on what’s next. The USP of cross fit is that no two workouts are the same and anyone from an elite athlete to an elderly person could do it. “The mental challenge in cross fit prepares you for anything. You push hard in the class and accomplish skills and goals. This applies to everyday life too,” Theron says. Theron is Type 2 diabetic. As a college student, he managed to gain a lot of weight by eating junk food and drinking two liters of Coke ever day. This made his diabetes worse. Ever since he resorted to cross fit and maintained his diet, he hasn’t had an insulin injection in over two years. He strongly endorses having a fit and a healthy lifestyle. But ofcourse, everyone knows that embracing that ensures a longer and a more enjoyable life. “My goal is to reach 90 and still take care of myself. Similarly, I want to help people live a healthier and a clean life.”
There are many ways to define or express physical fitness. Variation workouts, boxing or cross fit. The conclusion for all is the same; a healthy and a better quality of life.