Does boot camp have its benefits?

Does boot camp have its benefits?

Does boot camp have its benefits?

Raghuram never quite imagined the day when friends and colleagues would talk of his ‘super fit’ looks. A banker by profession, he has never been fat but “pleasantly plump”, with the suggestion of a potbelly lurking beneath his pinstriped shirt. He occasionally worried about the fact that he had little time to focus on his health. A good day was one when he managed to catch up on sleep after a long-haul flight across different time zones, so a visit to the gym didn’t really figure on his list of things to do.

But fed up about not being able to wear the clothes he loved — fitted jeans and body-hugging tees — Raghuram decided to get his body back into shape. The results, he says, showed in just a few months of hard work. Friends complimented him on looking younger. “I am in my early forties, but because of my sallow complexion, my girth and my salt ‘n’ pepper hair, people thought I was much older,” he says.

Now, friends and acquaintances stop him in his tracks and ask, “Gymming hard, huh?” This has motivated him to keep up the gruelling pace. “I started exercising with a personal trainer, who put me on intense workouts at the gym. I also swim regularly in the pool in my apartment complex,” he says.

Moinuddin, a car dealer and businessman who is in his early twenties, thought he was fit and fine because he was heavily into body building. “But with all the intense body-building exercises, my body started to look all wrong. I had a bulky upper torso, which was disproportionate to my height. On the advice of a qualified trainer, I started on cardio and muscular workouts that improved my fitness and kept me toned. This is a workout that I can continue at home if I feel too bored to wake up early and drive to the gym,” he says.

For Rupesh Patrick, artist and software consultant, fitness is about working out “periodically at the office gym, doing low intensity workouts”. The trend of bringing gyms — and thereby fitness — closer to the workplace is a policy adopted by several large companies.

“Fitness means different things to different people. For some it is to lose weight, for some it is to keep ailments like blood pressure at bay, for others it is about looking young,” says Santosh, founder of Figurine Fitness, a chain of gymnasiums in Bangalore.
“There are several aspects to fitness, such as strength, flexibility, stamina and agility, which need to be emphasised in a workout,” he adds.

Samuel Suresh, trainer and founder of Family Health Club, says: “Eighty per cent of a weight-loss programme is about diet, and 20 per cent is about exercise. A moderate workout can burn about 600-1000 kcal an hour. Ideally, one should lose 2-3 kg a month till the target is reached. Heavy and intense workouts are not always good as one must only decrease the percentage of fat in the body and not the muscle mass or bone density.”

Factors triggering fitness issues are plenty — eating at irregular hours, stress and poor eating habits. Sai Manohar, filmmaker, realised that his irregular eating habits made fitness a niggling issue. “I now workout regularly to improve my fitness and tone my abs,” he says.

For him, joining friends in the gym for regular sessions on the spin bike is akin to going on cycling expeditions. “Spinning can be a high-energy workout. It is an efficient way to melt calories. There are a few gyms that offer group exercise sessions on the bike. For me, it’s a great workout and I get to catch up with my friends too,” says Manohar.

Young professionals are making time to work out under the watchful eyes of qualified trainers. With increased awareness, terms like ‘V Step’ (requiring you to step up and down in a ‘V’ pattern), ‘Jumping Jacks’ (jumping with arms and feet stretched sideways — was and is still common in school PE exercises) and ‘Circuit Training’ roll off their tongues with practised ease.

But Swati, a young professional in the hotel industry, refuses to be enticed. “The very word ‘gym’ evokes images of strenuous workouts on the stepper and then a lifetime of knee-and-joint problems! Fitness is not a problem as I am blessed with good genes,” she claims.

Hitting the gym with the sole purpose of losing weight seems more common than working out for the sake of being fit and healthy. “This is the mistake most people make,” warns Samuel. “Thin people usually assume that they do not need to exercise. They believe they are blessed with good genes. But there is a world of difference between being thin and being fit.”

Srirag, an IT consultant in his early forties, agrees. Weight has never been an issue which gave him sleepless nights, so he was very surprised at the high cholesterol levels that showed up in his routine medical tests. He joined a gym right away, and is hoping to see good results soon.

“You don’t need to hit the gym to stay in shape. Find a fitness routine that fits you and ensure that you are consistent,” advises Santosh.

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