Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Effective and less expensive ways to look leaner

at 8:00 PM
Sad though it is, we live in a very judgemental world and most of that judgement springs from the way you look and present yourself. Vanity plays a big part in human existence. Just the other day, I was watching this fascinating documentary on History Channel about ancient aliens. Apparently, up until the start of the 20th century, some of the Native American tribes and indeed tribes from all over world were indulging in the practice of 'cranial binding'. Now, one of the reasons put forth by the believers of the 'ancient astronaut theory' of why they did this was to imitate the aliens or 'gods'. So, as you can imagine, imitation and vanity is not a recent phenomenon affecting the human psyche at all.

In the present day scenario too, nothing has changed really. You have to admit it that when you are walking down the street, you want heads to turn and people to admire you as you pass them by (of course the right kind of people!).

So, how do you go about changing the way you look. well, read on to find out more. Without being too critical of anyone, I think these big chain of gyms with their multi million dollar spending on marketing make you feel that if you want to get fit, there is no better way than to join a fitness centre. You can't be more wrong if you start believing in that.

Get things into perspective:

I am a big fan of people who look to make changes in the things that can be changed. Admitted, there are certain things, esp. those determined by genes that you can't fight, for example, height but you can certainly change the way you look, in terms of getting leaner and fitter. I don't want to seen as practising ableism but to me, people who are fat are just not organised enough in their lives. I tend to look at fat or obese people in terms of 'failure of their personal admin.'

OK, so what is the one thing that you really need to be sure about is embark on the journey to change the way you look. I would say, 'the fitness goals'. Be very frank and sure in your head what you want to do the most. Once you start seeing results, you can chop and change your fitness goals. A lot of the times you see people doing stuff that is does nothing for them. For instance, if you are in your early 20s and looking to lose weight, you'd be wasting your time going on the BOSU ball because chances are, you will always have the balance and unless you were on ankle injury rehab or looking to compete in some elite sport, you'd be better off doing intense cardio and resistance training.

Way to go!

Well, one of the first things that people do when they begin to contemplate to make changes in the way they look is get a gym membership. Well, if I was you, I wouldn't! First of all, you got to look at the bigger picture. Think about what you really want to do with your body. For most people, looks come first. Then there are a select few who are really in it for fitness. While very few (the freakish ones are for improving performance in sports; let's leave these guys alone coz they are a different breed altogether!)

Now, whether it is the looks or fitness that concerns you, you should remember that hitting the gym most days of the week will form a part of the solution. To me, a better solution is practising 'active lifestyle'. What that effectively means is you have to be up and about all the time. How many times have you seen young people who are waiting for the underground or the bus sitting down on a bench! I would much rather pace about (sometimes I have done that with 20 Kg of stuff in my duffel bag; people look at you like you are crazy; but that's OK). I am a big believer in the phrase 'why sit when you can stand, why stand when you can walk about, why walk when you can jog and why jog when you can run?'

Another big favour that you can do to yourself is to indulge in some outdoor sporting activity. I have had so many clients over the years saying to me, 'oh, but I am lousy at tennis'. Well, don't play to win but to burn calories while you have fun with friends. Again, outdoor activities are more functional than gym workouts. How many times have you realised that after hitting the treadmill quite regularly in the gym, you still huff and puff when you sprint to catch the bus?! And the whole idea to try 'activities at which you are lousy' is to shock your body to respond because you do something that your body is just nor used to. I realised, after years of trying out various fad diets and ergogenics (fat burners) to get ripped, the thing that really made a difference was a couple of weeks of Thai Kick Boxing.

Again, if you want to build huge muscles (like most guys), then you would need to join a gym (I would prefer a weightlifting gym rather than a fitness centre; these are much cheaper and really make you strong and muscular). However, if you are looking to get lean or get toned (esp. women), I would suggest to not waste you hard earned money. Also, over the years, I have seen that after the initial motivation wears off, most people drop off from the gym but still keep paying for the whole year because of the way gym memberships work. I would rather suggest you try out different home workouts, indulge in active lifestyle, balanced diet and playing some outdoor sport over the weekend.

Keep following my articles on how to save a lot of money and effort and still get the result that you want! In one of my articles I will also touch upon why and how a personal trainer is much more effective in terms of getting results.

Stay Fit, stay smiling!