Friday, December 12, 2008

mind gym

Anyone who's reached a turning point in life will almost always tell you how it was triggered by a drastic incident.

One such incident occurred to me three months ago, and I decided to turn my life by sinking the cost of a small island into the services of a personal trainer.

To put things in perspective, drastic isn’t a word I use easily, especially in the context of fitness. When once, someone once congratulated me on my pregnancy (I wasn’t even close), I laughed with genuine mirth. For weeks afterwords, I used the statement as a legitimate excuse to pig out, because I believe even a perceived phantom pregnancy deserves a good round of cravings. Another time, when I was mistaken for a friend who hadn’t exercised since she swam around as an embryo, I explained (and believed) that the mix up was caused by the style of our exclusive shared hairdresser.

So when I say drastic, believe me, I do mean drastic. Since it’s too painful to get into details, I’ll just say that it had to do with a trial room lined with mirrors that reflect you from angles that should be outlawed in civilized society, and a scream that emanated from me because I thought I was being attacked by a mob of aliens from bulge-planet.

Realizing the futility of pawning my ad portfolio, I saved money for a fortnight by hooch mooching, and then hired a sadist who was to be my gym trainer.

Two and a half months later, I am a changed woman.

I have become a masochist. I feel that if something hurts, it's a good sign. There's furious fat burning going on there. When I meet people who have sprained their ankles or are recovering from a surgery, I struggle to keep the envy out of my eyes.

I have also become one of those squares I’ve always laughed at. When friends invite me out for a drink, I mumble silly cliches like early to bed, early to rise, and mean them. When I do go out, I embarrass my companions by conducting a mini Spanish inquisition with waiters about protein levels and carrot sticks.

Speaking of protein, I now possess spare tyres of useless knowledge, like how much protein a large egg has (6 grams). I cut chicken till it looks like a starfish with 6 amputations, because sites tell you that a palm sized piece is just right. I also twitch with excitement at the ingredient labels of cans, till salespeople rush in with onions, dirty socks and other well intentioned first aid for epileptic fits.

I no longer measure things in kilograms, but in inches. It’s logical, because muscle weighs more than fat, but try explaining that to a butcher or a veggie vendor…

Then, there’s my reaction to mirrors. From someone who would forget to notice her face during the toothbrush routine, I have become a monster who seeks out reflective surfaces. I scratch my chin while passing tinted car windows to see if my triceps are still there. When with people who wear sunglasses, I laugh with my head thrown back slightly to see if my double chin has reduced. I seriously regret having bought an LCD instead of a plasma, because I can’t see myself doing crunches.

The person I have turned into is drastic enough for me to consider an about-turning point. Sack the trainer, says the right brain impulsively. The left brain agrees with the logic of the suggestion.

Once I do that, I should be able to get back to who I was. I have a feeling it won't be too hard, because some things about me haven’t changed in spite of the 10 week detour.

My old clothes fit just as snugly, and while I love the inches vs kilograms theory, I haven’t lost either.

I still huff and puff up the stairs after step 7.

And I still hold my breath to hide my muffin top, when talking to a colleague who thinks the term belongs to bakeries.

I'll just have to work on my mind now...


  1. OMG, this sounds like me!
    8 weeks of personal training=+2lbs
    1 month of regular gym visits during lunch=+3lbs
    Both come with excruciating pain. I think there is something terribly wrong with going to the gym because where I come from exercise=losing lbs NOT gaining!

  2. out out out fuckin standing......i think i laughed at every sentence.
    Superbly superb.....this is definitely my favorite post of yours.
    ha ha ha ha ha.....

  3. What a post! awesome. From adipose to addi'ing poses - a totally hilarious journey that holds a tape measure to all thats bulging and bouncy and trying to pass off as humour.

    Truly kick ass post. Shwini, just remember this mood when you write next. It was completely enjoyable.

  4. Haha... really liked your post! And since I'm a bit of an exercise junkie (and have fear of fat), I can completely relate. I've never gone the route of the personal trainer but I wouldn't rule that out in the near future. One thing for sure, pain is glorious. Pain, sweat and that wonderful feeling of just being near-dead knackered :-)

  5. superbbb!
    I had really good time reading this post..:)