The Secret Life of Weightlifting

Linguists say it is obsolete for a writer to begin a story with the weather. Therefore, being the lawbreaker that I am, that is just what I will do.

It was a bland weekday morning and I was in much more bland attire when the family doctor broke it down for me.

“Let me break it down for you,” she said. “You’re fat.”

Obviously, I did not cry. It was not a cry-worthy moment. But my mind was blank. I did not know what to think or how to react, so I just gave her my trademark stupid smile and said, “okay.”

She went ahead to explain the predicament in which I was since my expression showed just how daft I was then. If I did not reduce my junkfood intake, she explained, and if I did not exercise regularly, I would die at 21 due to lifestyle diseases.

I was 20 years old then. And that was the beginning of my intergration into the fitness world.

I remember the first time I walked into a gym. If I thought I felt fat before, it was nothing compared to how unhealthy I felt then. I had walked into a temple filled with animate chiselled gods and godesses. Muscles were wrippling left and right. Coca-cola-bottle-shapped bodies glistened with sweat. The room trembled with the groans of powerful men and women, the whirling of machinery and the clang of weights. And from the corner to which my fat mind had receded came the sigh of defeat even before beginning.
I wanted to run. As slow as my plump legs would have taken me, I still wanted to run. And worse still, I wanted to escape to the fastfood joint nearby where I would drown my defeat and despair in french fries and an ice cream sundae (even though I had no money then, having spent it on the gym membership).

But the gym instructor and members were very welcoming, and that is when I realized that those American cartoons had lied to us. Despite their intimidating bulk, these guys were some of the humblest and most helpful people in the world. And despite disrupting their gym regime, they were keen on giving advice whenever possible. And they also made some of the greatest friends too.

But it is like a cult, once you start working out, but the good kind. There are certain rituals to be followed and standards to be kept. And once you go black, there is never going back, for it is like a drug.

For instance, working out is more than a narcistic desire to look at your chiselled body in the mirror of up to two hours. For some, it is a desire to lose weight as per the doctor’s instructions, as it was for me at the very beginning. For others, they are looking for possible mates. (Did you know that as animals, we are automatically directed by our most basic of needs to search out for the male/female counterparts of ourselves most suitable to produce and raise healthy younglings? I bet you did not know that).

Others are driven by competition. To be the best; to be the strongest; to be the fastest in boxing. Just like the comment before, it is an in-born trait. Then, for others like me, we simply have nothing to do and become restless.

Then there are the issues of suppliments, workout regimes, and (God forbid) steroids, but this are stories for another day. At the moment, however, I aim to be the best, fittest and strongest I can ever be. And if you want this for you too, all it takes is one decision: to go for it, even thought you have no idea from where to begin.

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