Fitness goals for the faint-hearted
Once the shoes, apps and music are in place, the work beginsbrunch Updated: Dec 01, 2018 21:53 IST
Every couple of years my hardened conscience develops a familiar ache. It makes me behave in a predictably strange manner. I pull out a disused old pair of walking shoes from under the bed, put together a few pairs of mismatched socks, arm myself with a sling bag and set out for A Walk. The enthusiasm lasts 10 minutes; the walk for about 40. I repeat this for between three to six days by the end of which my conscience and I are on nodding terms again. I’ve decided this year will be different. I have crossed the danger zone of six days and made a giant stride into The Next Week. Like a conquering Viking, I’m unstoppable. But with considerably more evolved social skills, I’m ready to share my insightful experiences.
A spring in my step
The 2018 batch of conscience pangs made me resist the urge to take my tattered old shoes to a “mender of soles”. Walking into a shoe shop after about a decade, I made some startling discoveries. Walking and running shoes are pretty much the same thing. Then there’s a “lifestyle” category for occasions that I’m happy to commemorate in Kolhapuris. I picked up a “performance” pair that are so bouncy they make me feel like I’m walking on a trampoline. On the moon. Pumped on caffeine. These fancy circular high-tech thingamajigs on the sole make me feel so very future ready. In fact, any day now I’m going to Google the meaning of ‘bitcoin’.
Superior headphones, sweat-resist clothing and an Olympian spirit turned my childhood park into an orgy of exercise
But, as any fitness enthusiast will confirm, it’s not just about the shoes. You also need the gear and the music. The clothing question I addressed with admirable swiftness. I’ve bought three pairs of track pants categorised under active+leisure wear. What a beautiful confluence of opposing concepts! Then there was just one thing left to do: locate the neglected earphones that came with the smartphone, find Iron Maiden on the music app (Fear of the Dark on a crepuscular walk is a must-try) and launch into a fully kitted-out walk in a proper park.
Orgy of exercise
It’s probably not the best for a beginner’s ego to start a fitness routine on the day after Diwali. Veteran joggers at the park bring out their A-game in the darkly penitent phase following the festival of lights. Superior headphones, sweat-resist clothing and most disconcertingly, an Olympian spirit had turned my childhood park into an orgy of exercise. Here a hooded sprinter, iPhone strapped onto a bulging arm. In the distance on the grass, a kickboxer in training. Groups of senior citizens walking briskly while chatting with ease. I switched the playlist to The Velvet Underground, allowing myself to be comforted by Lou Reed’s drawl.
Soon the sun had set and I was gliding through the planned number of rounds. Halfway done was well begun, I thought. Buoyed by the robustness of my shoes and playlist, I circled the park three more times. And then, back at the gate, I moved my fingers around my forehead anticipating freely flowing sweat from my tired brow. Not a bead to be found! Enthusiasm dampened, I resolved to work harder.
Born to run
It’s week two and I’m raring to go. If I look really hard, there are payoffs even in these early days. Most of all, the spirit-sinking hour of dusk comes and goes without the attendant gloom. While I’m walking briskly (and sweatlessly), I see people around me jog and run with admirable artistry. I’m already dreaming of a Chariots of Fire-esque sequence, with me in the leading role. (Though Farhan Akhtar as Milkha Singh is a good image to run towards, too.)
Those days might be far, but I’ve already gathered enough courage to discuss fitness with the Greek goddesses and gods that make up some of my social circle. These range from cross fitters who fill me with dread to weight lifters who leave me in awe. Just yesterday I had a conversation with a core-strength junkie who lent a patient ear to my nascent attempts at fitness. I told her how I’m dying to run though I’ve only just begun to walk. She said that means I’m ready. *cues Bruce Springsteen on the music app*
From HT Brunch, December 2, 2018
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First Published: Dec 01, 2018 21:52 IST