The buzz word in my office these days is fitness. The first person to wake up to the ever increasing layers of lard a sedate job provides was P. She promptly signed up for a membership at a neighbourhood gym. She has also now been inducted into a competition where the gym members form groups of three and see which group has managed to lose the most weight overall. I am glad to report that I gave some good advice viz pair up with really fat people. It will be easier for them to lose 5 kgs as opposed to a thin person. P also took this advice but has now discovered that fat people are fat because they don’t like going to the gym. Consequently she has not seen her groupies at the gym and now glares at me any time we discuss the gym.
The next person forced into the bandwagon is my senior colleague. His wife gave him a six-month membership to a gym and the sunk cost motivated him to get started. The first day was an eye opening experience for a man who had not seen the inside of a gym in a long time. There was an impressive array of instruments to tell him his scores on BMI, fat %, energy levels etc. At the end of it, his muscular instructor balefully informed him that he had failed on every count and it was time to hit the treadmill running. Feeling a bit like an under-performing school child, my colleague nodded and went to the first available machine. This involved sitting down and pedaling with his hands – an activity designed to discourage even the most hardcore gym enthusiasts with the utter monotony of the action. This also gave plenty of time for my colleague to observe other members and that is when he realized that if he was ever going to fit into this gym, he would not be able to afford an inheritance for atleast one of this children. The average gym-goer was outfitted in branded track pants, t-shirts, head bands and shoes (totaling around INR 12000). Some of them even had bands wrapped around their knees or elbows that had a discrete Swoosh. My colleague had worn a pair of tracks and t-shirt he had got as a part of our last office offsite. The gym-goer also moved about with an array of accessories including latest version of an ipod (around INR 24000) and a sipper (around INR 2000) containing Gatorade (INR 200. Remember this stuff is imported here). My colleague seemed to be the only person listening to the piped music playing overhead and drinking water from the water dispenser. All this has not had a great effect on his overall enthusiasm levels. However, the fee will have to written off unless he is willing to throw in the time. And he is.
I took a cue from all this and signed up for fitness classes. After listening to my colleagues’ gym experiences, I decided to stick to aerobics. Aerobics in India is the stronghold of middle aged women making meek attempts at shedding half a lifetime’s worth of fat. If you look from above, the effect is usually like watching a herd of hippos, clothed in pink, jiggling limbs and being a bit short on breadth. Of course as an exception to this rule, there is always one woman who will be very enthusiastic, jumping while others walk, lifting 5 kgs when others fumble over 1 kg weights and overall, inviting the wrath of everyone else. My class followed the stereotype to the T. The only exception was a single male member, looking like an intruder in a harem. The class began and I got into the groove while closely observing the enthusiastic member of our class. For some reason, she had decided to come to class with plenty of make up. As the class progressed, I watched fascinated, as her make up also began to slowly run down. At the end of half an hour there were streaks of mascara running down her cheeks joining the rivulets of foundation, beginning to merge with the island of red lipstick At the end of the class, they had all successfully become one single Picasso-esque picture worth a half million dollars at Sotheby. I was curious to see if she achieved this effect day after day. Sadly I have not gone back to class due to a string of excuses. But clearly there is some motivation for me to go back.
The champion of all exercising however continues to be my colleague. Claiming to have absolutely no time to reign in his expanding waistline, he finally did only what the really living-in-denial would do. He bought a Morning Walker. This is a piece of equipment on which you place your legs and lie down. Then you turn it on using a remote. The machine simulates walking and apparently you lose the same amount of weight that you would have had you gone for a walk instead. If this was not incredulous enough to hear, my colleague also added with much melancholy that he did not even find the time to use the Morning Walker.
Hmmm. Atleast I have signed up for the aerobics classes even if I have not gone more than once.
p.s. The title of this post is inspired by an award winning slogan my sis once wrote for a competition. It went something like 'I like Kellogs because it helps me stay slim and fit and not round and fat'. Simple, to the point and very powerful. Also she was still in school when she wrote this.