Monthly Archives: June 2013

Cut that cake some slack!

Alcohol is advertised, glorified and sold but is harmless unless you over consume it. Clothes and jewelry are marketed heavily, targeted vigorously and sold profitably but you won’t go broke unless you shop uncontrollably. Delicious comfort and junk food has been around for many years now and there is no problem with that unless you make it a part of your daily life.

But most of us know junk food isn’t good for us. Some of us control consuming too much junk food because we’re afraid we’ll become diseased very soon while the rest of us are scared of sagging bellies, fat asses, disgusting love handles and flabby arms. So why would anyone eat junk food everyday?

To be more specific, if you had a brain that is even half the the size of a an apple seed and if it functions even moderately, you wouldn’t eat chocolate cake everyday or feed your child ice cream or bars of candy on a daily basis. It makes no sense to anyone and even the most simple minded and negligent of us will be able to make the following connection.

Fact: Chocolate cake, ice cream, fried food, chips etc = Tasty but not healthy. 

Inference: Eating ‘Tasty but not healthy’ everyday = Fat, unhappy and diseased. 

Decision: I shouldn’t eat “Tasty but not healthy” everyday. 

Simple enough right? But here’s the deal – You do eat junk food everyday. You just don’t know it.

The latest trend in food marketing is putting a healthy spin to pretty much everything. Things like “Contains the goodness of milk” or “with REAL fruit” or “with whole grain” are nothing more than a bunch of BS. Marketing companies are becoming smarter by the day and you know what that means. Yep, you are becoming dumber by the day believing all their nonsense.

Stated differently, food manufacturers and marketers are smartly twisting words and making you believe that junk food is indeed healthful food. How do they do that? By showcasing whatever minimal goodness that is present in their food products and, more importantly, very sneakily hiding everything that is unhealthful. Doesn’t sound too bad, does it? I mean, that’s how we all roll, right? If you were to date someone, you’re going to be at your best appearance and behavior. You’re not going to walk-in wearing rags. Say what? Rags are in fashion now? Ok cool. Scratch that. You’re not going to walk in wearing pajamas and a hello kitty t-shirt. If you were to sell your car, you’d talk about how she (really?) was rarely driven and how much you loved her (seriously?) but you’d not mention the accident or oil leak or A/C that doesn’t cool.

If this was the case with food products, I think we can safely live with that. Say for example, a box of cereal which is made purely of whole grains, is high in fiber and contains dehydrated fruit but also contains some sugar. But is that the case today? Well, hell no!

The most famous grain based chocolate flavored sugary cereal is being marketed as a “healthy breakfast”! Can you freaking believe that? Here is what it is made of.

Whole wheat flour (29%), edible vegetable oil, malt extract, iodized salt, colour (INS 150d), vitamins, vinerals, antioxidant (InS 320).  Contains permitted natural colour and added flavours (Nature-Identical and Aritifical Flavouring Substances). 

The point here is that downright blatant junk is, for the most part and by most people, kept at bay. So cut that cake some slack! It is the sneaky pseudo health foods that you are made to believe that you need to consume everyday that is making you fat, ugly, tired, easily frustrated and diseased. I’m talking about the cereals and digestive biscuits and diabetic cookies and dried fruit balls and health drinks and electrolyte replenishment drinks and baked chips and fruit juice everything else in between.

So what do you do?

Step 1: Spot pseudo-health foods.

  • If it comes in a box and has a long shelf-life chances are, it is junk. Nuts and dried fruit are an exception.
  • If the box is colorful, heavily marketed, has words like “low fat” or “no sugar” you can be almost sure it is junk.
  • If the list of ingredients has more than 3 words you don’t understand, it definitely is junk.
  • If it tastes sweet but says ‘No sugar added’ or ‘Diabetes friendly’ or ‘Health___’, it most definitely is junk.

Step 2: Don’t eat it.

Step 3: Decide to never store such foods in your pantry.

Stay sane. Stay safe. It’s a dangerous world out there.

Maybe you just don’t see the point… yet

Light-bulb-moment

A couple of weeks back we had a workout at The Quad that involved running, more running and honestly, not much more than running. Actually, here is the workout.

– Run 100m
– Do 1 burpee
Repeat for as many rounds as possible in 30 minutes.

Now, this is not characteristic of The Quad in anyway. We are all about doing the big moves in a regimented, varied, fun and competitive fashion but this one was different. It was an endurance challenge and everyone had to compete. As I was explaining the workout, I saw faces shrink smaller and smaller and when I said “This is all you’re going to do for 30 minutes and, one way or the other, we’re going to make sure you work for the entire 30 minutes!” most faces turned sour and then sad and then angry!

About 8 minutes into the workout, one of my best, most intense and most dedicated athletes looks at me as he runs and goes “Boring!”. This came as a surprise to me but then I realized that this was one person who said it but we probably had another 100 trainees who thought this at various points of time during the workout. But, being diligent and sincere Quadsters, every single trainee did the entire workout. Some did 30 rounds, while some others did 60 but most of them (except the running enthusiasts) were thoroughly annoyed at the end of the session.

But guess what? We’ll do this challenge again at a later date when it makes sense as a part of the periodized training program. And again.

Why? Because just like there are foods that make you feel great instantly and there are foods that make you healthy in the long run, you understand the point of certain elements of training only after you’ve given it time to rest and sink in.

The number of emails, text messages and in-person comments we received a week after the challenge was amazing!

“I never thought I could ever run for 30 minutes! I was angry at first, but you guys have done it again!”

“Coach! Didn’t realize I sucked so much at running. What should I do to improve?”

“If not for that challenge, I never would’ve even considered running. It was a shocker that I was able to run for 4 kilometers while doing burpees every 100 meters!”

“That endurance challenge made me ask you think – Is my endurance is that bad? Can we work on it please?”

“I was able to run, albeit slowly, for the entire 30 minutes. Do you think you can help me train for the 10k that is coming up in July?”

“I just realized I ran 3 kilometers!”

I can list another 20 quotes, but you get the idea. You need to venture out of your comfort zone and test yourself. Sometimes you’ll be pleasantly surprised and sometimes rudely shocked. But that is the nature of the game.

It is very common to see people doing what they like and only what they like. Runners run. Lifters lift. Sportsmen play. Cyclists cycle. But fitness is beyond just doing what you like to do or what you’re good at. Fitness is about honing your strengths by conquering your weaknesses. It is about challenging yourself. It is about getting out of your comfort zone and testing yourself in order to understand your true capabilities. Fitness is a mindset. 

Getting out of your comfort zone, challenging yourself, accepting your weakness and rebuilding yourself is not easy. You may not understand it today. You may not benefit from it immediately. You may not enjoy doing it the first time. But trust me – believe, commit and give it all you got and you’ll soon have your Aha moment.

I’m going to end by quoting something someone who I respect plenty said once to me –

“Not everything we do in life needs to have a point. Or maybe, we just don’t see the point… yet.”

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