It is simple but not easy.
I am an active reader/writer at www.quora.com. I think it is a great platform to ask questions and get answers from very knowledgeable people. There are some really interesting and funny questions that are asked. The website also offers a diverse audience. There are questions and answers like these which make my day. And then there are questions and answers about arranged marriages in India which can be read only in a particular mood.
Off late I have been writing a lot. Since I have been involved in fitness for the last 7 years, that is what I write most about. I get questions asked about various fitness related topics. Sometimes I get questions like these —
Question from a 14 year old girl and my answer to it. I mean seriously, you’re only 14. Stop worrying about how much you weigh and go enjoy life while you still can! The intense societal pressure on women to look good even as adolescents is unforgiving and uncalled for. What are we doing to our next generation?
Question from a guy about losing 10 kg (22 lbs) in 3 weeks and my answer to it. Dude, I don’t know what train you need to catch in 3 weeks, but it is not happening. Were you sleeping this whole time when you needed to lose weight? I mean this is like asking how to ace a test after not attending any classes in school and studying for the last 3 hours. Fitness is not a sprint people. The sooner you understand this the better off you will be. I get questions like these all the time. Should I diet? Should I work out for my summer body? How do I get permanent muscles? If you think that you can workout for a few months and stay in shape perpetually, you’re very badly mistaken.
Fitness is not a savings account that you put money in and forget about it and collect the reward at the end. It is the account in which you have to keep depositing your effort every single day of your life. The more effort that goes into it, the better and stronger your body gets. The stronger your body gets, the harder it gets to progress to the next level and get even stronger. The law of diminishing returns applies. But each step forward is like a new light shining upon you. When you discover what your body is capable of, it is a joy in the making. However, if that sounds like a waste of time to you, then fitness is not for you my friend. You can continue being a couch potato playing video games and watching TV series.
All these people we read about — Arnold Schwarzenegger, Frank Zane (pictured above), Franco Columbu, did not achieve the feats they did by sitting on their computer and asking to gain 200 lbs of muscle in 6 months. They gave their lives to fitness. They paid their dues in the gym and at home. The put their blood and sweat into looking good, no great!
I am not saying everyone of us should strive to be like them. Fitness was a full time job to them. However, we should all at least strive to be fitter than we are. We don’t need a Schwarzenegger comparison. But we can always compare ourselves to our previous selves. We all have full time jobs and cannot afford to devote our lives like these people did. But the least we can do is wake up and embrace the culture of fitness. Accept that in the marathon of fitness, it doesn’t matter where you finish. What matters instead, is that you finish at all.
So no, there is no shortcut to gaining all the muscle and lose all the fat. Eat healthy, exercise often and sleep well. Slowly, you’ll see the dividends of this in the mirror and in the gym.