Watching people exercise in India is like watching a film from the 70’s. They still do standard calisthenics, bounce when they stretch, don’t warm-up or cool-down thoroughly, or complete a myriad of other “must dos” as deemed by the modern fitness world. But, hey, hardly any of them are fat. They must be doing something right.
Many trainers in the US promote one type of training above all else. Wild proclamations such as “that won’t work,” “you’ll get injured if (insert any type of exercise they don’t teach,” “your body can’t digest (any type of food they don’t subscribe to)”, and so on, fill the health wires. But if we really had all of these answers, and there was really only one right way to train or to eat, why are we still getting fatter? It seems that even the most altruistic of us have become self protectorate. It’s our way or the highway, or else we won’t get your business. But when it comes to diet and exercise this couldn’t be further from the truth. Our bodies simply need exercise and decent food. Other than that, it’s all nitpicking. The latest technology comes into play when we’re training athletes, where a 1% improvement in performance is the difference between a Gold medal and not qualifying for the race. But for the average person 1% is nothing. Obesity rates have tripled; body masses indexes are up nearly 30%. If we simple swapped out the time we spent bickering about the “right” way to exercise into actually doing any kind of exercise, we’d slash these figures by double digits.
“Guru” over at Guru’s Dream Gym seems to know this. Ashna, my brother’s fiancé, couldn’t help but walk in and, in with John-Wayne-covered-in-a-saree-esque swagger, announce that there was a new sheriff in town. She got his card and, while we haven’t had our fitness knowledge high noon showdown yet, I did manage to check out his facility. It’s filled with a lot of equipment that reminds me of my high school gym. It was also packed with people, most of them getting after it pretty good. Other than Hindi push-ups I didn’t see a lot of “trendy” first world technology being applied. No functional movements, no pilates, ergometers, or “power” yoga. Just good old fashioned exercise. And while it wasn’t World Gym in Venice Beach, nobody was fat either. Maybe there’s a lesson there. I think the Guru and I will agree on the one.