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Fitness Scene in India
In the last few years, India has been hit by the fitness fever that seems to have gripped almost everybody, not just in Mumbai but also in most other metros; and its actually a good thing. Most gyms in Mumbai now don’t just have the usually workout equipment but also conduct several group fitness routines, including various dancing forms (such as salsa).
Mumbai, like most other parts of India, has its extremes. At one end of the spectrum you have the elite, and at the other you have the huge middle class, for whom life in this city can be tough. So many see gyms as not just a place to workout but also to do some socializing. Besides, a gym is the only place where people smile back at you and are eager to help you out. Surprisingly, that’s what I have observed. The moment you’re out of the gym, suddenly everybody seems to be in their usual aggressive (or shall we say competitive) mode.
However that doesn’t mean all gyms encourage you to chit-chat most of the time, and everybody goes to the gym just to catch-up with friends. There are many who go to the gym post office hours and they want to make the most of the little time they have.
Most gyms in Mumbai are also becoming professional and if you skip the gym for a few days, you do get an sms or a call reminding you to get regular (which actually is a good thing). Earlier, there were several instances where many of my friends had taken gym membership for a year and then they would be out of action for more than half of the year (not because of injury, just plain lazy).
But then you couldn’t blame them, life in Mumbai is tough. And many prefer to go to a party, head to Barista/Coffee Day for catch-up with friends, or just go home to sleep after a hard day’s work. And one really cannot blame someone in Mumbai if they find it difficult to be regular to the gym.
Life in Mumbai
How does a typical day look like in Mumbai, for someone who goes to office (a typical Mumbaikar)?
Run to catch the bus or train, jostle with passengers, push/shove (there are many who take rickshaws, taxis and cars, where you don’t have to wrestle, but then its sedentary), traffic jam for hours, run to the office so that you can just swipe in before time, and by the time you reach you’re already irritated & stressed, deadlines never seem to go away, lunch is never on time, and when coming back from office you still need the energy to do some more wrestling. Once home you have a quick dinner and spend a few minutes lying in front of the TV until u doze off, and then after a few hours you have to go through the same thing again. Phew!
Yes, that’s what a typical day is for many. And that’s true of most major cities, including London or New York. Its just that the weather there is better. But the rush is still the same, the traffic is still the same.
Enjoy your Fitness
I guess then that is even more reason why you should be fit, so that you’ve the energy to tackle your day. And you should be happy that most gyms motivate you to stay fit and be regular.
So the next time you get the sms/call from the gym (for not being regular), cajole yourself to go to the gym. Once you’re there, no matter how tired you were, it all seems to evaporate once you enter that zone.
Besides, if you work for an industry where you’re required to look good (it seems most industries prefer these kind nowadays), you don’t have much of a choice.
There’s a price to partying in Mumbai, you’ll put on weight. So you have to hit the gym or you’ll get fat. If you have to party (to discuss work probably), you’ve to make sure you don’t spend a lot of time there and watch-out what you eat/drink. I know several models who go to bars and eat nothing and have only water.
The point of all this is that you need to exercise in this city (in London or New York, you have to walk a good distance to take the bus or the tube).
And you don’t have to feel embarrassed to make a start, thinking that you would be the odd man out (in a gym) fill of magazine-perfect boys & girls. It could happen actually if you join a gym where you have patrons from Bollywood. But then, its just a matter of time before even you get back in shape.
You definitely don’t have to fear the various exercise machines & equipment as well (they all look scary & complex, but are easy to operate). Most gyms have several floor trainers so feel free to ask them how a particular exercise is to be done or how a machine is to be used; you can ask as many times as you wish.
The best part about a gym is that nobody cares how one is looking (outfits, facials, makeups, and so on). Almost everybody is drenched in sweat, almost everybody will smile at you, and there seems to be a bonding that is missing outside a gym.
Its like everybody is equal (status-wise)!!!
A few weeks of regular exercise, and you’ll start looking good, you’ll also be able to manage your workload better. Do it regularly and in no time you’ll be able to tackle everything that this city throws at you.