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A Week Is a Long Time In Resolution Land

The turn of year brings a chance to begin anew, but even the most earnest ambitions about exercise and health and goodwill turn to mush in a matter of weeks, as life catches up. So, this year, instead of failing to keep our resolutions once we’d rung in 2014, the team at Guardian20 decided to get that bit out of the way first. Read on to behold our failures firsthand. And from all of us, a very Happy New Year!

Guardian20  28th Dec 2013

Survival of the fittest: Origin of the sedentary species

Averse to exercise in any form, Ravina Rawal's resolution to get fit saw her trudging through gyms, yoga and spinning classes, leaving her as sore in the muscles as in her heart

've hated every form of exercise for as long as I can remember. I've faked one medical condition after another in a desperate attempt to avoid anything that demanded more exertion than playing chess — in the early years, I tried (and sometimes succeeded) to make P.E. teachers believe that my "doctor" said I should take it easy because I have flat feet. When I got older and god gave me the gift of a menstrual cycle, I had pretty much hit gold, especially if the P.E. teachers were men — they always reacted to this excuse like a period might be contagious, which meant I could always go right back to sleep.Image 2nd

For a long time, I'd just stop eating altogether if there was a bikini I wanted to get into, or an occasion I wanted to look extra-hot for. But there's something about turning 30 that forces you to finally give up on diets — annoying things like good sense, logic and banoffee pie keep coming in the way. Also, as I get older, I realise I want to be fit more than I want to be skinny, though it would be sweeter than jalebi if I could nail both. So that's my plan for 2014: Get fit or cry trying.


I lace up six-year-old running shoes that look newer than the yoga pants, anti-blister socks, dri-fit t-shirt, sports bra and water sipper I bought yesterday for this (bloody expensive) week of fitness. None of this is a waste, I convince myself; I am sure to become that smug person in the room who everyone wants to stab because I can't stop gushing about the gym. (Also, I just spent half my savings on buying all the appropriate gear in all the colours of a neon rainbow, and let's not pretend I can fit in at a psytrance rave any more.)

I decide I want to start with a generic gym, something that has a bit of everything, including a sauna. The trainer introduces himself with a big grin on his face — I have to tell myself he's being hospitable and friendly, not mocking me — and takes me to a consulting room where he "consults" with me about my lifestyle, and prior fitness experience, at which point it's my turn to grin widely. We take my Body Mass Index and calculate a bunch of things that translates into my trainer shaking his head in disapproval and getting up with the sort of sigh that should be reserved for only those who want to be punched in the face (78 calories). We do a few stretches on a yoga mat on the floor, and it's so easy I wonder why I've avoided the gym so long. The treadmill is next. I get on, and I start on 4, because I have a treadmill at home; I've got this one in the bag. I look out of the window I'm facing on to the road, hoping to god, the universe and everything that no one I know recognises me from below. I'm lost in thought, and walking the treadmill with the grace of a llama on ketamine when suddenly it starts to move VERY, VERY QUICKLY beneath my feet. I start jogging, trying to look nonchalant and not have an asthma attack, when the trainer reaches over to further increase the speed. HELLO, EMERGENCY BUTTON. I get on the exer-cycle next, and lo and behold! I'm acing this too. Until I have to call the trainer and tell him the machine is faulty because it's getting harder and harder to pedal and I'm afraid I'll break something with all my strength.

When I stand up, the room is spinning. I wonder aloud about yetanotherearthquakeinDelhi, but turns out the epicenter is my brain. Squats, ab crunches, leg lifts, more crunches, more squats, planks and I start to hiss at the trainer to get me an oxygen mask because I can't breathe. I learn quickly that trainers are not easily amused as he shouts at me to start running up and down the length of the fitness studio. It's probably only fair to offer him some money as a bribe to LET ME GO, but surprisingly that is not well received either.

We're finally done. Trembling with excitement and failing muscles, I loudly congratulate the both of us on having successfully completed Day 1 of my new and fit life.

There’s something about turning 30 that forces you to finally give up on diets — annoying things like good sense, logic and banoffee pie keep coming in the way.

He looks at me quizzically. "This was not a workout," he says slowly. "This was just your fitness test."


I quit. My shoulders hurt, my stomach hurts, my arms are sore, I can't move my legs. Jumping away from under the shower first because it's too hot, then because it's too cold (it's that time of year) hurts. I'm supposed to feel transformed, but all I feel is pain. In muscles I didn't even realise existed. It's best to take the day off and do some deep breathing instead, I advise myself.

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The thing about having forgotten about that yoga class you so enthusiastically signed up for before you stepped out to redefine "Happy Hour" the night before, is that it comes to high five you — in the face — at 8 a.m. while the percussion concert that your head has VIP passes for is still in full swing.

You want to start with Shavasana, your abnormally cheerful yoga instructor wants 35 Surya Namaskars. (did you know this means 35 SETS? That's 70 surya-namaskars, goddamnit, not 35). How can I be expected to reach down and touch my toes so many times? This is going to give me motion sickness. While I make all kinds of deals with god, my yoga instructor urges me to contort into several illegal positions and touch my right ear with my left toe. From behind my neck. Around the dining table. And between the plants. Because I'm a rubberband, you're the fool. "Shavasana to end the session," my yoga instructor declares, and thereafter I'm like a child waiting to reach his final destination: Are we there yet? How much longer? Now? Nowww? NOW!

He caves. I lie down. Ommm.


Research has shown you don't have to exercise EVERY SINGLE DAY of the week. In fact, some studies suggest you take a break every now and then. Others say four times a week is enough. Cheers.


I've woken up feeling far less sore. Now there's just enough pain running through my body to make me feel like I've done something spectacular. This is pain you tell people about with a stupid grin on your face, as you wait for them to hand you a medal. And without thinking, I book a spinning class.

I've always been a fan of cycling. My grandfather taught me how to cycle when I was really tiny, and even though I made him promise about 1800 times that he wouldn't let go of the cycle, he always did. The day I took off instead of falling on my face, I didn't look back. Sun on my face, wind in my hair, and suddenly I was three blocks away from home. Joy.

I assumed that's sort of what spinning must be like, just in one place. I walked into a room with 12 cycles being furiously pedaled by all sorts of men and women. Ten minutes of being shouted at to GET UP, SIT DOWN, PEDAL FASTER and I was done. No one speaks to me like that, I insisted to myself, as I drank three gallons of water and left.

Look, technically it's Day Five. And technically, it's not 2014 yet. This was a good week of trials. I now know Pilates is my best bet, seeing as it's the one thing I haven't tried yet. (I will not be attempting Zumba; dancing to Bollywood songs is something I reserve for my friends' weddings.)

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