Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Song of Fire and Water

The fire, wild and untameable,
once ignited, difficult to control it was,
forgetful of the boundaries once on its own.
Try and reach out to the sky it would,
regardless of the strength in its belly
crack and burn everything in its way
discriminating not between verdure, animality.

Humble, modest not apt with it
Aggressive, bold, violent and unforgiving, yes they fit.
Resilience, not stability, its chief strength
this moment ember, conflagration the next.
Leave the nature scarred after it left,
selfish, not anamnesis its characteristic.

Water, ever so docile, yet assertive
controlled it could, but dominated never.
Spirited, measured, forever judicious
flow to the sea, is all that it is desirous.
Never to go beyond its means,
yet, in a way, means to all within.

Unpretentious, to the extreme,
yet too formidable to not to reckon.
Slow and steady in its expedition,
if not by land, then by air,
but go to the sea it would.
Cuts through mountains,
smashes rocks around,
only because it is waiting to be found.

Two daunting forces they are,
necessary for life to exist, propagate,
but are not meant to be together, they
alas, at the same place.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Progress Report: Getting Fitter

So it has been about one month since my previous blog. I am on a goal to reach a target weight of 70kg by this year end. I started at a mammoth 85 on January 1st, was at 84 on February 1st.
I was following a mixed version of Tabata and GVT to reach my goals. I'll give an account of the journey as it has been this past one month.

So I began February with the insane workout routine as I listed in my previous blog. I followed it to a scratch, and have to admit that it felt good. I started off with 3 days a week, The first few days, as expected, were terribly sore. Putting on a shirt or even lifting a cup of tea, at times posed a challenge. With time (read as the next one week) I became stronger, and my cardiovascular system improved. I could pull of 100 pushups quite easily and yes, the weighing scale did dip, by exactly 0.2 kg.. I know. It felt like a joke. I was going no where. Even though I had put in 2 weeks of dedicated routine, I was basically still the same. 

So I decided to take it up a notch. Instead of limiting myself to the number of repetitions, I brought in timed intervals. 30s On 30s off. Go all out for 30s and recover in the next 30s. And that's how the circuit went. This continued for another week, but this time, instead of just working out 3 days, I added 3 days of long slow cardio as well. And boy, I did lose another 0.3kg! So by the end of 3 weeks in February, I was down half a kg since 1st Feb. Things were definitely not moving as expected. The goal was to touch or atleast scratch the 81- 82kg range, but nah ah, I wasn't. Far from it, I wasn't feeling strong, and was losing out on the motivation to continue.

All this while, my attempts at controlling diet went down the drain. I simply couldn't pull myself together to eat the right stuff. Basically, after spending an hour and a half doing lung bursting workouts in the gym made me feel entitled to a nice dish, and bam, all my efforts went down the drain.

It was 20th February now, my weight had inched up to 83.8 again. I has lost my gains of the previous week. And I hadn't been going to the gym that week. My partners had given up, and I found myself on the slippery slope of losing motivation and binging on whatever I could lay my hands. on. Potato chips, ice-cream, cheese sandwiches, cheese-burst pizzas and the list goes on.

I don't remember from where, but this book caught my attention. 

I managed to get a peek into the contents from the site. It seemed pretty interesting. The guy speaks about wholesome body development, not just brawl, but brains as well. He talks about identifying your source of motivation, preparing yourself for the load ahead, and meditation, and most of all, DIET. 

Yes, he speaks about the single most important factor that was absent from my workouts. The part that swept me off my feet was that his specified diet is based purely on the Indian ingredients. Ever since I had given up non-veg, I was basically feeling lost on what to eat. But this fellow, gives pretty interesting recipes even for the vegan folk!

Now I am not much of a body builder. Big muscles and bulk repel me. I am more the kind of guy, who wants to be lean and have functional strength, basically to help me run faster, bike faster, and whenever I do, swim faster. So pumping heavy iron was definitely not my cup of tea, or so I felt. 
But then, my targets were not being met on my own, and I was drifting away from my goals anyway, so what the heck, I decided to give it  a shot. I bought the book on the spot.

The next 10 days, I tell you, have been nothing short of a joy ride.  After the first 2 days, I got on the scale again, and I was shocked. Before being shocked I thought the machine had gone awry. So asked few of my friends to check it out, and turns out, the machine was okay. I had dropped a kg! My motivation was at an all time high now, I followed this guy's schedule in and out, straight for the next week, and let me tell you, the stuff this fellow talks about works.

So it's First of March, and now I weigh just below 81 kg. That's right, in the last 8 days of Feb, I dropped about 3 kg. And I am just getting started. This fellow breaks down the entire schedule in to 3 phases, which can roughly be described as Preparation, Conditioning and The Final Push. I haven't even gone halfway past the preparatory phase, and the results are already astounding. Let's see how far the entire routine takes me.

Meanwhile, what are you up to? How much have you covered on the way to your goals?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The beginning of a journey

So since distance running is out of the question for a while, working out as if I were preparing for marathons doesn't make much sense. That will only make sure that I don't run them for a while. But what I can do, is get shredded, put on some muscle and torch some flab. Keeping in line with my new year's resolution of getting at the atheltic 70 kg build with 6% body fat, I have cut down about 1.5 kgs to 84 so far this month and also brought down the fat % from 27 to 25. With about 11 more months to go, I have 14 more to go. What I also know from past experience, is that once you are lean, it becomes more difficult to shred, just like a mature economy can't grow at 20% pa. 

So instead of cutting down about 1.3kgs (=14/11) every month, I have set my aim at cutting 2/month for the next 3 months, and also bring down BF to 15, losing almost 3.5% a month. And then, i'll re-calibrate my efforts to reach a stage which might look similar to the guy in this video

He he, just kidding. This guy is a professional, and if want to be where he is, I'll need a complete overhaul in my lifestyle, besides some expert coaching. But as they say, aim for the moon, if you miss, you'll hit a star.

The next 6 weeks are going to be full of HIITs, with an occasional run thrown in on some days. A sample of it for the next 2 weeks looks like this.

10 x 10 Pushups
10 x 10 Quick Squats
10 x 10 Weight Swings (Barbell or a plate)
10 x 10 Lunge jumps ( 5 on each leg )
10 x 10 Dumbbell ab crunches
10 x 10 Burpees
10 x 10 Incline dumbbell swings
10 x 45s Plank
10 x 30s High Knees.

The above workout is based on the principle of German Volume Training (GVT) and a bit of experience I gained from my tenure at the Parkour community in Chennai. 10 quick reps, 10 sets with minimal rest in between. I've tried to reduce dependence on gym equipment, so that in case I am travelling, my workouts don't get disrupted. How often will I do these, a week? Well, it depends. I'll listen to my body. If it says enough, then that's it, I'll call it off. But if it smiles for more, then well, I might do it 10 times a week! I do realize, that nearing the end of the next 6 weeks, I might be doing these every single day and then some more, if not just doing them like 3 days a week now.

That is 40% of the picture. The other 60%, of course, is the diet. What do I eat? How often do I eat? After reading a lot of books, blogs, articles and papers, I've reached a fair conclusion, that I have to cut down carbohydrates, increase protein intake, and increase my fat intake as well. Very counter-intuitive, right? I know! The first time I read it, I thought it was nuts too! But well, research has proven it, and I simply plan on putting it to use. And more importantly, stay away from sweet stuff, like ice-creams, candies or anything with added sugar. So far, I've cut down sugar from my tea, avoided ice creams, and stayed away from chocolates. And from now on, I plan on preparing some of my meals myself, so as to be sure of what's going in.

It's a long road ahead, and I know that it's going to be an uphill journey. Everytime that I might feel like giving up on the routine or the idea of being fit, I will simply remind myself of how my life had changed when I had once lost 24kgs from being at 96 to a super lean 72.

I'll keep posting updates, meanwhile, I hope I am not imposing, if I want to know what you all are up to!
One last word, if you too have some goal this year, it'll surely help if you have a partner to train with you. I am lucky to have 2 partners with me.

Happy being-fit, folks!

Frustration Vent

It has been 7 months into my job. A wonderful wonderful company. I have everything that a person could ask for. And yet, here I am, feeling like I don't.

From the past few weeks, I've been facing severe bouts of crankiness. I tend to get really really aggressive, and in a Robing Hood sort of way. I see people misbehaving, littering, taking other people for granted and I feel like smashing their heads into pulp. I get angry, for no apparent reason and yet, for the state of every single thing around me. These are the times I really wish nobody came around me for their own sake. I feel like roaring onto the crowd to fire up every single mediocre ass into what he should be doing instead of benchwarming.

After some introspection, a few things seem to surface on the behemoth of this chaos. I feel that each one will probably take a post of it's own. I plan on venting them out, before I go nuts. Till then, I'll try finding a way to cool down. Deep breathe.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The year that was, in training!

864 kilometers of Running
3,840 kilometers of Cycling
95 kilometers of Swimming.

It was an interesting year, looking forward to an even more interesting one ahead.
I hope I traverse twice the distance in every field in 2014, faster and stronger!

A Happy and a Prosperous New Year to everyone! May you all be even more fitter next year!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Why I am not going to run for the next 6 months, at the very least

    So it's been around 7 months since I had my satisfying long run. Now when I think back about all those miles I used to put in, I can't help but wonder how did I ever manage that. 
Stress injury, the culprit behind the long unwanted breaks on running, reared its ugly head every time I've tried to get back to running, ever since. Thrice, to be precise. 3 times the bugger has sent me down into the dumps. I came back from my run today, and for a moment or so I thought I was back. I really enjoyed the run, even posted a reasonable timing, but back in my room when I was feeling up the tibia for that familiar pain, I wasn't disappointed. The pain is back again. 
But this time, I tell you, this time, I am not going to let the bugger belittle my spirits again. Instead of the original plan of running twice weekly, I am not going to not run at all. Instead, I will spend an hour or so on the cross trainer, the elliptical or maybe just go cycling, hard, but not feel despondent for the lack of that run.
And I am going to keep not running, till I reach that illusive 70 kg mark. No more registering for any race, event, or blah.
To my favorite running shoes, I say, I'll be back.
Stress injury, Screw you.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013


I know I know, this seems to be steadily transitioning in my work-out blog. Well, to be honest, I want it to be one, because in the future, when I feel bad for not having run as I wished, this little piece of writing will cheer me up.

I ran today, 5.9 km to be exact, and it just felt great. This has been my first run in the last 10 days, and was nothing like anything! I don't remember running like this in the last 6-7 months. It just indicates that all the strength training, cross training and diet is paying off! I felt I was flying, and indeed I was. 4:32 / km, haven't run at that pace comfortably in ages, and hope to keep doing so, get better and better!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Bring it on!

When I completed my first Half Ironman Triathlon last year in November, I realized that weight was something I needed to work on, and also, my aerobic fitness. And so, I subconsciously came down from 76 to 72kg for my next one in March. The effects of training showed, as I managed to shave about 2 hrs from my first stint.
Then I set my target at completing a full Ironman. I wasn't worried about the cycling leg of the event. I knew, that with a good road bike and a little bit of practice, it would be the easiest part of the race.It was the marathon at the end of the 180km bike ride that sent shivers down my spine. And so to work eliminating that fear, I decided that I'd conquer the marathon first, all alone, as one singular goal.

And so, I began with the common 10x10 program, wherein you run 10kms everyday for 10 days on a stretch. I went headstrong into the event, that i would run faster each day then i did the day before. I pretty much did what i set out for. But on day 9, I ended up sprinting the last kilometer. And then on day 10, I felt a strange pain in my leg. Some research on it ruled it as a stress fracture. Well, later, it turned out that it was a stress injury. But nonetheless, it meant that I wouldn't be running for a very long time. And there, I blew away my chance to conquer the Airtel Hyderabad Marathon.

At this point, I weighed 77kgs. Quite expected. Trips to home always put on some extra weight on you.

Luckily for me, we had our Inter-IIT aquatics tournament just then. The next two months were rigorous, to say the least, with intensive practice sessions, and juggling academics, placements and final year projects all at the same time. At the end of it, we did emerge victorious in all our intended endeavours.

And I thought the time was just ripe to step on the weighing scale and expect a good fall. Ouch. I was 78kgs. Every year, the 2 month practice would leave me 5kgs lighter. I had put on a kg this time. Something was not right, or so I felt.

I still had the marathon to conquer though. I had registered for the Mumbai marathon a few months back. Now was the time, to get back on track. And so, I found a nice plan, targeting a sub 3:30 finish and followed it up religiously, until 2 weeks. Until I felt that same nagging pain in the inner tibia of the left leg. And I knew, that the next marathon was off. Shame. 

Fortunately, I had the placement season coming up. Preparing for interviews and all would keep me distracted I felt. And they did. But only after getting the job, when I stepped on the scale again, did I realize that I had added 1 more kilo! It was high time to panic. And so, I jumped on to my military regime of working out every single day.

But this time, I was sane enough not to run 5 times a week. Instead, I filled up my week with 3 days of weight training, 2 days of cycling and 2 days of running. I decided, that I was going to bounce back from my low period a lot more fitter, and a lot faster, stronger and healthier! 

I found a nice workout plan online, and have been following it for the last two weeks. At least, I am enjoying going to the gym. (I hate it though.) But the tibial pain still threatens to come back.
To add to it, the weighing scale hasn't been very encouraging. I has consistently showed a positive gradient. I put on 2 kgs in 10 days. Ouch.

Standing at 81kgs now, I felt something was definitely not right. Yes, adding weight when you expect it to be otherwise definitely brings it's share of lows. Having been through a phase, where I was once 96kgs, I definitely didn't want to be there again! But somewhere along the way, I realized that I was getting stronger. I could lift up things, which I couldn't do so earlier. That's when I realized, the simplicity and the beauty of the regime.
I was surprised! I could lift it with just one hand??

This graph (I know I am a geek. Being in an engineering college does that to you) explains what is going to happen.
My theory of what's happening to me.

It's easier to build muscle than to loose fat. The first happens relatively faster than the second, and I was feeling it. More the muscle, the healthier you are. I just have to give some time to my body to adapt, and regain it's fitness. Soon, my body composition will change. I will be a lot more fit, will have a good amount of muscle, loose any unwanted and unnecessary fat, and well, who knows, will end up with those dream packs.
So everytime I step on the scale, I'll be looking forward to reaching the peak. Because I know that is where things are going to take an interesting turn.
I know that I just need to be patient, cut off from everything else, maintain some control over eating, and keep at it. The results will be fabulous. Spectacular. And very very satisfying. To all the events and challenges that are going to come up I say, Bring it on!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Arushi-Hemraj Case

I came across this article in The hoot. It takes a neutral stance without convicting or exonerating Arushi's parents, but at the same time, taking a gab at the investigating agencies and the media. The arguments have been brilliantly put across, and raises a real question about the influence of media on the investigation, public mood and trials of sensitive cases. Time and again, the media forgets that it is supposed to be a neutral reporting body, and not just an opinion maker based on incomplete, incorrect facts. The author of the article very dismally puts across her final point, that it's not about Arushi, it's about each and every one of us.

I couldn't help but comment on the article,
It couldn't have been more cogently elaborated! The media abuses it's power but keeps forgetting, that with great power comes great responsibility. The outcome of the case might have been different had the media shown some restraint, and the investigative agencies not been so prejudiced. Not to mention, it would have not added to the trauma of already losing their daughter! 
I feel all this recklessness stems from incompetence of everyone of us, from the 'chalta hai' attitude. In this case, that the news channels since are "running" out of constructive ideas to hold the public attention, are resorting to cheap, unethical and biased tactics. Shame!

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Ship's going down, and anything good happening at home?

So if you take a look around, you can see that the world (read UK, US, France, Hollande blah blah) is gearing up for penetrating yet another poor nation. Agreed that nation has it's own set of caricatures, but it seems there is far too much policing going on even on the international stage. It looks funny, if you take a step back and look at the whole picture. What national interests have those daddies and grannies and aunties found in Syria now?

Yet another nation awaiting "vaccinating intrusion" by the daddies and grannies

Well, god bless Syria, and god Definitely bless America.

Meanwhile, what's going on at home?

Juvenile in the infamous Nirbhaya gang rape gets away with a paltry 3 year sentence.
Rupee playing swing with dollar.
Politicians going crazy
Current Account Deficit

Is there anything good to look out for?