It's 12:00 noon, I lay in my bed still struggling to open my eyes. I am finding it difficult to move myself to the right or left side to wake up. And finally after this battle with my sleep, heavy self and all the aches possibly in every part of my 5ft something tall and 90+ kilos body, I manage to roll out of my bed. Hungover from my excess sleep I walk to the kitchen reach out to the microwave to heat a mug of tea probably made at 7:00 am (My mother in law is a sweetheart). I have no clue of what was going to go down my throat for breakfast... oh sorry for lunch... ok I don’t know am confused... so what this meal called?? It's the same at 5:00 pm and the same at 12:30 am and so on! What's it with me?? Gosh what am I doing? Ok I am hungry now... let me just focus on killing it!
Two years have gone by with this shit and I don't want to meet an eye with anyone or anything! And on the top of my list of things was a weighing scale and a measuring tape.
Somewhere in the middle of this mayhem, I had enrolled at a famous fitness center for three months close to home. I probably had to walk a 100 steps from home to reach to the treadmill which was placed on the first floor of the gym. Hmmm... I preferred to sit on my bed reading my book of excuses with the sound of an episode of Game of Thrones or something like that running in the background. And guess what, this happened at a time when I had taken a break from work to focus on my health. Irony at its best! By the way three months bolted faster than Usain Bolt... the result?! Status quo.
You know? The mind is the craziest creation in the universe. It has the power to behave in such extreme ways that sometimes is for good and sometimes is good for nothing. One morning my mind would tell me I am great the way I am, the way I look and feel. I look in the mirror and I have this demon side of me telling me... you are just fine the way you are. And then I walk out of the door, the first thing I hear... Hey Nupur! You look tired... are you okay??!... you seem to have put on some weight! And then the second and the third... and this went on for months and then years. No amount of make up or anything made me look or feel good! Now so many people telling me the same thing over and over again... I thought, they can't be wrong! In all this... I just didn't want to face the truth! I just shunned every comment and thought. What the hell... I am absolutely fine the way I am! State of denial... to a degree I can't imagine.
I have gone to the gym ever since I hit puberty, if I remember right. I have probably tried every form of exercise. Aerobics, zumba, yoga, kick boxing, pilates, weights, running... name it... and I would have probably done it! Fitness training is something I had tried too... for a short period. I thought I will never be able to do it. I dint quite like it! Actually I hated it! And food was always the soother.
And then I had enough. I have lived for 34 years with this heavy, tired body and I was really done. I remember the story of the weed and the lawn where the weed talks to the gardener about how hard they worked and how far they travelled to grow within the beautiful lawn and the lawn was fighting to survive, look beautiful and remain healthy in Paulo Coelho's book Like the Flowing River. After a lot of negotiation, the battle was won by the lawn. In this story what I connected to is that we are in constant battle with weeds of the anatomy; body fat, lack of stamina and endurance, tiredness, sleepiness, laziness that is detrimental to our beautiful body, the lawn in the story, that someone worked hard to make. And my mind, the gardener.
So I had to make a choice. Stay in bed. Or get off and breathe life!
I had known of Akro when I was in the midst of my relocation from Bangalore to Mumbai, through my cousin Ketan who co-owns it. I visited casually one evening with my husband not expecting to see what I saw. Amidst a premium locale, a roof top small space converted into this temple of the body and mind. It had a very subtle and understated feel about it. Many gyms that I have enrolled in the past would accommodate more equipment’s than who it is meant for. And Akro was nowhere close. I wondered how would people work out here... I mean there is only one treadmill!! The only equipment I loved. Ketan sat me down and explained. I heard the word that I most dreaded. "Training". He actually said "personalized training"... ignoring the weight of the word "personalized", the aha! moment struck.
This time around with a few encouraging words from my Husband, "how will you know if you don't try it?", "I think training is the only thing that will work on you". Going by his conviction, bam! I had made the decision of my life. The gardener in me suddenly had this spear in my hand to battle out the weeds! I enrolled.
It’s been 6 months since. When I look back, the time before I enrolled seems very bleak and blur. I don’t know if it ever existed. I havnt forgotten the before. I have only realized that the result of this decision has been so overwhelming, that the past feels like it never existed.
Alankar was assigned to me to be my coach in this journey. A new incumbent he was at the time I joined and Ketan had told me that his recommendation from the fitness world was very positive and strong. Well I don’t doubt that. Alankar, a man of few words is a coach who works with a holistic perspective. The workout planned for the day are like the menu on the Freshmenu app. Every single day, is different. Result – not boring & it worked amazingly!!
With each passing day, the results began to amaze me. I never imagined that my body was going through a change of a sort that not only changed the numbers on the weighing scale, but also the way I looked and felt. The fitness coaching would of course show result at some point which I was sure of. But what I am amazed with is how my mind began to function. In this journey, the guiding light was what they call him the Afghan bull. Mustafa, his official name is a fitness coach to stalwarts in showbiz but has his feet gripped so firm on the ground and his head, just in its place. I call him a fitness “lifestyle” coach. The reason? You will know.
“Allow your clothes to tell you a story! And not the number on your weighing scale”, “What is a good workout? A bad workout is the one that never happened”, “A workout is good as long as you are working out”, “Eat what makes you happy, but eat mindfully”. “Why don’t you work out in the morning? Keep the evenings for your family!”. These are statements that may sound very simple but what underlies is thought provoking. The essence - The act of application and the positive vibes. It’s not just about going to the gym and doing a work out to lose weight. It’s how you channelize your thinking and act accordingly that makes the difference. And Akro did that for me. It was a choice I made to get a fit body but what it gave me was a fit mind. It changed my life and me.
I am somewhere in the middle, in my journey to be the best version of me. With the ability to run for 2 minutes to now running 43 minutes at a stretch covering a distance of 6 kilometers, lifting myself up from the bed to lifting a bar of steel with wheels that weigh a 100, I have come far ahead in mind, body, form and performance. The people I am surrounded by at AKRO celebrate this result with me; with each step I take, each lift I make. And I feel – “Divalicious”!
Nupur Siddharth making the 90 kilo deadlift look easy