The GYM – Take 1!

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Two months back I figured I had too much of time on my hands and mind (a little too much for my own good :P) – so I set my fears and hesitation aside and decided to join the gym.

I had earlier enquired at a couple of reasonably reputed gyms and received calls informing me of some good offers. I have always had this misconception that the gym is meant for models or body builders – before I could develop cold feet I headed to the gyms to check them out. My experience as a newbie “gymmer”:

I opted for one of the better known gyms even though it is a few kms from my place. Its reputation aside, I found the gym clean, the trainers and staff courteous, the equipment was not intimidating and last but not the least – there was a massage and sauna as well. Yipppeee :)!!! Had fun shopping for gym gear, I seriously never know there were so many varieties of sneakers and branded track pants and sweats.

The first couple of days was exciting – I was taken through a circuit training where I got to try all the equipment and test my strength/ speed. And then came the fitness test where I had to go through a cardio workout followed by strength and finally floor exercises. Quite manageable for beginners. This was followed by me getting my card – Strength and weights workout for Day 1 and Cardio for Day 2.

The workouts seemed a little intense initially –  my muscles were protesting loudly at the exertion but I gradually fell into a pace which was comfortable. Having finished one phase of workouts I am due to start the next cycle which my trainer has promised will be a lot more rigorous and tough. Hmmm.. Bring it on I say :P!!

Just a word – there are various forms of exercise and physical activity which are just as or even more beneficial.  It is merely that my terms of reference is the gym.

FACTS about working out in the gym:

1. ANYONE can start working out in a gym.

By anyone I mean your age, shape, sex, height, weight, fitness levels are NOT a constraint. I was in fact amazed at the number of middle aged ladies and elderly gentlemen working out very regularly. I see very generously built people striding on the treadmill and pulling weights with equal confidence as the slim guys and girls in trendy gym gear! Fitness levels vary with individuals but that is precisely why you have the certified trainers who assess your capability before assigning any workout to you.

2. Most good gyms focus on FITNESS – for everyone

Bodybuilding or making you size zero are just a couple of options but the primary focus is assessing your current fitness level and enhancing it. But if you have a specific goal of getting a six pack or just weight loss, they are happy to oblige you and customize your regimen. But to reiterate, a good gym focusses on the overall fitness first – the rest comes later.

3. You can workout even if you have a medical condition (unless very severe, in which case you wouldn’t venture near the gym in the first place :))

I have noticed the trainers taking special care with elderly people or with members who have had injuries resulting in back or knee problems. Ensure you inform the counsellors or senior trainers regarding the problems (pains, hypertension, hormonal problems, diabetes, etc) so that the workouts can be suitably modified and your workouts carefully monitored.

3. Feeling sick? Slight flu or headache? Yes, you can workout

The first time I had a throat infection and was on antibiotics I called my trainer and told him I was on meds and therefore would not make it. Surprisingly I was told that it was OK to have a light workout unless you have fever or severe body ache. I actually felt better after doing light to moderate cardio despite my antibiotics. But do take care if you have a bad bout of flu or something equally infectious – you could end up infecting the entire floor, especially since it is a closed air conditioned environment.

4. Stressed out? Feel you cannot handle the additional pressure of going to the gym? HIT the GYM!

I joined the gym to tone my body but believe me it is also THE BEST WAY TO DESTRESS! This was a definite bonus since I very soon realized that I was a lot more calmer and relaxed after a workout. Problems didnt seem to matter too much and the best part is that for the duration of the workout, you mind stops thinking. You are so focussed on what you are doing and the breathing and the counts, you wouldn’t even notice if someone went starkers next to you :P..

5. Feeling tired, low on energy and depressed? Get a high by working out!

The idea of working out in the evening after work can be tiring and leave you feeling all drained out – there are many times a nice dinner and TV has seemed more appealing. But if you can overcome the lethargy and spend even half an hour in the gym, it is guaranteed to not just elevate your energy level, but your mood as well. There is a very sound medical explanation for this but let me not get into that at this point 🙂

Want to share some DOs and DONTs as well as some tips which are handy in the gym – will save it for my next post..

Till then.. keep working out 🙂

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David Baldacci’s Zero Hour

I have read most of David Baldacci’s books and have generally found a pattern in his writing. His stories start off with action after which the pace drops a notch and narration takes over till the basic framework of the story is revealed to the readers. And then the action once again takes over keeping the reader engrossed till the end.

It was with this expectation that I picked up his latest novel “Zero Hour” after nearly three years of a “semi sabbatical” from reading. I was in for a real surprise – the first few pages put the story firmly in gear and Mr. Baldacci doesn’t slow the pace one bit till the very end. It almost reminded me of action oriented novels of Alistair Maclean or James Hadley Chase but with much more complex, intricate and interwoven plots all narrated at a pace which makes it difficult to put the book down. Yes, I finished the book in one day and at one go – it was that gripping!

John Puller is the hero, a criminal investigator with the US Army, roped in to probe the rather gruesome and mysterious murder of Col. Mathew Reynolds and his family in a remote town in West Virginia. This is where Puller meets Samantha Cole, local detective who partners with him in his investigations. Mystery deepens when a further series of murders quickly follow to increase the  body count. There is the local business tycoon Roger Trent who practically owns the town’s businesses to whom the finger points along with his beautiful wife. And you have Trent’s second in command Bill Strauss along with his son Dickie (yes!) who seems to be hiding quite a few skeletons in his closet. The emotional angle is provided by Puller’s family – his father, a retired, highly distinguished ex US Army hero and a brilliant brother serving a life sentence for treason.

Add to all this some interesting insights into the intricate machinery of the Pentagon and the US Army along with a hint of romance between Puller and Sam and you have a first class, racy, mystery suspense thriller guaranteeing you a few hours of complete entertainment. The book ends with Puller predictably solving the case but with a few twists and turns – one of which I, being the eternal romantic, did not quite like.  If you have read the book you will know what I am hinting at!

To all Baldacci fans out there – you cannot miss this one!

Happy Reading 🙂

Dowsing and Me

I am not a very great believer in astrology and related topics but have been slowly developing an interest in it. The interest is based more on exploring the degree of veracity in this science. Astrology is in itself pretty diverse since you have Vedic Astrology, Chinese Astrology, Mayan Astrology, etc.

Astrology is probably the most popular but there are several other widely followed belief systems which include tarot card reading, iChing, numerology, gemmology etc. One such area is dowsing.

Divining is generally associated with trying to locate a source of ground water or buried minerals etc. with the help of divining rods. Dowsing is generally a more spiritual activity and the commonly used medium is the pendulum. I again wish to reiterate once again that I am not a staunch believer or an expert in of any of these sciences but the fundamental human curiosity in me makes me want to explore the “unexplainable”.

Thanks to my habit of reading anything under the sun and of course the internet more recently, I have been reading off and on about these topics and dowsing intrigued me since it seemed like a very simple process. I remember there was this classmate in college who performed a dowsing session for all the girls in the class and she was trying to predict who would get married and how many children they would have. And she used the gold chain she generally wore around her neck as a makeshift pendulum. I do not remember any of her “predictions” and whether they came true but it piqued my curiosity sufficiently for me to do some reading on the subject. I later on managed to find an actual pendulum which was to be used in dowsing.

A simple introductory exercise:

The actual process of dowsing is fairly simple, straight forward and very interesting. Take a string maybe a foot or more in length and attach some kind of a small weight – could be a pendant, finger ring, an eraser, sharpener or even a small key chain –  to one end and it can function as a pendulum. Hold the end of the string between your thumb and index finger and allow the end with the weight attached to fall freely. Support your elbow on a table and keep your hand steady. Wait till the pendulum is completely stationary.  Command the pendulum to swing from left to right. It can either be a verbal command or in your mind but it should be firm and your focus on the command and the pendulum should be complete. Do not move your hand or your fingers and you will see the pendulum slowly beginning to swing as per your instruction. Ask it to stop and it will gradually come to a standstill. Then instruct it to rotate in a clockwise direction and then stop and ask it to reverse the direction. You will notice that the pendulum obeys your mind.

Be assured that there is no hocus pocus involved here. A thought is an energy wave and the pendulum merely acts as an antenna which receives the thoughts and vibrations travelling through the mind and body and are transferred by touch to the pendulum. In fact, the noted physicist Albert Einstein was known to experiment a lot with the pendulum and he attributed it to electromagnetism. It is also commonly believed that this form of dowsing or divining helped connect one with the a higher power or the Universal power. But again, I came across this quote of Thomas Edison on electricity where he supposedly said ” I don’t know what it is, but it is there and lets use it!”!

I shall stop at this interesting note and come back shortly with more on the same subject. Till then, have a rocking weekend folks! 🙂

No Heights please!

I suffer from Acrophobia.

No, it doesn’t mean I am scared of the wind or bugs or some similar creepy crawly thingies. It means that I have an extreme or irrational fear of heights – courtesy Wikipedia. And no, a fear of heights is NOT vertigo. Vertigo is feeling dizzy when you are stationary and generally associated with a problem in the inner ear which controls our sense of balance and equilibrium.

I realized this when I was a small girl. Someone coaxed me into getting on to a ferris wheel – not the giant wheel but a much smaller version and before it could reach a height of 8 feet I was screaming and ready to fly off the damned contraption. My grandmother used to joke that she could hear my screams all the way home. Not funny for me though. Ever since I steered clear of anything to do with heights. My boldest adventure was possibly to balance myself and walk on the compound of  our house without panicking or falling down. I still remember, the corners would stump me and I would sit and shuffle that bit before continuing on my expedition.

I thought this would get better with age but was proven wrong. I was in high school when I visited a fair with my aunts and cousins and again there was this mini giant wheel which the kiddos wanted to ride. It looked very ordinary to me and I got on to it with bravado. Which very quickly vanished and was replaced by a feeling of such intense fear that I thought I would slip off the seat and crash into mother earth. The panic was so much that I almost wanted to jump off it rather than remain airborne. Luckily for me, one of my young cousins chickened out and started howling so badly that the operator stopped the machine. Yeah, you guessed right, I was off the giant wheel even before my cousin could move a muscle!

Hey, don’t think I have given in entirely to this phobia.  During my early college days, I found a way of beating this to some extent. My nemesis was again at a fair and there was this ride called Pirate. It’s a giant boat which swings in the air – the swinging gets progressively higher but you don’t spin the way you do in a giant wheel. I got onto it on a dare and as the boat started swinging higher and higher, I could feel the old fear setting in. I realized that most of my other “passengers” were screaming when the boat dipped and as I was on the verge of having a panic attack, I joined in shouting loudly at the worst part of the rides – the dips. And I discovered that even though I was scared, the screaming was actually helping me in not panicking! I actually enjoyed the rest of the ride and my voice was hoarse in the end but it was worth every bit of the lung power.

My fight to conquer this fear continues even today. I recently took the escalator up two levels at Mantri mall and felt like giving a whoop of joy for having accomplished that. But that is my limit now, I cannot go higher and would rather take the stairs or the elevator instead. My fear follows me everywhere. Even in my sleep. I often dream of being perched on the tip of an abyss and its anybody’s guess whether I clamber up for safety or fall down. Of late I seem to be winning atleast in my dreams. I am going to take this as a positive sign that one day, I will use the escalators to go all the way up to the 3rd floor of Mantri mall. 🙂

Amen to that!

Lost Love…

Why did I have to meet you to lose you all over again

I was happy in my sorrow when you came along

And brought with you a breath of life

Which washed over me like waves lapping the shore

You gave me your love withholding nothing

and showed me light in darkness outside and within

You gave me your shoulder when I wanted to cry

And wiped my tears and kissed them goodbye

You saved my soul from the abyss of death

And promised to be with me forever till my last breath

And yet today we part despite knowing we love each other

What twisted play of fate is this

What purpose does it serve

To bring two hearts together and wrench them apart

If this is what you destined one day, then dear God

Why did you bring us together in the first place

Resolutions 2012 – My Take

I created this blog on an impulse and am now sitting and staring at the big blank white screen wondering what to blog about – talk about a writer’s block even before you start writing!

Hmm.. what should I blog about? the weather? Nah – too English, too mundane..

How about the latest English flick released last week – huh? I haven’t watched it yet so no ways I can pull that one off!

OK, how about treating my blog site like my personal diary and talking about how my day was yesterday and all my feelings at the conscious and sub conscious level? Spilling my guts out first thing in the morning is not my cup of tea folks, so scratch that..

What about analyzing the headache I have since 2 days which seems to have taken a vow to be my bosom pal this year? This is only making my headache worse and the complex 2nd level “inception type” dream I has last night has not helped it one little bit :(.

Just a minute – it’s the new year, 2012 – what better stuff to write about that New Year Resolutions? that million dollar question asked by every Tom, Dick and Harry the first week of every New Year? Sounds interesting and do-able, so here goes my list of “resolutions” for this year:

  1. Not to make any new year resolutions
  2. And in the event I do make any resolutions, to do everything in my power to break them.
  3. To wake up at 5.30 AM everyday and do yoga and meditation followed by a 30 mins walk on the treadmill.
  4. I resolve to eat very healthy – only salads and wholesome vegetarian food.
  5. Will indulge in chicken, ice creams and chocolates only once a month 😦 😦
  6. Work very hard and very late everyday.
  7. Be the most proactive employee at work and be the apple of my boss’ eye 🙂
  8. No internet browsing interruptions at work – I resolve to never check my Gmail, FB or blog sites even once during office hours and neither will i log in to online chatting.
  9. Will watch only informative and business channels on TV – no more Masterchefs  cookery shows or Emotional Athyachaar for me.
  10. Internet time restricted to only 10 mins per day (waaaah! :(). Life is too precious to be squandered away in front of a dumb machine!
  11. Go to bed by 9.30, considering the gruelling schedule I have set for the next day.
  12. The most important resolution – stick to Resolution No.1 and No. 2 at any cost.

😛

Since I have already broken Resolutions number 3, 4, 9 and 10, I am well on my way to keep up my resolutions this year 🙂

Have a great weekend folks!