By Ladiangti Rani | SHILLONG:

Physical exercise keeps us healthy, strengthens our immune system and shapes our body. Having a fit body has become an obsession for most people.

Years back, women would refrain from entering the gym for fear of being judged. However, it is clear that nowadays, many women have become trainers to guide and lead others to a healthier lifestyle.

TNT-The Northeast Today spoke to gym trainers from Northeast India — Yami Tawe from Arunachal Pradesh; Priya Madonna Khyriem from Meghalaya; and Lily Hasnu from Nagaland, to give us an insight into fitness and its importance.

Yami Tawe from Arunachal Pradesh.

TNT: Why is it important to go to the gym?

Yami Tawe (Arunachal Pradesh):

Well, it depends on the individual’s objective regarding the fitness aspect. If someone wants to stay physically active and fit, one can achieve that even without hitting the gym like jogging, running, swimming etc. But, I would suggest they try out gyms because there are availability and accessibility to various equipment, and one can practice under the guidance of a certified trainer.

As there are many resources available these days on YouTube and other online platforms, many believe that one can follow that rather than going to a gym. But they do not realise that it is more generalised. One has to understand that all You-Tubers are not ‘Certified Trainers’.

Priya Madonna Khyriem from Meghalaya.

Priya Madonna Khyriem (Meghalaya):

There are several reasons why going to a gym or engaging in physical activity is important. Exercising controls weight, combats health conditions and diseases, improves mood and promotes better sleep. It encourages eating healthy, boosts energy, as well as increase cardiovascular fitness.

It is paramount that we introduce some form of exercise in our day to day lives and make time for it every day. Daily exercising also results in stronger bones and muscles, flexibility and a longer lifespan.

Lily Hasnu from Nagaland.

Lily Hasnu (Nagaland):

Work out can be done anywhere and at any place; we just need space to do it. The reason why people go to the gym is to get motivated and encouraged by seeing people around. And once we get to the gym, we get active and leave only after completing our exercise.

Priya Madonna Khyriem from Meghalaya.

TNT: Is there an age limit?

Yami Tawe (Arunachal Pradesh):

No, there is no age limit for working out. Once we hit 30, it is hard to maintain muscle mass as it goes into a decreasing mode, and it takes a lot of effort to rebuild muscles. Therefore, after 30, it is more important to work out, but there are exceptions for people who have health-related issues. One should consult their physician first.

Yami Tawe from Arunachal Pradesh.

Priya Madonna Khyriem (Meghalaya):

Exercising every day is a good habit, no matter what your age is. There is no age bar for it.

Children & Teenagers:

Well, kids get their daily exercises simply by being kids. Running, climbing, bike riding, playground activities etc. Teens should be encouraged to join a sport through school or any other recreation program. As parents/ guardians, we must encourage participation and ensure that our child has ample opportunities to engage in these activities at least one hour a day.

The 20s:

A person in her/his twenties has a strong and resilient body. It is the perfect age to build a foundation in fitness and make it a part of their daily lifestyle. The options are endless, like hiking, football, basketball and other such strenuous sport. Introduce strength training into their program to prolong muscle loss and bone strength as he/ she gets older.

The 30s:

A person in his thirties starts losing muscle mass. Hence joining a gym and weight training is important in this period. As their bones start to weaken, it is also important to introduce some bone-strengthening exercises such as brisk walking and jogging.

The 40s:

People in their forties naturally begin to lose mass and elasticity. This is the time when it is most important to introduce an exercise routine. Metabolism slows down and, hormone levels drop, making it easier to gain weight, especially around the abdomen. This kind of weight increases the risk of developing health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure and various other heart diseases.

The 50s:

A person in his/her fifties may experience body aches and joint pains. But this shouldn’t stop him/her from exercising. Instead, improvise their activity and switch to a low impact program that will go easy on the joints. Strengthen the core by focusing on the abdomen and back muscles to prevent curving of the body.

The 60s:

A person in his/her sixties must start focusing on fall prevention and practice balancing. Continue lifting weights and resistance training two to three times a week for 30 minutes to keep bones and muscles strong.

The 70s onwards:

A person in his/her 70s and beyond must try to maintain their strength and flexibility so he/she can add more years to independent functioning. Aerobics is a great and fun way of maintaining their body and prevent it from going inactive. Warming and cooling down exercises and stretches are mandatory to avoid injuries.

Lily Hasnu from Nagaland.

Lily Hasnu (Nagaland):

There is no age bar for exercise. However, when it comes to lifting weights, proper guidance is required.

TNT: Should one go to the gym when exhausted?

Yami Tawe (Arunachal Pradesh):

One should not work out if one is exhausted. If you do, it means you are giving more stress to your body and can affect your performances. It can also lead to injuries. Therefore, it is highly recommended not to push or force your body further if it is already exhausted. It is ok to take a rest.

Priya Madonna Khyriem from Meghalaya.

Priya Madonna Khyriem (Meghalaya):

A person should skip their work out when they are experiencing the following:

-Illness:

If a person is not well, he/ she should be putting their body’s energy into getting better. Also, sweaty work out during this time increases the chances of spreading their germs to other people in the same environment as well as contracting other kinds of germs from others around. We need to listen to our body and respect it by giving it enough time to recover and get healthy.

-Injury:

If a muscle is experiencing mild soreness, then light movement is good. But if a muscle is injured, it will be inflamed causing improper functioning of other attached joints. Therefore, trying to work out through that pain can cause injuries to other body parts as well. Hence, it is always advised to take a few days off from exercising during this period.

-Sleep-Deprived:

It is common knowledge that sleep is essential, yet many people still don’t prioritise it. A human body will not perform up to its potential if it is sleep-deprived that can cause serious injuries. So, if one is exhausted, the best thing to do is get a good night’s rest and get back in the gym the next day.

Lily Hasnu (Nagaland):

One should not work out on the advice of the doctor or physiotherapist. And I feel that we should work out even if we are exhausted. For a fitness lover, feeling exhausted is just an excuse.

Lily Hasnu from Nagaland.

TNT: Does everyone get the same type of work-out routine or, does it vary from one person to another?

Yami Tawe (Arunachal Pradesh):

The level of work-outs differs in terms of beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. But even within those levels, it is based on the individual’s intensity, medical history and body.

Priya Madonna Khyriem (Meghalaya):

No, a work out routine is usually designed for every person differently depending on their age, weight, goals and daily schedule. We also have to consider an individual’s state of health and medical condition, if any.

Lily Hasnu (Nagaland):

Everyone has their own body goals, wants and demands. Some want to build muscles, while others want to lose weight. So, the work out routine differs from person to person.

Yami Tawe from Arunachal Pradesh.

TNT: What is the difficulty personal trainers face?

Yami Tawe (Arunachal Pradesh):

The difficulty personal trainers usually face are – the myths around fitness that the clients come with; a comparison between the actual workout and YouTube videos; the client’s specific goal and deadlines. So, it takes a lot to convince the clients, demystifying their myths and clarity towards certain concepts.

Priya Madonna Khyriem (Meghalaya):

The biggest difficulty personal trainers face is when a client lies about their commitment to the program. Each client who comes in expects a certain level of result. It could range from losing weight to competing on stage. I have dealt with many clients who are so clear about their expectations from the trainers in delivering their desired physique but are not willing to personally put in the work. Hence, when the training gets tougher, they start improvising their nutrition and exercising on their own to maintain some comfort while blatantly lying to the trainers about it. So, when they do not see results, instead of looking back and realising their mistakes, the blame directly comes on the trainer and, his/her competence gets questioned.

As personal trainers, we have the ability and skill to guide our clients towards their goal. Even if they go astray sometimes during the program, we know how to help them get back on track. All we expect from them is consistency, discipline and most importantly, honesty.

Lily Hasnu (Nagaland):

There are so many difficulties and challenges a personal trainer has to face. One thing, which many will agree, is missing the social life as we have to be in the gym attending to the client.

Priya Madonna Khyriem from Meghalaya.

TNT: Which is more important – physical fitness or nutrition?

Yami Tawe (Arunachal Pradesh):

Both physical fitness and nutrition are important because they go hand in hand. To work out, one needs energy and, it can be attained only through a proper balanced diet and nutrition.

Priya Madonna Khyriem (Meghalaya):

I think nutrition plays a bigger role in a person’s journey to achieving their goals. Exercising is merely an add on to it. Think of it this way; exercising takes a maximum of about 2 hours of our day. The question we need to ask ourselves is – what and how are we utilising the remaining 22 hours of the day? Are we getting sufficient sleep and, are we feeding our body the right food throughout the day? We simply cannot depend on those 2 hours in the gym to have a positive impact on our health and overall lifestyle.

Lily Hasnu (Nagaland):

Everybody should know that it is 70 per cent in nutrition and 30 per cent exercise. If we incorporate both, we will see magic.

Lily Hasnu from Nagaland.

TNT: How do you deal with the pressure for fitness pros to look a certain way?

Yami Tawe (Arunachal Pradesh):

I could relate with all the trainers that there is pressure in the profession. In this profession, outer appearance is the primary factor compared to skills and credentials, being the secondary factor, because clients often do not look for our skills and degrees; they just see what is outside.

I deal with such pressure with balance, because it is very hard for us too, especially for a foodie like me. There are times where I crave for junks and don’t feel like working out, and in those times, I do eat what I want, and I take an off from my workout routine but, I do go back to my usual routine.

So balance is important as we are human after all. We cannot be consistent all the time; we need to take breaks from the workout but, what is important is that at the end, make sure that we go back to our fitness regime.

Priya Madonna Khyriem from Meghalaya.

Priya Madonna Khyriem (Meghalaya):

Being in the fitness industry there is an unspoken compulsion to constantly look in shape all year through. Speaking from personal experience, we cannot get away with certain things without being questioned about them. For example; if someone sees us drinking or eating something that is out of our usual diet, their quickest response most of the time would be – “Wow! can you eat that?” Although most of them don’t say it with malicious intent, it certainly becomes a reflex for people to ask that question. Individuals who have been in this field for a long time, usually develop a strong mind and thick skin overtime to handle any kind of remarks or judgements that come with this line of profession.

What works best for me, personally, is, I keep things pretty candid about my life in terms of fitness. I try to always show the fun and positive side of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Social media has made it seem impossible for people to have fun as well as maintaining discipline in this industry without compromising on their physique when the reality of it is, it should never be a choice of one over the other. If people see and understand that, then the added pressure to do so and, to always look perfect all year round will reduce immensely. A meticulous combination of both will result in a happier, more satisfying life.

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