The most important element in fitness, is in knowing what you want out of your fitness program. For example do you want to (a) Loose that extra flab around your middle and thighs? (b) Go in for body building amateur & / or professional (c) Just feel and look healthy and have more energy at the end of the day, (d) Enhance your optimum performance in your sport (e) Train for a marathon or triathlon?

With the right programming you can do any of the above. Unfortunately with the recent surge of information one can get very easily confused. Take for example the phrase “ Weight training “. For women especially this term conjures up images of bulging muscles and a very manly look. And if this is what you think, you couldn’t be further from the truth. Weight training means exactly what the term implies i.e. training with weights which is another term for   resistance training. Even a lot of men mistake weight training for Power lifting or Body Building.

The former is an Olympic Sport and here the main aim is to lift the heaviest weight in one of two predetermined methods, only once.

Body Building is an International sport which takes weight training to its ultimate level in acquiring the largest muscles with the highest definition it is possible for the Body Builder to achieve. Dorian Yates present Mr. Olympia and twice Mr. Universe is quoted as having said ” Weight training is for health and fitness, but  body building is purely a question of winning”.

A lot of people who used to come to my gym told me “ I want to loose this extra flab and “ TONE UP” my body”. Frankly speaking I don’t know what “TONE UP” means. First and foremost there is no scientific measure of muscle tone. I presume that the term has been used to describe a measure of one’s muscularity or muscle density, ‘the look & feel’ of a muscle. It is a term that everyone uses but which really has no meaning. Hence I presume that my prospective student means that he/she must exercise more which in turn will reduce his/her stores of fat,  strengthen and thus increase the density of the muscles.

Another  great misconception in weight or resistance training is that it restricts mobility and is very bad for flexibility. This is utter “BULL”. In fact its an outright lie. There is nothing in weight training that does not allow the complete development of flexibility. Most people who train with weights especially in India do so under the tutelage of “Friends” who in turn have had their training from their “friends”,  none of whom have had professional training whatsoever. In fact half the coaches in most gyms in Mumbai alone don’t even have a clue in giving their clients a correct program to match their goals in accordance to their body types. Exercise like straight-legged dead lift, good mornings and clean & press improve flexibility and even enhance growth. Unfortunately most Trainer’s today, give the same routine to one and all, regardless of what the client 1. wants, 2. Whether it’s good or not recommended for a particular body type and 3. regardless of the client’s age.

In fact very recently, an ex-lady student of my Karate class called me and complained of a shoulder injury. In spite of being 51 years old she is an extremely fit person. When I asked her how she injured herself, she told me that her Gymnastics Instructor told her to do 100 cartwheels and a 100 handstands non-stop. No matter how fit you are do please remember the age factor. You cannot do what a 20 year old can do. PERIOD.

One question a lot of people ask me is that being a martial artist, training with weights would only slow down my Karate, Judo & Aikido techniques. This misconception, that weight training is only good for muscle builders and not for athletes is utter nonsense. If any thing weight training has made me and my students faster than ever. In  a research project many years ago, under Dr. Doongaji of the K.E.M hospital, the speed of some of my students  “punches” were timed between 68 and  82 miles per hour, and having an impact force of 987 lbs., to 2000lb per sq. inch. Anyone can use weight training to enhance their sport.

Olympian Athletes in whatever discipline, from swimming to table tennis have their own weight training programs.

Another myth (bordering on the ridiculous) is that , if you stop training your muscles will turn into fat, this is down right absurd. Its like saying if I drive my Maruti hard and fast it will turn into a Mercedes. Muscle is muscle and fat is fat. With no exercise, muscle will shrink and with little or no control on what you eat fat will add on. However muscle cannot turn into fat or vicer versa.

Let’s face it if you were seriously ill you’d  consult a specialist and not to a “friend”, or if you were convicted in an accident case you would refer to a Criminal Lawyer and again not a “friend” , so why would you subject your most precious possession (your body) to a “friend”, and not a professional trainer? There are many good coaches and trainers in Bombay, you just have to find the right one.

Other components of good health and fitness,  are Nutrition, and Rest. One of the most important aspect, and yet the least practiced is good posture. If you already have a bad posture this will only be compounded with any type of exercising. Get your posture corrected FIRST,  then begin your workouts.

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