Fitness

The many roads to fitness

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Swimming, cycling, callisthenics, dieting: Sudarshan Narayan is jack of all trades when it comes to losing weight

A muscular, successful-looking 24-year-old who pays his own bills: that’s the first impression Sudarshan Narayan makes. Dig deeper and you find out he is a functional fitness enthusiast, a trekker who has scaled mountains in the Himalayan range and a die-hard bike lover. He excitedly talks about functional fitness, “It’s very addictive. Here, they teach you how to use your strength, how to lift an everyday object, to keep your back posture right. It is based on callisthenics, where you suspend your own body weight to work out.” His enthusiasm is almost infectious. When he mentions he was a chubby child, most times people don’t believe him. Narayan says, “I was always a heavy kid at school. We had compulsory PE periods and I was a slow runner. Naturally, I tended not to do too well in agility-based sports. Other children would mock me,” he says, adding, “Like every other fat kid, I was isolated too.”

But he did have one true love back then — swimming. A national-level swimmer, Narayan kept at it till Class X. “I stopped swimming because I had an accident where I ended up having five fractures on my leg, close to my ankles. After that I could not swim in competitive levels because the doctor said that it would take a minimum of six months of bed rest to recover,” says Narayan, who had to wait for another year-and-a-half after that to let his bones reach their complete growth.

During that period, Narayan fell into a routine of inactivity; he couldn’t get himself to work out. He went past the 100 mark when he started attending college. But he felt like he was really pushing it when his weight increased to 140 kilos during his stint at a night shift job. Narayan says, “When you do nightshift jobs, your sleep cycle goes for a toss, which in turn messes with your digestive cycle. I was not eating wholesome food and was junking all the time. I put on about 20 more kilos.” The lack of sleep, junk-eating and a non-existent exercise regimen made for an unhealthy lifestyle.

Even then, Narayan found his one saving grace: cycling. One fine day, he received a cycle from an athlete friend of his. He says, “He was one of my closest friends from school and he had been there throughout my journey of swimming and the night-shift job. He saw me grow, literally.”

It didn’t stop there. His friend became his cycling companion for the first couple of weeks till Narayan realised he actually liked cycling. He says, “I used to cycle 4-5 kilometres a day. I started substituting cycling for smaller travels. When I had to go buy milk or vegetables, I preferred taking the cycle out.” He slowly started cycling in longer travels too, sometimes covering 15-20 kilometres a day.

This was when the healthy-eating bug hit him. “There’s a popular misconception that dieting means restricting the amount you eat. Contrary to that, you probably eat more meals and quantities than you usually do, but what you’re eating and the amount of calories is what is kept in check,” says Narayan, who enjoys a large portion of salad for dinner on most days, after his functional fitness routine.

He managed to shed almost 50 kilos through a dedicated gymming regimen. Another accident between all this didn’t stop him either. Not one to make the same mistake twice, Narayan made it a point to keep a check on his everyday routine, so as to not let months of hard work go to waste.

At 84 kilos, his functional fitness training is what keeps him going now. He says, “When you get to something like functional fitness, you stop worrying about how fat you are. You get to a point where you just want to be fit. It has transformed the way I live.”

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Printable version | Dec 15, 2019 8:48:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/fitness/the-many-roads-to-fitness/article24251988.ece

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