Everyone wants a slim body, washboard abs, thin waist, perfect chin line, hourglass figure, and firm butt. But is it that easy to achieve the physique you want? The answer is no! Should one get on the train and strive for a “perfect” body at all costs? Not quite. The truth is that fitness is never a “one-glove for everyone” phenomenon and works differently for each individual. Chirag Barjatya, a young fitness entrepreneur who has dispelled fitness myths with his social media posts, emphasizes that fitness goes beyond having a lean body, biceps, and abs. He emphasizes the need for a holistic approach when it comes to fitness – physically and mentally. Chirag, one of the Indian brand ambassadors for PM Modis Fit India Movement, wants people to promote sustainable and ethical fitness methods.
How has the pandemic changed our view of fitness (physically and mentally)?
The pandemic has brought about many changes in people’s lives. And many of them are still trying to strike a balance between living at home all the time and working from home. The government has also encouraged all physical activity that will help people build their immunity. The continuous workload of working from home and long sitting times has also made people inactive. People have realized the importance of exercising in between intervals. It also helps people physically and mentally as it provides a good distraction from the negative news all around in addition to that new type of workload we were not used to before the pandemic.
Check out Chirag’s tweet:
Start using the calendar on your phone when you really want to cope with the stress of work. Even our lunch menu on weekdays … https://t.co/moiF4bGKPa
– Chirag Barjatya (@chiragbarjatyaa) 1628683415000
Did social media challenges and chiseled body photos intensifying during lockdown put undue pressure on people to work up a sweat?
This was the case in the early stages of the lockdown. Even I participated in some social media challenges that resulted in an injury. And such incidents happened to many people over the Internet. Later, as time went by, people realized that these challenges were doing more harm than good and that you should check your physical abilities first before participating for just the likes. And yes, I’m not going to lie, some people joined my coaching under pressure to use this lockdown as an opportunity. Few of them performed well, but few realized they had other bigger things to worry about and so we refunded them. I don’t support transformation challenges because I feel like it won’t be possible to stay fit now and forever in a few months. It’s a journey.
Home workouts have proven to be a big change in the pandemic. What should and shouldn’t do when exercising from an online tutorial?
Exercising at home became the only way for people to stay in shape during lockdown. Due to the sudden demand and the lack of free weights and other exercise machines in the market, people relied on bodyweight training. Now, not everyone can register with an online coach for the right guidance and therefore avails itself of the help of various YouTube channels. But the problem with this is that people tend to overdo it with exercises that are not below their abilities. I would advise everyone to first define their goal and then start slowly and try to do things like headstands or clapping pushups or squats etc. These exercises certainly look fun in the YouTube videos but they can affect or hurt your joints, if you are a beginner. Even with a basic movement like pushups or squats, try to move slowly day after day.
People always want to be in shape. Does that mean that you absolutely have to lose weight?
Yes and no, if someone is overweight and wants to get back in shape, he or she must aim to lose the fat, not the weight. And if someone is not obese per se, he or she can go for a recomposition in which we want to build muscle and lose fat at the same time. Both can be achieved without starving yourself and enjoying your favorite foods from time to time.
Fitness is not a glove for everyone. So why do most fitness trainers / nutritionists prescribe a low carb – high protein diet plan? What if someone has a kidney problem or has high uric acid levels and has more proteins that can affect their health?
This is the biggest problem we face in the fitness industry boom, where many influencers who have turned into coaches are now selling templates to their clients without worrying about their nutritional history, eating habits, health status, and the stress that comes under they find themselves to be taken care of as a result of their regular activities. One template doesn’t work and never will work for everyone. For this reason we have doctors on our team. When a customer with a disease such as uric acid or lifestyle disorders such as PCOS / Ds enrolls with us, we create their nutrition plan according to a doctor’s recommendation and monitor it regularly.
What do you think of intermittent fasting? How safe is it and what should be considered when following it?
Intermittent fasting is just another tool to help limit your total calorie intake. Therefore, if you set a deadline for eating in a certain window, for example an 8 hour window and can only eat a limited amount in that small time frame, it seems helpful to people. But again, a diet may not work for everyone. If you are a person with acid problems, it can be harmful to you. Or if you are a person with a very good athletic regime it will not be sustainable for you as you will need good carbohydrates during your workout to perform at optimal levels. And if you follow intermittent fasting, you can choose a time window of fasts like 12 or 16 and then only eat during the remaining hours. But pay attention to your total calorie intake, otherwise it is of no use.
They say Indian food makes you fat and salads / oats are healthy. What’s the biggest myth about diet as you lose weight and try to get in shape?
It is a misunderstanding. Indian food is healthy and can help you achieve your goals easily. You don’t have to constantly eat oatmeal or rely on salads. I can’t remember the last time I ate oatmeal. I eat poha in my breakfast or simple paranthas made from wheat flour. Because the calories are the same and you should stick to a diet that you can follow for a lifetime. One of the biggest myths is that we always have to eat boring salad-based meals to lose weight, which is not true at all. One can enjoy rajma rice, dal roti, dal rice, poha, upma, even pasta and biryani even during a weight loss diet.