Friday, November 28, 2008

My Body- Health Enigma!

Arnold Schwarzenegger. See the biceps
WANTED- Experts.

Today I am going to write about one topic that almost every human being on this earth has faced at least at some point of time in their life- your body and health.

It is such a complex thing to understand at sometimes and seems relatively simple at others. I guess around 90% of people face the problem of being over- weight or obese! Well, why do you eat so much then? So, as you might have guessed, I am in the other 10 %. The simple indication for this statistics that I have written are simply from the fact that you will always see advertisements for weight loss everywhere. I am yet to come across an advertisement that even shows- “GAIN WEIGHT”- 10 Kgs a month with people testimony etc, leave alone an exclusive ad like this..............


Coming on to my situation, let me tell you that I am 24 years old, almost 5’ 10” (178 cms) with a weight of 50 kgs (110 pounds) for the past 10 years I think! Since the past 10 years, I don’t think anything has changed. My height is still the same, my weight is still the same and even I look the same! No matter what I do, not even a kilo changes on either side with the exception that I feel a couple of times it has gone down or come up 2-3 kilos. You just have to visit my Orkut profile and you will find my school friends writing that I still look the same!!! Perhaps I look 18. No harm, but I would prefer to look my age though and it has everything to do with weight. Only if I weighed 70, I would definitely look 24 or even more.

Arnold Schwarzeegger. The lights and shadows give an amazing effect

According to the BMI (Body Mass Index), I am very clearly underweight at 16 BMI for which 18.5 is the starting range for normal weight. According to my age and height, my ideal weight needs to be between 65 and 70. That means I need to gain atleast 15 to 20 kgs of weight! Which in itself means 40% of my weight!!! Just see the arduousness of the task in terms of percentage. In terms of numbers it isn’t too difficult, people lose 15- 20 kgs quite regularly, atleast according to the ads but putting on 40 % of your current weight?!! That looks impossible right now.

A little of my back ground as well, I actually have a long, lean frame and I am deceptively strong. At the age of 12 I joined Taek won do and I was surprisingly good at it having won a trophy and standing first in the very first exam for Yellow belt. It is another thing that after that year itself, it closed down. But now if I look back, I surprise myself. How did I manage to do everything so easily? I remember others always complaining when they made us do hundreds of push-ups, running many kilometers, doing the fights, getting punches in the stomach or breaking things and other things and I tell you, I performed every single action sincerely and with dedication. At no point I felt that I wouldn’t be able to do it, my body managed it perfectly.
That did help me with strength and flexibility. I became as flexible as I can be. Splits which many found impossible, I performed with consummate ease and could hold that position for as long as I wanted.

Around that time, I came across Arnold Schwarzenegger of course through movies etc, and I was fascinated and wanted to have a muscular body like that. And I used to do all kinds of things- push ups, pull ups, weight lifting- of course never by joining a gym but doing it at home with whatever I could find.
And I did get good muscles for the people of my age group but still I was lean.

Nothing’s changed and I still have good strong muscles but not big or bulky at all. At rest, my arm may look absolutely thin with no strength but when I flex my muscles, it might seem like a very strong, muscular person. Just see my pictures to understand.
Me with tightened ab muscles

I sometimes wonder what the fuss is all about the 6 pack abs. I have always had it as long as I can remember and in fact we all have it, otherwise your torso would be absolutely limp. The thing is for most people, it is hidden behind a layer of fat and I never had any such fat layer. I was always thin and that's why my ab muscles were always visible. You don't need special exercises for that. Just reduce the fat content in your body and you too will have it!
As a child I wanted to be like a body builder- Arnold Schwarzenegger type and used to exercise, lift weights. But obviously I never became big and bulky and not even in the normal weight range and am still an underweight by some margin. Now I don’t want short- term or unhealthy measures to gain weight etc. Right now I am facing the problem of deciding what really do I want. Do I just want to put on weight? But I have a love for exercise and having muscles and there can be 2 things. Either you can have big bulky muscles or long lean muscles. Both are for different purposes. After thinking and analysis, I have come to the conclusion that obviously I can almost never belong to the first category and it’s no use either being big and bulky. It’s basically unhealthy. Nothing should be done in extremes. It is very easy to go from one extreme to the other. The most difficult thing is to stay in the middle. The “middle path” of Buddha and walking on the razor’s edge.
Flexing my biceps

I had figured it out a long time ago that Flexibility = strength. The more flexible you are, the more strength you actually have. From being extremely flexible, I have come down a lot and flexibility only decreases with age. I have tried many times unsuccessfully to get back to the shape I was in by all terms during my Taek Won Do time.

And one thing that has had me thinking and is responsible for me writing this blog post is that recently I came to know of a website called hundredpushups.com. It is a 6 week program at the end of which you will be able to do hundred push-ups consecutively. I loved the idea and am going to do it, in fact have already started but it also made me wonder, what would be its result. It should definitely make me stronger but would I put on weight or lose it? Would I put on muscle mass or have leaner muscle which, with the same weight would make me look thinner? It is a complex thing with many myths attached to fat and muscle and various theories.

So in the end I am quite confused. I only know that in the end what I really want is to be in a normal weight range- around 65 to 70, with good strength and flexibility and a nice muscular look. Now what diet should I have, the percentage of protein, carbohydrates etc, the kind of exercises I need to do- has to be ascertained. I do have some idea about a variety of topics of health that to put on weight or bulky muscles mass, heavy weight lifting with a high protein diet is the way to go. But what I have to decide that what I really want in the end as mentioned above, is it possible to have it all at the same time? Or would I first only need to put on weight first, then take on strength and flexibility training!

Some other information is that my diet might be less with people always saying that I eat too less, but I eat all kinds of foods that is vegetarian, occasionally eat eggs too for the proteins, but will definitely not have meat, fish etc for personal reasons and is almost out of question. I eat all kinds of vegetables and have a balanced diet. I have reduced milk consumption and only have it with tea. And currently I also walk a lot but otherwise have pretty much sedentary lifestyle, not like most people have but still not a very active lifestyle either. If I play a sport etc someday, some muscles ache that day or the day after.
But I also have an excellent heart rate or pulse I guess at 60/min which I know that only meditators or athletes have less than it.
So this is my situation .
ANY HEALTH EXPERTS OUT THERE?!! HELP ME!
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Fact- Your body gives off enough heat in 30 minutes to bring half a gallon of water to a boil.

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