The great cirque du cardio

The great cirque du cardio

I have done research on fitness over many years. And have come to the conclusion that people who are part of the fitness revolution can be classified into eight types. These are all encompassing, so if you can’t face up to facts, you shouldn’t be reading any further.



By P.g. Bhaskar

Published: Sat 23 Feb 2013, 2:09 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 4:29 AM

Category 1: This group of people exercise because ‘it’s good for them’. It is drudgery and they don’t enjoy it, but they plod along, the same way one would do a bank reconciliation statement or fill in census forms. Eight per cent of those who exercise fall into this league.

Category 2: These people exercise because they are worried. They have heard stories about cholesterol and stuff and it bothers them to think of fatty substances clogging the arteries of their heart. They wish their fatty substances would simply slide down and out, but since that unfortunately does not happen, they reluctantly put in some work. They exercise more when they hear medical stories about someone suddenly going phut in the prime of life and other such anecdotes of which there is never a short supply. Thirty-one per cent relate primarily to this category.

Category 3: Then there are those influenced by the media. They see images and gasp. They see advertisements and mope. They see films and draw their breath in sharply. They look at themselves in the mirror repeatedly. They weigh themselves when no one is looking. They run a bit or join a class and then check whether the scales have dropped just a shade. Then they run some more and weigh themselves again. When they lose half a kilo, they go into orbit. When they gain half a kilo, they go into depression. They relate exercise to looks and fitness rather than health. Twenty-four per cent tie in closely to this one.

Category 4: It’s the people around them who have the most influence on this class. They don’t give a damn about their own bodies as long as their friends and party acquaintances remain supremely unfit and in a permanent state of bulge. But if one of them starts losing weight, the category 4 person starts losing sleep. The initial period of denial — when the person ignores or even scorns at the other’s new regimen — will be followed by anxiety and alarm especially if the other’s regimen continues and the impact shows. Both category 3 and 4 start and stop exercising several times a year. 21 per cent for this lot.

Category 5: People who fall into this category are naturally active. Movement comes easily to them. They have inherited the athletic gene; they either play sport or are natural walkers or runners. They don’t consider it a chore. They don’t even need music or television to keep them going, nor do they need company. The positive energy that comes from exercising with a happy frame of mind is all they need to push themselves. A good pair of shoes is probably the only thing they are particular about. Six per cent belong here.

Category 6: These people exercise because they like the sound and feel of ‘holistic’ theories, (sceptics would probably call them conspiracies). They follow exercises like walking, yoga and any of those therapies that carry a promise of calming, soothing or rejuvenating them. A certain level of comfort factor for them is a must for this group. You will not find them running forcefully or lifting weights. The maximum discomfort they will tolerate is drinking green tea. Six per cent get slotted here.

Category 7: This is the macho category and relates mainly to men. They exercise almost entirely for the joy of wearing tight T shirts from which their body bulges out. They roar and scream as they lift their weights. Ask them to do deep breathing or sit cross-legged and they will scoff at the idea. But anything that makes them sweat, swear and release their testosterone is right up their street. This category attracts eight per cent.

Category 8: These people fall as much in the shopaholics or spendaholics category as here. They buy iPods, pedometers, headphones, sneakers, sleek water bottles, shorts or tights, tops or T shirts and head bands. They join one class after another. As long as they can buy or spend, they exercise. When spending slows down, their pulse rate does too. Nine per cent. That’s it in a nutshell. And if you are one of those nasty, fault finding types, you will jump up and shout ‘Bhaskar has goofed! He can’t add for peanuts!’ Let me quietly quell you. It is just that some people fall in dual categories.

P G Bhaskar is the author of ‘Corporate Carnival’ (Harper Collins) and ‘Jack Patel’s Dubai Dreams’ (Penguin, India)


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