“Abs are made in the kitchen, not in the gym,” says Prakash KC, a gym instructor. This is contrary to what KC hears the most, such as “I want to lose weight in 15 days” or “I want six-pack abs.”
KC runs Dreams Fitness Studio in Lazimpat of Kathmandu. His gym is populated by elite trainees who come to tone their bodies, in every manner. However, KC says, whether you sweat profusely or exercise hard, run wildly or hop around from one point to another, your stomach will not shrink!
So, what does he want to focus on?
The next stop
A protruded stomach is a headache for many. It is the house of all kinds of diseases in life. Not just that, you are considered unattractive.
People tend to go to the gym when their body starts to accumulate fat, or when their stomach protrudes out. But, then, they start experiencing shortness of breath even while walking a short distance. Reaching and joining the gym seems like the best next stop. The gym seems to be the ultimate solution.
The other kinds of people are all lean and thin and they want to beef up and get big biceps and triceps to flex and six-pack abs to flaunt. “It is not something we make, we already have them in our bodies. But, as the fat accumulates, it gets buried deep inside all that.”
KC says there is no single routine that fits them all, so anyone who comes to the fitness studio gets a personal regimen to work on, depending on their goal.
To help those who step into gyms, KC says there is a need for skilled fitness trainers who have knowledge about body anatomy and understand everybody is different. “Some might have diabetes or high blood pressure; others may have cholesterol and others have thyroid. Then, their age is another factor. So, training needs to make the lives of individuals fit and fine.”
The gym is not just for young ones or young adults and they come to the gym to make their lives better, he adds. There is one guy who is over 70 years old, he shares. “It is about making a body flexible, healthy and active.”
The gym is also not for bodybuilding or losing weight, he adds. “It is about making a body flexible, healthy and active. It is about fitness.”
Fitness is not instant
KC suggests only having a proper exercise routine and a balanced diet can make the body fit. Just by going to a gym, the stomach will not go flat, muscles will not get stronger. Contrary to the misconception prevalent in society, he says, “It is not a quick process. It takes patience. Fitness is about training, according to the anatomy of the body, status, age, etc. The focus should be on staying healthy, not having a flat stomach.”
“Nowadays, advertisements like reduce stomach in 15 days or control obesity. But, there is no universal guide to weight loss or controlling obesity.”
“Your weight is determined by its height and stature. Therefore, it is advised to maintain the same weight standards. But, here in the glitz and glamour of losing weight, people skip meals. Losing weight every time in this way does not make you healthier.”
In fact, such an approach to weight loss will be followed by fatigue and constant tiredness. Haphazard exercise or skipping meals reduces the amount of water in the body and reduces muscle mass. But, it does not decrease fat. In fact, more problems like stress, restlessness, and insomnia can occur.
There is a systematic process under which controlling weight is possible while maintaining one’s energy, radiance, vigour, and immunity.
As proof that fitness is not instant, he shares that he started going to the gym at the age of 15, influenced by his elder brothers. Fascinated by the disciplined lifestyle, he tried to make his body fit accordingly. He says starting a healthy lifestyle and eating healthy have benefitted him throughout his life.
KC, who is 45 today, shares that he has not visited any hospital up to now.
Start from your kitchen
But, is that enough? He says no.
Why? Because the world is full of unhealthy food and luxurious life. So, food is a key variable and most important in staying healthy. If you are joining a gym, KC says, you have to spend some time in the kitchen too and follow a discipline.
Naturally, human bodies have a certain structure. In people who are conscious of their health, the body structure remains constant. However, due to poor lifestyles and diet, their internal organs do not function properly. Overeating can result in fat, hence, one naturally gains weight. “So, we make a diet chart for them, based on their needs and goals,” says KC.
One can make the chart on their own. Generally, it is advisable to eat solid food four times a day, every three to four hours. In the meantime, one can drink water or have fruits; apples are the best options. The next tip is to chew your food properly so that it gets digested faster.
And, what kind of food should you include? “Fresh and balanced… And, for your fitness, you need different food items that provide different nutrients. We do not have to be very detailed. But, we should be high in protein, good fat, low carbohydrate and high in fibre,” says KC.
They are needed in the body to improve your fitness, in particular, to make muscles, bones, and joints strong and agile. The main sources of proteins are fish, eggs, nuts and dairy products. Those who do strenuous physical exercise or work out must include proteins in their diet.
Another important thing in fitness is fats. Many people have the misconception that obesity increases after eating fats, even though there is no significant relationship between them. In fact, unsaturated fats are essential for the body. It is essential to keep the body active and keep a thin membrane over the brain and nerves. They also help keep the hormones in balance. You can get unsaturated fats from almonds, walnuts, cashews, olive oil, etc.
Society is divided about the role of carbohydrates in fitness. Some say they have been misunderstood while others say they increase obesity. Regardless, it is the main source of energy in the body and is essential for a healthy and fit body. Rice, grains and potatoes are good sources of carbohydrates.
This story was translated from the original Nepali version and edited for clarity and length.