Keeping Fit in India

I have a bold claim to make:

As compared to Europe, it's much easier to get and keep fit in India. But it's far less likely.

Easier because:

  • Relatability
    In India, you can relate to the others' bodies. Everyone around you has the same body style, our carb heavy diet that causes so many of us to be skinny fat. And so when you go to a calisthenics gym, it really helps to be able to look around and see that a person who looks like you is fit. That shines hope, telling you that it is possible in the first place.
  • In Europe, the same is counterproductive. Looking at the European's low body fat, tall yet muscular physique makes me think they're just born with it. (Which is not true. I suppose they really do have great genes, but their meat heavy diet and walkable/cycleable cities help with keeping fit).
  • Food is easier in India.
    You know your food here. You know the spices we use and how it tastes. It's that familiar feeling of eating something you know, as opposed to the bland boiled vegetable and dry rice. What's more, you can afford hiring someone to cook for you, and tell them what you'd like to eat. You simply can't do that in Europe.
  • Trainers are accessible.
    Because keeping fit is rather rare, fitness trainers are not into it just as a job, but as something they genuinely love doing. They're helpful and kind people.
    In Munich, the price of a trainer is €100+ per hour, which in itself makes them rather inaccessible.
But it's far less likely to keep fit in India because:
  • No one around you is fit.
    It's a chain reaction. If people around you keep fit, you're more likely to be through osmosis. The number one thing I hear from Indians when they first move to Europe is "why is everyone running here". A couple years later, you're probably gonna find them running too.
    In India, the average group of 6 has maybe one, if at all, driven person to keep fit. The rest live in the illusion that they're just fine.
  • We look for convenience.
    We look for convenience everywhere, and outsource doing the chores of everyday life. Order in, hire house-help, call a cab, scooters and bikes even for going 300 meters. Cities are not designed to be walkable.
    Unfortunately though, keeping fit isn't something that can be bought.
  • Pollution, traffic and the heat.
    You can't do outdoor sports like running or cycling, unless you do them indoors. There's almost no where to go, nor a decent hour.
    Going running early in the morning probably does more harm than good. Pollution levels are highest in the morning. Afternoons are way too hot. Evenings are crowded with traffic everywhere.
On the bright side though, there are pockets of places where people are considering getting fit. I'm very impressed with what Cult.Fit has done for the Indian market, and I see that there is awareness now, compared to 10 years ago when I was in college. 


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