What can we learn from Sports?

A lot of folks look at a Sports fan with sympathy, similar to the way one would look at some addict well on the way to oblivion. Is that really fair? Though I would never advocate someone plonking themselves in front of TV for a multi-hour marathon TV-watching experience, following Sports as a fan does bring some benefits to our lives.

(A) “Going all out during a game”

“And accepting the results gracefully, once the game is done”. Rafael Nadal is a prime example. I have never seen him sulk or belittle his opponent after a loss. Some of the losses, like his 2014 Australian Open loss, are never easy and yet, he is gracious as ever when giving credit where credit is due. We can always come across people in our daily lives, who never ever admits their failure and instead blame everyone other than themselves. (Have you ever seen a Driver on Indian Roads admit that he/she is NOT a good driver? :-)). I.e. Textbook “Sore Losers”. I love watching Sportsmen/Sportswomen win and bask in the glory. I am equally a fan of studying how Sportsmen/Sportswomen handle adversity. It is easy to be graceful and magnanimous when one has won. Try doing it when the outcome is not what you wished for or hoped for.

This is one area where I feel Virat Kohli can improve. I am a huge fan of Virat Kohli for his skills and his fighting spirit. His records speak for themselves. A highly energetic cricketer, if ever there was one. But he rarely accepts his getting out gracefully. Mostly it involves discussions and arguments with umpires, some choice words (mostly to himself) Etc. In a recent occasion, he was clearly out caught and yet he sulked all the way back to the pavilion. Basically, he seems to be having the mentality that if he gets out, it has to be an error by someone else, for he is not supposed to get out, ever! 🙂

(B) Tactics

One of the great pleasures a Sports fan has is in doing “Monday Morning Quarterbacking” or critiquing after the end result is well known. I have also developed some advanced skills in this arena.

“If only Federer had played more aggressively …”

“If only Djokovic had hit a down-the-line shot instead of going cross-court …”

“If only McCullum had enforced follow-on …”


As one can note, making decisions when the end result is far away from being known, is an altogether different ballgame.

Which is why, it is highly enjoyable to test your wits while a sports event is unfolding. For E.g. Rather than passively watching Tennis on TV, try “playing” along with your favorite player. Each time the ball comes over, try deciding in your mind what shot you would make.

The tactical decisions Players and Team Captains make offer a lot of lessons for the Corporate World as well.

(C) Inspiration for Fitness

Whenever one watches supremely fit athletes indulge in their sport, one cannot help but be inspired to get off the couch and indulge in some activity. For E.g. After watching a Tennis match involving Novak Djokovic, rarely have I reached out for a Donut right after the match :-). Similarly, how can one NOT be inspired by Rafael Nadal’s “guns”?

(D) Practice and Preparation

A few years back, Roger Federer was asked by Jim Courier (TV Analyst) on his “Off-Season Preparations”. Federer jokingly replied that he is supremely talented and all he does is lie on the couch and let his talent do the hard work. In reality, even a supremely gifted player like Federer spends countless hours on the practice courts and in the gym.

Peyton Manning is another example of what Practice allows a person to do during the game.

As Malcolm Gladwell fantastically articulates in his hugely successful book “Outliers”, it takes countless hours of practice for a person to be an Expert in anything. Rarely does Talent do the work on its own.

(E) Handling Setbacks

Saurav Ganguly made his Cricket debut (ODIs) at a very young age. But due to attitude problems and other similar issues, he soon lost his place in the Indian Cricket Team and had to spent several years in the wilderness. But when he got his next chance, boy, was he ready. A Century on Test Debut, followed by a stellar career as a Batsman and as a Captain was what happened thereafter.

Another example is Stanislas Wawrinka, who after 12 straight losses (never once winning a set!), turned things around and beat Nadal in 2014 Australian Open Finals.

After the huge setback Peyton Manning had in SuperBowl XLVIII, let us see how he handles it in 2014-15 Season.


WOF (War On Fat): How I could end up looking?

My friend shared this picture with me claiming that this is how I would end up looking … 🙂


Too much weight loss and this could be how I would end up ...

Too much weight loss and this could be how I would end up …


Copyright: http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/pol-ubeda-hervas-im-not-there-2


Another friend suggests that I could end up with a body which does not have a profile view (side view) but only front or back view. Kind of like this fish, but in reverse (side view is thin and front view is normal) … 🙂

What a front profile ...

What a front profile …


Copyright: http://www.flickr.com/photos/flickrdave/5489425647/




WOF (War On Fat): Weapon-1

Do we take exam preparation advice from someone who has failed 8th grade 10 times?

Do we take “Integrity” lessons from the Tour De France winner who got busted for taking steroids?

Do we take fitness lessons from applicants to the TV show “Biggest Loser”? (But we definitely can take advice from the folks who successfully compete in the show)

Do we take advice regarding the “spirit of the game” from a Match-Fixer?

Do we take advice regarding treating support staff (read, “line judges”) with respect from the top Woman Tennis player who threatened to shove the tennis ball down the judge’s throat?

Do we take advice in Financial security from someone who has gone bankrupt multiple times?

Do we take advice in keeping sober from the movie actress who seems to have made Drug Rehab Center her 2nd home?

The list can go on and on …

The point is to turn to trust-worthy sources for advice on health. I am definitely NOT a walking health machine. I have my own struggles and issues. I am lucky to have some friends and contacts who inspire me.

WOF Weapon No:1 == Right source of information and tips

When my friend, who can run 8 miles (not kilometers!) at a brisk pace at the drop of a hat, gives me some tip, I listen!





WOF (War On Fat): Why???

Just the other day, my friend asked me “Why are you doing all this?”. Well, I asked myself this question and following are the answers I have come up with.
(A) My WOF decision in January 2013 and the thoughts I had published then
I consider myself to be slightly above average in health and fitness. What is this based on? Well, this is just based on what my eyes tell me 🙂 I do moderate physical activity and I play several games (recreationally) as well. Squash, Tennis, Cricket and Ping-Pong (Table Tennis) are the games I play nowadays. (I used to play Badminton pretty well… during my B-Tech days).
I am not the best Squash player I personally know. There are folks who beat me.
I am not the best Cricket player I personally know. There are folks who bat/bowl/field better than me.

I am not the best Tennis player I personally know. There are folks who beat me.

I am not the best Table Tennis player I personally know. There are folks who beat me.

But, if like in Decathlon, there happened to be a tournament where these 4 sports (or a subset or a superset (of more sports)) are played by all players and the individual players are given an overall rank based on the cumulative points from each individual sport, I should do pretty well. In other words, I play these games pretty well, as far as non-professionals go.

Why am I saying all this? To illustrate that I am slightly above average, as is, in terms of physical fitness.

Now, I want to take it to another level. I want to be one of the fittest (if not the fittest) person I personally know, in my age group.

As it is, I dont struggle with motivation and I am pretty regular in the activities I do. But as I said, I am aiming for Gold here 🙂 Based on data from several research papers, I am about to embark on a Social Experiment on myself.

The experiment entails me publishing my daily activity log as well as my daily diet log, with some insights and thoughts, based on what I get from similar-minded folks and what I see with myself. By publishing this data, I hope to get added motivation to zoom towards my goal. With most of us sitting on our asses most of the time (due to the nature of our jobs), I think this is as good a time as any to push the physical limits a little bit.


(a) Due to various reasons (Injury, Failure of the Social Experiment to keep me motivated, Me weighing 20Kg after losing too much weight :-)), this Social Experiment could come to an abrupt halt. Time will tell.

(b) I am no Physical Expert. I am just a regular guy who hope to keep things under control.

(B) Why?

– Why do people climb Everest and spent years in each attempt?

– Why do people bicycle through countries and continents and spent significant time, money and energy towards it?

– Why do people practice for years and become an expert in a musical instrument?

The point is, we are all surprised at what others might do. We try and judge it through the prism of our own views and deem something we do not understand or something we do not value as a waste of time or some temporary fad.

Reason No:1

I want a physique like Novak Djokovic, the No:1 Tennis player in the World. There, I said it :-). It is fine to laugh till your stomach hurts. But the cliche is to “aim for the sky”, right? Well, this is my “Sky”. I want INFINITE STAMINA + LEAN LOOK.

# What I want

Novak Djokovic's perfect physique ...

Novak Djokovic’s perfect physique …

Copyright: TSM Interactive, http://wac.450f.edgecastcdn.net/80450F/tsminteractive.com/files/2012/01/Novak-Djokovic-shirtless-3.jpg

# What I do not want

(No offense to overweight people. It is just that that look is not what I am going for)

Overweight Guy ...

Overweight Guy …

Copyright: Delaware Online: http://www.delawareonline.com/blogs/secondhelpings/uploaded_images/fatguy-790967.jpg

# What I do not want

(No offense to muscular people. It is just that that look is not what I am going for)

Musclular Guy ...

Musclular Guy …

Copyright: PRLOG: http://www.prlog.org/10609201-body-bands-workout.jpg

Reason No:2

Being fit makes me feel good about myself.

Reason No:3

Being fit gives me more Energy.

Well, why do I want all these?

Hmmmm …

Why does a person like to wear good clothes? Why do women wear jewellery? Why do women wear makeup? Why do someone listen to music all the time? Why does someone watch Tennis all the time? Why does someone like fancy cars?

Why does anyone want anything?


WOF (War On Fat) Tip: Lifestyle …

Just an hour back, while I was on my way to the Gym, a neighbour who was also headed to the Gym asked me, “Why are you going to the Gym? You look pretty fine to me … My case is different as I need to lose a lot of weight”.

Do you see the problem in his thought process?

For some reason, folks think that healthy diet choices and healthy lifestyle choices (like regular exercise) are required only when a crisis situation arises.

– You scored triple-hundred in the latest Cholesterol numbers from the Lab Tests?

– Family and Friends making snide remarks about your girth?

– You flunked the Fitness Test for Military enrollment?


You get the picture.

My answer to my neighbour would have been, “My friend, thanks for the generous remark. But if it is true, it is all the more reason for me to work out regularly. Fitness is not a “on a whim” activity. It has to be a lifestyle activity requiring dedication. Maintenance of a fitness level is much tougher than attaining a fitness level”. Actually, in this case, I did not say anything. I just smiled and shrugged.

There is no “Destination” as far as fitness goes, in my opinion. You try and achieve a level and then comes the tougher job of maintaining that level. All this is assuming that the goal you are trying to attain is important to you. A lot of folks get momentary inspiration to “get fit” and that inspiration lasts for a few weeks and then the lifestyle is back to good old ways.

The primary question we should ask ourselves: Is being fit important to me? (Why should I be fit? Am I willing to make sacrifices? Am I willing to show dedication?)

If the answer to the above question is “NO”, that is a very understandable answer. Who am I to judge others’ decisions about their own fitness levels? But if we answer “YES” to the above question, then we should zone in and be disciplined.

Yesterday, while I was out for a drink and dinner with my friend, I had to have some Paneer Curry which was obscenely dripping in oil. Here is an example of my not attaining a perfect mental control yet. Need to keep plugging away …

One thought comes to mind: Is “Oil” the cheapest ingredient in the World? Why are people using it so much? It is quite frustrating to see every dish just dripping in (cheap?) saturated fat. Looks like the entire Food Industry wants us to stay unhealthy and overweight. Chips? Fried Snacks? Soda? Oily Curries? Buttery Pizzas? Chemical-filled Juices? Man, is the battle-line drawn or what!


WOF (War On Fat) Tip: “Fat” … :-)

While having a discussion with my friend on Facebook, it struck me that maybe this is a topic that is good to Blog about, atleast so I could collect my thoughts on the subject.

There is some legitimate misunderstanding about the “Fat” in my “War On Fat” (WOF). The “Fat” I am referring to in WOF is:

– Overweight

– Bulging belly

– Struggling to even walk, let alone run or play

– Etc.

Note: I have nothing against over-weight people. (If it helps, I am overweight). We all review our lives and determine the areas we need to focus on. For some people (like me), looking trim is important. For some others, it may not be the highest priority. I understand that and respect that.

Dietary “Fat” is not what I am referring to in WOF.

As per almost all the sources, based on the recommended daily calorie count of 1800-2000 calories per day, a maximum of 60-65gm of Fat is recommended.

Trans Fat = 0gm (Dangerous! Stay away. Processed food!)

Saturated Fat = 20gm maximum (Approx). Meats, Diary Products etc. It is really good to limit Saturated Fat. I am aiming for zero here.

Unsaturated Fat = Good one! Omega-3/6 (Fish), Nuts  (Walnuts!), Extra-Virgin Olive Oil etc. Unsaturated Fat is what we should be focusing on, obviously.

My friend has a very valid point that the intake of dietary fat (Unsaturated Fat) should never be zero.

South-Asians have a much greater genetical tendency towards Heart ailments than other ethnicities. In that background, the recent spur of fast food and processed food is scary, to say the least. If a burger sells for 25Rs in this day and age (and every Corporation will take its profits), ever wonder about the quality its ingredients?

Keeping an eye on what kind of fat we take in can only help us IMHO.


WOF (War On Fat) Tip: Pain …

I am sure you all must have experienced it as well. While working out, there comes a phase, during the early part, when your body screams “DUDE! TAKE IT EASY!!!!”. For me, it usually happens after the first 5 minutes. I.e. During minutes 5-8. Your body will try and coax you into stopping the madness and heading to the comfy Sofa and yummy Chips (and the oozy Pizza, oily Fries and made-in-Mars Sodas). Thats where we need to let our mind defeat the body, IMHO. If you can bite through that phase, trust me, you will enter that Zone. Assuming you dont overdo the overall workout, you will come out with a high level of energy.

The ThumsUp Soft Drink Ad in India has the tag line: “Dar ke aage jeet hai” (“There is Victory beyond the Fear …”).

My point is: “There is Victory beyond the Pain …”.