What Do We Mean By “Fitness”?

Hint: It’s Not Just Puffed Up Shoulders, Chest or Six Pack Abs

Poonam Gupta
Aug 22, 2019 · 22 min read

We all have different definitions of Fitness and wellness. In this blog, I share my insights, experiences and journey of holistic fitness while acknowledging that I have a much longer way to go and that you might not even be interested in knowing what I have to say. But if what I have learnt can help anyone become a better version of themselves or reach somewhat closer to where they want to be, I would consider it MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

In a way the growing awareness about one’s wellness and fitness is good and it is even better that people are now embracing the idea of keeping themselves well and putting in time, energy and money into it.

Because the motives are ulterior and incomplete and hence the results are also incomplete.

My Love-Hate Relationship with Fitness

For the major part of my school life, I was the skinny, seemingly malnourished kid who was pathetic at all kinds of sports and came last in all races.

But my love affair with sports, games and physical fitness lasted only 3–4 years and it got sacrificed in the preparation fire of IIT-JEE in 11th class, for the next seven years of my life. And In a step by step process from a healthy, happy child, I would become a bordernline suicidial, sick and weak college student.

College Life Fuck Ups

Due to the following reasons, I became increasingly sick, with a weird pain in my stomach 24*7 during the third year of my college. I would continue to suffer for almost two years.

  1. Due to this immense sense of sadness in my life, I was doing anything to keep me alive, like smoking Malboro Advanced 5–6 times (Please don’t tell my parents :P ) a day, not eating, just surviving on air, water, smoke and canteen food.
  2. Crying in loneliness, not sharing with anyone and carrying a lot of unnecessary baggage causing me lots of stress ultimately hurting my gastric health.
  3. Waking up at 3 pm and sleeping at 8 am.
  4. Not making any conscious effort to undo the shit I was doing with my body, mind and soul.

I swear that was my thought process. Now, I find really hard to relate with the person I used to be. But hey, that’s life. We keep changing to survive better :D

No treatment, medicine and doctor seemed to help or mitigate even 0.1% of my pain.

Never do a Google search for your symptoms, it will make you believe you have cancer. LOL!!

The Intervention (Finding Happiness)

Eventually, I realised that if I don’t do anything about it now, then it might be too late. This seemingly ordinary gastric issue might turn chronic. I decided to quit everything that was to interfere with my gastric system.

I did the biggest intervention of my life.

Within the blink of an eye, I changed my entire lifestyle upside down. I made the following changes in my lifestyle overnight.

  1. Started eating in mess (yes, it’s bad but definitely better for your health than canteen food.)
  2. I started sleeping at 10 pm and waking up at 6 am.
  3. I stopped listening to sad songs, stopped playing the victim card in my mind and stopped feeling sad about being myself. Because stress is a big factor in gastric issues (That’s what I read and learnt from various blogs and doctors. I felt it too later).

And from not being able to run 600 meters properly, within six months, with no trainer I was able to run 20 km at a stretch without stopping even once in 2.5 hours.

It felt like a personal achievement. Running helped me come out of my state of immense sadness. There was a rush of Dopamine in my body. No matter what happened in my life, I have been very regular and particular about my diet, lifestyle, workout and yoga other than occasional bouts of indulgence when I am travelling.

What I Learnt About Being Fit

During this journey, I have observed hundreds of people, including athletes at IIT Kharagpur, people at my gym, my own brother, different trainers, read multiple blogs, watched videos and done loads of experiments with myself to understand what do I really mean, when I say, I want to be fit and how can I achieve it and sustain it.

  1. Thin Body with flat stomach To Wear Crop Tops: There is a class of young girls that I have noticed are absolutely unconcerned with their stamina, energy and power. They want a body on which crop tops and hawt pants would look good and they work out with that agenda in mind only. And hence, results are also like that.
  2. Muscular Body: There is another category of guys, who work day and night to have a muscular body. Puffed up chest, six-pack abs, ripped thighs but you ask them to run 5 km and they would go out of breath. You ask them to touch their feet or bend backwards they can’t. When the atmosphere is not suitable, they soon catch the cold, fever, or some other allergy. Easily get tired and exhausted on a trek while others with a seemingly feeble body can easily manage.
  3. Working Out Odd times: There is another class of people, who do work out but lack a sense of discipline in it. They work out odd times, whenever they like. Eat odd things at odd times, thinking just adding some physical work is sufficient and anything else is unnecessary.
  4. You Need Chicken to Build a Body: Then there is another class which follows their trainers mindlessly, eating chicken, pork, eggs, taking supplements and dairy in the name of the protein. Because as per their trainers their muscles won’t recover and build unless they eat meat, egg and dairy.
  5. Smoking, Drinking and Fast Food Eating with Excercise: There is another class of people into fitness who do some kind of the physical workout but they are still heavy drinkers and smokers.
  1. Mental Fitness: For me, mental fitness is about having strong will power, razor-sharp concentration, ability to think calmly even in adverse condition, managing our emotions, ability to take strong and well-thought decisions in unfavourable situations.
  2. Spiritual Fitness: For me, spiritual fitness is about knowing that every single life form on earth carries the same consciousness that we carry. Knowing that all life forms at the primal root are just the same and hence, we don’t have any reason to be arrogant about anything and rather we should be compassionate to all beings. Spiritual fitness is acknowledging universal oneness and working consistently to achieve and abide in it.

The indirect efforts give results similar to the happiness given by indirect sense of achievement.

Now, let’s break down these categories further and discuss them and their various attributes in detail.

Physical Fitness

Most of us, don’t even practise, physical fitness holistically. Especially men, they generally want to have a muscular body like their trainer or some social media influencer they follow on Instagram.

Strength

Agility

Immunity/ Adaptability to Different Climates:

Flexibility

Ability and Speed to Heal Wounds

Physical Balance:

Mental Fitness

Mental fitness and its attribute are not as easy to define as of physical fitness but I would give it a try here. Mental fitness is really crucial in fact might be more important than physical. Mentally fit person can eventually achieve physical fitness too owing to the sheer force of his/her will power.

Will Power

Concentration

Decisiveness

Optimism

Ability To Manage Emotions

Spiritual Fitness

Spiritual Fitness in a way is related to both physical and mental fitness in a way and in a way it isn’t. Because in a way everyone is on their spiritual journey to become one with the supreme consciousness. The difference is some make conscious effort to progress in that direction whereas some are just learning and unlearning not realising we all are heading to the same end.

Witness Attitude

Universal Oneness

Vigilance Of Thoughts

Acceptance Leading To Surrender

Although, this is very subjective statements and depends on spiritual maturity of an individual.

Because for some amateurs like me, physical fitness and mental fitness becomes important to strive for spiritual fitness. I have observed multiple times, when I am in physical pain or mentally disturbed due to something then I am unable to meditate or follow witness attitude or anything.

Love and Light to all. May you all achieve fitness in all walks of life.

Plantmade

Plantmade is a vegan brand creating plant based…

Plantmade

Plantmade is a vegan brand creating plant based alternatives to animal based food items like egg, meat and dairy. Our first product would be vegan scrambled egg.

Poonam Gupta

Written by

Freelance Writer, Designer, Social Media Manager, Yoga Lover and Doer, Seeker

Plantmade

Plantmade is a vegan brand creating plant based alternatives to animal based food items like egg, meat and dairy. Our first product would be vegan scrambled egg.