Have you ever done something that you enjoyed so much that you could not help but tell everyone about it? (Perhaps to the extent it threatened the continual of your friendship?)
The Guavapass has been one such experience for me.
I signed up to it in February this year, but had been pondering the idea way before then. I registered myself on their website in October last year, when I saw a Facebook ad or shared post about it. Because that’s what you do when you are planning to lose some weight. You start following a whole bunch of Fitness pages on social media, you subscribe to healthy cooking and 30-minute-workout channels on Youtube. You fill your Pinterest board with healthy living and healthy eating inspirational pins. Yet, you scroll through, watch or browse these things all while munching on a bag of chips, a bar of chocolate or an ice cream in hand. DUH! (Or is that just me?)
However, at some point in your life things may change. You may decide to take serious steps towards achieving a leaner, fitter and more toned body. Or you may decide to change the way you eat, or more importantly the way you snack. On the other hand you may, by a lucky chance, get introduced to, or stumble upon a kind of activity or sport that you enjoy so much, that you lose weight from it without too much of a struggle.
I’ve personally been through all of these phases. I’ve always been between the overweight and the obese range of the weight spectrum. I distinctly remember weighing in at a blundering 47 kgs when I joined boarding school in Year 4, at age 8. We had the same medical file through all the years that we spent there, with new pages added for every visit and at the start of every school year. In my final year, I recall looking through the pages to see my weight at the start of every school year and I noticed a very embarrassing gain. Look closely at the figures.
Grade 4 = 47 kgs
Grade 5 = 52 kgs
Grade 6 = 67 kgs
Grade 7 = 76 kgs
Grade 8 = 88 kgs
However, luckily, the school was located on what we Indians call “hill stations”.(i.e. a town at the base of a mountain, at higher elevation than nearby plains, and hence relatively cooler and suitable for a getaway in the summers.) This simply means that every little walk from the classroom to the dining room, or the dormitory to the infirmary, or from the dormitories to the tuck shop was considered a work out. Consequently, by the end of the year, I’d lose more weight than I had put on during the vacation and I’d end the year at healthy body weight. And then the cycle would repeat.
At age 13, my mum decided I was no longer going back to boarding school because she wanted to be more involved in my education, since I was starting high school. (For those who are unaware of life in a boarding school, it’s highly likely that if you weren’t a focused, hard working, goal-oriented middle schooler, then that’s how you’d remain during high school.) But, of course, my mother couldn’t just accept that so she decided to take matters into her own hands. Now the new school I was joining followed the International school calendar so the academic year began in August / September, while the academic year at my previous school ended in November and I was a few months too young to join the next grade in the following semester. This left me with about 9 months of holiday time. Initially, I took lots of tuition and my dad would take me for swimming or badminton, etc. But after a while came peak season for business on the island and he was no longer able to chauffer me around. If you’ve been to Phuket, you will know it’s a tiny little island with the least reliable and most expensive public transportation, so overtime, I’d get lazy taking the buses and because my parents were so busy, I was mostly home or in the area nearby. As a result, my already low physical activity went even lower, and my already high weight…well, it didn’t get any lower. To be honest, it went up… a lot. That was the time my weight went from the 80s range up to over 100 kgs. My max. weight ever was a 110 kgs.
I had a phase where my father would force me to go for morning jogs at the beach with him, where I’d eventually fall behind by almost a whole kilometer. Embarrassingly, he’d have to jog back to motivate or taunt me to get me moving. After a few months, I just refused to go. Those days my mother had started going for evenings walks by the beach or around the neighbourhood. Being the more leniant parent, I thought going with her would be less stressful, so when she asked if I wanted to join, I did. Little did she know that I was going to be a horrible influence. Thailand being possibly the best place in the world for street food, I would ask for snacks whenever we were out; safe to say there was more sitting and eating than walking. One particular evening’s happenings seem to stand out. There was a community center, with a huge garden and playground on premise, where we’d sometimes go to walk. I had just had some Pad Thai from a street vendor on our way there, and so my mum suggested it was a good idea to do a couple of rounds of brisk walking around the grounds because I had really over eaten that day. I RESPONDED BY STANDING UP, AND WALKING IN CIRCULAR ROUNDS OF 5 STEPS EACH, 5 TIMES, AND SAT BACK DOWN, CONTENT WITH MY “WORKOUT”.
I’ve come a long way since, thanks to my dad, who compelled me to take P.E. as an IGCSE subject in an attempt to increase my weekly physical activity. Even though I didn’t lose much weight because of these classes, at the very least I learned to appreciate sports. I learned to play football, baseball and fixed my incorrect swimming technicques and learned some survival skills in a challenge called “Personal survival”. This is a test where you wear long jeans, a t-shirt, a long-sleeved sweater or jacket, jump into the pool with this heavy outfit, and swim 50 or 100 m, in under 30 seconds, in any stroke of your choice. This is followed by floating while hugging a buoyant ball for 10 minutes and ends with swimming yet another lap or something along those lines. The type of activities, however, is not the point. The real achievement is that I, the girl who couldn’t walk 5 rounds around a community center garden, ended high school as a member of the football team for the last 3 semesters. I was by no means the best player, I’d get a mini heart attack each time someone kicked the ball my way, but thanks to a friend, I had the courage to get out there, make a fool of myself, learn (a little) from those mistakes and had great time on some inter-city football trip and the one or two matches I was part of when my school hosted the FOBISSEA tournament in 2009.
Not only my father, but also, very shockingly, my once-leniant mum at some point decided she’d had enough of my laziness and dragged my sad ass to the gym every single day during my summer holidays. Overtime, all of that resulted in a happy 15 kg weightloss. Although that wasn’t enough, I was still happy with the results and turned my focus onto exams and school more than workout. The weight stayed constant since, nothing too drastic except for the one time i did a protein diet and lost a further 10 kgs in 3 months, while at university, but I gained it all back in no time.
Over the last 10 years, I’ve tried a fair variety of gyms, workout techniques, and other activities like hiphop, salsa and Bollywood dance. Some I enjoyed, some I loathed because I was too shy to move my body a certain promiscuous way, mainly because when done by me it would look like an act of comedy. But nothing had me like the Guavapass.
In the 6 months that I was an active member, I’ve tried Thai boxing, Calisthenics, Bounce (large trampoline group workouts), Rock climbing, Surfset (a surfing simulation set up, where you workout while on a surfboard balanced on gymnastic balls to give you the feeling you are maneuvering a wave), tennis, HIIT or other forms of interval training, Resistance or Endurance training, CrossFit (hands down the toughest workout, but oh so rewarding), Spin training, Barre classes, Bootcamps, Suspension training, Parkour workouts and many more things I hadn’t even heard of. I have thoroughly enjoyed the variety it offers, fun that comes along with it and the number of people I met while at it.
Some of my favourite trainers were so motivating because they were previously either overweight themselves, or in depression and found salvation in exercising and keeping fit. The benefits of working out are endless and you are all aware of them so I won’t talk about that, but I’ll definitely encourage anyone looking to shuffle their workout routine to give the Guavapass a go.
To wrap it up, can I just add that I lost 10 kgs doing these different workouts. It’s not the fastest weight drop you’ve heard of, but for someone whose weight hadn’t budged in a few years, that is good progress, all thanks to the fun variety of exercises I was exposed to.