A simpler approach to fitness

Ojash Charan Joshi has always loved working out. From playing sports as a child to training for body-building competitions, he loves to get his heartbeat pumping. So when he saw a gym for the first time, he was transfixed. But gyms were expensive. He worked mundane jobs to pay the gym fee.

One day out of the blue, he saw an opening for an internship at The Physique Workshop. The opportunity was colossal for him as he could learn, train, and take free classes with fitness instructors. From there, his physical and personal growth took off. His shyness began to wear off as he developed social and communication skills. With time, he realised what he was truly capable of.

Joshi gives huge credit to the people around him who played their part in his growth. When he came across Mr Kathmandu Junior, an annual bodybuilding competition, he resolved to participate in the under-21 category. He trained ferociously. “I ended up winning. My team and mother came around and congratulated me, which I will never forget,’’ he recalls. For him, a proper physique is the result of discipline and consistency.

Joshi is now a trainer. He currently works at the OxStrength online fitness coaching platform, focusing on power building.

What was your primary motivation to join the gym?

I have always been an athletic guy. I used to play various outdoor sports like basketball and table tennis. One day, my friend pointed out that I have a strong-looking build, and if I were to join the gym, I could build a good physique. The idea sounded good, but it didn’t immediately bring about a spark. Slowly, when I saw my friends gaining biceps and becoming fit after joining the gym, something clicked. I wanted abs. But soon, I realised fitness is much more than having six packs.

How can one begin and stick to their fitness journey?

It should start at home. If your family members are health conscious and choose nutritious food, then the process becomes a lot less tedious. Since fitness is not always about lifting heavy weights, families can push the young generation to exercise and become athletic. They can encourage children to go outside and take part in sports. While doing so, it is crucial to have consistency. It is easy to start but difficult to keep going.

Is a healthy diet important for maintaining one’s physique?

In my opinion, especially in Nepal, people make a huge deal out of diet. They exaggerate the concept. You often hear people saying that you should only eat boiled stuff, avoid sugar or only eat brown rice, which is totally wrong. Each body is different, and the calorie intake required depends on that. A diet plan for me may not be suitable for others. So, one should take a good look at themselves, measure their weight, estimate the calories their body needs, and then keep track of calories consumed. Nutrition is a vital part of the journey, and we must keep our food intake in check.

What can busy people do to keep themselves fit?

People live by what’s important to them. If you believe something is important enough, you will find the time to do it. But if you really are really packed on schedule, you don’t have to go to the gym to maintain your physique. You can play football, cycle, walk, swim, and whatnot. Separate at least one hour daily to move your body and increase your heart rate. Start with something that falls under your comfort zone and slowly look for ways to challenge it.

What do you think is the reason behind more people joining the gym?

People have come around to the idea of going to the gym. In the past, it was not considered a place where ‘decent’ people went. But now, people are more open to the concept. When I started, I once saw women bring someone with them, like their mother, just to feel safe. But now, they exercise independently without fear—seeing the gym as a safe place for personal growth. Also, the gym community is super supportive and welcoming. No one mocks you for your physicality. Social media, too, has played a massive part as many young people like to make gym-related content. On top of that, many bodybuilding and weight-lifting competitions are being organised, which gives gyms visibility.

Is the gym a healthy coping mechanism for you?

Absolutely. I recently went to Singapore and was so tired upon arriving. But after I hit the gym, my tardiness vanished, and I felt refreshed. I always look forward to feeling the adrenaline on my body while working out and then washing off the steam with a cold shower. Exercise releases dopamine which gives you a good night’s sleep and assists your body in digestion. All of these are a perfect recipe for sound health—both physically and mentally.

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