The Guruji Culture In Gyms

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How dare you question Guruji. He is never wrong

My guruji has told me not to ask questions, just follow

My guruji gave me this workout/diet/supplement schedule

What we read are some of the common statements heard in the local gyms in our country, generally from a young lad, but even from matured & experienced guys.

Please Understand that the Guru-Shishya tradition, has originated from our own country, and is thousands of years old. But back then, the relationship was based on the study if the scriptures and not just anyone was called a guru. The person had to pass multiple tests in various fields of his expertise, at the highest level, before he was given the honor of being addressed as a guru, and have students under him.

In Indian traditions, guru is more than a teacher, in Sanskrit guru means the one who dispels the darkness and takes towards light, traditionally a reverential figure to the student, with the guru serving as a “counsellor, who helps mould values, shares experiential knowledge as much as literal knowledge, an exemplar in life, an inspirational source and who helps in the spiritual evolution of a student”. 

A guru is also one’s spiritual guide, who helps one to discover the same potentialities that the guru has already realized.

The oldest references to the concept of guru are found in the earliest Vedic texts of Hinduism. The guru, and gurukul – a school run by guru, were an established tradition in India by the 1st millennium BCE, and these helped compose and transmit the various Vedas, the Upanishads, texts of various schools of Hindu philosophy, and post-Vedic Shastras ranging from spiritual knowledge to various arts.

Such is the respect for gurus, that we celebrate an entire festival in the name of Guru Purnima, where the guru is worshiped. The word Guru is derived from two words, ‘gu’ and ‘ru’. The Sanskrit root ‘gu’ means darkness or ignorance, and ‘ru’ denotes the remover of that darkness. Therefore, a Guru is one who removes the darkness of our ignorance. 

But that’s not the scenario in today’s world. The tradition of respecting & worshiping a guru remains the same, but the mushrooming of self-proclaimed gurus, has put a black spot on this beautiful traditional relationship.

There more thugs disguised as gurus, than the real gurus. In the context of our discussion, we are going to talk about the gurus, mushrooming in various gyms in the country, who in the real sense are far from being related to a guru.

When I opened by first gym Body Mechanics in Delhi, I made sure that I took notice of all the negative issues I had experienced and noticed first hand in almost 2 decades of my experience, not just in the gyms across the country, but in sports, military training, human psychology, men management and a lot more.

One of the rules I designed, out of the entire SOP of BM rules, was not to let anyone touch a coach’s feet, and address to him as guruji. Now, this by no ways meant not giving respect to the coach. But, in most gyms, these self-proclaimed coaches/gurus, actually make it a rule that the movement a young guy enters the gym, he is deliberately made to touch the feet of the coach, whether he intends to or not. Though, I could never stop this tradition from spreading completely.

Respect comes from within, and the reason I abandoned this practice in the gym, was because for me, the best way to show respect to the coach, would be by giving your best and through your performance. If you want to touch your coach’s feet it should come from within, not by force. You should command respect, not demand it.

What’s worse are the malpractices spread by these so-called gurujis, in various gyms across the country. They create an aura of fear and authority around them. Due to which the most important aspect of the student-teacher relationship, itself goes off the equation, i.e. questioning & reasoning.

Because these coaches, themselves have little idea of fitness, nutrition and supplementation science, they make questioning an offence. In such an atmosphere, the death of inquiry and inquisitiveness is ascertained. If you have a question in your mind, which is bound to occur, if you are open minded; you are told to just blindly follow the guruji, because questioning the guruji is more like an offence.

If they recommends you a list of supplements, in the very first week in the gym, you cannot ask why and what about these supplements. This is inherently not wrong. But what’s wrong is the absolute lack of knowledge on the part of the coach himself, as to why he is recommending you such a supplement.

Despite of the fact that it’s proven already that most of these supplements are worthless for muscle building, strength building or fat loss, they are still being used extensively in in the gyms, especially on the recommendation of these coaches. That’s purely for-profit purpose. That’s the first insult to the guru-student relationship.

Now making profit is not wrong. But making profit on the basis of lies, out of shear ignorance, surely is. Supplements have their place, and that’s based on individual needs & requirements. Without assessing a client, prescribing him supplements, is absolute stupidity.  

The second most important issue is that of anabolic steroids, whose use is so rampant today, that it’s hard to find a guy who has not been recommended or forced upon with a prescription of these steroids, by these stupid gurujis.

Steroids are being used extensively not just by men & boys, but even by females. A lot of people think that I may be the go to guy for knowledge on anabolics, and I would be happy to recommend them. But, they are pretty much disappointed when I start questioning them.

My question to anyone who wants to delve into steroids, is just one word “why”. And I have hardly got a convincing answer, ever. The only reason you can take anabolics is for competitive bodybuilding and powerlifting, the only two sports, where the use of unlimited amount of steroids and hormones is allowed. Even to start using anabolics, for such competitive sports, you will need a good base of strength, and have at least a full year of steroid-free hardcore training under your belt.

I have seen guys come to me for anabolics, who can’t even do a pushup properly. This is apart from tons of useless supplements, they are already using. When I ask them why you need anabolics, they almost always have the same reason, i.e. “for building a good physique. Oh! And I thought its hard workouts and good nutrition which does that.”

I don’t know how many guys I have got off anabolics, who come to me from various gyms, and tell them that their gym coach from the previous gym has given them this whole list of supplements and steroids. In most cases, the age of these guys is as young as 15-16yrs. It takes me a long time to put some sense in these young kids, as they have been brainwashed by these gurujis to an extent that they lose their power to comprehend even basic facts.

When I ask these kids that, did they question their previous coach about what is he giving you and why; most often I get a common answer; either “no one is allowed to question guruji there”, or “he said that just take it and trust him”. Wow! What words of wisdom. If anyone gives you such answer, remember he is lying to you and trying to hide his own ignorance.

Then I ask these boys some counter questions:

Me: where do you go when you fall sick?

Them: of course, a doctor.

Me: but, why a doctor?

Them: mmmm, because he knows how to treat us.

Me: correct. But how does he know all that?

Them: ?????

Me: that’s because he is qualified to tell instruct you, as he has been authorized by the government agencies to put “Dr” behind is name, after clearing some qualification exams.

Them: yes, correct.

Me: what qualifies a dietician or a coach to tell you about anabolics and supplements, because as far as I know there is no such qualification given by the government in any part of the world.

Them: yes sir, you’re right

Me: that’s why you need to be extremely careful and question the coach on every step, to clear any doubts you have. If the coach cannot answer, then he cannot prescribe. Simple.

That’s why a guru in the real sense has the reason full of wisdom for everything he teaches a student. Guru does not bluff, or make things up.

That’s what I have been telling everyone. You have to believe the truth. And in the field of fitness, health, nutrition, supplementation, anabolics etc. there are clear researched facts and evidences, on which you have to base your case. There is no guruji out here, whose word of truth prevails, just because he or some of his blind followers believe it to be true.

When I started busting myths about various false dogmas and beliefs in the fitness field, started exposing the truth about useless supplements and the scams behind them, a lot of supplement dealers, dieticians, slimming centers, gurujis, and of course their blind followers, started hating me for this. This became well evident with the stupid meaningless comments, full of abuses, on my videos. Not one of them have ever given me a reason or questioned me on the basis of research or valid logic.

The comments are almost always in the line of “you think guruji who is having so much experience is wrong”, or “how can you question xyz YouTuber, he has much more followers than you”. I also know that such stupidity will always be there.

I encourage questions out of reasoning and logic. But if you try to support lies, then you may be anyone, you’re wrong. That stands even for me. Tomorrow, with a profit motive, if I start promoting a lie, I will be as much a culprit as anyone else. The rule stands for everyone.

Experience or time does give you a lot of knowledge, but only when you want to take it. In India, there is a common quote which is used by the elderly to boast of their experience in life “ye baal humne dhoop mein safed nahin kiye”, or “my hair haven’t turned white, while sitting in the sun”. They basically tell this to boast about the years of experience they have gathered in various facets of life over so many years. But in the real sense, this may not translate to much.

What wisdom you have gathered over the years, depends on how much receptive you were towards gathering it. Life surely teaches you a lot of things, but you would learn much more, when you live life with in an open mindful manner. If you have learnt a wrong thing from the very beginning, then it doesn’t get right, just because your experience says so.

That’s exactly what is happening in the fitness world today. The facts remain facts based on research, not on the basis of beliefs or experience. If a supplement doesn’t work, for the purpose you are using or prescribing it, then there are no two ways about it.

But, if a guruji or a YouTuber is recommending you a supplement which doesn’t work, based on the fact that he beliefs it work, then he is wrong. Your beliefs are to be supported by evidence, or they are just fallacies.