Though most people don’t realize this, a big part of the fitness industry is based on the idea of reproducing certain fitness results that were produced for one person, for several others. This gave rise to fitness equipment, proteins, certain kinds of exercises and even specific diets.   The whole underlying philosophy is that if someone did something and was able to produce certain fitness results, then the same fitness results should be reproducible in another person if that person did the same things. This phenomenon is called As-If Fitness. This is an idea that has been around for ages and it is exactly why people want to follow the fitness plans and work out methods of icons like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Bruce Lee. The As-If Fitness phenomenon essentially says that if you want to become fit, start by acting as if you're fit. In other words, if you want to be fit, do what fit people do. To understand this better, consider some of the following differentiators:

  •      Most fit people could have eating habits that are different from those of people who are not fit
  •     A fitter person is more likely to be spending some time pursuing fitness compared to a person who is not fit
  •     Fitter people are more likely to be able to exercise will power than people who are not fit

By developing the right eating habits, making the right time investment and being able to exercise more will power in the right direction, you could move from a lower to a higher level of fitness. Now these are just three examples but in reality there are several more.

So, in case you're wondering what the Swan Effect is all about and how it is linked to the As-If Fitness phenomenon, here it is. To ensure that the As-If Fitness phenomenon is used well, you need to understand what the Swan Effect is. All of us have seen swans move gracefully on the surface of water as if they are just flowing along some automatic path. What most of us don’t see and certainly don’t realize is the amount of hard work and rigorous paddling that goes on beneath the surface. This is the Swan Effect. The phenomenon of the grace and beauty taking centre stage with the actual toil and driving force under the surface being concealed. To use the As-If Fitness phenomenon well, one needs to acknowledge and appreciate the Swan Effect in the sphere of health and fitness.

People are mostly awed by a Hollywood or Bollywood star’s chiselled body but don’t realize the difficulty of following a strict diet, despite hectic travelling and acting schedules. Many want to develop the fitness levels and agility of Olympic athletes but don’t realize the number of early mornings and painful practice sessions that it must have taken them to get there. We are often carried away by the end result or the destination and miss out on the journey or the drive that it takes to get there. If you want to be a fitter and healthier person through the As-If Fitness phenomenon, the end result is a good starting point because that’s what you see instantly and that’s what inspires you. To complete the loop, you’ve got to develop the desired habits, eat the right diet, spend the required amount of time and go through the grind and practice that it takes to get fit. That’s when the As-If Fitness phenomenon is fully expressed.

Article in the Mindscape Section of the May 2015 Issue of Stayfit Magazine by Vinesh Sukumaran