On counting steps and taking stairs

I take the stairs about 95% of the time. I try not to sit much, and walk around as much as possible.

It was a habit picked up from trying to lose weight back in 2008. We (Raj and I, my co-founder at The Quad) would read a lot and compare experiments and notes. Most of the things spoke a common pattern. Lift weights sensibly, cultivate habits like taking stairs when possible and to walk around a decent amount. In addition to eating vegetables and protein and high-quality foods. Made sense!

While I definitely over-complicated food and had a much longer idiot phase with it, the fitness part I found simpler. Walk around more. Being in San Francisco, it was definitely a lot easier than it is here.


Let's answer the first question. Does this help with fat loss? Of course.

There is more calorie expenditure to walking up 2 flights of stairs twice a day, every day to not doing it.

How many pounds/kilos per week will it add up to? How many stairs and how often a day? No. That's not the question. Or the point.

Step up
Photo by Jukan Tateisi / Unsplash

Get a Fitbit if you like. It works for this. They gamify it pretty well - you earn badges for climbing the Empire State Building, and it is fun. It takes subjectivity out of it and you can just hit a baseline every day. Simple.

Or just do it. Don't overthink it. Worked for me. Whenever possible and sensible, turns out 95% of the time, I do it. Obviously, right now due to the lockdown, this has come down drastically. So, whenever the world resumes.

Anyway, the point. It is not about the calorie expenditure, which can add up. It is not about the number of steps, even though it is fun and adds up. I think the habit of making better choices for health and fitness, however small or annoying or whatever, all add up. I think that's the point.

From dabbling to being committed

It signals a crossover from doing a few fitness/diet things here and there to being fit and healthy. Even when you eat a half-dozen baked rasagullas in one sitting, you know that's okay. In fact, that's awesome! Because come tomorrow, you are gonna train. And walk around. And eat your vegetables, and all that good stuff. Or maybe tomorrow you eat a dozen more because you forgot to take the box of baked rasagullas to the office (the previous one was my box. I mean, your box.) and it is here, and you want to eat it. Enjoy it. Oh my, I had a blast that night! Remember, guilt is useless.

Image courtesy: notacurry.com.

With an army of small habits, your mindset changes. You become that fitness girl/guy. Then, things become different. You are not trying to get fit/strong. You are.


Start Here. Do This.

Whatever Strong Enough and Fit Enough is for you, you need to figure out. But these small habits and mindset matter. Keep building these habits that you know are good for you. Small, simpler ones. In addition to whatever you are trying to do. If you are already into fitness, things get better. If you are not, things get better. Win-Win.

Try it out.

  • Take the stairs, as much as possible.
  • Take a walk from your desk or wherever you are and just wander around, every 30 minutes. Maybe go drink some water.
  • And soon you will have to pee.
  • Walk around while taking phone calls. Or stretch (!).
A details of a shop inside Mercado de La Boqueria, in Barcelona.
Photo by ja ma / Unsplash. Just so you can look at some fruits and vegetables as we end this.

And soon, you will be able to add

  • Eat 2 cups of vegetables daily, and get some protein.
  • Get some form of activity 3-5 times a week for about an hour.
  • or whatever you figure out for yourself.

Because that's what happens.

Before you know it ....

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