Why I Started This Platform
What Does "Beyond Calories" Mean?
Beyond Calories simply means to look at health and fitness beyond just caloric values.
A lot of the time, I hear people say stuff like "Oh, this pack of candies is only xyz calories. That's not bad at all." However, by simply focusing on the caloric number, people fail to recognize the healthy/unhealthy benefits of different foods. For example, although a pack of candies may not seem that catastrophic calorically, its high content of fructose causes leptin resistance and appetite increase. Excessive fructose intake has also been linked to an increased risk of Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer.
When you look beyond just caloric values, mindful eating becomes much easier. You start to pay attention to the macro and micronutrients in different foods, what those foods do to your body, and how much of that food you should eat.
This act of looking beyond numerical caloric values also applies to exercising. Some people, as an excuse to sit on their couch all day and not exercise, claim that exercising is not worth the time because it burns only so little calories when considering the fatigue it causes later on during the day. However, they have failed to recognize its benefits, such as improving one's cardiovascular system, blood circulation, and mental well-being.
Only when you think beyond calories can you begin to dive deep into the fascinating science of health and fitness.
My Fitness Journey
I have always been interested in sports. I have played soccer my entire life and do swimming and track during my off-seasons. During the last few months of eighth grade, I started lifting weights at the gym in my house complex. What started off as a two-times per week hobby soon turned into a daily activity. During my freshmen and sophomore year at Milton Academy, I would try to squeeze in a lifting session before or after my sports team practices, and going to the gym became a regular habit for me.
However, during spring break of my sophomore year, COVID has affected the whole world and gyms started shutting down. At the time, I would stay home all day, wouldn't pay attention to my diet, and barely get off my couch. To no one's surprise, I started getting out of shape, and would constantly catch myself out of breath after just a few flights of stairs. After a hefty dinner one night, I went to the bathroom, and as I looked into the mirror, I realized just how out of shape I was. At that moment, I decided that something had to change.
I ordered two adjustable dumbbells, a bench, a pull-up rack, and gathered all the fitness equipment I owned to create my own home gym on the rooftop. Although it was tough to transition back to exercising, I persisted and gradually increased my training volume and quality. By the end of summer, I was spending 2.5 hours per day lifting weights in addition to my cardio sessions.
In addition to my training, I also started to pay attention to what I was eating. Before spring break, as all the sports I used to do at school incorporated a lot of cardio, I had been able to eat whatever I had wanted to without gaining weight. However, things changed when all athletic facilities shut down. I had to practice mindful eating, cut off unhealthy, processed foods, and restrict my caloric intake.
After just two months of training and dieting, my body composition significantly shifted. I was happy not because of how I looked, but because of the hard work I have continually put in. I decided to continue pursuing bodybuilding as a serious sport, and my training intensity only increased day after day.
Why An Online Platform?
Personally, I am a big fan of YouTube channels like Jeff Nippard and Athlean-X. Those channels are great resources I use whenever I have any questions about working out, eating, or supplementations. However, as most of those channels are commercially based, many of their videos are sponsored, and therefore, biased. I am dedicated to creating a non-profit, unbiased online platform where I can share my experiences and knowledge with people of similar interests, and other people can share their experiences and stories too.
Throughout COVID, I have come to recognize the importance and benefits of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and how fortunate I was to have the resources I had to help me through it. I hope to spread that message to the wider community and provide an online platform and community for those looking to embark on their own fitness journey, providing them with the necessary knowledge to better prepare themselves, as well as provide a space for those already with considerable experience in health and fitness to share their knowledge, experiences, and stories.