Author Archives: Ruhi Rastogi

5 habits of an F45er



A fit F45er has a long-term vision broken down into meaningful goals that focus on improving the quality of life and the overall wellbeing, with an understanding that it will take patience and time, and that goals will be accomplished one stride at a time. There is an urge to feel strong, powerful, and healthy, an urge to feel good all the time – for life – and aesthetics are just a positive side-effect.


A fit F45er understands the why and develops a solid plan along with lasting habits that sustain the long term goals. What to eat, when to workout, types of exercises, stress reduction techniques, getting enough sleep, proper hydration, and even a list of smart-ass emergency responses to tackle those last minute excuses – a fit F45er is prepared!


A fit F45er is disciplined, focused, committed, and consistent. There will be fallbacks, complexities of life, your inevitable ups and downs, and the occasional mood swings but a fit F45er comes back to the vision, to the center, closer to the aim.


A fit F45er realizes, explores, challenges, and then pushes limits. Naturally curious, questioning everything, demanding scientific answers, a fit F45er knows the shit and does not rest until all answers make sense. A fit F45 gets comfortable being uncomfortable.


A fit F45er knows the self, knows the strengths, and is aware of the weaknesses. There are times when you need a boost, an external source of motivation, an expert’s advice, or someone to keep you accountable. A fit F45er parks the ego right outside the pods, and is wise enough to let the experts jump in and help!


what the F


It can be a fun challenge to maximize the number of grocery bags you can farmer-carry in each hand and minimize the number of rounds you need to make from the car to the kitchen counter. The excitement when you receive a big heavy box freshly delivered by Amazon Prime goes a bit down when you have to squat and pick it up. And with summer coming, it’s time to test those calves, reach for that shelf, and store heavy bags of winter clothes. Oh, and you cannot be mean and say no to a crying child. You need to essentially perform a deadlift and pick her up… uh, she’s not as light as she used to be. Ask my dear friend, Tanya, on how she manages to hold both her kids in each arm, and maintain a perfect upright posture.

No matter how innovative technology gets, we would still need to engage different muscle groups and carry out the daily tasks. This is where functional training comes in handy and makes everyday activities easier, reduce any risk of injury, and improve the quality of life.

Functional training exercises attack several muscle groups at once and train them to engage cohesively. As a result, you build strength in a holistic sense, influencing your body to function as a single unit.

The F in F45 stands for functional training.

the effect currency

A beautiful Italian man, a curly-haired and golden-skinned Italian man once stole a quote from somewhere – “The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is.” I wouldn’t call this a perfect overlap of Physics & Psychology but this quote seems to be a result of the cause & effect theory applied on why we feel the way we feel. In my particular case, the effect of this quote has been quite effective, and in return has caused me to be more effective at causing effects.

The more I follow, the more I find it, just written by different authors, expressed in unique ways.

My very first book came to me as a gift from my brother in his effort to fix how awkwardly silent I used to be as a child. ‘How To Win Friends and Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie. The morning after reading the first chapter, I walked with an extra sway that lasted 2 seconds since I was late for my 7:15am Public Speaking class. I saw a woman walking towards me, I wished her good morning and admired how beautiful her scarf was. And then, I gathered the courage to actually say it out loud. That moment came with an operant conditioning, her instant smile, and a realization that you are capable of improving someone’s day. No flowers necessary.

Many years later, this message was followed by ‘The Four Agreements’ by Don Miguel Ruiz. Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity, say only what you mean, and use the power of your words in the direction of truth and love. I think of this one every time I hear damaging words. And when I do, I come up with fantastic quotes, the recent one being – “Every time you open your mouth, build someone up.”

The last good one I read on the topic was the bucket book ‘How Full Is Your Bucket’ by Rath and the supposed grandfather of positive psychology, Clifton. At any rendezvous with a friend or an unexpected interaction with a stranger, there is a latent effect and a secret transfer of energy, sometimes positive, sometimes negative. What we say or do carries over an innocent, seemingly ineffectual effect.

All of this, Gandhi’s philosophy of thoughts turning into words and words into actions, and more makes me wonder how one quick exchange can either make or disturb your inner balance, how it can lift one up or bring one down. All it takes is an expression, a tone, or a few words. We may all act tough, and yet we are so gentle and impressionable. We are always talking about owning our own remote, and yet getting unknowingly triggered. It is now making me go back in time and think if I may have created a negative impact, if I may have hurt a few balanced beings, if I may have ill-used my superpowers.

We are affected every minute and affecting every second. And every single time, we make a choice – to be gentle in our thoughts and kind in our words, or just generally damaging. We either pull our own self and others into the light, or say out loud in Darth Vader’s voice “Welcome to the dark side!”

Notes: I took this picture while on a bus that was on the ferry crossing the Norwegian fjords. It took my breath away as it displayed both the light, and the dark controlled by one sun. It made me think of how we have a superpower to be, become, and create both energies – positive or negative.


Imagine you are traveling in Spain with your best friend and just bought a pair of Spanish leather boots. They are on sale at 40% off and you are unwillingly controlling your excitement. You can’t wait to celebrate at a wine bar and you have already dreamt of olives and cheese but as you hand over one of the 3 credit cards – Visa, MasterCard, and American Express, you find out that none of them fit in the credit card machine. A bit agitated, you figure out a way to get to the closest ATM so you can pay cash for your beautiful shoes. The machine does not pull in the debit card – the hole is of a completely different size. What do you do?

Can you imagine a world where every country establishes their own set of dimension for credit cards? How would someone even design a wallet with different sized slots or convince the millennials to use money orders or traveler’s checks?

Thankfully, the standardized solution set its roots a long time ago when businessman Frank McNamara forgot his wallet while dining out in a New York City restaurant. He felt embarrassed and swore to never let it happen again. A year later, he and his partner visited the same restaurant but this time paid with a small cardboard, known today as a Diner’s Club Card. Very soon, businesses in the UK, Canada, Cuba, and Mexico started honoring Diner’s Club, making it the first internationally accepted charge card. By 1967, this small concept and the same card stretched out to 130 countries.

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We live in a world where all identification cards including ATM cards, credit cards, debit cards, driving licenses, identity cards, public transit cards, etc. follow the same ID-1 format of 85.60 x 53.98mm based on an international standard ISO/IEC 7810. The characteristics specified include not only the physical dimensions but also resistance to bending, flame, chemicals, temperature and humidity, and toxicity.

Someone was clearly spending time doing futuristic thinking and thought of implementing standard requirements, a common testing methodology, and same measurement techniques. We now live in a world where anyone can go anywhere and buy anything.

Standardization – one of the core pillars of Quality.


peel off the layers

Once you peeled off the layers and it took 15 minutes per layer, each one of us was exactly how we were ~12 years ago. The same goofy eyebrow raises, the same less-than-acceptable jokes, the same desire to just be around, and the same ability to completely be our own selves. It was a random scatter of lives – a third kid on the way, a successful coffee shop, the cannabis industry, Dallas to Manhattan, and yet something pulled us together.

I would like to go back in time and be the same playful me, roaming around the hallways of the Engineering building and introducing myself to a bunch of strangers. “Hi, my name is Ruhi!” and boom! I had a bunch of who I later called my best buddies. I miss the night when we participated in drawing a Hitler mustache on our drunken buddy’s face. I want to laugh again for 20 minutes when a buddy mistakenly ate an entire wasabi shot thinking it was chutney. Can we still be invited to every post-exam party that Professor Komrosky threw? I would still repeat the night where we broke the car entry gate and ran for our lives.

Underneath all the layers, we are still the same – little kids wanting to be our own selves and be accepted for just the way we are.

If I could go back in time and change a thing, I wouldn’t. I would still be the same annoying frontbencher who always knew all the answers.

And I can say with confidence that none of these backbenchers would change a thing either! •evil-laughter•

Indian passport

China, England, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Switzerland, Ireland, now New Zealand.

Fully prepared for my next expedition, I call Lyft and hand over my lime green backpack to the driver. Of course, he is a Sunday driver with no personal investment to get to the airport. He decides to take the scenic route and an oath to always drive in the slowest lane. What should have taken me <28 mins takes me a little over an hour. I had an urge every 30 seconds to say something but you must never piss off 2 kinds of people – a teenager who has the potential to spit in your food and a driver who would place your life in danger if he goes any faster than 37 mph. Even though I have global entry, getting to an airport with just 1:31 before an international flight could be regretful.

Thanks to my almost hand-typed Indian passport, even the kiosk scratches its head, shows me an augmented reality middle finger, and tells me to go see customer service. While now standing in a medium length line and with 1:13 left, I slow down my heart rate thinking that my security should be quick, I’m not wearing heels, and I will still be able to spray some free perfume at the duty-free. 18 minutes later, she greets me with a cheek2cheek smile and tells me I have no clearance to board. My eyes pop and my mind says ‘what?why?how?fuck!’ all at once.

parallel thoughts

It takes 21 days to break a habit. It takes 21 days to form a new one.

It is another level of presence when you can realize an increased pulse, when you can give orders to calm your body, one part at a time. I lay in my own puddle of sweat, laser focused on the running fan, and let the scene dissolve before my eyes.

We are in the 21st century and if I don’t like the last sentence, I can aggressively press on the backspace button. I miss the feeling of crushing a thick sheet of paper. I miss the noise of a crispy white sheet. I miss taking an aim at the garbage can and play basketball, thanking the Gods no one is watching.

Old clothes, old cards, old feelings – there is simply no space left.

There should be a flowchart that starts with ‘Are you stupid?’ I want to create one but apparently, Google has this covered.


the three peddlers

Every once in a while around 3pm exactly, we would get an urge to randomly go say ‘hello.’ And so, the three of us would start pedaling from Raj Nagar towards Kavi Nagar. I remember the very first time. Our dear friend had bunked an entire day of school and we wanted to catch him red-handed. The three of us at 12, 13, and 14, having absolutely nothing to do, decided to pay him a surprise visit. We had his address and used our clever ways to maneuver through the random streets. We finally arrived but couldn’t bring ourselves to ring the bell. We were basically scared of his father – what if he is a grouchy old man and chases us away with a stick? We even spent a good 5 minutes squinting our eyes towards the other two in hopes of finding a brave volunteer. The thought of ringing the bell and then pedaling at the speed at which only Lance would give us competition also crossed our minds. We were full of mischief but had never compromised our safety before.

With a brave heart and naughty eyes, we looked at each other, smirked & giggled, and rang that bell. His mom greeted us with a sparkle in her eyes and a smirk on her face. It was a total embarrassment for each party involved. Once we confirmed that he was indeed sick, we decided to repeat the experience and refine our art. We pedaled some more, this time towards Shastri Nagar to visit another friend. We again looked at each other, smirked & giggled, and rang that bell, only this time with confidence. His sister greeted us at the gate and yelled out his name. He came out, shook his head sideways in total disbelief, and filled up his next few sentences with a lot of silent cuss words. “Oh my holy Lord, why are these three here? These psychos are going to get me killed. What the @#$%!” – just one glance and we could tell the category of thoughts pacing through his mind. We sat on the sofa in the living room and just giggled.


Our mission to embarrass our friend was yet again, a success. With eyebrows raised in accomplishment and pride in our bravery, we rode back to our respective homes. What seemed like a lifetime of cycling, apparently was just a round trip of 12 kilometers. Next week, again at 3pm exactly, we got an urge to randomly go and say ‘hello.’

a certain uncertainty

After crossing the Atlantic on a 10-hour flight and zig-zagging down winding roads on a 2 hour drive, I forgave myself surprisingly quickly for not having a strong desire to catch up on work emails. The key to flying east is to force yourself to stay awake until the sun sets, otherwise you’ll live like an owl for the rest of the week. Anything in a seated, comfortable, or warm position would be a murder of today with intent, a combination of mens rea – a guilty mind, and actus reus – a guilty act. Jet lag hates fresh air, daylight, exercise, and a strong will. I fought against myself, stood firm, and said, “don’t argue with me, you smart-ass!”

And so, with my hesitant will, I picked up my headphones and changed into my flat shoes. “Let me roam aimlessly outside the hotel,” I said! While listening to the podcast ‘The Overwhelmed Brain,’ I started walking amidst all this fresh oxygen. I became aware of how raw and pure the air feels – it won’t be too bad if I practice what my yoga teacher keeps yelling about – inhale & exhale. I shifted my senses, paused my brain, and activated my vision. I observed the little flowers on the grass and random thoughts invaded my mind. If I start walking on the grass, would I be crushing these little flowers? But if I don’t, how do I get from here to there? Am I being selfish at this very moment? But what about all the little organisms we inhale just by breathing? What about the ants we crush when we walk and the mosquitos we murder?  

Amidst all these thoughts and while trying to focus on the podcast, I experienced an itch to make a U-turn and go back to the hotel; move towards a seated, comfortable, and warm position. I observed and accepted the existence of this itch but it tirelessly returned with an increasing strength every 5 mins. I told myself to keep going, not knowing what lay ahead of me. 

In the back of the hotel by the pool there were a bunch of stairs, but when I looked up to see where it led, I couldn’t see. It reminded me of those moments in our life when we don’t know the end result; we know we are moving, but don’t know where. There is a fear of the unknown, and a certain uncertainty. Within microseconds, my mind filled up with negativity – what if there’s nothing there? What if it’s a waste of my time and effort? Why sacrifice my precious calories? Why leave the comfort of where I am where I can see everything? But I kept going. 

At the top, this is what I found.


The Hunger Games

When things go our way, when plans fall into place, when we achieve expected results, we feel safe. Any digression from this brings an unease and causes us to doubt. We feel exposed, vulnerable, and unprotected. 

Based on the random theory, we don’t get to pick our environment when we are born. We are stuck with a person who’s supposed to be our mom, our dad, and our sibling. We are stuck with the basics – the community, culture, religion, and capabilities that we are born with. We do however, are given the freedom to select everything else. 

With this set of basics, we are now either Katniss or Peeta, unleashed into the wild to survive, almost like The Hunger Games. The wild consists of the unknown, the surprises, and the challenges that life throws at us. Each person uses a different technique and strategy to bring himself back to safety – a feeling of being in a warm cocoon with a least probability of an attack. To help achieve this mission, we hire an army. In an eclectic manner, we surround ourselves with anything or anyone that brings us instant happiness – clothes, gadgets, money, ambition, working out, adventurous travel – things that bring an adrenaline rush, an instant dose of a happy feeling – serotonin & dopamine. We also hire people who we consider friends – people who are like-minded, people who appreciate us, people who agree with our way of thinking and lifestyle – people who make us feel good about ourselves, make us feel appreciated, accepted, and unconditionally loved.

Anything or anyone else, then becomes an enemy – people who don’t see our point of view, people who challenge our assumptions, people who point out imperfections. While some do it to deliberately hurt us, some do it because they care about us, love us, and only want the best for us. Not all that makes us instantly feel good is necessarily good. And not all that makes us instantly feel bad is necessarily bad. Some medicines don’t taste good, but they are good for us. At times like these, it becomes very important to accurately identify an enemy, so that we don’t shoot everyone in front of us.