Let’s start with “WHY”! Why Exercise?

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It’s strange that the most precious gifts of life are the ones least valued. Just like we have converted our planet earth into a huge waste-dumping site of modern day civilisation, similarly, we have made the human body in which we function the collection of all possible ailments.

Look around yourself and you will find people harming their bodies in all sorts of ways possible. Whether it is unhealthy eating habits (binge eating, over eating or sick dieting), lack of sleep or oversleep, smoking, drinking, getting stressed (from something as silly as a bad hair cut to the loss of a lump sum business deal), we are simply harming ourselves. In our search for the perfect life, we are happily torturing our bodies everyday. That old saying “Health is Wealth”, how often do we understand its real life applicability (unless “GOD forbid” our life has been hit by a serious illness). All I am trying to say here is that, if we create a balance to measure the value of the assets we possess or dreams we aspire to fulfil in life, everything else comes on one side and our HEALTH comes on the other side. The world we live in today and the lifestyle choices we pursue are full of  destructive behaviours that deteriorate our health every moment. But there is one activity that if transformed into a habit can help us minimise or control these detrimental changes to a large extent. That activity is the regular habit of EXERCISE or working out (whichever word u think is more “COOL”).

So, what is EXERCISE and what does it do to our body? It is nothing but certain physical movements that help your body (your vitals, muscles, skeleton etc. that constitute your body) perform better and help you get rid of things harmful for your body. It’s just that simple, seriously. Just like your water filter purifies the water you drink, similarly exercise purifies your body, flushes toxins out of your system, help your body get rid of those unwanted fat deposits and restores good hormonal balance. If all this means crap to you and your only concern is to fit into that dream GUCCI dress of yours or make your ex jealous or get more likes on a “sexy” Facebook profile picture of yours (C’mon that’s a big deal to our “attention seeking” generation), even then working out is the only thing that will help you achieve all that. Also, the healthier you are in the inside, the better you are going to look on the outside.

So, let’s wake up those sleepy portions of our head and heart that has always been giving us one reason or another to avoid exercise. Imagine a day of your life when you have given yourself a reason not to brush your teeth. How gross would you feel about those dirty yellow teeth with a bad breath, YUCK! Have you ever done that or would you ever do that to yourself (unless you are stuck in your trekking trip to the Everest and you forgot to carry your toothbrush in your travelling kit)? If we are so regular in taking good care of those 32 pieces of bone in our jaw then why do we hardly bother in taking regular care of the rest of our body? Strange but true, isn’t it???

Phewww…I hope I have made my point clear here. So let’s start taking good care of our bodies just like we take good care of our i-phone or BMW. Unlike these objects, there’s no EMI or IT Return concerns attached to our body cells. It’s easy, in fact it helps us to de-stress and feel really awesome about ourselves. So, are you starting to exercise today? 🙂

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7  Reasons To Workout Outdoors

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Man is a part of nature and nature plays an impeccable role in the health and fitness levels of an individual. As mankind is slowly moving towards an enlightened, natural and holistic way of living, scientists are discovering wonderful health benefits of working out in nature. Although it is completely a personal preference, exercising outdoors is much more beneficial than exercising indoors.

Here are 7 reasons that will inspire you to workout outdoors –

  1. Boost in energy levels – During exercise the body undergoes aerobic stress and the higher level of oxygen outdoors helps to keep the body refreshed thereby fighting away any post exercise sluggishness.
  2. Quicker healing of post exercise muscle soreness – Due to the higher levels of oxygen outdoors, soreness in the muscles post exercise, gets healed considerably faster.
  3. Vitamin D boost – Since sunlight is the only natural source of vitamin D, working out outdoors will allow your skin to soak up more Vitamin D, resulting in better bone health.
  4. Higher mental alertness – It has been found that people who workout for at least 20 minutes outdoors have a greater amount of mental alertness and focus. Being in nature soothes our senses and improves our mental abilities.
  5. Helps you stick to your routine – People who workout outdoors are more likely to stick to their exercise routines because of the freshness and vitality outdoors.
  6. Lesser risk of being Obese – Nature drives the urge of playfulness and physical movements in man and hence, children and adults who spend more time outdoors are at a much lesser risk of being obese.
  7. And last but not the least, the fresh air, the sunlight, the open space and the scenery nurtures the human body in a much more holistic manner. 

Thus, working out in nature turns out to be much more beneficial than it’s indoor counterparts.

7 Reasons Women Should Say YES To Protein 

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Often we see men (who work-out) taking high protein meals, we look at those big jars of protein supplements and imagine heavy masculine muscular bodies. I have personally been living in this myth for a long time until I started learning more about nutrition and supplementation. I realised the importance of protein whether taken naturally or as a supplement.

Here are 7 important reasons why women should say YES to Protein:

1. Protein is the most essential component in building muscle mass. Out of the 20 amino acids that make protein, 9 are essential which means our body cannot produce them on it’s own. That’s why we need to make sure that we incorporate them into your diet regularly.

2. Women who exercise regularly make their muscles go through a lot of wear and tear. When your protein intake is good, your body’s tissue repairing process gets much faster. As a result the new muscles grow back to be even stronger.

3. Women are much more prone to eating junk especially giving in to their sugary cravings. A good protein diet will completely wipe off this craving because your body digests protein very slowly. Hence, you are going to remain fuller and stay away from your cravings for longer periods of time.

4. Protein has the highest thermic effect. Thermic effect is the amount of calories your body utilises to process and utilise a nutrient. Hence, taking a good protein diet, helps you burn calories much more effectively. Especially a post-workout protein shake will not only repair your muscles but help you continue with the post-workout burn.

5. Scarcity of protein in your diet leads your body to eat up your own muscle mass. As a result your physical strength decreases and your body loses it’s vitality.

6. Protein boosts your immune system. Whey protein supplements are a great source of glutathione, an important amino acid that boosts up the immune system. Since this amino acid is rarely available from the usual sources of dietary protein, taking a whey supplement is immensely beneficial in protecting your body from illness.

7.Proteins accelerate the process of building lean muscle mass. The more lean muscles you build, the greater you start burning away your flabs.

So, whether it is chicken, fish, eggs, beans, soy, nuts, mushrooms or your favourite whey protein shake, don’t shy away from Proteins. A good strength training routine incorporated with a good intake of dietary protein will help you remain gorgeous forever 🙂

             

7 Nutrition Tips to be kept in mind always

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The Equation of a Healthy Body is 20% Exercise plus 80% Nutrition. Binge eating, anytime snacking, laziness to cook a wholesome meal at home, crash – fad diets and so on & so forth have become a part of the urban eat behaviours.

Here are 7 important nutrition tips that must kept in mind in our present day increasingly busy lifestyles –

  1. Start your day with a fresh and wholesome breakfast – I can not emphasise enough how important it is to have a wholesome breakfast. After all the 7-8 hours of starving, it is a good breakfast that sets your energy levels for the entire day. Skipping breakfast is the worst habit that you can develop, as it plays a very important role in maintaining your blood glucose and insulin levels throughout the day.
  2. Never skip a meal – Just like the breakfast, all other meals are important. If you want to shed fat, then you need to eat 🙂
  3. Avoid Processed Food – Food that has more shelf life will reduce days from your life. Whether it is instant noodles, processed meat, ready-to-eat meals; it’s all going to create havoc on your metabolism in the long run. The preservatives and packaging of these foods can disrupt your endocrine system, slow down your metabolism and thus, be of no good to you.
  4. Focus on the ingredients, stop counting your calories – This is extremely important. Whenever you purchase food, take a moment to carefully go through it’s label; check the contents. Stop looking at the numbers. If the contents show a lot of refined sugar, high sodium, refined grains or unhealthy fats, ditch it happily 🙂
  5. Hydrate, hydrate and hydrate – Water is the solvent of life. 73% of our physical existence is water. Nothing can replace the vitality of a glass of fresh water. Skip all colas, sodas, iced teas and opt of a glass/ a bottle of water 🙂
  6. Be Mindful and Stop Fretting – Mindfulness is important, even when it comes to nutrition. Always listen to your body. Are you Hungry/ Thirsty/ Stressed/ Full ? Respond to your what your body’s saying you with gentle care. eat happily and stop eating the moment you are full 🙂 Also, stop fretting about every single bite you take. Believe in yourself and be grateful for the food you eat 🙂
  7. Get adequate R & R – I know, you are wondering how can possibly rest and relaxation be related to nutrition. Actually it is a very important one. According to a new research published in the Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine, only a well rested brain can lead to self restrained behaviours. Hence, if you don’t rest or sleep enough, chances are your brain is going to get more and more restless leading you to more greasy snacking or binge eating.

It’s all inter-related folks. Good knowledge inter-woven along with healthy eating behaviours is the secret to good nutrition. Happy Eating! 🙂

          

6 Ways To Become Mindful

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I look around and I see discontented, distracted and disturbed people all around. Even when I look into myself, I find instability and tensions; overwhelming thoughts of so much work that I need to accomplish during the day, the week, the year or may be my entire lifetime ahead. I hear people talk about only two things – regrets of the past and anticipations for the future. But isn’t there something that we are all losing in our constantly multi-tasking and “running after everything” attitude towards life? Yes, we are!

                          We are losing the “Present Moment”.

Mindfulness is the practice of conscious living in the present moment. It is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment without any judgements. It helps you to shift away your thoughts from the usual preoccupations towards an appreciation of the present moment and a larger perspective on life.

Practising mindfulness not only improves our mental health but also our physical health and hence, our overall wellbeing. Here are 6 ways to start cultivating mindfulness practice into our daily lives –

  1. Meditate – Take time to meditate. Meditation does not mean sitting under a tree like a monk waiting for enlightenment to strike you. Meditation is all about being quiet and focussing on your natural breathing. Yes, your thoughts may get distracted very easily. However, you must let go of all those thoughts without any judgement and bring yourself back to your focus. Breathe 🙂
  2. Observe – With all your love and gentleness, take time to observe all your bodily sensations, toe to head. Whether it is a slight itch or tingling, observe it and let it go without any judgement.
  3. Use your sensory organs – Notice what you see, hear, smell, touch or taste. Notice them without any judgements. I have personally experienced serenity using this technique. Each time my mind wanders, I focus on the sounds I can hear all around and try to distinguish them without any judgement (whether it is the chirping of birds, water trickling down or the sound of the air around).
  4. Accept your emotions – This is an important skill to be learnt – the art of accepting your emotions each moment and letting go of them without any judgement. Each time an emotion comes to you, notice it, name it (Joy, Sadness, Anger, Frustration, Nervousness or Regret), accept it and then let it go 🙂
  5. Cope with your urges – We all have our individual urges, cravings, obsessions and destructive behavioural patterns. Learn to recognise them, notice how your body feels as the craving enters it and then replace it with knowledge and wiser thoughts that will subside them.
  6. Be gentle and kind – Almost every moment we are judgemental about anything and everything in our lives. Not judging is a big part of mindfulness practice and a key source to happiness and contentment. Being kind, gentle and gracious with ourselves and with everything we experience or everyone around should be the essence of who we are.

Remember, practising these techniques may not seem relaxing in the beginning. But over time, it will not only lead you to a greater sense of physical and emotional wellbeing, but also to a calmer, wiser and a more stable YOU.

After all, we are all made of flesh,blood and bones and we are not going to be here for ever. So, let’s be kind and gentle towards ourselves, towards life and “Be Present” all the time 🙂

       

Yoga To Relieve Menstrual Cramps

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This is my first blog describing exercise moves and so I dedicate this first article to the amazing science of Yoga. Yoga is not only an ancient exercise science but a journey of liberation, self-realisation and self-control. It not only helps your body shed fat but also helps you to correct your posture, increase flexibility and build  lean muscles. Yoga postures have hundreds of other benefits as well.

Dear ladies, certain yoga postures can be very beneficial during our monthly cycles and can help us in getting relieve from menstrual cramps.

Here are 4 simple Yoga Postures that can help you in fighting menstrual cramps:

Important Note – Try each position within your comfort zone, be gentle with your body and hold each pose for as long as you can comfortably be in it (breathing normally). Remember, in Yoga you need to make sure that you are breathing gently in each pose maintaining your rnormal heart rate. Also if you have any back or knee injuries, consult your doctor before trying any of these poses.

1. Seated Forward Bend : In this posture you sit on your yoga mat (or carpet) with your legs stretched in front. Make sure to keep your spine straight. If that requires a lot of effort, you can always take help by sitting straight against a wall. Inhale gently and as you exhale bend forward stretching your hands in front. If you have good flexibility, gently grasp your feet. If that is not possible, just touch your toes (try to touch your big toe). You can also keep a pillow on top of your legs. And as you bend you can rest your forehead on the pillow.

   

2. Seated Wide Legged Forward Bend: Start by sitting like the way you sit for a forward bend. Now gently lift your right leg and place it towards your  extreme right (as far as possible, within your comfort zone) and then lift and place the leg left towards your left. Inhale deep and as you exhale bend forward, stretch your hands to the front. Bend forward only as much as you are comfortable.

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3. Child’s Pose: This is restorative yoga pose with multiple benefits. Start by sitting on your ankles, legs folded at your knees. Now gently inhale and as you exhale bend forward, stretching your hands to the front of your body (touching the floor), lengthening your spine. Make sure to elongate your spine. Rest in this comforting position for as long as you wish 🙂

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4. Static Butterfly Pose: For this pose, start by sitting in Padmasana or Lotus Pose. Now position your legs (bending your knees) in a way that the soles of both your feet touch each other. Try to position your legs as close to your pubic area as possible. Grasp your feet with both the hands and make sure to keep your back straight throughout the pose. Gently breathe in and out keeping all your senses calm.

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All the above mentioned poses are very beneficial in regulating menstrual flow. They help you in getting rid of spasms and relaxes all the muscles in your entire pelvic region and lower back. Most importantly, they stimulate your uterus and ovaries and helps you maintain a normal menstrual flow.

I hope practising these poses will help you in getting relief from your menstrual cramps as I have personally benefitted a lot from them 🙂

10 Reasons to love Bodyweight Training

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I often hear people giving all sort of excuses for not exercising. Apart from “not having the time to work-out”, some of the other common reasons of avoiding exercise are – “I hate going to the gym , I do not have the necessary equipments at home or I do not have the money for all the expensive gym equipments.” RELAX 🙂 To get into shape or to stay fit, you do not have to worry about any of these. Your body is your best gym. Working out with your own body weight is one of the most effective and time-tested tool you have for staying in shape.

Here I give you 10 reasons for which I am a very big fan of bodyweight training:

1. Increases co-ordination, balance and tightness of the entire body:

Since body weight training consists of exercises done without the help of any equipments, it increases the human body’s ability to co-ordinate amongst different muscle groups much more efficiently, thus increasing overall balance and tightness of the body. While doing bodyweight exercises it is very difficult to keep any part of the body loose as it leads to leakage of energy and increase in fatigue.

2. Stimulates mind-body connection:

It is scientifically proven that body weight exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, squats, splits etc. stimulates the nervous system much more than training with equipments. This is explained by the concept of Closed Chain Kinetic Exercise benefits which means that exercises in which the body has a fixed distal point such as the push-up where the hands and the feet are fixed at their individual points or squats where the foot remains fixed in place with much lesser movement relative to the rest of the body, stimulate the nervous system much more.

3. Monitors body fat percentage:

As opposed to working out with heavily loaded gym equipments, bodyweight exercises are a better way to monitor your body fat percentage. Any loose hanging part of the body while performing push-ups will help you realise your body fat percentage much clearer.

4. Increases Proprioception Inputs:

Instead of running on the treadmill, when you perform squat jumps or any other form of bodyweight cardio moves; your body moves through a much greater space at it own control. Proprioception is what allows you to bend your elbow or flex your foot a precise amount or in a precise way, even if your eyes are closed and you can’t see what you’re doing – you still feel it. Body weight training requires increasing proprioception input which is extremely beneficial to humans especially in today’s sedentary lifestyle.

5. Bodyweight exercises are always more challenging and effective than exercising with equipments:

I don’t think I need to explain this point. Do it and you will know that performing a pull-up is much more challenging than doing a pull-down at the gym using a cable. Similar 30 repetition of a full body push-up is much more difficult than 30 repetitions of a weighted chest press. It doesn’t mean that a weighted chest press is not so good an exercise, it just means that a full body push up is much more challenging and effective.

6. Convenience:

Definitely body weight exercises are the most convenient of all exercise regimes. You don’t have to run to the gym or spend your money on equipments. You can easily do it all at the comfort of your home.

7. Boosts Lean Muscle Mass and Burns Fat Faster:

Bodyweight exercises when combined with cardio moves are the best way to burn fat and promote lean muscle mass. They are the most efficient and effective exercise regimes.

8. Increases core-strength:

The core consists of 29 muscle groups and bodyweight exercises involve all of them together at the same time for each movement. One big reason why different forms of Push-ups and Planks are the best means to achieve a strong core. They also increase athletic performance.

9. Increases flexibility:

We all know how flexible Yoga lovers are. Yoga is one of the best form of bodyweight training and so you can imagine how flexible can bodyweight training make you 🙂

10. Prevents injuries:

One of the most commonly heard modern day issues is the increase in the number of injuries amongst people trying to hit the gym. Bodyweight exercises done in the right form will definitely save you from all that pain. Moreover, most of the injury rehabilitation exercises are bodyweight exercises.

Remember, to enjoy an effective workout all you need is your own body and the intention to workout hard. Excuses are for losers not for doers 🙂

                         

8 WAYS TO FIGHT PMS

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Dear Ladies, we all have been there and we keep visiting that state almost every month before our cycle begins! PMS or Pre-menstrual syndrome is one of the many loads that we carry in our bag pack of womanhood. It is the collection of many physical and psychological discomforts that arise just before our monthly cycles. From bloating to breast tenderness, mood swings to fatigue, acne to constipation, it’s a big list of ailments 😦 My personal worst enemies being bloating and mood swings.

I recently read a lot about the ways in which we can fight away our PMS ailments or at least keep them under check. I actually tried and tested them on myself and found them to be extremely beneficial. So, ladies here are the 8 best ways to kick off PMS 🙂

  1. Exercise, Exercise and Exercise: Aaah, I know I am a big propagator of “working-out” but trust me it actually helps more during this time of the month. Exercise helps you get a boost of endorphins or the happy hormones that ease out pain. Also it increases your levels of Serotonin, a mood-lifting neurotransmitter that will make you feel so much more alive and active and kick away all those cramps and mood swings.
  2. Drink a lot of water and cut out on salt because these are the best ways to avoid bloating.  Make sure you are drinking enough water and avoiding all kinds of super-salty chips, snacks and other condiments. Try drinking home-made flavoured waters by squeezing some citrus fruits to it.
  3. Cut down on Alcohol: To all the ladies who drink occasionally, say a big “NO” to all those happy hour enticements. Stay away booze and you will be just fine 🙂
  4. Get adequate rest: It is extremely important for you to get a lot of rest in this time of the month. Not only will it help you in taking care of your sleep cycles but will, most importantly, help your body to fight off the physiological changes that take place during this time. De-stressing will help you to keep your hormones calm as well.
  5. Cut out Caffeine: 😦 This did make me sad initially as I am a big time coffee-holic. However, cutting out your caffeine intake during this time really helps you in fighting breast tenderness, one of the most uncomfortable effects of PMS. Instead drink a glass of cold milk or try adding some berries and other fruits and spice it up into a cool milk-shake 🙂
  6. Take vitamin and mineral supplements: You may also try taking vitamin B6, B12, D, folic acid, calcium, magnesium supplements, just to make sure you have enough micro-nutrients in your body.
  7. Stay away from Sugar: Sugary foods are unhealthy always but in this time they are even more unfriendly. They play a big role in aggravating PMS by elevating those uncomfortable cramps. So stay away from them.
  8. Eat a lot of fruits and veggies: As always, fibres and phytonutrients from fruits and veggies will make you stronger and help you feel better.

So, the next time the ‘evil next-door neighbour’ PMS knocks at your door, adopt these 8 measures and kick it away happily 🙂

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