7  Reasons To Workout Outdoors

Standard

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 

Standard

             

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 🙂

             

Yoga To Relieve Menstrual Cramps

Standard

   yoga

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.

   2

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 🙂

  3

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.

  4

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

Standard

      Downloads

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

Standard

fofi3

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 🙂

fofi4

 

6 WAYS TO GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

Standard

 1

Very often in life, we get used to living a monotonous routine. Whether we are working as professionals in the corporate sector or running our individual business or even taking care of our families and home, we all tend to get into the vicious cycle of monotony. We may not realise, but several important aspects of our life get compromised as a result of this. Fitness being one of the most important aspect among them.

People often claim “time constraint” as a big reason for avoiding daily exercise. Well, I consider that more of an excuse than a reason. Every single day of life is precious and we all have the equal time of 24 hours everyday. And you cannot afford to say that you need an extra hour from out-of-nowhere just for exercise. Another reason why I consider “time constraint” to be an excuse (most of the times) is because I feel the actual reason is that people are often not ready to get out of their comfort zone. Not only those who do not work-out at all; in several instances, people who hit the gym daily or go for running/jogging everyday get into a comfortable rut of monotony.

If you want to see results, then you have to walk out of this comfort zone. No excuses. Here I suggest you a few ways to accomplish that and get the results you aspire for:

  1. Check your habit patterns: Keep a close look on your habit loops. If you have been trying to be a morning person to get some time for your workout, go to bed early. Keep your exercising shoes by your bed side so that the moment you get down from your bed, you remind yourself that the most important task to be done is to start working out 🙂
  2. Do not feed your self-destructive behaviours: You know that you are gaining weight and it’s high time that you start losing it. Each time to try to squeeze yourself into those pair of stretchy pants you realise it even more. That’s ok. It is a reminder for you to start exercising. Do not go shopping for XL sized clothes instead. That’s really sad. This is not going to help you in anyway. Stop feeding into such negative behaviours.
  3. There’s always a first time: It’s OK if you have never exercised before. Start doing it today. Remember there are no excuses. Exercising does not necessarily mean getting enrolled into a gym or buying expensive exercise gear and other equipments. You can shed all that weight just using your own body; start your own body-weight training.

For all those who do hit the gym or go running comfortably, here  are the ways to get out of your comfort zone i.e. your fitness rut:

1.Intensify your workout: Increase your speed on that exercise cycle or on that treadmill. Increase the intensity. If you do weight training, increase the weight slowly. If you have been working out with 5 lbs for the last 2 months, change it. Nothing is going to change unless you start getting uncomfortable.

2.Try something new: There are hundreds of new workouts that you can try. Join a spinning class, learn mixed martial arts class, try cross-fit, run a marathon or go zumba / aqua zumba. Not only will it be fun and a new learning experience but will also challenge your body in a new way and bring visible results.

3.Raise the bar: Remember, if you are determined enough to work-out everyday , you also have the capability to work-out even harder. Raise your bar, workout harder, faster. If today you did 25 sit-ups, make sure tomorrow you do 30. Keep challenging yourself. You can do it. Get the mental make-up and push yourself really hard.

So, get out of your comfort zone today 🙂

Downloads

Water Weight ???

Standard

Ever since I started writing this blog, a very good friend of mine (who is also a fitness freak) has been requesting me to write an article on “Water Weight”. Well, everyone knows that ‘drinking lots of water’ is good for health. You read it in your favorite health columns, your mom asks you if you are drinking enough water, your doctor advises you to drink at least 4-5 litres of water everyday and so on & so forth. But do you know about the role of water in weight-loss issues especially if you are working really hard in getting those washboard abs?

 It’s a simple but very important concept in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and your overall fitness goals. Water weight is nothing but part of your body weight created due to retention of water by your body. Ok! So your body stores up water, what is wrong with that or why get concerned about it anyways? Do you need to shed off this water weight? If yes, how?

All the answers lie in understanding this concept properly. By water weight, I mean excess body weight due to “bloating”. It does not mean that something is wrong with your kidneys and so your body is retaining water. Your body retains water when:

  1. There is excess intake of sodium: If you all remember school level science, you might remember the concept of osmosis. Here’s what it means if you don’t remember it. In simple words, it is nothing but the tendency of a system to maintain a balance of solute concentration on both the sides of a semi-permeable membrane. And here’s why I just bored you up explaining this concept – “When you consume food that has a lot of sodium but you do not consume enough water, your body holds back as much water as possible to maintain a that sodium-water osmotic balance in your body.” As a result, you get bloated meaning you gain water weight.
  2. You do not exercise: Working out is a great way of sweating which in turn is a great way of releasing excess salts from your body.When you do not workout at all and you happily live a sedentary lifestyle, your body has no other option, but to retain water to maintain the solute-solvent ratio of your body.
  3. You do not drink enough water: This is the most important amongst all the reasons. You know it really well that water is the best fluid for your body. But still you never drink enough of it. Whenever you feel thirsty, you will grab a bottle of your favorite aerated drink or have a cup of tea/coffee but you will never give a second thought to water. If this is the way you behave, then obviously you poor body has to hold back as much water as possible.

**A little fact to be known (especially for all women out there): “Touch your belly. Can you feel that spongy lower abdominal pooch? Besides unhealthy fat, your body is also storing considerable water in that region. See, this where you are going to get all excited about knowing ways to get rid of that retained water and jump into the next para :)”

So, here’s what is needed to be done to shed off the water weight and stay away from gaining it

  1. Drink up: The best and the simplest solution is to drink enough water. Drink at least 3-4 and at most 4-5 litres of water everyday. Your body would not feel dehydrated and so, it will stop retaining water 🙂
  2. Keep a check on your sodium intake: Sodium is naturally present in all the food that you eat. And obviously, you sprinkle enough of it while cooking as per your individual taste buds. Then why consume extra of it? Cut down on those unhealthy snacks, potato chips, fatty dips-ketchups and all forms of deep fried junk.
  3. Exercise: See, here I give you another reason to love exercise. Working out will help you sweat and stay away from those water pounds in a very healthy manner. It’s always a win-win situation 🙂
  4. Consume high fibre food:  High fibrous food contain a good amount of water. They are great for your digestive system and are a natural way of staying away from gaining water weight.
  5. Love Potassium: Potassium is a very essential element in maintaining many important bodily functions. So consume potassium rich foods like Bananas, White Beans, Dark Leafy Vegetables, Papayas, Pumpkins, Avocados etc. It will help you in maintaing your body’s natural solute-solvent balance very easily.

Now here’s another reason to love drinking water – Research has shown that during several occasions, your body mimics dehydration as hunger. So the next time, you get food cravings even after having a wholesome meal, realise it’s time to drink enough water 🙂

Another important point: If you have trouble drinking plain water, you can always create your own flavoured water by adding a twist of lemon, orange, green tea or mint into your bottle of chilled water.

Remember there are no excuses. Drink your way to good health 🙂