6 WAYS TO GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

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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 🙂

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The magic called HIIT

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With my newly found and super endearing devotion for the “Science of Exercise”, I have been spicing up my workout routines with a variety of training methods. And amongst several, the one I have truly fell in love with is High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT. It is 100% amazing and I have become a die-hard fan of this training technique. My personal reasons for loving this method is that firstly, it is simple, super time-saving and extremely effective. And secondly,it leaves me with this breathless “I am about to die” sorta feeling after each intense session, which being an exercise maniac I simply love 🙂

So, what does HIIT exactly mean, how does it differ from other workout techniques and why is it so wildly effective in burning fat.

High Intensity Interval Training is a form of cardio-vascular exercise. I guess it is more easily understood when termed as Sprint Interval Training. This means that it is the combination of short intense periods of anaerobic exercise with lesser intense resting periods. For example, you can do Burpees for 20 seconds and then jog for 10 seconds OR you sprint for 30 seconds and then walk for 60 seconds.Unlike other workout techniques, HIIT doesn’t make you go on and on with the same exercise moves for a long period of time. It is one of the most loved training techniques amongst fitness buffs worldwide.

Let me take you directly to the facts that will make you a HIIT fan as well:

  1. You burn for a long time even after you are done with the routine. Since you are constantly working out during a HIIT routine (even though there are resting periods in between), your body is unable to bring in enough oxygen into your body , especially to compensate for those high intensity reps. As a result, there is Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption or EPOC, which revs up your metabolism and fat-burning for hours after you leave the gym. Research has shown that HIIT is 50% more efficient in burning adipose tissue than prolonged duration of low intensity exercises.
  2. It is time saving and effective. A normal HIIT routine can be as short as 4 minutes and extend up to a maximum of 30 minutes. When done in proper form, it is much more effective then an hour of slogging at the gym.
  3. You can do it both anaerobically (using body weight or free weights) and aerobically with cardio. This means it has the ability to increase your anaerobic as well as aerobic endurance.
  4. HIIT hits the flabby zones much more effectively. Unlike other workout regimes, HIIT not only burns your excess blood glucose but also burns glycogen (i.e. the stored fat).
  5. It is a metabolic conditioning technique.The higher intensities in a HIIT regime boosts up muscle building growth hormones. And we all know that the more lean muscle mass we build, the more fat we shed.
  6. It improves your insulin sensitivity. We all know how important it is for our body cells to remain insulin sensitive ( I have written an entire article on this).HIIT makes your body more insulin sensitive i.e. your body cells utilise more of the blood glucose so that very less or no glucose is left to be converted into stored fat.
  7. No science but this is my personal reason to love this technique, you can never get bored doing HIIT routines 🙂

Thus, HIIT is all about intensifying your inner fat burn. However, here a few points that I would suggest you to keep in mind to see the absolute best results:

  1. Incorporate exercises that involve several muscle groups and target your entire body in designing your HIIT routine.
  2. Make sure the higher intensity exercises are challenging enough. As you stay diligent with your HIIT regime, keep raising the bar of challenges.
  3. Just like any other form of training, proper form is a must.
  4. Your diet will always play a key role. Consume your calories efficiently and effectively.

So, no more excuses. Whether you are an exercise pro or just a beginner or even someone who needs motivation; you should definitely try HIIT and feel amazed by it’s wonderful results 🙂

10.3

The Beauty of Lifting Weights

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There’s a very widely spread myth among women around the world. At some level I feel that this myth is one of the main reasons for women staying away from exercise. Most women and even men, who try to set a foot into the habit of daily exercising, often stick to a self-made cardio-vascular activity (like brisk walking or running). Well, that’s good, cardio is definitely good, but do you know the magic benefits that resistance training / strength training does to your bodies?All you ladies out there, if I ask you- “Why are you so scared of lifting weights?” I am sure your answer will be- “ Because I am a woman and I just need to shed my body fat (just a few pounds). Why do I need to lift weights for that? I don’t want muscular biceps and triceps. That’s so masculine and gross, it’s going to hurt my feminine body structure 😦

*Beep Beep*…High time for the reality check! LADIES, what if I tell you that weights are your actual best friends, your best weapon to shed all that ugly, unwanted, unhealthy body fat and build a lean healthy body!

Let me try explaining you the science behind. Working out with weights (in the form of free weights like dumbbells/ kettle bells, resistance band or weight machines) is known as strength training or resistance training. Basically, when you lift a weight, you are providing resistance to your muscles to induce muscular contractions. The concept is simple- “Muscles of the body work to overcome a resistance force when they are required to do so.” Thus, when you do resistance training repeatedly and consistently, your muscles start working actively and become stronger. Not only does it strengthens your muscles, but also it provides your body with all-round “super-benefits”.

So, what are these “super-benefits”? (Let’s learn these as sincerely as we learnt our first alphabets 🙂 )-

  1. Improved muscle strength i.e. your overall physical strength increases.
  2. Reduced body fat – As your muscles get stronger, they start burning away all the intra-muscular and unwanted fat (especially helpful in getting rid of visceral fat i.e. the hideous AB FLABs).
  3. Tones your muscles (you get those hot buns and legs, fabulous arms and ripped up abs)
  4. Increases bone density and joint function (extremely important for us women as we have a natural deficit of calcium and tendency for weak skeletal structure, especially post-pregnancy and post-menopause;  No more back ache, knee pain or twisted ankle complains).
  5. Increases stamina as your it increases the anaerobic endurance of our bodies (I promise you are not going to get dull tired and fatigued easily).
  6. Improved posture and balance (You will attain the grace and poise of those red-carpet ladies).
  7. Get rid of insomnia as your sleep cycles start improving.
  8. Increases strength of your tendons and ligaments.
  9. And last but not the least, it helps your body to stay balanced, independent and strong with ageing as it improves your overall body definition.

WOW 🙂 So many benefits and you thought that lifting weights would make you Arnold Schwarzenegger (umm… not saying that to all men reading this post, in fact it will help you become like the Terminator man). Ladies, start strength training and you will end up becoming as strong as Madonna and as hot as Beyoncé or J.Lo 😉

Of course, just like any other form of exercise, resistance training needs to be done in its correct form (the right weight, the right exercise and the right number of repetitions required) and hence, needs to be done under trained supervision. You can also do it yourself provided you learn and maintain the correct form.

So, include resistance training in your workout schedule say Good-bye to a weak flabby body and Hello to a strong, lean body 🙂

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The Power of Baby Steps :)

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Ever sat down and had those overwhelming thoughts of “Oh my GOD, I have got so many things to do(tasks to be completed, goals to be accomplished). How am I going to manage it all? 😦 ” I bet you have, we all have. Most of the times we get so entangled in the humdrum of daily life that we often put behind “things that we really want to do or should do” in the back burner. It can be anything- going to the gym and actually utilising that gym membership you had once paid for, taking those guitar lessons you have been thinking of,writing that journal that you have been planning to start from a really long time, working on that list of new year resolutions (this one’s universal), starting to work on your grad school application or even visiting the dentist to get a solution to that aching tooth. The “TO-DO LIST” of our life just keeps on lengthening up with each passing day.Seriously, we all have fallen into the trap of PROCRASTINATION. And then when asked about these delays, we all have the same reply, “ I just did not get the time to do it.” How easily and how often do we say that!

Well, nature has given us all 24 hours a day, not a second more or less. And all that needs to be done has to be managed in this fixed time slot. If something is really important to us, then we have to do it within this time. No, Ifs and Buts. I know some of you are still going to disagree with me and say “That’s not possible, I am really busy (hence,not at all lazy) and at times I just cannot help but procrastinate.”

 Ok, I got it. In that case there’s a solution that I wish to offer. “TAKE BABY STEPS.” It’s simple 🙂 Each day take one tiny step towards accomplishing that task you have been pending or habit you have been wishing to develop. And it’s ok if your steps falter,your efforts fail. Really, it’s 100% ok. Do not feel guilty about it or start to panic. What goes wrong with most of us is that we either panic,jump into the task planned,mess it up completely and feel guilty later on or we silently keep on delaying it. After a certain threshold of time, we might even completely quit the idea of doing it.

Remember, this is just one LIFE that we all have. Each one of us have both the time and the potential to complete all those tasks and accomplish all those goals of our LIST. The only thing to be done is to continuously move forward, take at least one little step everyday towards them. For example, if you want to get real fit and go to the gym, start it these Baby Steps-  go for a light jog or a 20 minutes brisk walk everyday. Once you spirits start getting lifted up and you build endurance, start exercising with a friend or join the nearby gym so that your body won’t get freaked out and beg you to quit “the idea of getting fit” completely.

Start taking these BABY STEPS forward- one thing at a time, one day at a time. And then one day when you look back you will happily realise with a great sense of “Self-Pride” how you have accomplished all the tasks efficiently and lived a life far ahead of your own expectations. I promise, you are going to feel great, TRY IT 🙂

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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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