Fitness

Guide to basic Gym Etiquettes

With the onset of winter and the New Year resolution season just round the corner, many of you would be planning to start off a new fitness regime soon. Following is a basic checklist of things to be followed / done while at the gym.

WORDS: JOJO VARGHESE

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Do’s: Carry a gym bag with an extra t-shirt, towel, deodorant and a separate pair of gym shoes, and water bottle exclusively for the gym.
If you tend to sweat a bit too much, changing t-shirts in between workout would ensure you feel fresher while completing your sets. A separate pair of shoes for the gym is advisable as many of the workouts done could require additional traction / support which used sports shoes may not be able to provide effectively.

Dont’s: Avoid too much of deo
While applying a bit of deo prior to a workout is fine, do not use excess of deodorant’s before or in the middle of a workout. Being a closed environment the strong smell of the deo could be an irritant for many without you being aware of it.

Do’s: Taking a break between sets.
It’s advisable to take small breaks of 20-30 seconds between sets as suggested by your trainer. Many a time people rush through their workouts without paying emphasis on proper form or motion.

Dont’s: Too long breaks and wasting time.
While brief breaks are advisable, taking too long breaks tends to cool your body down and leads to loss of momentum and focus on workouts. Many people tend to get on their phones or get busy chit chatting which should be completely avoided while at the gym.

Do’s: Using equipment correctly and rotating sets
Always consult your trainer before using any gym equipment. Only when you’re completely confident of the correct posture and form should you venture out on your own. Place the dumbbells and other gym equipment at its relevant place after you’re done with your workout. Share your sets with others who are waiting to finish their sets.
While these are some pointers, I am sure that as you go along, you’ll discover -many of the points to be followed on your own.

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Jojo Varghese is a fitness coach.
He can be contact at vj9483@gmail.com or (+91) 8511333884

How to achieve your fitness goals

“Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” These words by professional American basketball player Michael Jordan stands true for fitness as much as they do for life

WORDS: JOJO VARGHESE

Fitness by definition stands for being physically fit and healthy. However, most people hitting the gym today are either people wanting / wishing for results to happen.
In their quest for chiselled, well-toned bodies many people end up doing a lot of bizarre things – fad diets, overtraining to usage of supplements without expert advice are just few examples.
The root cause of this lies in the incorrect perception about fitness and setting fitness goals that are unrealistic or illogical. Instead of ‘making’ it happen, people expect overnight results or are looking at shortcuts to reach their fitness goals.
One has to sweat it out, beat the pain, stick to discipline, sacrifice on their lifestyle and habits, and most importantly enjoy the process to be able to get the results and sustain it. Everything else is a recipe for disaster as results gained through other methods do not last long or has long term side effects.

SETTING REALISTIC GOALS:
The first rule of any fitness regime is to set measurable, achievable goals. Getting a six pack in 3 months, losing x kgs in x days, gaining y weight in y days – these do not classify as goals.
The first step is to understand your body type and give your trainer a complete rundown about your body – medical conditions / injuries/accidents etc before starting a programme.
Ask your trainer for an analysis of your BMR, BMI, body fat, muscle mass etc and to keep track of readings, as many people tend to get into the worry mode or end up focusing on these readings excessively than on their workouts.
The initial plan given by your trainer based on this analysis is a realistic goal. Once you start achieving goals, feel and look better, your confidence and enthusiasm quotient would move up several notches and allow your trainer to set higher goals for you.

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KEEP A FITNESS JOURNAL
Having a fitness journal is a small but vital step that will help you reach your goals faster. Notes on your food intake, cheat days etc are particularly important. It inculcates discipline and forces you to pay attention to everything that’s been put into your body.

It also gives you an insight on foods from a calorie / nutrition value perspective with an idea on the amount of protein, carbs, fibre, fat, etc that your body received.

Hence a fitness journal basically keeps a check on the mind games that your food cravings play with you. The idea is not to deprive yourself of what you want, the trick is to be aware and in control without drifting off your daily meal plan significantly.

I know it’s easier said than done, but with time and 2-3 months into maintaining a journal you would be able to do it. I have had clients who showed great progress with their journal, but for some reason stopped maintaining it and had to go through the gruelling process of losing all the extra weight again which they had lost initially.

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CHANGING WORKOUT ROUTINES
Changing workout routines is the next step towards achieving your goals. Your body gets used to and adapts to the type of workouts that you do. Hence in order to keep your metabolism pepped up throughout the course of your programme, it is important to mix workouts from time to time.
Crossfit, trx, functional training, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and cardio are some of the popular variations. Follow a cyclical plan that involves switching between 2-3 variations in a month, broken down to weekly / daily basis.
This way your workouts will not get monotonous and you will avoid hitting plateaus (in fitness, plateau is a point from where your results improve slowly / halt temporarily).
Look at increasing weights gradually rather than increasing them all of a sudden. While it may feel good to lift heavy and do higher reps, incorrect posture could lead to fatal injuries. The actual focus should be on correct posture, contraction of muscles and improving endurance, which will ensure you achieve results in the shortest time.

DIET & NUTRITION
Jack LaLanne, the world famous bodybuilder who was called the Godfather of Fitness, had once said: “Exercise is king. Nutrition is queen”. Fitness is a lifestyle and calls for an overall change in the way you eat, how much you eat, when you eat. Your diet is the make or break factor that will decide whether you achieve your goals or not. Set diet rules for yourself and follow them with complete sincerity.
Remember, the idea is not to deprive yourself of what you like; it is to realise what is necessary for your body and if that particular food will support your fitness goals or not.

Identify foods that do not impede or take you off your fitness goals and replace them with what you crave for.

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Stick to natural stuff instead of processed foods as much as possible. Having 5-6 meals everyday (breakfast – lunch – dinner and a fruit/nuts / salads in between) is advisable.
Fruits should be consumed on an empty stomach before breakfast or at least a couple of hours after. Try and have food around the same time every day; this will regulate your irregular diet patterns and will ensure that your metabolism keeps humming all day long.

REST & RECOVERY
Rest and recovery are required for your body to repair damaged tissues / muscles.

If you’ve been overtraining or feel tired, take a day off for rest. There’s no point doing a workout if you cannot give your 100%.
In the end, always remember that everyone has a different body type; what some achieve in a few months may take a year or more for you. What’s important is not lose focus of your fitness goals and your plans. Shut down those self-defeating thoughts and ideas in your mind. If something stands between you and your success, move it, never be denied. All the best.

Jojo Varghese is a fitness coach.
He can be contact at jojovarghese95@yahoo.com or (+91) 8511333884

Diet & workout the key to health

“What should I do for a workout?” is a question one tends to ask before planning to enrol in a gym.
After all, many people are interested in getting started with strength training and want to know what exactly is a workout routine at the gym.
There are many factors worth considering like a person’s biology, age, goals, diet, free time availability and chronic illnesses or heart problems.
Then there is the question of diet. Do I eat hard boiled food and green salad the whole year when exercising? Perish the thought. None can diet round the year. Food intake needs to be balanced and proper or it can impact motivation. Enjoy workout or you won’t sustain it for long. It should be 5 days a week. Be sure to work out on Mondays to start the week well. Never go on 3 days flow without workout nor push too hard at gym to get that V-Taper which body builders have. Things don’t happen overnight. A 45 minute is enough for an average person to spend at gym.
PRE-& POST WORKOUT CARB
Pre-workout carb is most essential as it acts as fuel. Banana, oats, wholegrain bread, fruit & yogurt are pre-carb stuff.

Bananas are loaded with digestible carbohydrates which are fuel and combined with potassium protect nerve and muscle function.
Oats also good source of fuel being rich in fibre, which means there is a slow release of carbohydrates into the bloodstream for a longer workout. Similarly, wholegrain bread is rich in carbohydrates. For those hitting the gym during lunch break, wholegrain bread taken 45 minutes before leaving for gym is a good idea. Post-workout carb is for replenishment after a workout. Human body deals with nutrients differently at different times, depending on type of activity.
What is consumed before, during, and especially after workout assumes great importance. Muscle protein synthesis increases slightly (or remains unchanged) after resistance workouts, while protein breakdown increases dramatically. Since there is lot more breaking-down than building-up the relationship between “rate of muscle protein synthesis” and “muscle protein breakdown” represents metabolic basis for muscle growth.
Given the fast depletion of glycogen post-workout, carbs are vital to replenish burnt muscle glycogen which are main fuel resources during training.

Glycogen is stored form of glucose. Some post workout carbs are egg omelette, wholegrain toast, sweet potato, yogurt, banana, berries, and granola.
Pre-workout carbs helps to train more strenuously in the gym without feeling lazy or drowsy while post workout carbs keep the body healthy.
During heavy workout glycogen chain is broken and should be replenished to generate ATP, which is source of energy for every cell in the body.
ATP or Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) is the biochemical way of storing and using energy.
Coming to training part. Eat in short intervals without overloading the stomach.
Avoid big meal and instead break it up into 5-7 meals a day. Drink plenty of water before, during and after a workout.
There is a misconception eating less is more beneficial. For daily regimen at the gym the body needs more food to burn and recover unlike someone sitting at desk all day.
Cardio after weights is a better option than before weights. Cardio exercises like running, brisk walking, swimming, biking, or aerobics are endurance exercises that help burn fat faster.

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For those interested in quick results it is HIIT or Hight Intensity Interval Training. It is a technique of building stamina through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods. This type of training keeps heart rate up and burns more fat in lesser time.
But the simple mantra for staying fit is to do simple exercises daily like brisk walking or yoga. Drink enough water, breathe fresh air, get daily dose of sunshine, avoid stress by learning to relax, eat fruits & vegetables and don’t delay going to bed on time.

(Shaad Amin, a BBA student and a fitness online coach can be contacted at shaadamin70@gmail.com)

Lifestyle and diet

People having sedentary lifestyle are those who are not fully aware of it. Not enough physical activity is the main cause which leads to poor health since muscles are not stimulated enough causing poor blood circulation.

BY DHRUMIL SHAH

EAT RIGHT
Making just a few changes in your lifestyle can help you live a healthier and happier life.
A recent study found that four bad habits – smoking, alcohol consumption, not exercising, and not eating enough fruits and veggies – can rush you to an early grave, and in effect, age you by as many as 12 years.
Eat a balanced diet combining the right amount of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and fibre in order to obtain all of the nutrients you need for good health.
By eating the correct combination, and not too much or too little of anything, you will give your body the right fuel to grow, replenish, repair and strengthen. Avoid excessive oil and deep-fried foods.

TIPS FOR ALL:
EAT HEALTHY AND ON TIME
Avoid large meals, especially in the later phase of the day. Try to make mid-day meal your main one
DON’T OVEREAT
Eat fruits and vegetables to maintain level of minerals and sugar in body
To summarise: Focus on fitness and diet.
When it comes to one’s diet, it should contain 40% protein, 30% carbohydrates and 30% fats.
The protein containing foods are eggs, almonds, broccoli, oats, milk, yogurt, quinoa, sprouts and peanuts.
Carbohydrates can be obtained from brown rice, sweet potatoes, apples, bananas, wheat bread, wheat pasta, beans, blueberries, pineapples and lentils.
Healthy fatty foods are avocado, walnuts, olives, clarified butter. Oranges and carrots are very good for maintaining fibres in the body. Last but not the least, minimum of 4-6 litres of water level should be maintained in the body.

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REDUCE STRESS
Stress is the main culprit in the modern generation. You might not realise but it is like a slow poison. Stress can gradually affect the body, thoughts, feelings and behaviour along with affecting the mental stability and metabolism of the body. You can, however, avoid such a situation by practicing meditation few minutes every day, preferably in the morning. It includes deep breathing which counters the effect of stress by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure.
Meditation allows you to focus on your senses, release tension and calm down. All forms of exercise, including yoga and walking, can ease depression and anxiety by helping the brain release feel-good chemicals and by giving your body a chance to practice dealing with stress.

EXERCISE
About 20 minutes of minimum workout is required for healthy living. Nowadays people are doing exercise for many purposes like weight reduction, weight gain, muscle building and so on. All this leads to a better future if done correctly and within a certain limit.
Exercise boosts oxygen level in the body leading to increased energy level. It balances your mood, combats adverse health conditions and even promotes good sleep.
For an overweight condition: cardio, abdomen and some cross-fit exercises are recommended. For an underweight condition: lifting heavy weights and floor training is recommended. For maintaining the weight: cardio and weight training both are recommended.

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HEALTHY WEIGHT
Excess weight and obesity have been found to aggravate a number of problems including heart diseases. Many health issues like high cholesterol and high blood pressure can be caused due to overweight.
Weight of the body can be decided based on the Body Mass Index (BMI). Waist size of 36 inch for men and 32 for women is the ideal size for all aged people. Many people have the perfect weight but the problem lies with their stomach/tummy.
The best way to get rid of tummy fat is by doing squats and crunches along with consumption of lots of water with restricted or no oily and junk food at all.

GET ENOUGH SLEEP
A good sleep enhances immunity and prevents illness. An average person requires at least seven hours of sleep. After supper (one eaten before calling it a day) avoid going to bed immediately. Keep a gap of two hours. If convenient go for a walk as the adage goes “After dinner rest a while, after supper walk a mile.” Dinner during day is a heavy meal and some rest needed soon after, while supper a light meal and a walk would do soul of good to improve digestion.

Dhrumil Shah is a fitness coach.
He can be contacted at
dhrumil107@gmail.com or
(+91) 84603 05084

Fitness Goals

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“Something new” refers to an activity which you liked to do or some cross-fit workout which seemed difficult. This will energise and boost your morale and keep up good spirit.

Everyone has different fitness goals ranging from generally staying active to making fitness the lifestyle. There are many hyper specific workouts designed in the area of fitness, but in today’s scenario two common queries which people usually ask are regarding weight loss and muscle gain.

The question is: how can one achieve a sculpted body or healthy lifestyle in current hectic day-to-day life? These five simple steps will help you attain your goals, keep you grounded and force you to look at the big picture in your approach to incorporating physical activity within your life.

LONG-TERM COMMITMENT
One works very hard in the gym to get the best shape for the body, but short term results may not look attractive. Just don’t give up here.

The journey is long and much harder than you think. People think of doing exercise daily but due to laziness or any other personal reason they cannot do it. This is where your dedication is required.

Even athletes quit after not getting the desired result. This is the point to analyse and come out with the list of don’ts. Realise that fitness should be a lifetime commitment with ever-changing goals and expectations, and it should help you live a longer, healthier life.

GET A PROPER NUTRITION DIET
“Nutrition goals are usually pretty crucial to achieve success,” says Steve Ettinger, a fitness expert, speaker and certified strength and conditioning specialist. Selecting a proper and effective diet plan depends on personal goals as well as your health condition.
One should add fruits and salads, which are common for all people. The general tip is to take high proteins and complex carbohydrates and cut on fats. Increase the number of meals in your routine. An average person should take 8-10 healthy meals in a day. One should control consuming unhygienic junk food as much as possible.

FLEXIBILITY AND BALANCE
One of the most important routine which everyone should have is stretching. Stretching improves your flexibility and removes the fear of muscle tear, joint injuries, broken bones etc. Flexibility decreases as age increases but maintaining it helps in the long run.
Each and every part of the body should be equally developed and balanced. Any of the fitness goals will require a stronger base of flexibility and/or balance that your body can handle.

COME OUT OF THE COMFORT ZONE
It is necessary to follow a routine, but once in a while come out of it and try something new. This will surely boost your morale and will keep you motivated during workout.

SETTING GOAL DURATION
Once the goal is set, its duration of completion should also be fixed. One should try very hard to achieve the goal in estimated time duration or else the goal is of no purpose.
There may always be an overarching goal, but if it’s something that requires a significant change in your body, you’ll need to have a number of bite-size goals along the way.
Lastly I would like to add that people who want to lose weight should focus on losing the cellulites and the complex fats present in the body. Hit the kitchen more for healthy food, but workout – about 70 per cent of your fitness is due to the workout.
And remember these words: Eat healthy, be healthy; Work hard with dedication; Always try to have healthy habits for a healthy life; and Get stronger and harder.

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What it takes to be an athlete?

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An athlete cannot run with money in his pockets. He must run with hope in his heart and dreams in his head,” said the late Emil Zatopek, the former three times gold medal winner and Czechoslovakian long-distance runner. How true was he.
Hopes and dreams influence a person to achieve goals. An athlete also keeps his hopes ablaze and follows his dreams. What does an athlete need to do in order to achieve his goals? Only hopes and dreams definitely don’t work. An athlete has to follow a strict routine and a scheduled diet. It is no less than a penance.
An athlete has a different routine than other people. He has to control his taste buds and sacrifice on many mouthwatering cuisines. It’s here where perseverance, determination and self-control play an important part. An athlete has all these qualities and attributes because he loves what he is doing.

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So, an athlete should possess love for his aspirations.
When we talk about athletes, the first thing that strikes our mind is daily heavy and long workouts. But other habits also matter a lot to become an athlete. It is rightly said that if you want to excel in something every minute aspect of it counts.
Diet is an extremely crucial part of an athlete’s routine. He has to have a diet with high carbohydrates and enough proteins.

Intake of oil is not allowed so everything is cooked in butter. Athletes mostly cook for themselves.
Other little habits are also as important as diet. An athlete should inculcate these six daily habits:
1. Never skip breakfast
2. Focus on nutrients
3. Prioritise sleep
4. Visualise goals
5. Possess self-confidence
6. Don’t worry, be happy
An athlete goes through many mental and physical challenges. This makes them even more focused and their will power increases. Even though it is a tough routine it is really worth it. The contentment of doing what you love is really beautiful.