Fitness

Precautions to be taken during summer

Summer is the season when we need to take utmost precautions. Although we should always take good care of our health round the year, in summer we need to take even more precautions of our body and health. Irrespective of any season we must follow certain good practices towards our health.

WORDS: JOJO VARGHESE

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DURING summer we have to drink more water. It will help us regain the energy level of our body, to relieve fatigue, reduce body weight and to flush out all the toxins from our body. So drink 10 glassesof water daily.
During summer try to eat less spicy food as it will harm your stomach and you will face difficulty for digestion. Try to eat fruits and vegetables and make vegetables with less spice.
Try to drink one glass of butter milk daily after your food asit will help you cool the body. Curd is another important food for summer. Eat as much as you can. You can have the same with your breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Add more vegetables and fruits in your daily diet plan. It will help you to reduce the heat of your body and give you more proteins.
Include bananas, watermelon, oranges and papaya in your daily diet. Try to eat watermelon daily after your dinner. It will give more water for your body.
If you are coming from outside, don’t drink chilled water as it will harm you.

Do keep a pot in the kitchen or your bedroom and try to drink it frequently. If you want to keep the water cool, cover the pot with a wet towel.
Try to cover your face and neck with a cloth as it will help prevent sunstroke. Wakeup early and go for a morning walk for at least half an hour or an hour. Take light breakfast and avoid excess oily foods.

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Breathing is the heart of yoga

While most of us are aware of the importance of physical exercise and yoga, it is important to know that awareness of breath and synchronising breath and movement is what makes yoga, yoga. Read of the different ways the breath influences your yoga practice, how the breath and mind are closely connected and how this awareness of the breath gives us a tool to work with the mind

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Breath and Asana
When focusing on the breath during your asana practice, the control shifts from the brain stem (medulla oblongata) to the cerebral cortex (evolved part of the brain) due to you being aware of the breath. It’s in that moment, when we are aware, the magic starts to happen. The mind will become quieter and a calm awareness arises.
As a result, emotional stress and random thoughts are less likely to occur. So basically the whole system gets a break. The energy, the prana, begins to flow more freely pushing through any emotional and physical blockages and thus freeing the body and mind. Which results in the “feel good” effect after a yoga practice. So we can safely say that breath has an intimate relationship to the overall movement of prana (life energy) throughout the entire body.
In our physical practice breath also has everything to do with our structural alignment and the patterns in which we hold, perceive and move the body. Breath awareness can eliminate joint compression and other imbalances from one’s postures and attitudes. Awareness of breath is also the foundation for flowing seamlessly in movement through an Ashtanga Vinyasa practice.

Breath and Mind
If you have practised serious meditation, you will have noticed that when the breath moves, the mind moves as well. Of course, this works both ways, so as the mind moves, the breath moves too.
The breath gives us a tool with which we can explore the subtler structures of our mental and emotional worlds. When the breath changes, it tells you that something is happening in your mind.
This basically means that the breath gives us a tool with which we can explore the subtler structures of our mental and emotional worlds. When the breath changes, it tells you that something is happening in your mind. When something happens in your mind, like a disturbing thought, for example, your breath will reflect it back to you.
You will then understand that because the breath and mind are so connected, awareness and mindfulness of breathing can lead to insight into the nature of mind. This leads eventually to freedom from suffering.
Ujjayi breath
Now that the benefits of being aware of the breath within your yoga practice have been made clear, let us talk about the Ujjayi breath.
This pranayama is usually done in association with asana, unlike some of the other forms of pranayama. Ujjayi breath is the type of breath used in a Vinyasa/Ashtanga style of practice. It is the main style of breathing used when you flow and practise the more strenuous poses. When you start to cool down and move more into the relaxing poses, it’s time to let go of this way of breathing and to allow the breath to be more natural. Ujjayi breath is both relaxing and energising. Sometimes you may find yourself spontaneously breathing this way in deep meditation or during deep absorption or concentration.

How to practise the
Ujjayi breath
Close your eyes, imagine looking down the nose, softly smile and begin to lengthen the breath. Next, close the back of the throat a little like you do when you whisper something. You should now feel the flow of air moving through the back of the throat. Keep the mouth closed while you do this. The sound of your breath will be a little like the sound of the wind through the trees.
Listening to the breath allows it to fully flourish. Keep the sound and length of the breath the same on the in and out breath. Practise this type of breathing during your asana class and whenever else you feel like it.
(Courtesy: Ekhartyoga.com)
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The difference between Bodybuilding and Fitness

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Fitness and bodybuilding are the most commonly used terms around us these days. However, many people consider fitness and bodybuilding to be the same thing; but they are two extremely different approaches to fitness.
One set of people working out these days are looking at increasing muscle mass for aesthetic reasons/ increasing stamina. High muscle weight improves power and basis the workout chosen also improves agility and speed. On the other hand, majority gym goer’s priority is to stay in shape without bulking up by increasing muscle mass and body weight.

Bodybuilding Vs Fitness Workouts

Bodybuilding encompasses lifting heavy weights to develop strength and muscular size.
Those lifting for size usually work towards the ‘pump’. This technique helps bring oxygen and nutrients to your muscles via a strong blood flow. Bodybuilders look at creating microscopic tears in the muscles forcing the body to repair breakages and expand storage capacity, resulting in bigger muscle growth.

Strength training is primarily high weight – low reps, strengthening the muscles, reinforcing the joints, hardening the bones, while developing stronger connective tissue are some of the goals of many muscle-heightened workouts.

Training Differences
Bodybuilders do not indulge in cardiovascular exercises or reps with a low amount of weights. Their focus is to push their bodies to the maximum by lifting weights that push them to the limits by touching their breaking point that is the point where they literally cannot do another rep-round. During recovery time, the ‘failed’ muscles rebuild and become stronger.
Fitness enthusiasts generally aim to be healthy and in shape. Trainers are not overly concerned about having bigger muscles as long as they are looking their best in front of the camera or at competitions. Workout models spend more time crafting the major muscle groups across their bodies. They will craft a perfect six or eight pack abdominal and pay attention to the legs and glutes. Compared to bodybuilders, their workout routines are generally shorter and more intense. They spend half of their routine lifting weights and the other half doing cardio. To create phenomenally toned muscles, fitness buffs usually carry out a high number of reps with smaller weights.
Another main distinction between working out and bodybuilding is the amount of activity each athletic-type requires. While a bodybuilding session may last around two hours, a fitness session, on the other hand, lasts 45 minutes. The former usually demands constant hard work for a prolonged period – usually five to six times a week. A fitness workout, however, requires less exercise with lesser efforts and muscle pull.
Both ‘normal’ workout and bodybuilding stem from the basic human desire to push physical limits and reach the

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ultimate fitness potential; thus making both of these athletic branches of exercise parts of the same tree. The only primary variance is the reason for training and the way trainings are carried out.

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

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All you need to know about Crossfit

Crossfit is the buzzword in fitness circles these days. From gyms to dedicated crossfit studios this fitness regimen has come a long way. Unlike traditional workouts where emphasis is usually laid on either building muscle mass or improving stamina and flexibility, crossfit works upon increasing endurance, stamina and flexibility all at once – one reason why it is a rage amongst athletes and celebrities.

WORDS: JOJO VARGHESE

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WHAT IS CROSSFIT
Crossfit is strength and conditioning progamme that primarily includes high intensity workout that incorporate multiple fitness regimes like aerobics, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), powerlifting, gymnastics etc into a single programme. A crossfit session usually consists of doing repetitions of the above workouts in a specific time.

CROSSFIT EXERCISES
Crossfit exercises include running, sprint, lunges, burpees, pushups, pull-ups, situps, deadlift, barbell squats, kettle bell swings etc. Warm-up sessions called dynamic warm-up usually include jumping jacks, jumps, jump ropes and sprints. These are to be done with increasing intensity. Strength training includes muscle workouts like squats, push-ups, deadlifts etc, which look at increasing power and endurance. Another feature of crossfit called WOD (Workout of the Day) includes doing a fixed number of repetitions of specific workouts in the shortest time possible / within a fixed time limit.
ROUTINE
Cindy is a beginner’s crossfit 20 minute AMRAP (“as many rounds as possible”) routine which consists of:
5 pull ups
10 push ups
15 squats
Within 20 minutes one must complete AMRAPs of 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, and 15 squats. There is no scheduled rest in between rounds – as soon as you finish your 15 squats you start on the pull ups again.
Crossfit workouts are high intensity but not dangerous. However, if someone decides to throw caution to the wind or decides to get a little adventurous / over enthusiastic, chances of an injury are much higher.

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

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Following are some other variations:

AMRAP 20min AMRAP 12min AMRAP 12min AMRAP 10min
3 Pull ups 5 Pull ups 1 Pull ups 1 Pull ups
6 Pushups 10 Pull ups 4 Pull ups 4 Pull ups
9 Squats 15 Pull ups 7 Pull ups 7 Pull ups

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