Friday, July 25, 2014

Robin Manocha: Student, Bodybuilder and Powerlifter.

Meet BattlereadyX Featured Athlete - Robin Manocha:
Age- 21
Height - 5'8
Weight - 78kgs
A Pharmacy student from Punjab who lives the bodybuilding dream. But unlike most people who follow the craze just for size and shape, he is one guy who trains hardcore in the true sense and also competes as a power lifter. 
A winner of amateur bodybuilding competitions and powerlifting competitions, he is one athlete to watch out for. He was one of the few people to win the YFC Gym's model hunt and is a ardent follower of the K11 methods of Training. 

Do you have what it takes to be a BattlereadyX featured athlete? 
If you have a good physique, an education in fitness/sports science, 
are a competitive athlete and are aiming to build it as a career, and 
are willing to be entirely honest about your training and nutrition 
regimen, you may apply. 
Mail your details with 3 pictures of yourself to 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The single most efficient Health and Fitness Advice: QUIT SUGAR

If someone asked me what's one SINGLE lifestyle change i could advice people to improve their health besides working out, it would be this: 

it works.
-Pushkaraj S Shirke
Director, BattlereadyX 

My Health Story

Published Apr 1, 2014
Eve Schaub photo credit Stephen SchaubBy Eve O. Schaub, Special to Everyday Health
Once upon a time, I was healthy; at least I thought I was.
Sure, I lacked enough energy to get me through the day, but with all the commercials on TV touting energy drinks for America’s tired masses, I always assumed I wasn’t the only one suffering. And sure, everyone in my family dreaded the coming cold and flu season, but again, I thought come January everyone develops some degree of germophobia.
At least, that’s what I thought until I heard some disturbing new information about the effects of sugar. According to several experts, sugar is the thing that is making so many Americans fat and sick. The more I thought about it the more this made sense to me — a lot of sense. One in seven Americans has metabolic syndrome. One in three Americans is obese. The rate of diabetes is skyrocketing and cardiovascular disease is America’s number one killer.
According to this theory, all of these maladies and more can be traced back to one large toxic presence in our diet… sugar.

A Bright Idea

I took all of this newfound knowledge and formulated an idea. I wanted to see how hard it would be to have our family — me, my husband, and our two children (ages 6 and 11) — spend an entire year eating foods that contained no added sugar. We’d cut out anything with an added sweetener, be it table sugar, honey, molasses, maple syrup, agave or fruit juice. We also excluded anything made with fake sugar or sugar alcohols. Unless the sweetness was attached to its original source (e.g., a piece of fruit), we didn’t eat it.
Once we started looking we found sugar in the most amazing places: tortillas, sausages, chicken broth, salad dressing, cold cuts, crackers, mayonnaise, bacon, bread, and even baby food. Why add all of this sugar? To make these items more palatable, add shelf life, and make packaged food production ever cheaper.
Call me crazy, but avoiding added sugar for a year struck me as a grand adventure. I was curious as to what would happen. I wanted to know how hard it would be, what interesting things could happen, how my cooking and shopping would change. After continuing my research, I was convinced removing sugar would make us all healthier. What I didn’t expect was how not eating sugar would make me feel better in a very real and tangible way.

A Sugar-Free Year Later

It was subtle, but noticeable; the longer I went on eating without added sugar, the better and more energetic I felt. If I doubted the connection, something happened next which would prove it to me: my husband’s birthday.Capture11
During our year of no sugar, one of the rules was that, as a family, we could have one actual sugar-containing dessert per month; if it was your birthday, you got to choose the dessert. By the time September rolled around we noticed our palates starting to change, and slowly, we began enjoying our monthly “treat” less and less.
But when we ate the decadent multi-layered banana cream pie my husband had requested for his birthday celebration, I knew something new was happening. Not only did I not enjoy my slice of pie, I couldn’t even finish it. It tasted sickly sweet to my now sensitive palate. It actually made my teeth hurt. My head began to pound and my heart began to race; I felt awful.
It took a good hour lying on the couch holding my head before I began to recover. “Geez,” I thought, “has sugar always made me feel bad, but because it was everywhere, I just never noticed it before?”
After our year of no sugar ended, I went back and counted the absences my kids had in school and compared them to those of previous years. The difference was dramatic. My older daughter, Greta, went from missing 15 days the year before to missing only two.
Now that our year of no sugar is over, we’ll occasionally indulge, but the way we eat it is very different. We appreciate sugar in drastically smaller amounts, avoid it in everyday foods (that it shouldn’t be in in the first place), and save dessert for truly special occasions. My body seems to be thanking me for it. I don’t worry about running out of energy. And when flu season comes around I somehow no longer feel the urge to go and hide with my children under the bed. But if we  do come down with something, our bodies are better equipped to fight it. We get sick less and get well faster. Much to my surprise, after our no-sugar life, we all feel healthier and stronger. And that is nothing to sneeze at.
Eve O. Schaub is the author of Year of No Sugar: A Memoir. She holds a BA and a BFA from Cornell University, and a MFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology. Her personal essays have been featured many times on the Albany, New York, NPR station WAMC. You can join Schaub’s family and take your own Day of No Sugar Challenge on April 9, 2014.

Curated by Pushkaraj S Shirke

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

THE PERFECT BODY: How the media creates a body ideal that is forever out of reach.

Since times immemorial, the perception of beauty has constantly kept changing. And with the advent of communication arts, it has been changing ever more rapidly. And unfortunately in recent times, owing to the grandiose rise of a bunch of factors, it has been moving towards an almost impossible, artificial and at times, life threatening level. 

Rahul (name changed) is a regular 20 year old in a middle class family. He goes to college during the day, hangs out with his friends goes for movies, loves salman khan and in the evening, he regularly hits the gym. He uses supplements too. It's been 4 years, he is well built and handsome, BUT he still hasn't been able to achieve the physique that his favourite fitness stars have. That is what he wants - those ripped abs, those vascular arms, that clear cut jawline and that lean muscular look. He even bought a book written by the 'trainer' of his favorite celebrity. He follows everything they say on social media. This year, he is considering using all the money he has saved up to buy and use steroids as advised to him by a new trainer at his local gym. He has no idea of the qualifications of the trainer, of the side effects of these steroids or even about the TRUE 'fitness' secrets of these 'fitness icons' he worships so earnestly.  His world is about to take a dark, dirty turn.
Maya (name changed) is an aspiring actress. At age 22 (actually age 28) she has undergone chin tucking surgery to have a more defined face, hair removal for smoother skin, lipolysis for a shapelier figure, breast implants for obvious reasons, butt implants, teeth straightening surgery, botox injections to straighten out fine wrinkles, lip and nose restructuring surgery to look prettier, has a rib removed to add more grace to her body and is constantly on a starvation diet to remain skinny and keep that 24" waistline.  And btw, she occasionally adorns fitness magazine covers as a fitness model and is a 'sponsored' athlete.
She is a college drop-out with no other career skills, her bank account is close to zero and she moonlights as an escort to pay the bills.

You many think these youngsters are nothing like you or the people you know. But wait. Think again.
That 30 year old struggling to lose his paunch, the man with a great physique and an erectile dysfunction he never talks about, that aunty trying to lose weight with a special *** challenge product, all those people buying fancy gimmicks to lose weight, those fairness cream buyers and men's cream users, those people spending thousands on fitness magazine subscriptions and those couples trying to 'look in shape' before the wedding. Did we miss out any? Surely a hell a lot more. But the thing is, not just these people, but also you and me are often subject to the pressure of body image ideals created and propagated by the media. An ideal that is not only almost unattainable and fake - an illusion you may say, but also one that is very much so because of the 'products' that advertise that image. How you ask?

Let us look at how the Modern day Media is contributing to these ridiculous concepts of body image?
                - photoshop and editing keep the 'ideal' forever out of reach.
                - non disclosure of facts and blatant lies used to market products.
                - use of cosmetic surgeries and steroids not made public.
                - 'manufacturing' pseudo fitness and body image professionals and advisors.

So we come to wonder, is it all lies? All those amazing bodies, those six pack abs, that beautiful hair, that narrow waistline, that flawless skin. Is it all just unattainable LIES?
What the people need to know is what is REALLY Possible to achieve and What is not.
And more importantly, that what is achievable is at what cost? AND is it worth it?

How will the people ever find a way out of this vicious and never ending cycle?
The soultion is quite within our reach.
An ideal way to keep people from falling prey to unrealistic ideals and to encourage true wellbeing, health and fitness instead, would be in providing:

                -Body Image Awareness Programmes & Counselling
                -Providing Basic Fitness Awareness Education for all
                -Giving REAL professionals a media platform (developing media with a sense of responsibility)
                -Enabling a LAW that takes stern and quick action against fraudulent claims (including the *).
The question at the end of the day is, even knowing all this now, will you contribute to the change - or will you still fall prey to the beautiful illusion? The illusion of perfection that surrounds you, lures you, drowns you. Every single day.
Or will you fight it?
Will you now Seek out genuine fitness and health professionals and actively question their credibility instead of blindly relying on them because they were quoted in beauty magazines and celebrity shows?
Will you help spread quality knowledge and facts and refrain from encouraging scamsters and frauds?
Will you share this article to educate a friend?

The change, if ever there can be one, begins with you. 

PS: another good read would be an article i had written on the same topic in much detail previously:

-Pushkaraj Shirke
Director, Project Battleready
For Seminars and Workshops, contact

Powder Waali Body - The 'Convenient Wisdom' about Supplements and Bodybuilding

a weird little strange life: Powder Waali Body - The 'Convenient Wisdom' about ...:
In India, every now and then i come across the standard fitness illiterate passing his or her vernacular judgement on people with visibly good physiques or people they see taking supplements. "Powder waali body", they say mockingly.

The best way to deal with these idiots, i realized is to rub it in their faces and not give a royal f**k about it. 
Rather than sit around and educate all these people about how protein works and why it is essential for athletes to have protein supplementation, say yes and move on. We have better things to do in life.

People generally think that bodies built with supplements are weaker and that's thanks to loads of idiots who can afford supplements and have them and yet train like little gym kittens - getting great muscular hypertrophy but no true strength within. They're the kind that bunk leg day and do a double-triple abs day for multiple endless reps. They're the kind that have been misguided to think that they need to choose between hypertrophy and strength and cant have both. 
STRENGTH is a more function of HOW you train rather than how you supplement, even though both are important. And that is a fact. But you cant go around explaining this to every idiot. So don't give a F and just say yes - and move on.

So now i'm gonna wear this design on my tee at my seminars on fitness and at public events.
Looking forward to it.
 - Pushkaraj S Shirke

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

STEROIDS: Are They Worth The Risk?

a weird little strange life: STEROIDS: Are They Worth The Risk?:

STEROIDS: Are They Worth The Risk?

My Fat and Ugly Project consisted of me gaining a lot of weight, getting unfit and unhealthy and then working my way back to lose weight with the most popular measures and then lose fat alone with the most scientific method available.
The final picture is of me at my best with heavy weight training and supplementation - without using any pharmaceutical aid or steroids. 
Should you take steroids?
A should you or should you not questions is always most likely to be cluttered with moral issues. But here to keep it logical and scientific, i'm going to go straight to facts. Especially given that steroids is a subject always shrouded with controversy, more due to the abuse than due to the use. And most due to ignorance.