Thursday, December 17, 2015

Stranger in the mirror

                               Stranger In The Mirror

                                                                      Is this me?

Are you one those people who finds yourself facing a stranger in the mirror?  A complete change in the personality has occurred now compared to 5 years back YOU . That  fabulous body and beaming face, that confidence for having all the fun with friends, , spouse, kids is now nowhere to be seen?The person that you can see in the mirror is someone much older, duller and thinks twice before wanting to spend any energy on having fun as the mundane takes all the energy now. It was not like this a few years back, and now you wonder how just 5 years have made you look and feel 10 years older, you wonder, ‘Do I even want to be this person after 10 years?’ But you don't know the way to find this person you want be again  - Yourself!

Know the Problem.

The best way to figure out a solution is, to know and understand your problem.

Let me ease this emotional strain of you being lost,by saying, you are not alone into this, most of us go through this issue . Let me also explain, how these 5 years have made you into another person altogether and give you a solution to the problem. As you grow older your body stops growing, hence drops the caloric  requirement of the body that was needed in the growth phase. The metabolism drops and so does the growth. That means the muscle which is an  active tissue, also starts its wear and tear and the muscle mass reduces. This is a natural process.

No growth phase = less calorie requirement. 

Less muscle = less calorie expenditure. 
Oops!!! It’s a double whammy. But the good news is we have found the problem  to solve! 

Few facts one must  must understand :

1) Muscle is an active tissue in your body, that means work is done by this tissue to burn calories. so in simple words more  muscle burn more calories 

2) Muscle will never turn into fat or vice a versa. Women with more muscle will always look much much leaner than women with more fat. 

3) Being thin does not mean you have more muscle,or you have less fat .It can be a lot more fat than required, inviting physiological problems.

4) Body composition is determined in percentage of fat and muscle to your total body weight .

Variables and Constants.
Age:Drop in metabolism happens around the age of 25-30. This is the age where the natural process of growth stops and the exercise and nutrition has to be added as trigger points to fight the ageing process.

Change in Lifestyle: This is also the time where  women generally get married OR choose a serious career option OR both. This results in dropped metabolism to show increase in fat . There is either no thought given to a workout regime or there comes a big pause in the workout regimen even before it has started showing results. 

Nutrition: This becomes an coefficient of lifestyle change. Irregular meals and wrong food choices becomes a norm. When I say wrong food choices , I do not specifically mean the deliberate ones . We all know junk food is bad and we make deliberate effort to avoid it , but most of the times the junk food is replaced by equally unhealthy options that seemingly look and sound healthy . So this has to be very specifically taken care by, with professional guidance.

Hormonal Imbalance:Yes the hormonal imbalance can accelerate the process of dropping the metabolism, taking more toll on the emotional state as well, making you a person you do not want to be. 

But this is the time for all of you to try harder to fight these issues rather than accepting them, just like another aspect of your life. Did your school allow you to fail in 3 subjects cause you were good at the rest? No! You worked hard to clear those 3 subjects all 10 years of your life!!! why give up now, when you did not even as kids?The weight gain is not just making you look, feel, behave older, but is bringing along all kinds of physiological disadvantages to you. Now with all these factors affecting how you look ,your mind very smartly plays the blame game card!! We have all heard the grumbles of how marriage or the jobs or the added responsibility of the kids and all other things being blamed upon for the weight gain all the time .  Lets go beyond that and take up the  responsibility to accept the reasons that has actually done the damage and make the change for good.

Solution: To finding yourself back and never losing yourself again.

We have understood that dropped metabolism with above mentioned factors reduce the muscle mass. The reduced muscle mass makes you fat and look old. So obviously the solution is to stop the muscle loss and try and to increase the percentage of the lean body mass in your body.
  The only way to increase muscle mass is by weight training or resistance training followed by a nutritional plan that allows cell repair(This quality in the nutrient is the reason for the muscle growth and good skin etc.)Its very important to understand that the desired results cannot be achieved only by just expending calories and cutting down the intake of the calories. This kind of routine would rather add fat to your body. So instead of just cutting down the calorie intake, precedence has to be given to cutting down  of the food that has lipogenetic(fat adding properties). Add weight training to the workout routine  and add foods that have cell repair properties.
Activities like running, swimming, squash, tennis will give you endurance and cardiovascular benefits but does not aid in adding or maintaining the  muscle. (As explained in the previous article- No Pain No Gain).
As you must have derived  the formula by now,to achieve good body composition, which is to simply increase the,  ‘Lean body Mass’ to look younger leaner.

The Formula

Strength Training + Cell repairing Nutrition plan

              Ideal body composition 

It is sad to see people putting in every effort, trying extremely hard, giving in a lot of time and money for activities like running up n down 2 hours, 2 weeks crazy boot camps that make you do numerous activities that are all cardio n endurance OR  eat only fruits for a week OR try other cookie cutter diets, soup diets etc. This actually gives rise to dropped muscle mass making them more vulnerable to adding fat, and they actually look worse in a few months than where they had started off. These are the same people now, that  give up on any diet or fitness programmes,  as according to them they have tried it all and nothing works, but actually makes them add fat .I urge you all to apply this formula and enjoy this beautiful journey.

Personally, not only have I experienced this beautiful anti ageing benefit of weight training, but have also seen a few of my students easily fight their hormonal imbalances, health issues, aches and pains, along with finding their beautiful selves again.You dont need to see a stranger everyday, when you can see yourself, the way you perceive, the way you want to be,THE IDEAL YOU

A little information about my journey.

I have been weight training for 8 years now. My intensity is my body weight or more.
Eg: I weigh 55 kgs , and my squat poundage is 60kgs(132lbs). 

As I have progressed in the intensity of the weights I have always found myself looking leaner and functioning better. Falling less sick too.

Me : Age way way above 30 [ don't ask other details ;) ]
Inactivity:  6 months 
Reason : Injury due to a bad fall on stairs
Not so strict not nutritious diet:   3 months.Mind played games told me I miss the gym so I'm sad
Strict Nutritious diet followed : 3 months. when you wake up being called stupid by yourself!

The answer is in front of you, Go for those free weights now and experience that new you!

This article was written during an injury phase (Feb 2015 to August 2015) of mine when I really did not add much weight( I had a huge tendency to add on weight, but with weight training things have started to reverse). I thought it would be great to share the formula with my readers. The picture too is clicked during that phase of not doing anything, but visiting the gym to click selfies.

 weight training actually helps you maintain a good body even during unavoidable break,  age  not being a benefit.


Friday, December 4, 2015

Tour of Deccan 2015: Cycling Expedition with hidden Gems and Challenges.

Tour of Deccan 2015:  Cycling Expedition with hidden Gems and Challenges.

It was that time of the year when finally I needed a vacation. And How cool would it be for just the girls chilling on the beaches of Goa and let their hair down to down some sun downers. Only the way I decided to be there was to go cycling . It sounded like a dream, the dream that needed to be realised. It was not going to be easy as I never do any cardio as part of my workout schedule due to the intensity of my strength training workouts, and the limited time due to work, but then nothing is impossible is what I told myself. Also I was the same person that had done Manali –Leh –Khardungla in July 2014 in same physical condition, which was at 18000 ft above sea level. This was Aapla Maharashtra, at sea level and I was sure I could do it (that’s what the organizers too assured me of). I had my doubts as the distances we were supposed to ride were extremely long, but now I had dived into it,and had decided to give it my best . Only time would tell if I could finish it or not. I was on an work assignment in Africa for 10 days right before the ride. Here I tried my hand at a cycle. I covered around 80kms in 8 days with Mark Griffiths an awesome cyclists who helped me with this. His advice to me was "Jui Keep those legs Moving" .Feeling slightly confident and a lot apprehensive of what was to come my way! 550Kms in 5 days!!!

Day 1:20th Nov 2015  Pune mahad 120kms
 Day one started with me landing from Africa and going straight to Pune from where we were supposed to start the ride. Billa no 13 was the badge no given to me , for my cycle, bags n tags, at the lifecycle store ,Tilak road, Pune. A scary looking  route map with 120 kms to be covered and a huge incline to be gained was handed out to us.Though fatigued through the travel, the excitement kept me going and once the flag off was done with the tradional Ganesh aarti the crew of 35 people started wheeling towards Mahad. Cycling through the city was a bit boring but as we hit the highway and turned towards Bhor my pace started picking up. Inclines after Inclines were conquered happily , post breakfast was the deadly Varandha Ghat where all cyclist had to keep pushing the pedal with just one thought in the mind that this ghat was to be followed by  a beautiful decent flowing into the last flat road 15 kms into Mahad. The beauty of the backwaters and the ghat was mesmerizing,but by now the sun had worked its way into torturing me and I was feeling its wrath , killing each km was an effort now and still seeing inclines coming our way was a clear bummer . Just when the legs were giving up  peddling through this unending ghat, I found the ghat finally ending and  the lovely descent waiting for me . It was my turn to enjoy the roller coaster going down and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Getting towards the flats and scoring my pace really well by now. , But after many pedals and a few more kilometers covered ,legs were tired , body was fatigued and sun was not showing any mercy. The last few Kilometers were a killer but a long distance athlete has to win over this to finally make it to the destination and I knew it. Killing one kilometer at a time I finally entered Mahad only to take a wrong turn and ended up cycling another 10kms. At this point of time it was torturer in its purest form. I had a feeling of Friday(day of the ride) the 13(my badge no) had some part to play in this . I Couldn't see any markings for TOD(Tour Of Deccan, the roads used t be marked for the crew), the villagers didn’t know anything, the police vehicle refused to help. I was irritated, panicking and losing my temper by now. Finally two sweet village boys helped me back to the crew base.  130kms had been covered with tempers being cooled off by Nachiket Joshi ,my group leader  with yummy chicken kebabs and lovely lime soda.
Villager who was  amused ,Im not sure of weather it was me cycling through Varandha Ghat or clicking that selfie

Day 2: 21st Nov 2015. Mahad to Guhagar 105kms
It was a new day, and I had to leave the bad experience of getting lost behind and take on the craaaaaaazzzzyy challenging route Mahad to Guhagar. The route map given to us the night prior so scary, that I was not sure if I should stare at it or hide it away( why did I think this ride was gonna be easy?) we had to cover 105kms through these inclines. Guess what, the start itself of this awfully tough ride started with an huge incline to be covered . The only way forward was to keep kicking at the pedal.The sun was out and about  at torturing us again, only today it was at its peak much earlier at 9am itself and I could feel the heat seeping into me . I started feeling faint and I knew dehydration is taking its toll. Immediately added salt to my water stores and kept pedaling .  There were no clouds for cover, no tree for shelter, miles and miles of inclines with dry grass fields on both sides9wow they looked so beautiful, Golden, in its full glory).The only reprieve were my crew mates that were inching further killing each km with their determination.When u see team like that, its contagious. You encourage others and in return take their spirit to move on. This went on till the mid afternoon till we saw our ferry ride. Oh yes the beautiful ferry ride, the ride that was gonna relieve us from the blazing sun, the steep inclines and the cycle seat which by now had seemingly started feeling like a sharp object than a padded soft gel seat. I don’t know when was I so excited to see a ferry! Maybe when I was a baby , maybe for the first time in my life, now.The ferry spot was full of yummy foods stalls.My friends had some missal paav and famous fanas/jackfruit ice cream, and the chaas(buttermilk) was  to die for , I downed some yummy glasses of chaas, and rested my sore butt on the ferry seat for some selfies. It was as 10 minute ride and I felt rejuvenated again, only to see a wall like road ahead of us to be cleared. I couldn’t believe my luck, when my cycle started giving issues with the gears , and then the chain coming off over and over again, to top my woes. Once the issue settled after lot of time lapse and irritation, I was picking up speed again and was now eager to make it to the destination, Guhagar. The closer the destination would come the harder it would get to peddle, switch had to be made from physical to mental .But legs had to keep moving. Finally Day 2 was done with a lot of effort ,and an invite by a lovely beach, white soft sands,little shells sprinkled all over , kids playing in the water, some stalls selling the corn on the cob.The sun that had tortured us was setting, getting ready to do its job for the
Ferry Ride Happy Face
next day to come and so was I.

Day 3: 22nd November 2015 Guhagar To Pawas 95Kms
I was handed the route map and the thought that crossed my mind was , “where the hell have all these inclines come in Maharashtra? And how the hell this seemingly easy ride at the sea level is getting difficult each day?” It dawned on to me finally, that there was not going to be a day without the ghats and it was not gonna get any spirits started to dive down just then I see  my crew setting up for the new day .I brushed away all my doubts from the mind taking their spirit,assuring  myself to take this one day and give it all I have to this ride. Fatigued body was screaming for rest, but it was a  new day,  a new mind set- to finish this days ride all the way. The flag off was done at 5.30am. The body was crying of soreness, right hand fingers were numb, the butt couldn’t bear the thought of resting on the seats, but  the resolved crew and me were making war calls of“ Har har Mahadev” so loud as if we wanted to drown all the negativity and  start off the ride to finish it .  The ride started off with the incline , showing us that the mountains are always stronger than our voices. You shout, you scream, you hit back at them, but they are unmoved standing there, firmly challenging your resolve, challenging your capabilities. The route was not just difficult but time bound. We had to get through the first 50kms by 8.15am to get to the ferry of the day or miss it! Tired or not tired we had to keep up a certain pace or then be swept(Put into backup vehicles).I kept the pace on  with ease in the beginning, but it started to get tougher, me doubting if I would make it,but not letting my legs stop.I was finally relieved to make it on time to get into the ferry, after all that effort put into it and not being swept..  Post this whole frenzy (keep the effort and keep pushing on the incline , keep the pace on, with the fear of being swept looming over you) nothing could compare to those relaxed 10 mins on the deck of the  ferry ride with the happy crew faces that had made in time for the ferry .Post the ferry ,the cycle ride felt seemingly easy with no time limits. Riding through enjoying a few kilometers of this ride I saw a few friends waiting at a bend of a narrow windy road of a village, to take me for the beach ride. Once I took that turn beautiful Untouched pristine white sand infinite beach unfolded  itself, waiting for us to ride on the silver clear sand,I could see my reflection in this clear wet sand! Go all the way in the water,ride on the ripples of the sand and water. walking into an infinite sea is one thing, riding into it is another!It was an out of the world experience. Laughter and excited sounds filled the air; no amount of money can buy you the feeling of getting to ride your bike at such a lovely place in the middle of nowhere. Fully charged with laughter, selfies and more I started to ride on again. The happy feeling lasted just for a while, as the inclines were snarling up in front of me one after another, the sun burning not just your skin but the resolve as well, my numb fingers were trying to gear up the faulty bike (Its a complete different story to ride a faulty bike where you don’t get to the gears that are comfortable for the particular terrain) and just when I was in tears and completely defeated by my bike a seasoned cyclist Udayan Walvekar (this guy would reach 3 hours before me to the destination ,and I hated him, in an inspirational way of course, he’s an awesome rider ) passed me on an incline and shouted “Jui just use your palms to change those faulty gears, and just hit it” That worked so well , I pushed those faulty stuck up unmoving gears into its place and peddled right through the top. One thing going on in my mind as a Mantra used to be “One peddle, one incline, one kilometer.” I covered a lot of distance here, only for my cycle chain to slip off and get so badly stuck into the wheels that the cycle just stopped moving, right at 1kms before the destination village arrived. I couldn’t believe that after this whole ordeal my bike had to give up just a km away!!!!! But I was in no mood of giving up here and kept on working at the chain with my numb right had fingers, where my bike finally started moving. The chain was still not in place and a fellow crew member finally held on to my water bag and pulled me up over an incline and let the cycle roll-on the decent. I must mention here this fellow was just 16 year old kid named Jatin Jetani and I was so happy to see chivalry and willingness to help still not gone into the books of Once upon a time! Jatin and me made our way to Pawas as one team. Jatin could’ve reached an hour before me if he had not stopped to help me and I kept wondering how beautiful this world still is with people like this and we still have hope of being humans, and meeting humans.
Cant explain in words

Day 4:
Pawas to Mitbav -110kms
From my fingers going numb to my palms going numb my right hand had almost gone useless. I could grip the cycle handle , but changing gears, opening zips of my bags, lifting objects was out of my control. Thankfully my cycle was changed and I was given a different cycle. With so much trouble on the bike for last three days I didn’t have much hope for another rented bike.Thankfully this bike was working well. The good bike didn’t change the fear of the deadly route map for Paawas to Mitbav though . The inclines we staring at me in my Face through the route map itself and I knew it’s going to be a tough day with body giving up even without being on the cycle. Normal tasks like packing bags and filling water bottles had started feeling cumbersome , but I had to tell myself that “ So what if it’s not easy Im gonna hit it back hard.”The morning started by riding through lovely lazy fishing villages, pretty bridges lacing the creeks, waving goodbyes to little kids, I could keep my spirits up and peddle through the tough terrain due to these lovely sights. The sun had not forgotten to rise though and now had started to show its ugly side. It had taken its job to challenge me quite seriously. I wasn’t sure if I’m burning, melting or exploding or drying up and crumbling. At this point my body and mind just shut off and it was time to get under a tree put the bike aside and lay down, forgetting about the rest of the ride. I really didn’t care about anything at that point. All I wanted to do was lay there and chill. The mind was numb too. I just lay under a mango tree and enjoyed that moment of stillness.  I lost track of time till I saw another crew member joining me, and relaxing. We both decided to get up and  start the ride again . Today was particularly a hard day for me, it so difficult that at the times I wanted to  give up, but would keep telling myself to go on and finish the ride of the day that I had started. While you ride at your own pace mostly you end up riding alone, you become your own motivator, I found my mantra again ,to keep going “one pedal,one incline one kilometer," that’s how I had covered the distance till now and that’s how I was going to finish it.  It was a good thought to finish the last 20 killer kms .  I finally reached Mitbav. A few days later, back home I got a chance to watch Creed the movie,where Rocky trains “Hollywood Creed”  to go” One Step, One Punch, One round.” I was so happy to relate to this rule in every aspect of my fitness regime as taught to me by my metor Kaizzad Capadia and coming from Rocky Balboa, made  it sound super cool . The kind of expletives that were going on in the mind while finishing the last 20kms,along with all this self motivation, less said the better. Mitbav had a lovely untouched beach, white sand softer than the bed, waves beckoning and inviting you into its arms, sun melting into the sky making a lovely art piece. I couldn't believethat the same sun that I have hated during the ride was making me fall in love.  It seemed like  the sun was making a statement and questioning me at the same time . It said to me , “I  do what I do”, leaving a question for me to answer “Are you going to do what u ought to do?

Day 5 :  24th November 2015 Mitbav to Madrem 105kms
Fatigue had taken over. Yes the sunset was beautiful, and had made its point, but my mind was still split into two . One saying “come-on do the ride”, the other the loudest voice saying, “ No need to get on to this ride, just sit back and forget about the ride”. The mind was pulling me towards not doing the ride   until a crew member and my childhood friend Paree lalsare(another cool rider) came along and said “Jui if you don’t finish this you will regret it forever” her words stuck with me and all other voices drowned . I resolved to get on the bike , while  I felt like I was breaking inside with fully fatigued system. I couldn’t find my pace nor strength. I kept pushing ,not thinking how much more for the final destination. The flag off was done at 6am , it was 9am now,time for the sun to head up and crush me down. But guess what? I think that melting sun and I did have a heart to heart and I was indeed given a  beautiful cloud covered weather. My pace picked up a bit, a few villages and iced lime drinks later  my pace kept getting better and better. The final leg of the ride was done in high spirits with cloud covered sky and a new good bike. I peddled with all my might for the last 10kms enjoying the actual ride, not caring how more , how far or how many inclines. I was not just closing the ride that had made me  meet, face and conquer challenges .

But I had achieved far more than just that.I had my  foot prints and Tyre marks  on the beautiful untouched beaches . I had conversations with the Nature & myself. My relief sighs were heard by the  bridges that would  announce the arrival of the village along with cold water and iced lime drinks . Lazy villages woken up by so many cyclist swishing through the windy roads, the tall palms asking me to chill , the mango orchards offering their shelter and the lovely golden grass spread over acres tempting with its beautiful sights to be appreciated in that rugged weather.  I had an opportunity to ride with the  Crew that had an undying spirit. The spirit that rubbed on to each n every one of us to make this ride possible. I saw Happy faces of the villagers that tells us so much about our frowning faces most of the times. Sometimes you need a long ride like this to realize small things in life. I completed the challenge , I had fulfilled the challenge I had given myself,made new friends, found new inspirations.
 Some of this can be expressed in words and some remain unsaid and still more beautiful , for each one of you to experience it on its own.
This ride was in no way easier than Manali Leh Khardungla. Basically there is no comparison between the two and each ride should be treated with its own respect and loved for its own beautiful journeys it takes you through. This ride is dedicated to all of these sights and experiences that don’t just make a ride worthwhile but even life worth living.

Bridges lacing the creeks
Road markings generally done for directions but these added to some fun

Ferry Deck ride Happy Face with Paree and Damini

Tour of Deccan was organised by Nachiket Joshi –Lifecycle group ,Pune.
I would also like to thank Nachi for helping me stick to my ketogenic diet through this ride, which I have read of the benefits for long distance endurance events and wanted to try first hand. It worked beautifully in terms of keeping me strong, lactic acid free and kept me going.
Note for ketogenic followers: you will not get the food as per the diet plan on your plate when you finish the ride like others on this expedition. You need to go scouting for it(Thanks again Nachi), as most stay places  are vegetarian. You will need to pack the breakfast the night itself hence limits your food supplies for the day. I would suggest a low carb moderate protein diet with cheese and almonds as snacks for this ride. Though I did follow a  ketogenic diet on the ride, its not easy one  to follow here , in this region.   

Points to keep in mind for Cycling expedition for stupid ; so that you don’t end up stupid:
  • ·         Plan the expedition ride according to your fitness levels, so its not an ordeal but a challenge you can enjoy completing.
  • Nothing can replace the training benefits for expedition, You Have to Train
  • ·         Expect to face the challenges, it’s not going to be a picnic
  • ·         Plan your training period for the ride , speak to the organisers to help if new to cycling .
  • ·         know your cycle well, its  important to have used a cycle , to know the gears,  to know how to fix the chain etc.
  • ·         Go for practice rides organised by the organisers to know your crew well, it’s great to have companions that can cheer you and pull you up and you can do the same for them.
  • ·         Maintain a Nutritious diet plan, remember you have to do more than your usual.
  • ·         As simple and silly  as it sounds be organised, it makes immense difference to have everything in place for the mind to stay calm n focused. Water bags and bottles filled, next days utilities packed, clothes as per weather conditions ready etc.
  • ·         Warm up before the ride ,keep some time for it before the time given to you. Its difficult to start cold and to gain pace through the ride
  • ·         Wear Proper gear, like padded cycling shorts, cycle handles that allow you different grips to avoid numb fingers. Padded thick gloves can also help  bit to avoid this issue.
  • ·         Keep hydrating and replacing the salts. Beg, borrow ,steal water. I would say the best option is to buy it from the village shops, clean chilled mineral water bottles.
  • ·         Carry all general medications and supplements you need
  • Girls , remember you will not be finding any washrooms, be ready to find safe places and friendly homes on the way 
  • ·         Avoid having iced drinks, ice can give bad stomach infections
  • ·         Keep the Rocky rule in mind, “One step, One punch, One round.” Don’t tire yourself thinking of long distances , but edge on with shorter targets in mind.
  • ·         Rest when required if not a time bound ride. 
  • Plan your rest when the ride is done as well as the time is very limited post ride too, due to super early mornings
  • For time bound rides train mind and body before the ride. 
One more expedition was ticked off the bucket list and one more time, my fitness regimen- weight Training and good nutrition plan- Ketogenic diet had not failed me. Though this time I am more than convinced to keep cycling in my workout schedule as many more expeditions need to be ticked off the list

Entering Goa Border
More than anything don’t forget its an expedition you have taken up as a challenge for  yourself and don't give up easily , on the way enjoy small moments you get with yourself and the nature.  your achievement through this lovely journey is what you shall cherish forever.

Enjoying Goa With the Girls- Paree and Damini
 Believe!You have the capability to live your dreams

Monday, November 2, 2015

Goal Setting: Setting your weight loss plans up for success

Weight loss goals can determine how successful you will be at achieving your target. Well thought through goals help us keep motivation levels high and keep us realistic. They provide a plan for change as you transition into a healthy lifestyle.
Be smart around setting goals, unrealistic and aggressive goals can lead to frustration and eventually failure. Here are a few tips which can help you plan realistic and attainable goals. 

Focus on the process: We always know what we want to look like or how many kgs we want to loose, for example we know we want to loose 10 kgs but have we ever thought of how we are going to achieve that! Therefore, we must focus on the process of achieving our target; whatever it is – workout, cutting sugar, reducing calories, we much focus on the process and stick to it.

Set a realistic timeline: Focus on losing 2-3 kgs per month. A lot of us look for fast track options, we want to loose weight as quickly as possible. Remember, the faster you loose the weight, the higher the probability of it coming back as fast. Slow and steady weight loss that is long through a well balanced diet and exercise is always sustainable.

Plan your strategy: You know what you are going to do. Saying that you will exercise is a good but slightly unrealistic thought. However, knowing that I will start by running for 30 minutes every day or weight training or yoga for an hour everyday will help you stay focused and you will know what to look forward to. Simultaneously, if you plan to follow a particular diet, plan your meals ahead of time and if need be prepare and store for the next meal so that when hunger strikes you always have a healthy option available and don’t reach out for the nearest junk food.

Measure: Track your progress. Measure yourself before you get into a fitness regimen and keep a track. Your clothes will keep talking to you. Seeing steady changes really help boost confidence especially when you realize your old jeans fit you now J. Don’t trust the weight scale too much. The weighing scale can sometimes be very misleading and de-motivating. Our weight can differ on a single day basis what we eat for dinner, bloating, menstrual cycle, alcohol consumption, etc. Therefore, a more accurate and trustworthy tool to gauge success of your fitness regimen is measuring inches. Checking weight is important too, but not every day. Once per week or 10 days is good enough. Make sure your weight graph is moving in direction of the goal, THAT’S IT!

Be Accountable: Maintain a diary to track your food intake and exercise daily. This will help you stay honest and would help you understand what is working and where you have gone wrong.
Trust the process and stay happy. A lot of times we don’t see the results we want to see. You are exercising well, eating well and still no change. This can be attributed to stress. Stress causes water retention and severe bloating. It is very important to have faith and patience in what we are doing and stop hyperventilating if one odd week the scale doesn’t move.
Bottom line, remember we are dealing with a human body. Our achievement depends a lot on our genetics and how much we give to the process. Any sustainable program takes time, so don’t loose hope and give up. Instead wake up and help yourself achieve your goal and trust me it WILL HAPPEN!

Radhika Bhatia
Masters in Dietetics, ACE Certified Fitness Coach (ongoing)
Radhika Bhatia is a Freelance Nutritionist and Lifestyle 
Consultant. A Masters in Dietetics from Pune University Radhika spent 5+ years driving nutrition charter in Nestle and PepsiCo. Besides promoting clean eating and healthy lifestyle, Radhika is a competitive Fitness athlete and is currently pursuing her ACE Fitness Coach certification.

Froning: The Fittest Man in History - Are you joking?

I laugh at the narrow mindedness of Reebok and America. Hell yes i'm a rich froning fan BUT even i know that he is only the best crossfit athlete yet. AND THAT DOES NOT PAN OUT TO ACTUALLY BEING THE FITTEST ON EARTH (that's just the marketing tagline of the game) LET ALONE BE THE FITTEST MAN IN HISTORY. The competitive fitness in crossfit may be objective, but FITNESS in itself is relative. Just because someone excels at one sport, doesn't make him the fittest at everything.
FITNESS is relative. Rich is most definitely the FITTEST at crossfit. There will be people fitter than him who have not trained at crossfit and hence their adaptation to crossfit movements is not maximal. Similarly, put rich froning into another sport and see whether he is fittest than the fittest man at that particular sport. for eg: if froning and sachin tendulkar compete at batting in cricket, who will be fitter? If rich and messi compete at football, will rich be better? OR if he is indeed the fittest on earth, how come the game show - american ninja warrior wasnt bested by him while it was bested by a girl who is a gymnast and another man who was a mountain climber?
RICH FRONING is an incredibly fit man who is also extremely well adapted to the competitive movements of the crossfit games.
Yes, he is the fittest crossfit athlete. But he is definitely not the fittest man on earth, let alone in history.
This is just like america having an American Football 'world series' when the game is only played in america. I love rich froning and even the trailer and will even watch the documentary - but this overhyped, narrow-minded 'nomenclature' is Hilarious as fuck i'm sorry. "
- Pushkaraj S Shirke

Friday, October 30, 2015

When Injury Strikes: To Train or Not To Train

Life is full of adventures. And if you like adventures, no matter how much you want to live an injury free life, you are bound to face one sooner or later. Learning to accept it, is half the battle won.
Injury is a part and parcel of an athletes life. If you ride a bike, you will skid someday. When you surf waves, you will washout someday. Similarly, when you train, you will have an injury someday. Its a part of the lifestyle. And we take it in our stride. But sometimes injuries also come from factors not related to training - like an accident, surgery, sickness etc. Irrespective of where the injury comes from, what comes along with it is the eternal question - TO TRAIN OR NOT TO TRAIN. And the answer is not a oneliner, I'm sorry. Its much more complicated than that - atleast for someone who really is an athlete or for whom, training is a lifetime lifestyle and not just a one time 'lose weight quick' project.

Recently, I was at my strongest and on a quest to get stronger. I had hit 2 back to back PRs and was very excited about attempting new ones soon. BUT, calamity struck and my passion for motorbiking took a small toll on me. My motorbike brakes failed on a slope and my bike skid - and i tore my hamstring and injured my ITB while trying to stabilize the skid. As a result, my left leg was bandaged and completely out of action for a week. So i faced the same dilemma once again. But luckily for me, there is a set of principles i follow when it comes to training and i have long learnt to take injuries in my stride. It's very important to remember that as an athlete, your most important competition and duty is with and to yourself. And if you know this, you can stay calm, not lose your cool and follow these simple principles to tide you through:

That is THE ROCK. And that too in an over the top action movie. Even he would advise against such stupidity in real life.
Whether you were sick or injured, your first priority is RECOVERY. Do all it takes to help it heal. Let it heal completely. Don't stress it. Don't fall for the bullshit movie drama where they show the protagonist training despite injury and winning shit. The rock tears off his bandages from a fracture and goes back to fight the bad guys saying "sorry, daddy's got to go to work." in FAST AND FURIOUS 7.  In real life, that shit doesn't happen. In real life, daddy would be fucking screaming in pain and end up with a necrosis due to the unhealed bone poking into the flesh and blood underneath. Yeah. 
You need to do whatever it takes to recover. It wont hurt if you dont workout for a week. But if you haven't recovered and you push yourself to workout and injure another muscle or worsen the injury, you're only going to regret it. I've been there, and it stinks. Relax. Breathe. If its an injury - physio it, move-heat-compress-elevate, keep the nutrition levels high, take your meds and listen to the doc for a few days atleast. 

Kaizzad Capadia pointing out the phenomenal unilateral leg development of Sham Singh Shera - A polio afflicted bodybuilder from India.
Once the recovery is in progress, get back to training what you can. WITHOUT STRESSING THE INJURED MUSCLE/BONE/JOINT. If you have injured your legs, train the upper body on days you can. If you have injured the upper body, train the lower body on days you can. 
For eg: I have injured my left leg hamstring and ITB. So after a week of full rest and being off diet and on meds and bandages, I will be training my upper body every alternate day. Since the ITB and hams are injured, i will be avoiding structural movements and sticking to isolation movements for a change. The whole objective is to get some workout in without stressing the injury and allowing it to heal. Anything that causes SHARP PAIN (not soreness) will be avoided. And any workout that does not cause sharp pain will be done.
By doing so, when you are finally capable of making a full comeback to your workouts, you won't be starting from a full zero. All your hardwork done prior to the injury will be preserved in great measure and then you can focus on rebuilding the injured muscles/parts. 
Remember, when people with polio like bodybuilders NIZAR DAWOODANI and SHAM SINGH SHERA can build spectacular physiques without having full function of their leg, you don't really have an excuse. If they can do it, so can you. 

A real athlete never compromises on his protein. Ever. 
Injury and sickness and the rest period that follows often includes muscle and strength loss. But it need not be so. Its understandable to take a few days off diet to relax and unstress from the injury/sickness. Its ok if you have to go off-diet because you can't eat certain foods while you are sick. (Remember - recovery first). But after that, get back on a high protein diet if you can. I personally stay on the ketogenic diet. The 1:1 ratio (Protein:Fat ratio in grams) ketogenic diet has shown to preserve musclemass/avoid muscle loss - Various studies support the muscle preservation function of high fat diets. And during the lull period post an injury, thats the prime objective while recovery takes its time - to preserve and salvage all the skill, muscle and strength you can till you can get back to training completely.
Note: The ketogenic diet being anti-inflamatory also helps avoid inflamation of the injured tissues and the ketogenic diet involves cutting out sugar from the diet which also reduces inflammation and alleviates pain and therefore makes the injury less painful.

Stay away from illiterate 'DRAGO' coaches who just want to push you without concern for your safety and health.
Don't get back to training and be all ROCKY BALBOA on day one. Chill you pants and calm your titties. Remember that you are just out of an injury. Test the waters first. See what hurts and what doesn't - or if any pain still persists. Start from scratch if you must and gradually increase to a point that you are familiar with. It wont be worth anything if you got back to training and went straight back to the hospital. Your body may have healed, but you still might have a persisting weakness, a scar tissue, a fibrous tissue, a newly restructured bone - so go easy on it. Remember to pace yourself for the long run and not for a sprint. Keep your eyes on the long term and keep trudging on. And you'll be back to your old PR beating self again if all goes well.

Remember these principles, and you will wade out of your injury/sickness/lull period soon, strong and resilient. I wish you good luck and great strength!
Pushkaraj S Shirke
Founder and Director, BattlereadyX
Psychology Graduate, Film Maker, Ad man
K11 Trained Fitness Consultant - Training, Nutrition & Strength Training and Conditioning
Creative Director - THE STRONGEST INDIAN
India's Leading Fitness Photographer
Author GET STRONG, GET LEAN and Project Battleready