Fitness 1 0 1
I had initially promised many friends last year to write a book on fitness targeted more specifically towards people who tend to consume large quantities of fatty and high-carbohydrate diets in their culture. And for some, genetics apparently make it even more challenging to break out from that lifestyle. But, since most people wanted to simply learn how I afford to be health-conscious despite a hectic sedentary lifestyle, I decided to write a blog as a trailer to my book. As you read further, you will gather the benefits of certain practices that have not only kept me away from curative medication for the last 5 years, but also developed my immune system to battle diseases in the most pathological of conditions.
So, what qualifies me to advise and guide people about fitness and general health? There are 4 major reasons:
- During my childhood, my mother struggled with health-related issues, causing numerous visits to doctors. Being underweight made her vulnerable to diseases. Because of my close encounters with the health care system in India and later in the United States, I gathered vast amounts of knowledge about human anatomy.
- I lived by the Jersey Shore for 4 years. The famous show on MTV derives its name from the Atlantic coast of New Jersey in the United States famed for tanned beach bodies and rock music. Undoubtedly, my bodybuilding hobby became more pronounced.
- The guidelines discussed below are based on extensive research done on the science of physical training, informational interviews with several certified physical trainers across the globe, advice from board certified doctors, and my personal journey to attain fitness.
- Not every intellectual individual can teach. Friends tell me that I am good not just at learning stuff but also at disseminating that learned knowledge.
Before I start, I would like to clarify that the guidelines laid out here are very general and that a training program should be specific for each individual. I am going to assume that a majority of people reading this blog lead a sedentary lifestyle that has negligible physical activity besides just taking the subway, commuting by car, or flying for business. And that the biggest of everyone’s worries is the collection of fat around the belly region that is not only embarrassing but also forces one to wear over-sized clothes! I became fit the hard way: revamping my diet, starting off on a treadmill, resorting to external source of protein since I am lacto-vegetarian, and incorporating weight-training & spinning in my regime. There are many mistakes I have made and many lessons I have learned that would help you to get to your goals a whole lot faster.
Before starting out on any regime, get the following checked at a local fitness center:
Note that the current state of your body is a case of simple math:
residual calories = calories consumed – calories burned + miscellaneous
I will discuss the miscellaneous later. In addition to exercising, you will have to change your diet dramatically.
Diet recommendations for Initial Fat Reduction:
- Gradually relinquish ghee, oil, butter, sugar and white flour. They’ll prevent you from getting to that state of physical bliss: a flat stomach and toned muscles. Adopt whole grain cereals instead in your diet.
- Step away from regular Vitamin D milk and start taking 1% fat or skim milk.
- Replace a large percentage of carbohydrates and fat in the diet with tasty salads and fruits. DO NOT completely replace with salads as this will make you so hungry at the end of the day that you will give in to your cravings for sugar and bread!
- Switch from 2 meals a day to 4-6 meals a day. This is going to be the hardest part as your appetite will be put to test, but with practice will do wonders.
- Calorie counting is good, but don’t overdo it. Using high-school knowledge of what food items contain the most carbohydrates, fat, and protein should be enough.
Exercise recommendations for Fat Loss:
- Start out by hopping on to the treadmill. Running helps burn calories uniformly as almost every muscle in the body is put into motion. For people with injuries or orthopedic problems, elliptical or stationary bikes are good alternatives.
- Free running may not be effective for some people, because then there’s no machine that forces you to run faster and for longer durations.
- Spinning is a great exercise that can help you burn up to 1200 calories in an hour!
- If you need, purchase a Heart Rate Monitor. Though most cardiovascular machines give you a calorie count, which keeps you motivated towards your goal.
Recommendations for Muscle Gain:
- If you are new to exercising, weight-training should be carried out under the supervision of a trainer.
- Free weights are best for weight-training as they also build stabilizer muscles around the targeted muscle.
- Consume 1g of instantized Whey Protein for every pound of body weight after your workout sessions.
- For those looking to get quicker muscle gain, Hydro Whey and Pro Complex are some options, though they can be very expensive.
- To accelerate muscle growth, consider complementing protein supplements with Glutamine, Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAA), and Creatine. These act as catalysts, expediting protein transfer to muscles that undergo wear and tear after a workout.
- Consuming a multivitamin daily is also recommended.
- Last—but not the least—get REST. I’ve consumed bags of whey protein without resting. The outcome was mere muscle tone and almost 0% muscle growth. The increase in muscle mass happens only—and only—when the body rests. During times of rigorous training, 7-8 hours of sleep is required.
My personal strategies to tremendously optimize fat loss and muscle gain:
- Always consume small amounts of sugar or carbohydrates before your workout session. This will provide the fuel during the workout.
- Stay hydrated with water or a sports drink. Negligence can lead to this.
- Fat doesn’t burn until the first 20-25 minutes of your workout. So, plan to workout for anywhere from 45min to an hour. But, do not work out for more than 1.5 hours as you’ll lose efficacy.
- Always consume protein supplements within 30 minutes of finishing your workout to get the most out of your workout.
- NEVER binge on sugar or fat after a workout. It is a natural tendency to be hungry, but you’ll have wasted all your time and effort going to the gym by doing this. Complex carbohydrates are fine if your goal is not lean muscle mass.
- Fat loss and muscle gain are opposite extremes. Avoid doing exercises for both in the same workout session.
- If muscle gain is your goal, always start out with weight/strength training first and finish the workout with some cardiovascular exercises. Weight/strength training is very demanding, so focus on that during the prime time of your workout session.
- Always change your workout schedule every 2-3 weeks else it will lead to diminishing returns as your body gets adapted to the monotonous training schedule. And your fat loss or muscle gain program will also hit a ceiling, causing a lot of frustration.
The miscellaneous variable in the equation I mentioned earlier includes Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) & genetic factors, both of which have a very small effect. BMR is simply the rate at which your body burns calories. Some people have a high BMR and tend to stay skinny despite minimal physical activity, while those with a low BMR tend to be relatively fat despite physical activity. Genetic factors appear to have less influence over characteristics such as balance, agility, reaction time and accuracy—many of which can be greatly improved with proper training, optimal conditioning, good nutrition and a positive mental attitude.
Speaking of benefits, there are endless. The most important one I already mentioned is that your tendency to fall sick will gradually reduce and you’ll save an awful lot on medical bills. You’ll look younger. When I recently met friends, they found me younger than what I was in my picture on the driving license from 7 years ago! Fitness will undoubtedly boost your professional performance. You will start feeling confident and be appealing to people. As an added—and a coveted—benefit, the opposite sex will find you more attractive.
So, what are you waiting for? Go hit the gym, and let me know through your comments how things go!
DISCLAIMER: This post does not endorse any products, brands, or fitness centers. The ‘Recommendations for Muscle Gain’ does not include performance enhancing drugs or steroids, and along with the ‘Diet recommendations for Initial Fat Reduction,’ should preferably be consumed only after a consultation with a physician. Please stay away from steroids as they can pose negative side effects, resulting in problems in the long term and even “death” in extreme cases. Fat loss and muscle gain programs are extremely rigorous, requiring a lot of determination, motivation, commitment, and self-control.