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Fight the flab

Cut yourself some slack this festive season. There is no way to jump the ladder and get slim in two weeks, especially during the Pujas when you should be treating yourself to some long-awaited bingeing. But yes, you can be in better shape and look it, too if you limit yourself to certain kinds of foods or avoid certain types of activities. Try these honest tips to get fit.

Cheat wisely: Pick a high-protein Kosha Mangsho over processed food like pizza

eat more fat!

If you have exercised regularly throughout the year and eaten and slept well, there is no reason why you can’t take a few liberties during the festive days. You may, however, wish to change your eating pattern in the next few days. Nutrition plays a critical role in your fitness. Proper nutrition can amplify the effect of your training efforts. Forget the low-fat diet, I feel that the body needs at least 30 per cent of your dietary intake to come from fat. Go easy on carbohydrates, particularly starchy carbohydrates like bread, biscuits, rice and rotis and don’t consume more than 40 per cent of your total food intake from carbohydrates. So, if you feel like cheating during the festive days, you are better off having a high-protein-and-fat meal, like a mutton Mughlai dish, rather than high on starch-processed food like pizza.

don’t cut calories

Calorie-restricted diets will not work if you want to lose weight permanently! You don’t have to starve or punish yourself with hours in the gym to lose weight. However, you need to learn how to eat to bring your body back into balance so that it will function at peak fitness level. Calorie-restricting diets don’t work in the long run as they disrupt the body’s production of important hormones and enzymes. Poor eating and long hours of mindless exercise set off stress responses in your body. Your body, then, as a response to stress, starts releasing stored glycogen from the liver into the blood to raise your blood sugar level. Repeated bouts of such stress will cause your body to function poorly and hold on more stubbornly to body fat. Definitely not a happy situation for weight loss.

Lift heavier weights

add on muscle

Try lifting heavier than your usual weights to hit your body a little differently and coaxing it to build some lean muscle. This will rev up your metabolism and stand you in good stead for the days when you may be pandal-hopping and can’t make it to the gym. If lifting too much weight is not something you see yourself doing, then try circuit weight training with moderate weights and high repetitions, which is an excellent way to build lung power and heart capacity as well as adding muscle tone and metabolic conditioning. Use five resistance training exercises sequenced from most complex to least complex, focusing primarily on functional movements like squats, lunging, rowing, cable pushing and bending, and do these exercises back-to-back without rest. Rest for 60-90 seconds and repeat for four circuits.

Stay away from aerobics

stay away from aerobics

Strength coach Charles Poliquin had coined the term ‘chunky aerobics instructor’ (CAIS) to describe women aerobics and step-class instructors who spend almost two to three hours every day on aerobic exercise, yet carry 22-24 per cent body fat. Compare these figures to female sprinters who carry only 12-13 per cent body fat and the punchline is clear: stay away from aerobic exercise! Take a leaf out of the books of sprinters. They never do aerobics. In fact, it would be detrimental for them to do so, yet, they are lean and healthy. It is not uncommon to find marathoners with high body fat percentage (in spite of sometimes being underweight!) having a vertical jump of only a few inches! Forget what doctors tell you about aerobic exercise based on research done on treadmill running of rats. Humans are not rats.

sleep more

Sleep is the best way for the body to repair itself. Without adequate sleep, the human body produces too much cortisol (stress hormone). Cortisol leads to adrenal fatigue, yo-yo-like fluctuations in blood sugar and completely throws your digestive system off gear.

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