Thursday, July 18 2019


Fitness for Life

Fitness Tips
From easy tips that you can incorporate in your daily life to professional advice on the dynamics of fi tness, ATELIER brings to you expert opinions on a plethora of techniques by the top names in holistic wellness.
She is the mastermind behind Kareena Kapoor’s size-zero physique and the author of the bestseller, From XL To XS (Random House India). A certifi ed yoga instructor and the founder and CEO of Cosmic Fusion wellness studio in Mumbai, Gidwani believes that yoga is her spiritual calling. “Yoga really is a way of life – even when we breathe, it forms a part of yoga. Yoga is an eternal journey for me. Even on my deathbed, I would vouch that I have not been able to explore it all,” says the yoga expert. A popular name amongst Bollywood celebrities, she has the likes of Saif Ali Khan, Rani Mukherjee, Malaika Arora Khan, Jacqueline Fernandez and Farah Khan training under her.
“Yoga can make you look 10 years younger,” Gidwani claims. “If one religiously practises yoga, then I can assure that age halts and takes a backseat. Look how Sridevi is glowing with every passing day, due to yoga.”
Gidwani knows that every woman dreams of having a sexy, toned body without having to compromise on the food bit. “Every girl’s dream is to eat without becoming fat and the areas that suffer the most are the glutes (butt) and the abdomen. These two areas are not only an asset to women but also signify inner wellness; glutes help in daily activities like walking, climbing up stairs, squatting to lift something, getting out of a car and bending to pick something,” she explains.
The first step to achieve desired results for your fi tness goals is to shed off extra fat by working out and following a healthy diet that is low on fat and high on nutrients.
Certain yoga postures if practiced regularly can especially keep the lower body toned and fi t. “Utkatasana (chair pose against the wall), Tadasana and Shalabhasana are few asanas that help,” she tells ATELIER.
Gidwani’s husband Manish Tiwari is also a celebrity yoga expert. “Yoga brought us together and we practise together whenever we get time; we learn a lot from each other. We went to the Kaivalyadhama School of yoga but we practise our modifi ed version of yoga,” she adds.
A disease-free body and mind is something that cannot be bought; it is something that has to be worked upon, believes Wanitha Ashok, the body transforming expert. She also teaches strip-tease and Arabian veil dancing among other things. Done right, even eating can assist weight loss, she says while charting out some quick fi tness tips for everyday living.
All those people looking at shedding those extra kilos, you need not starve. “To lose weight, eat, but eat right. At the same time exercise,” she advises. “Weight loss mostly happens in the kitchen and getting fi t, sculpted and toned happens in the gym.” She advocates a diet that includes healthy carbohydrates found in whole grains such as oats and brown rice, protein and fi bre, low-fat dairy products, fresh fruits and vegetables. All these foods keep us feeling full and boost metabolism to promote weight loss. Also, fi ve to six small meals is the trick to lose weight. And a no-carbohydrate diet is a big no no, as contrary to popular beliefs, it promotes weight gain. Carbohydrates are a body’s fuel and in the absence of it, the body gets rid of the muscles and this brings down the metabolism making one gain weight.
Ashok is a fun person and helps people stay fi t in fun ways. A group activity director at Vriddhi Gym, Bengaluru, she takes regular classes based on the 3D Mantra – the current buzzword in the fi tness industry. This functional workoutbased class allows the body to move in the three natural planes of the body. “It is a multi-plainer 3D format which is applied for both-weight training and cardio segments. The workouts are based on skills like neuro-muscular integrity, coordination, balance, power, agility, speed, recall and focus, to challenge the body, inside out,” she elaborates. The classes are also fl avoured with Zumba, Latin, Disco yoga, Tabata, et al.
For those who crib about having no time, she lays down some practical ways to stay active and fi t. To begin with, watch what you eat, focus on protein and fi bre intake as both keep the glucose levels under control and give a feeling of satiety. Listen to music to bust stress, do deep breathing exercises, play mind games. Meditation and pranayama also help lessen stress. Instead of taking a lift, take the stairs. Yes, everyone says that, but she adds, “Take the stairs and do many variations on the stairs and even work the lower body. Take two stairs at a time, lunge on the steps, speed climb the stairs and move whenever you can. Remember to walk around the offi ce block.”
Also, carrying weights to the workplace and working out all the major muscles is the shortest way to lose weight as weight training boosts metabolism. A 20-minute session on alternate days will suffi ce. “Muscles should not be ignored,” she insists.
Renowned sports physiotherapist Harmeet Bawa is an expert authority on rehabilitation of sports person post injury working with the Sports Injury Centre, the designated facility for Commonwealth Games (October 2010). She has worked with star athletes aiding their sport prowess, especially in the north India region. Bawa strictly advises against overdoing things when it comes to fi tness. “Obsessive fi tness can become an addiction to the extent of neglecting one’s health and social well-being,” she explains. When you work out too much, it can result in insomnia, nausea, mild symptoms of depression, chronic fatigue and aches in major joints. Continuity in exercise can further lead to hormonal imbalances and an irregular menstrual cycle.
Talking about fi tness post the age of 35, she explains, “Women tend to lose lean muscle mass after the age of 30, which affects their metabolic rate. One must weight train to maintain and build lean muscle mass though women avoid it for the fear of increase in musculature.” Consistency is the key – women should devote a minimum of fi ve days a week to exercise, which should include a mix of cardio and strength training. “Don’t go for crash diets or fi tness regimes that aim at drastic results or spot reduction of fat,” she stresses.
On men’s fi tness, Bawa points out that extreme focus on weight training can sometimes lead to one being injury-prone. It should be done under strict supervision with an aim for progressive overload. “Do not take supplements to increase bulk, rather take a protein-rich diet. Do not follow quick fi xes for any change in body,” she suggests.
To those of us who are fitness fanatics, she emphasises on the importance of replenishing energy sources in your body to avoid running out of energy during exercise. One must start their workout with full glycogen stores by having a nutritious meal two hours prior. Post workout, a complete protein meal is required for recovery of muscles.
For high-impact exercise fans, fi rst and foremost, the body should be ready for high impact on major weight-bearing joints and your back. The techniques of exercising should be right and your clothing should not interfere with limb movements. “Stay hydrated and well nourished. You must listen to your body for signals to stop. Take adequate rest post workout – it would help muscles to recover and be ready for your next power workout,” she concludes.
An avid actor, passionate dancer and founder of Bollywood-style fi tness concept ‘Bollyfi t’, Reema Sarin is a multifaceted personality. When at the age of 17, most teens are confused about their career, she was already teaching aerobics. Trained in multiple dance forms including fl amenco, jazz, tango and modern dance from Arthur Murray Dance Studios in New York, San Francisco and Delhi School of Music, Sarin believes one can stay fi t while having fun.
She conceptualised Bollyfi t, which is a combination of various dance forms that helps in weight loss. Being a fast form of exercise, it makes you dance to 140 moves per minute. Sarin adds, “Bollyfi t is an effective form of workout that helps in burning calories very fast.” The dance form also has cardio and kick boxing that stretch your muscles and tone them. It is very benefi cial to reduce fat from abs, butts and thighs. Sarin believes that to stay fi t, your body needs regular movements. Hence, it is important to follow exercises like walking or jogging. She herself practices Bollyfi t and dancing. “I do one to two sessions of Bollyfi t and one session of dancing every day.”
Bollyfi t also charms those who want to reduce fat but don’t have the time to follow a strict fi tness regime. It is a fantastic way to keep yourself healthy and fi t as you enjoy your favourite disco numbers and reduce unwanted calories. Chammak challo from Ra.One, Subah hone na de from Desi Boyz, Bachana Ae Haseeno’s lead song and Rum rum whisky from Vicky Donor are some popular workout numbers. These fast rhythm songs demand a lot of hand and leg movements that help in stretching the body. This form is addictive. If you have started practising, it will be tough for you to leave it, as it is a unique form of exercise that gives you pleasure rather than pain!
To maintain a healthy lifestyle, just pursuing a fi tness regime is not enough – you also need to follow a healthy lifestyle. Enough sleep and having a balanced diet are equally important. The fi tness guru suggests, “Eat healthy. And make regimented exercise your routine.” A pure vegetarian, Sarin herself avoids heavy desserts, milk products and cheese. Also, her list of healthy drinks is heavy on refreshing options such as green tea and lime water
One of India’s most successful fi tness professionals, Yasmin Karachiwala has been following her zeal for nearly two decades now. She calls her journey into the world of fi tness a lucky accident. “I was in my late teens and it all started by fl uke when my best friend forced me to come for an aerobics session and at the end of that class, I realised how unfi t I was. So I decided to overcome my physical drawbacks and decided to commit to being fi t,” she smiles.
The Pritkins Longevity centre located in Florida, USA, offers holistic and scientifi cally designed programmes for weight loss. They specialise in prevention and reversal of specifi c programs such as obesity, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and cancer risk factors. Pritikin’s one- and two-week lifestyle-change programs are tailored to meet the needs of the individual and focus on daily exercise and an eating plan resulting in drastic weight loss, and train patrons on sustaining it post completion. Not your average boot-camp, the facility is nestled in a 650- acre tropical paradise, offering a full-service spa, tennis courts, swimming pools and fi ve championship golf courses. The camp is family friendly.
Karachiwala believes that every woman should have a fi tness regime as after a certain point in our lives, the physical state continues to decline which in turn slows down metabolism rate. Hence, in order to remain healthy and energetic, fi tness plays a vital role. However in today’s world, a majority of women population is career-oriented, working almost 12 hours a day. So how do they inculcate a fi tness routine in their daily schedules? “One has to be creative about how to incorporate a fi tness routine amidst a hectic lifestyle – taking the stairs, standing instead of sitting and walking rather than driving could be of some help. Workouts can also be designed to be done at a desk or at the workplace. The question is how much of a priority it is for the individual,” she says.
For Karachiwala, the mantra for a healthy lifestyle is to maintain an equilibrium between rest, healthy eating, exercise and fun.
Carving out a niche in the arena of Pilates, she talks about what this form of exercise is all about. “Pilates focuses on core strength (the deep muscles of the abdomen and the back). If your core is strong, the body can function much more effi ciently. There are other themes that are central to Pilates – precision movements, usage of breathing techniques, control of muscle groups, fl uidity of movements and concentration during exercise,” she explains.
Karachiwala’s fi tness regime comprises exercises that focus on fl exibility, strength, endurance, posture, body mechanics, smart eating and sleeping right. “Discipline is a central theme to my fi tness regime. Six days a week, I make sure I work out.”
Apart from working out, she also advocates eating right. “In rare instances and when people specifi cally ask for it, I recommend particular foods (quinoa, for instance). However, I do emphasise on eating right – a balanced diet, with small frequent meals, suffi cient fi bre, protein, low in fat and low in sugar is a healthy way of eating,” she adds.
Lastly Karachiwala believes that there is no short cut to a fi t and healthy body. “A combination of cardiovascular training, strength training and Pilates is the best combination for all,” she signs off.
Hailing from a health conscious family, she took up this profession at a very tender age. Today she trains business tycoons, celebrities and sportsmen like Anil Ambani, Kareena Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan, Preity Zinta to get in shape by altering their eating habits. Already an author of two books, she is currently working on her third book which will be entirely based on fi tness regimes and a nutrition DVD.
Her philosophy of losing weight is simple and practical; all you have to do is eat. If you love your body and want to see yourself fi t all the time, the least you can do for yourself is follow her basic principles that she mentions in her book Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight (Random House India). Start your day by having fruits and not tea or coffee, eat after every two hours, eat more when you are more active and less when you are just lounging, watching a movie or being lazy. Finish dinner two hours prior to bedtime.
For fi nicky eaters, who cannot resist eating junk food and crave for foods like pizza and pasta, “I suggest using the ‘sweet visa’. It’s about making a sensible decision regarding eating junk and self regulating. So let’s say you give a visa to some deep-fried food and sweets on a day when all your friends decide to meet and chill and you are having a good time, choose between eating your fried foods and sweets in good humour versus you getting bored/ frustrated/angry and choosing to distract yourself by eating a packet of crispy fries,” she suggests.
She makes sure to add seasonal fruits, rice, lentils, vegetables, wholesome carbohydrates, yoghurt, cottage cheese in her daily diet. She also eats her fried indulgences and sweets guilt-free and sensibly.
Talking about the hazards of starving oneself, Diwekar shares, “Young girls believe that they will have to lose weight to gain acceptance, approval and love. We need our girls and boys to know that each one of us is unique and we are fabulous exactly the way we are. Eating right and working out regularly out of a sense of responsibility for the body and its health is non-negotiable, but mindlessly spending time in the gym or counting calories is hazardous not just for health and weight loss but also for your sanity and dignity.”
Also a zestful nature lover she visits the Himalaya many times in a year. “I go there to study, rejuvenate and holiday. The mighty Himalayas are an integral part of my life. It is important to feel a sense of mental well-being alongside physical wellbeing, and this is where I fi nd both of mine.”
Jacqueline Tara Herron is an energetic person with an absolutely fi t physique. An international wellness expert and consultant, her expertise embraces a broad spectrum of well-being initiatives and skills including designing spa therapy treatments and training protocols, cultural massages, aromatherapy, designing of signature spa products, their philosophy and formulation, spa set-up from concept to launch, spa operations and consultancy.
She believes that, “In order to truly experience the levels of peace, happiness and, may I say bliss and enlightenment, I had to be deeply healthy in body as well as in mind. When your body is stress-free, relaxed and functioning smoothly, a peaceful mind and spirit is much easier to attain.”
In pursuit of bliss, she travelled all over the world picking up various forms of wellbeing exercises, executing spa projects and implementing fi tness programmes. Today, the very aim of her life is to inspire people to take care of their own well-being so that they enjoy the fruits of being human. But how would one defi ne well-being? “Well-being is a phrase that has, over the past fi ve years become the byword for feeling good in body, mind and spirit.” Herron herself achieves the same by practising yoga and pranayama every morning, and sometimes includes Pilates ball work and weights. She also goes to the gym about four to fi ve times a week. In addition, she goes for a swim at least twice a week – that’s one of her favourite sports.
She also recommends yoga highly, for “when practiced on a daily basis, yoga enables the mind to make better choices for the body, promotes emotional well-being and the spirit is freed to express itself through all that one does. It enriches, protects and inspires you on every level”. Even 10 minutes of yoga practice such as Sun Salutation when practised with a conscious mind and deep breathing brings balance in life and gives an instant boost for the whole day.
Another instant stress-buster, suggests Herron, is Breath of Fire or Kapalbhati. Explaining the procedure, she says, “Breathe in and out of the nostrils for fi ve minutes rapidly. Then close your eyes, breathe in deeply to the abdomen, hold the breath for six seconds and exhale as if through the crown of your head like a fountain. This immediately brings a boost of oxygen to the brain letting go of any psychological tensions transforming your whole outlook on life.” Her own motto for life is, “Life is benevolent. Trust yourself.”

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