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A well-rounded exercise program consists of warm-up as an important component. It is intended to literally warm up the exercising muscles so as to prepare for the upcoming work-out. It is an essential part because it allows the body to gradually transit from the resting state to the higher demands (biomechanical, physiological, bio energetic) of the exercise. The heart rate, breathing rate and core body temperature gradually (and not suddenly) increases, preparing the body and system for physical activity.

Benefits of a warm-up

1. Prevents any potential injury to muscles or joints during the work-out
2. Enhances the range of motion (ROM) of the joints
3. Enhances muscle performance by accelerating metabolism and decreasing muscle resistance
4. Enhances oxygen supply and blood flow to the heart muscle as well as the skeletal muscles
5. Reduces muscle soreness post work-out

The basic components of a good warm-up-

1. Duration- Should be of at least 5-10 minutes
2. Intensity- low to moderate intensity
3. Mode- Cardio activities like slow walking, slow jog, cycling etc. and muscle endurance activities like shoulder circles, neck rotation etc.

The most important principle of a warm up- SPECIFICITY

Warm-up is always specific to the exercise, mimicking the movement that will be performed in the subsequent work-out.

For example, if your exercise session consists of brisk walking, then a slow walk would be an ideal warmup for you. Similarly, brisk walking serves as an appropriate warm-up for those who jog during their active exercise session. Low intensity jabs, punches and kicks are performed as warm-up movements before a kickboxing class, and few rounds of Surya namaskars open up the body for the upcoming challenging asanas in a yoga class.

Keep yourself happy by keeping yourself healthy. Let well-known Mumbai dietitian and fitness expert Munmun Ganeriwal design a nutrition, exercise and lifestyle transformation program that elevates your overall sense of well-being. Contact us now for an in-depth consultation.

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Purvottanasana or the Inclined plane pose

Benefits– Not only does it strengthen legs and arm muscles, it also strengthens your lower back and improves your sense of balance

Steps

1. While you sit on the floor with legs stretched straight out, place your hands few inches behind you making sure your fingers are pointing backwards.
2. Lean back slightly on your hands bringing your shoulder blades together
3. Lift the hips as high as you can, ensuring your knees are straight, feet are flat on the mat and not turning outwards.
4. At the final posture, body should be in a straight line. Hold the pose for 10 secs to 1 minute
5. Release the pose to sit on the mat and relax

Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward dog pose

Benefits- It helps to tone up arms and legs, strengthen the ankles. It also helps develop speed and lightness in the legs, hence especially good for runners and sprinters

Steps

1. Lie down on your stomach with your palms by the sides of your chest. Fingers pointing towards the head. Feet slightly apart
2. Exhale and lift your trunk, till your arms are straight. Move your head inwards towards the feet.
3. Turning your toes under, lift your knees away from the floor. Keeping elbows and knees straight, press the heels down on the mat
4. Hold the pose for about a minute and remember to keep breathing.
5. To release, exhale and lift your head, bend your knees and lower your body on the mat and relax

Urdhva Dhanurasana or the wheel pose

Benefits- Since the arms and legs are actively engaged in the pose, it helps to strengthen them. Being a backbend pose, it also works to keep the spine healthy and elastic.

Steps

1. Lie on your back. Keep your palms under your shoulders, fingers pointing towards the feet.
2. Bend your knees, feet flat on the mat. Walk your feet closer to your hips.
3. Exhale, lift your trunk and rest the crown of your head on the mat
4. Exhale again, this time, raise your trunk and head both, till your arms are straight. Arch your back and keep pulling your thigh muscles up, so as to ensure your body weight is resting on your palms and soles of the feet
5. Stay in the pose for up to a minute and breathe normally
6. To release, exhale, bend your knees and elbows and lower down the body on the mat

Keep yourself happy by keeping yourself healthy. Let well-known Mumbai dietitian and fitness expert Munmun Ganeriwal design a nutrition, exercise and lifestyle transformation program that elevates your overall sense of well-being. Contact us now for an in-depth consultation.

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It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenally.”

― Maya Angelou

Women are inherently beautiful. Yes, they are, irrespective of their size, shape, colour and anything else. But do most of us inherently feel beautiful about ourselves?

They say that a woman’s ovary represents creativity. For creativity to be nurtured, what is needed is huge doses of love, compassion and patience. If what you offer instead, is anger at the self, hatred of the body and an unwillingness to love yourself, is when you see disorders like PCOD/ PCOS manifesting itself in various complex ways on your body.

Scientifically speaking, women with polycystic ovarian syndrome/ disorder (PCOS/ PCOD) have small cysts on their ovaries that most of the time (not mandatory) leads to hormonal imbalance, unwanted body hair, obesity, insulin-resistance, infertility, irregular periods, absence of periods, diabetes, hair thinning, acne, oily skin amongst few others.

PCOS involves the delicate balance of various female hormones and multiple organs of the body, namely ovaries, adrenal glands, pancreas and pituitary gland. Hence, the way to approach it & deal with it should also be very holistic and comprehensive.

Usually contraceptives/ diuretics/ anti-androgen/ anti-diabetic drugs are routinely prescribed to bring balance and treat PCOS/ PCOD. Available scientific evidence suggests that lifestyle modification (LSM) interventions reduce fasting blood glucose and insulin levels in women with PCOS with effects that are similar to drugs. Moreover, it is only fair to give lifestyle a chance before resorting to popping pills with their obvious side-effects. Lifestyle changes, including food, exercise, and sleep, improves the metabolic and reproductive abnormalities of PCOS women. Therefore, it undoubtedly, represents the first-line management for all women with PCOS.

The two main nutritional, exercise & lifestyle objectives for PCOS are to a) lower body fat levels (improve body composition) and b) enhance insulin-sensitivity. And the way to achieve them are-

1. NUTRITION – Eating local, seasonal and fresh homemade meals that are wholesome will ensure that all the required nutrients reach your ovaries and your glands so that they are nourished and well looked after.

Eating wholesome food – Now the prime nutritional strategy for insulin resistance & PCOS is to eat foods that are low in GI. Eating foods that have a low GI keeps blood sugar levels steady and helps your body metabolise fat more efficiently. Generally, the less processed a carbohydrate, the more likely it is to have a low-GI score. So choose to eat rotis, theplas, dosa, rice, paratha etc.

But what is really interesting is that your glycemic response to a food depends on the other foods you eat with it.

Adding fat to your carb-rich food, lowers the overall GI of the meal. Fat slows stomach emptying, delaying the process of converting food to blood sugar. Hence, more the fat, the slower the sugars (‘carbohydrates’) are digested, and lower is the glycemic index. So spread a generous amount of white butter on your roti/parathas, do not dump the coconut chutney when eating idli/ dosa, and do lace your hot, fluffy rice with a spoonful of ghee.

Now if this meal will include proteins too, the GI impact of the carbohydrate foods will be further minimized. This is because by combining foods in a single meal the overall impact is to slow down the rate at which your body releases sugar from any single ingredient. So add a bowl of curd with your butter paratha, some sambhar with your idli chutney, and some dal or egg curry to your rice ghee. And there you have a wholesome meal that is not only low in GI, but also rich in fibre-rich grains, vitamins & micro-mineral rich pulses, and essential fats. The kind of meal your ovaries are going to thank you for!

But haven’t we all grown up eating dal bhaat ghee/ paratha curd? The reason we have invited these host of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like PCOS/ Diabetes etc. is because we have either looked down at our own homemade meals; or tried to eat them in isolation; like eating roti without ghee, having dal but no rice etc. This shift from our traditional & wholesome way of eating to more Westernized diets is called “Nutrition Transition” and is said to be largely responsible for the urban lifestyle disorders in developing countries like ours, today.

2. EXERCISE – Amongst all the exercises, incorporating strength training into your workout regimen is crucial to improve insulin sensitivity and to better control insulin swings. Structured and progressive strength training improves how the body uses insulin and allows glucose to get around the body better. Weight training at least twice a week is hence essential, to bring hormonal vibrancy.

Numerous studies have demonstrated conclusively that strength training also burns fat much more effectively than any other exercise does. Aerobic activity (like cardio, walk, swim etc.) burns fat while you’re exercising, but anaerobic activity (like strength training) burns fat in the minutes, hours and days following exercise, as your body recovers from your workout. Studies reveal that strength exercise burns more calories (or fat) for as long as 24 to 48 hours post workout! Better fat loss means better hormonal balance, better hormonal balance means regular & painless periods, lesser break outs, reduced hair fall and enhanced fertility.

3. SLEEP- Not getting enough sleep impairs metabolism and disrupts hormone levels. With ongoing sleep loss, insulin sensitivity of body reduces. At the same time, your body secretes more cortisol (stress hormone), which makes it harder for insulin to do its work effectively. The net effect: Excess glucose stays in the bloodstream, that not only leads to weight gain but also throws all your hormones off balance.

Make sure you have regulated wake up and bed timings. A deep, restorative sleep is priceless for your hormones as it brings a sense of harmony in them.

And lastly, take it one step at a time, with love, compassion and patience. As women, we tend to be least kind to our own selves. Applaud yourself for every small effort you make in the right direction and gradually, you will see yourself transforming. And do remember that: “You are a woman, phenomenally!”

Keep yourself happy by keeping yourself healthy. Let well-known Mumbai dietitian and fitness expert Munmun Ganeriwal design a nutrition, exercise and lifestyle transformation program that elevates your overall sense of well-being. Contact us now for an in-depth consultation.

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It’s the month of January which means its that time of the year when we are either making resolutions or trying to maintain them. At the end of each year, we make different kinds of resolutions and you will agree that a chunk of these resolutions is about losing weight. And most of us will also agree that by end of January, or early February our resolutions begin to fail. Statistics also show that 95 percent of people who do manage to lose weight regain it –at times more than what they had lost, —just within a few months. So why is it that 95 percent of people fail diets.

Well, I choose to believe the other way round. Its 95 percent of diets that fail people. The problem is in those diets that we often look out for in search of weight loss. So here are my 4 things that you should NOT do to lose weight-

1. Do not follow diets- The problem with diets is that it asks you to eat only one thing or totally avoid some other thing. Once you get on a diet, you start looking at food in isolation vs eating wholesome. For eg: A Keto diet that asks you to eat protein and fats but no carbs i.e. no roti, thepla, rice, bhakri etc. In the science of biochemistry, it is often repeated that “Fats burn in the flame of carbohydrates” which means that fats are burnt or utilised for energy in the presence of carbohydrates. So for fat loss, carbs are extremely important.

Or then there is “Low fat diet” where you are allowed to eat everything but no oil, no ghee. Food is either steamed or sautéed or boiled. But more and more research today is asking us to eat fat to cut fat in the body. So we need to eat fat as well.

Hence, rather than hopping onto a diet, make a pledge today to follow a wholesome meal pattern that not only allows you to eat carbs, proteins, fats but also takes account of real life situations like festivals, travels, everyday stresses, work commitments and so on. Because only then your diet becomes sustainable and you lose weight so that it does not come back.

2. Do not practise inconsistency- While I talk about consistency and its importance with my clients, I always mention one of the quotes by Bruce Lee – “It is not about practising 10,000 kinds of kicks, but it is about that one kick practiced 10,000 times”

We often run from one diet to the other, one exercise to the other, we read about some new superfood, some new workout and we just jump on it, only till the time we discover something new again. Fitness rather is a compounding effect of eating and exercising right every single day. Its an ongoing process and you need to work on it consistently. So instead of trying to know and implement the latest fitness regime your favourite celebrity is following, spend time to find your true calling and stay consistent with your own routine. The best of superfoods and exercise in the world will give zero results if you stay inconsistent.

3. Do not stand on a weighing scale- Firstly, your body weight is not an indicator of your fitness. You may weigh more according to the standard height-weight chart but still be light on your feet, energetic and disease free. I am sure you know someone in your life who may not look skinny or thin, but is super fit, does his or her daily activities at home and workplace effortlessly, is full of enthusiasm and is cheerful, happy and certainly not living on medicines. On the other hand, you also must have come across one such person who is skinny but just had a heart attack. In short, your metabolic health, is NOT a function of your body weight. Just like school report card only reflects number and not overall learning of a student, a weighing scale also only reflects a number and not the overall wellbeing of a person. So instead of obsessing over a number on the scale, focus on getting stronger, fitter and healthier.

4. Do not overlook the importance of sleep- The modern curse of not getting sleep these days has a lot to do with the gadgets you use. That’s right, the light that the screens of your phones and TV in your bedroom emit delays the release of a hormone that induces sleep called melatonin, and increases alertness. Not getting enough sleep impairs metabolism and disrupts hormone levels so much that a study led by scientists at the University of Chicago termed sleep deprivation as “the royal route to obesity”. So switch off all the gadgets at least an hour before you go to sleep or still better, just keep it out of your bedroom.

Make this 2018 a special year where you not only lose weight but also keep it away forever; where you not just lose weight but also get healthier and fitter in the process. Until next time, eat right, exercise smart, move more and sleep well. Have a good day!

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Mumbai may not be Delhi yet, but the rising smog and air pollution is taking a toll on the health of city folks. Here’s few simple tips you may follow to bolster up your immunity and stay safe and healthy-

FOOD

1. Jaggery and Ghee – One of the richest sources of iron, JAGGERY helps in increasing the haemoglobin of the body. More RBCs (haemoglobin) = increased oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood. This in turn, will help in increasing your lung capacity and ability to fight against the harmful effects of air pollution.

GHEE works as an anti inflammatory agent and will keep you away from allergies (like burning sensation in eyes, dry throat etc.)

HOW TO HAVE– Dip a small piece of jaggery in ghee and have it post meals.

2. Turmeric– Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It supports liver detoxification and due to its anti-microbial properties, it’s use is beneficial to fight against harmful bacteria.

HOW TO HAVE– Grandmom recommended and now approved by the
West, sip on the haldi doodh before you go to bed.

 

3. Tulsi– The combo of honey, ginger and tulsi works as a decongestant. The antibiotic, anti-bacterial and detox properties of tulsi also enhances hair health and help soothe your flared up & itchy, irritated skin.

HOW TO HAVE– Make a kadha or herbal decoction from a mix of tulsi, ginger, honey, cardamom and crushed pepper in boiling hot water. Excellent for cough, cold and flu.

– Apply Tulsi paste on skin

– Mix Tulsi powder with coconut oil and apply to scalp

 

4. Amla– One of the richest sources of Vit C, it equips your body to fight infections and improves the body’s immune response. It also helps in digestion by stimulating the secretion of gastric and digestive juices. Healthier gut= Better immunity

HOW TO HAVE– You can make a chutney out of it and have it along with
your meals or have the probiotic-rich Amla murabba as any of your
mid- meals.

5. SAFFRON– The most expensive spice in the world, Kesar is rich in antioxidants like carotenoids, which in turn, helps prevent free radical damage and is beneficial in boosting resistance against infections.

HOW TO HAVE– Take 4-5 strands of kesar and soak it in water overnight or for 2-3 hours. Have it first thing in the morning along with its water in the morning.

 

EXERCISE

1. Surya namaskar (sun salutation) and poses that open the chest, throat, and sinuses help eliminate mucus and remove congestion in the respiratory organs.

2. Few simple poses or asanas that one can practise are the fish (matsyasana), boat (paripurna navasana), bow (dhanurasana), locust (salabhasana), and camel (ustrasana) poses, along with inversions like shoulderstand (sarvangasana) and the headstand (shirshasana).

These simple yoga poses will help get the blood flowing to increase immunity and build your health & vitality.

 

ADDITIONAL POINTERS

1. Steam inhalation with lemon grass– Lemongrass has antibacterial and antifungal properties that help you cope with cough, flu and cold. Loaded with Vitamin C, it also boosts the immune system of the body to fight the infection. For sinusitis, cold, and bronchitis a steam inhalation is very helpful. Boil a handful of lemon grass leaves in water & inhale.

2. Rub ghee inside your nostrils– Just before you step out of the house, apply a thin layer of ghee with your little finger to the insides of your nostrils. This helps get rid of the acute effects of pollution and prevents allergies, rhinitis etc.

Keep yourself happy by keeping yourself healthy. Let well-known Mumbai dietitian and fitness expert Munmun Ganeriwal design a nutrition, exercise and lifestyle transformation program that elevates your overall sense of well-being. Contact us now for an in-depth consultation.

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It does not matter as much how hard you train, as it matters how well you “refuel” your body post-workout session. In order to get the desired results from your training- be it the sculpted, toned body you are looking for or getting fitter & stronger is your goal- what you eat following exercise is crucial and can have a major impact on your results.

Why is “Recovery Nutrition” important?

Post a workout, your body is in a catabolic state (process of breakdown) because of many biochemical, metabolic & hormonal changes that has taken place during the exercise. It has depleted its muscle glycogen reserves (body’s stored fuel), the catabolic hormone cortisol has been on a surge & then there are the free radicals (chemically unstable molecules) that have been generated during the exercise. The good news is that this presents an “anabolic window of opportunity” Anabolism refers to the process of building up. By consuming proper nutrients post-workout, you will be able to arrest further muscle breakdown, initiate the re-synthesis of fuel reserves, initiate the rebuilding of damaged tissue, bring down cortisol levels, accelerate removal of metabolic by products (lactic acid, CO2). Hence, having a post-workout fuelling strategy in place is extremely important for improvements in both body composition (fat loss) and exercise performance, faster recovery, preventing fatigue and resisting injury.

What is “Recovery Nutrition”?

Insulin sensitivity is heightened immediately after exercise, which means that ideally you should consume your post-workout meal as soon as you finish your workout. The quicker you feed your body, the better nutrient delivery to the muscles and more nutrient & glucose uptake by them to utilize for repair. Another physiological effect of exercise is the immediate increase in the blood flow to the muscles. Hence, the delivery of protein, carbs, vitamins, minerals, water etc. is also enhanced, resulting in greater muscle protein synthesis.

But since we live in a ‘real’ world v/s an ‘ideal’ one, it may be possible that at times, you are unable to consume your post-workout meal immediately after cooling down at the gym (for e.g. some day you may be rushed for office) Then know that, all is not lost. The “anabolic window of opportunity” lasts for at least a couple of hours following exercise so if not right after workout, do make sure you take in the nutrients as soon as you can!

The “Recovery Nutrition” comprises of the four R’s backed by exercise physiologists all over the world, which are-

1. Rehydrate It is crucial to make up for the loss of fluids and electrolytes as your body is in a dehydrated state post-workout. Among other health benefits, staying properly hydrated will help your body be better able to deliver the nutrients that your cells and muscles need in order to repair themselves.

The bottom line: Ensure you have water post exercise and also later through the day. The best way to check if you are having enough water is to look for your urine colour- should be crystal clear, not cloudy. Caffeine has shown to disrupt post-exercise insulin action, thereby impairing your body’s ability to replenish glycogen stores and utilize protein for muscular repair. Hence, if you do want to indulge in your cup of coffee or tea, wait for a couple of hours after your workout.

2.Replenish One of the primary goals post-exercise is to replenish glycogen reserves (stored carbohydrate in muscle & liver) that gets depleted during training.

Post-workout, you should consume carbohydrates that come from simple, high-glycemic sources so that they can quickly do its job. They will break down quickly in your gut, sending a surge of sugar into your bloodstream and raising your blood glucose which in turn, will spike insulin levels. Since insulin has both anabolic and anti-catabolic functions, it will accelerate protein synthesis, inhibit protein breakdown, and shuttle glycogen into cells. And this is one instance where elevated insulin won’t promote increases in body fat. Because your muscles & liver are literally starved, nutrients will tend to be used for muscle building & repair rather than fat storage.

Other than being high GI, carbs that you consume should be light and easy to digest so that it does not overload the gastro-intestinal system, disrupting the blood flow to the worked-out muscles.

Some research shows that carbohydrate-rich foods containing a combination of glucose and fructose is ideal, here. This is because glucose is converted to muscle glycogen, whereas fructose preferentially replenishes liver glycogen (glucose is of limited utility to the liver, a phenomenon called the “glucose paradox”). Thus, the two types of sugar work in synergy to replenish the glycogen stores of the body.

The bottom line: Include a variety of carbohydrates post-exercise. Few good choices are sugarcane juice, banana, boiled potato, potato sandwich.

3.Recover The other main nutritional objective post-workout is to supply sufficient amino acids (protein) for muscle tissue repair. If protein intake is sub-optimal following training, recovery is hampered and results are compromised. When amino acids are consumed following training, protein synthesis increases, optimizing the development of lean muscle tissue. Increase in lean muscle tissue is important for fat loss, change in body composition and improved exercise performance.

Protein should preferably be in the form of a high-biological value (BV) protein powder, that which is easy to digest and readily available, absorbed & assimilated in the body. A fast-acting protein such as whey works best. Because it is rapidly assimilated, whey reaches your muscles quickly, thereby expediting repair. The BCAAs (branched chain amino acids) in whey protein keeps the insulin sensitive and boosts your immunity, amongst many other things.

The bottom line: Once you have had your carb-rich food, have a whey protein shake mixing whey protein powder in water.

4.Revitalize Make sure to incorporate key vitamins and minerals in your post-workout meal that will help to recover and repair faster. Antioxidants is of prime importance here as it will negate the free radical effect of exercise that interferes with body’s recovery mechanism. Important antioxidants are Vit C, Vit E, Vit A, and minerals Selenium, Zinc, Chromium. Apart from its antioxidant effect, these minerals also have an insulin-like effect thus accelerating the anabolism process post workout.

The bottom line: Take separate vitamin supplements (of A, C, E) along with a supplement of Zinc, Selenium, Chromium with your post work-out meal.

Plan your post-workout meals right and get incredible results from your workout! Stay fit, stay young!

NOTE: This article was written by me for MyBeautyGym.Com & was published on 18th August 2017.

 

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Functional Fitness Training - Myths and Facts
NOTE- This article was written by me for Franchise India & was published on 17th August 2017. Read on…

The latest buzzword in the fitness industry- “Functional Fitness” has caught on with all the gym enthusiasts. With more and more people using Functional Training, it is definitely the most hyped workout craze today. But what does the term “Functional Fitness Training” really mean?

What is Functional Fitness Training?

Functional as the word suggests is Practical, Useful, Occupational, Utilitarian. To have more strength, stamina, efficiency in your daily movements is essentially what Functional Fitness is. The ability to do everyday tasks – walking the stairs, carrying groceries, lifting luggage at the airport, picking up your baby off the floor- without becoming fatigued. Functional Fitness Training, thereby, involves exercises that have a high carryover to work & daily living activities.

Looking at exercises as “Functional” and “Non-functional”? – What does research say?

A lot of concepts are being promoted as to how to achieve fitness that is functional which are unfortunately, not in sync with the scientific study & research papers. Let us dispel some of the popular myths & delve into the facts of Functional v/s Non-Functional Training.

Myth 1# Exercise Machines are “non-functional” training implements

It is widely accepted that lifting a certain amount of weight in an idealized posture created by a gym machine does not focus on building a body capable of doing real-life activities in real-life positions.

Exercise Machines are “non-functional” training implements

Fact 1 # A study to evaluate the effects of strength training on functional capability recruited elderly people (90 years & above) and trained them exclusively on a leg extension machine, three days/ week. After eight weeks of resistance machine training, the subjects increased their lower body strength by 175% and their functional scores on a test of walking and balance improved by approximately 48%. Out of the ten participants, two of them were also able to walk without the assistance of their canes!

Though dismissed by functional training proponents as “non-functional”, the study shows that exercise machine training does improve functional performance enormously. Central to the design of any fitness program is the principle of specificity, hence free weights will tend to promote better results because they more closely approximate the way functional tasks are performed. But working out on exercise machines also result in functional improvements big time.

Another important point is that for those who are starting out with a low fitness level and/or are deconditioned, may be machine training is all that is required to sufficiently improve their efficiency of carrying out activities of daily living (ADL), thereby improving their functionality. Using principles of exercise science- Structured, Scientific, Progressive, they could then be gradually introduced to free weights exercise that would challenge their body in three-dimensional space.

Therefore, it can be misleading to refer to exercise as either “functional” or “non-functional”. As a matter of fact, there is no exercise that is “non-functional”. Some exercises could be more functional than others depending on the individual, his fitness level, his goals and his functional task requirements.

Myth 2# Unstable surface training increases functional fitness

Unstable surface training involves training that uses implements like BOSU, wobble boards, foam rollers, stability balls, balance discs etc. The idea is to induce instability using these devices during workouts. Exercising on unstable surfaces challenge neuromuscular pattern, and hence they are thought to produce greater improvements in functional performance.

Myth 2# Unstable surface training increases functional fitness

Fact 2# The majority of the population hitting the gym for functional training are everyday people with very modest task requirements. Their goals usually vary from weight loss to staying healthy and looking fit.

Also, what we need to remember is that during our work or daily life, most of all our tasks are conducted on stable surfaces- stable terrain, roads, floors, table, desks etc. Therefore, applying the principle of specificity, it makes sense to train mostly on stable surfaces as it will lead to maximal and optimal functional transfer- the most benefit for daily use.

Also, the loss of ability to perform everyday tasks is primarily due to loss of muscle strength. Therefore, simply increasing our muscle strength will promote better functional capacity. Stable surface training (for e.g. bench press) increases strength to a greater degree than comparable exercises performed on unstable surfaces (for e.g. chest press on a stability ball), thereby making a strong case for prioritizing stable surface to unstable one, from a functional standpoint.

Though research shows benefits of unstable surface training in rehabilitation of injuries & in core training, there are studies done that conclude that for general population & athletes, functional improvements are best achieved when a majority of training is carried out on stable surfaces.

Hence, choosing to work out on a particular equipment or with a particular device is not about being “functional” or not, but exercise routines & choice of equipment should be largely matched to an individual’s needs, abilities, requirements and goals.

Summary

Bottom line is that we need to put an end to categorizing exercises as “functional” or “non-functional” and realize that for most practical purposes all exercises can produce improvements in functional abilities. No exercise is bad. Each exercise is composed of “bio-motor” or “life-movement” abilities. These “bio-motor” abilities are strength, power, endurance, flexibility, coordination, balance, agility and speed. Its about taking a broad base approach & adhering to a well rounded & comprehensive training routine depending on task requirements, functional goals, individual current abilities, needs etc. This may be achieved through any type (or combination) of resistance training, whether it be machines, cables, balls, bands, body weight or free weights and anything that is going to deliver the desired results, using the principles of science- Specificity, Structured, Scientific and Progressive.

REFERENCES:

1. “Functional Fitness”: For Real or Just Fantasy? – American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)

2. Is Functional Training Really Functional?- Schoenfeld,B. ACSM Certified News

Image credit: Franchise India.com/ Google Images

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As Mumbai’s most-awaited annual sporting event is here, the city gears up to get, set, race this Sunday.

If you are taking on the challenge this year, have spent the last few months training in the plunging temperatures of winter, have probably got the gear too – then now don’t forget one last crucial part of your training plan: nutrition. Getting your diet spot on will not only help you shave minutes off your race time but will also help you recover better post run.

Day before the marathon (Pre-race day)

1. Top up your glycogen stores- ‘Hitting the wall’ or ‘bonking’ is every distance runner’s fear. Avoid the dreaded wall by ‘carb loading’ before the run to maximize your energy/ glycogen stores. Foods to include are aloo sandwich, peanut butter toast, fruits, fruit milkshakes, rawa idli, poha, chikki, fruit murraba etc.

2. Have a light dinner- Choose rice based options like curd rice, khichdi kadhi, pulao raita, varan bhaat etc.

3. Load up on fluids- Keep sipping on water especially towards the end of the day to make sure you are well hydrated for the early morning run the next day

4. No alcohol – From low blood sugars to poor performance to disturbed sleep, there’s too much cost of having alcohol a night before your run

5. Hit the bed early – Go to sleep an hour earlier than the usual bedtime the night (or a week) before the race

The Race day

The two main nutrition goals are to avoid dehydration and to avoid the mental and muscular fatigue that can be caused by inadequate fuel

Before the run

1. Make sure you don’t start your run without eating anything. Have a banana or few raisins on waking up and sip on some water

During the run

1. Take adequate fluids and NOT only when you are thirsty

2. Drinking too much and too fast is not comfortable for the stomach, slow down and sip patiently

3. Apart from water (sippers or pouches), keep nimbu sherbet with salt and sugar/glucose water/sports drinks/sports gels/electrolyte water. Have them only if it has suited you during your training. The race day is not the day to ‘try’ them

4. Keep high GI foods that will give instant energy like dates, raisins and bananas

After the run

Post your run, its important to recover well so that you bounce back to your normal training and work routine faster. Pay attention to the four Rs backed by exercise physiologists all over the world.

1. Refuel – Replenish your glycogen stores and make sure you eat within 30 mins of finishing your run. Options are aloo sandwich/ banana/ fruit

2. Repair- Take whey protein with your sandwich or fruit to aid muscle recovery/ repair. Two hours onwards post this, combinations like rice dal/ roti and egg/ cheese toast etc. work very well

3. Rehydrate- It is crucial to make up for the loss of fluids and electrolytes. Have nimbu sherbet/ nariyal paani/ buttermilk/ sugarcane juice/ fruit juice etc. liberally throughout the day

4. Revitalize- Make sure to incorporate key vitamins and minerals in your diet that will help to recover and repair faster. Have VitC and VitE post run and antioxidants towards the end of the day

Enjoy the run…All the best! #SCMM #MumbaiMarathon

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I like to move it, move it…Do you?

You may want to stand up while you read this…

If history is any guide, next week millions of people will make a New year’s fitness resolution in an annual, usually ineffective, effort to lose weight. From Gym workouts to Yoga, from Zumba to Pilates, from Kettle bell workouts to TRX training, everyone will have a lot to ‘try’ to get back on the wagon (and money to be made in the process by the weight loss industry)

But what if you end up being an Active Couch Potato?

Huh…what’s that?

Well, an Active Couch Potato is the one who exercises for 30 mins or more on most days of the week, but who then sits all day watching TV or working at a desk or playing video games or simply ordering take-out and delivery, reading, shopping, banking, eating a meal at a table or navigating the stock market.

So, what’s the big deal?

Actually, the deal is much bigger than you can imagine. Fascinating new research is revealing that sitting for long hours alters our physiology in ways that prevents exercise from burning fat. The act of too much sitting blocks the normal impacts of exercise and makes our bodies exercise- resistant. Simply put, you may comply with your workout routine, but if you are sitting for long periods of time, your metabolic health is still compromised. Exercising followed by too much sitting through the day may do little to reduce risk of heart diseases, diabetes, weight gain, high cholesterol etc. This is a new and challenging area for exercise science and population-health research.

These findings are also based on a study of “non-exercise activity thermogenesis” or NEAT, which is the amount of calories you burn doing everything except sleeping, eating and exercise. Low NEAT is linked to, among other things, weight gain, poor metabolic health and cancer.

What’s the action plan?

Our bodies did not evolve to sit in chairs all day. Current research findings of ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine) indicate that moving more during the day, in addition to getting 150mins/week of exercise, is necessary to reduce one’s risk of diseases and to lose weight.

CREATE YOUR ‘GET MOVING’ ACTION PLAN
 – Make your own “Get Moving” action plan to incorporate movements that effortlessly fit into your work life and daily living.

You could start with few of these-

  1. 2 minutes of walking for every hour of sitting is shown to help reverse its negative effects. Set a reminder on your computer or phone and take a break every hour
  2. Take your calls standing or walking, both at work and home
  3. Hold standing meetings at work. “Walk and Talk” instead of long and tiring “sit all day” meetings is also a great idea
  4. Use sit-stand desks to regularly break up seated-based work with active standing
  5. Take a walk break every time you take a coffee/ chai break (and give your phone a break too;)
  6. Walk to a colleagues’ desk instead of emailing or calling her/him (you will end up making few great office friends too :))
  7. Replace those weekend drives with weekend walks
  8. When watching TV, stand up/move/ stretch with every commercial break
  9. Play real games vs virtual with your kids 15-30 minutes a day
  10. Weekend activities like farming/ trekking instead of ‘chilling’ in malls not only creates more movement for entire family but also encourages the child to get connected to and stay in harmony with nature

So get moving, and stay moving!

Here’s to a fitter and healthier 2017… Happy New Year!

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Diwali – “Yuktahaar” styleThings to do during and post-Diwali:

1. Start your day with a teaspoon of ghee, ajwain and kaala namak

2. Eat small meals frequently throughout the day
In the middle of all the preparations, cooking, shopping and socialising, make time to eat. Starving during the day and binging at dinner represents the classical fasting and feasting behaviour. Eating every 2-3 hours will make sure you don’t end up feeling bloated, acidic, dull or tired. In short, you don’t end up needing a post- Diwali detox 🙂

3. Make sure you are well hydrated
The fumes and smoke from burning of crackers, pollutants and dust leads to dehydration. Keep bottle of water within your sight and sip on it throughout the day. Water from a copper vessel is especially good not only to up your immunity but also to keep a check on constipation and other gastric issues.

P.S. – Have a glass of fresh sugarcane juice for a radiant and youthful skin tonight 🙂

4. Do have the Diwali sweets and savory goodies
It’s the time to enjoy the festivities and indulge in your favorite food. Only make sure that-

a. You have them homemade – Made at home the traditional way (with ghee/dry fruits/ nuts/ milk/ sugar), they are nutrient dense and regulate our blood sugars. Result of which is that you don’t crave and reach out for a bar of chocolate loaded with harmful preservatives and commercial sugars
b. You pick only one item at a time

5. Eat from home when going out for a late night party
A small and wholesome snack just before you step out is a great idea to prevent late night overeating. And if you are the kinds who is too pressed for time, even a quick bite into a banana will do the trick 🙂

6. If drinking till the crack of dawn makes your Diwali night come alive, ensure-
a. You sip on it slow
b. Have a glass of water for every glass of drink
c. You are not on an empty stomach. Either eat a good wholesome meal before drinking or have it along with your drinks

 

7. Practice Supta Baddha Konasana (Reclined Bound Angle Pose) with a full array of blankets and bolsters (Iyengar yoga style)
A powerful antidote to the state of stress, it turns up the parasympathetic nervous system, sometimes called the “rest and digest” response and supports digestion, relaxes muscles and promotes a good night’s sleep. No wonder, it is often called the ‘queen of restorative poses’.

Wish you and your family a very happy Diwali!!

Image Credit: Google images

Read more on diet tips for Indian festivals & special occasions-

1. Diwali survival guide: Here’s how to party hard and not gain weight

2. Modak – ‘A different perspective’

3. Home is where the detox is

4. The ‘Shakti’ is within – Strong is beautiful

5. The story of the fish on your plate: From “food” to “omega3”

6. The ‘scientific’ view on ‘Maa ke haath kaa khana’ on Mother’s day

7. Puranpolis: Tuck it in, it’s Holi after all!

8. Mahalaya Amavasya

9. EATING RIGHT DURING RAMADAN

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