Weight Gain during lockdown ? – Are u pinch,grab or hold level?

I am sure most of us have gained some weight in this lockdown. Though most of us might not have a weighing scale at home. Our dresses are our greatest indicator, that we are overgrowing our dresses and cursing our dresses that, it has become very tight !!! I have developed a pretty simple criteria, and a DIY thing at home to find out, the weight gain over a period of time during this lockdown.

Pic credit : Unsplash – Ehimelator.

I call them pinch,grab and hold. Do stand in front of a full sized mirror and try to hold your belly with your hand on the side. Are you able to pinch, grab or hold it. Pinch reflects heightened levels of fitness, grab is a good amount of fat and hold is where the flab is what we call as “tyres”. As, I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, that there is no need to panic and excess fat can be gradually melted through using our legs wisely.

If you are at home,cannot move out due to lockdown restrictions, do walk around the house at least for good half an hour during morning.If you are staying in a multi storied building , do use the stairs. You will be burning a good amount of fat. But, dont cancel this fat loss by gorging on your favorite pizza,biriyani or fried food. This would make it a zero sum game.

For those who are afraid of street dogs in your vicinity. I am with you. There are instances five years back, where I had broken Usain Bolts records in Chennai when I was chased by a good pack who want to take a bite of me, but since age was on my side , I did take them down in the run. That was some time back. Now, with wisdom dawning, the best method is not to move. Until and unless the dog is rabid, which is a remote probability, the dog will not bite. Another option is to slow down and walk through the dog’s path. So,that you ensure the supremacy of his territory.

Yes, I have gained some weight. But only this belly is going to show me the way to abdominal nirvana and fat burning. If I do not have a belly, I will not have a reason to run !!! These are self fulfilling prophesies just to keep myself doing something active. I am hopeful that the mirror in your house will trigger you to have your own action plans, looking at you and deciding the line of action.

Do write down your weight in Kgs/Lbs somewhere, and do monitor the same every month. Do make small changes in diet, small changes in physical activity. Bottom line is eat less,eat right and burn more. I am sure,that you will be gradually reducing your excess flab in due course.

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Runner’s High- The ultimate dream of every runner.

Runner’s high is a body’s natural adjustment for releasing necessary chemicals so that one does not get tired and keeps running for long durations. This is the simplest definition I could give. For the running geek, please go into all the technicalities and neuro- biological effects on the body here.

To simplify, runners high is the brief moment of time, where your body stops huffing and puffing and your body starts to enjoy the process of the run. It seems almost mythical, yes, its like a zen like state, akin to meditating while running. This could be the highest form of self- actualization while running .I am of the view that the elite runners of the world have a longer “zen moment a.k.a. runners high” than regular mortals like me.

I can say that, I had the moment for a very brief moment, maybe 20 to 30 seconds on my last 10 k. I wish this time span gets longer. But, I am of the view that the more one practices, the more one gets a chance to land up in the runners high phenomena.

If you take a look at the picture I have posted, one can see that apart from the smile on her face, she seems to be very relaxed ( partly because it a smaller run in a scenic river in Portugal). But the moot point here is that, once the body switches into the “runners high mode” , the body starts to release enough chemicals to keep the pain causing reactions to minimal state. The body stabilizes the palpitations of the run and streamlines the oxygen carrying capacity to all parts of the body.

For newbies, including me, this would something like getting an imaginative “olympic gold medal in running”. For the keen runner in you, I would ask you to take some time out in looking at the kenyan and ethiopian runner marathon videos on youtube. My personal favorite is Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya, the ” God of Marathon Running”. In this video, you can see people are trying to mimic his speed.

But as my cricketing idol MSD goes, “Don’t worry about the results, enjoy the process”. I would suggest the same sporting philosophy here. Just start with small runs, take breaks whenever you want to take. Take a days break. Do running on alternate days. Take it slow and gradual. The most important part in any fitness or sporting activity is persistence and regularity.

I would like to thank my senior colleague Mr Gopinath Narayan, who is an ardent runner and fitness enthusiast himself for triggering this topic.

I shall subsequently post on running injuries,diet,nutrition out of my own experience in my subsequent posts.

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Proof of Life Concept.. Before and After Picture…

I had deliberately not kept any picture of mine as I thought it was too early to post any picture, pre and post running. But, there were quite a lot of requests from friends to share the same so that actually I had actually lost body fat. Proof that this way/method works.

pre- running pic- I call Golu.
This is after I started running.. and Work in Progress..

I call my fat self ” Golu” because its cute, instead of “mota” which sounds quite derogatory to me and would hurt my exercising self. Every time I see a person who has excess fat, the first sign is chubby cheeks and fat in the abdomen. This is basically extra food pumped inside the body, and not burnt due to less or no exercise.

One of the basic tenets of slow running as well as long distance running is that, the body first burns all the carbohydrates during the initial part of the run, then switches to fat to burn towards the energy needs. Imagine your body as a Delhi-taxi, it starts with petrol and switches to CNG for the rest of the day. So, I make fun of my near and dear ones that you are like a camel, who has stored excess fuel the way they have stored in the humps, and can run for quite long distances.

Except for those who are having some medical issues, most of us, are simply lazy and are taken back with the thought of running out in the open or on a treadmill. I am a huge south indian food lover, paratha lover, and could gulp lassis and gorge on parathas incessantly. I want to share a small incident of my super power to gain weight super fast.

This was somewhere in 2014, I went for an official training to ISB, Mohali. The campus and the course was great. What gave me the high was the food. The food was mouth watering and there was so much variety. I went on beast mode and ended gaining 4 inches of waist line in a weeks time. When I came back after the course, I had to purchase fresh set of trousers due to the “delicious bulge”. I had gone to the tailor to loosen the waistline of my trousers, then he literally body shamed be my asking, “Sirji, are you left with any pants at home?”. Family and friends, took a jab at me, as to I went there to eat and do nothing else.

This happened even after daily runs in ISB,Mohali inside the campus for a good 40 minutes. It has dawned to me very late that I was hogging more than I could burn. This ” mid- life awakeing/gyan” came to me very recently. I had made some changes to my diet regime. For breakfast, I have muesli, lunch consists of an apple,few dates and couple of bananas, evening I have few parathas, subzi and fruits. As far as my assessment, my evening meal is slightly heavier as I run early morning. I feel lighter with this food, along with my exercise regime. Yes, there are instances where I go overboard onto pakodas,jalebis and all the tasty and junk food !! But I have reduced these sinister habits to a bare minimum.

Another query which was asked by friends was why I started running. It happened due to a loss in badminton match at IIM,Bangalore in 2017. I had been on a course there, and I always carry my racquet whenever I go out, so that I find a place to play in the evening to play baddy. Lucky for me, IIM-B has an amazing facility, so we used to rush to the courts after our classes get over. There was one guy there, who used to be very good. My friends told me that if you can win against him, we shall have a treat. The match was a protracted battle for over 50 minutes. He was 9 years younger than me,but was very light. I was the “golu baddy player” who was trying my best.

Eventually, he got the best of me. I was drained out, but decided that I need to shed extra flab. I started seriously pouring over youtube videos of Lee Chong Wei of Malaysia and Lin Dan ( my idol) from China. After looking at their matches for hours together, I found that apart from the skill sets they have, I found that they are extremely fit athletes and they have a amazing endurance and stamina.

That was the zen moment !!!! From that time on, I started cross training which included running, yoga and badminton. I did see results after two months, when I hit 67 kg from 75 kg. I was able to cover the court better in singles game and finding the doubles game less energy sapping.

This turned out to be a long post. Comments by readers are the lifeline of a blog and make it very interesting and interactive..I would be glad to respond to all your comments and queries in the comments section.Do click the follow button in the bottom of the page for updates sent directly to your inbox for more tit bits of info on fitness,diet and running.


The Philosophy behind Sculpt Fat

I was inspired by Christopher McDougall’s book “Born to Run” which I read couple of years back. This had gelled with the ” Running and Living” concept by Mr Robert Varghese https://www.runningandliving.com. Though, I had a back issue which I sustained due to a two wheeler incident ten years back, I was active in sports. I did play cricket and badminton. Both are inactive due to the lockdown now. The best part of Mcdougall’s work is the idea that the human body has been designed to run, right from our stone age ancestors. If we see kids around the house, they are always on the move. The genetic program to run is so strong that the ” flight or fight” adage has been coined. Over the years, due to wrong eating habits and a sedentary life style, we have accumulated excess fat in our body.

Weight gain is a natural process, so is weight loss. It takes time. I have seen both sides of the coin. From fat to fit and fit to fat. In this blog, I would be sharing my experiences of fat loss, the ways I have found all these years to work. Physiologically speaking, when we are born we are all born with more or less the same configurations. Over the course of years, and due to our eating habits and physical activity the body undergoes a morphological evolution over time.

The way a sculptor uses the rock to make beautiful figurines and designs, we can also use excess fat stored both in our skin tissue as well as stored in our abdominal cavity in a way so that we chisel the excess fat into a way, we want our body to look.

I would share my experiences of both fat loss as well as fat gain with you over a period of time. I would like to make it clear that these methods worked well for me and were natural. I urge those with any pre- existing health condition to consult their physicians before attempting any of the methods posted in this blog. This blog is not responsible for any bodily harm caused to individuals who do not exercise necessary precaution.

I would be sharing my fat loss journey along with all my friends, who have entered this mid -life crisis of the bulge as we get stuck to a sedentary lifestyle. I am of the view that, if fat gain is a gradual and organic process, so is fat loss. It needs patience and sticking to strict diet discipline. A senior colleague of mine who had shed quite a lot of flab, told me that the weight loss journey starts with your mouth and not your workouts. I shall share my cravings for food and the fights between hand, mouth and mind in posts to come.

I am sure that, especially for those who want to cut those extra kilos. My scribblings would be of some help.

Yoga stretch and Core Strengthening

The three important parts of the body once you cross the age of 40 are the legs, back and the abdomen. These parts of the body remain idle during our work years and from 25 to 40 and beyond primarily due to sitting.With COVID around, our sitting time has extended much beyond our standard hours of sitting. There are two things which happen when we sit, the legs do not move, and the core rests for a prolonged period.

From a personal point, I feel that core ( abdomen muscles), back ( both and upper and lower back) and legs, should be in pristine working condition. If these parts of the body are active, then we can assume that we are in good shape. Do a simple exercise at home when you are free. Sit down on the floor, try to spread your legs as much as you can and try to move your body forward towards your legs. You can feel a good amount of stretch or tightness in the thighs and legs.

What I found after doing this exercise is that, how stiff my legs have become over the years. The way I found to increase flexibility and suppleness in the legs is through yoga. There are good back strengthening exercise and hip opening exercises that help you to increase flexibility irrespective of age, as long as these postures are done regularly. The other important thing I learnt about yoga during my stint at IIM,Bangalore was the need to inhale and exhale during the yoga pose. Earlier there was bad breathing or shallow breathing during these yoga poses. But, the effectiveness of these yoga poses get amplified with breathing. I shall make a detailed post on these yoga poses soon.

I would reiterate the importance of water and flexibility in the body. More than 70% of all body fluids has a water base. So, even for losing fat we need to drink water always, immaterial of whether you are indoors or outdoors. Do consume seasonal fruits for an entire meal, preferably lunch or dinner. We are what we eat. I have reduced my share of oily and fried foods this week to a bare minimum ( I snack on aloo bhujia – two tablespoons daily) as old habits die hard. Its like smoking, though I never smoked. Breaking free from an addictive habit is a tough call. But, we have only this body, so we have to take best care of it as long as we can live.

Once your core is strengthened over a period of time. The flabs on abdomen should reduce and you would feel lighter than before. I feel that fat loss and flexibility should go hand in hand. I cross train daily alternating with yoga and running in a fairly gradual manner so that there is no over exertion.

My 5kg weight loss calculation spanning next 6 months

Hi friends, I hope that all of you are safe and sound wherever you are. I would like to share a small insight with you on my projected weight loss for the next six months based on my present activity.

I am sure that most of you would be having some sort of fitness tracker or band paired with your phone which shows your daily calorie 🔥and fat 🔥.

This is my snapshot for my today’s run.

So, going by the above info. If I want to burn 5 kg of fat. It’s 5000 grams/55 grams = 90. So, it would take 90 days to burn my fat with my current activity. Further, I do not see myself running 90 days at a stretch due to possibility of injury and other commitments which might come on the way.

I run alternate days with decent regularity. So, assuming 90 x 2 = 180 days , at the rate of 8 km and 55 grams of fat, I might lose around 5 kg of body fat. Even, if I miserable fail with the alternate day thing, I see myself 3 kg lesser and lighter. I am 5ft 7 inches. I presently weigh 72 kgs. This is my calculation based on my present regime. I suggest you to make one which is comfortable to you. Your body and my body are physiologically different. So, feel free to make necessary adjustment and do it at your own pace. Regularity is the key.

Initially, I thought that I would lose weight in a jiffy. But when I found that it’s a long journey. I decided to take the long haul route and focus on the process. Most of us want instant result, thanks to our mobiles and apps. But our body doesn’t work that way. It’s a gradual process, and we need to have that mental make up to undertake this physical process. Once we make this clear in our mind, then it becomes autotelic. Most of the time, we do not go to this process mode and think of instant results. The fastest way of weight loss is plastic surgery/liposuction which I desist and would strongly advice against. Never look for medical short cuts until and unless prescribed by a qualified physician and is a matter of life and death. Everything else can go gradually and smoothly.

Patience and consistency are the two most important things in fat loss/fitness journey. My pre run drink is iskiate and my post workout drink is plain old chocolate horlicks with warm milk. We need to listen to our bodies during the course of this journey, it gives us indications and symptoms of where the body needs attention. Most of the time, we take those signs for granted and in turn the body takes you for granted. The body says to you always, “Give respect and take respect”. If you abide by this line of thought, it’s always a win/win situation.

Always remember, eat right and burn right. Do post your comments in the comments section and subscribe by email for updates on fat loss, fitness and nutrition.

Demystifying Cadence for the Beginner

When I started running regularly say for the past one year, I was amazed at the kenyan and ethiopian runners who are the epitome of stamina and endurance in the runners world. I came across the term cadence for the first time, when i was reading articles about long distance running over the net. Cadence is the number of steps taken per minute during a run. The cadence of athletes is very high due to their lean build and flexibility. There is ample material on the net to pour over, so I am not going to elaborate.

I started to count my steps while running for the whole time. Say if I ran for 40 minutes, I used to count the steps. This was the time, when fitness bands had come and I was not aware that steps could be tracked easily. There are wrist watch like devices which can log your cadence too. I would not suggest you to buy, unless you want to become a marathon runner and you have the fire in you. For mortal souls, a simple tracker would do and a phone and a decent running shoe would help.

Over a period of time, I moved out from counting to listening to songs which match my stride. There are lots of options on the net, where you can download songs that match your stride. This would be very beneficial and a mood enhancer. The best way to improve both your VO2 max and cadence is to gradually extend your running time. I take a days break and run alternate days. I keep a 10 k in the weekend. There are instances like rain or some work, where I am not able to run. But I am ok with that.

Personally, i feel that if you lose weight over a period of time gradually your cadence would improve immaterial of your age from a weight loss perspective. So, the focus should be more on weight loss and cadence would happen on its own. Discipline in following a routine would help in weight loss. Do let me know, if I can be of any help .

All fat is not bad fat..

A plate of hot chicken curry and Rice.

There is a strong misconception that fat is bad, which is incorrect. Excess fat is bad. In my first post where I had putforth the philosophy behind sculpt fat, I had clearly targeted two types of excess body fat, viz, visceral fat and sub cutaneous fat.

The problem with the modern age is that we are eating rich food like our forefathers did, but unfortunately not doing hard manual work like our forefathers. Our food habits contribute close to 80 to 90% of our fat presence both physiological and anatomical.

Some of us are blessed to have gyms and equipments at home and office. I am not a big fan of weights, as I feel that when you use weight muscles contract and loose their flexibility. I feel that endurance and flexibility are key. As a novice badminton player, I watch the best play on YouTube, say it’s a match between chongwei vs lin dan or the recent momota vs ginting. They are great athletes first and they have added the skill, techniques on their already pre existing endurance and flexibility.

I am happy that I have got excess fat in my belly as it gives me a reason to work out. Once the excess fat gets sculpted, one should be able to see the ‘six pack’ which is nothing but your abdominal muscles or core called as ” Rectus abdominis”. For many of us, who are single packers 😭😭😭we have a long way to go to make those muscles come out of obscurity to prominence✌✌✌

Regular and disciplined diet and work out would help. I used to run, play badminton and do yoga. Thanks to corona my single pack got much more stronger. Corona has hit me in a different way, not below the belt, but on the belt itself!!!! I am sure many of you must have gone through this transformation in these past two months. But change is the only truth, we should go towards positive change through efforts and sculpt all those excess fat through a good workout.

Feel free to comment, I am open for questions and suggestions…

My 10 K run after a long break…

The rain gods were less perturbed in the last few days and the weather was bearable thanks to the few showers in the city. The temperature fell seven notches down to a comfortable 35 degrees. The mornings are cool and I had already prepped by gear the previous night.

The following is my gear for this run asics shoe, hydration from kalenji (decathlon 400 ml), tynor knee cap guard ( due to excessive badminton), MI fit band, redmi note 8 phone and JBL wireless headphones ( oops i missed the pic)

I made the run with three one minute water breaks and had ” Iskiate” the secret drink of the Raramuri tribe, as put forth in the book ” Born to Run”. The drink is made by soaking one tablespoon of chia seeds for twenty minutes, add lemon juice 5 ml, and one table spoon of honey. Let it soak for another 5 minutes. Ideally you should take it 20 minutes before the run. It tastes ok, and looks like this

As i was going for a run after a long time ( 5 days to be precise) i wanted to go slow as the body was coming from prolonged period of rest but fresh. I am sharing my MI fit app on my splits and timings as it was a relaxed run… I want you to burn calories in a fun and enjoyable manner, weight loss is very simple provided efforts are sustained… Feel free to post your queries on running or jogging.. Il be happy to help….

VO2 Max and Gradual Fat Loss

Happy Run !!!

Vo2 Max is the measure of maximum oxygen intake by the body during active exercise. The term stands for Volume of Oxygen Max. There is thought process that this is primarily a prerequisite for endurance athletes. I feel that anyone who is having excess fat in his/her abdominal cavity, which is called visceral fat should measure the VO2 max in a hospital under medical supervision. Once you find your VO2 max in a routine health check up you will be able to find out where your body has to position itself from a fitness and health perspective.

The other measure which is critical for weight loss is to measure your weight. You can get a simple weighing scale and measure your weight at least two weeks so that you move towards your ideal weight. Both these parameters go hand in hand. I would suggest you to take medical advice before you go for any physical activity especially if you are on the better side of 35.

For beginners to take baby steps, slow jogging by Prof Tanaka might be the best thing to happen. This is so slow,easy and fun and does not hurt your ankles and feet even on rough surfaces. My only point here is that you need to measure your metrics on a regular basis, be it Vo2 Max as well as your weight. Once you are able to measure your weight and VO2 max over time, you will be able to control these parameters too.

The most important thing in your weight loss journey is the food/diet management. There is an adage which goes like this ” we dig our graves with our teeth”. If we do not eat right, we might be responsible for our own fall. In this case, we land up in a hospital bed and cause mental and physical damage for self and our loved ones.

When I went to California for a course, I found that everyone was running and cycling. I was amazed at the level of fitness craze amongst the citizens there. Later, I found out that the medical expenses are so high there, that they do not want to fall sick. Its better to take care of your health in a cost effective manner than spending thousands of dollars at a hospital !!!!

I urge you to wear a mask and jog slow, so that there is a gradual and slow decrease of body fat. Remember, skin is the largest organ of the body. The fat is accumulated in two ways, under the skin which is called the sub cutaneous fat and the other dangerous fat deposit is called the visceral fat which gets deposited around our internal organs in the body.

I want your feedback in the comments tab on the areas which would be mutually beneficial for all. I am working on my visceral fat too, as anyone who is not able to see his/her toes has a serious tummy/flab issue. I shall share my run details tomorrow with you, so that you join me wherever you are and reduce fat one day at at time.