As a health counselor, one of the challenges I am faced with daily is how closely the profession is tied to our everyday lives. We all eat at least 3 times a day and have individual relationships with, and opinions about, our food. In social settings, when I am conversing with someone new, the minute they realize my profession I am accorded details about meal schedules, exercise routines, and with the less timid ones, even bowel movements.

My job, of course, is to listen and listen I do. In fact, it does seem as though I may have heard most of it at this point. In most scenarios, when I meet women, they inevitably have questions about losing weight, becoming ‘skinny’, and so on and when I meet men, the cool ones ask about where to find protein, how to build more muscles, while the busier ones discuss effective strategies to incorporate healthy eating within the constraints of a busy day and back-to-back meetings.

So here’s an ode to all kinds of men—5 very basic fitness essentials that should be applicable to all of you.

1. Work on the legs:

Most men I speak with are so caught up trying to build arm muscle and core strength that they forget to/deliberately avoid giving their legs some strength-training. Although it may not seem like it, but leg presses, leg extensions and leg curls are just as important as the rest of your workout! Don’t neglect one part of your body only because you deem it less important.

2. Stop OD-ing on the protein:

No matter how much you workout, excess protein does put a load on the kidneys and the body has to work extra hard to eliminate this protein from the body. This scenario is far from ideal so, instead of only eating egg whites, protein shakes, and steaks, ensure that your meals are wholesome and have complex carbohydrates too.

3. Stretching and yoga won’t make you less of a man:

Weight-training doesn’t make a woman masculine. If anything, it gives her body strength. Similarly, don’t ignore your pre and post-workout stretches. Flexibility is as important a fitness parameter as strength.

4. Plan your dinner hour:

Ever so often, you wish to just plop yourself on the couch and watch EPL. Fine. But at least have dinner prior to the match so that you don’t realize at half-time that you need to call your local fast-food place for a pizza delivery.

5. Plan at least one daily mid-meal snack:

Yes, we know you’re busy with a chock-a-block schedule and have just no time to think about food. But a quick mid-afternoon fruit at 3:00 pm will go a long way in avoiding the afternoon energy slump. Speaking of avoiding the afternoon energy slump, ensuring that you eat lunch at 1:00 pm (standard lunch hour) as opposed to 4:00 pm, or worse skipping it altogether, would also be a good idea

Start with these small tips and within a matter of a few weeks, you’ll find yourself feeling better and fitter.

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