Articles on workout

Is Your Ab Workout Hurting Your Back?

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
With most movie stars flaunting 6 pack abs, its all the rage in gyms across India. Many people have a general consensus that you get a 6 pack by doing lots of crunches!Not true. To get them, you don't need to workout your abs extensively.Besides being futile for most people to gain a defined mid section, working out your abs extensively can actually hurt your back. Read on to see how:Muscular imbalance: Focusing on working out your abdominal muscles, and not focusing on other muscles surrounding your mid section like your back, and obliques, can create a muscular imbalance. Its like working out your left side, and not your right!Strain on your lower back: As a result of this muscular imbalance, when you lift weights (even your own body weight), it will put more strain on your back. Due to bad posture while sitting and standing, we anyway put our backs at higher risk of strain. This further enhances the strain on the lower back.So, what can you do to avoid this strain? For one, perform exercises to strengthen your lower back.Your back muscles, abdominal muscles and other muscle surrounding your mid section are called core muscles. It is important to work out all these muscles in a balanced way. This will increase your overall musculature, muscle tone, reduce body fat, and reduces risk of back pain. The plank is a great exercise for strengthening the core.How to perform the Plank exercise: Start by lying on your stomach, on a mat. Place your elbows on the ground, beneath your shoulders. Hold your body in a straight line, with only your elbows & your toes touching the ground. Do this exercise in front of a mirror or with a partner to help you achieve the right form.Plank can be performed on a mat, on a Swiss Ball (with your legs resting on a Swiss Ball), and if you're really confident, then on 2 Swiss balls (arms resting on 1 Swiss Ball, and your legs on the other)!Perform core muscle exercises, don't waste time doing crunches, and you'll be on your way to a 6 pack!

Jump Start Your Workout

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
From now on doing proper workouts will not be a problem once you learn a few basics for workout which you should know. Understand how you can start exercising with some suggestions.How to start?Divide up your time through out the day any way you want. 4-6 ten minute workouts can do the wonders for you. It is the accumulated time that is important.Try doing a little more than what you are doing now. If taking a round of the park is your current workout, then double it to two rounds and gradually you will be able to take more laps and this results to more calorie burn.Build activity into your day in simple ways that don't take up a lot of extra time. Like using steps instead of lifts. Try walking to buy groceries from your near by store. Find company to workout with you, this shall give you motivation as well as competition. Start doing a bit of house hold activities.Learn Controlling the Calorie BurnWhether you participate in a structured physical activity or just try to add extra movement to your day, the number of calories you burn is determined by several factors. You have control over all of them:Frequency: The more often you move, the more calories you burn. So do things more often and accelerate you calorie burn.Time: The more time you spend moving, the more calories you burn. Gradually increase the workout time which will increase the calorie burn.Intensity: If time is a speed breaker for you then start a more intense workout. More body movement in a certain per minute of activity.The more intense or strenuous the activity, the more calories you burn.This way you will burn the same amount of calories if you would be doing  the activity at a lower intensity for more time.Your weight: Here is a reason for you to smile, the more you weigh, the more calories it takes to move your body. Person weighing 100 kg would burn more calories than a person weighing 70 kg , when doing the same amount of workout.Get GoingIf you are not doing physical activity or increasing the amount of workout then start now. Its never too late to start. People of all ages can enjoy the benefits from physical activity. If you've not been doing any activity recently then start slowly. Start with reason to start moving around and then gradually make it a schedule.Don't plunge into heavy or high intensity workouts. Start with activities that you can manage and then step by step move further. Feel comfortable with increasing levels and don't make it very painful. Let body adjust to your schedule as heart and muscle take time to adjust.Watch out for sudden jumps in intensity of workout and weight lifting as it can set you back. Slow and gradual movement is the key to a good health.Going easy and steady on workouts decreases the chances of injury and if you have health problems take a proper monitoring of your workouts.

5 Common Workout Mistakes

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
As you know regular exercise is good for the body and mind, but diving head first into an advanced exercise programme is not encouraged. If you are a beginner, then your body is not prepared for the type of strenuous exercises involved in an advanced program. As a result, engaging in an exercise programme with little foresight and planning can lead to burnout, frustration and injury.If you want to maximise the benefits of your work out then you should start with a combination of motivation and correct information. Here are 5 common workout mistakes which you can easily avoid.1. Skipping the warm-upMuscles need time to adjust to the demands placed on them during exercise. So before hitting the gym or jumping into your intense regular cardio workout, you should first take a few minutes to brisk walk, jog, cycle or do whatever you choose to, to prepare the body for heavier activity. Because warmed up muscles and ligaments greatly reduce the risk of muscle injury and increase the effectiveness of your workout.2. Skipping the cool-downLet your heart rate come close to the normal range before going to take a shower after the workout or before leaving the gym. This will reduce your risk of injury and stiffness, since it will give you a few minutes to incorporate some relaxation and stretching movements into your routine.3. Not stretchingFlexible muscles are far less likely to be pulled than stiff muscles. Stretch before a heavy workout or after your workout as warming down. Never stretch a muscle without warming up first, to further reduce your risk of injury. Regular stretching greatly increases your flexibility.4. Waiting until you are thirsty to drinkDon’t wait until you feel thirsty because you are already dehydrated at that point. Drink plenty of fluids before, during and after your workout.5. Being a Weekend WarriorIf you don’t exercise during the week and think that you will make it all up at the end of the week, then it will not help you to lose weight. For weight loss, it's more effective to sustain a moderate and regular workout routine with smaller gaps between workouts, than to have intense and long workouts focused only over the weekends and with longer gaps between workouts.

What and When to Eat Before Workout?

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
The basic rule of a pre-workout snack or pre-exercise meal is that it should be easily digestible to provide you sustained energy for your workout. Whether its yoga, running, or hitting the gym, the right pre-workout snack matters.So, what qualifies as an easily digestible snack? To be easily digestible, it should be low in fat; because fat slows the digestion process.To provide sustained energy, it should have a combination of protein and carbohydrates. The protein will feed your muscles through your workout, and the carbohydrates will fuel your workout for energy. To make sure that it is sustained energy, it should not be simple carbohydrates, like sugar. If it is high on simple carbohydrates, then it will make your blood sugar shoot up before your workout, and a resulting sugar crash – as a result, you will feel lethargic even before your workout. Also, consumption of simple carbs promotes fat storage in the body.When should you eat a pre workout snack? A pre workout snack should be eaten 30-50 minutes before your workout. This will give your body enough time to process the food.What should you eat for a pre workout snack? There are plenty of snacks that can be eaten before a workout, but here are some of our favourite: oatmeal and milk, whey protein shake and fruits, choco smoothie, strawberry banana smoothie, chicken sandwich.How much should you eat for a pre-workout snack? This can vary based on the intensity of your workout and your body size, but basically, it should supply 150-250 calories. Smaller people should be on the lower end of that scale, and large muscular athletes should be on the higher end. Make sure not too eat too much, or it will literally hold you down.How to keep yourself well hydrated for the workout? Drink 16 ounces of water at least 45-60 minutes before a strenuous workout. That way, it will leave your system before the workout and keep you hydrated. Try to carry a bottle of water, and keep sipping, so it keeps your hydrated.Now you know about your diet before your exercise session, whether its running, yoga, gym, or any type of workout.

How to Fuel Your Workout

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
If you are doing a moderate workout of 30-50 minutes then fueling your body before workout is not required. The energy required for the workout session is enough from our daily consumption of meals. Fueling before workouts also depends whats your objective is , whether it is  losing weight, building muscles, toning up etc. Only if you are working out for a very long period like marathons then extra energy is required. Regular workouts do not require additional energy.To increase efficiency in the body it is important to keep the fluid levels balanced. Dehydration and less fluid leads to cramping and decreased release of energy for the body slowing down the metabolism. Water is sufficient to keep you hydrated during your regular gym workouts. Energy drinks and bars are required for marathon trainers or bicyclers where they train for hours. Eating high carbohydrate food or drinks before or during the workout only adds to the calories.Timing the meal is important as if you overload yourself then you would feel sluggish, vomiting, feel heavy to actively move around etc. If you haven't eaten for much time before a strenuous workout then you will feel fatigued and have a heavy head and not feel comfortable and concentrated. Plan your meals atleast two hours before the workout for effective results.Diet: Choose carbohydrates before a meal as they are more important for providing energy for the workout and maintaining the glycogen levels. Choose complex carbohydrates which quickly breakdown for energy and eat less of fibre before a workout.Fuel your self rightly and don't experiment on yourself. Eat protein rich food post workout for muscle recovery and growth of muscles. Push yourself and reach higher fitness levels. Keep the water levels recovering and become all the more resistant.

7 Common Mistakes by People During Gym Workout

Dr. Sunil Kumar Tank (PT), Physiotherapist
Now-a-days gym workout had become an important part of life. But sometimes although exercising regularly, we cannot see the results we want. However we should not give up our fitness program, maybe the problem isn’t the exercise itself but the way you’re exercising. 1.) IGNORING BASIC EXERCISES:- Many trainers directly put their attention on more specialize, advanced and relatively ineffective exercises instead of wasting their efforts and time on essential basic exercises in their workout session. Thus, one should not stick on performing too many auxiliary exercises which can either waste time and also it delay progress.2.)  IGNORING INJURY:- Sometime trainers fail to put attention to take necessary steps towards injury until and unless it becomes a serious injury.  So they should better firstly cure the injury as soon as possible before it becomes serious and become an obstacle towards your workout session.3.)  MISSING WATER BOTTLE:-  During exercising people will need to drink twice the amount throughout the day. Even mild dehydration can lead to significant decrements in mental and physical performance. In case of heavy-sweater, there will be need of some electrolytes drink like glucose drink, which will help to regain the fluid you’ve lost during workout.4.)  NO STRETCHING:-  Women & Men spend too much in sitting position which leads to tightening the muscles. To help restore proper range of motion around joints, at a minimum every man & women  should spend time stretching these muscle groups. If these problems will be neglected, it can lead to pain your body parts.5.)  SIT-UPS:- One should core stability exercises like planks as they activate the core musculature to a greater extent than crunches. These exercises will helps to open up the midsection a bit and teach the core to create stability through the midsection. It will decrease your back from stress, improving your posture.6.)  USING MACHINES:- Since machines don’t allow you to use your core to stabilize your midsection while going through the range of motion, thus machines are called as less functional, as you would in every real life movement. On the other side, the results of free weights give you various kind of exercise, also the result is a dynamic, highly effective strength-training exercise. 7.)  LACK OF PROPER TECHNIQUE:- Pain may occur after doing core stability exercise like benching or squatting. There should be a coach to learn proper exercise technique and program design strategies. This will help you to ensure safety along with your strength and mass gain, with minimum injury risks.dr sunil tankPhysiopoint Clinic

Do You Need to Change Your Workout?

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
There are many people who perform the same workout forever. Most of them also look the same forever. Are bodies are intelligent beings, and adapts to performing the same work (workout). By adapting, it means that the body get's efficient at performing the exercises. So, essentially it uses less energy or calories to perform the same workout.So, if you want to keep making progress, its important that you keep changing your workout. Now, the question is how often should you change your workout? Read on to find out.The answer is that 'it depends' and the answer will range from 4 weeks to 12 weeks. Before we talk about how often you should change your workout, let's talk about the point that you should change your workout. That point is basically when you feel the workout has become easier for you to perform.The reason we exercise is to challenge our muscles to perform more work. If the work itself becomes easy, then there isn't a point of doing the workout. It's like repeating the same class forever.Now, the point at which the benefits of the workout reduce will vary of a number of factors..How challenging the workout is: The more challenging the workout, the longer it will take your body to adapt to it.How often you perform the same workout: The more often you perform the workout, the faster your body will adapt to it.How advanced your fitness levels are: The fitter you are, the faster your body will get better at performing the workout.So, what's a good workout for you, and when should you change it?A good workout should challenge your body. It can be repeated once or twice a week (max thrice a week), which means that on other days, your workout should vary. And last but not the least, it should be made customized to your body, age, physical conditions and other factors.

Workout Drinks! Look Into Your Kitchen

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Have you ever wondered why people carry energy drinks or bars to the gym for an hour of workout? Sometimes gyms also promote the sale of such products reinforcing the importance of these energy stimulants for the workouts. Does this habit help you burn more calories or add calories instead of burning them?We also agree that when you exercise the body gets tired, dehydrated and requires fluid to replenish the ones lost through sweating. Being dehydrated can sap your energy and make you feel tired. Dehydration is what promotes fatigue, muscle weakness, dizziness and other symptoms.But did you know that these symptoms can instantly be addressed by simply drinking plain water as well as adding some healthy drinks to your diet? And you don't need fancy drinks or juices to replenish the water loss.Let us take you behind the scenes and make you understand why energy drink is important and what is the best energy drink to have during and after workout.Why energy drink?Energy drinks on which we will be focussing are mainly home prepared drinks. The focus won’t be on packaged stuff.Let’s understand this with an example. An average mid-intensity workout in the gym for about 60 minutes can burn upto 300-400 calories with a combination of cardio & strength training. (Just for your knowledge a good mid-intensity workout should translate into 15 minutes of running, 30 minutes of strength training and 15 minutes of cool down & stretching.)Every time you substitute water with energy drinks you can be setting yourself back by at least 200-300 calories per bottle. This impulsive energy drink intake while you are trying to lose weight can sometimes add more calories than actually burning them. This could also be the reason why you might not be losing weight in spite of being regular with your exercise routine.Therefore, there are some reasons which would surely change your perception why energy drink is necessary and what are the drinks which we should consider as an energy drink.During workoutWhen you are working out, you are more likely to lose water through sweat or through breath. And if you get dehydrated, your body starts responding in the following manner:DizzinessLethargyYou get cramps easilyYour muscles won’t work efficientlyThis is because water plays an important role in leading chemical reactions in our body. And once it's % goes down, our body quickly comes to dehydration mode and it starts affecting our muscles and lowers down the body's  efficiency.Therefore to get rid of all these symptoms, you can easily rely on this fluid for good energy. Now, the question arises, how much water should you drink, during and after your workout?Make sure, you have enough of it before you start the workout. This doesn’t mean that you keep on drinking gallons of water. It could be just 2 to 3 cups (morning workout). Make sure you keep on sipping the water throughout the day.Carry a bottle to keep yourself hydrated during the workout.All through the day, you can just drink recommended level of water. Probably 8 to 10 glasses. You don't have to keep on drinking but just make sure you have a full water bottle handy and drink whenever you are thirsty.You can even experiment with the water by adding lemon and basil leaves to restore vitamins and minerals in your body.Post workoutWe generally talk about water, when it comes to energy. Yes it's true, being a natural drink, it has numerous health benefits.A combination of protein and carbs which not only gives you energy from intense workout, but also helps to repair your muscles. In short, these drinks would provide fuel to your muscles so that they can work more efficiently the entire day.Fruit smoothie - It's a blend of fruits, curd, nuts and sometimes milk. Lots of antioxidants, fiber, protein, calcium - all in one. Read more to know about hidden calories in fruit smoothies.Badam Milk - Either you can churn almonds and milk together or you can take a glass of milk with handful of almonds. Both work really well if you are looking for a healthy energy drink. It will give you immense fullness and most importantly - not too many calories.Know more about which is the healthiest Nut?We have always insisted that for best weight loss results it is important to watch what you eat & exercise at the same time. Just by exercising and eating whatever comes your way will not help you achieve your desired weight. Probably that’s the reason why you see a lot of morning walkers even though regular with their daily routine, still look unfit simply because they forget to add healthy eating as a part of their daily routine.

10 Ways to Stick to Your Workout

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Did you ever start working out, or join the gym, or make a new year's resolution, and not stick to it? Well, we have some ways to help you avoid that from happening in the future!Here are 10 ways for you to stick to your workout:1. Sign up for a long distance run.2. Make a bet, with your friend, colleague, or spouse, about who's going to get fitter soonest!3. Get a body fat checked. You'll be surprised as how to far over the healthy range you are.4. Get a training partner. get a friend, spouse, or get a personal trainer. They will be there to push you, and help you perform that extra bit, for better results.5. Think about the health damage that belly fat does to your body. Literally, grab a hold of your problem area. Everything you can grab is fat! See the health risks of even a little belly fat- due to which Indians are predisposed to heart risk and diabetes.6. Get some motivation: Find a poster of your fav celeb body. what better motivation, than to wake up to a rock solid body7. Make a realistic goal: You can target that six pack body, but first let's get started, and lose the belly fat. Take it step by step.8. Find some exercise routine that you enjoy- play a sport if you want. 9. Plan a beach holiday- if you're going to take off your shirt, you better look good :)10. Photograph yourself: We always look at the best angles, but unless you're in top shape, there is always some bad angle. Find it, photograph it. Target to improve that angle.

Why Your Workout Is Not Working

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Exercise is the most natural fat burner and detox mechanism. But we often see people slogging away for hours at the gym and don’t see any effect of the exercise on their appearance. There could be multiple factors responsible for your workout to not give you the real results. Let us understand each one of them in some more details.Your Body Gets Adjusted: If you have been exercising the same pattern from last several weeks, month or year your body gets adjusted to the workout and therefore stops burning calories effectively. That 30 minutes workout which was challenging for you several months back will no longer provide you the same result. To get the desired results from your workout it is necessary to push yourself by increasing the frequency, intensity, or duration of your workouts.You are Not Resting: Sometimes over-exercising can have the similar effect as not exercising at all. It is important to give a rest to your muscles because if you are not giving rest to your muscles it can lead to breakdown of muscles instead of building. If you are over-training you will feel tired and sore all the time, have unexplained headaches, insomnia or just a general lack of motivation and an inability to complete your workouts. To get the result from your workout include rest in your exercises. You can take a complete day rest in between your workout schedule. Then slowly ease back into your routine, making shorter, less intense workouts part of your workout plan. And remember to always take one to two rest or easy active recovery days a week.Check Your Diet: Exercise is important for weight loss but if you are not eating right it can affect your body adversely. If you are eating too less then it limits the availability of energy required for doing the workout and if you are eating extra this may lead to weight gain. So, it is important to have a balanced and healthy diet with proper workout routine to manage your weight. Try to opt for healthy snack options instead of fried foods. Never skip your breakfast and drink enough water in the day to keep yourself hydrated.Check Your Workout Schedule: A proper exercise plan includes cardio, strength training and flexibility. If you're just doing cardio, then you will be burning calories and strengthening your cardiovascular system, but you won't be really changing your body composition by building more muscle. For that you need strength training. You can also include some resistant training or weight training in your schedule by doing lunges, push-ups, etc. This will help you in burning your fat from the body and also helps you in building your muscles.Food as a Prize: Do you reward yourself with an extra piece of pizza or with a piece of cake as dessert because you went to gym this morning? If yes, then you are making a big mistake. Treating yourself with your favorite food once in a week is fine but if you are doing it on daily basis you are undoing all of that good calorie-burning with too many treats. Try to focus on the benefits of the exercise and eat proper healthy and balanced diet so that it fuels your workout.Get Enough Sleep: If you are busy in your life and think of doing the workout early in the morning by swapping with your sleep, then it can hinder your weight loss. It is important to have a proper and enough sleep to manage your weight. Not having enough sleep triggers a number of hormones that influence cravings and a tendency for weight gain. In addition, too many sleepless nights will leave you tired and unfocused for your workouts, which means that you won't get much from your efforts. Try to manage your schedule so that you get enough sleep and also get the time for your workout.Check Your Working Pattern: It is important to have daily workout routine but what are you doing rest of the day also matters a lot. If your job requires sitting all the day in front of computer then try to have a walk after every few hours. You can also do some stretching in between the interval time. You can also opt for stairs instead of elevator or accelerator in your office or in your residing building.If you are not viewing the results that you were expecting from your workout than think about above mentioned problems and may be you can find out one or two reasons. Lastly, results don't happen overnight. It takes time and consistency to get in shape over the long time duration. All you need is to keep faith and have patience with proper diet and exercise routine. Remember that you are trying to make lifestyle changes which you have to sustain for lifetime.