Are Masks Safe To Wear While Working Out?

Popular opinion is that a mask poses a lot of discomfort even while not exerting oneself, wearing one while working out can be even harder. To put all your doubts to rest, we consulted with care.fit pulmonologist, Dr. Manish Sahu.

The early days of the new normal were difficult for everyone. Wearing a mask has been the biggest change that we have had to adapt to. We’ve come a long way since then, adding masks to colour coordinate with our OOTDs and even to bridal ensembles.

The question is, do we add it to our workout gear? Let’s find out.

But, first let’s clarify the biggest misconception about masks –They interfere with the concentration of oxygen when we breathe

In truth, the concentration of oxygen that is available to a person without a mask vs with a mask on does not change. The pores of the mask are large enough to allow oxygen to come through. The only reason you feel uncomfortable is because you’re not used to wearing a mask. In fact, it is the airflow – volume of air one inhales and exhales – that gets affected when you wear a mask. 

Now back to the main question – do you need to wear a mask while working out?

The short answer, yes!

Strong exhalations during a workout help to regulate body temperature. Also, natural actions such as coughing or sneezing are hard to control. As a result we may spit droplets. A mask prevents these aerosols from circulating and thus makes the gym safe for you and for everyone. 

So, what kind of mask should you wear while working out? 

There are a large variety of face masks in a variety of materials.  It is recommended to wear a 2- or 3-ply cotton mask or even a single use mask. Do not wear N95 masks.

So, a light or moderate workout (like walking) with a fabric mask or even a single use mask, is no problem at all! Keep in mind that these masks can get wet because of sweat, so, keep a change handy. 

 It is not recommended to do vigorous exercises with a mask on. 

This is because while doing vigorous exercises air regulation through the mouth is less thereby impacting the regulation of body temperature.

What to do if you are working out alone at the gym? 

Well, even then, your mask should be on because asymptomatic carriers of covid are a great risk of spreading the virus. Why risk an infection, right?

Is there anyone who shouldn’t wear a mask?

People with chronic respiratory and cardiac problems should not use mask while exercising. They should workout at home  alone.

What about face visors? 

Face visors are an additional layer of protection and in no way a replacement for masks.  They alone are not sufficient. They provide insufficient protection against floating, infected droplets. They aren’t sealed and allow air to enter one’s nostrils and mouth. Use them if you must, but, never without a mask.

Lastly,  sanitise diligently, maintain social distancing at all times, and wear the right mask – all of which will ensure that you, and everyone you’re working out with are safe. Don’t forget to clean your masks every day to ensure maximum safety!

Disclaimer : I do not own this article. This article was originally published here. It was insightful and I felt like sharing it with the readers on this page. I should also tell you that I have been a member of Cult.Fit for almost a year now and use their gyms regularly.

A New Year Resolution to Reduce Weight and Lose Fat? Here’s Everything You Need to Know!

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We all know about fat. Fat is bad, right? We need to lose it to be fit and healthy. Well, not quite. In fact, fat (in the right amount) is essential  for leading a healthy life. The problem lies in having too much or too little. That’s where body fat percentage comes in. So what is the truth about body fat, how can we calculate it, and what does it have to do with living healthy? Read on to find out.

What is body fat percentage and why is it important?

To understand why body fat percentage is important, we first need to understand what it is. Our bodies are composed of many different components — muscles, bones, body water, organs, and of course, fat. 

Fat percentage is the ratio of fat in relation to those other components. 

Now, although fat gets a bad reputation, it is essential for many of our body functions. It helps maintain life and reproductive functions, and the accumulation of adipose tissue from stored fat helps cushion and protect the organs in your chest and abdomen. So having accumulated fat is important, but like everything in life, you need to maintain a balance. That’s why calculating body fat percentage is so important in identifying your health — having a body fat percentage that is too high or too low can indicate certain health risks.

How do we calculate body fat percentage?

There are several methods to calculate this. Here are some of the most common:

  • Calipers — It’s based on the idea that about 50% of total body fat lies under that skin, and involves measuring the thickness of skinfolds at standardized sizes. It is also known as the Skinfold Method
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) — This is a value derived from the weight and height of a person; a simple numeric measure of a person’s thinness and thickness. Having a numeric value allows health professionals to discuss weight problems more objectively with their patients. Read here, why BMI is not an adequate measure to record fitness.
  • Dual x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) — Uses X-rays to scan and measure whole-body bone mass and soft tissue composition, and is the preferred method for identifying bone and body composition
  • Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) — Uses an imperceptible electrical current to measure body composition. Body fat (adipose tissue) causes greater resistance and slows the rate at which the current travels through the body
  • Hydrostatic Weighing — an underwater weighing method based on on the Archimedes Principle. A person weighs themselves on land and underwater. The difference between the two values can help determine body density and fat percentage. Though this is considered one of the most accurate measurement methods, it requires a lot of resources and space and is therefore not the most feasible
  • US Department of Defence Method — Calculates body fat by using a person’s height as a constant and girth of neck and abdominal for male and neck, hip and waist for females

What does your body fat percentage tell you about your health?

Using any of the above methods can give you an idea of your body fat percentage, but the number alone doesn’t tell you much unless you know how to interpret it. Here’s what body fat percentage means according to the American Council on Exercise

DescriptionWomenMen
Essential Fat10-13%2-5%
Athletes14-20%6-13%
Fitness21-24%14-17%
Acceptable25-31%18-24%
Obesity>32%>25%

As you can see, the values differ for men and women, and there are further differences if you break these groups down by age. You may have noticed the term ‘essential fat’. This refers to the fat present in bone marrow, nerve tissues, and organs, and can’t be lost without compromising physiological functions. The chart above shows that women need to have higher essential fat percentages, as these fats are very important in maintaining hormonal balance and aiding and protecting the reproductive organs. 

How and when do these values help?

These numbers are useful in determining whether a person is underweight, at a normal weight, overweight, or obese, which can have a direct link to their health. Higher body fat percentage, for example, is linked to a myriad of health issues, including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, insulin insensitivity, diabetes mellitus, and even certain types of cancer. If your body fat percentage is too low on the other hand, you’re at risk for anaemia, malnutrition, osteoporosis, low immunity, and, if you’re a woman, fertility issues. Knowing your body fat percentage can also give you an idea of how fit you are and what you need to do to work towards your fitness goals.

How to reduce body fat percentage:

You can reduce your body fat percentage by reducing your overall weight. There are many ways to do this in a healthy way — without going on a hunger strike! Try the following tactics:

  • Caloric deficit — consume fewer calories than you burn. Everything you eat is converted into fuel for your daily activities. When you consume more calories than you can burn, it’s stored as excess fat. You can prevent this with a caloric deficit of about 10-20%. Of course, this doesn’t mean you cut out all high-calorie foods from your diet. Remember that your body needs calories for day-to-day functions like muscle repair and sustained energy. You want to make sure you have the right kind of nutrients — proteins, carbs, and even fats —  in your diet to stay functioning throughout the day!
  • Exercise — focus on cardiovascular and resistance training. A low-calorie diet alone isn’t enough to reduce weight, it needs to be complemented by the right workout. Cardiovascular and resistance exercises are great for this because they help build and maintain lean muscle mass — which in turn reduces body fat. Weight training is particularly important in your fat loss journey because, when done properly, it creates a greater caloric expenditure than steady-state cardio. And don’t forget consistency is key in maintaining both muscle gain and weight loss.
  • Lose fat, not muscle — weight loss doesn’t necessarily mean loss of fat. Losing weight signifies a loss in total body mass, but this doesn’t mean you’re reducing your stored fat. Loss of lean muscle mass or less water retention can also result in weight loss. Keep in mind that you can only lose body fat by following a caloric deficit and a good training program. In fact, research shows that fat loss without sacrificing muscle is more effective when caloric deficit is achieved through training. Keep track of the calories you consume and the activities you do and find the right balance between the two. If you find your caloric intake is high and your activity level is low, look into increasing the level and frequency of the workouts. If you feel like you’re doing the right amount of exercise but are still taking in too many calories, it may be time to make some dietary changes. Choose wisely to make sure you’re not losing valuable muscle mass instead!

Some myths about fat loss

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about fats and fat loss which can cloud your understanding of how to maintain a healthy body fat percentage. So let’s take a second to clear the air.

  • Fat can convert to muscle and vice versa

Fat and muscle are different kinds of body tissues — one cannot turn into the other. When you exercise with a caloric deficit, the extra fat that is stored in the body is used for energy. You burn fat and build muscle. When you stop exercising, muscle doesn’t turn into fat, instead, it starts to atrophy and also slows down your metabolism.

  • You can reduce fat from a specific part of the body

The idea of spot reduction is one of the biggest weight loss myths out there. Whether you’re looking at excess fat around the belly or the arms, it is not possible to reduce the fat in one specific area. You need to work on overall fitness levels and fat loss to achieve that.

  • Doing only cardio will help you lose fat

Cardio definitely helps burn calories, but only while you’re exercising. Resistance and weight training on the other hand cause wear and tear in your muscles which your body will need to expend calories to repair. That means it burns calories even after your workout. An ideal combination of both will aid in fat loss and avoid loss of lean muscle mass. Resistance training is also better at burning through stored fat. Although a 20-30 minute cardio session will make you sweat, doing a more intensive or longer resistance training will use fat as the energy source rather than the glycogen storage.

  • Crash Diets will help

To lose weight or fat sustainably, you have to create habits, Sustainable weight loss or fat loss requires creating habits —  nutrition, workout, or lifestyle. While crash diets where you consume very low caloric meals may show quick results in the short term, they can in fact result in weight gain and muscle loss in the long term. Furthermore, fasting and diets are only safe when done under professional guidance.

  • Very low body fat % is good

A body fat percentage significantly below the recommended range can be fatal. Once the range reaches the essential fat level or lower, it could hamper the body’s physiological functions. It also depends on gender, age, exercise levels, and genetics. Some athletes, such as professional bodybuilders, may be recommended to have a low body fat percentage, but this is only for a very short time, usually for competitions.

  • You need to avoid foods containing fats for effective fat loss

Foods rich in fat are not necessarily evil. In fact, fats(good fats) are essential nutrients and should be part of a healthy nutrition plan. But because fats contain more calories per gram as compared to protein or carbohydrates, you need to keep an eye on how much you are consuming.

To sum it up

Body fat alone is not an indicator of health, although it is a main component. A person’s lifestyle, metabolism, and workout regime are other indicators that can provide a more holistic view of their health. That being said, body fat percentage is an easily quantifiable metric that can give you a good idea of what it will take to achieve your fitness goals. If nothing else, it’s a friendly benchmark for your weight loss journey!

The Secret To Improving Stamina & Endurance – Cult Fit

Disclaimer : I do not own this article. This article was originally published here. It was insightful and I felt like sharing it with the readers on this page. I should also tell you that I have been a member of Cult.Fit for almost a year now and use their gyms regularly.

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What’s the secret, you ask?

The short answer:

Cardiorespiratory Fitness

But what does cardiorespiratory fitness really mean?

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Technically speaking, cardiorespiratory fitness refers to your respiratory and circulatory systems’ ability to supply oxygen to skeletal muscles during an extended period of physical activity. But basically, it denotes your body’s ability to keep performing work or exercise for a longer duration.

It is considered good to improve endurance, stamina, or lung capacity. And, more often than not, most of us know that we can do better when it comes to these elements. But, what we might not know is how to make these improvements happen, or how to ensure that our cardio fitness keeps improving with training.

Cardiorespiratory fitness involves a series of processes that determine how well your body takes and utilizes oxygen. These include:

  • Your heart’s and lungs’ ability to deliver blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the working muscle
  • The ability of lungs to take in oxygen and put it in blood, in turn, pumping the blood to the working muscle
  • The muscles’ efficiency in utilising the oxygen from the blood to form energy currencies that help you keep going

Through the right training protocol and consistent workouts, you can enhance your body’s efficiency to do the above-mentioned tasks. This in turn, results in improved endurance and stamina that makes you fit for your demanding everyday life or any sports activity.

Now that you have a basic idea of what happens inside your body during cardiorespiratory workouts, it’s time to look at the right training protocol for better cardio fitness.

How To Improve Your Cardiorespiratory Fitness

Cardiorespiratory fitness can be significantly improved by performing almost any type of prolonged physical activity that works your aerobic energy system—gets your heart rate up and keeps it that way for an extended period of time. So, you even choose to do activities that you enjoy, like swimming, walking, or jogging with your friends.

Nevertheless, depending on the type of workouts, intensity, duration, and frequency, your results can vary. Thus, you have to carefully choose an activity that will help you achieve optimal results from your training.

Here are three categories of activities that are broadly classified based on the skills you require to perform them.

  • Easy – walking, jogging, running, riding a stationary bike, elliptical training, and climbing stairs
  • Moderate – cycling, skating, swimming, aerobic dancing, and jump rope
  • Hard (but fun) – sports and games like basketball, football, squash, tennis, and volleyball

How Hard Should You Workout?

Ask people how hard you should work out, and most people will tell you to keep your heart rate between 60%-90% of your maximum heart rate. While this is one good way to measure the intensity of your workout, it can become quite hard for people without fitness trackers or smartphones to figure out their heart rate during a workout session.

The good news is that you don’t need any sort of equipment to measure the intensity at which you work out. All you should do is become a bit more observant about how you feel while you exercise. Here’s how.

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When you do high-intensity workouts, your respiratory rate significantly increases—you might have likely experienced shortness of breath after running a sprint, or after a sustained dance session. As this happens, a large volume of air starts moving in and out of your lungs, and as you gradually progress the intensity (imagine switching from walking to jogging on the treadmill) the amount of air moving in and out of your lungs also increases linearly. But you are still able to talk to someone comfortable while you exercise.

Increase the intensity one step further (from jogging to running), and there comes a point when you aren’t able to talk comfortably due to the amount of air disproportionately increasing. This is called the ‘threshold intensity’—the point at which your sentence starts breaking when you try to speak while working out. You have to work at your threshold intensity, for better cardio fitness.

To better understand this, Rishabh suggests looking at a three-zone intensity model that can be applied to any type of cardio exercise.

Zone 1: The intensity at which you can talk comfortably

Zone 2: The intensity at which talking comfortably becomes a bit harder

Zone 3: The intensity at which you cannot talk comfortably

Using these zones, you will easily be able to tailor your training to suit your goals, whether it is sports performance or weight loss related.

Now, it’s the time to address the primary question—how hard should you workout?

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Realistically, the exercise programming or the intensity at which you should work out depends on your individual goals and training status. Here’s how it works at a basic level.

When you are New to Fitness:

  • All your cardio workouts should fall within Zone 1 (where you can comfortably talk)
  • You should ideally workout at such intensity for 10-15 minutes straight for 2-3 days/week
  • Your goal should be to hit 20-25 minutes of uninterrupted cardio activity at this intensity without getting too fatigued
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Once you achieve the above, you know that you are ready to move to a higher intensity in training. Typically, an average individual takes anywhere from three to six weeks to undergo this transition.

Though training at this intensity doesn’t result in an increase in the Vo2 max (maximum rate of oxygen consumption measured during incremental exercise), you will still be able to tap into the overall health benefits associated with cardiorespiratory training. Also, as you are a beginner, the aim here is to build regularity in fitness. This is where you START!

When you are someone who has been exercising for a while and is looking forward to completing a 10K run:

  • Start including Zone 2 intervals in your training session (intensity at which talking comfortably becomes harder)
  • Your workout sessions should be a combination of 20% moderate to high-intensity training and 80% low-intensity training
  • Exercise 3-5 days/ week

In case you are someone who does not have goals of completing a 10k run, you might want to solely look at the fitness part of the zone. Zone 2 is great for fitness enthusiasts who have been working out for a while as it leads to all fitness adaptations, i.e. increased Vo2 max and lactate threshold, and improved health benefits. The aim here is to improve your cardiorespiratory exercise efficiency, aka improved stamina.

When you are someone who aims to increase your speed in a 10K run:

  • Zone 3 is where you train with the aim to hit the personal best in your races
  • Though training in this zone provokes significant improvements in fitness, only small amounts of it are tolerable
  • Spend about 10% of the entire training session doing very high intensity (Zone 3) workouts, and the rest of the time doing low to moderate intensity (Zone 1 or Zone 2) workouts.
  • Train for at least 3-4 days a week if you are a trained individual

A lab testing to get the reading on various thresholds—lactate and Vo2 max—is the most accurate way to train more efficiently towards achieving your goals. However, as it is a tedious process, you can use the three-zone intensity model to get a reasonable understanding of the right intensity levels for you.

In case you use a fitness tracker such as FitBit, Apple, etc. you will be able to relate more to the training zones that flash on its screen after reading this post. What’s more, you will be able to tailor your training sessions in perfect alignment with your goals.

Why Is Cardiorespiratory Endurance Important?

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The reasons are obvious—cardiorespiratory endurance helps you train more efficiently, run longer distances, do higher-intensity aerobic activities, and ultimately burn more calories. According to Rishabh Telang, cardiorespiratory fitness is the ultimate key for heart health and a great option to strengthen your aerobic energy system. 

Studies also show that people with higher cardiorespiratory endurance have a lower risk of developing hypertension as well as coronary heart diseases.

Additionally, cardio workout comes in different variations. Hence, you can try out a different variation every day, which will help you work on different muscle groups while allowing your body to rest.

Lastly, if your cardiorespiratory endurance is good, it means you are healthy and fit to actively participate in many activities. This will, in turn, help you run better, breathe easier, live healthier, and also burn more calories and lose weight, if that’s a part of your goals.

Disclaimer : I do not own this article. This article was originally published here. It was insightful and I felt like sharing it with the readers on this page. I should also tell you that I have been a member of Cult.Fit for almost a year now and use their gyms regularly.

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Walking : An UNDERRATED Activity!!

Just like drinking water, walking is one of those activities that we never appreciate, mostly because it doesn’t seem too strenuous or doesn’t get your heart rate up. Just to grab your attention, let me start by saying,

“Walking is one of the best exercise for burning fat and one your body will appreciate the most”.

To understand this, it is good to understand your ideal Fat Burning Zone.

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The body does rely on different substrates during exercise according to the exercise intensity. At a lower intensity level, the body relies more on fat as a fuel source as it takes more time to breakdown fat and convert it to energy (a longer process). During high intensity efforts, the body begins to metabolize carbohydrates instead, preferring their speed of breakdown to fuel higher levels of exertion.

The preference for fat at lower levels of intensity has created the fat-burning zone – an intensity at which the highest percentage of calories burned come from fat. However, it is better to focus the majority of your efforts on generating a calorie deficit.

“You may burn a little more fat during exercise, but if a calorie deficit isn’t present, it will all even out in the end you won’t lose much fat at all.”

In lower intensity programs, the overall calorie burn during a workout will be lower than a high intensity workout – regardless of whether those calories come from fat or carbohydrates.

Although steady-state cardio at lower intensities may not necessarily lead to higher levels of fat loss, it can provide a much-needed break from HIIT workouts. Steady state cardio is useful when aiming to create a caloric deficit because it offers an opportunity to burn more calories without increasing intensity, and delaying recovery from heavy weight training workouts. Incorporate lower intensity cardio following hard days to improve circulation while encouraging recovery or during deload weeks when exercise intensity should naturally decrease.

How to find your ideal Fat Burning Zone:

Figure out your max heart rate (Max Heart Rate = 220 – your age). And then determine your fat-burning range, which is 60% to 70% of your max heart rate. Use a fitness app or a smart watch/fitness band to calculate your 5 heart rate zones. (This is an average estimate based on a larger consensus of people, but may not be applicable to everybody. If you have any heart conditions, please talk to your physician before any kind of exercise).

The benefits can be listed as under:

1. It Doesn’t Add Training Stress.

Unlike metabolic conditioning or HIIT, walking adds very little training stress to the body. Combine intense cardio with several days of weight lifting each week and the body may simply overtrain and burnout. Rest is important!!

I like to call walking as an active rest activity and the best part is that it is hard to overtrain with walking. It doesn’t accumulate much stress and you could walk a ton. Shin splints might be your biggest worry, but as long as you watch the incline, don’t go crazy with the volume and wear decent shoes, you should be fine.

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2. Walking is restorative and assists with training recovery.

You feel better after you finish a walk, not worse, and the effects are immediate. It increases blood flow, which will help you recover from injuries and even training.

Some say walking also has a small spinal-flossing effect that helps the nerves align optimally and thus conduct their electrical impulses in an ideal way. Ever hear someone say that a walk helps their stiff and sore muscles feel better? Now you know why.

3. It burns a lot of fat and almost no muscle.

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Walking is a low intensity exercise, which means it burns a higher percentage of fat. True, walking for 10 minutes doesn’t burn a lot of fat or calories in general, but walk briskly at an incline for 4-8 hours a week and you’ll burn a significant amount of fat.

The fact that it doesn’t harm your muscles is probably the biggest aesthetic benefit. High intensity exercise, particularly cardio, uses glucose for fuel. Normally that isn’t a concern as the body will break down its glycogen storage (stored carbs) for glucose.

If on a diet and lifting weights, glycogen stores are more easily depleted. If you add intense cardio on top of this, the body will release cortisol to help convert amino acids into glucose to be used as fuel. Those amino acids can come from your hard-earned muscle tissue.

Clearly, this is a problem for a lifter because whatever form of energy storage you have, you’ll burn more of that particular energy store. Most people have considerable body fat, and the body is quick to burn that off once they get moving.

But a muscular and moderately lean individual will have more muscle than fat. The body will see the muscle as “excess” and will preferentially burn that muscle to meet the caloric demand of the exercise.

4. It can build aerobic fitness and work capacity.

Brisk walking won’t turn you into a marathoner, but it does build up the VO2 Max.

Going fast on a high incline –without holding onto the handles (in case of a treadmill) –isn’t as easy as it seems. Regularly doing so can often take a more muscular male’s VO2 Max to the 50+ range, which is usually ideal for them to complete challenging weight training workouts.

As for work capacity, a fit person should be able to exercise at a moderate pace for a long time. Walking helps build this ability. A criticism of “meatheads” is that they train their phosphagen (short duration, high intensity) energy system well but nothing else. In other words, if they have to work continuously for any length of time, they can’t handle it. Walking takes care of that.

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5 – Stress Relief, Functional and Productive

If you’re on a treadmill, there’s a great chance that it already has cable tv and is connected to news. If you’re walking outdoors, you can simply put some headphones on and listen to your daily podcast. Suddenly, you’ve made your workout a lot more productive and effective!

Walking can also be a great way to have some quiet time, collect your thoughts, ponder your troubles (or escape them), or talk with your loved ones. Truth is, once you complete the walk, you usually feel better and life looks better because of it.

“Functional” might have taken on different meanings, but one meaning is that it’s something which mimics or improves activities of daily living. It may be the single most functional activity a person can do since the need to get around is crucial for human survival.

6. It is low impact and hard to screw up.

Walking is easy and low impact, so even if you have sensitive knees or a bad back, walking shouldn’t affect it. It might even help improve those conditions. The biggest mistake for those who use treadmills is holding onto the handles, particularly if the treadmill is at an incline.

If you hold onto the handles and lean back you effectively eliminate the incline, as now your body is essentially perpendicular to the treadmill –which is what happens when you walk on flat ground.

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7. It is better for strength athletes than running.

Running or jogging has benefits, but strength athletes are better off avoiding it. Many lifters notice their lifts and explosiveness go down when they jog regularly. And the heavier you are, the harder running is on your body.

Weight (and not fat %) will always play an important factor if you’re running longer distances. It doesn’t matter if you’re at 4% body fat. If you’re heavy, it will have an impact on your knees.

Note that I’m not talking about sprints.

8. It works fasted.

The theory behind fasted cardio is that if the body is low on carbs, it will turn to fat for energy. I agree with this premise and walking is the perfect form of exercise for it.

Where everybody seems to screw up is by trying to perform HIIT cardio while fasted, which isn’t smart because you’ll burn a lot of muscle –assuming you have a decent amount of muscle to begin with.

9. It is for all age groups

It doesn’t matter if you’re 10 or 70. Every person in every age group can benefit from this activity and it requires no training whatsoever. It is literally one of the first things we lee earn to do in life!

The Only Disadvantage

Walking is time consuming. To burn fat I’d suggest three hours of walking a week at a minimum, but 4-5 hours is ideal.

You won’t be able to read at the pace I suggest. Don’t try. But watching TV, chatting, listening to music, books, lectures, or podcasts is a great way to pass the time.

The vast majority of people spend more than 3-6 hours a week watching TV. On a treadmill you could still watch that amount of TV and get lean at the same time. Although, I prefer a walk in the open, thanks to fresher air, and the fact that treadmill might not be good for your knees in the long run, especially for heavy people.

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Workout Essentials – Recovery!!

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I know you’ve been hitting the gym hard and busting it in your training at home or ever since the lockdowns were lifted and gyms started opening up! You went to depth on every squat rep and pushed your reverse lunges to failure. Your quads are beat and your hamstrings burn. Your workout was tough. But let me tell you this, IT DID NOT BUILD AND OUNCE OF MUSCLE!!!

What if I tell you spending hours lifting, day in and day out, might actually stall your progress?

The answer to this lies in your post-gym regime. The opportunity for muscle growth begins the moment you STOP lifting, and that growth can’t happen without proper recovery protocol. Recovery and rest are essential parts of any strength and conditioning program—and most coaches and trainers would argue it’s just as or more important than the lifting itself.

Recovery must occur before progress can be made.

It is important for staying injury free, long-term consistent training and hitting new highs from time to time. Muscles don’t grow in the gym; they grow after. When you lift heavy, your muscles suffer micro-tears and are actually broken down via a process called Catabolism. Immediately after you lift, your body begins repairs, but it needs your help.

If you want to get the most from each and every workout, you need to prioritise post-workout recovery. Heed these tips to maximise recovery, stay on top of your game and ensure maximum gains.

1. Push The Barrier, Don’t Annihilate It

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“No pain, no gain!” has probably been spat in your face as you struggled to rack a one-rep max bench press. Pushing beyond your limits is a good thing, but just how far should you push? It is important to hit the muscle just enough to create that needed stimulus for muscle growth, but not in completely destroying it to the point where your muscle hurts for days.

If you obliterate your body with every workout, your body will revert its energy to repairing the downstream effects of the damage rather than building muscle.

“The focus shouldn’t be on how fast you recover, but instead on how productive your recovery is”. If you constantly obliterate your body to complete and utter exhaustion with every workout, this damage accumulates over time and your body will revert its energy to repairing the downstream effects of the damage rather than building new muscle.

The trick is to “work out hard enough to push yourself past your comfort zones—trying to do more than you did the workout before, for example. Just don’t destroy yourself entirely.” By following this sage advice, you’ll make solid and steady progress rather than taking one step forward and two steps back.

2. Get Serious About Pre-Workout Nutrition

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By now, most people understand that the foods they eat after their workout and throughout the day factor into the quality of their recovery. The foods you eat before a workout can also play an important role in pre-empting the tissue-rebuilding process once the workout is over.

Digestion is a lengthy process; proteins and carbs that you ingest prior to the workout will still be circulating in the body afterward. For this reason, choose your foods wisely. Make sure you get high-quality, lean protein along with some complex carbohydrates, especially if you plan on an intense workout. I personally have a small 200 calorie meal with some carbs and proteins, 45 minutes prior to heading to the gym. It may include a banana, or a couple slices of bread with cheese or peanut butter, or some almonds and an apple.

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In addition to eating near your workouts, there have been substantial reported benefits of taking BCAAs before and during a workout, as well. BCAAs have been designed to encourage efficient absorption by the muscle cells. Having said that, I would like to add that I am not an advocate of supplements, and it is always down to your personal preferences. However, I do consume 1 serving of BCAA during my workout.

3. Don’t Skip The Stretching

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Stretching probably doesn’t sound sexy (or even necessary) when all you want is size, but it might be the most underrated player in muscle growth. By not having the necessary flexibility and muscle pliability, you might short yourself on muscular gains in many compound lifts. For example, if your ankles are too tight, you can’t go deep enough in a squat to reap maximum benefits.

Barbara Bolotte, IFBB pro, stresses, “Make sure you allot at least 20 minutes after a workout to cool down and stretch. If you don’t plan for it, you are more likely to skip it.”

Stretching is a great way to relieve muscular tension and potentially downplay the soreness you experience later. “Prolonged stretching with moderate exercise and diet control will reduce cholesterol and significantly reverse hardening of the arteries,” notes Barbara. Knowing these things, more people should be taking stretching more seriously!

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4. Perfect Your Post-Workout Protein

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Go ahead and giggle at the burly types chugging their post-workout shake. While you chortle ’til you choke, they’re feeding their muscles the necessary fuel to grow and improve. Post-workout protein is vital, especially if you haven’t eaten anything for hours. Aim for 20-50 grams of protein after each workout depending on your bodyweight.

Whey protein is the most popular protein supplement, and for good reason: It is convenient, easy to mix, and it offers a rapid absorption rate that’s perfect after a tough training session. Don’t merely go for taste or cost. Invest in quality whey isolate to see a difference. Casein can also be on your route to the top. If your goal is to build size, you can prefer this type of protein, since it takes a significantly longer amount of time to absorb. There are many bodybuilders I have come across, who consume Whey proteins right after a workout, and Casein right before they go to bed.

One trick that I use to optimize my recovery is to drink about 30 grams of whey protein followed by lots of water and some carbs. “You need immediate, fast-acting carbohydrates during your post-workout window to replenish glycogen levels, restore energy, and bump up insulin levels”. “Insulin can be extremely anabolic at the right time, helping the restoration of muscle proteins by inhibiting protein breakdown and stimulating protein synthesis.”

5. Eat Potassium-Rich Foods

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While we’re on the subject of post-workout nutrition, you should consider including a source of potassium in your post-workout cocktail. Your potassium reserves will inevitably be sapped from an intense workout session. Potassium, among other nutrients like sodium and calcium, is a key mineral which plays a role in muscular energy. Bananas or potatoes are good potassium sources. Bananas go with nearly everything, but mashed potatoes in your first meal following the workout are also winners.

6. Focus On Quality Sleep

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Source : Michael A. Grandner, National Sleep Association.

Catching quality Zs seems like a no-brainer, but it’s still all to common to hear how many people get less than six hours of sleep.

“Sleep is not just for relaxing. This is the necessary downtime that your body needs to restore itself”. Sacrificing hours of sleep over a long period of time can even make you mentally weaker and negatively impact your drive in training sessions.

At least seven hours is the ideal target to hit, although many people, including athletes, may need up to nine hours. Find ways to make changes in your day that will allow you to get to bed earlier.

It has been shown that lack of adequate sleep can decrease and reduce tolerance to training, alter mood, increase perception of fatigue and negatively affect the physiological mechanisms responsible for adaptation from the stresses of training. Hormonal secretion during sleep is one of the most important factors influencing recovery; after all, the purpose of sleep is to induce a state of recovery in the body. Anabolic (muscle-building) hormone concentrations and activity increase during sleep while catabolic (muscle-wasting) hormone concentrations and activity decrease. Disrupted or shortened sleep will negatively influence the effects of these anabolic hormones.

Try to develop a regular sleeping routine where you go to bed at a similar time each night of the week. Remove distractions like light, smartphones, and TVs. If possible, try for 8 hours of sleep per night and/or fit in an afternoon power nap for 30 minutes to rejuvenate the body.

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The Importance of Drinking Adequate Water

We’ve always known that hydration and drinking water is important. But have you ever considered ‘why?’ or just how many important functions water plays a crucial role in?

One of the most important, and easiest things to keep in mind to stay fit and healthy is to have an adequate intake of water. We constantly underestimate, or are not even aware of the benefits and effects it can have, if we just drink an adequate amount of water.

Having said that, there is no measure as to how much water consumption is adequate. It depends on various factors like gender, weight, lifestyle, metabolism, anatomy, etc etc. One can find various measures on different websites saying “x” amount of water should be consumed for “y” amount of weight, or a website which has calculations based on weight and height and maybe considering various other factors. It is important to note that these are just recommendations, and none of them are perfect or 100% effective.

You know better than anyone about how much water you should be, or are capable of drinking. There are also people who will tell you that our body is smart, and we should drink water only when thirsty. Although this is true, our body can be thrown off balance due to various other factors.

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For example, consumption of alcohol initially tricks the body into thinking there is an intake of fluids, however it eventually leads to dehydration. Another example is excessive eating, or overeating. Always having a full stomach will not make you excessively thirsty, and will make you not want to consume water, cause there is basically no place for it.

Hence it is okay to follow these recommendations, but you should always listen to your body, and reduce/increase intake based on your comfort.

Where on one hand, how much water to drink is subjective, drinking inadequate water can be very easy to spot. A simple indicator regarding drinking inadequate water is the color of your urine. If the color of your urine is like water or upto light/pale yellow, your water intake is adequate. However, the darker the shade of urine, the more water you need to consume.

Advantages of drinking adequate water

1. Drinking Water Helps Maintain the Balance of Body Fluids.

Your body is composed of about 60% water. The functions of these bodily fluids include digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature.

When you’re low on fluids, the brain triggers the body’s thirst mechanism. And you should listen to those cues and get yourself a drink of water, juice, milk, coffee — anything but alcohol. Alcohol interferes with the brain and kidney communication and causes excess excretion of fluids which can then lead to dehydration.

2. Water Can Help Control Calories.

For years, dieters have been drinking lots of water as a weight loss strategy. While water doesn’t have any magical effect on weight loss, substituting it for higher calorie beverages can certainly help. What works with weight loss is if you choose water or a non-caloric beverage over a caloric beverage and/or eat a diet higher in water-rich foods that are healthier, more filling, and help you trim calorie intake.

Food with high water content tends to look larger, its higher volume requires more chewing, and it is absorbed more slowly by the body, which helps you feel full. Water-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, broth-based soups, oatmeal, and beans.

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3. Water Helps Energize Muscles.

Cells that don’t maintain their balance of fluids and electrolytes contract, which can result in muscle fatigue. When muscle cells don’t have adequate fluids, they don’t work as well and performance can suffer. Drinking enough fluids is important when exercising.

4. Water Helps Keep Skin Looking Good.

Your skin contains plenty of water, and functions as a protective barrier to prevent excess fluid loss. But don’t expect over-hydration to erase wrinkles or fine lines, says Atlanta dermatologist Kenneth Ellner, MD.

“Dehydration makes your skin look more dry and wrinkled, which can be improved with proper hydration,” he says. “But once you are adequately hydrated, the kidneys take over and excrete excess fluids.”

5. Water Helps Your Kidneys.

Body fluids transport waste products in and out of cells. The main toxin in the body is blood urea nitrogen, a water-soluble waste that is able to pass through the kidneys to be excreted in the urine. The kidneys do an amazing job of cleansing and ridding your body of toxins as long as your intake of fluids is adequate.

When you’re getting enough fluids, urine flows freely, is light in color and free of odor. When your body is not getting enough fluids, urine concentration, color, and odor increases because the kidneys trap extra fluid for bodily functions. If you chronically drink too little, you may be at higher risk for kidney stones, especially in warm climates.

6. Water Helps Maintain Normal Bowel Function.

Adequate hydration keeps things flowing along your gastrointestinal tract and prevents constipation. When you don’t get enough fluid, the colon pulls water from stools to maintain hydration — and the result is constipation.

“Adequate fluid and fiber is the perfect combination, because the fluid pumps up the fiber and acts like a broom to keep your bowel functioning properly.

Engaging in Sports Is The Best Workout!

If you are anything like me, working out is an absolute priority. Although in this day and age, it is nowhere as close to a priority as it should be for most people. A lot of people will look themselves in the mirror a million times and tell themselves, “you suck, do some crunches. Eat some salad. Do something.” However, subsequently resort to eating some chips or gulping some soda in the evening. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I think I’ve found the secret workout program that I think is going to revolutionalise the non-existent workout routine. It is called ‘Sports’, and it is pretty amazing.

Can you relate to this person?

An average 22-26 year old person, with a day job and social commitments. Even if given 45 minutes to do a workout, you’d rather spend it sleeping or relaxing or Netflixing, and how many times have you looked into a workout program that basically challenged you but also wasn’t too challenging to discourage you, and was at least some fun at the same time. And how many of you found yourself on google, searching for something while slumping on your couch, because that’s just what we do now!

The answer to your question is Sports. It doesn’t matter which one, as far as engaging in it requires you to stand on your two feet. Now, here’s the part that I really like. It is one of the most customisable things you can do. You can pick ANYTHING you want to do. Quite literally, ANYTHING!

If you don’t feel like running, you can jump to swimming. Don’t like swimming cause it affects your skin? Jump to Badminton; or rather, just take a rope and jump. Just select an activity that you do want to do and then you’re good to go.

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You can choose the the amount of time that you want to spend working out. Anywhere between 30 – 45 minutes is a good option. For example: A 6 minute game of squash can easily help you burn about 100 calories. Same goes with tennis or badminton, a game of football or something as fun as dancing or Zumba. The best part is, most of these are partner workouts. You could decide to do them with your partner, a person who’s just as fit as you, or a person much fitter if you prefer a challenge. You’ll probably be so busy being competitive and having fun, while not even realising your heart rate is elevated.

The activity more likely than not is always going to be more intense than you’d ever expect. You could start as slow as twice a week, all the way upto making it a daily habit. All that adrenaline at the end and the profuse sweating will make you feel just as satisfied as getting appreciated after a good days work. It doesn’t matter if you’re killing yourself constantly, the only idea is that you do it regularly. I personally love a challenge and I know, since I am a competitive person, I am going to work really hard to continue to get a check mark every day.

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Overall, I’d recommend a Sport or an activity for anyone who’s bored of running in the same place for 30 minutes or doesn’t like spending time in a 500 sq ft closed room.  If you have the motivation and 45 minutes a day to knock out a 500 calories workout, good for you, but for the rest, this is it. A workout program that isn’t impossible, fun and sustainable over a long period of time. I hope this post helps you consider/reconsider your alternatives, and make a move.

I also found this interesting article by Amanda Macmillan on Time Magazine which talks about a study, done by Daniel Aggio, a doctoral student at University College London, and his colleagues analyzing data collected over a period of 20 years about how sports played an important part in a person’s life especially during their 40s and 50s.

However, for people who’d still prefer working out at home, here’s a nice bodyweight workout to do at home. As always, stay healthy and stay fit.

The Travellothoner.

Who Is Your G.O.A.T. ?

Image courtesy : https://www.facebook.com/BleacherReportFootball/photos/goats-still-doing-goat-things-/2318950891500700/

In sports, we very seldom come across the term ‘G.O.A.T.’ or simply put ‘GOAT’. For those of you who don’t know what it stands for, it means ‘Greatest Of All Time’.

Talk to any sports fan in this world, whether they’ve been following the sport since decades or just a couple of years; every fan has an opinion and a view. Moreover, the criteria for this competition varies from fan to fan and can never be summed up within an inclusive definition. 

If you’re a football (soccer) fan, you’ve come across a ‘Messi VS Ronaldo’ conversation which has been going on since a decade. While some compare them mainly in terms of countable statistics on the field with their respective clubs, some tend to include their national records. Some would also include other intangibles like physicality, age, teammates, overall skills, the era, etc etc. 

Similarly, one of the most talked about conversations in the NBA is ‘Jordan VS LeBron’. Some talk about Jordan’s 6 rings versus Lebron’s 3; whereas others talk about LeBron’s superior passing and rebounding skills compared to Jordan. Some talk about Pippen’s contribution in Jordan’s success while some talk about the extraordinary genius of Phil Jackson in orchestrating the whole 3-peat. 

The conversation goes on and on. If Hamilton keeps his win streak up, we’re going to hear a lot more ‘Hamilton VS Schumacher’, the better F1 driver or ‘Sachin VS Kohli’ the better Indian batsman or ‘Federer VS Nadal VS Djokovic’, the better tennis player. 

But here is a question which I personally ask all you sports fans : 

‘Do You’ or ‘Should You’ also take into account the impact these athletes have off the court when they’re not armed with their accessories or their heroics outside their jerseys?

We hold our political leaders and people with billions in their bank accounts more accountable than the average human being thanks to their power, privilege and clout. Shouldn’t we hold these world renowned athletes to some of those raised standards too?

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Just recently, we came across the COVID19 debacle surrounding the Adria Tour and Novak Djokovic. Hundreds of articles that ranged from ‘The World No.1 and ATP Players Council President putting lives of players in jeopardy’ or that ‘He’d never be the people’s champion’. 

You never hear such harsh criticism about Roger Federer, who is widely regarded as the best player to have graced the game of tennis, despite the fact that he may not hold the title for the most grandslams after a year or couple of years. We talk about his gentle, calm and graceful demeanour on and off the court and the bar he has set for every player through his entire career.

Similarly, should we also account for their philanthropic efforts and impact in their communities while they’re on top of their games? 

Michael Jordan and the Jordan Brand recently announced to commit $100million dollars over the next 10 years with the goal of “ensuring racial equality, social justice and greater access to education.” However, this comes from Jordan the ex-NBA player. Historically speaking, Michael Jordan the player never mixed his career with other social matters. 

On the contrary, Lebron James has been vocal about Social Injustice all through his career and has achieved so much off the court while taking advantage of the spotlight his play puts him in. LeBron’s active career ensures the fact that his endeavours are cast light upon a lot more often and his messages reach far more people than any other player. 

In my opinion, GOAT is the player who has the best impact on his sport; who pushes the sport forward; who is a lot more than just a highly skilled player in a jersey and who uses his platform for far better causes than just to entertain, because sports is a lot more than just entertainment. 

While a lot of y’all may or may not agree with my definition of GOAT, I ask you again : 

Who is your GOAT?

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Health vs. Fitness And Why Running A Marathon Doesn’t Mean You Are Healthy

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Photo Courtesy : http://www.optimizeottawa.com

Most of the confusion comes from how we use the terms Fitness and Health interchangeably. We think that just because we are fit enough to run a marathon that we must also be healthy. However, these two terms have very little in common and the fact that most of us don’t know the difference leads to a lot of problems.

This issue first came to my attention when I started noticing various runners in my group. A lot of them had various injuries or knee related problems, and battled various problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. They were fit enough to be able to run a marathon, but not healthy enough to live peacefully and effortlessly.

Fitness is simply the ability to do a task. Runners are fit for running, mountain bikers are fit for mountain biking, climbers are fit for climbing and so on and so forth. Being fit for one activity doesn’t mean you will be fit for another and it often requires that you take a few physical qualities to an extreme level.

Health is your ability to easily function on a daily basis without pain or disease. It is measured in things like blood tests and lack of “bad health”. It is also the ability to perform basic movements and tasks like easily getting up and down off the ground, touching your toes or hanging from a bar for 30 seconds. True health requires that you have a well rounded approach to things.

The problem is that most of us have been taught to look at everything through the lens of “fitness” and very few recognize the “health” side of things as well. We glorify the top runners, cyclists, CrossFit competitors or athletes in different sports and call them the “fittest” people on earth. What we don’t see are the “health” problems they have as they suffer from joint pain, muscle strains and metabolic pressures that push the body to – and past – their limits.

And this leads to a lot of people who don’t recognize the dangers in destroying their body in training today instead of protecting it for future use. They equate the “fittest” person in a sport with someone who is also “healthy” and then follow the wrong path based on that mistake.

Now please don’t miss my point – I am not saying there isn’t something admirable about the sacrifices that top athletes make to achieve the levels of performance that they do. This isn’t about them, its about everyone else that doesn’t pay their bills based on their performance or has a chance to represent their country in some way.

It is common knowledge that athletes, actors, body builders, etc. use all sorts of supplements and compounds, sometimes steroids (that are legally accepted, and not abused) and haywire diets to get the results that they do. It is not only harmful, but also requires top level professionals for guidance and care. And not to forget it is damn expensive, usually paid for by sponsors or producers; and their livelihood depends on it.

For the rest of us, once you reach a certain age and your chances at athletic glory have passed – for most this is around 22 years of age – it is important to keep your goals in perspective. You only get one body and making sure that you can still play hard at 50+ years is important. It may not be worth it to suffer from joint pains or other problems and having to sit on the sidelines as you get older because you thought that being fit enough to run real fast was the same thing as being healthy.

Now look, the point of this is not to discourage anyone from running or riding bikes or trying to take their running to the next level. In fact, it is just the opposite.

I want to make sure that people enjoy running and can do it as long as they want to. A big part of getting better is logging a lot of running time and miles and it is hard to run if you are hurt. I also hate hearing about someone who quit running because they kept getting hurt or have an overuse injury that got so bad they had to have surgery.

Having your body break down and start to dictate how long and fast you can run really simply SUCKS!

My goal is to help people avoid the pitfalls that come with developing a few fitness qualities to a high level while ignoring others. Most of the runners I train with have issues in some way because they ignored their overall health for too long. After learning this lesson the hard way I often hear them tell him that they wish they had known all of this before they got hurt.

You get plenty of great things from running but there are things that you don’t get, like mobility and strength. There are also some hidden dangers that most people never even consider.

For example…

You don’t get the same movement from running like you do on the bike. When on a bike, you are holding onto the handlebars and your upper body doesn’t sway. Unless you do some things to combat that, spending hours and hours on a bike can actually start to cause some core strength issues that will affect while you’re off the bike. This swaying motion in the upper body is important for core function and overall movement health.

On the contrary, a constant movement in biking will activate your hips and increase hip mobility, that traditional running or walking won’t focus much on.

Again, unless you understand the difference between Health and Fitness you might not appreciate why you need to keep these things in mind. Sure, getting an extra run each week would be more fun but at some point you have to act like an adult and do what you need to do.

How would your waistline look if you took that same attitude of “I only want to eat what’s fun” with your diet? Probably not so good. Oh wait, that is a problem with a lot of people today anyway. But that is getting off subject…

Anyway, this brings me to my last point. You don’t have to spend a lot of time to plug some of the gaps that running leaves. Spending as little as 15 minutes a day doing some mobility work and doing some push-ups or swings and Goblet Squats 2-3 times a week can work wonders. Making small changes that you can sustain and build upon is the key to success and makes time much less of an issue.

So remember that you need to keep the dual lenses of Health and Fitness in mind when setting your goals. It is important to devise a plan or a regime, based on your current shortfalls, as well as current and past injuries. Sometimes measuring the success of a program based on how you have less pain, can move better or can function better in your work or daily life can mean more.

Funny thing is though, a lot of times focusing on Health goals also improves your running fitness as well, which only means you also become a better runner.

Until next time…

Run Strong,

The Travellothoner

A World Without Sports

Different sports.

It has been a difficult couple of months since the COVID19 pandemic hit, without any kind of sport being played because it was one of the biggest sources of entertainment for me. I follow the NBA, F1, EPL, Cricket and Tennis very closely. Watching these sports to geeking out on post-match analytics and arguing about it over lunch took up a lot of my day.

The first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions the word sports to me is ‘Passion, Competition, Discipline, Athletes, Physicality, Fitness, Training, etc.’ to name a few. The next thing that probably comes to mind is an athlete, a sport or an entire sporting event.

Lebron James with a monstrous dunk
You could sense the passion, intensity and competitive spirit in this moment when Lebron James made that monstrous dunk!

Although every country and every person has their own background, sports has become a universal culture that is represented in every corner of the world, becoming its own platform that unites people and their cultures in many different forms.

Polish fans hoisting their flag before Portugal V Poland during The Euros 2016

Take The Indian Premier League for example. A joy for every cricket fan and one that ensures every other human being in India is sitting in front of the television sets every evening for 45 days straight. Or imagine The NFL or The NBA or European Football. An event stretched over 36-40 weeks that entertains you everyday or weekend and usually leads to a big withdrawal and boredom over the summer break (Transfer rumours are super exciting though!).

It was only when it was taken away from me, that I realised how far reaching impact it had on a global scale through many multiple sectors. So let’s break down sports into various categories and how they impact our lives:

1. The Economic Impact of Sports

Economic Impact of sports

Sports represent a billion-dollar business—that’s no secret. But what you might not realize is the immensely positive impact sports have on local economies, mainly through tourism dollars.

According to the data provided by BCCI, the Indian Premier League (IPL) contributed Rs 11.5 billion ($182 million) to India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2015.

2. Job Creation

Sports and job creation

Part of the economic impact involves jobs. According to Economic Modeling Specialists Intl., as of 2013, the sports industry in America produced 456,000 jobs. These jobs include far more than just the athletes; other occupations involved with spectator sports such as coaches, referees and agents. And that doesn’t even take into consideration the many stadium vendors and their employees, front-office personnel, etc.

Sardar Patel Stadium in Gujarat, India

Currently, the Sardar Patel Stadium in Gujarat is undergoing redevelopment and with a capacity to host 110,000 fans, it is set to become the largest sporting arena in the world, overtaking Melbourne Cricket Ground. Development is not just restricted to the stadium, with management planning to integrate the metro rail and Sabarmati Riverfront Road in its schema. The new stadium is expected to attract more tourists to the area, bringing in contribution from indirect spends.

3. National Unity

Stretford End and Man Utd Fans

Sports provide a platform for people to come together and support their country. International events like the Olympics and the World Cup serve as a point around which to rally and show national pride and unity.

During the 2011 Cricket World Cup, the ratings agencies TAM and aMap respectively recorded that 135 million people in India watched the final live. The game was watched by 13.6% of Indian TV-equipped households on average, with a peak of 21.44% at the end of the game.

I still remember the goosebumps when the entire stadium was singing The Indian National Song and how the entire city came on the streets, shouting at the top of our lungs to celebrate that victory. Nobody cared about castes or communities. All we jeered about was that ‘India won the World Cup’.

4. Role Models, Motivators and Inspirers

Roger Federer as a role model

Ask young children who their role models are, and I bet a good amount of them would name an athlete.

Take an athlete like Abhinav Bindra who holds India’s only Individual Olympic Gold Medal or Virat Kohli, who now captains a dominant Indian side in cricket or Sania Mirza, a former world no.1 and 6 time grand slam winner. These athletes inspire millions of kids and athletes to take up sports and make the nation proud.

5. Community Relationships

Most teams and leagues have community-relations departments or charitable arms. This means that professional athletes often spend time performing service in their communities.

Take an example of an IPL franchise. Since 2010, Mumbai Indians has been supporting ESA – Education and Sports for All. Through this initiative, Reliance Foundation has impacted the lives of over 18 million children. The initiative provides quality education and sporting opportunities to children across India.

6. Emotions

I know this sounds hokey, but one of the most positive things about sports is the pure, unadulterated joy that can result—for the players, coaches, fans and everyone involved. Sports has the capacity to move people. It gets people to believe and bring about a feeling of ownership and inclusivity.

Sports are emotional, and they can incite great passion. Sometimes it’s joyful, and other times it’s not. But anytime something can bring out that range of extreme, raw emotion in people, it’s a good thing. I remember having tears in my eyes after Indian won that World Cup, mainly because I was relieved and I could finally let go off that anxiety and we achieved the best possible result. But, it’s not just upto a commoner like me.

Lebron James collapsed and cried after the 2016 NBA Finals when he finally brought a major sporting title to the city of Cleveland after over 5 decades. As did Michael Jordan after winning his first championship with the Chicago Bulls.

The entire city of Toronto was on the streets to celebrate The Rapotor’s first NBA title since it’s existence.

When a team wins, a city or a nation wins, millions of people win and nobody can take away that raw emotion from you.

7. Philanthropy

Many professional athletes have foundations. There are hundreds, in fact, with causes ranging from promoting healthy lifestyles to diabetes awareness.

Derek Jeter’s Turn 2 Foundation, in existence since 1996, helps steer young people toward a healthy way of life. During his final season in 2014, many teams donated money to Jeter’s foundation to help honor him. According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, the foundation has raised over $19 million to date.

The inauguration of LeBron’s I Promise School in Akron, Ohio.

LeBron James grew up in Akron, Ohio and became a sports icon. James has done numerous projects to help disadvantaged children. With none viewed higher than the creation of a public school in his hometown.

While some might classify it as more entertainment than sport, there’s no denying the physical conditioning and functional strength of WWE wrestlers, and there’s absolutely zero questioning John Cena’s rank as one of the most charitable athletes in the world. Cena is not only the most-requested athlete in the Make-A-Wish Foundation, he’s blown everyone else out of the water, granting more than 500 wishes to date.

8. Iconic Moments

I don’t find the need to say anything more about these memorable moments in sports, except just add a few pictures that any fan would probably never forget.

-The Travellothoner

Skipping – The Next Best Thing To A Bodyweight Cardio Workout

I have been a staunch believer in body weight workouts, especially since the COVID19 pandemic struck, which has forced the entire globe into quarantine. It is during this period that I realised how easy it is to get fitter at home and skipping is one of these workouts.

Skipping is great for your overall fitness, whether it’s part of a warm-up or included in your main workout. If you’re looking to push your calorie burning, fat-busting HIIT workouts to the next level, you should start skipping.

If you haven’t picked up a rope since your elementary school days, never fear: This isn’t just a kid’s toy. The mindless, simple activity of your youth is actually one of the best ways you can take your HIIT workout to the next level. Skipping rope is one of the most effective cardio exercises around, per a study that found just 10 minutes a day with the rope was comparable to 30 minutes of jogging.

Skipping is very beneficial as it works your whole body. Skip for about a minute and you’ll start feeling the burn in your arms, especially your deltoids. You could even proceed to using a heavier rope if you want to a more intense burn on your arms, or a lighter rope for doing double-unders or simply picking up pace.

Regular skipping also significantly improves the muscle tone in the legs and lower body especially your calves, since they primarily get flexed during any kind of jump movements. It is also very time efficient. You can skip for up to 15 minutes before you start up your day and the workout is for your entire body. For the whole day. Skipping is an underrated cardio exercise, the best at that.

Here are some incredible benefits of skipping:

  • Skipping is said to burn about 15-17 calories a minute. Running goes upto 12. According to Science Daily, 10 minutes of skipping is equivalent to running an 8-minute mile.
  • It helps muscle toning.
  • Works the whole body.
  • The most inexpensive form of exercising.
  • It is time efficient.
  • Skipping can be done by anyone and everyone.
  • It can also be done anywhere, even in small spaces.
  • It helps improve bone density.
  • Just like any workout it helps improve the skin.
  • It helps attain balance.
  • You can skip in just anything.
  • It helps with your footwork, agility and coordination.
  • It engages and improves the hip flexor muscles (something we don’t consciously work towards).
  • All it needs is a jump rope. Precisely why it is ideal even when you’re travelling.

This form of exercise should not be boring at all. You can skip along with your friends, colleagues and/or family.

Have a skipping competition.

Implement other exercises into your skipping, say for every 10 skips 3 squats, or you can include double-unders in your normal skip routine.

Change your skipping style. There are various types of skipping styles:

1.The Criss-Cross

criss-crossA simple variation where you cross and uncross your feet each jump. Don’t always follow the same patterns. Sometimes I will cross my feet with my right foot in front three times and left foot in front only once. This improves your coordination and focus. See image below for better clarity.

Foot patterns for criss-cross. Follow steps 1 to 4. Make sure you stay on your toes the entire time.

2. Single Leg Hop

These are great for strengthening the legs separately. You can do five, ten, twenty or as many as you like from one leg and then switch to the other. It adds to your core and hip stability, and overall balance. I often mix these with 2 right and 2 left steps and continue for a minute.

3. Running in one spot

I use this skipping rope exercise to finish all of my skipping workouts. Each skip of the rope is one step. You’re basically running in one spot with the rope. When I do this combination it feels as if the rope is going a hundred miles per hour. It’s great for cardio training and improving the muscular endurance in your arms. I often utilize the side rope swing (see next) to relieve stress from my arms.

4. The Double Under

This is a movement that requires quite a lot of practice. So don’t get demotivated if you don’t get it in the first 10 times. The basic movement is to actually to skips in one jump. It would require you to jump higher, as well as move your hands faster. One thing you can do is, switch to a lighter rope so that you can move the rope quicker. This is quite common and a favourite amongst cross-fitters, runners and other kind of athletes.

Boxers use this variation most often (in fact, some of them only skip using double jumps). This one will take a while to master but it is worth the effort.

5. High knees

This is a great exercise to incorporate into a dynamic warm up. It is similar to running in one spot except after each step you will be bringing your knee up high to your chest. The objective is to bring each knee up as high as you can to activate your hip flexors and extendors as well as your abdominal musculature.

6. Split Jumps

This is a rather challenging variation because your balance and coordination have to be spot on. For each skip, alternate one foot forward and one foot back (on your toes). Your pace will naturally be slower because your feet have more ground to cover. Don’t get discouraged with this one. It looks easier than it is. I’m still working on improving my split jumps.

split-jumps

Foot patterns for split jumps. Alternate between positions 1 and 2. Remember to stay on your toes the entire time.

7. Two-by-two combo

This is one of my favorite one-foot-jump combos. I simply jump twice on my right foot and twice on my left foot and I continue alternating. I’ve done this skipping exercise so often that now I can get a very fast pace going. I often tend to make this a three-by-three combo or a five-by-two combo (I’m usually all over the place) to keep my body guessing.

8. Jumping Jack Jumps

This is something that I am not sure has another name, but this is how I put it. In terms of footwork, it is the same as jumping jacks. And the movement is the same as normal skipping.

As you can see, skipping is all about being creative. I’ve tried countless combinations over the years and am surprised by how many new ideas keep popping up.

 

-The Travellothoner

5 Signs You’re Overtraining

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Disclaimer : I don’t own this article. It has been taken from the link below : https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/overtraining-signs-and-solutions.html

You’ve been going hard in the gym—working your legs, chest, arms, shoulders, and every other muscle to reach your goals. But are you going too hard? Working too much? Could you be overtraining yourself? Yeah, you might be.

The dictionary states, “Overtraining is a common problem in weight training, but it can also be experienced by runners and other athletes. It occurs when the volume and intensity of the exercise exceeds an individual’s recovery capacity. They cease making progress, and can even begin to lose strength and fitness.”

The Signs Of Overtraining:

  • Persistent muscle soreness
  • Elevated resting heart rate
  • Increased susceptibility to infections
  • Increased incidence of injuries
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Loss of motivation
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased appetite
  • Weight loss

Rest Is Key

To see improvement in one’s strength and fitness they must rest. The rest period following hard training is a magical process which takes at least 36 hours to complete. By skimping on rest, complete regeneration cannot occur.

(You can check out our post on rest and recovery here : Health & Fitness 1.3 – Recovery )

If the amount of training continues to exceed the rest period, however, the individual’s performance will plateau and decline. If Jennifer continues to neglect the rest time her body needs, she will indeed get weaker and may experience injuries.

Solutions

1. Taking A Break

Taking a break from training to allow time for recovery. In knowing that you may be doing more harm than good at the gym, set aside today and tomorrow as a break. Some people allow one week away from fitness to revive their bodies and mind, and then when they return to training, they have more focus and are enjoying themselves again.

2. Reducing The Volume

Reducing the volume and/or the intensity of the training. If you always do five sets for each exercise, why not do just two or three, and lower the weight and focus solely on form? Strengthen your mind and muscle connection by tuning into the exercise at hand.

3. Deep-Tissue Massage

Deep-tissue or sports massage of the affected muscles. A skillfully applied massage is the most effective therapy for releasing muscle tension and restoring balance to the musculo-skeletal system. Receiving regular massages may help athletes prevent injuries, which might otherwise be caused by overuse. A constant build-up of tension in the muscles from regular activity may lead to stresses on joints, ligaments, tendons, as well as the muscles themselves.

4. Self-Massage

Self-massage of the affected muscles. Self-massage, with either with your hands or a system such as the Yamuna™ Body Rolling (BR) system featuring a specially designed 7″ ball will help with pain relief, and can be targeted to hamstrings, calves, knees, quads, shoulder and back; any muscle or joint.

People who are stiff and inflexible and have, or are prone to, injury will benefit from BR as it elongates and massages muscles and opens and flexs the joints.

5. Temperature Contrast Therapy

Temperature contrast therapy. (Ice baths, hot & cold showers, etc). This uses the body’s reaction to hot and cold stimuli. The nerves carry impulses felt at the skin deeper into the body, where they can stimulate the immune system, improve circulation and digestion, influence the production of stress hormones, encourage blood flow, and lessening pain sensitivity.

6. Proper Calorie Intake

Ensuring calorie intake matches (or possibly exceeds) caloric expenditure. When overtraining, the body may be depleted in various nutrients. To assist in the process of recovery, it’s important to ensure that a diet high in carbohydrates, lean proteins and healthy fats such as omega 3 oils is met. Carbohydrates will provide the brain with fuel, the oils help relieve depression and proteins will rebuild overtrained muscles.

7. Addressing Vitamin Deficiences

Addressing vitamin deficiencies with nutritional supplements. It is essential to get vitamins from food, however when overtraining is a concern supplementation is beneficial. Supplements should be taken in addition to meals and with meals for their essential and proper absorption.

8. Split Training

Splitting the training program so that different sets of muscles are worked on different days. Once you have rested enough for your body to recover from overtraining, be smart and plan your training split ahead of time.

“Allow at least 4 days between training a certain body part again, and always have at least one day of rest from training each week.”

This will help to prevent overtraining from occurring again. Allow at least 4 days between training a certain body part again, and always have at least one day of rest from training each week.

Conclusion

Training towards a goal can be very rewarding, and when seeing the results form, it’s hard to believe that one may ever go back to their old habits.

Allow yourself to take a break from time to time and listen to your body. It’s when we rest that the body has time to recover, rebuild, and come back stronger then before!

-The Travellothoner