Finding Comfort In Chaos

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I never thought I would write about this, but here I am trying to make some sense of it. This is going to be slightly long so stay with me.

Being in the medical field, I come across anxious and worried families of the patient all the time. A part of my job is to answer their questions, make them comfortable, ease them out to the best of my capacity. I didn’t give it much thought rather enough thought to the things they must be going through. Of course, I knew it wasn’t easy, but I naturally thought more about the patient and from a treatment point of view. And then one day, I received a phone call back in March,2018. A call that gave me the chills, gave me a different perspective and showed me what’s it like to be on the other side.

My mother had suffered a massive heart attack with multiple blockages and my fellow medical colleagues and Grey’s Anatomy fanatics will relate to this when I say we were way past the golden hour. I was away from home which made it more difficult but like my mother says by god’s grace everything went well. The first few weeks were critical, but as strong as our mothers are she fought right through it. And I told myself, the tough part is over, it was a bad phase, we will sail through it. 

Fast forward to the end of the year, both my grannies started showing similar symptoms as my mom, we rushed them for all the tests. Within a couple of days, they were both diagnosed with massive blockages and needed immediate intervention. They both got operated on the same day. One of them was badly affected and was bed ridden for a long time. It was a tough time for my family as we were juggling between them, sharing the day and night shifts and just seeing them in so much pain was very heartbreaking and overwhelming. It breaks my heart till date whenever I talk or even think about it.

And just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, a few months later my grandfather suffered from a stroke, this was his third one and got the best of him. This was followed by my brother’s massive neurosurgery, a very near and dear one’s death to covid, my father’s severe pneumonia, mom’s second big surgery and my grandfather’s untimely demise a couple of months back. Last 3-4 years have been maddening and things are still settling down accompanied with personal and professional work life balance which has been very challenging. I have been fortunate and privileged to have family and friends who supported me throughout. I wouldn’t be able to get through it without them.

Caregiver’s Stress

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It was during this period that I experienced what we call ‘Caregivers stress’. Caregiver’s stress/burnout isn’t spoken about a lot, mostly because it is difficult to recognise,  but there are a lot of studies that discuss it at length. It’s defined as physical, mental and emotional exhaustion. It often leads to development of compassion fatigue which is the stress, strain and the wariness that arises while caring for a person. Being a primary caregiver for most of my family members was not an easy task. My mom and I went through an emotional turmoil.

As majority of the medical decisions were made by me, thinking about the repercussions and bad outcomes made me anxious all the time. I was constantly overthinking and had panic attacks I would have a nervous breakdown and cry out loud sometimes. Feeling irritable, helpless, hopeless and getting angry so easily. It felt like I was slowly losing my mind and sanity. I am not writing this to impart knowledge or tell you how to deal with it. I am still figuring it out myself. But what I can tell you is that it’s okay to feel like that. Seeing your loved ones suffer is not easy. It’s okay to not be okay.

What I have learnt or rather still learning from my experience is that you need to identify it and put your needs first too. It is important to get out and indulge, be in a social environment. It is very difficult at first because the worrying never stops but it is one of the most important things and needs to be done.

Talking about it or writing it down helps too. It wasn’t easy for me to write this all down but the more I thought about it the more I realized how important it is to speak about it. Maybe it will help someone going through something similar, maybe it will just create an awareness. Acknowledging it is step one. Therapy sure did help too. On my tough days, I looked up to my younger brother who gives me so much strength and inspires me to do better each day. He encouraged me to take some time off for myself and always pushed me to move ahead.  My mom has been my anchor all this while and I am forever grateful for that.

Things have been slightly better than before; we are being hopeful and keeping the faith. This story is unfinished, there is so much still happening, and I am not waiting for a happy ending or for all my problems to disappear. At this moment, I am looking for anything good, big or small, that life has to offer.

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A Broken Friendship

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I write words I cannot say,

I feel emotions I cannot portray,

There’s a sadness by the end of day,

A karmic price I’ve got to pay.


A better friend I could’ve been,

A few more thoughts I should’ve given,

But at life I could never win,

For I never loved myself from within.

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Something was always missing,

Something was always off. 

You weren’t always the friend that I needed,

I too wasn’t better than subpar.


It sucks that things ended this way,

They shouldn’t have gone so far.

I’m sorry that I fucked it up so bad,

Only regrets for this time apart.

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Headed For A Heartbreak

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There’s something so beautiful and alluring about love. Everyone talks about how it helps you grow and brings out the best in you. How it feels like to love and to be loved. And then people also talk about how it destroys you. The way it dismantles you and breaks you after it’s gone. They talk about scars and healing and forgiving and believing and of course, hope.

But what people don’t talk about is the hardship and distress you endure while sustaining it. The days when you don’t feel like you’re in love. The days when you want to give up on something or someone. The days when you feel so lost and restless that you cannot find your way back. The days you shut your eyes in anguish trying hard to not let go. The days when you just want to push the person away and breathe in the air around you. Just you. The times when you decide to put yourself first after pouring in all the efforts you could over months and years and how they were not reciprocated.

So you do. You let the person you thought the world of go away. You push them out even.

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People also don’t talk about the aftermath and the absolute destruction it causes. The way your world falls apart like a controlled explosion in the middle of a bustling city with no one to get hurt but yourself. People don’t talk about the days where you have to wake up and live each day knowing that you are the reason for your own doom. The moments when you wish you could turn back the time and do something different to have made it last.

You think about how you should’ve worn that stupid Christmas hairband with the reindeer horns that she was obsessed with. Or how you should’ve worn his favorite shade of lipstick.

People also don’t talk about how these little regrets are nothing but a trail of breadcrumbs which leads to the first house that both of you made with innocent love. There are pictures of you enjoying on your first day on the nightstand by the bed. The bed too, is left exactly the way it looked the first time you undressed in front of them and had more than a naked body for them to judge. The curtains are slightly open too and the window gazes straight into your soul, more bare than your body in front of them. The house is nothing but a mirage and you standing there is an image of you from your perfect past.

So what people don’t talk about, is how you take a sledgehammer and bring that house down and sit in the rubble, your crying face in your palm and wail till you can’t speak anymore. Cry till your voice gives away.

Then you stand up and find another person to build a home with, the sledgehammer still tucked under your shirt though.

Yes. That. Let’s talk about that.

Vaishnavi Arote & Janak Goswami

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A Rollercoaster 12 Hours, A Weird Morning and Diljit Dosanjh

So last night was date night. We had a great time, got good food and a lot to drink, the place was chill and the vibe brilliant and we danced the night away. 

There was a lot of laughs and great conversations too. Ranging from favorite TV Shows to favorite authors and books to embarrassing stories. Fast forward to coming back home and sleeping like a baby thanks to all the alcohol. 

Woke up this morning and felt THE MOST BLAH I’ve ever felt. Very unusual, given my mornings are very productive with workouts and some reading time before getting ready for work.

But did not feel like doing anything so simply stayed in bed for what seemed like an eternity and still had a couple of hours until getting ready for work. Mom wasn’t up yet. So headed to the kitchen, made some aloo parathas for everybody for breakfast, packed my lunch and got ready for work.

Walked to work while listening to some music and now just staring at a stupid screen, with nothing on my mind still. It’s going to be a very long day, I know it. Some respite came in the form of an extra bounce in my step for a total of 3:44 mins while listening to G. O. A. T. by Diljit Dosanjh. 

Idk how to elaborate this blah feeling but at this point, I am very close to shouting into a pillow just to feel something. What a weird 14 hours 😪😪

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PROLOGUE

They got out of the lift and entered the basement. It was dark and a light was flickering in the distance, like in any horror movie. Somewhere between entering the lift and getting out of it, Agastya and Ruche came close and held hands, almost as if out of instinct. Neither of them spoke nor did they want to do anything to acknowledge the fact that it was their final day of seeing each other as they had over the last 6 weeks.

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They started walking towards the car, still not having exchanged a word since they bid adieu to some colleagues and promised to meet the others at the bar. Agastya stopped in his tracks and squeezed her hand. Ruche, who was walking a step ahead, looked back to see his pale face, devoid of any emotion. He was hurting. Obviously not physical, but his heart was burning, there was a pit in his stomach, a lump in his throat and his eyes were moist. 

Ruche could almost feel his pain within her. By now, she knew him well enough to know exactly what was going through his head. Somewhere deep down, she was hurting too. She’d obsessed about this moment just 24 hours ago, talked to Agastya about it for over an hour and yet eventually, neither of them could make any sense out of it.

The seminar was over and it was time to say goodbye. However, they were still going to be in the same city. They still lived and worked within an hours drive from each other and could always catch up post-work or over the weekends; and yet, this goodbye felt like an emotional anchor – but for good reason.

The seminar had been like an alternate dimension altogether. In many ways, a vacation – being able to spend hours together every day over a long period of time without without having to explain or give excuses to anybody about why they saw each other everyday. No excuses for making post-seminar plans and coming home late or for holding hands in the car and driving around pointlessly while listening to soft should touching music or for going to secluded places and stargazing while sipping on some hot-chocolate. They knew now, that their honeymoon period was over and it was time to go back to reality. Back to facing unpleasant bosses and clients, long work hours, curious parents and other daily drama. 

She walked towards him, not letting go off the grip, squeezed his hand and rested her idle hand on his cheek. She graced his cheek delicately, looking straight into his eyes. Her gaze was soft, but stern. Sad, but passionate. She came closer. He could feel their breaths sync in rhythm and in the next instant, she just wrapped her hands around him and hugged him reassuringly. 

They stood there for a few seconds, neither of them making an attempt to move. Agastya could feel Ruche’s breath on his neck, her perfume that he’d come to love and the scent of her washed hair. He did not want to let her go. But at the back of his mind, he knew he did not have much time. Their colleagues had already left for the bar and as had been the unsaid agreement between them, they did not want to raise any eyebrows. He slowly loosened his embrace and Ruche got the hint. They looked at each other again only this time, Agastya planted a light peck on her cheek. She could feel the smile on his lips.

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They straightened themselves and took a deep breath, as if readying to go to battle, and walked towards the car. Like clockwork, they threw their bags on the back seat, Agastya loosened his tie, Ruche took her blazer off and took control of the aux. Agastya turned the ignition on, one hand on the steering and other on the gear and waited patiently, until Ruche rested her hand on his. That had been their thing for weeks now. Agastya smiled amidst that security and drove off towards the bar.

Both Ruche and Agastya sat silently, trying to fully comprehend what had just happened. They’d held hands and hugged before, but this was unlike anything from the past. The magnitude of those flowing emotions was so strong and alien, that they couldn’t find words to explain it. And if they could, no words could ever do justice to how they were feeling. But soon enough, as they drew closer to the bar, the vibe in the car changed. A long – wild – alcohol filled night awaited them, as they got off the car and headed towards the bar, now maintaining a platonic level of distance between them. 

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Mocha Flavoured Ice Cream

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Everyone loves ice cream, if you don’t this recipe will make you change your mind…

PREP TIME – 2 Hours

COOK TIME – 2-5 mins

SERVES – 3-4

INGREDIENTS: –

  • 3 Large Ripe Bananas
  • 1 Tsp Instant Coffee
  • 1 Tsp Cocoa Powder (Unsweetened)
  • 1 Tbsp Coconut Milk


METHOD: –

1. Peel and chop the bananas (similar size).

2. Store in an airtight container or a plastic bag and put them in the freezer for at least 3 hours (until the bananas are solid). Ideally overnight would be best, if you can’t wait that long then until the bananas are solid.

3. Put the frozen bananas into a blender and blend until you get a thick ice cream like consistency. Add Coffee and Cocoa Powder and Blend again.

4. Add Coconut Milk and blend one last time again.

5. Have immediately from the blender or freeze again for a few hours and enjoy a scoop or two or the entire tub.

Notes: Technically you would not need extra sugar but you could add 2 Tablespoon of Honey if you like. You can add Chocolate Chips or Sliced Almonds or dried fruits or fresh fruits too.

Ta-da Enjoy this Ice-cream! 😀

Below are a few photographs showing you how the process looks in bits and pieces

Bananas out of the freezer after they settle in the grinder for about 5-10mins.

A little crumbly banana mix, add the Instant coffee (whichever flavour you have, we went ahead with Double Chocolate Coffee)

And there you go, a jar full of Ice cream, a tub full of Healthy Joy 😀

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Is Less Really More?

‘Less is more. 

We’ve read this a million times, and although this mostly applies in an artistic or design context, it is widely misinterpreted. This phrase was first used in 1855 by Andrea del Sarto, an architect who used it when referring to the desirability of less visual clutter in the building of homes. 

This saying goes with design too. The idea is to design something that’s not so overly complicated that it robs the fun for the perceiver, who’s trying to make more sense of it than being able to enjoy it. Various studies also show how working excessively hard, putting in extra effort at work is something to brag about for many people, is not always the most healthy thing.

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But is less really more?

For design and art? Probably. For your career and work-life balance? Maybe. But for life too?

I mean, what does ‘Less is more’ even mean when it comes to life?

That you sit back and laze around and relax, maybe watch Netflix or go out on during the weekends and non-work hours? I mean, I don’t know. I am no expert to critique someone’s way and neither is there one perfect answer for everybody. So you do you!

Me personally though, I don’t believe that. Having been brought up in a Gujarati family, I’ve seen my father work 14 hours a day and build himself up from nothing. How things have been over the last 20 years, from living in a small 1BHK house to now living in a big enough home to have adequate space for all our luxuries. And while there were a lot of times, annual days or sports days, when I wanted him to be there for me and he wasn’t, it was disappointing but I also understood why it was the way it was. 

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But it was not like he wasn’t there for the important times, because he was. And having said all of that, I have seen my mother work equally hard, maybe even harder with having to raise 2 sons, take care of their education and extra curriculars, take care of the home, etc. 

So yeah, working hard or ‘Hustle’ as the call it, is all I’ve ever known and something I try to duplicate for myself from my parent’s lives. If there’s anything else that motivates me to Hustle, it is Sports & Athletes and Steve Job’s speech at Stanford University. If you’ve heard the speech you know that no lesson as small as it may be, ever goes to waste.

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But I want to do it in my own way. I want to learn things I like and that interest me; And I know it’s not going to go waste. It is quite possible that it won’t help me in my career, but it’ll help me in some way and if not anything, it brings me a lot of joy. What price would you put on that?

I am doing a ton of things today – Learning mandarin, taking up dance lessons, working on writing my own book, maintaining this blog, studying for my GMAT exams and taking some boxing lessons and practicing yoga too. I barely have any time to breathe all through the day, but I am also the happiest I have ever been. These activities although physically draining, just bring nothing but peace to me mentally. 

I always knew academics weren’t my strongest suit and I am living my truth today. I have an amazing mentor at work who invests time and energy in me to ensure I’m growing and pushing myself. My workouts help me channel all my excess energy (and sometimes rage) in a productive way, my reading helps me gain more perspective and knowledge, my writing helps me express my feelings and emotions and learning Mandarin (and already knowing English and Hindi) means I can speak to roughly every other person on this planet.

But here’s the funny part : I never did any of these things for the reasons I’ve mentioned above. I just did these activities to plug holes in my daily routine where I was simply wasting time watching TV or idling around; and because I had very easy access to them. But it kept on adding joy to my daily routine and overall value to my life and I love it. Because,

I am not here to live, I am here to leave a legacy.

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The Wish

This year for my new year wish I ask,

A little more luck and a little something from the past.

I want that girl who sat at my side when I drove,

I want the girl whose laugh made my day whole.

 

Every one of those exchanged smiles from across the room,

I want those moments back that got our friendship to bloom.

Its still just as effortless to remember those days,

Brings the widest smile to my face your peculiar ways.

 

I’m always going to be here cheering you on,

I promise to be by your side from dusk till dawn.

I’m always going to be in your corner for every fight,

Remind you of your Herculean might.

 

So here I am asking you to grant me this wish,

Turn this friendship into a uniquely assembled dish.

For I loved those fifteen days and I hope to live them again,

For you’re the one I miss each time it starts to rain.

Cycling For Beginners

Listed below are a few cycling tips I personally followed as a beginner or wished someone had told me sooner than later. This post is aimed solely for beginners and enthusiasts who have started cycling recently. I’ve tried to cover some of the most common pitfalls of getting into riding, but haven’t forgotten that the best thing about cycling is that it’s fun and easier on your joints.

In the words of the great Eddy Merckx — the legendary Belgian ex-pro cyclist who won 11 Grand Tours, including five Tour de France: “Ride as much or as little, as long or as short as you feel. But ride.”

1. Choosing the Right Bike

The first and most important thing to determine before buying a bike is the purpose of getting one and the terrain it’s going to be ridden on. Bikes are most broadly divided into 3 groups and we’ve provided a short summary below. However, you can also refer to our previous article for an in-depth analysis of ‘How To Choose The Perfect Bike For Yourself’.

Summary

TypesRoad BikesHybrid BikesMountain Bikes
Type of RoadMeant for paved roadsSome off-road MTB abilities mixed with a compromised road bike design for paved roadsMTBs are designed to be used on rough terrain ranging from unpaved roads, gravel paths and technical trails
Type of FrameLightweight aluminium frame and thin wheelsAluminium and steel frames with thin wheels, but thicker than a road bikeAluminium and steel frames with thick wheels and greater ground clearance
Handlebars and PostureDrop down handlebars and aggressive streamlined postureFlat handlebars for comfort and ergonomic posture
Straight handlebars with a front as well as rear suspension with a straight or aggressive posture depending on type of ride
Average SpeedAverage speeds on 25 – 35 km/hAverage speeds on 18 – 25 km/hAverage speeds on 10 -12 km/h on trails and upto 20km/h on paved roads
RecommendationsIdeal for people who want to discover speed or athletes who want intense cardiovascular exerciseIdeal for beginner cyclists or users who are looking at cycles to go on excursions exploring the city or countrysideIdeal for beginner cyclists thanks to its hardiness and all-terrain credentials or for individuals who want to cycle on trails
*Note : City cycles are not a part of this table since they’re mainly meant for commute and not for regular or leisure riding.
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2. Cycling Core Gear (For Short Rides upto 1 hour)

As far as apparel choices are concerned, there is a huge range of cycling clothing out there ranging from easily affordable to insanely expensive choices. But we’re going to list down a few must-haves for you to ensure a comfortable and joyful ride.

1. Padded Shorts

The main purposes of padded shorts is to protect and cushion the bottom and genitals from the pressure of the body on the saddle, and to cushion the sit bones. Massively padded saddles won’t help you on longer rides (ouch!). The only way to be comfortable in the saddle is to wear padded shorts, fit a decent saddle and ride until you get used to it.

For those who haven’t heard or used these before and are wondering if you should be wearing any undergarments below these shorts, then the answer is NO. You do not wear underwear under padded bike shorts. The pad is designed to sit next to the skin.

2. Cycling Helmet

Things to keep in mind before you select a Bicycle Helmet:

  1. First thing first, please do not compromise on the quality. Wear a cheap helmet is equivalent of wearing a plastic cap. It will not help in any way during a mishap.
  2. The helmets are unisex and can be used by both men as well as women. Although one can always choose a preferred color.
  3. Buy the correct size of the helmet for your head. One can check the helmet size as per the image below.
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3. Rear and Front LED Safety Lights

Bike lights are a non-negotiable for any ride. Front lights may not be necessary if you don’t plan to bicycle in the dark however, rear lights cannot be compromised with, be it day or night. At the same time, wearing reflective clothes or a reflective jacket is also a great idea.

You can choose amidst a range of really nice looking fancy lights, which can be attached to the back of the seat or to the wheel itself.

4. Cycling Sunglasses

They don’t need to cost the earth or make you look stupid, but they will keep your eyes protected from bugs, stones, sun and rain. Some versions feature interchangeable lenses, so, if you can, get one lens for bright conditions and one for dull, wet days.

5. Medical Contact Card/Identity Card

You can never be too precautious when on the road. As careful as we are and hope it never comes to this, but always carry your identity card or medical card in case needed during any kind of duress or emergency. It may be very crucial to obtain your vital information in case of mishaps.

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6. A Bike Lock

It is important to note that a good bike lock is usually available for sale separately and never included while buying the bike itself. It becomes important to carry a lock especially if you plan to take breaks between your ride to enjoy the scenery around or just park it in your garage or workplace if you use it for commute.

7. A Mobile Phone (With/Without A Phone Mount)

You might have come across some professional or big time cycling enthusiasts who prefer using a cycle computer or have a speedometer attached to track live data. Well, if you don’t want to spend that extra money on those pricey accessories, you can simply invest in a good and sturdy phone mount. There are various apps that help you track live speed.

If you’re not someone who wants excessive data, you can also just use an armband or a safe pocket to store your phone in. Needless to say, it’ll not only help you with maps and commute but also ensure communication and empower you to call for help during emergencies, accidents or flat tyres.

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The New Year

Another year is coming to a close,

It is time to forget all your troubles and woes.

For me this year was tough, full of ups and downs,

It brought many emotions, tears and many frowns.


Now another year is approaching fast,

Let’s hope it’s a New Year with love and health,

With a little failure and success that lasts,

Let’s hope we enjoy it with a blast.


May all of your dreams come true,

And you find peace and love in all that you do.

May we all hear the sound of joy,

And push away all that hurts that destroy.


The New Year I hope will be good to us all,

Caring and calming and granting  a helping hand each time we fall.

Listen more, slow down, and say I love you,

Stop for a moment; take a breath, enjoy the view.


Appreciate your people and tell them you care,

Do something exciting, like a thrill or a dare.

Enjoy all that the New Year has to give,

We have but one life, so let’s learn to live.


It’s a New Year, a brand new start,

Always remember, live and love from your heart.

Wishing each and every one a year to behold,

And may it be full of wonders for you to unfold.


Lots of love, hugs, and kisses too,

A very happy New Year from me to you.

-The Travellothoner

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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!

Full Body Workout At Home – No Equipment

Amidst the outbreak of Corona Virus and the immediate shut down of public facilities including gyms, offices, etc. we’re moving to a very dormant, ‘work-from-home’ lifestyle. Nobody knows how long it’ll last. Hence, it is important to make sure you get your daily workout fix at home and stay in shape.

The best part is, anyone can do this workout at any time during the day and without any equipments. Here’s how the workout looks like :

The Workout

This workout is broken down into 4 parts – The Warm Up, Main Workout, Finisher, Cool Down.

Warm-up:

Do each move for 30 seconds. Do this warm-up twice.

  • Spot Jogging
  • Jumping jacks
  • Inchworm walk to shoulder tap
  • Squats

Circuit:

Do each move for 30 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds in between each move. Do the entire circuit twice.

  • Push-ups
  • Alternate Leg Forward Lunges
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Sprawls
  • Panther Shoulder Tap
  • Planks

Note – For additional intensity, one can increase the number of rounds to 3 or 4 or shift to a 45 second move – 15 second rest routine.

Finisher :

Do 1 rep of each, then 2 reps of each, then 3 reps, etc., and go as high as you can get in 3 minutes. 

  • Beast Load and Unload
  • Burpees

Cool-down:

Do each move for 30 seconds or longer if it feels good and you have time.

  • Forward Bend and Toe Touch
  • Standing Quad Stretch
  • Cat and Camel Pose
  • Child’s Pose

Note : Just spend 10-30 seconds more to limber up and stretch.

Here’s how to do each move:

1. Spot Jogging

MatureEssentialAlligator-small

  • Stand upright in your regular stance and jog on the spot.
  • Make sure you’re jogging on your toes and not heels or the centre of your feet.

Continue for 30/45 seconds.

jumping-jacks-20-min

  • Stand with your feet together, core engaged, and hands at sides.
  • Jump your feet wider than hip-width apart, and bring arms up to clap hands overhead.
  • Jump your feet back together and bring your arms to your sides to return to starting position.

Continue for 30/45 seconds and try to get as fast as possible.

3. Inchworm Walk To Shoulder Tap

Inchworms

  • Stand with your feet together, core engaged, and hands at sides. Bend forward at your hips to place your hands on the floor in front of you.
  • You can bend your knees a little if you need to.
  • Walk your hands forward until you’re in a high plank, with your palms flat on the floor, hands shoulder-width apart, shoulders stacked directly above your wrists, legs extended, and core engaged.
  • Tap your right hand to your left shoulder while engaging your core and glutes to keep your hips as still as possible. Try not to rock at the hips. Do the same thing with your left hand to right shoulder.
  • Walk your hands back toward your feet and stand up to return to the starting position.

Continue for 30/45 seconds.

4. Squats

Squats

  • Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out.
  • Bend your knees and push your hips back as you lower down into a squat. Keep your core engaged, chest lifted, and back flat.Push through your heels to stand back up to the starting position.
  • Squeeze your butt at the top.

Continue for 30/45 seconds.

5. Push-ups/Modified Pushups

  • Start in a high plank position with your palms flat on the floor, hands shoulder-width apart, shoulders stacked directly above your wrists, legs extended behind you, and your core and glutes engaged.
  • Bend your elbows and bring your chest toward the ground to do a push-up. As you bend your elbows and lower toward the ground.
  • Push back up to high plank, maintaining a strong core and flat back. This is 1 rep.
  • If this is too challenging, feel free to modify by dropping to your knees when you push your butt back toward your heels.

Continue for 30/45 seconds.

Lunges

  • Stand with your feet together, arms down by your sides.
  • Step forward (about 2 feet) with your right foot, landing on the ball of your right foot and keeping your heel on the ground.
  • Keep your chest lifted, back flat, and your glutes and core engaged.
  • Push through the heel of your left foot to return to standing, and without pausing, step forward repeating the movement with your left leg.

Continue for 30/45 seconds.

7. Mountain Climbers

mountain_climbers_man

  • Start in a high plank position with your palms flat on the floor, hands shoulder-width apart, shoulders stacked directly above your wrists, legs extended behind you, and your core and glutes engaged.
  • Bring your right knee under your torso to your right elbow. Return to starting position.
  • Repeat on the other side, bringing your left leg to your left elbow. Return to starting position. This is 1 rep.
  • Start slowly, and start to speed up the move when you feel comfortable, for even more of a cardio challenge.

Continue for 30/45 seconds.

8. Sprawls

Sprawl Squats

  • Start in a high plank position with your palms flat on the floor, hands shoulder-width apart, shoulders stacked directly above your wrists, legs extended behind you, and your core and glutes engaged.
  • Lower into a forearm plank, starting with your left arm, followed by your right.
  • Then, come up in the reverse order—starting with your right arm and following with the left.
  • Now that you’re back in the high plank, perform one frogger by jumping your feet outside your hands, keeping your weight in the center of your feet. Drop your butt down.
  • Then, jump your feet back out to a high plank and repeat the plank-up starting with the right arm this time.
  • If this is too challenging, scale down by doing the plank-up from your knees and walk your feet in for the frogger instead of jumping.

Continue for 30/45 seconds.

9. Panther Shoulder Taps

panther-shoulder-taps-20-min

  • Place your hands and knees on the floor.
  • Engage your core and while keeping your back flat and your butt down (like you’re in a plank), lift your knees off the floor about 1 to 3 inches. Gaze at the floor a few inches in front of your hands to keep your neck in a comfortable position.
  • Tap your right hand to your left shoulder, and then your left hand to your right shoulder, while using your core strength to keep your hips as still as you can. (“Imagine there’s a drink balancing on your back!” Sims says.) That’s 1 rep.

Continue for 30/45 seconds.

10. Elbow Plank

Elbow-Plank

Planks are great for working the abs, and the elbow plank is harder on the abs than the traditional plank in push-up position.

  • Start face down on the floor resting on your forearms and knees.
  • Push off the floor, raising up off your knees onto your toes and resting mainly on your elbows.
  • Contract your abdominals to keep yourself up and prevent your booty from sticking up.
  • Keep your back flat — don’t let it droop or you’ll be defeating the purpose. Picture your body as a long straight board, or planks.

Continue for 30/45 seconds.

11. Burpees

burpee-20-min

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, core and glutes engaged.
  • Bend your knees and reach forward to place your hands on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
  • Kick your legs straight out behind you and immediately lower your entire body down to the ground, bending at the elbows, so that your chest touches the floor.
  • Use your arms to quickly push your body back up while hopping your legs back under your body.
  • Explode up, jumping vertically with arms stretched overhead. Land lightly on the balls of your feet with your knees slightly bent, and immediately repeat.

12. Beast Load and Unload

Loading-and-Unloading-Beast

  • It is similar to a blast off push-up, but without the push-up.
  • “Load the beast” by assuming a modified child’s pose, kneeling on the ground with heels underneath hips, knees slightly flared open, and arms extended in front of you with elbows straight. Let your head fall between your arms, and lift your knees an inch off the ground.
  • Next, “unload the beast.” Keeping your elbows completely straight and your knees an inch from the ground, begin to shift your hips forward. Continue to push forward until your shoulders are in front of your wrists. Return to the start to complete one rep.

13. Forward Bend and Toe Touch

Toe touch

  • From Downward Facing Dog, slowly step forward to the top of your mat. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
  • Straighten your legs out as much as you can and let your torso hang down.
  • Tuck your chin in toward your chest, relax your shoulders, and extend the crown of your head toward the floor to create a long spine.
  • Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.

14. Standing Quad Stretch

  • Stand with your feet together.
  • Use your left hand to pull your left foot toward your butt.
  • If you need to, put one hand on a wall for balance.
  • Squeeze your glutes to increase the stretch in the front of your legs.
  • Hold for 10 to 20 seconds.
  • Repeat on the other leg.

15. Cat and Camel Pose

Cat and camel

  • Kneel down on all fours with your hands directly underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. Round your upper back while pressing your shoulders forward while looking down. This is your starting or cat position.
  • Pause, then slightly arch your back while looking up towards the ceiling. Return to starting position.
  • Continue for 30 seconds.

Child Pose

  • Kneel on your mat with your knees hip width apart and your feet together behind you. Take a deep breath in, and as you exhale, lay your torso over your thighs.
  • Try to lengthen your neck and spine by drawing your ribs away from your tailbone and the crown of your head away from your shoulders.
  • Rest your forehead on the ground, with your arms extended out in front of you.
  • Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.