Healthy Protein Pancakes

This is my recipe that I use for protein pancakes which I eat on a cheat day or when I want to eat Nutella guilt free after an intense workout. It’s not the healthiest thing and neither is it the tastiest variation of it, but something I do enjoy guilt-free.

Instructions

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  1. Gather all the dry ingredients mentioned below. Strain them through a big strainer into a bowl and make sure there are no lumps.
  2. I use Dymatize ISO100 (chocolate flavoured) and its sweeter and tastier than most other whey supplements I’ve consumed. Whey by Quest Protein is also great for cooking.
  3. Depending on the taste/sweetness of your protein supplement and in case you plan to skip adding a banana due to it’s flavour you will probably need to add a little more sugar than in this recipe (a ripe banana adds a lot of sweetness to the pancakes).
  4. Then gather all the dry and wet ingredients in a big bowl. Mix everything together with a hand beater thoroughly to get rid of all the lumps until it’s a smooth batter with dropping consistency.
  5. Spray some butter/coconut oil on the over a non-stick pan, and then put some batter and cook both sides like you normally would.

Dry Ingredients

1 Cup Wheat Flour (Can use all purpose flour, but I try to avoid it since whole wheat flour is richer in nutrition and better for digestion).
1 1/2 Tbsp Drinking Chocolate (according to taste actually)
1 1/2 Tbsp Powdered Sugar (You can skip this. I personally add a banana for sweetness)
1 Tbsp Eno or Baking Powder
1 Scoop Chocolate Flavoured Protein Powder (I use Dymatize ISO100)

Wet Ingredients

2 Tbsp curd
3/4th to 1 cup Milk
1 Mashed Banana
1 Tbsp Virgin Coconut Oil

Ps. You can also use vanilla essence along with vanilla flavoured protein powder as a substitute to the drinking chocolate and chocolate protein. You can also add half a tablespoon of salt and cinnamon if you choose to.

Toppings

You can add toppings of your choice. You could add tiny chunks of chocolate chips or dried fruits into the pancakes while they’re cooking or some Nutella and Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup and similar toppings as earlier after the pancake has cooked too.

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Cauliflower Based Pizza Crust And Recipe

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This Cauliflower Pizza Crust recipe is a healthy veggie-packed option that is naturally gluten-free and grain-free. It is perfect for people who still want to eat their pizza, while following a low-carb or food combining diet.

Note : Scroll down to the bottom of the page for ingredients and specific instructions.

How to Make A Cauliflower Pizza

Making a cauliflower pizza is straight-forward, but a little labor intensive. If you start with fresh cauliflower, you’ll need to steam it until tender. (You can skip this step by using frozen cauliflower– read further down in this post for more info). Then, you’ll pulse it in a food processor until it’s rice-like in texture.

(You can save even more time by purchasing pre-riced cauliflower, either fresh or frozen.)

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The Secret to a Non-Soggy Crust

Once your cauliflower is tender and “riced” you’ll need to squeeze out the moisture that cauliflower naturally contains. This is the secret to getting a dry crust that you can pick up with your hands. (I use a simple thin handkerchief).

Once the cauliflower “rice” is very dry, you mix it with an egg or flax egg (if you’re vegetarian), soft goat cheese (which gives the crust a better texture than using shredded cheese), and some Italian seasonings.

If you don’t have goat cheese on hand, you can try mozzarella, cheddar, or even cream cheese with similar results. The texture is the driest with the soft goat cheese, though.

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The crust won’t be like anything else you’ve worked with before – you spread it with a spatula, and use your hands to press and shape the dough.

Bake until the crust is dry and golden, then flip it and bake longer until the other side isn’t soggy. I use the parchment paper to make the flipping process easier.

(You don’t need a second piece of parchment paper after you flip it– the baked crust won’t stick to the pan after it’s been flipped.)

Cauliflower Pizza Toppings

One last thing to keep in mind when making a cauliflower pizza crust is that you should try to keep the sauces minimal so that it doesn’t re-hydrate the crust and make it soggy and the same goes for the cheese. (Remember, there’s already some cheese baked into the crust, too!)

How to Freeze Cauliflower Pizza Crust

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Because making a cauliflower pizza crust can be a bit labor-intensive, I like to double the recipe and make two large crusts (or 4 smaller crusts for individual pizzas) and freeze the extras for an easy future meal.

I’ve found that this works best by baking the crusts, and then freezing them in an airtight container. That way, when you’re ready to make a pizza, you can simply place the frozen crust on a pizza sheet and bake it at 400ºF just until it’s heated through, about 10 minutes.

Then add your toppings and bake for 5-10 minutes more, until the cheese is bubbling.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds cauliflower florets , riced
  • 1 egg , beaten (or a Flax Egg)
  • 1/3 cup soft goat cheese (chevre)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano pinch of salt
  • Pinch of salt
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INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 400oF. If using fresh cauliflower, fill a large pot over medium heat with an inch of water. Fit a steamer basket into the pot, then pour the raw cauliflower into the steamer basket. Bring the water to a boil and cover the pot, steaming the cauliflower until it is very tender and can be pierced with a fork.

2. If using frozen cauliflower, be sure to thaw it completely before getting started, then continue with the following steps.

3. Pour the completely thawed, or freshly steamed, cauliflower into a large food processor fitted with an “S” blade. (You may have to do this in batches if you have a smaller food processor.) Process until a rice-like texture is created. If you bought frozen riced cauliflower, you can skip this step and proceed to the next one.

4. Transfer the “rice” to a clean, thin dishtowel. Wrap up the steamed rice in the dishtowel, twist it up, then SQUEEZE all the excess moisture out! (Be careful if your cauliflower is still hot– you may want to let it cool before handling.) A lot of extra liquid will be released, which will leave you with a nice and dry pizza crust.

5. In a large bowl, mix up the squeezed-out rice, egg, goat cheese, and spices. (Don’t be afraid to use your hands! You want it very well mixed.) It won’t be like any pizza dough you’ve ever worked with, but don’t worry– it’ll hold together!

6. Press the dough out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (It’s important that it’s lined with parchment paper, or it will stick.) Keep the dough about 1/4″ to 1/2″ thick, and make the edges a little higher for a “crust” effect, if you like.

7. Bake for 30-35 minutes at 400F, until dry and golden. Use the parchment paper to flip the crust over, and bake again until the other side is nice and dry, about 10 to 15 more minutes.

8. Add your favorite pizza toppings to the crust, such as sauce and cheese, then return the pizza to the 400F oven. Bake an additional 5-10 minutes, just until the cheese is hot and bubbly. Slice and serve warm.

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How To Make a Flax Egg

A step-by-step tutorial of how to make a flax egg, egg substitute for baking!

PREP TIME
5 mins
Total Time
5 mins
Ingredients

1 Tbsp flaxseed meal (ground raw flaxseed)

2 1/2 Tbsp water
Instructions

Add flaxseed meal and water to a dish and stir. Let rest for 5 minutes to thicken. Add to recipes in place of 1 egg (as original recipe is written).

It’s not an exact 1:1 substitution in every recipe because it doesn’t bind and stiffen during baking quite like an egg does. But I’ve found it to work incredibly well in pancakes, quick breads, brownies, muffins, cookies and many other recipes.

Notes

*This is not my original recipe, but one I discovered on many vegan baking blogs and have since adapted for my own use.

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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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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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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!

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.

Practicing Gratitude : Why You Should Practice Gratitude In These Times

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Virus. Pandemic. Lockdown. Quarantine. Unlock. Virus 2.0

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It’s hard to stay positive when these are the words we’re being exposed to day in and day out. Of course, the fact that we’re cooped up at home  only makes the situation worse.

Over the last few months, I have read a lot of books in order to find the secret behind being happier and trying to maintain a healthy balance in life; physically, mentally and spiritually. Although different books and authors have different perspectives and methods, one of the most common amongst them is ‘Gratitude’.

It may seem like the new normal will never end, but don’t lose hope just yet. Why? Because this is a good time to remind ourselves of everything we have to be grateful for. And when you think about all the things you once took for granted.

So while you stay safe, wash your hands, and maintain social distance, also remember to add ‘practising gratitude’ to your list.

What is gratitude, though?

It is an emotion or feeling, a recognition and appreciation for what one has, that comes from acknowledging the goodness in one’s life. It opens your eyes to the fact that what you have is truly enough. Research demonstrates that the practice of gratitude can enhance overall wellbeing, and other studies have shown that people who practise gratitude are more resilient in the face of trauma. What’s more, spending a few minutes every night writing down what you’re grateful for can even help you sleep better. In short, gratitude makes us happier — and that’s definitely something we need now more than ever!

Researchers in Positive Psychology have found that gratitude and happiness are always strongly correlated. A possible theory is that gratitude moves people to experience more positive emotions, to thoroughly enjoy the good experiences, better their health, face adversity, and develop and maintain relationships of strength, which in turn makes you happier.

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The three common ways people can express their gratitude are:

  • By being gracious of their past (i.e., think of positive childhood memories)
  • By being gracious for the present (i.e., taking time to be present and enjoy)
  • By being grateful for what’s to come (i.e., hopeful and optimistic of the future) (Giving thanks makes you happier).

There is a direct link between happiness and gratitude. Expressing gratitude brings about happiness for the one giving thanks. The more someone is thankful or feels gratitude, the less there is time or room for negative thoughts.

Oscar Wilde once said, “What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.”

Ps. Here’s a poem I wrote a long time ago about being grateful about some of the people in my lives.

Here are a few ways in which you can get started:

Maintain a journal

Close-up Of Gratitude Word With Pen On Notebook Over Wooden Desk

Count your blessings and write them down every day — be it the great cup of coffee you enjoyed in the morning or that recent video call you had with your friend. Soon, you’ll realize that you have more than you need to be happy.

Express appreciation mentally

If you can’t find the time to write every day, think about something you’re grateful for — e.g. the healthcare workers, police officers, and other essential services that are ensuring we remain safe — and be thankful for their hard work.

Meditate

While meditation usually involves a complete focus on the present moment, the practice can also be used to focus on what you’re thankful for — such as pleasant weather, a nutritious meal, or a good night’s sleep. Try the guided gratitude meditation on the cure.fit app or website to get started.

Why should you practise gratitude?

Now that you know how to inculcate the practice — and the feeling — of gratitude in your daily lives, here’s a deeper look into the myriad benefits that come with it:

Improved heart health

Being grateful helps you stay healthy. Research has shown that a positive attitude brings down the risk of depression, stress, and anxiety, all of which are factors behind heart disease. Further, according to various studies with participants that suffered from asymptomatic heart failure, individuals who were willing to see the brighter side of life and exhibit ‘trait gratitude’, slept better and took better care of themselves! Happiness, better health, and a good night’s sleep? It’s a win-win.

Stronger relationships

Of course, showing someone appreciation makes them feel good — but the effects of gratitude go even deeper than that. Studies have shown that expressing gratitude is associated with positive future relationship outcomes, while other researchers compare gratitude to auxiliary emotions that bring people closer, such as trust. So show your loved ones how much they mean to you — and go the extra mile to reach out to friends or family you may have lost touch with. Now’s the time to let people know you’re thinking of them, and how much you value them.

Better self-esteem

Yes, noticing what other people don’t have will make you feel better about yourself — but the most important part of practising gratitude is going beyond comparison to appreciate what you have. And that’s when you stop comparing yourself to others completely. This is what helps you get rid of toxic emotions such as greed and envy, and cultivate better self-esteem!

While these are compelling enough in themselves, there’s another reason you should start practising gratitude — sooner rather than later. Research shows that regular expressions of appreciation alter the molecular structure of the brain and keep grey matter functioning the way it should. Further, the feeling of gratitude activates multiple regions in the brain, boosting the production of ‘happy hormones’ like dopamine and serotonin.

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To sum up

People who practise gratitude have a positive attitude and feel better about their lives as well as their connections with others. So there’s really no reason to wait — there’s no better time than the present to remember all that we have to be grateful for.

As Melody Beattie once said,

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”

So what are you feeling grateful for, today?

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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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