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.
Advertisements

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.
Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

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.

Advertisements

Chocolate,Banana & Peanut Butter Mini Cakes

Advertisements

Ever wondered how to bake without an oven, well here is how! Keep reading 🙂

PREP TIME – 5 Mins

COOK TIME – 50 – 60 Mins

SERVES – 4 Mini Cakes

INGREDIENTS: –

  • 2 Large Bananas (can be ripe)
  • 1 Tbsp Peanut Butter
  • 1-2 Tsp Cocoa Powder (Unsweetened)
  • Cashews
  • Desiccated Coconut
  • 1/2-1 Tsp Coconut Oil (to grease the Idli Mould)
  • 2 cups of Salt (to bake on the stove)
Advertisements

METHOD: –

1. Peel and chop the bananas.

2. In a food processor add the chopped Bananas, Peanut Butter and Cocoa Powder. 

3. Blitz till a smooth texture is formed.

4. Grease one the Idli mould and pour the mixture into the mould. Place the Cashews on top and sprinkle Desiccated Coconut on top.

5. In a big vessel (wok, pan or pressure cooker) add 2 cups of salt and let it heat on a low flame.

6. Place a small stand in the pan and then the Idli mould on top of the stand and cover with a steel plate or the lid.

7. Let it bake for 50 minutes on low heat.

8. Check if the mini cakes are baked with a toothpick or knife (if it comes out clean then they are ready, if not then leave for another 10 minutes).

Notes: You can also bake this in an oven at 180°C for 15 minutes (you can use a tray, line it up with a baking paper and grease with Coconut Oil).

Ta-da Enjoy these Mini Cakes 🙂

For more recipes follow and share via Facebook and Instagram 🙂

Advertisements

The Importance of Drinking Adequate Water

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

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

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

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

Advertisements

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

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

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

Advantages of drinking adequate water

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

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

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

2. Water Can Help Control Calories.

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

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

Advertisements

3. Water Helps Energize Muscles.

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

4. Water Helps Keep Skin Looking Good.

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

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

5. Water Helps Your Kidneys.

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

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

6. Water Helps Maintain Normal Bowel Function.

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

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

Engaging in Sports Is The Best Workout!

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

Can you relate to this person?

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

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

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

Advertisements

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

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

Advertisements

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

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

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

The Travellothoner.

Who Is Your G.O.A.T. ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Advertisements

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who is your GOAT?

Advertisements

A World Without Sports

Different sports.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. The Economic Impact of Sports

Economic Impact of sports

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

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

2. Job Creation

Sports and job creation

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

Sardar Patel Stadium in Gujarat, India

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

3. National Unity

Stretford End and Man Utd Fans

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

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

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

4. Role Models, Motivators and Inspirers

Roger Federer as a role model

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

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

5. Community Relationships

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

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

6. Emotions

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

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

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

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

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

7. Philanthropy

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

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

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

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

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

8. Iconic Moments

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

-The Travellothoner

The Run

img_9477

Take a thousand steps and maybe a thousand more,

And ever so often you’ll want to take a thousand more.

In the mornings, evenings or late at night,

A therapeutic activity to test your fight.


Every step taken is a step closer to your goal,

A step towards making your achievement whole.

And when your muscles ache and your face is red,

Remember your determination that got you out of bed.


Push through your limits and dig into your grit,

Recognize your potential and find new targets to hit.

Inspire the people around you including your peers,

Encourage them to fight and face their fears.


Run like a hare or as steady as a tortoise,

Ignore all the noise and listen to your voice.

Remember all the hard work and all the times you bled,

Once a runner, always a runner they said.


-The Travellothoner

5 Signs You’re Overtraining

deadlift-1280.jpg

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

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

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

The Signs Of Overtraining:

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

Rest Is Key

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

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

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

Solutions

1. Taking A Break

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

2. Reducing The Volume

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

3. Deep-Tissue Massage

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

4. Self-Massage

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

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

5. Temperature Contrast Therapy

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

6. Proper Calorie Intake

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

7. Addressing Vitamin Deficiences

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

8. Split Training

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

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

-The Travellothoner

Workout Myths – Squat Edition

Back squats are unquestionably one of the single most productive exercises that can be performed in the weight room to increase overall strength and power. Together with bench presses and deadlifts, this trio in my opinion are the most effective at gaining overall strength and gaining muscle.

fs1

There’s no reason there should be blanket cues that encompass everyone—especially where exercise is concerned. When it comes to squats sure, everyone knows there are basic tips to follow in order to stay safe and prevent injury – keeping a tall spine, proper breathing methods, distributing weight through the entire foot, and tightness through the core and upper back. And they go without saying.

Nevertheless, the exercise still has its critics and myths continue to haunt us. Some of them are as follows:

1. Your knees can never go over your toes when you squat

squat_bar_placement-1024x664

The theory that knees should never go over toes was found in a study that found maintaining a vertical lower leg as much as possible reduced strain on the knee during a squat. However, the study only looked at two dimensional models of the knee joint, so it lacked consideration of forces working from above, at the hip, below, and at the ankle, which all receive considerable force in this position

The reason we are told to ensure our knees don’t go over our toes is actually less about our toes and more about our centre of gravity and muscle recruitment. With the weight shifted back, we get more muscle activation from the glutes and hamstrings, whereas when our weight is shifted forward the focus is more on the quads and anterior chain. So… knees over toes is a myth as the toes simply serve as an arbitrary point and the guideline should really be more to do with how to balance load, but the knees over toes works as a simplified guideline.

2. Deep squats are bad for your knees

 

this-is-how-deep-you-should-squatContrary to popular belief, squatting deep is not bad for the knees – studies have found there is no difference between partial, parallel and deep squats impact on the knee.  Another study by The Journal of Biomechanics found that the deeper the squat, the less pressure is created inside the knee. The journal of strength and conditioning research also completed a study which concluded that parallel squats with heavy weights are less effective at increasing strength than deep squats with a lighter weight.

Obviously, there is not a one-size-fits-all perfect squat, but in most cases, gradual progressive training to the full range of motion of a deep squat will be effective.

3. If it doesn’t break parallel it doesn’t count

Myth. Despite the research supporting squat depth as seen above, failing to squat deep doesn’t mean that the squats don’t count. In fact squatting to parallel is probably the most widely used squat because it is arguably the safest form of squatting and the easiest to perform.

For some people, though it has greater muscle activation, squatting below parallel just isn’t possible, be it due to lack of flexibility, lack of strength or lower back issues.

If the lower back rounds when the athlete performing a full squat breaks parallel, it’s time to stop. Rounding of the back during this phase of the squat places intense pressure on the lower vertebrae of the back. Research has shown that during the deepest phase of the squat, this compression is six times greater than at the top of a squat.

Work on flexibility by performing bodyweight squats and gradually sinking lower until you can break parallel and enter the full squat without compromising your spine. Dynamic warm ups and flexibility work will help to increase your range of motion.

4. Look up as you squat

As much as you may enjoy staring at your squirming face as you squat, “head up” is one of the worst commands you can give to a client. The logic behind it was/is that the body goes where the head leads and therefore if you look up, you will be less likely to fail your squat. However, with a heavy load across your shoulders looking up increases the amount of pressure on your neck and could potentially lead to slipping the discs in your neck. Ideally, the aim should be to keep your spine in neutral alignment. For most people you need to keep your eyes forward and tuck the chin slightly.

5. Squats decrease knee stability

This myth can be traced to a research that found that squats increased knee laxity, thus increasing the risk of knee injury. The results of the study have never been reproduced, and later research found that populations that performed squats, such as powerlifters and Olympic-style weightlifters, possessed more stable joints that other populations.

6. The Deadlift is a good substitute for squats

The deadlift is a great core exercise that compliments the squat by more aggressively working the trapezius, grip, and hamstrings. The issue with the deadlift is that it doesn’t work the legs through a large range of motion as the squat and as such doesn’t provide complete development of the quads. Performing lower body exercises only through a partial range of motion tightens up the tendons, making athletes more susceptible to injuries, and reduces knee stability. Rather than choosing between squats and deadlifts, include both of these powerful exercises in your program.

7. Performing leg extensions before squats works the quads harder

The idea is that this training method would work the muscle used in the isolation exercise harder. However, research found that because lighter weights are used in the second exercise, the strength training effect is reduced. The leg extension is fine as an auxiliary exercise, but they should be performed after squats, not before.

8. Your feet should be shoulder width apart

Let’s be realistic here. It may make for a visually appealing setup when you have a semi-wide stance when squatting, but this statement gives no consideration to the lifter’s anatomy. There are big guys out there who have very wide shoulders, so this cue would almost put them in a sumo squat position right off the bat. Not following your body in this regard may lead to clearance issues when the ball and socket joint of the hip are restricted due to your stance.

In fact, one may choose a very close leg stance on a particular day and a very wide stance on another to ensure they hit all their muscle groups or to avoid a monotonous movement.

Conclusion

The worst thing a lifter can do is try to fit a round peg into a square hole. There’s no one-size-fits-all on body types and skeletal structure, so take heed of this important information.

-The Travellothoner

Mumbai Riders – Midnight Cycling

My Experience:

img_1613

I went cycling with this group back in 2016 and it was something I had been wanting to do for a while, ie, explore the streets of Mumbai on my bike. It was a totally different experience for me, viewing this city in a totally different lens altogether. Riding past some of the most iconic buildings and streets this city harbours. After my ride, as luck would have it, the founder Rishi Shah turned out to be a college mate, and I instantly started volunteering and helping him host these rides. And each ride has had such a diverse bunch of people, that it feels like a new experience each time.

We’ve hosted cyclists and sports enthusiasts, people just looking for a different experience away from the routine Saturday Night Partying, people who do it from a fitness perspective or as a group activity, etc. And people from various fields like software development, finance, medicine, construction, engineering , psychology, entrepreneurs, etc, ranging from as young as 15 year olds to 50+ year olds. The best part about these rides is the route. For a person living in the suburbs, my frequency of going to the other side of town is very scarce, and I have always wanted to explore these areas up close.

About Colaba:

DjPWVlxXsAAyu9y

Colaba is one of the oldest and one of the first places to be occupied in Mumbai. Constructed by The East India Company in 1838 it occupied the 2 islands of Colaba and Old Woman’s Island.

The architecture of the area is reminiscent of the old Bombay, fact highlighted by buildings like National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA), Regal Cinema, Prince of Wales Museum (now Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Museum) and Cusrow Baug, a Parsi residential colony built in 1934, covering an area of 84,000 square yards, which home to over 500 families. Plus the area is also hub of various art galleries, which makes this area a natural destination for artist community.

img_1615

Apart from upmarket retail showrooms, and small shops dealing in electronic goods, cosmetics and music, it a has pavement book stall dating back several decades, besides having numerous small shops and footpath outlets selling everything from artefacts to shawls, carpets and minor antiques to slippers of all kind, which make tourists, backpackers and locals from South Mumbai, throng the area through the year.

attr_2322_20190405172621

Among the restaurants, cafes and roadside eateries that make the street popular with tourists and locals alike are the Indian Mughlai fame Delhi Darbar restaurant, Piccadilly restaurant, Cafe Churchill, Mings Palace. Cafe Mondegar, and the Cafe Leopold were founded by Iranians in 1871.

Other visitors’ attractions in the area are historical structures like Church of St John the Evangelist (Afghan Church) in the nearby Navy Nagar, built by the British to commemorate the dead of the disastrous First Afghan War of 1838, and the Sassoon Docks, built in 1875, by Albert Abdullah David Sassoon(1818–1896), son of David Sassoon, a philanthropist Baghdadi Jew. Today the Sassoon Docks house, one of the largest fish market of Mumbai city. 

About The Ride

32a1066f-9ffc-469e-bcc4-ac923f81a529

We start from Happy Cycle Shop towards Taj Gateway and then head towards Regal Cinema. From there, we ride to Asiatic Library. From there, we head to the High Court, CST/BMC Building and then towards Metro Cinemas. From Xaviers we head up the bridge to Marine Lines. From hereon, we move towards Valkeshwar and then Peddar Road. We go up the road and then cycle our way to Haji Ali.

Moving onward from Haji Ali, we take a U-Turn from NSCI Dome, and head back via Breach Candy towards Marine Lines and then head to Colaba. It take a total of 3 hours, we provide refreshments and take several water breaks at some checkpoints. All in all, it is a joy ride which enables you to navigate South Bombay on 2 wheels.

If interested in participating, you can find us on Facebook at Mumbai Riders. We organise approximately 2 rides a month.

-The Travellothoner

The Truth About Gyms

The pressure to get fit is real. I gave in at the beginning of the year and purchased a gym membership. Since then I have learnt a hell of a lot and I though I would share some truths about getting fit with you lovely people.

Starting and staying committed is the hardest part.

For the first 2 weeks I used to have a minor breakdown over having to go to the gym. I would feel amazing straight after the workout, but the build up to it I would be like a 2 year old throwing a tantrum. After the two weeks of going to a class every other night it stopped feeling like torture and began to be something I would wake up looking forward to. Your adjustment time might be quicker than mine just don’t give up straight away!

Eating contributes more to weight gain or loss than the exercise. 

Going to the gym working hard and then coming home and eating whole dominos pizza will not have you seeing results you want any time soon. Your muscles need a good amount of protein to heal after a work out and carbs to give you energy to keep you going. No fad diets either, half the time these will only be short term solutions. Depending on your goal will depend on your food intake, but a balanced diet is a good place to start. I’m still working on getting my mix right, but since I’ve concentrated on reducing excessive carbs and sugar I have noticed better results and steadier energy levels throughout the day.

Results will not happen overnight.

It’s demotivating exercising on a regular basis and not seeing results straight away. It takes a while to see any real difference. Tracking your progress through photos bi-weekly or monthly and measurements rather than weighing yourself is probably the best way to see progress. Muscle weighs more than fat that means the scales can be deceiving. Also remember it’s not always about the results you can see on the outside, it’s also about how you feel. Before I could physically see a difference I could feel my body was stronger and more energised – that’s what really counts.

Gym buddies are real life heroes. 

Self motivation is hard; when you’re feeling weak its easy to just skip a day and then a day becomes a week and soon enough you’re no longer exercising at all. Having a friend, club, family member to exercise with is a great way to avoid this as you do not want to let them down and they will feel the same. If you find one person doesn’t share all you fitness interests then mix between a few different people so you always have the best motivation around you for each activity!

Want to improve a certain area ask a trainer.

It can be a bit embarrassing, but asking is probably the quickest way to finding out! Befriending the gym staff then getting them to help you plan you routines to improve a specific area will save you so much time and energy. If you’re not a gym member go on YouTube and have a flick through some videos, most of them will have the same moves which you can then use in your own routines.

You will feel happier and less tired. 

The endorphins released when exercising are linked to so many health benefits. This includes reduction in the chances of heart disease, diabetes, depression and obesity. I think through the commitment of trying to improve you body you begin to change the way you see yourself which helps you feel more confident.

-The Travellothoner

Your BMI Sucks!

The body mass index, or BMI, is commonly used in doctors’ offices or in general fitness terms as a way to estimate your body fat level. It provides a quick and easy way to evaluate obesity trends in the general population. Medical professionals use it as one of many screening tools, such as cholesterol checks and family history questionnaires, to evaluate your risk of chronic disease related to your weight. But your doctor cannot rely on BMI alone for diagnosis of whether you’re overweight or obese and the health risks posed by these conditions.

bmi

Your BMI is equal to your weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters squared. The equation using American measurements is: BMI = weight(kg) / (height x height (m)). For many online calculators, you enter your weight and height, and the calculations are done for you.

BMI is useful as a way to evaluate the rate of being overweight or obese in the general population. It’s easy, convenient and inexpensive, and doesn’t require any specific training to take the measurements. But BMI only provides a rough estimation of your body fat because it doesn’t involve any direct measures of your tissue.

Limitations:

BMI Mistakes Muscle for Fat

BMI uses your weight in the formula but doesn’t distinguish if that weight comes from an abundance of fat or from lean tissue. Athletes and gym enthusiasts who carry a great deal of muscle may seem heavy for their height or overall size, but that’s because muscle is denser than fat. These highly muscular folk may have a high BMI but not have too much fat.

Individuals who are very muscular such as bodybuilders or those that have very little muscle definition may not receive an accurate BMI reading by using height and weight measurements alone. Muscle weighs more than fat. Hence a muscular person may appear to have a higher BMI and be perfectly healthy, or a frail, inactive person may appear to have a lower BMI and in reality have more body fat than is healthy.

Your health care provider can easily see with a physical evaluation and lifestyle questions that your high BMI is due to muscularity rather than fat. Further evaluations, such as blood pressure checks and cholesterol screenings, may still be performed to rule out any underlying health issues.

BMI Can Underestimate Fat

Because BMI does not directly measure fat, it can miscategorize people as healthy who have a normal weight for their height, when they’re actually carrying too much fatty tissue. A man with 20 percent or higher fat and a woman with 30 percent or higher, but both at normal weight, can be at the same risk of chronic disease as a person who looks obviously overweight.

BMI-CHART-2-1.jpg

Sedentary people and older adults are at particular risk of this condition, called normal-weight obesity. If you don’t exercise, you lose valuable muscle mass and accumulate excess fat — even if you don’t rank high on height-weight charts. Older adults naturally lose muscle mass as they age, along with some bone density. For this reason, health providers often run lifestyle screenings, family history questionnaires and annual blood tests in addition to BMI calculations on all patients. This helps rule out normal-weight obesity in otherwise seemingly healthy patients.

A normal BMI is only one factor in your overall picture of health. If you smoke, eat a nutritionally poor diet that contains a lot of sugar and saturated fat, or sit the majority of your day, you may still be at risk of health problems.

BMI May Not Reflect Positive Change

BMI is a broad number that doesn’t accurately reflect changes in behavior, which could be improving your health. People with a high BMI who are physically active are at lower risk for many health problems than people with a high BMI who are sedentary. For example, physical activity correlates with reduced risk of coronary heart disease and early death, regardless of your weight.

People who adopt a healthier lifestyle by exercising more and choosing healthier foods over junk food may not lose weight if they haven’t reduced their calories significantly. They are healthier, but BMI doesn’t change because their weight has remained stable. If they rely on BMI as the only marker of their health, their new habits don’t seem to be doing much good.

Even if you lose weight, your BMI may not change noticeably. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that losing 5 to 10 percent of your weight can lead to positive benefits, such as decreased blood pressure and cholesterol. In a 200-pound person, this is a loss of 10 to 20 pounds. Losing the weight may not move your BMI to a normal range, however. For example, a 5-foot-11-inch person must weigh between 136 and 178 pounds to register a normal BMI. If he started out at 200 pounds and lost 10 to 20 pounds, he may have improved his health, but he still falls into an overweight BMI range. Although a bit frustrating, the change still has positive benefits.

Weight Distribution and BMI

Healthier habits often also change the distribution of your weight, even if weight loss isn’t showing up on the scale. You may lose some visceral — or belly — fat, which is inflammatory and increases your risk of disease. Exercise in particular helps you lose this fat. BMI can’t tell that you’ve reduced a wide waist circumference and added muscle, creating a healthier body composition. It may just show an unchanged ratio of height and weight, putting you in an overweight category.

Your waist size may be a better marker of your health status because it indicates where you store fat. Use a measuring tape to measure around your waist just below your belly button. A waist wider than 40 inches on a man or 35 inches on a woman can be dangerous.

Those who have enough lean mass to be classified as obese by BMI but not by body fat percentage, are far and few in society. These persons would normally be highly active athletes, and it is unlikely sedentary persons or those with infrequent exercise habits would fall into this category.

Does not consider Age, Gender and Other Conditions

BMI fails to take age and sex into account. Women naturally tend to have more body fat than men of equal BMI, while older people tend to have more body fat than younger people with the same BMI.

Furthermore, BMI measurements have no way of measuring where body fat is located in the body. Studies have indicated that belly fat – the fat surrounding abdominal organs – is more dangerous than peripheral fat beneath the skin in other body areas.

If you are normal weight or overweight according to BMI (18.5-29.9) there is still a chance you are actually obese, which is primarily due to low levels of lean mass (muscle, water and glycogen).

BMI also does not account for lactating or pregnant women, children and teenagers who have not reached physical maturity and are still growing, and a tendency for natural differences in height and weight ratios between races.

Conclusion

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute suggests that an assessment of weight and health risks involves using three key measures

  • BMI
  • Waist circumference
  • Risk factors for diseases and conditions associated with obesity.

As BMI is based on weight and height measurements, by losing weight you will reduce your BMI and put yourself into a lower risk group. A healthy diet, including a balance of food groups, vitamins and minerals, is essential for a long and active life. Body weight and shape are a balance of energy intake (dietary calorific content) against output (calorific burn from activity and exercise).

Many studies have shown that, to lose weight slowly and steadily, any diet that includes a healthy balance will work if you are motivated. Ideally, a balanced eating plan is always best to lose weight healthily.

Simply put, BMI can give you a rough idea of your level of health when considered along with your lifestyle and physical factors. Sedentary lifestyle with an unhealthy diet and belly fat all point towards the risks that your BMI indicates. However, if you’re the opposite of the above factors, BMI may not be a criteria doing justice to your overall health.

Until next time,

The Travellothoner.