Category Archives: 2min reads

Fitness hacks: What if you are too busy to be fit?

Situation 

You’re busy. You have long hours at work or an unruly child or are an internet addiction. There never seems to be enough time. Not just for exercise but for anything. How do you stay fit? 

Guardian guide to running - GPS watches - video

Solution 

The long term solution is, of course, to smartly rearrange your day and make time for things that matter i.e. getting your priorities right. But what about the short term? 

Option 1 

Wear your shoes, carry a watch and get out of the house. Set a 20-30 minute timer. Start walking or running based on your capability. Every 2-4 minutes stop and do a few pushups or burpees. Yes, people will stare. At the 10-15 minute mark, turn around. Make it back on time. Don’t worry. The mess at home will wait for you.

Option 2 

Do 100 burpees. Pick a version of the burpee based on your capabilities – Beginner burpees or with pushups or with pushups and pullups. Do 100. It should take you anywhere from 6 to 20 minutes based on your fitness level and the kind of burpee you’ve chosen.

Option 3 

Set a 10 minute timer. Do as many burpees as possible. Push as hard as you can on that day. Some days you’ll get 50 and some days you’ll get 150. Doesn’t matter. Just work as hard and safely as you can for 10 straight minutes.

Option 4 

Set a 20 minute timer and do as many rounds as possible of  (7 squats, 5 pushups, 3 pullups) or (3 squats, 2 pushups and 1 pullup) if you can’t do too many pullups at once.

Option 5 

Find a building with 3 to 5 floors. Run from the ground level to the terrace as fast as safely possible. Walk back down slowly. Repeat for a total of 6 to 10 rounds.

Truth is, you don’t need a gym or 2 undisturbed hours everyday or the latest and greatest equipment to get fit. All you need is the will to be fit and you will find a way to get there and stay there!

When in doubt, keep it simple.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint

It’s all so fast paced today. It’s common to expect overnight turnaround on everything. Our microwaves heat up food within seconds. Our washing machines wash and dry within minutes. Our smart phones give us access to messages in milliseconds. And Facebook provides us information about everything about everyone we don’t really care about every second of every minute of everyday.

So it’s natural for us to expect things to be done quickly and this is absolutely fine. That’s what technology is meant to do – make life convenient, efficient, better, easier and, most importantly, faster.

But when we expect physiology to match technology, we have a problem. 

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Photo Credit: LindaSC via Flickr

You see, today, everyone wants to go to bed drowsy from a dozen donuts but wake up with washboard abs. And this in all probability includes you at some level. Quick results are what you’re after. You don’t care for patience anymore. You’re all about the results.

You don’t have the patience to focus on the process anymore. It’s all about what the process results in. You don’t really about the journey anymore. You’re too busy obsessing about results, you don’t take the time to enjoy the journey.

But let me know ask you this – What’s the hurry? What are you rushing towards? Why this insatiable desire to lose as much weight in as little time as possible?

It is this desperation that makes you vulnerable – vulnerable to food manufacturers who scam you into believing their food will let you have the cake and eat it too, vulnerable to pseudo-fitness gurus and gyms/fitness centers who promise you results that are too good to be true and vulnerable to a side of yourself that is always tempting you with shortcuts.

So what’s the deal then? Focus on slow gradual results over a period of time? Absolutely! And here’s why.

Firstly, any and all of your efforts towards fat loss and health are meant to be done for a long time. 3 months? No. 6? No. It’s more like for the rest of your life. In other words, it doesn’t matter how long it takes you to lose those kilos that you so desperately want to lose because if you don’t keep those kilos off you’re back to square one!

One way or the other you are going to have to keep doing what you did to get there, for the rest of your life. Let’s say you ate well and exercised consistently and lost a significant amount of weight and are now at a place where you are happy with yourself. If you choose to stop and go back to living like you did earlier, you will end up going to looking and feeling like you did earlier. No doubt about that.

The only way to consistently and sustainably stay in shape and/or in good health is to make long lasting sustainable changes to your habits – physical, nutritional, physiological and social.

With that being the case, let me ask you again, what’s the hurry? What are you rushing towards?

Realize, it’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon and a hard one at that. The better you pace yourself, the more you learn about yourself, the better you plan your life, the more sustainable your results will be.

A storm is coming

You think you’ve seen fast food? You think you’ve found a way to eat well? You think your principles are so solid and grit so great it can’t be broken? Think again.

In the last 100 years…

  • Twinkies, oreo cookies, dairy milk, snickers bars, horlicks, bournvita, coca-cola, sprite and a million other foods that are purely meant to satisfy the tongue were invented.
  • Butter, ghee, eggs, meat, white rice and vegetables went out of fashion.
  • Junk food giants like McDonalds, Burger King, Taco Bell, Denny’s, Pizza Hut and a hundred others took over from moms across the world.
  • Breakfast was permanently changed to sweetened nutritionally empty cereal and fatless flavorless white liquid from eggs, meat, vegetables and fruits.
  • Food, in all it’s glory, had to be referred to as Real Food.
  • And very recently, the internet came into existence and we now live in a virtual world which tickles sensory receptors enough for one to justify his/her craving for comfort food on a random Tuesday afternoon.
  • Compared to the last 1 million years, the past century has seen an astronomical spike in junk food consumption and there is no plateau predicted in the near future.

Now with all this already existing and with technology making anything and everything available right here and right now and with service becoming so efficient ice creams are being delivered across continents, you still think you’re safe?

A storm is coming! Stay home.

What is an ocean but a collection of droplets?

Everyone wants to workout and then not think about health or fitness for the rest of the day. ‘Getting done’ seems to be all the rage now and smart fitness marketers seem to ride the wave pretty well. I’m not one to smartly market BS so I’ll tell you this – sustainable long term fitness results not from workouts you force yourself to do, but from activities that you can’t stop yourself from doing.

Become that person. Park the car slightly away from where you intend to go. Always, and I repeat always, take the stairs and encourage people with you to do the same. Carry your own groceries. Help someone carry something. Lift your luggage instead of rolling it. Take the trash out. Stand for no reason. Walk even when you get the slightest chance. Be greedy for work.

Collect every single droplet of activity that comes your way and you’ll realize that the ocean isn’t as big as you thought it was.

Grains: Solving a problem that doesn’t exist anymore

A few hundred years ago in a village there was a school. One day when the teacher was taking class, a cat sat right out the door and cried for food. He stopped class to feed the cat and then continued on. Slowly, the cat got into the habit of crying for food everyday and they got into the habit of feeding him everyday before class. Many decades passed and there was a new teacher with a new set of students. When he was just about to start class, one of the observers stopped him and announced that the cat needs to be fed before commencing class. But there was no cat. So, they found a cat, fed him and then commenced class.

Similarly, a grain based diet is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist anymore.

Back in the day, when grain dominance came about, high activity levels demanded high calorie consumption and the excellent quality of ingredients available back then meant we only needed to eat enough vegetables, fruits, dairy etc to get all the required micro and macro nutrients.

Today, very low activity levels demand low calorie consumption and the horrendous quality of ingredients available mean we need to eat plenty more vegetables, fruits, dairy, eggs and other real foods in order the get the required micro and macro nutrients.

So how about we work on solving the problem that does exist today?

And the way to do that – kill the starch (rice, bread, roti, oats, corn flakes, ragi etc) and other empty calories (junk, fruit juice, flavored dairy etc.) and fill up on organic real foods (produce, dairy, eggs, seafood and meat). Or, as Arvind recommends, just turn your plate around, increase the side dishes and reduce the starch.

Here are some resources to help you along the way.

Adios!

PS: The story about the school is from one of my reader’s blog (not related to nutrition). I’m not able to say where exactly I read it and I apologize for that. But if you’re reading this, do drop in a comment and I’ll link to your blog and credit you. Thanks much. 

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