Monday, September 24, 2007

Out for the moment

For past few weeks I have been really busy with work and personal life and it becomes very difficult to write. I will try my best to start writing soon as things calm down a bit.
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Monday, September 3, 2007

Nutrition - Food choices

As mentioned in previous post while making food choices we should aim at getting full proteins in every meal and fruits or vegetable should be taken with every meal.

Here are some food that you should eat and other which you should avoid

“Good Foods”

Meat products
Fish, salmon ,canned Tuna

Diary Products
Plain Yogurt
Cottage Cheese

Fish oil
Flaxseed oil
Olive oil

Vegetables and Fruits
Brussel Sprouts


Some other
Protein Powder
Peanut Butter (Natural only)
Black Beans, Kidney Beans and other beans
Chick Peas
Soy and soy products like Tofu, soy milk etc..
Walnuts,Almonds,Avocado and other nuts.

“Bad Foods”
Squash and other soda and calorie drinks like fruit juices
Baked Beans
Black Eyed Peas
French Fries
Refried Beans
Sweet Potato
Biscut, cookies, Doghnuts and other bakery items
Sugary Cereal
Ice Cream
Potato Chips
Fruits with High GI like banana, mango should also be avoided
and any sugary stuff

These are some good food choices..and if you are choosing any good source you should be safe. Meat and dairy products are rich in protein and would also be source of saturated fats. Vegetables and fruits should help you to get your daily carbohydrate requirement. Fish oil reach in Omega-3 fatty acid could be very helpfull for fat loss and reducing cholesterol .

For nutrition plan you can refer to John Beradi "No nonsense Nutrition"
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Nutrition - Basics

Here are some Nutrition tips to start with. Most of these are from John Beradi - "7 Habits of Highly Effective Nutritional Programs." Here they goes

1. Eat every 2-3 hours, which comes to about 6 meals per day.

2. Eat complete (containing all the essential amino acids), lean protein with each meal.

3. Eat fruits and/or vegetables with each food meal but try to avoid fruits after evening.

4. Ensure that your carbohydrate intake comes from fruits and vegetables, with the exception of post workout meal.

5. Ensure that 25-35% of your energy intake comes from fat, with equal quantity from saturates (e.g. animal fat), monounsaturates (e.g., olive oil), and polyunsaturates (e.g. fish oil). Fish oil can very vital and is recommended to every one no matter what there goal is.

6. Drink only non-calorie containing beverages, avoid all sodas and artificial juices. The best choices being water and green tea.

7. Eat mostly whole foods (except workout and post-workout drinks).

8. Try to follow this routine at least 90% of the time which means you can have a cheat meal 10 % time and on basis of 6 meals a day it comes around 4 meals per weak. You can have what you want but still watch what you are eating.

9. Try to prepare each meal in home you can not expect to get good food if your are eating outside. so its best advice to cook all you meals for the day in morning itself.

10. Start today. I loved this advice by John and its must that you start today , maybe take a small step in right direction.

Tomorrow I will try to post the list of food and there approximate nutrients value to help you make food choices , also will list the food you should avoid in all cases.
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Sunday, September 2, 2007

Strength Training - Body weight training.

Strength training is very important for good physique, but what if you do not have access to a gym for whatever reason ? The answer is body weight training. You can get a descent workout by only using your body weight , here are some exercises for lower body and upper body.

Lower body
1. Squat variations. Squats are great exercise for building lower body strength if you do not have enough strength or flexibility the body weight squat could be
really helpful. The key here is to go as deep as you can and at lest you should go below parallel. As your strength increases you can progress into 1 leg squat also known as Pistol. It requires great strength and flexibility.

2. Lunges. Lunges are also very good exercise for lower body and the good thing about this is that it will help you build stability. there are 5 types of lunges that you can do.

a. Static lunge or split squat
b. Forward lunge or walking lunge
c. Reverse lunge
d. Step up lunge
e. lunge with back foot elevated or Bulgarian split squat.

3. Single leg Deadlifts.
As with single legged squat deadlifts are great way to build stability, here its advisable to add some external loading to make this exercise more challenging.

4. Burpees.
This is one of the best lower body exercise you can do It comprises of following 5 steps:
a. squat down and put your hands on the floor
b. kick your legs back until you are in a pushup position
c. Do 1 pushup

d. Bring your knees back in
e. Stand up again and do a small jump.

5. Jumps and Plyometrics.
various jumps like Box jumps, tuck jumps , jumping jacks can be very effective in developing speed and will also help in burning some extra calories. Do remember that these can be very taxing and do not overdo them.

6. Sprinting / running.
You all must be aware of these but just to remind that long distance low intensity running won't help you much. The best thing is to do interval training i.e running for 30 secs fast and 1 min slow and repeating this for 10 mins. you can change the intervals based upon your current fitness level.

Upper Body
1. Pushups. Pushups are really great exercise not just for just chest or triceps but also for core. You can progress through following style of pushups

Pushups from knees --> Push ups with hand at shoulder width --> Pushups with
feet elevated --> By elevating 1 foot from the ground --> By elevating both the feet from the ground --> By using 1 hand only --> By using 1 hand and elevating the opposite feet.

Altering the hand position will also effect the muscle being worked out. If you narrow the grip most emphasis would be laid on triceps but if you widen the grip chest muscles would be worked out more.

2. pullups. Pullups / chinup are great exercise to develop strength in back , lats and biceps.

Unfortunately there are not much upper body body exercise , but if you have weights like dumbbells or stuff like bricks, sand bags you can still get a pretty descent workout.

But If you really serious about strength and want a great physique its best to join a gym or build a home gym if you have enough space and money :)

If you want me to cover any of these exercise in details please leave a comment.
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Saturday, September 1, 2007

Strength Training

As Mentioned in my previous post, Strength training is very important now let me give you a few pointers on what to do and what not to do in gym.

1. Choice of Exercise
Choice of exercise is vital for your success. 80 % of your workout should consist of full body exercises or multi joint exercise. Single joint exercise should be avoided at all costs, your training program should revolve around following exercises:

a. Squat :
Squat is one exercise that every one should start doing if they are not doing it. The key point here is to go below parallel thus working your whole leg.

b. Deadlift : Deadlift is another great exercise which everyone needs to add into there workout if looking for some serious strength gains. While doing Deadlift special care should be taken to use glutes and hamstrings for lifting weight instead of back.

c. Bench Press : Bench press is one exercise that needs no introduction, but still I when I look in gym I see half of the people doing it wrong or only doing half motion. Do not forget to balance this with heavy barbell rows.

d. Overhead Press : One of the great upper body strength exercise ignored by most. Preceded by an exercise like Clean and you can get a killer workout.

e. Pull ups: Pull-ups or chin-ups are great exercise for back and biceps. If you can not do pull ups then you can ask some one to support you. Pull down machines are not as effective as doing a pull up.

f. Rows: Rows are excellent exercise for developing the back. you can either use the barbell version or dumbbell version. Importance of rows with respect to Bench press is explained later in this article.

2. Selecting a routine
Your workout routine should be either full body or upper body / lower body split. You should never split your routine based upon muscles like one day chest other day shoulder generally what body builders do. This type of routine is highly unproductive unless you are genetic freak or you are on drugs.

3. Do not overdo
Your workout session should not go beyond 1 hour and 3/4 days per week is more then enough for most the people out there. Your body needs proper rest and nutrients to grow. and if you are spending any more time than this then you are really increasing the chances of being over trained.

4. Stay away from machines
You should stay away from machines with possible exception of cable pulley system. your most of the training time should revolve around free weights only which include barbells and dumbbells. Two reason why you should avoid machines are :
1. These movements are not functional i.e you won't use them in your daily life hence they are not effective and can possibly lead to injury.
2. These exercise are way too simple and you can't expect good results just by using machines.

5. Corrective Lifting.
Most of the people have developed a bad posture through bad habits and doing wrong exercise will lead to muscle dysfunction and even worsen the problem. Now imagine you have rounded shoulder and you only do Bench press and no rows. What would this lead to ? strong chest and week back, which will further worsen the problem. But if you dump the bench and replace it with heavy rows and other corrective exercise then you can possibly improve your posture.

I have just touched the tip of ice berg here and will be posting some more information in coming weeks, so keep checking out.
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