Lose those Covid curves

Lose those Covid curves

Move from round and robust to lean and lithe this year, leaving the tell-tale signs of annus horribilis behind, writes Shilpi Madan

It may seem tough to lose the 15 odd pounds that you have piled on during the successive lockdowns by tucking into those slurps, YouTube inspired cookies, and cheesy indulgences while you pandered to the home baker that secretly lurked within your heart. Fitness trainer Prateek Kumar reveals the secret behind some of the most envied figures and physiques in the film industry and suggests ways to shape up a workable solution for us to shrug off the odd 8 kilos.

The perfect balance

Move aside green tea capsules and husk glugs. “Sustainable fitness leads to self-preservation. You need to follow the Pareto principle which states that for many outcomes, roughly 80% of consequences come from 20% of the causes: keep 80% food that you eat nutrient-dense (like fruits, vegetables, lean meat, rice...) and 20% food energy-dense (butter, cheese, chocolates...) Bringing in these basic parameters will ensure you lose between 2-3 kgs a month,” says Prateek. Of course, this works in tandem with a daily exercise routine that could involve a sporting pursuit, a walk up the stairs to your apartment skipping the elevator, running errands on foot, yoga, Zumba, pilates, jogging, or clocking 8-10 thousand steps a day on a fitness tracker works well too.

Time it

So is one hour of exercise every day sufficient: how do you gauge whether the exercise routine is enough as per your body weight requirement and if you are sweating profusely, then does this mean you are burning it up effectively? “Sweaty workouts do nothing but make you hungry,” he explains. “Remember fat leaves your body as carbon dioxide when you exhale, and not as sweat. Our minds are fed with the myth that effort in the gym results in weight loss.

A simple calorie deficit and a 15-20 minutes brisk walk, three to four times a day, will work wonders for weight loss too. This routine, when coupled with basic strength training in the gym two to three times a week, will change the way you look radically. Inclined walks, climbing stairs, farmer’s walks, skipping and swimming are the best exercises one could do on their own.”

Stay motivated

Connecting with friends who are clambering out of the chub rut themselves is a great way to build up steam. Sign up on peer groups to stay inspired.
But is it cool to weigh yourself every day? “Honestly, I weigh myself every morning on an empty stomach to gauge how food/sleep patterns/water intake affects my body composition. Yet I am in no way attached to what I weigh. You must understand that ultimately all of us live in a weight range we are comfortable in. If standing on the scale disturbs you, do it once a week. Try to slot this for Friday as then you will watch what you eat over the weekend. Better ways to keep yourself motivated are to keep checking your waist once a week, purchasing new workout gear, or getting a meal plan...” he says.

Belly up

What about that stubborn fat fold around your tummy that jiggles annoyingly? “The best way to keep fat off is a plate push! Push the plate of food away,” says Prateek.

“Work on those oblique muscles through a combination of compound and isolation exercises. Start with compound exercises like dead lifts and squats. When you have developed some muscle fibres you can move onto isolation movements like leg lifts, reverse crunches... For fat loss specifically, the optimal training protocol is 2 sessions of strength training in a week; 30-40 mins of cardio every day, and basic flexibility sessions 2 times a week. This together, with a calorie deficit diet, make you lean and toned.”

Skip the bloopers

We are often charged up about losing the flab one day and lose steam the following week. “Steer clear of cutting back on calories aggressively, as chances are that you might soon just throw in the towel. Avoid working out zealously and hitting burnout zone. Often people cringe over water intake — remember to stay hydrated and drink 4 litres a day. Get sleep for 7-8 hours every day. The warm-ups and cool-offs before and after your exercise routine are vital, avoid cheating on these,” advises Prateek. “You must set a goal for yourself: it could be anything, from flexibility, athletic endurance, fat loss, muscle gain...as then you will work towards achieving this goal. But your exercise routine must bring in a balance of cardio, resistance training, flexibility training and mobility drills. Breathing exercises and meditation work beautifully.”


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