Physical Transformation

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                                                         Part-1 (Jan-18)

Lately, I have been continually asked for inputs from a lot of friends, for the quick physical transformation in a short time. I have been able to lose 14 kg Body fat mass in 90 days. Average I could lose 5 kg each month. So I decided to jot down some information. I achieved it by setting simple goals and sincerely following habits. I will try to detail out what worked best for me.

On the diet front, I had read about Paleo and Keto diets. I tried to blend my meals using a lot of useful information from both the diets. What worked best for me is to cut down sugars and starches (carbs, all white carbs). It helps in lowering your insulin levels, reduce your calories and makes to lose weight without hunger. Each meal usually consisted of Protein, Fat and Low Carb veggies. I would have them as much as I liked without any guilt, just kept a check on the overall days fat intake. I also was influenced by listening to a podcast from Gary Taubes. Gary has been researching heavily on the health industry from years. His revelations in some of his books enable you to give you are a clear picture of how various sugar industries evolved, as well as he has significant contributions on Good and Bad calories.  I would suggest you can search a lot of his books and read if you get a chance. Also, he has one another good read “Why we get fat“.

Living in India, and the kind meals we have grown up with –– it was challenging to cut down on carbs in the first week, but gradually I managed them, and now enjoy the changes completely. Definitely, I did not cut down all carbs, as they are an important source of vital nutrients and energy. I just moved to the natural forms, going away from processed forms.

On the physical activity front, I tried various ways. I worked out 1 hour daily almost 6 days a week. 5 days included 30 minutes of strength training and 30 minutes of cardio. I tried various combinations with strength training and cardio exercises. I tried to change weekly, switching between heavyweight and endurance strength training. Cardio activities would be running, use of traditional cardio machines, HIIT circuits, and somedays functional training as well. On Sunday or a holiday, a 2 hour of a hike or a run. (I would usually listen to a podcast or an audiobook to go along with it).

Some other habits I followed is warm water and a black coffee or herbal tea in the morning. I had a high protein breakfast, increased fibre intake, enjoyed food slowly and a good night sleep which added fuel to my metabolism. Followed a 15/9 intermittent fasting and also tried for 36 hours ones. Cheated ones a week –– I usually have cakes and ice creams in one or two meals on the cheat day. I often gorge on dark chocolates(more than 90%).

I could conclude that my goals were reached because of the habits I took up. The habits still allowed me to enjoy meals with my loved ones. This article Goals Vs Habits helped to get kickstarted not only for my health but also on a professional and personal growth. I am thankful and grateful for all the inputs and support from everyone around.

                                            Part-2 (Nov-18)

Hello, again friends, almost a year back I started to take my health a little seriously. I have read, tried and experienced a few more ideas. I would be happy to share some updates and inputs. Hopefully, these updates would be useful further.
One thing is sure, the older the problem, the older the solution. And health has been an ancient issue and supposedly we will find a solution there itself.  I am just updating some more inputs on diet and physical exercise.
We human beings have evolved from the Stone age, Hunter-gatherers, agriculturist to the modern day sapiens we have become. When humans started to settle down in one place for a long time, farming activities took a course. From where grains and further processed food items evolved. These inputs come from an amazing book, Sapiens- A Brief history of Humankind. Supposedly, it gives us rational inputs for our beliefs and implements a solution to one of our oldest problem we have on health.
Some practical tips which helped were eating more of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and trying to avoid more of grains, dairy and highly processed food items. To be honest, for me to leave dairy becomes a little difficult as I do have cheese ones a week minimum. But the ideal way would be best if we can avoid dairy as well.
On physical exercises front, I have been trying a lot of experimenting with Cross-Fit training, calisthenics, and Yoga. I have dedicated three days a week for Cross-Fit and Yoga. Cross-fit has enabled me with strengthening my core further, improving my agility and enabling with wonderful bodyweight movements. It involved more of circuit training, working on your multiple muscles together. Compound bodyweight exercises, with timely repetitions, have helped better. These endurance circuits enabled me to boost my metabolism and burn more calories in short limited work out time I get in my schedules. I would suggest, you can research a number of trainers and programs. It’s definitely worth the effort, as it would be more helpful in designing, executing and measuring your efforts.
On Yoga front, I am in deep love with Yoga. I just got a small taste of it from a friend and then there was no looking back. I have been trying various forms of Yoga, I have tried a number of sessions with various trainers forms. I still a little naive to have a firm say on this, I will update ones I get some more practice and experience.
I have also, started reading quite a bit on Yoga as well. It has helped me with slowly choosing Yoga as a Lifestyle, not just a physical activity. This topic can go very broad, I will try to write a separate blog post on it. I would just suggest, go for it, in whatever way you can. Just sharing some inputs on Yoga which could be helpful: BKS Iyengar says Yoga helps in the union of mind, body and inner self. Most pain in our bodies, external or internal, are due to compression and imbalances caused by tension or weakness. So, when you encounter a challenging pose or area in your body, instead of avoiding it with, breathe into it gently, let go and allow the area to open up and be free to invite circulation, health, and healing of mind, body and yourself.
Sometimes we cling to delicious experiences we had in a previous experience, practice, or situation and expect to experience the same good feeling again, next time. Or we resist and have an aversion to getting onto the practice at all from challenging memories of the last practice. Instead, if we totally let go of past experiences of how a Yoga practice should feel or did feel and just open up to the present moment and experience the practice fully, it is always fresh and new. Try practising your Yoga poses daily as if you had never done them before, with open eyes, ears, curiosity, and a presence of mind and experience the magic.
On Diet front, To brief a few points, from my last strict diet of following a Ketogenic, I have moved to a more relaxed diet of consuming more amount of Vegetables, Fruits (and yes I still do cheat with a big smile, and enjoy with my loved ones). From the diets available to follow, what I think Paleo would be a good pick to get going on. And on the exercise front, I have added Cross-fit and Yoga along with some weight training to my routines. Will update this article in the new year. Till then, have a wonderful year. Thank you again for reading and your precious time.
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                 Part-3(Jan-2020)
Hello again friends, I just wanted to maintain this a personal accountability section for my fitness journey as well. It’s been a while since I have been writing. I have changed quite a few things in my Diet and Exercise routine. I have been continually experimenting with a lot of things and figured various ways where I could stick to for a long run. After a long time I did realise fitness is a very personal and customised process for every individual. My routines may have changed continually, but has given me immense knowledge with my personal experience. So whenever people to ask me about some tips, I just share some basic tips and conclude that you to have a custom routine with respect to your circumstances, situations and choices. It is important as I would always suggest it becomes a lifetime addiction than just a short term goal.
On the diet front I have stopped all the typecast diets such as Keto, Paleo which I did mention in my part-2 section of this article. I have been working to keep my food as less processed as possible. Focusing more on less whole foods. I have been experimenting with having grains regularly. Comprising a few noon meals of Lentils/Rice to boost my metabolism. Definitely sugars just have been for my cheat meals only. I have been a little easy on Intermittent fasting as I did realise that even having a balanced diet with making sure the body is in a calorie-deficit mode most of the times. This by any chance does not mean I defy myself from anything but do have small meals as per my conveniences. As my work routines and travel routines have been a little up-down I tried to experiment with such routines.
On the exercise front its been the same routines mostly, I would spend time with Cross-Fit training, calisthenics, and Yoga. I have just added Sprinting lately. I have started including sprinting sessions for 1-2 times a week. I usually would do 13-18, 100 meter sprints to keep some HIIT going. To update about my progress, Yoga has helped me tremendously to help with union of things.  Yoga I have moved to another level in my class. My achievement is my back and over balance along with co-ordination have seen a lot of improvements. Slowly but steadily things are progressing. Calisthenics has been a important part as I have been able to develop decent body strength for being able to do a lot of end goals of Calisthenics. We very comfortably finish like 120-150 pull ups or 300-400 pushups on strength building days. Skills days have been fun as they usually motivate you with these fancy poses which you get surprised with. I will put up some pictures for you guys to check out.
From what I have learnt in the last couple of years, I can conclude that you have to try a lot of variations with your exercise/sports routines to see what suits you best and you enjoy the most. Along with custom creating your meal plans as per your suitability so you achieve your goals. It goes to creating them more as a lifestyle than just a small term plan.
Hopefully I am able to help some of you guys with my fitness journey. And can inspire some you too. Will keep you guys posted with this space further. Thank you for all the support. Until next time, I wish you all a happy and fit life too.