Friday, 29 November 2013

Weight training - Part 2

It’s been a while since I last wrote about weight training. Most of you know I am still new to weight training. The first time I actually gave weight training a serious thought was after reading Marion 's & Ayesha's blog...those ladies are really strong, they got me thinking about a whole new side to fitness
Before I started weight training I was doing lots of Cardio and lots of circuit training (squats/lunges/planks/..). As I got more and more inspired I wanted to get stronger so started focusing on weights. First thing I did was join a body pump class (click on the link to read about my body pump experience). I think it’s a good place to start because you usually use lighter weights in this class and you learn the correct form which is very important.I think for the first few months I just got used to doing different exercises, entering the weight section in the gym and trying all the machines but I still did not have a good plan for my weight training.
For me my upper body has always been a challenge, I have a terribly weak upper body. I can’t increase my squat weight because I can’t carry a heavy enough barbell so my focus is to improve my upper body strength.
Now that it’s been a few months I have been doing my body pump sincerely I decided to take the next step.I sat down with a trainer in the gym and got a plan ready for my upper body, I have two workouts for half hour each. I plan to initially start training when T is around just because I want to make sure I am not doing anything wrong, I think two weeks and I should be good on my own.
This is how my workouts look
Arms & Shoulders

Chest & Back
If you notice my repetition and the weights are low but for me this is difficult to get through as I continue I will increase my weight and my sets, hopefully I should be able to share with you some exciting things along the way.

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Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Reality Check - part 2

This is a continuation from Reality Check
Being open to a new way of living is very important
Most of us know if we want to start this journey we need to be willing to change but by being open I mean you have to be willing to try things you never thought you would, give up things you always thought you can't survive without, you need to be willing to re-prioritize things in your life.
The old me never ever ate bananas I did not like them but as I got healthier I realized banana was the best form of healthy dessert for me...I had to be willing to try the banana pancake, the banana-oat cookie, I had to be willing to have frozen banana as an after meal dessert
Being open is about giving these new ideas a fair chance not trying them with a preconceived notion about how weird it is to swap ice-cream for frozen banana
I think this is important because from what I have noticed people who start with the idea that certain things won’t work usually don’t manage enjoying the journey because at the back of their mind they still miss their old life but if you give it a fair chance I believe most of us will find a healthy replacement that will keep us happy..

If you are not willing to give healthy living a fair chance you will find it more difficult to make it a lifestyle

Weight loss should not be your only goal
I know most of us start this journey to lose weight I am no stranger to this...but the problem with weight is that it is not reliable enough to judge your progress. The amount of weight you lose in your journey will always vary, there will be days when you lose more than expected and sometimes you might not lose even a little and if weight loss was your only aim it’s gets difficult to carry on. Another reason I feel weight loss cannot be the only goal because your weight is not the most reliable marker of your health. Just being within the healthy weight range doesn't always mean you are fit...
I am not saying ignore the scales all I am saying is find measurable goals, like sticking to 4 days of workout or maybe doing a certain number of squats or running a certain distance. This way you are always moving towards your goal and resulting in you becoming healthy

Focus on more reliable goals to keep going
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Thursday, 21 November 2013

Accept yourself & have fun

One of the main reason I had ever avoided the gym and a lot of other fitness classes was because I would feel embarrassed of my own fitness level. I did not want to join fitness classes because I knew I would not be able to keep up with the rest of the class. In my mind I was not good enough, then again how would I improve without going to the gym? Or attending the classes?
So I went, I was embarrassed but I still went, I would get scared to enter but I still entered over time I improved and things changed. The one big change I noticed was my attitude, I have learned to accept the fact that I am always going to be working towards improving and there will always be people better than me. So instead of feeling embarrassed I have learned to accept myself. I try to have fun when I am learning something new. Instead of being uncomfortable about trying something new I am excited about it, I openly share my fears and praise people who are helps me :)
When I do the rope battling exercise with a gym partner I can barely move the ropes and when my gym partner moves the ropes sometimes I move too :D :D. I talked to her, told her how good she was, learned the technique and now I am improving. I did not look at it as a failure instead it was something I needed to work on...
I have a very weak upper body, I started weight training by joining the body pump class and now I want to move a step further so I worked with a trainer to create an upper body workout, lot of my gym friends are already very good at this; they can even manage chin ups all I ever do is look at them with admiration. I know I have to work my way up, my weights are baby weights compared to theirs but instead of feeling embarrassed I have a laugh about it and tell everyone about my plans of becoming super woman ;), they push me to become better and because I am comfortable I am willing to try new exercises and learn more
What do you do when you are new at something or when it is your first day?
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Monday, 18 November 2013

Race 2 - Regent's park after adoption 10k

Yesterday I ran my second charity run, 10K around Regent park I loved it because the entire race course was beautiful (always makes me so happy)
Sam, Michelle and me from the running club participated; it was Sam’s first race and Michelle being a sweet heart she is ran to support us :)

When we got there we registered and then got our timing chips. I had never seen one of those timer strips that you attach to your shoe lace. For my first race there was somebody at the finish line recording our time but this time our chips did the work
It was really really cold, I did not take off my jacket till the very end but once I started running I warmed up fast. Sam ran the whole way yay Sam!!!, Michelle  was with him for the entire run. My run was also good, I am still waiting for the official time but based on what I recorded I finished in almost the same time as my previous race I really wanted to reduce my time, maybe next race.
I think I was all pumped up after the race I actually walked back home from the race, so I walked another 7-8k after my race. It was very relaxing, I walked on my own with no music, no talking. I really enjoyed my walk.
Got back home and did some more posing with my new t-shirt and medal 

Overall a great way to spend my Sunday. How was your weekend?

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Friday, 15 November 2013

How Long - part 1 (to be able to run a 10K)

For the last few weeks I have noticed a lot of people ask me one question
How long did it take to lose all your weight?
How long did it take for you to be able to run 10k?
How long did it take for you get used to eating healthy?
How long...

So I have planned to have a series ‘How long??’ starting today with a post about how long did it take for me to be able to run a 10K?

Let’s start from the beginning...
I was not remotely fit, when I first tried jogging I barely managed a few seconds before feeling like I was about to get a heart attack. Then I stopped jogging started doing other workouts, I started walking and finally I joined the gym (all this took a few months)
In the gym I would regularly walk on the treadmill but I still did not jog, I slowly increased my walking pace and then one fine day I tried jogging at my walking pace just to make sure I could jog without falling off. Once I managed this I started ending every 30 minute walk with 2 minutes jog then I worked on increasing this from 2 minutes to 20 minutes. All this took a few months, mainly it took so much time because I was not very consistent with my exercising. Once I reached 20 minutes I started increasing my treadmill speed because  I was still jogging at a fast walking pace when I increased my speed my time reduced, again I worked my way back to 20 minutes at a little faster pace.

At some point in all this I became more consistent, more healthier and I shifted my focus from 20 minutes to 30 minutes. Finally after I could manage 30 minutes on the treadmill I started focusing on my distance. A few months in I could manage 5K on the treadmill that’s when I tried running outdoors for the first time, again my mileage went down I stopped more often than expected, it took longer than the treadmill but I finished a 5K

Now I had a new goal, I wanted to finish 5K without stopping and that’s all I focused on, I did not focus on time just focused on finishing 5K without walking. Once I got this done I went back to the treadmill (big mistake) and I stuck to the gym for sometime till one of the trainers in the gym suggested a 10K run. I always wanted to start racing but did not ever have the courage so when she suggested it I signed up and that’s when 10k became my new goal.

This time I had distance and time in my mind, I went online looked for 10k plans. I had 6 weeks to move from being a treadmill bug to running outside and to increase my mileage from 5K to 10K.I used the following plan . I did make some adjustments but this helped me complete my first 10k run (I ran the whole way, maybe walked a minute or two in between).

So if you consider the time from when I jogged for the first time in my adult life it had taken me more than 1 year to reach 10k, if you consider from the time I became consistent with my workouts it has taken me a 9-10 months and if you consider the time from when I started jogging outside it has taken me around 2 months. Depending on how you plan your workouts you can reduce your time, I know if I would have been more consistent in the beginning and if I would have stuck to proper running plan I would have managed the 10k earlier.

In short if you want to know how long it will take you to run a 10k some things to consider are
1.    Your initial fitness level (how many minutes or km can you already run without feeling uncomfortable?)
2.    How many days can you dedicate for your runs & how consistently you follow your plan
3.    Your fitness goal – do you aim at finishing it in a fixed time? Do you want to complete a walk/jog run?
4.     Based on all this it can vary from as much as 1 year to just a few weeks
I know if you are looking for fixed time you would be disappointed but this is what I feel. I would love to hear your experience.
Have a great weekend :)
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Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Circuit Class

I have been alternating my body pump class with outdoor circuit class every Saturday this post is all about that class.
The circuit class I attend was started by two trainers (Michelle and Janwary) from my gym. This was the first time I was doing an outdoor class and as usual I was nervous but when does that ever stop me from trying??
For this class we had to work out in pairs and cover around 15 stations.1 minute per station after completing one circuit the trainers usually make us do some compound exercises and then we are back to our circuits. The trainers plan to change the exercises every few weeks this is how the first few weeks looked like

Push–up / crunches with weighted medicine ball/jumping lunges/planks/skip/high jumps/plank-pushup/squat walks/crunch & punch/bench dips/rope battling (I can barely move the ropes)/high knee jumps/ladder jumps & squats/
What I love about this class:
I loved the idea of working out in pairs. My partner always pushed me more than I would when I am doing the same exercises on my own. Even if I want to stop I look at my training partner going on so I push myself and that extra push matters.
Repeating each exercise for 1 complete minute is another things I had not really done, I am usually somebody who counts my exercises specially anything to do with upper body my counts usually don’t exceed 10 (I am used to more reps but with rest in between) so when I started doing 1 minute per station it was really difficult for me. My muscles are usually sore for at least 2 days after the workout.
The last thing I really enjoy about this class is the fact that is outdoors. I think by doing an outdoor class I have become a little more confident. I would have never thought I would be comfortable working out in a park when people are sipping there morning coffee or just walking by looking at us. I always assumed I would feel very uncomfortable but surprisingly once you get into the working out mode you forget everything, I don’t care if you are having coffee or staring at me all I care about is getting my workout done. The other thing about outdoors is you do get mentally stronger.  I feel happy about finishing a work out in the rain or when it is cold, I feel stronger J
What do you think? Do you enjoy outdoor exercising?
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Friday, 8 November 2013

Carbohydrates -- second session on food

In the post about ‘Basics of food’ we discussed all 3 micro nutrients,  This post we will focus on only one of them ‘Carbohydrates’
A little recap 
  •  Carbohydrates are made up of Sugar, Fibre and Starch
  • Carbohydrates are broken down by our body to give us energy 
  •  We all  have both good and bad carbohydrates available to us, making the right choice is very important

Food as a fuel
For me personally if I look at food as fuel it is easier for me to make the right choices, So most days I will make sure what I eat is something that helps me improve my life either by giving me more energy during the day or by helping me for my workouts but it should not be something that takes away from my day. I am not saying I manage this all the time but I try to.
  • Fuel is something that keeps you moving ahead.
  • Carbohydrates as fuel should give you the energy to work out and lead a more active life
  • Try this if you don’t believe --> for lunch have a big meal of burger and French fries, tell me how you feel about half hour after your meal, do you feel you can think clearly? Or do you feel you a need to nap? Next day for lunch have a healthy meal with grilled vegetables and meat, now how do you feel? Do you even need a coffee?? When I was reading about all this I did try it out and trust me I was feeling sleepy during my meal :D

Understanding how the body works
(As usual this is very basic, no big terms. I have tried to make it as simple as I could, no information overload)

  • Carbohydrates at some point are converted to glucose by our body; this is usually travels in our blood and is used by our tissues and cells. A balance needs to be maintained, too much or too little of anything can be bad.
  • Body breaks carbohydrates to sugar (chew on your bread for sometime it becomes sweet) . If you eat the bad carbohydrates the body will break that into sugar very fast, so in a short time you will have more sugar in your blood. To balance this the body produces insulin. Insulin will rapidly work to clear you blood sugar levels and usually takes you back to the state where you started before eating. So you feel tired and eat again to cope (Did I make it simple?)

How does insulin balance your blood sugar?
The level of insulin produced depends on how much is needed to get your body back to a balanced state.So more bad carbohydrate will lead to more sugar in your blood and that will lead to more insulin produced.
To balance the blood sugar level insulin does two things :
1. Forces excess sugar to your muscles :
Muscles have insulin receptors these decide keep track of how much insulin is produced by your body to decide how much sugar should be taken in by your muscles  
2. Stops fat burning.
Till the insulin levels are high our body will try to balance things by using the glucose in our blood stream rather than using any fuel from stored fat

Bad carbohydrates ---> higher blood sugar levels ---> higher levels of insulin --> turn causes excess sugar in your muscles and no fat burn (all this balancing your body is trying to do takes away energy in the long run)
How do I select good carbohydrates?
(Simple answer: a good carbohydrate will take time to break down)
Higher fibre content is usually considered to be sign of a good carbohydrate
1.       Fibre is difficult to digest --> the body takes time to break it to sugar --> because the process is slow there is no sudden release of sugar in the blood flow --> no peaks and valley in blood sugar level
2.      Fibre is difficult to digest it also keeps you full for longer --> you eat less
I would  like to point out I'm no fitness expert these are things I learnt along the way of my weight loss journey by surfing the Internet and talking to trainer.
Keep Reading I will Keep Writing 
Some of the site I found useful are : ( ,,

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Diwali + Long run (with a fall) + Navata

This weekend we celebrated Diwali (Diwali is a festival of lights). I have many wonderful memories of Diwali. Every year on Diwali our entire family comes together, my grandparents, uncles & aunts, cousins everybody under one roof. We light divas (oil lamps), lanterns; my mom makes special Diwali delicacies. The entire house is usually filled with lots of love, laughter and good memories.
Ever since I have moved away I have my own simple Diwali. We put up some tea light candles in the house, bought some Diwali delicacies (I can’t make them, we had to go looking for small packets because it was only two of us), I got dressed up in an Indian outfit (dressing up is one of my favorite parts) called home and had a good time.
My run
I started my Diwali by going for a run. I had planned a 12k (I have never done more than 10k but that was getting comfortable (no stitches and no tight muscles) so I just thought of giving 12k a try. The deal was to complete 12k even if I had to walk the last 2k surprisingly I managed my 12k within my goal time no walking, my running club is really paying off ;)
The highlight of this run was my fall, around my 7k I have no idea how but I tripped suddenly I found myself on the road with lots of people looking at me with concern. Luckily for me other than a bruised knee and torn tracks there was no more harm done. What surprised me the most about this incident was how much I have changed?  If the same thing would have happened to me few years back I would be so embarrassed and I am sure I would be in tears but this time I got up thanked the people around who helped me and I was back on my run, I was only concerned about my knee for a bit and my other concern was finishing my 12k (which I did, yay!!!).

4th November was my sister’s birthday; most of you know she is my best friend and one of the most important people in my life. I remember as a kid I always wanted a sister, I was worried about having a brother because I did not want to play with cars and wrestle instead I wanted somebody to play ghar ghar (house) with me. I have seen her grow up from a small cute kid to a smart youngster and our equation has changed from just being sisters to being best of friends.
 (This is something I wrote for her)

'My baby sister '

I have watched you grow
From a baby who held on to my hand
To a girl with a confident stand

I have seen you take your first steps
I have heard your first words
Now when I look at you
I smile at how fast time has gone by

From my baby doll
To a partner to visit the mall
Together we have built castles in air
Stood strong, as we have seen them break

I'm glad I have a friend at home
Who listens to me talk
Who, copies my walk
Who talks till I sleep
Who makes me laugh when I weep

I want to tell you
How precious you are to me
A reflection of mine in your eyes I see
Thank you for being such a great friend
Thank you for being such a great sister!!!

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