When the Indian Premier League began earlier this month, it wasn’t just cricket fever that caught the eye of the Twitter police. As the rest of the country was deeply immersed in the game, Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings players including captain Rohit Sharma, left-handed middle-order batsman Saurabh Tiwary and leg-spinner Piyush Chawla were trolled for sporting heavy waistlines — not just by the junta but also commentator Harsha Bhogle and former Indian hockey captain Viren Rasquinha. The hashtag #IndianPaunchLeague trended, too.
While many of us can relate to these cricketers, as the pandemic pushes us to work longer hours with limited activities and no access to gyms, fitness gurus and yoga experts maintain that it’s possible to keep your waistline under check.
Saurabh Tiwary during the matches in UAE. Pic courtesy/PTI
Tell-tale signs of lack of exercise
Celebrity fitness expert and health coach Deanne Panday puts the average Indian body type into perspective. “It is very common for Indian men to gain weight in the mid-section and for women, around the hip area. And there’s nothing bad about it because our body types are genetically different from people of other nationalities. Since cricket involves forward bends that require a strong core to avoid lower back injuries, players cannot be excused,” she adds.
Highlighting some of the warning signs to look out for, celebrity fitness expert Satyajit Chourasia shares, “When you start missing regular workouts, your body starts retaining water. A visible sign is your reflection in the mirror. The waistline will also start to look and feel bloated. Restlessness, irritation, aggression and disturbed sleep patterns will follow.”
Stick to the basics, he elucidates, “Everything you take in needs to be burned. And you don’t need to spend hours in the gym or do heavy weight training to maintain that balance. Working out for 20 minutes at home will suffice.” Adding how a waistline up to 34 inches for men, and between 28 and 32 inches for women is considered fit, the trainer shares an eight-minute workout routine that you can follow at home to stay in shape.
The best time to burn fat, he mentions, is early in the morning on an empty stomach to break down sugar from the previous night.
Keep it simple
1 Drink two glasses of hot water as soon as you wake up, and freshen up.
2 Begin with one minute of any cardio exercise to increase your heart rate, such as jumping jacks or spot skipping. Rest for 30 seconds.
3 Follow this up with one minute of squats to boost blood circulation to your lower body. Squats help in muscle building and absorbing proteins. Rest.
4 While men can move on to a minute of push-ups or dands, women can repeat the suryanamaskar sequence. This step helps you do a complete upper body workout in a minute. Rest.
5 The next step is to work on your core muscles by doing the plank. While holding the plank for a minute straight can be tough, you can start with 30 seconds, progress to 45 and then a minute. Take some rest again.
6 Follow this up with five side planks of 30 seconds each for your love handles.
7 The last step is the bhujangasana or cobra pose, a reclining back-bending asana in hatha yoga to help your lower back.
Chourasia adds that diet is equally important to achieve results. “A big mistake people make is to diet hard and only stick to cardio, which results in muscle-locking and makes the skin hang after weight loss. Keep your oil consumption at a minimum. Opt for a bowl of brown rice over wheat. Use honey instead of sugar. Avoid carbs at late-night dinners. While non-vegetarians can opt for eggs and fish for their dose of protein, vegetarians can opt for pulses or plant-based protein supplements.”
No time? Try these
“I have been weight training for 20 years. So when the lockdown happened, I used every home accessory that you can imagine, from bottles, chairs, water-filled buckets, my son’s backpack, toilet rolls and even the wall to create signature workouts to help people,” suggests Panday. And if you were to scroll through her Instagram you will come across interesting couch potato workouts, gate climbing, wall hops and the rooster challenge among others. “You don’t need a gym or a trainer. Any form of movement — dancing, cycling, yoga or meditation — releases endorphins that keep you happy, help you deal with other stressors and increase productivity. Being fit, mentally and physically, will pull you through this lockdown.”
She also advises those under stress to avoid doing intense workouts, “Crossfit or HIIT workouts release good stress. But depending upon your existing stress levels, it is better to turn towards activities that are not harsh on your body.” Those who sit for long hours, should try pigeon pose, mini-backbends and dhanurasana to help correct posture.
Celebrity yoga trainer Payal Gidwani Tiwari shares, “The naukasana, vakrasana, paschimottanasana, trikonasana, dhanur-asana or the chakrasana can be effective in losing belly fat. An advanced asana to help the waistline is uddiyana bandha. While most asanas can be performed by men and women, those with back injuries, surgeries or slip discs should avoid doing asanas that involve crunches, twists or forward bends.”
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