5 Things Your Personal Trainer Won’t Tell You

For many of these brawn machines, the body is the temple, and ignorance is bliss, warns

  1. “I HAVE NO BRAIN, JUST BRAWN”

There’s nothing wrong with that. After all, the body is their temple, and ignorance is bliss (that’s how Rushdie described Californians, but it could easily be contemporary Indians). The only problem is that if they give you the wrong advice, you could end up dropping your uterus, or damage your gonads, or get a bad case of halitosis. According to a veteran gym owner, who didn’t want to be named, most personal trainers are only working on getting you a quick-fix bod, even if that ends up making you an invalid with bad knees and a dysfunctional liver by the time you are 55. In their bid to delete all the adipose and turn it into rippling muscle, they often give people insane advice. “They’ll recommend any thing just to pump up your body. I know one trainer who advises his clients to eat 27 eggs and nine chickens a day,” says the gym owner. Eek? It’s because this high protein diet helps you develop quick muscles (and terrible breath?). In one case, a 15-year-old boy, who wants to be Hrithik when he grows up, is on this diet. Does his mummy know? Eggs, chicken, even protein shakes are not so bad, but what can get dubious is the ease with which they prescribe steroids and scary substances like creatine. “Eventually, you must look at the health benefits of fitness, not just the aesthetic side,” says former fitness instructor Banoo Batliboi. “Fitness has three basic components : cardio-vascular, strength training, and flexibility.”

  1. “YOU’RE GETTING OBSESSED WITH ME”

The number of wealthy married women who are having affairs with their personal trainers is staggering. It’s logical enough. These women are often stuck with fat, flatulent and flaccid men who are busy chasing their own fantasies. Along comes Mr Hunk, fresh from Ludhiana–or Parsi Colony. Work out happens in madam’s bedroom. Drop the blinds. It’s a fair exchange. She gets Adonis, and he gets Armani (Why do you think personal trainers are always so well turned-out?). “It happens all the time,” confides one lady who lunches. “And these are women you would never suspect.” Just last week, a conservative wealthy burkha-clad woman who used to work out at a south Mumbai gym, threw out her husband and had her trainer move in. It works in all directions. We also heard of an expat gentleman who invited his toy boy trainer to come and live with him.

  1. “YOU CAN’T CHANGE YOUR GENES”

Your trainer may tell you that he can get you a dream body if you follow his step-ups, but the fact is that the way you look has been largely predetermined by those squiggly little things called genes. Many of these trainers come from small towns in the north, and have grown up in the akhada tradition of eating well and romping around in the mustard fields. The same may not apply to every one. So, if your parents are both a bit on the stout side, and that is the natural shape of your body, no matter how much you sweat it out, or starve yourself, your body will creep back to that level. “You need to be aware of your limitations,” advises a gym owner. “It doesn’t mean you stop trying, but you could perhaps have different goals–like to stay healthy, and sustain that feeling of well-being that comes from working out.” Besides, one size doesn’t fit all. Different people require different kinds of inputs depending on their needs.

  1. “I CHARGE DEPENDING ON WHO YOU ARE”

The range for personal trainers can be anywhere from Rs 600 per session to Rs 10,000 (no, that’s not a typo). Like ipods and salt, personal trainers seem to have become a neccessity, and because they can be as indispensible as your therapist, they charge whatever. If the trainer has broken into Bollywood, and convinced some bimbo that he can charge her chakras and give her a Beyonce like body through his cosmic nutritional tips, he can safely plan to earn Rs 30,000 per session.

That, incidentally, is what a certain well-known trainer reportedly charged a young actress recently. More power to both. What’s the big deal? A personal training session here, an Atul Dodiya painting there. It’s all very ho-hum beyond a few zeros. And any way, for every sucker, there are at least ten cosmic bull-shitters.

  1. “I HAVE NO QUALIFICATIONS”

A trainer has to have a keen understanding of anatomy, posture and physiognomy. Ask whether he or she has been certified. There are several

certifications available, the best among them being the ACSM, or American College of Sports Medicine certifiication, which is offered in India as well. An ACSM-certified trainer will have a good knowledge of theory as well as practical training. There is also the ACE, which comes from the American Council of Exercise. Locally, trainer Kaizad Kapadia has started a fitness academy with a highly respected training program. Make sure your trainer has some idea about the nuances of the spinal cord and does not spell muscle like the shellfish.

Get Fit and Trim After the Holidays

The Holidays Are Coming!

The Holidays are coming! This is not the time of year when you only get to celebrate holidays with your family and friends, but it is also the time of year when many of us, if not everyone, indulge in delicious food. If you have been good all year, it is only logical that you cut yourself some slack (i.e. a slice of cake) and reward yourself with delicious foods during the holidays

However, we will not talk about all the tasty food that you can prepare and eat during the holidays. We will talk about how you can enjoy the holidays without having to deny yourself of any food, and still get fit and trim after the holidays

Don’t Procrastinate!

I hate to be the one who spoils all the fun, but let’s imagine the holidays are over, and you are left with a smile on your face and a couple of extra pounds. What do you plan on doing about this? To help you get back in shape, I will tell you two essential tips for losing weight after the holidays. The first and the most important thing to remember is that you should not procrastinate. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will be for you to start your weight loss journey.

Make an Amazing Eating Plan

You are probably wondering what an amazing eating plan could be. In simple words, this eating plan should include meals that your taste buds will love, it should make your life, or to be more precise your eating habits simple, and it should allow you to break the rules every once in a while.

Food Rich in Fiber and Protein

So, let’s start with meals that you will actually enjoy eating. Do you like Greek yogurt, milk, mozzarella, or eggs? Not only are these foods rich in protein, but they are also delicious. A small apple has close to 4 grams of fiber, and there are 4 reasons to include apples in your meals: they are healthy, rich in fiber, very helpful in helping you lose weight, and they make a very delicious dessert. Just add a bit of cinnamon and raisins on top of apples and you have a delicious dessert which is of course healthy.

Berries

Speaking of fiber, your delicious eating plan should contain all kinds of berries: blueberries, raspberries – just name it, and you are already making your meals healthier by introducing antioxidants and vitamin C. Let’s not forget nuts which are super-rich in fiber, protein, and good fats. Feel like experimenting? Mix a small amount of nuts with Greek yogurt, and you’ll have a very delicious meal that will keep you full, and help you lose weight.

Break the Rules Every Once in a While

The fact that you can easily find all the foods mentioned above makes your life easier, right? So, this perfect eating plan only needs one more thing – breaking the rules. You should break the rules from time to time, and eat something your healthy eating plan wouldn’t normally allow. It’s fine to break the rules and not be too harsh on yourself. Cut yourself some slack, and reward yourself for eating healthy foods with something you really love even if it is not that healthy.

Eat healthy using the food pyramid?

The food pyramid was developed in Sweden in the early to mid 1970’s to demonstrate standards for daily nutrition. In the early 1990’s, the United States government began creating their own food guidelines. You can view an example at lifeclinic.com. The pyramid continues to improve as new studies provide new information. These guidelines tell the recommended daily doses of each food group to help our nation stay healthy. These suggestions are made for the average American. Special needs may apply for each unique circumstance. You can develop a customized food pyramid just for you on the website at mypyramid.gov .

  1. GET RID OF JUNK FOOD

If you want to eat healthy using the food pyramid for guidelines, the first thing to do is to get rid of your junk food. Next, stock your cupboard with foods from the five food groups. These clusters are named the grains group, the vegetable group, the fruit group, the dairy group, and the protein group. The higher the location of the cluster on the pyramid, the less you need to eat to stay healthy. The top of the pyramid with the least recommended servings is the fat, oil and sweets group. The bottom of the pyramid is grains, which are recommended at every meal.

  1. SUPPORT

If you are looking to the food pyramid for weight loss, some other tips include a food journal, a support system and taking pictures of yourself to track progress. Ask friends and family to encourage healthy eating using the food pyramid and ask them to keep the junk away from you. Use a notebook to record everything you eat. This will help you to understand if your portion sizes are too large and identify trouble foods. There may even be a correlation between stressful times and an increase in poor eating habits. Identifying these habits will help you break them. Take a picture once a month for comparison. View more healthy tips at www.hsph.harvard.edu.

  1. FOOD GROUPS

The grains food group consists of any bread, cereal, rice and pasta. The recommended daily dosage of these foods includes between six and eleven servings. Whole grains are recommended over refined grains. A serving of these includes one slice of bread, cup of cooked rice, oatmeal and pasta, of an English muffin or pita, 1 6-inch corn or flour tortilla, or1 cup of dry cereal.

The vegetable food group consists of any vegetables including green leafy ones, carrots, radishes, cabbage and eggplant. The definition of a vegetable is undecided, but we generally consider a vegetable to be savory rather than sweet like fruits. When we use the term vegetable, it can refer to any part of a plant including the stem, leaves, flower, stalk, bulb or root. The recommended daily dose of these is between three to five servings. A serving includes cup of cooked or raw vegetables, cup of vegetable juice or 1 cup of salad. In newer variations of the pyramid, servings of vegetables are not limited.

The fruit food group consists of any fruits including apples, oranges, bananas, blueberries, and grapes. The differentiating characteristic between a fruit and a vegetable is that a fruit is the reproductive part of the plant. We generally eat the fleshy, seed bearing element. This is the part that tends to be sweet. The recommended daily dosage of these foods includes between two to four servings. A serving includes cup of chopped, raw fruit or 1 medium whole fruit.

The dairy food group consists of any milk, cheese and yogurt. The recommended daily dosage of these is three servings. The USDA has shown that three servings of dairy daily has greater benefits in weight loss over just cutting down on calories. A serving includes 1 cup of low fat milk, 1 ounces of regular or low fat cheese, 8 ounces of yogurt or 4 ounces of cottage cheese.

The protein group consists of any meat, poultry, dry beans, eggs, nuts, legumes and tofu. The recommended daily dosage of these is between two to three servings. Lean meats, such as fish and chicken breast are the most highly recommended sources of protein. A serving includes 1 ounce of meat, poultry or fish, 1 egg or 1 cup of dry beans.

The fat, oil and sweets group includes fried food, dessert and sugars. These should be used sparingly. There have been benefits found from using olive oil and chocolate. Adding sugar and butter to your food and any other additives that are high in fat and sugar should be done in moderation to keep your body healthy. In newer versions of the pyramid red meat is included in this category.

In addition to these guidelines, taking a daily multivitamin is recommended along with exercise. One to two glasses of red wine or beer a day has also been shown to have health benefits. There are many variations of the food pyramid including pyramids for ethnic cultures and vegetarian diets. Here are sites that may provide you with alternative information:

  1. THE OLD FOOD PYRAMID

The food pyramid that is known as the official USDA food pyramid was changed in the spring of 2005 because they wanted to better convey the example of how to stay healthy. The old food pyramid was used much the same as the new one is, where you should eat more of the foods at the bottom of the pyramid, and work your way up, eating less of those close to the top. The old food pyramid had six sections, beginning at the very bottom with Bread, Cereal, Rice, and Pasta group. Of this group you were supposed to eat six to eleven servings, and it didn’t separate white bread and pastas from whole grains. Above that were the Fruit and Vegetable groups. You were instructed to eat two to four servings of fruits, and three to five servings of vegetables, again, these were very general terms. The third tier of the old food pyramid consisted of the Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese group, and the Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dried Beans, Eggs, and Nuts group. The chart indicated to eat two to three servings each of these two groups. At the top was Fats, Oils, and Sweets, which were just directed to be used sparingly, and indicated no guidelines for what fit into that category. The old food pyramid also didn’t include anything about exercise, or alcohol consumption, thus leaving that up to the consumer.

  1. OTHER FORMS OF THE FOOD PYRAMID

The Mediterranean Diet Pyramid

This diet is a different spin on the food pyramid. To incorporate the ideas of the Mediterranean Diet into your daily life, you simply need to make olive oil your primary source of fat, incorporate plant based foods such as fruits, vegetables, breads, grains, and nuts, eat low to moderate amounts of fish, poultry, cheese, and yogurt, and drink a moderate amount of wine (one or two glasses a day)

The Asian Diet Pyramid

This diet is a representation of a healthy Asian diet, which is growing in popularity in the United States. The basis of this diet is eating more variation in food, mingled with food found more frequently in Asia. Some of the foods encouraged in this pyramid are rice, pineapple, bananas, mangos, cabbage, carrots, bok choy, bamboo shoots, soy beans, dried beans, miso, tofu, fish, and eggs. Alcohol may also be consumed in moderation, but isn’t recommended.

The Latin American Diet Pyramid

The Latin American Diet is a variation of the diet pyramid, and reflects the traditional diet of the areas of Latin America. The diet consists of more starches and less meats, with fruits and vegetables being important as well. Some of the basic foods found on the chart that Americans might not be used to are taro, arepas, quinoa, malanga, amaranth, cassava, yucca, cacao, tamarind, breadfruit, kale, cactus, tomatillos, and red meat is used sparingly.

The Vegetarian Diet Pyramid

The Vegetarian Diet Pyramid is exactly what it sounds like, a complete absence of meat, poultry, or fish in the diet. It is based on multiple servings a day from the three mini Fruits and Vegetables, Whole Grains, Legumes, and Beans pyramids. There’s attention to consuming foods from all of the mini pyramids, and daily consumption of good water as well as exercise to maintain good health.

The Low Carb Diet Pyramid

The low carb diet pyramid focuses on meat, low carb fruits and vegetables, and extremely limited portions of whole grain carbs. Dairy provides extra calcium. As always, make sure to drink plenty of water.