Fitness | PREMIUM CONTENT

Fitness For The New Year

Jan/21/2022 / by Pratika Yashaswi
Get, set, fitness goals for 2022!

We know how hard it can be to maintain your health. Amidst all the demands of work, family and children, it can be all too easy to forget about your health goals. Postpone this long enough and you find yourself at your doctor’s with some bizarre numbers on your medical tests. 

And then there’s the awfully limiting and completely frustrating idea South Asian families can sometimes have: that a woman after a certain age or life milestone (marriage, children, the age 30, etc) is doomed to “gain some weight here and there!” or accept an unacceptable amount of daily fatigue. This can lead to us ignoring our own health indicators, and taking ourselves and our needs for granted. Also, these notions are completely untrue. Good health leads to happiness and increased productivity. Combine with good rest and you’ve changed your life.

So, start now, start this year. Decide to reserve this year for YOU and smash all your goals! We’ll help you out.

HOW TO START EXERCISING IF YOU DON’T HAVE AN EXERCISE ROUTINE YET

Literally everyone who is exercising today has been a non-exerciser at some point in their adulthood (childhood doesn’t count). So don’t be conscious of this. If you’re just starting out or returning after a long interruption in your routine such as pregnancy, illness or injury, you might expect:

  • More aches and cramps
  • Increased tiredness
  • Difficulty making time for your routine
  • Discouragement at not being able to complete your reps properly

Here are some tips to deal with them:

Getting a personal trainer for the initial few months can help you build discipline and personal goals for your fitness regime.
  1. Get a personal trainer to help you out for a few months.
    A trainer turning up at the same time everyday (or week) will be able to ensure your accountability and more importantly, teach you the correct form. Wrong form may lead to injuries and inhibit the completion of the movements.
  2. Start with a form of exercise you enjoy. When you are just starting out, it is hard to maintain interest and show up regularly for an exercise routine you don’t enjoy, no matter how popular it might be. Dislike running? Try a spin cycling class. Find lifting boring? Try HIIT! A note: this isn’t the time to be concerned with “minimum” recommendations — we’ll get to them as your fitness level improves.
  3. Don’t overexert yourself. There are two kinds of pain: the good kind and the bad kind. The good kind of pain comes from pushing yourself slightly beyond your personal “limits”. The bad kind of pain comes from when your body is trying to tell you you’re going too far. Learn to listen to these signs and stop when you really can’t go further. This is not a sign of personal failure, it’s a way you can improve yourself in the long term.
  4. If you really can’t find the time or motivation, start with ridiculously small goals: begin with seven-minute exercises (there are apps for that) and slowly increase the time as YOU see fit. You can even do something as simple as going for a fifteen minute power walk. It’s alright if you can’t exercise six days a week. Start with two or even one. Any progress is progress. You go further by celebrating your little wins, not by writing yourself off as a lazy couch potato.

If You Already Have an Exercise Routine, Shake It up a Little

If you already have an exercise routine, congratulations! Let’s raise the bar this year. Exercising for maintenance is one thing, but it’s another to challenge your body in different ways to strengthen it. Not only is it great from a fitness perspective, it’s also awesome from a fun perspective. Here are a few tips:

Mix Things up Over the Week

  1. If you run or use the treadmill six days a week, try out HIIT once a week. If you’re a Zumba dancer, try out a barre class.
  2. Any exercise routine benefits from the addition of a little bit of weight training: it’s a great way to tone your arms and there are lots of tutorials to help you out with this at home.
  3. Another option is to switch up the type of weights you use. For example, you can replace your dumbbells with kettlebells.
  4. Are you more of a no-equipment workouter? Get a Bosu Ball and do your normal functional and resistance exercises like pushups and mountain climbers on it. Now, that should make things interesting. 
    Purchase Suggestion: BOSU Pro Balance Trainer, Stability Ball/Balance Board with Manual and Guided Workout Downloads (26 Inches), Blue
  5. Get some resistance bands! Resistance bands are amazing because they can be used in almost any type of exercise whether you workout at the gym or at home. They even work as the only equipment you need for exercise.
    Purchase suggestion: Resistance bands from Amazon
Have fitness goals in 2022? Try using a stretch ball!

THE UNDERRATED ROLE OF DIET

Modern nutritional science is less than a century old, but it plays a catalyzing role in your health. A small improvement in one’s diet can lead to a dramatic shift in health and even improve your body’s response to a fitness routine. You might start losing weight faster (if that’s your goal), develop a better muscle tone, sleep better and even feel fitter and happier overall—all while sticking to the same exercises!

There isn’t a lot we know about eating right, but there IS a lot we can do with the information we have to improve our health and fitness parameters. No matter where you are in your fitness journey, here are a few tips to improve your health through nutrition:

1. Get a nutritionist.

A nutritionist is a great aid for your fitness routine and can help you avoid fad diets and suggest recipes and schedules based on your health concerns. To get the most out of his or her help:

  • Choose someone ideally from your own culture, who understands the way you eat and can give you good options that fit a South Asian diet. 
  • Ask questions about your meal plans and make sure you’re communicating your progress to the nutritionist.
  • Since you already have your meal plan, ask, or look up recipes for the items on it and make sure you are adequately prepared to start before you begin.
  • If it involves a completely new way of eating, give your body a minimum of 2-4 weeks to adjust to the diet but try not to change it up too much.
  • Measure the results of your meal plan every two weeks to ensure that it is working for you. 
  • It’s alright to have cheat days! Ask your nutritionist about how you can fit them in. 
diets are very useful for a all-rounded fitness

2. Prepare your own meals.

If you are already cooking, you can ignore this. But if you aren’t, you better teach yourself or make time. Cooking can be tiring if you don’t like it, but it is your best ally in sticking to your nutrition goals because it gives you control over what goes into your body. It’s best if you learn to have fun with. Every meal doesn’t have to look like it’s made by Maunika Gowardhan, but it should be tasty to you. Here are some tips:

  • Get ahold of an InstantPot. The Instant Pot allows you to “set it and forget it” and takes a lot of stress out of counting whistles of a pressure cooker.
  • Learn One Pot One Shot (OPOS) recipes for dal, pulaos, biryanis, and sabzis. Some of them can even work on an ordinary pressure cooker and can be prepared in 30 minutes or less.
  • Batch cook or batch prepare your meals on Sundays. Chop your vegetables, peel your garlic, prepare a jar of khara masala for the whole week and seal them separately in air tight bags. Put them in the fridge. It saves you a ton of time on prep when you’re feeling hungry during the week!
  • You can get pre-prepped meals in the department store too, where everything you need is done for you and all
  • As soon as you enter the kitchen, set the kettle on boil while you get things in place. You never know when you might need it, and it’s a pain to have to wait for water to completely heat up before you can use it when the stove is on.


There are loads of other techniques, and in fact, your grandmother herself might know a few! Anything that makes your life easier in the kitchen will help you eat out less and avoid junk food. 

3. Eliminate refined carbs and refined cooking oil.

White flour, white sugar, white bread and white rice are the refined carbs South Asians commonly eat. This eliminates things like pastries, sodas, snacks, pasta, sweets, breakfast cereals and filter coffee—It demands a ton of willpower, but it can also be immensely, VISIBLY rewarding. Follow this with the passion and merciless focus of a vegan cutting out meat and dairy. Scrutinize every label on every canned or packed item you find at the department store (Ideally stay away from processed food). Accomplish this, and you won’t have to find another New Year’s resolution for health.

Seema

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