Category Archives: General

Artistic Yoga–My Personal Fitness Game Changer

It all started in mid February 2020. The pandemic had not yet reached any high level of worry, in fact, things were mostly business as usual. The only difference for me was I went through 3 weeks of a grueling illness which zapped off 9 lbs from my weight. Feeling motivated to keep “sickness detox” weight off, I analyzed my fitness goals. For years, I had been in and out of different fitness classes trying new workouts and seeing success with each one. The problem was my own consistency. Why could I not stick with it longer than time to see initial results? My self reflection came out with this:

I traveled for work, eating 95% of my meals out of the home. I had to always find time between airports, hotels and long work hours to keep fit. At that point, it would be a choice between a 6pm happy hour or get my tired body to a hotel gym or a nearby Orange Theory class. I couldn’t long distance run anymore and in January, I had slipped a disc in my back from a hard HIIT weights workout. It was then I had done a pilates session with Ann Toran in NYC where she asked me why I was putting my body through this. A few pilates classes and a good diet is all you need. I didn’t buy it. I had topped to my highest weight 146 lbs (66kg) on and off in 2019. I thought I needed hard workouts and low calories to compensate for the travel routine and all that came with it.

Post sickness, where I thought my entire body was going to give up after fighting off the high fevers of 104.3 degrees, body aches, vomiting and awful coughing, I decided something needed to change. I thought about the time I tried my hand at Bharat Thakur’s Artistic Yoga in India for a few days. At that time, the entire country was inspired by Kareena Kapoor’s transformation into a sexy bikini wearing diva in Tashan. She claimed she only ate a well balanced diet and did artistic yoga 6 days a week for 8 months. I scoffed at it (it had to be more than that for such a drastic body type change) and yet enjoyed the classes I took in the comfort of my hotel room and a certified trainer coming to train my mom and I for the one week we were in Mumbai. Cardio, body weight exercises for different body parts and intense stretching all in a one hour class. Coming back to 2020, I decided to give it another shot. I found the number of the trainer that was sent to me and sent him a Whatapp message. “Would you consider training me on Skype video?” I asked him after being turned down by the studios to do remote classes. We immediately reached an agreement on cost and timings and then…the lockdown happened..both here in the USA and India. From end of March to end of April, month 1, I would wake up at 630am for a 7am-8am class that was much like the ones I took in India. Warm up with some in place jogging, stretches, 15-25 sun salutations and then focus on different body parts every day for about 25-40 minutes of body weight exercises and toning. End with 10 min of different pranayamas and breathing and we had ourselves a well round class. Since the shelter in place orders had already been issued, I was eating all my meals for the first time in years at home. And for the first time in years I also just ate normal foods and a non measured amount of food. Basically, I was eating probably double the calories I was used to of actual food. After one month, I felt calmer. Anxiety during stressful situations was lessening daily, I felt happier than I had felt in years and the scale showed I had lost another 5 lbs bringing the total loss to about 14 lbs since my illness.

It was about then that Sachin, my trainer, asked me if I wanted to try the Artistic Yoga Super fast challenge. It was 30 days of focused classes that were 2 hours long 5 days a week, a 1 hour Saturday meditation class and Sundays to rest and relax a week. Sure, why not? He said, I personally will guarantee you a changed body type. He gave me a detox food plan which I did for 2 days and threw it out. I can’t starve myself and stay happy. So I decided not to focus on food. I would eat at home, my usual foods and dedicate myself to this challenge. Every week the meditation time at the end went down and the intensity and time of the yoga HIIT sessions went up. 1 hr -> 1:25 min–>1:45 min –> 2 hours. The remaining time, if any, was breathing and meditation. By week 3 classes looked like this:

Warm up: jogging, high knees, stretches to warm the body–> 30-50 Sun salutations

Workout: toning on different body parts (i.e. Back and abs, Arms and side stomach, Legs, Full body, active stretch day)

Cardio: the next hour was full on cardio. Fast jogging, sun salutations that went to 108 in 15 minutes, more jogging in between sun salutations, and then circuit body weight exercises: pushups, squats, mountain climbers, planks) all curated with yoga poses. Some were variations of sun salutation poses. Position 4 (plank) to position 8 (right leg forward) 30 times. Position 6 (upward dog) to cobra 50 times, etc. Challenges of “Can you do 12-15 sun salutations in one minute” and Sachin’s boot camp like voice not letting me take a breather until I finished a task. Calories burned went from 300 a class to 590 a class. Through all of this, my trainer, who was a complete professional did not miss ONE class. Showed up every single day at exactly the same time on Skype Video and was with a mix of military like expectations and friendly banter to ensure things were interesting, he got me to a point where my entire body structure had changed. He took it upon himself to get me to a point I did not even expect or wanted. Weight loss was not my goal. I wanted to feel fitter, I wanted to lose the fat in many areas and I wanted to be an early riser. For someone who is NOT a morning person, I was up at 5:45am every. single. day. And I was there in happy spirits which he noticed every day. All this and more by the time we completed the one month,

The results were this:

— Ending weight came to 54kg without even trying.

— 13 inches overall inch loss

— No tightness in chest

— Insomnia cured

–I woke up 6 days a week at 530am to be ready for a 630 class

— My skin was clear

— I could kick butt on my favoirte excercises the sun salutation and do up to 108 in one go

— I could see abs in my stomach. I forgot I had them 🙂

— And the best part–I was never hungry because I was eating fresh home cooked food including pizzas, pastas, cakes, nachos

I now fully believe that maybe Kareena Kapoor did only do yoga to get that fit body of hers. I saw huge changes in only 2 months–what will it come to in 8-9 months? What if I stopped eating my daily ice cream and focused on a healthier home cooked diet? Since I still don’t feel comfortable eating out due to COVID-19, that is my only option for now. So, I decided-let’s find out in month 3 starting tomorrow! And as for Sachin and Yoga–our month 3 goal is to master me a headstand and get to frequent 108 sun salutations as my warm up. Stay tuned for an instagram how to on Sun Salutations..the Indian Burpee.

For now, i will say Namaste and if you want to try out private classes on Skype, let me know and I can send you his number.

Pongal (South Indian Lentil-Rice) – by Priya Prasad

How many of us have rummaged through our pantry looking for inspirations on what edible, somewhat healthy, dish to make…especially with grocery stores closed or having limited supplies? I have a steady supply of rice and lentils (aka dhal) and pongal is one of the easiest dishes to cook with these two staple foods. Pongal is typically eaten for breakfast or brunch, but can really be eaten for any meal.

All you need is rice (jasmine or basmati, though I prefer jasmine), lentil/dhal (preferably yellow mong dhal), ginger, cashews, curry leaves, turmeric, salt, black peppercorn, cumin, and ghee (clarified butter). To make this vegan or reduce the fat, eliminate the ghee. 


Add 1:1 ratio of rice and dhal and the appropriate amount of water based on whether you are cooking in a rice cooker, pressure cooker, or stove. You can alter the amount of water based on your desired level of “mushiness” of the dhal and rice. I like to add a pinch of salt and a bit of turmeric at this stage.

Once the dhal and lentils have cooked (timing depends on how you cooked them, but shouldn’t take more than 30 min if you’re cooking 1 cup of each), fry a tablespoon of cumin in a bit of oil until it sizzles, add in curry leaves, broken cashews, ginger, and peppercorn. Alternatively, you can fry these items in ghee. You can also use ground black pepper instead of whole peppercorn if you prefer a more uniform, spicy flavor. Add this mixture to the cooked dhal-lentil and adjust salt and black pepper amounts accordingly.

Dhal and rice complement each other in terms of the types of amino acids (protein building blocks), so this is a fairly healthy meal (and very filling). Pongal can be eaten alone or served with any chutney (e.g., tomato, coconut) or spicy pickle. Enjoy!


Easy & Healthy Chunky Bean and Veggie soup–by Priya Prasad

Many of us are only eating at home and need quick and easy recipes that will soothe us during this country wide lockdown to fight COVID-19.  If you are looking to quickly use leftover veggies or just need something comforting and low calorie you should try this bean and veggie soup! It’s a good recipe to meal prep over the weekend for the family and serve on weekdays!


A fitness teacher I follow on social media once said her secret to a successful day is being prepared, especially the night before. She joked that sometimes she puts toothpaste on her brush to save time in the morning. That’s generally not necessary for most of us, but I’m a big advocate of meal prepping for work lunches. I don’t mind eating the same thing for the week for lunch (but will change it up for dinner).

This soup is filing because it contains a lot of beans. Your local market may sell a “15 bean soup” mix in the dry food section. For this recipe, I just used 1/2 cup of each type of bean I already at home (chick peas, red kidney, black, and king) and 1/2 cup of wild rice (not needed but also because I had it at home). Wash and soak the beans overnight or at least for a couple of hours.


Drain, fill a pot with water, and cook the soaked beans on medium hit. Stir often. You’ll know when the beans are cooked (time will vary based on the type of bean you’re using, how long you pre-soaked, and the quality of your stove).

While the beans are cooking, chop any vegetables you want to include in the soup. I used celery, bell pepper, beans, zucchini, spinach, and methi (fenugreek) leaves. The spinach and methi were last minute adds, mainly because I had some greens that needed to be used pronto!


For flavor, be creative. I used salt, paprika, long Thai chili, and a bay leaf.


Pour 2 cups of low sodium vegetable broth into a pot, add the chopped veggies and any spices, cook on medium heat. Add the cooker beans when the veggies look almost done.

This volume was enough for 1 week (5 days) for lunches for me. Adjust the amount of beans and veggies accordingly. The broth will be adsorbed by the beans and veggies, especially by day 2. This makes it easy to transport to work (little to no liquid) but keeps the flavor.

Rashi Chowdhary: The Thyroid Series Part 1

Rashi Chowdhary. To Vogue India, she is the winner of the Nutritionist of the Year Award 2019. To India, she is one of the leading celebrity nutritionists with clients to boast of including Bahubhali’s Tamannaah Bhatia and the new sensationin Bollywood Rakul Preet Singh. To Dubai, the place she now calls home, she is the creator and face of the Protein Bake Shop. To me…she is my friend of a decade long friendship that grew through our own personal ups and downs. She is also the woman who helped me balance my hormones and start magically living a life free of hormonal issues just by changing the way I eat.

In this series, we decided to do topics that affect a large majority of the population – both male and female. This is a three part series and you will be getting different fun material that will hopefully change your life. This series will cover Thyroid issues, how to manage having thyroid, how to ween off medication and how to manage weight gain or emotions that come with hypo and hyper thyroid. So, without any further delay, let’s get started with the basic insight on thyroid from Rashi:


Thyroid seems very common these days in both women and men. What is the root cause of thyroid? Is it something  we eat that ends up triggering it over time ?

We use to believe that thyroid is genetic and only if someone from your family has it, the chances of you having thyroid at some point were high. Now we know that this is far away from the truth. Before I dive into why we get thyroid issues, I really wanted to talk a little bit about some uncommon symptoms that go unnoticed and can delay diagnosis. Living with Thyroid can be really hard and knowing that you have it can help you put efforts into the right direction and get started on healing it.

If you resonate with any of the following symptoms, please get your Thyroid levels tested.

  1. SIBO can be very common amongst thyroid patients. I don’t usually like making my clients do too many tests cause the diet I give is super anti-inflammatory, I do a 2-4 Week gut cleanse with most clients and know that even if they have a digestive issues like gas, bloating, belching etc, all of those anyway disappear in less than 2 weeks, if they continue, then I make them run some tests and most often the ones with SIBO, take longer to heal and also have underlying hypothyroid that has gone unnoticed.
  2. Period Issues: I’ve spoken a lot about this on my Instagram, Both hypo and hyper thyroid can have an effect on our menstrual cycles so irregular periods, very scanty bleeding or heavy bleeding and mood swings.
  3. Loss of smell or taste for food: Hypothyroid particularly can have an effect on your sensory pleasures like taste and smell when it comes to food. This is also one reason, people tend to gain weight cause they can’t taste and smell food the way they use to so they feel the need to eat more to feel satisfied.
  4. You skin turning slightly greyish and really dry, losing one third of your outer eyebrow and sudden hair  loss are also signs of thyroid, but these are not uncommon nor are they early signs.

Coming back to the causes, we now know, most people have auto immune Thyroid and have no clue about it.

So the first cause I would  like to cover is this. In auto immune thyroid, your body starts to attack your own healthy thyroid cells, it confuses it for an unhealthy foreign particle. Your body thinks it ix protecting you, but actually it is just working against you. From all the research I’ve done, one of the reasons this particular cause is so common is because of the consumption of wheat. Even if it’s organic. The structure of Glaidin in wheat is very similar to that of the cells of thyroid gland, Wheat ,on getting digested, has an acidic reside and also causes inflammation in the gut. Your immune system is actually trying to protect you by attacking the Glaidin cells but due to “molecular mimicry “ it attacks the healthy thyroid cells causing Auto immunity.The solution is to drastically reduce the consumption of wheat in every form. There are other reasons for auto immunity as well. It could be a medication ( which is why it is important to ask your doctor about side effects before popping any pills)

The second and lesser known reason why thyroid disorders are so common amongst women is because we menstruate and that causes a whole lot of fluctuations in Progesterone, Estrogen and other hormones. Since so much is now changing with how we are externally, the amount of stress we take, the type of jobs we do , that sometimes, internally,, our body finds it hard to catch up. Our hormonal shifts are natural but our inability to balance those and our inability to create a nourishing environment mentally and physically to heal them is what causes  disorders like Hypothyroid. Have an important business trip coming up, and we will pop a pill to delay our period, if our partners don’t want to use a condom for protection, we pop a contraceptive DAILY, bloat, feel like throwing up but still continue to have it so they can enjoy sex  (I have no issues if you love sex without a condom too, but if its taking a toll on you, please speak up) We are sleep deprived some days because we have deadlines to reach and the stress we put on ourselves to keep it all together causes more hormonal chaos. All of these lifestyle issues coupled with the fact that we have hormonal shifts every month, makes women at a higher risk of developing Hashimotos, which is an auto immune hypothyroid. We are 5-8 times more likely to have thyroid than men. Lastly, for a lot of women, taking OCP’S has become very common and we now know that taking OCP’s depletes our nutrient stores specially zinc. Zinc helps in the communication between your thyroid hormone and cell receptor. Just by depleting zinc, the pill can prevent you from making and activating thyroid hormone.

If one is on thyroid  meds how should they manage taking the meds? Do Certain foods help the absorption better ?   

Before we jump to medication, I highly recommend if you are reading this and you are concerned about your thyroid gland, get a complete thyroid panel done. You need to get the following done. TSH , total T3 , Total T4, Free T3, Free T4, and Anti bodies ( TPO + TG) Reading these levels properly is very important.



TSH is the hormone that tells your thyroid to make more thyroid hormone. TSH test becomes worthless..If your hypothalamus and pituitary are not doing their thing cause the stops on the signaling pathway can get messed up for various reasons. You can’t rely onTSH alone, if you have symptoms.

Regular ref range is 0.5 to 4.7 but in most cases above 2 means you will have symptoms and can treat this as a warning sign.


Free T4

Your thyroid makes mostly T4, also known as thyroxine. Thyroxine is the storage form of thyroid hormone — it circulates in the bloodstream, then your tissues store it. When an area of your body needs energy, it gets converted into the active form, T3. .

Optimal Free T4 range: 10-23 pmol/L (but above 11 means the imbalance has already started)



When your tissues ned energy, they convert T4 into Free T3, the active form. Sometimes your thyroid makes sufficient hormone, but you don’t convert it, so you’ll get hypothyroid symptoms. This is generally the reason your energy levels fizzle out mid way in the gym.

Free T3: above 5.5 pmol/L means thyroid function is moving towards hypo.


Antibodies  (TPO + AT)

If either one or both of these antibodies test high, that means your immune system attacks the thyroid. That means you have one of two autoimmune thyroid diseases — Hashimoto’s thyroiditis if you’re hypothyroid, and Graves’ disease if you’re hyperthyroid .Ideally both should be less than 10 or negligible but if they are a double digit or more, it is a cause of concern.

Is it possible to manage this over time with  just nutrition? What are your recommendations to get off the meds, lose weight and feel better ?

YES! Of course it is and you will be surprised to see how the levels mentioned above will start to improve and change within 6 weeks of doing some of the stuff that I’m recommending.

Food to avoid/ Minimize to heal thyroid issues:

We’ve established that gluten causes inflammation that slow down thyroid function. It triggers auto immune response in the body that attacks the thyroid. Many clients who struggle a lot  have benefited with just excluding gluten from their meals. Wheat, barley, rye, and spelt have gluten. Make sure you avoid all the wheat products too, semolina, vermicelli, broken wheat, wheat pastas, breads, cakes of corse.

Next on the list is.. no surprise.. Sugar! Cause its what any inflammatory disease feeds on! The inflammation increases every time you have sugar which hinders healing of your thyroid.

Third on the list is Soy. It’s a big no because it’s a genetically modified food and also it has phytoestrogens which makes the hormonal imbalance worse. So keep off edamame, tofu, mock meats and use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce!

Here’s one more food you need to avoid SPECIALLY if your thyroid antibodies are high and your thyroid problem is auto-immune. Most of my clients resist this one, But only those who are able to actually stick to this long term, are able to reverse autoimmune Thyroid!!! LENTILS!! you need to avoid legumes and lentils. These have lectins that worsen the auto-immune response. Lectins block the thyroid hormone and you may end up with thyroid receptor problem, where the cells become resistant to the hormone. In this situation, the thyroid hormone pills will not help at all and your dosage will go on increasing and so will the weight!

Avoiding these foods will allow your thyroid to heal; it will make you feel much better and will resolve many of your symptoms too. This is the reason I put up the story about “only people who are really dedicated to the process can see progress when it is autoimmune” It’s hard, but at least there’s hope for a cure in food.


Nutrient deficiencies and thyroid

Whether you want to prevent or heal your thyroid, here are some basic nutrients that are directly linked to Thyroid when they are deficient.

Iodine (1mg), Omega 3 (2000mg), vitamin A (2tsp spirullina OR 1000 IU), vitamin D (1000 IU), selenium (200mcg) and zinc (50mg) are crucial for thyroid hormone production and activation. Iodine is naturally available in sea vegetables, fish. Salmon, herring, walnuts, flaxseeds, have omega 3. Green leafy vegetables, carrots, chicken liver can give you vitamin A. Brazil nuts, gray niger seeds, sesame seeds, flaxseeds contain good amount of selenium. Zinc is available in cashews, egg yolk, chicken, lamb.

You can include these foods in your daily diet but the amounts won’t be adequate to meet the requirements. It’s wise to get these nutrients through supplements to ensure you get enough of them to treat your thyroid.


To Be continued–Coming up–real life clients who successfully healed their thyroid through Rashi’s recommendations and meal plans!

To contact Rashi or follow her on Instagram and Facebook, see her information:


YouTube channel:



If you missed the previous posts from Rashi, please take a browse through her interviews on Reshie Rambles:



Royal Ballet Company to Bollywood’s Boot camp Master: Cindy Jourdain talks about dance, fitness and Bollywood!

Ballet.  Muay Thai. Functional Training.  HIIT…you name it, its all at Cindy’s Boot camp gym in Mumbai, India.
I have been following Cindy’s Instagram posts for a few months now and loved each and every workout she posted.  I even borrowed some of her moves to incorporate in my routine.
When curiosity killed the cat, I did some research on this expat who was toning some of the hottest women in India….and I found another surprise.
Cindy is a ballet dancer who used to dance for the Royal Ballet Company for many years. A dancer–and as many of you know, dancing is my passion. I did she get from a prima ballerina to a fitness coach…From Europe to India?
So I sent her a quick note asking her if she would be open to doing an interview. Within a day she and I had connected and in less than a week, she had responded to all my questions whole heatedly.
Please join me in getting to know the very talented Cindy Jourdain:

1. Tell us how you got to Mumbai from Europe and what inspired you to open Cindy’s Boot camp?  

Katrina Kaif is the one who flew me over From London to Mumbai to look after her fitness regime. Mumbai was never on the map but I’m very grateful to Katrina for the opportunity it gave me. Cindy’s Bootcamp started materializing in my head after about one year of being one and off in Mumbai. I immersed myself in the culture as much as possible and did some thorough market research before taking the plunge and settling here full time.



With Bollywood superstar Katrina Kaif; Cindy’s first Bollywood client

2. Your background in dance, theater, direction and fitness is impressive! How do you incorporate all these artistic forms into being a trainer and the owner of a boot camp that is so popular now in Mumbai? What exercises do you recommend that is inspired from all these forms into your current routine?

My background has forged a very strong personality, it is my credibility and what makes me different from everyone else here.

I wanted to be true to myself and use the experiences I had as an athlete, a performer and a woman to create something unique that made complete sense to me instead of joining another renowned fitness establishment for example. I’m likely to recommend sequences of movement just like a choreography in dance or flow in yoga, it’s the grounded seamless and yet powerful quality I’m after most of the time.



3. What type of routines did you have when you were in ballet? Being a professional ballerina requires hours of training and a special diet from what we have known from movies like black swan or reading up on it. Tell us about your routines in diet and training during that time.

Ballet is an incredibly demanding profession. There’s no in between. It’s all heart and sacrifice. That’s how I was brought up through the professional ballet schooling system even if I feel I grew up quite a balanced young woman with a real need for normality and a strong outside life.

A typical day for a professional ballerina with the Royal Ballet Company is ballet class in the morning for 1h30 to prep your body for the rest of the day and continuously work on your technique. The afternoon can have 2 to 3 rehearsals scheduled depending on the productions and the roles you are dancing. These rehearsals can be 1,2,3 hours plus….. Then it’s shower & make up time for the show usually at 7.30pm, you try and fit some food somewhere in the middle but everyday is go go go really and soon enough food takes a back seat if you’re not careful! The show comes down at 10.30pm and it’s late before you’re home. I have done these days over and over again for 15 years professionally. There’s no time for much but ballet! When it comes to ultimate health and being able to avoid injuries as well as sustaining a lean yet strong physique it’s a fine balance really, the truth is there’s very little recovery time or extra time for a good strength and conditioning program (which is always prescribed in sports for athletes along with their specific training), ballerinas also can’t rehearse on a full stomach, there’s a lot of snacking involved and most of us really end up over training! Is it healthy in the long run probably not but the body adapts and the mind conquers so…I think there’s much more awareness now though and both artists and management are trying to make the right choices when it comes to schedule, fuel, recovery and training

4. Today, strength and fitness is coming before weight loss and looking painfully thin. If someone has limited strength and wants to get to being able to do a pullup or gain strength, how does one even start? Any specific recommendations on a weekly routine? Does this vary for men and women? How long would it take?

I’m glad it’s going this way even if I’m pretty sure we’ll see the skinny frame back into fashion soon with the same industries backing it up, It’s the way the cookie crumbles, the world is after constant recycling of the same thing repackaged differently, redesigned, revamped, re branded, you get my point. I never give generic advice in interviews, there isn’t one person the same but what I will say is that everyone can get their first pull up or back squat their own body weight if that’s what their goal is. You start by identifying your weaknesses and addressing your bad lifestyle habits then you put a plan together which has to be thought through with the person responsible for the plan and implemented until the end.



Cindy Jourdain; Ballet

5. You have some popular faces coming to your boot camp classes in all ranges of age. The current talk of town Sara Ali Khan (Saif Ali Khan and Amrita Singh’s’s daughter making her debut shortly) has lost lots of weight and is a regular at your classes. How did she do it and how did you train her to lose all the extra weight to become fabulously fit? Any specific routines and eating plan she followed?

Sara joined the classes recently and enjoyed the group atmosphere. She was eager to do well in class but the weight loss is a result of what she did before she joined so you would have to ask her that question. At the camp I saw an improvement in her mental focus, her form and general conditioning. The celebs or top influencers who join my classes let go of their profile as soon as they step through the door for that hour and train hard just like me, just like you.



Training Sara Ali Khan in her bootcamp class (2nd from right)

6. What type of diet do you recommend your celebrity or normal clients? The bootcamp classes are quite taxing on ones body…can you give a sample meal plan you recommend in India for vegetarians?

One diet never fits all. The idea is to find nutritious food that suit people’s body and an eating plan that fits their lifestyle. After my classes people have to rehydrate and make sure that fuel gets back in. There’s a recovery day in between classes and I talk about anti inflammatory food often to contribute towards optimal health. India has a lot of superfoods and Ayurvedic herbal remedies available such as wheatgrass, chia seeds, flaxseeds, moranga & triphala powder to name a few which are really soothing to the body and packed with anti oxidants, raw proteins, essential vitamins and minerals suitable for both veg& non veg. Grains and pulses such as Dahl, beans & quinoa for example contain a decent amount of proteins and will suit vegetarian requirements however it’s more  macro ratio, quality, quantity, timing & frequency that will make a difference when it comes to fuelling for training


7. What is something you personally have learned and have achieved since moving to Mumbai from Europe? Has the way you eat changed since you are in India now and a fitness instructor vs a ballerina?


I’ve learned to be more patient, I’ve learned to be more present and in the moment, I know that I can survive and thrive on my own anywhere in the world and that’s a big one for me!

Regarding my own diet since changing industry and moving to India, I tend to eat more healthy fat and less refined carbohydrates. I stay away from dishes full of sauces and try and stick to my mind & body beautiful mantra as much as possible which involve sleeping 8hours, drinking plenty of water, staying away as much as possible from wheat & dairy, alcohol, no caffeine & no nicotine.

There you go folks…a winning combination of art and fitness along with the determination to be the best. I definitely learned a lot from her and will be in her class on my next trip to Mumbai for sure;-) See a taste of her class here:

For more information on training with Cindy, see her details below:



Traveling Series: My way of staying healthy on the road

Many of you know I have been traveling for weeks away from home, eating out and staying in hotels. This can take a toll on the health, the diet and the waistline. It is so easy to give in to a moment of being on the high of being in a different place, on an expense account and amongst colleagues who love to eat nice meals. I have been there the last couple months. But if you want to preserve your healthy mind and body, you have to have the discipline to pick and choose the best you can. This series will chronicle different aspects of how I do this whilst on the road. I have had years of practice and a lot of help to be able to do this. I still have a lot of nutritional guidance.

Here I am now, in Europe, a vegetarian and trust me, it is not always easy (this week is already difficult and its only been a day or two!). My first step is always to have a plan. Start with planning out your meals. I know how to pick and choose on a menu the best thing I can eat, but in certain places, its been difficult when the salads are not the loaded American salads, but a plate of lettuce and tomatoes with a block of cheese. Not ideal to fill the stomach. So, for me, I am lucky to have a nutritionist friend who plans my diet charts keeping the location in mind. One thing I am still learning and coming to terms with is: to lose fat, you must eat fat. The right kind. Through the next 30 days, join me in learning how to pick the right foods off a menu, how to plan your meals and how can you workout during the long days of working and socializing.

If you have your own tricks, please do share with me! I always want to learn new things…one thing I refuse is to starve. I need to eat or I cannot function. Or sleep.  I will be posting my favorite go-to snacks and meals int he different countries I visit; my favorite workouts and how I fail and pick myself back up. It is never easy, but for me..the first step is planning out that I eat well. 80% of the battle is food. 20% is working out.  Stay tuned for videos, posts, tips and lots of fun in the coming days and weeks! I may not write posts every day but follow me on instagram: reshie2000  and you will see some of my fitness tricks I have been using to keep wellness on the top of my priority. With that, I say in German: Guten Tag!






Reza Katani- Katrina Kaif, Fitness and the basics of how you can keep your 2017 resolutions!

He is known through India as Katrina Kaif’s trainer. The man who changed the body of one of the sexiest women in India also has a gym in England, trains his clients there and has time to be with Katrina Kaif 24/7.


He recently also took care of the fitness needs of the entire Dream Team Tour in the USA. In an extremely candid interview on the most natural way to train your body, how to view fitness, and all things Katrina Kaif, Reza Katani talks to me on Christmas Eve to gear everyone up for their 2017 resolutions! Please listen to the audio interview in the link below:



Reza training Katrina Kaif

Further details on Reza Katani:



Twitter:  @RezaKatani





National Athlete and Competitor: Kristen Wueste

I met Kristen at the gym I workout in, Lifetime Fitness in Johns Creek, GA. My old trainer pointed her out to me telling me she competes in national level competitions. I was intrigued since then. I had a few training sessions with her and was so impressed with eh way she pushed me and kept the training sessions fun yet functional.  My travel schedule didn’t allow me to have a proper routine with her but my curiosity increased on how she works all day and finds time to compete in national level competitions and how she pushes herself to do her best time after time. I was so thrilled when she readily agreed to do the interview for my blog! Please be super inspired like me of Kristen’s journey and advice on fitness:

  1. What motivated you to take part in the national level competitions and how have you progressed over the years?

I grew up in a very athletic family and that has always been a way of life since I can remember.  Over the years I’ve done just about every sport, but have been drawn to endurance sports for the last 17 years, specifically running until an injury at 31.  I started cycling since the run injury needed 6 months lay off to heal.  My brother and father do triathlon and encouraged me to pick up the sport since I was cycling and soon would be running again.  My first year competing I was 32 and did very well on a regional level so I hired a coach after my first year and I’ve seen nothing but progress over the past 7 years.  As a fitness professional I understand the importance of having a smart progression plan.  Even moreso a knowledgable coach who can see things you as an athlete cannot or will not.  I also love the idea of having to perfect 3 sports.  I’m never bored and LOVE the challenge each training session brings.

2. What specifically goes behind training for the different competitions? Specifically, what changes in your diet (example plan?), training regimen and how you handle doing this around daily lifestyles (does this change during training periods?)  

The difference between someone who is just getting in shape for general fitness versus a competative athlete is quite different.  Our annual training plan is based on when we peak for our “A” race(s).  usually you can be in top form about 1-2 times a year.  Doesn’t mean you cannot perform well in other races, but to be in peak shape, the training plan is quite intense and there’s a lot of volume, especially the longer the distance. First and foremost, I eat from the ground 90% of the time.  I do enjoy chocolate and my wine, but I keep it in moderation.   My nutrition cycles around my training regiem.  At the end of the day, it’s important to be metabolically efficient and organic in my approach to food.  Metabolic Efficiency is paramount for anyone who is looking to improve the way their body functions, competative or not.

As I stated earlier, I am a fitness professional so I am on my feet a lot during the day.  Finding a coach who understood my lifestyle was huge because your training is only going to be benefitial if you recover properly from it. Finding that balance between work, training, and performing to my abilities took a few years and several coaches till I found what worked.  Most weeks I’m training 8-10 hours a week, but when I start building towards my “A” race, it can increase to upwards of 13-15 hours a week.  And the intensity also increases.  The only change I make to my diet is I add more food as the duration, volume, and intensity goes up to make sure I’m not starving my body.

3. Once you have seen your ranking in a particular race, how do you change your training plans to place higher in the next set of competitions?

I don’t know my final rankings until the season is over.  I don’t really focus on that as the end goal because that can really take away from the reason I got into this sport to begin with; to have fun.  My main focus each race is to do the best I can.  If I get a personal record and I place 20th, I’m stoked.  My moto going into every race is this: You are already in a world of pain so dig deeper into the well and goin after a reward.


4. How does one start from a novice to even begin thinking of doing a trialthon and/or a national level race?

Anyone can do a triathlon.  I think there is a misconception about the sport since most media coverage only shows Ironman which is the longest distance.  But a sprint distance takes around 60-90 minutes.  My recommendation is to hire a coach.  Get a good training plan set and then you can work on your weaknesses should you find yourself wanting to grow into the sport.  And age isn’t a limiter.  My father is 66 and does them.  

5. What  kind of strength training do you do to keep stamina and strength for these races?

This is an excellent question that I think a lot of endurance athletes don’t take serious enough.  It plays a big part.  In endurance sports, you are doing 1000’s of repetitions so it’s very important the the core and stabilizing muscles are strong and flexibilty good.  Without that, you run a higher risk of injury.  Each year I’ve tried different forms of strength training to see how my body responds.  This year, I found that a mix of pilates, yoga, and weights worked magic.  Beyond that I would say the resistance training I have in my cardio workouts preps me for the type of race I do.  So, for instance, if it’s a hilly bike course, I might add in lower gearing workouts or go ride hilly courses to build my leg strength.

6. You are one of the best personal trainers keeping your clients engaged with different exercises to build strength and lose weight or gain muscle. What are your top favorite routines that are different from the norm of going into a gym and just lifting weights?

Thank you, that’s very kind of you to say.  I don’t necessarily have a favorite per say.  I follow NASM guidelines for progression, but it’s all based on the body I’m working with.  I am very passionate about what I do so I like the challenge of working with all ages, genders, special needs, people with past/present injuries, etc.  If the person is motivated, I’m going to do my part as a professional to help them reach their goals.  And when that happens, help them identify new goals to keep them going.

7.What is the next goal for you? Olympics?

The next goal is prepping for Age Group Worlds for 2017. I am also really considering doing Off Road Triathlon next season.  I’ll keep doing this sport until I loose interest.  I hope that never happens, but if it does, you’ll still see me somewhere in the fitness relm.  




The Macrobiotic Diet– Celebrity Nutritionist SHONALI SABHERWAL talks about nutrients, macrobiotics and Katrina Kaif…

I was looking on the internet for something all natural to changemy diet and excercise routine up. I had gotten my test results back for a blood test and some of my nutrients were just not in line with what was healthy. So, I came across the concept of the Macrobiotic Diet and the biggest endorser of this in India is celebrity nutritionist and chef, Shonali Saberwal. She is responsible for the enviable flat abs of Jacqueline Fernandez and Katrina Kaif.  Just a few emails later, this very friendly lady had completed an interview for me to share the concepts with all you readers! Please note, Shonali is also an author of two books entitled: “The Love Diet” and “The Beauty Diet”.  Excerpts from the interview below:


Shonali with her healthy meals

  1. How did you get into the nutrition industry and what is your background?

I was searching for an alternative cure with food to my dad’s prostate cancer in 1998; I came across Mona Schwartz, who was a Macrobiotic practitioner, I approached her and trained with her for 10 days.  But this wasn’t enough so I pursued a course in the US from 2006 to 2010 at The Kushi Institute Becket. That got me qualified to be a Macrobiotic Counsellor and Chef.

2.  What different types of nutrients do you look at for different body types or goals? Or is every diet you prescribe based on the same food sources? What is the core theory behind macrobiotics?

The Common core of Macrobiotic principles is to keep away from foods that are extreme to yang (anomal foods, saturated fats) and yin (sugars, simple carbs, and excessive fruits).  It is suggested to adopt a middle path whole grains, beans/legumes, sea vegetables, vegetables, good quality fermentation, some fruit, nuts/seeds, good fats diet. Avoid caffeine, sweeteners, processed and refined foods.

3. Tell us about the biggest myths in the nutrition industry and what the reality behind the myths are?

  1. Carbs are bad is a myth – We need complex carbs to give us sustained sugars and good Macrobiotic Accessible fiber-which means foods that feed our gut bacteria.
  2. Sugar is a Superfood – Sugar will never be a super food as it leads to disturbances in insulin and also leaches minerals and calcium from bones
  3. Let’s switch to your celebrity clients. Jacqueline Fernandez and Katrina Kaif have gone through a huge transformation in their bodies. Talk to us about how this came about and the difference in how you prescribed the diet plans to suit their needs?

Katrina ate my food for 2 years and then I trained her cooks, just following the approaches above helped. Jacqueline still keeps coming back for her detoxes, etc.  They are very dedicated and stay true to what they practice and follow which has led to their success in having stellar bodies.

5. Hema Malini the dream girl, is a client of yours. She is in the elder generation compared to her daughter and Katrina, etc. How does that come into play when prescribing what to eat? Does age come into play?

The recommendations remains the same, except taking into account any condition they might individually have.

6. Tell us about the Soul Food delivery service. This is a great thing for working women/men and even your celeb customers. How does it work and how much are the common people adopting to ‘Soul Food’ delivery?

I have stopped my meals, and I am getting into health products (edibles to include in your day).  At present I do consults and workshops, and supply products to my own clients.

7. Let’s talk about your book “The Love Diet”(which I have yet not read but I have read “The Beauty Diet” Let’s talk about how you decided to write “The Love Diet”? give us a quick rundown on what it is and a sample “love diet”:)

Both books look at the core philosophy of Macrobiotics- The Beauty Diet is about the nuts and bolts of the philosophy and The Love Diet tackles Consciousness via food.

  1. Summer is a here and everyone is trying to get fit and fab for the beach. What are your recommendations for the common person who have to work, cook, and stay fit and fab?

Stay of dairy, sugar, white flour processed and refined foods

9. Can you give some advice to people who travel for work and how to eat out and still be on a macrobiotic diet?

Avoid dairy, sugar, white flour and minimize meat.  Include leafy greens and vegetables and have a whole grain once a day.

  1. Many people claim that cutting out all dairy and all wheat and grains is the best way to lose weight. Your thoughts/advice?

I don’t agree- DAIRY Yes of course, but we need whole grains like brown rice and millets, wheat is questionable based on who is intolerant to it.


So folks, want to get in touch with Shonali to get on the macrobiotic diet? Pick up one of her books (she tells me the third is on its way!) or contact her at:


Follow me:

Twiter: Sh_oulfood
Address: 501 Sagar Sangeet
Dr AB Nair Road
(Near Juhu Post Office)
Bombay – 400 049

Part 2/2: The Science of Training: Celebrity Trainer Santhosh educates on the science of building muscles and how he keeps South India’s superstar in shape

Sorry for the delay folks.  We found out from Santhosh in Part 1 of this interview how to start out training depending on your body type and the detailed science behind getting fit at any age.  We continue the interview with specifics and how Prithviraj stays in shape. For those of you that missed part 1 of the interview , please refer to:


5. Abs- Why are they the hardest to tone and lose fat from? Does more cardio help with getting rid of the belly fat?

Toning of the abs is exactly like toning of any other muscle in our body. But the visibility of those toned abs is bit harder. You need to work hard to lose the fat layer covered above your six pack. You need to work smarter and harder and give 100℅ effort into it. Let me say one thing first, doing 100s of crunches everyday definitely won’t work for your abs!!! Unfortunately, no cream, massage, vibrating machine, injection, pill, whirlpool bath, rubber pants or other gimmick only help you to tone your wallet, not abs! The only help is general fat loss, with a sensible diet and periodized regular exercise.
 It depends lots of factors. Explaining each of those factors is beyond the scope of this interview. However, I can give you a rough idea about some magnitudes of a good body composition that leads to make jaw dropping Abs.

Nutrition plays an important role making bullet proof abs. When it comes in to nutrition it all starts with input and output of calories. The most important are:

*calories in & calories out.( calories you consume and calories you burn)
                   *Macro nutrient amounts(Carb, Protein, Fat)
                    *Nutrient timing
                    *Food composition
 You should consider these factors carefully without missing any single meal. Missing meals while your “busy” with life is  one of the biggest reason for low Basal Metabolic Rate. So never miss a meal. Prepare your meals in advance or go for a meal replacements options in case of ‘no time’ situations

Now let’s have a look at the Anatomy of our midsection (let me tell you one thing I hate anatomy classes. Really! I don’t think all those internal organs exist inside of my body as per my biology teacher’s information about human body. For example, my clients used to call me heartless when I train them hard:-) But I know some basics of our abdominal anatomy because 99℅ of our general population ask a fitness trainer almost the same question! “How can I reduce my abdominal fat?”)

What is 6pack or 8pack? (Distribution depends on what your parents gifted you)
The main fact you should know about abs is, both upper and and lower abs are the two ends of the same muscle. Both ends work together while you sneeze, laugh, crunch, leg raise etc. But the contraction rate would be slightly different in each end according to the activities you put in it. Some of us have a 6 pack while others have 8. Genetics determines the number whether its 6 or 8. The primary 6 pack muscle is the Rectus Abdominis. Its a vertical muscle that attaches the rib cage to the anterior portion of your pelvis bone. That means it can pull the pelvic up and it can pull the rib cage down or it can do both movements together. It can also stabilize all of these muscles by restricting movements, like when we do planks.

Now about the Ab muscle. The Ab muscle has two very close friends named External and Internal obliques. They exist on both sides of your 6 packs. As the name implies, internal obliques sit just below the external obliques.  All of them are working synergistically when you do an Ab workout The real hero exists below all of this.

Now, about the cardio connection.

You should include some cardio in your workout routines. But never exceed the limits. I’ve seen some guys running hours on the treadmill to get six packs! Doing excessive cardio definitely won’t give any health benefits even if it leads you to six packs (happens mostly in skinny guys) but eventually that will cause more harm than good in your body.

I’m a big fan of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). It is very effective for fat loss and muscle gain and takes you into a whole new level of strength and conditioning. If you are a person with no health issues, then I would recommend you to feel the benefits of HIIT. But be cautious about your current health conditions(like High blood pressure, diabetes, joint related issues etc etc…) Check with your doctor before you going to attempt any HIIT activities.

   One of my favorite HIIT type cardio is sprint intervals. Especially on the beach as it is harder to move so this creates more metabolic stress than conventional track sprints. I would do a 100mtr sprint with 30-35sec rest 4-6 repetitions. For those who have lack of time to reach beach there are lots of options for you. For example; Try jumping over 2-3 steps into your apartment and repeat it 10-20times, horizontal jump over an obstacle separated by 1-1.5mtr distance. Try to jump 10-15 times at a stretch repeat 8-10times(easier one! You can use paper bundles or water cans as obstacles


The try it;
1minut Intervals
-60sec Mountain Climbers
  30sec rest
-60sec Burpees
  30sec rest
-60sec High knee run
  30sec rest
-60sec Squat jumps
  30sec rest

Repeat 3 more cycles and you’re done!
No need for any equipment, tracks or steps. Just a some space to stand and lay down!
6. Not many are aware but you are the personal trainer of South Super star Prithviraj. Tell us how you got to training him?
He was the first celebrity I’ve ever seen in my life. I saw him at Talwalkers Fitness Club in 2009. By the time I was hanging around in Cochin with my friend for first my Naval Army interview. I was very excited about seeing each and every gym with lots of equipments and heavy dumbbells. Four years later I got an opportunity to work in Gold’s Gym Cochin as a Personal Trainer.  My Gym manager Jaish George there, (awesome guy and good friend of mine) told me about Prithvi. By that time he was looking for a trainer, so I got to training him. Thanks Jaish George for giving me this wonderful opportunity!
7. How does his training change to change his body for different roles ? What changes does he make?
He is always careful about his diet and workout. I’ve noticed that when the production team hires a hotel for him, he always makes sure it is a hotel with a good gym or else a good gym is around the hotel..
     If he wants to shred for a particular role, then I would recommend a diet that is lower in carb intake  and maintain moderate fat and high protein. Carb sources are limited to oats, fibrous vegetables and fruits. All starchy type complex carbs will be given only around 2-3 hours prior to his workout time. Fat will be obtained from nuts, olives or ground nut oil. Whole eggs, chicken, fish, paneer or casien, blended whey and lentils are his main sources of protein. He hates red meat.  If he want to bulk it up, then we will slightly increase the amount of slow digesting starchy type (complex) carbs along with moderate fat and moderate protein intake. Simple carb sources are only utilized to bump his glycogen source right after his workout.
8. How do you deal with long shoots and travel? How do you and Prithviraj maintain his diet chart and exercise on the road and during shoots?

Yeah it is a bit difficult to track his nutritional strategies while he has long day/night shoots or is traveling. I always make sure he doesn’t miss a single meal. We have lots of meal replacement options for that. For example, almonds,whey shakes, whey along with peanut butter spreads in toasted multigrain breads, meal replacement protein bars etc. Whenever he is gone through a hypo caloric(caloric deficit) diet for fat loss, I would give him branch chain amino acid supplementation throughout the day to prevent muscle loss. That would be 20-30gms of BCAA powder diluted in 3-4 liters of water.
He has a pair of dumbbells, an additional barbell and weight plates in his personal trailer. That’s helpful for a ‘on the go’ workout or ‘quick pump’ for  fight specific scenes.

9. What are your thoughts on this new trend of cleanses ? Do you recommend them once in a while to kick start fat/weight loss?

I don’t think the new trend of cleanses or detoxes can help to reduce your fat or weight. But it may refresh your body. Yes, I do recommend some cleansing method in your daily routines.  I wouldn’t recommend any kind of supplements or medicines for detox. That will make you even more toxic. Any kind of products or services that are called cleanses or a detox is only effective to cleanse your wallet not your body. I’m serious…!

Eating lots of veggies, fruits and less processed foods is reasonable dietary advice for everyone. It won’t make any toxins in your body and it fights against inflammation and free radicals. To increase the effectiveness of the detoxification process, you should consider some points such as: how healthy your gut is, how much water do you drink and how alkaline you are.

Probiotic foods like yogurt and fibrous vegetables are the best options for gut health. Avoid eating processed and fast foods. Too many medications are also detrimental for your gut because it kills gut bacteria. Drink lots of water. I would suggest to drink 250-400ml of water when you get up in the morning. Its all about elimination. Or drink a cup of hot lemon water. Lemon has in increasing alkalinity nature.

10.  Do you think men or woman can get flat abs if they are vegan? How would they manage their diet? Give us a sample day.

Why not? I love vegans because their skin is far better than non vegans and they are always have lower health risks induced by bad eating habits compared to non vegans. They have rich antioxidant sources than non vegans. The problem for a vegan diet, (not a big problem if you are serious about muscle building) is protein selection. Again, it depends upon what type of vegan you are. Lacto-vegetarian and Lacto-Ovo vegetarians have wide variety of protein sources.

Pure Vegans have limited source of complete protein sources. So protein recommendation for vegans are slightly higher due to decreased availability of protein sources. Therefore an increase in protein intake is recommend for vegans. Lacto-ovo vegetarians can easily derive adequate protein from dairy products and eggs. Plant proteins such as soy, chia seeds, hemp seeds, quinoa, tofu, spirulina and pumpkin seeds are rich sources of branched chain amino acids (BCAA) that aid in reducing exercise-induced muscle damage and promote muscle protein synthesis.  Also whey protein supplementation seems to be very very effective for vegetarians. Not only whey, but also creatine monohydrates. Because muscle creatine stores are lower in vegans than in non vegans. Also there is chance of vitamin and mineral deficiency. Everyone should understand one thing about dieting regardless of their fitness goals. ‘Dieting is not about eating only protein’. You should include proper amount of carbohydrates. Eat good sources of dietary fat. Eat fat to lose fat. Fat has a huge role in your hormone production. So vegans should concentrate on meal planning carefully to avoid nutrients deficiencies. Because nutrition is the foundation of leanness and leanness is the foundation of an ultra lean 6 pack.
There you have it guys. A very detailed and informative interview on training your body to eat right and exercise right with the science behind the hows and whys.  Thank you Santhosh for taking so much time to do this!