Blog Archives

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!

youwillneverknow

 

 

 

 

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:

 

aaeaaqaaaaaaaan5aaaajdzizja5ntg4ltyyytktndjhoc05ymy4ltm1njgxmdllytg3za

Reza training Katrina Kaif

Further details on Reza Katani:

Website: http://www.parkviewhealthclubs.com

Email: info@parkviewhealthclubs.com.

Twitter:  @RezaKatani

Instagram:rezaparkview

 

 

 

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.

img_1422

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.  

 

 

 

Tripti Gupta Interview Part 2: Tripti talks about Kangana Ranaut, macros and how to eat for Thyroid, Diabetes, PCOD

5. What do you suggest in terms of macros for foods for people not on a regimented diet but want to eat healthy? What should we be looking for in terms of:

a) Total Daily macros

Total daily macros should comprise of up to 75% good quality carbs which could be in the form of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, pulses, legumes and high fiber cereals.

b) Nutritional Content

One must stay away from artificial colors, preservative agents and foods high in trans fats. When we check the nutritional composition of any food, the fiber content in that meal plays the utmost importance.  It’s the quality here which matters more than the item or quantity. For example,  good quality fats such as olive oil or rice bran oil is better than a small fraction of fat Similarly, more of carbs in a particular food item in the form of jowar (Indian flour to make rotis) is better than less of carbs but in the form of maida (Another flour). Protein again plays a vital role whether it is healthy trans fat free protein such as chicken, eggs or is it sausages, salami and cold cuts which are rich in trans fats.

c) Protein vs Fat vs Carbs?

15% protein vs 10% fats vs 75% carbs is the best combination for person with ideal body weight. It is also essential to ensure each of these are trans fat free and wholesome fresh meals… which is the need of a healthy, active body. Choose Grade A proteins such as dairy, egg whites, fish over pulses & legumes. Choose desi ghee, olive / rice bran /ground nut oil over vanaspati, butter, margarine and processed fats. Choose high fiber whole grains such as oats, jowar, wheat and brown rice over white rice, maida and starchy cereals.

6.You worked with Kangana Ranaut to help her get into her character as a top supermodel in the movie “Fashion”. Talk in detail to us about the transformation she had to go through and what exact diets and exercise she followed to get that look? Were there any roadblocks?

Kangna was already waif thin when she met me for Fashion. But most people are not aware that for a thin person to lose weight is as difficult or even more difficult  than having an overweight person to lose weight. Getting a slim waistline to a flab free, chiseled one was in itself a challenge.  Our aim was to get the chiseled flat abs of a supermodel as well as flawless skin. In fact, it was with Kangana that the journey of “Eating Right for not only a fabulous body but also flawless skin” began for me. Getting the coffee & chocolate loving Kangana to eat fruits, fresh veggie juices and green tea was a challenge. We worked on a diet together which would help her shed inches, achieve flawless skin and keep her energy levels high and the beautiful actress did a great job. She was determined and always wanted to carry a body of international standards. Working with Kangana was a delight, her loving, child like warmth, down to earth attitude and devoted hard work is simply amazing. Even today in Bollywood, she is one of the very few Bollywood actresses who stands out on any international platform for her work & performance as well as a fabulous body. I would still call “Fashion” as the movie where she had the best body and skin she ever carried in any film.

kangana-fashion

Kangana Ranaut looking like a super model for her role in Fashion

 

7. There are a ton of supplements and “weight loss” aids out there such as Raspberry Ketone. Do these help in weight loss or metabolism boosting or are they complete myths? What supplements do you recommend and what do they do to contribute to weight loss? What about green tea?

 

Anything that cannot be sustained lifelong is temporary. Ketone diets were originally created for Epileptic patients to meet their medical needs and limitations in food. Using these tools for a normal, healthy individual is not advisable, in fact one should feel truly blessed of possessing a completely healthy body and not abuse it. Instead nurture it, take care of it and don’t do anything to spoil it. The only supplements that support weight loss are exercise and rest. I would call these your lifelong supplements of health. Food and water has to be supported with rest and activity for life to enjoy a healthy, happy and fit body.

Green Tea is great substitute to other hot beverages. Lower in calories & caffeine, high on antioxidants and a natural diuretic, green tea also acts as a  digestive drink and promotes weight loss when consumed regularly instead of milk tea.

 

8. What foods should people with each of these common health issues use to naturally cure these issues:

 

a) Thyroid issue:

Weight management meals, Fat soluble Vitamins such as Vitamin A D,E,K rich foods to ensure healthy hormones and a Omega 3 rich diet. One must stay away from foods containing goitrogens such as raw cabbage, cauliflower, soyabean, broccoli, etc.

 

b) Diabetes:

Fenugreek seeds, Green tea, Dark green vegetable juices, low glycemic index foods, small portions sizes, high fiber meals, Omega 3 rich foods and Weight management meals

 

c) High Cholesterol:

Onion juice, garlic, Omega3 rich nuts such as Flaxseeds, Chiaseeds, deep sea fish, high fiber foods, fenugreek seeds, ensuring balance of fat soluble vitamins, green  & white tea.

 

d) PCOD:

Weight management is the common factor here, consuming low fat, high fibre, omega 3 rich foods combined with an active lifestyle can be the best cure for the above issues naturally.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. In the celebrities you worked with or the beauty pageant contestants, have you encountered a situation where you thought “this is going to be a challenge” and got the desired results and how?

 

There have been many challenges in dealing with public figures, supermodels and Beauty Pageant contestants. One such challenge I recently faced with a Femina Miss India 2016 finalist was being under weight. She, being extremely tall for an Indian model with a height of 6.1ft., had lost a tremendous amount of weight which resulted in getting a highly disproportionate figure despite of having all the other promising qualities. As a judge for the Miss Perfect Body sub contest, we noticed this. Her body became her drawback and hence she lost her opportunity of reaching the top. It was a challenge to get her to eat the right proportion of carbs, protein and fat such that she would only gain healthy muscle weight proportioning out her body We worked on her diet and eating patterns in such a way that her body has regained the right balance of proportion with strength, health and glowing skin. Under my consultation and guidance she has achieved her dream body and will be again contesting the coming year.

 

triptifemina

Tripti educating the Miss India contestants

 

10. We know celebrities work hard on their bodies and workout 2-3 hours a day and eat a very strict diet. How does one get the enviable Katrina Kaif abs in terms of diet and exercise? Please advise!

The key word is here is DISCIPLINE and not overly strict. One can never achieve the perfect body or perfect abs without their perfect plan. A good body is a plan which has to be created, followed and then maintained with will power, determination and a lot of effort. One need not be strict, but one should not get bored and complacent with the ideal plan which is the real challenge. A whole lot of celebrities go carb free, but that’s not always the requirement. One needs to plan their eating techniques well backed up with the right exercise to manage an overall daily total caloric intake.

Loading on fresh vegetables and running are the most successful tools in beginning your journey towards the impeccable Katrina Kaif Abs 😉

kangana-fashion-2

Kangana’s perfect supermodel body in the movie Fashion which won her a National Award.

There you have it folks…Tripit Gupta has told us exactly how to look at food, plan our perfect diets and told us how to get those perfect abs! Tripti’s contact info is below….I would strongly advise you to work with her if you are looking for the right plan to help get you back on track or look good for an event….Call Tripti and her team!

Tripti Gupta Contact info:

Andheri | Bandra | Chowpatty | Online

Website: www.ipink.in

Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/TriptiGuptaiPinkTheColorofHealth/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Tripti_Gupta_

Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/ipink_by_triptigupta/

Call: + 91 7498841414 | 9967978589

 

The official dietician for The Femina Miss India Pageant Tripti Gupta talks about her journey, macros and how to stay fit after 40! (Part 1 of 2)

I found Tripti Gupta and her team very causally looking to get to the mode of doing interviews for my blog a few months back. However, at the time, I had also come to a realization that my blood reports for triglycerides were very high and I needed to make a change in my life. As I read through Tripti and her team’s accomplishments and subsequently talked to a dietician on her team, Monica, I realized that I could use this myself to get myself motivated and on track. So my blog interview took a backseat and I started to get Tripti and her team to monitor me weekly. Compared to other dieticians, her price was very reasonable and what I loved was that she followed up herself every few days with me to see my progress and Moncia would whatsapp message me if she did not hear from me every other day to see how my progress was going. Just that helped me stay on track because I knew I would report to someone. For the first time in 3 years, I got back to a weight 10 lbs lower than what I was. Just what my doctor had ordered me to do. And the best thing is, i never ever felt like I was starving! And Tripti graciously said she would do an interview for my blog. So meet the magician herself in a very very frank interview on her journey of how she started and how she coaches the Miss India contestants to look their best for the big day! (Part 2 talks about how she coached Bollywood superstar Kangana Ranaut to look like a supermodel for the national award winning movie “Fashion”).

 Tripti Gupta:

  1. Talk about your background and what motivated you to get into this profession and adopt the theories you promote for a healthy lifestyle?

 

I was born underweight, but as long as I remember, I was an overweight child most of my early years of life. Not being able to wear shorts and tees like my friends, getting teased for being fat and finding it difficult to fit into teenaged clothes became a routine battle and lowered my self confidence drastically which eventually made me into a very shy girl who didn’t want to be in the limelight. I wanted to hide or at least not be noticed. I didn’t know what body shaming was then but yes, I was teased and I was conscious…very conscious. I had accepted that I was fat and would envy those who were slim. Of course the same question, like any other young girl, would come to my mind of “why am I Fat and she thin?”

However, suddenly, things changed for me in 8th grade, just the year when a teenager gets conscious, I lost weight and tons of weight…… yes, I shrunk. I did nothing to lose it, nor did I suddenly drop baby fat. I developed Typhoid! Now that’s the most unhealthy weight loss in the form of muscle loss we know but at that point of time for a fat 12 yr old, it was a dream come true and I totally loved  Typhoid! The new body I discovered, the way my clothes now looked on me & the compliments I received unfolded a new me. I was suddenly more confident, happier & I knew by now that I never wanna grow fat again. However, as destiny would have it, I did regain the weight once again, this time gradually but by the time I reached my 10th Grade I was fat again. I knew after my board exams this weight loss would be my sole mission. After all no teenager wants to begin college looking fat.

 

Soon after my 10th exams I started walking. Residing next to the beautiful Gateway Of India, I would walk down to Cuffe Parade and Colaba Woods a good distance, I would take 10 brisk rounds and walk back. To add further I also joined the then very popular Rama Bans Aerobics Classes to lose weight. I overdid the exercise & ate almost nothing. I could soon see the body shrinking, the inches were shedding but so was my hair. Age was on my side so whatever little I would eat / not eat / starve or even occasionally binge seemed to work. There were bouts of weakness, low immunity and constipation setting in. I would guzzle liters of water and eat nothing the whole day, then end up with a pack of farsan (indian snacks) / chips and a whole lot of crap gladly thinking I could afford to eat what I like since I hadn’t eaten anything the whole day.  My issues became worse and by now I started feeling thin & OLD. It was a new me with a slimmer body but no strength. I knew something was terrible but didn’t know what?? This was the only way to get slim is what I believed.

 

It was now that time post boards that we were hunting for admissions and I applied for colleges at  Jaihind , HR , Xaviers , KC and was extremely excited to a college life coming up like any teenage girl until my Father decided to take me to the College of Home Science Nirmala Niketan. It sounded like an institute with only cooking & stitching and I didn’t want to do simply cooking… I wanted to be working girl, maybe an Air hostess or even a model. However, the real light my Father showed me was in the difference of Subjects Nirmala Niketan offered as opposed to the Arts Commerce & Science of other Colleges. This surely had a great combination and the specializations looked very impressive. The subject of Nutrition took my attention and I thought inside maybe this is my calling so what if it’s a Girls College of Home Science, the syllabus looks great.

 

My journey to the world of Nutrition began here which gradually evolved into passion. At a time when nobody knew what a Dietician is to even choose to specialize in this subject for an ambitious young girl was daring, but the passion of learning was stronger. I entirely credit my Father for where and what I am today. I am so glad Dad that I listened and chose to go by your wise advice.

Theories for Healthy Lifestyle-

I have no fancy theories and names… In dealing with my clients to help achieve their health goals I simply believed in one thing “Feed Your Need & Listen to Your Body”  All the rest is bookish and irrelevant. We all know that protein is good but if one gets bloated, gains weight or develops uneasiness then that is not the best diet for him. There have been so many of my clients including Indian politician & singer Babul Supriyo who was completely on a protein diet. Babul would eat only protein and workout extensively but his weight had plateaued. When I met him and analyzed his body type I prescribed him to eat Roti. At this, he first raised his eyebrows, “Are you sure you me to eat a carb??” he reacted. But his fat loss at that time was unbelievable & he got his best results with carbs rather than protein then.

 

The fact is, one healthy lifestyle may not be the same for all. We have to find what our body is happiest with, so my simple principle of working around any person’s diet plan is understanding & analyzing their current lifestyle, identifying their goal and simply making the corrections as per their body type & needs. Life is simple and so should be your food. Some Say Go Vegan, others say Go Veg while so many Fitness Professionals make Vegetarians turn to only Meat. So many theories to confuse us but the intelligent truth is…Eat what suits you and shows you results. If this kind of food makes me feel great, look great, I have fantastic medical & body composition reports then that is truly your Healthy Diet Plan, the rest has no meaning. After all we are all in search of just one kind of body and that is a “Happy Body”

Besides, let me warn you there are no shortcuts. No matter where science advances decades from today…. No pills, surgery, treatments and supplements can make you lose weight and keep it off forever without your natural diet & exercise simply because we all reside in a natural human body and not a machine or a piece of metal. Our body responds to everything, eating more, eat less, eating consistently or eating constantly. My motto is : “You are & will always be what you Eat”

  1. How and when did you become the official dietician for the Femina Miss India Contestants?

I was approached by The Times Group in 2014 to educate the young pageant contestants on the importance of eating right. These were young college going girls and having battled weight as a teenager myself, I truly thought I would be able to help them out with their eating pattern. However, there was one thing different I observed with the newer generation now. Most girls today suffer from too many skin ailments- acne, pigmentation, uneven skin tone, melisma which I realized are stemming from poor nutrition and also leading to hormonal imbalance. Hence, I customized a training program on Nutrition for Health & Beauty for these young contestants.  A combination to eat right for great energy, flat abs, workout along with clear glowing skin, strong hair & nails through natural Nutrition which remains the need of every supermodel today. We had excellent results with our training sessions and ever since I have been an integral part of The Times Group training. I am glad to have gotten this opportunity of being the Official Nutrition Expert for Times since 2014 to Femina Miss India 2016.

 

missindia

Tripti with the 2016 Miss India finalists

  1. Tell us details on what you prescribe them in terms of diet and exercise to be fit and lose weight for the big day?
  • Eating small frequent meals through the day
  • Excellent electrolyte balance is the most essential technique for supermodels and pageants.
  • Most of these girls really suffer from low blood pressure, dropping sugars, dizzy spells and irregular bowels due to dehydration hence hydration becomes another important criteria
  • Pre & post workout meals again form an essential part of their routine, giving them the right guidance for ensuring there is no muscle loss and more fat loss is again extremely essential
  • Suggesting antioxidant rich diets for glowing skin
  • Frequent snacking options when they are in between shoots, ramp walks, performances or travelling in the car
  • Late night binge options.

 

  1. Many readers in this blog are women approaching 40 or post 40 and have difficulties in losing weight no matter how much they workout. Tell us how the body changes and how to beat this plateau at this age and be able to see results?

 

As we age, it seems its more and more difficult for the needle on the scale to budge. We may restrict our diet, follow portion control, cut out desserts altogether, exercise and still the clothes don’t fit like we would wish them to. The metabolism, hormones, digestion and other bodily functions undergo a series of changes as we get near our 40s. Instead of fighting it we need to work around the issue. One of the most common factor and primary reason why woman over 40 can’t lose weight is because they have allowed their metabolism to slow down by not eating right and working out regularly in their 30s. In addition, estrogen levels begin to drop post 40 which is a huge reason for the body to lose more muscle and get weaker as a result.

 

Today crossing 35yrs itself is an alarm for one to start keeping a vigilant watch on your body. Get your medical reports done every 6 months. Check for your B12, D3 and Ferritin levels (which is a hormone of iron and it’s deficiency causes fatigue, low energy levels, excessive hair fall and increase to your weight). Surprisingly, this is not the same a hemoglobin hence a separate test for a 40+ is essential. Slow metabolism can further put you in the vicious cycle of gaining flab easily, bloating, water retention and in many cases become a hormonal imbalance. Remember! Our hormones are fat soluble hence the more fat we retain the more risk we endanger.  Keeping weight and blood reports in check is the only way to keep your body fit & young, stay alert n active and look fab.

 

Stay tuned tomorrow for Part 2 where we talk about macros, training Kangana Ranaut and how to eat through many common diseases lke thyroid, PCOS, and diabetes.

Tripti Gupta Contact info:

Andheri | Bandra | Chowpatty | Online

Website: www.ipink.in

Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/TriptiGuptaiPinkTheColorofHealth/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Tripti_Gupta_

Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/ipink_by_triptigupta/

Call: + 91 7498841414 | 9967978589

 

 

 

 

 

50 Shades of Fitness Kickoff and Days 1-3

Welcome to 50 shades of fitness! A fun and interactive way of keeping me on my health and fitness journey. In the last few years I have spent a lot of times trying to get fit, back to my original way of living life in a healthy and fun way of fitness. Unfortunately, the motivation factor disappeared, the same ole gym routine got bored and I was gaining weight and my fat percentage was too high. Everyone told me, “You look fine” which maybe I did, but there were a few who kept me in reality. After trying almost just deciding that I didn’t care as much and trying to lose that weight was not as important to me, two tings struck me hard. I had my cholesterol tested in an annual physical and my triglycerides came out way too high. Yes, a hereditary problem, but If I was fair to look at it, my lifestyle of eating patterns contributed to it too. The doctor gave me 3 months to get it in check naturally without any medication. That scared me because within that week, I kept hearing of people in their 40s,50s and early 60s who would go to sleep and not wake up. People I knew. Either a stroke or heart condition was the issue. I had just found some path in life where I felt at peace and I wanted to see that through, not be on a ticking time clock! Second was my dear granny…she came to visit and then gently put to me that although I looked great, she was worried because I clearly had gained weight that needed to be lost. She said it was my choice…something my own mom had been telling me for a year.  So with those 2 truths under my belt, and the guidelines the doc gave me to get my cholesterol down, my mindset got very hard. I ate wholesome healthy foods every 3 hours. I played mind games with myself saying that I was under training for an important event (which at that time there was nothing) and I needed to “look the part”. Fruits, vegetables and yoghurt were my friends. Wine, cheese, fried foods were things of the past. In 1.5 months, I concentrated just on what I was eating, how much I ate out and I lost 13 lbs!  All my life I had easily been at a set weight and I was determined to get back to that because that was where my fitness level made me feel my best. This is where I also learned 90% of losing weight is diet. I didn’t frequent the gym much. I just went for evening walks and moderated the amount of calories and foods I ate. Due to the cholesterol, my foods had to be prepared very smartly and with less oil, ghee and condiments.  Every now and then I would frequent something new that I had started loving which helped me mediate and clear my mind which was swimming. I saw my levels of energy coming back and being able to swim more laps in the same amount of time as I grew stronger. However, to stress….the level of fitness activity I did was very less up to this point.  I focused on diet and whole some foods.

In the last one month, I have allowed myself to be normal for some time and I ate whatever I want but in moderation. Believe it or not, in about 1.5 months, I have not gained a single pound. Now comes the last stretch. Now I do have a real reason to want to get back the stamina and look better and stronger as I have my brother’s wedding coming up. So comes the 50 shades of fitness. The shades in the title reflects how fitness can be implemented at many different levels..it’s not just going to the gym and working out for 2 hours and being frustrated on not seeing results. Results also come in different forms…when I am not focused on losing weight, I use different benchmarks on how fit I am. For example, I ran a 10K couple years back. With my back and knee issues, I stopped running as much and today I will probably struggle to do a 5k. My goal is to get that back. I love yoga…I go to yoga once a week..maybe I up that in the coming weeks, because that not only helps the toning but helps calm my active mind. Whatever makes you feel good.  A good friend of mine called me yesterday and said she finally ran 1.5 miles without stopping and felt so amazing about it and how running helped her FEEL good mentally. That is the key. That is the point. Set your personal goal and strive to it.  The other big thing I learned is to not depend on the weighing scale. My weight can fluctuate by a few pound daily based on water retention or what I had done the day before. No more than once e a week of not every 10 days. My other trick is to find a pair of jeans you want to fit into and use that as a benchmark. I was able to fit into a pair of jeans which I had not worn in 3 years! I kept it…now I have more jeans I kept that I am striving towards getting into. I know it is not a bad goal because I fit into those jeans once upon a time so it means I am striving to get back to my original form.

 

So, in 50 shades of fitness, I am going to build my stamina in the gym this time around as well as eat perfectly well as the cholesterol check is coming up soon for 50 days. We are all human so we have to keep some room for some “cheating” but the key is this: The days you have ONE cheat meal a week or every 10 days, those are the days you just don’t skip your workout. The days you don’t workout, are the days you make sure you eat as healthy as you can. I also plan what I eat for the week in advance so there’s no question about what my nest meal is. I just know and don’t reach for the wrong thing in the heat of the moment of being hungry. Also, hydrate hydrate hydrate. If you are on also embarking on this journey with me, I would be happy to have you follow along, keep me accountable and ask questions or give suggestions! I will be doing articles on superfoods I have discovered and the health benefits of these natural foods, interviews with fitness professionals, and I am even open to guest bloggers to share their journey or experience or difficulty to their story! The goal is to motivate as many people as you can.

 

So to ensure you don’t fall off the wagon and make many huge changes at the same time, I always like to start with one change. The first 3 days I am only focusing on eating clean and may add in a few walks as I see fit. As we get to the weekend, the gym will take its start and I will post some workouts I like to do. Some of the rules I live by:

 

  1. Don’t get goals you cannot keep. Be mindful of what is realistic and don’t be too hard on yourself.
  2. Get rid of anything in a can or a bag and alcohol. This is key. A glass of wine maybe every 10 days is fine but anything more can push back seeing results
  3. Eat wholesome healthy foods. Fresh fruits, fresh vegetables in season. Color on your plate is key and fun to look at!
  4. Go grain free or close to grain free. It helps balance the body’s hormones and you may even find out your body functions more energetically without grains (Like I noticed I did!)
  5. Measure out your portions and log everything you eat or drink. I love to use myfitnesspal which is an app I put on my phone and log my workouts and what I eat and drink. This shows me where I go wrong or where I need to add more protein, carbs or fat.
  6. Have fun and have a strong mindset!
  7. Water is your best friend. Sometimes I feel hunger pangs and I drink some water and feel really full and realize I just was a bit dehydrated. I try for at the minimum 3 Litres/day.

 

So the first few days will focus on food. I call is my “detox” because getting from eating yummy processed foods and eating out after a long vacation out of the country makes it harder to get back to wholesome foods, but in some ways it is easy because I am sick of eating out! I have to thank the next celebrity nutritionist interview (where I will explain and talk about how her plan helped me buckle down and keep myself in track) for planning this detox for me and ensuring every single day via whatsapp that I am in line with my goals.  Back to taking a hard look at what is going to stabilize my triglycerides and build my stamina! I was telling a friend today, its not easy at all to be this strict, but when it is for ensuring you live a long healthy life, what is a few weeks of being strict with your mindset to get yourself to that point!? And who says this can’t be fun!?

What are your fitness goals?

The 66 Challenge: July 1-Dec 31 2014! Everything YOU need to know!

66 challenge:

This post will talk all about the 66 challenge and all the prep work needed form YOU prior to the start date of July 1, 2014.

 

What: The 66 challenge was inspired from an interview done with my friend Rashi Chowdhary who took part in a similar challenge with a group of people from her gym. The goal is to get a 6 pack in 6 months. The focus is NOT on weight loss but on fitness and inch loss and how strong you get. During this time, once a month, we will ask for volunteers to submit their story to be published on my blog who felt they have made significant progress or overcome a hurdle to get where they are.

 

Who: Anyone who is committed to become fit and want a team environment to support their efforts and look amazing in 6 months!

When: July 1, 2014 to Dec 31, 2014

 

How: Sunil and I will be posting various diet plans for different lifestyles (Veg, Non Veg, Vegan, Indian) as well as monthly workouts for those who would like a workout planned for them. It is not necessary to use what we are saying. If you know how you would like to do it, please go ahead.

 

Everyone’s body is different. Some will have to workout 6 days a week, some only 3. Some will need to do extra cardio while some need to ensure they don’t do cardio. The first few weeks will be a learning process for all of us of what works for our body. Anyone needing encouragement or help can post on the 66 challenge group on Facebook, or emailing either myself or Sunil privately with your questions/concerns.

 

Homework:

The following is home work prior to the start date of July 1, 2014.

 

  1. Measure yourself. Complete the following with a measuring tape and keep it somewhere safe. This will be your initial measurements:

 

a)      Shoulder to Shoulder:

b)      Around Arm:

c)       Chest:

d)      Under Chest (for women, under the bra strap)

e)      Wasit (at navel)

f)       Lower waist

g)      Hips

h)      Around thigh

i)        Calf

 

 

  1. Get on the scale and write down your weight. Choose a time and scale that can be used as a benchmark for the rest of the times (try and make it the same scale if possible)
  2. If possible, get to a gym and have your body fat % calculated. This will be the biggest clue on how fit you are getting since we are going to be concentrating on fat loss and strength.
  3. Take a picture of yourself (and your abs) and keep it for yourself as your “before” picture”. For those wanting to submit themselves along the way to show progress or win the challenge, we will ask you to share. But for the most part, these are for YOU to see how far you come!
  4. Lastly, get a pair of pants that you want to fit into. How your clothes fit is the best way to determine you are getting fitter. Weight can fluctuate especially when you are lifting (muscle weighs more than fat, water retention, etc) so if you want to get down 2 sizes, go get those pants and see how much you can get into them today!

 

 

 

 

Tia Falcone Interview: The Brain Behind Miss America 2014’s Perfect Figure

A few weeks ago, I read an article about a girl who went from over weight to a perfect 10 figure. As usual, my passion for fitness and nutrition and my curiosity of how she did it got me using Google until I found the answer.  The name Tia Falcone was everywhere. Further digging got me to Tia’s website where I read the most amazing story of a woman who has transformed her own life through fitness and nutrition. An amazing story of strength and passion.  A story of an understanding of what it takes to get mentally fit. I had to talk to her. So I called her and here we are.

She is the brain behind the most talked about Indian American’s perfect 10 figure in the United States and India, Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri.  She herself has gone through many physical and personal challenges of her own.  No amount of introduction can express my respect for this wonderful trainer and human being.  I asked her for an interview and she responded within minutes and within 2 days I had my interview. Here she is, Tia Falcone.

1)      Question: I read about your difficult story to get where you are today physically. Tell us what happened and how did you overcome those physical challenges through diet and fitness?

When I was in my 30’s I was injured. Very injured. I had gone through quite a few surgeries and injuries and had gained about 40-50 pounds. I was 75% permanently disabled and in a lot of pain. When my surgeons decided to re-operate on parts of me that had already been through surgery, I decided I did not want to live like this: fat, on an extensive amount of medication and steroids, I had constant asthma attacks and almost died twice. At that point, I had what I would call an epiphany of sorts. It was time to try something new, which was the hardest thing for me—and anyone for that matter. It was the last resort, one I had not tried—eat right and exercise.

My goal was to feel better, to not be in constant pain and to be able to wear jeans again. I constantly lived in sweats as I did not want to buy bigger sizes. I felt isolated due to embarrassment of my weight gain and how I looked.  This is actually a big issue as people who have never been through such weight gain like this can never understand how many ways (other than physically) it can affect a person. And when it starts getting to affect your life and mental health, it is a big issue.

At this point in my life, I was in my 30’s and out of shape and unhealthy. I walked 20 feet and would be so winded, I needed to sit down.  So I went 100% right away on eating clean and slowly started on the treadmill. I also stopped smoking cold turkey. It took me about a month at that point to get myself moving in the right direction in terms of exercise.  Little by Little, I was able to do more and more. It was about 12 weeks later that I noticed a MIRACULOUS change and was feeling better in ALL areas. It was an incredible difference in my health, the aches and pains, my mental state, the depression and isolation I was feeling. At the moment the light bulb went off in my head, so to speak. This was what I needed to FEEL better. At that point, I was VERY motivated to keep going.  About 6 months later, I hit the mark I was looking for and I have stayed there for the last 15 years.

2)      Question: Did you have any difficulty maintaining what you achieved both mentally and physically?

 

There was a point where I got too thin. I was losing too much weight and I had to re-asses what I was doing in terms of eating and workouts.  That was actually a lot of fun because I never thought I would ever have a point in my life where I had to eat more and workout less! At some point, I finally found a perfect maintenance spot and I have been there for the last 15 years.  There have been and currently are times and periods where I cannot workout due to my heavy work schedule (6am to 7pm). I am working on adjusting that schedule to be able to take care of myself.  My workouts are important for me to learn and I become a better teacher when I learn new exercises.  I like to keep things fresh for my clients and as I learn new things, I can then teach it to my clients as well.

3)      How did you motivate yourself to keep working out to see progress during the time you were trying to lose weight?

I will be honest, I HATED to workout, probably even more than the average person.  There are theories that say if you workout for 90 days, a person gets hooked both mentally and physically. For me, that did not happen for about 8 months.  I did not like working out, but I knew I had to do it to get myself where I needed to be. So I gave it a 120% and MADE myself workout.  Almost every day, I always thought of reasons why I could not go workout that day, but at the end, I always went. It was very mental.

4)      How do people get past the hunger when on a diet?

Well, when I started eating clean, I was hungry ALL the time.  When you are used to binging on wrong foods, your stomach stretches out and it takes time for it to get used to less food.  During those times, I would mentally have a talk with myself and say “You got yourself into this, now get yourself out and stop feeling sorry for yourself”. To get through it, you HAVE to be mentally strong and ask yourself “Do you want to continue feeling this way or do you want to feel better?” Mental strength is 200% of the effort.  For me, eating clean is the best thing that has happened to me, because I FEEL good.  The way I look is icing on the cake. In my life, I never would have dreamed I could look the way I do now.  Weight training is miraculous for your physique and how it changes your body.  However, getting through this is one of the toughest things in life, and I am sure Nina would agree.

5)      What workouts do you recommend for women who are trying to become bikini ready?

 

The first thing is to have an image in your mind of how you want to look. It is important to have the dream to know where you are going to. When starting out, you need to understand the immediate results are going to be mental. The physical benefits take time to get there. It is not an overnight miracle. Be aware of how you feel mentally.

 

6)      What kind of diet changes do you recommend anyone looking to lose weight or become physically and mentally fit?

Change your diet to 6 small meals a day.  When I say 6 small meals, it is not 3 big meals and 3 snacks. All your meals should be approximately the same size.  That is the biggest realization I had was having 3 meals and 3 snacks was the biggest mistake. Now, it is 6 small, healthy meals.
What I usually do is save my last meal for around 8pm or before I go to bed (I sleep early because I wake up very early). This way, when I am watching TV I don’t feel deprived of a snack. So I will have something like eggs with fruit or Greek yoghurt with raspberries, chicken on a whole wheat pita, etc.  These are small meals, so they do not take much time to eat.  When you are eating 6 small meals and eating clean, it is very simple. Calories in vs. Calories out. It doesn’t matter what and when. You should be burning more calories than you are eating if you are trying to lose weight or for maintenance, calories in=calories out.  The other recommendation I have is to not over complicate food.  Gluten free, organic, fat free are all hype. Fat free has tons of sugars.  Others can be high in fat. You have to learn to read your labels and go as clean as you can.  Go with right vs. fat free. One great example I tell my clients is mayo. Light mayo is better than fat free mayo.  Drink a ton of water. I also use cinnamon on oatmeal, yoghurt, and chew cinnamon gum because it reduces your appetite and helps with hunger pangs.  Spicy food also raises your metabolism.

7)      Is diet really 80% of the battle?

I think it is a 50-50 puzzle. Everything has to be just right. It is important to have both things. Some people think if they workout, they can eat whatever they want and that is not true.  The opposite is also untrue: Diet without working out.  You will not lose weight effectively. Neither will work alone long term. It might work temporarily.

 

8)      What differences in workouts do you prescribe your male clients vs. the female clients? Is there a difference? What about diet?

I don’t really go by gender when it comes to my clients. I go by an individual. Each individual has their own set of issues like injuries, knee operation, heart attack, blood pressure, etc.

So it is more important to give each person a personalized workout. Whatever I give you would not work on a 60 year old man or even another 35 year old woman. I never repeat my workouts for clients because you cannot just take a workout and copy it for 10 different people. Every single person is different.

9)      Let’s talk about weight loss for a minute. While research shows the number on the scale should not be used to measure success, let’s face it, if someone is eating well and working out and that number does not budge at ALL, it de-motivates a person. What are some reasons for this? And what do you suggest to solve this “issue”?

People over complicate fitness and weight loss. It is not complicated at all. If you are not losing weight, you are either over eating, or not burning enough calories out. All the small cheats in a day add up. A quick bite of chocolate, just ONE drink, leftovers from someone else’s meals, etc. Trainers sometimes get frustrated and try to find something medically like a thyroid issue. First you have to make sure you are right on both diet and exercises and be true to yourself.  Calories in vs. Calories out. If after that you are not losing weight, get your thyroid checked.  I have an underactive thyroid and I gained 10 lbs in 6 months which is very frustrating because I had no control. Once I got on medication and had it stabilized, the weight came off. But generally, ensure you are eating right and burning out the calories.

 

10)   It is well known you are the brain behind Miss America 2014 Nina Davuluri fabulous figure. Explain how she became your client and what her goals were?

Nina bought a living social deal I had put out of 3 sessions for $25.  She came in for these sessions and I sit down with all my clients and take a full assessment and she had to divulge her personal info. We connected immediately.  Right in the middle of that conversation, I blurted out “You are an absolutely beautiful person” which is when she told me she had wanted to do pageants but had gained weight and couldn’t do them.  Then she said she would LOVE to do Miss Rochester and can I help her lose 10 lbs in 4 weeks?

I didn’t know anything about pageants, but I found out they come in quick succession: Miss Rochester, Miss New York and Miss America were all quick. She had 4 weeks until Miss Rochester, about 8-12 weeks after that to Miss New York and another 8 weeks to Miss America.

She asked me to help her by sponsoring her and I told her I would be happy to sponsor her (sponsoring meant giving her free training) but only on the condition that she showed me seriousness and do what I told her to do and not to lie about what she is eating, etc.  I told her very clearly I will not put time and money into someone who is not serious and is just fooling around. Nina came in every single week and lost weight every single week. That is how dedicated she was.  From the time she came in to Miss America, she lost a total of 40 lbs with me.

 

11)   What is a sample meal plan you suggested to her? Can you give the readers a day’s meal plan she was on during her “Road to Miss America”?

 

Well I gave her a clean diet. No condiments, no butter, nothing extra. All the food had to be very fresh, nothing processed, nothing white. 6 meals a day, all the same size. Nina said to me that the best thing I said to her was “this is not gourmet eating”. It is all about fueling your body with the healthiest things you can feed yourself and small quantities. It is like filling a car with premium gas and only fueling enough to go the miles you are driving, not the full tank. She understood having 800 calorie meals will not help. Smaller meals raise your metabolism.

12)   What about her weekly workout regime? How many hours a day did she workout and how many times a week?

Nina was on a time sensitive schedule to when the pageants were so she had to commit to extra time daily to get to her goal faster. So what she did is not an everyday thing.  But she was exceptional and would do about an hour of weight training with me and another 45 minutes to an hour of cardio. So I would say she did about 1.5-2 hours a day 5-6 days a week.

 

13)   Tell us about Nina now post her win? I is she still on your workout plans?

Nina is on the road constantly so we do not get to train together. As Miss America she is never in one place for more than 48 hours.

14)   What is next for you, Tia? You have your own gym, you have a celebrity client and you are physically and mentally very fit. What do you want to do next? Perhaps a book or video?

My initial dream was to have my own gym. And at the time, that seemed like a ridiculous dream. But it happened. Then the dream was to be able to make ends meet by having enough business full time (I stayed on as a trainer at planet fitness because I was scared I would not make enough money). I was truly not prepared for any of this.  I have clients on a waitlist now.  Now that all this has happened, my next vision is to make personalized workout videos for individuals. I am currently meeting with a firm to make that happen.

I also am trying to hire trainers to work for me as I need to be able to have more time myself. But for someone to represent me and my gym, they not only have to be a good trainer, but an exceptional human being. For the interviews, I have them train me and I need to make sure how they treat people, how they help people, the attitude. It is not about the money. I also want to hire a massage therapist for my gym.  It is my DREAM to be able to make personalized workout videos for people who are remote. I want to be able to talk to my clients over the phone/Skype, make their workout videos to match their needs.

End of interview

Well, I know for sure I will definitely be hiring Tia for my own workout needs! Having done this interview, listening to Tia’s journey and Nina’s journey has definitely inspired me and I am sure it will inspire every single one of you!

Nina—if you are reading this, I would be HONORED if I could follow this up with an interview with you. I am sure the readers would also LOVE that!

Visit Tia’s website:

www.tiafalconefitness.com