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Burn that fat! Here's how!

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Last updated on: February 17, 2005 16:31 IST

FitnessYou want those perfect abs, that perfect physique, that killer figure.

You want to work out and have tons of questions, but didn't know whom to ask.

Worry not. Our fitness expert Samreedhi Sharma is here to answer your questions!

I have been working out for the last one-and-half years. I weight train and follow a 'low volume high intensity routine'.

I do not really want to become a body builder and am into sports. But now, I am trying to pursue rock climbing.

Is my nutrition intake good enough? Is there a simple way I can find out whether my body is getting enough protein?

Also, my my trainer has been asking me to take protein supplements. I think he is suggesting some creatin monohydrate based or glutamine based supplements. I am not comfortable, but he is insistent. What should I do?

- Prasenjit

Congratulations on being able to identify your goals clearly right at the start!

You have not stated your age/ weight/ height, so I cannot give a specific suggestion.

But since you are an average Indian male and since the training you are doing is low volume and high intensity, I would advise you to seek protein from natural sources, like milk, cereal and pulse combinations, paneer and yogurt (curd). If you eat meat, do include lean meats like chicken, fish and eggs.

Make sure you consume 4 to 6 servings from these protein foods every day to meet your protein requirements.

For example: One glass of milk, one cup of yogurt, two servings of dal and one serving of chicken/ fish/ egg per day.

Always remember: while protein is important for body building, don't ignore carbohydrates. So don't ignore those fruits, vegetables and cereals.

As for the supplements, I firmly believe that if you get protein from natural sources, there is no need for an average gymmer to take supplements.

I am 23 and was happy with the way I looked. But over the last three to four years, I have been eating a lot of junk food and have not been exercising. I was also depressed. 

I am better now, but need to get back in shape. My problem is, I have gained weight in my upper body. My face looks bloated. I have a lot of belly fat and on my upper body. But my lower body is okay. 

My exercise routine since last November has included:

  • Four hours of walking every week.
  • One hour of dumbells per week (not continuously, about 15 minutes per day)
  • Swimming once a week.
  • Walk down ten storeys once almost every day.
  • I walk up five storeys thrice a week.

I am trying to better my eating habits but it has been slow. I don't drink cola, I am a vegetarian, and like cheese a lot. I have cut down on chocolate and eat it once a week or less. But there are days when I am unable to maintain my diet and must eat things like bagel with cream cheese and pizza, since that is all that is available at school.

Can you help me get back in shape? 

- Sameera Kapadia

You are just 23, so there is no need to be depressed about your appearance. With dedicated effort, you will get back in shape in no time.

You are slowly and surely changing your eating habits, which is good. Try to eat four to five small meals through the day.

If you know that your school serves only certain types of high calorie foods, carry a fruit/ sandwich/ low fat yogurt or snack with you.

As for your exercise routine, you are doing fine. The aerobic workouts are the stuff that burn fat -- walking, swimming, stair-climbing. But what you need most is improved muscle tone to re-sculpt your body and change the proportions of your upper body to match your lower body.

I recommend three sessions of weight training per week, lasting for 30 to 45 minutes. You can stick to 15 to 20 repetitions and two to three sets. Believe me, you will be surprised at the change in your body.

Will I burn more fat if I walk three miles or run three miles?

- Sanjiv

To burn fat, you have to get your pulse rate up, and be in The Zone, ie the target heart rate zone.

You can calculate your target heart rate with this formula:

220 - your age = X
65 to 85% of X is your THR.

Wear a Heart Rate Monitor (available on the Internet and in sports shops), to tell you whether you are in this zone.

Or you can do the talk test, ie if you are comfortably breathless through your cardio routine, you are burning fat. If you can have a long conversation easily, speed up. If you can barely breathe, slow down.

Running will definitely help you burn more calories, but beginners cannot just start running. So you can do interval training, ie walk for five minutes, run for one minute. Walk again and gradually build stamina.

I work as an art expert and work from 9.30 am 6 pm. I have to travel a long distance by the bus, therefore I do not get the time to work out.

My husband and I have been trying to work out for about  four months now, but find no time to exercise.

I am also gaining weight on my tummy and hips, which make me look really out of shape.

I am 23 years old, 5' 3", and weigh 59 kg. My husband is 28, 5' 10" and weighs 72 kg. We live in Delhi and have a real hectic lifestyle. On weekends, we generally freak out on eateries. What routine should we follow?

- Manogyata

Ah, the travails of the busy!

Remember, the people who do not make time for fitness should make the time for illness!

If you cannot seem to fit in a regular workout into your schedule, your husband and you could join a sport like tennis or swimming, or maybe even a dance class together.

You could play a sport during the week or workout with a personal trainer at home and go dancing on the weekends.

Find an activity you both enjoy and lose weight while doing it!


Got a question for Samreedhi? Write to us!

Samreedhi Sharma