In a busy, taxing metropolitan city, does one necessarily have to spend time & money to achieve quality of life? Excuses when it comes to avoiding a workout are all too easy- it's too hot; it's my birthday; I'm having a fat day; my gym clothes are still wet; fitness centres are exorbitant; I can always go tomorrow; I have too much reading to catch up on; I've got tones of errands to run; my exams are on so I have to study; I've got a headache….. The list really can be endless.
Today's article will show you how you can get past the above, & more, & still get what you want- an awesome, sleek, slim, sexy, strong & flexible body you've always craved for!
You don't need your gym clothes; you don't need to step out of the house in the heat; you don't need to spend all that money & time; you can read/ study/ cook/ supervise staff/ catch up with a buddy on the phone while working out. It just doesn't get better than this!
So how do you go about this? All you need is basic household furniture- a stool, a chair, a desk, & you're on your way.
A few basic exercises
• Tricep Dips
The triceps, the muscles in the back of your upper arm, are a problem area for many women. Because of the way they sag down loosely, they are knick-named “bye-bye arms”. So here's what you do if you want to wave your bye-bye arms good-bye forever, & don't we all! Position yourself with your back against a small coffee table or even a chair seat. Keeping the hips close to but off the edge of your chosen piece of furniture, bend the arms at the elbows & allow your hips to dip down while breathing in, & while straightening the arms & lifting yourself back up, breathe out. Although you want to straighten the arms out when coming back up, make sure you never lock the elbow joint. To intensify your work, keep the legs straight out in front of you.
Focus point- Remember that it's only about the arms bending and straightening in the above exercise. Don't make the mistake of rocking the hips forward & back, or up & down instead.
• Calf Raises
Many people have under-developed, badly shaped calves, & are naturally very self-conscious about them. If that's your problem too, this one's for you.
Standing straight, rise up onto your toes while breathing out, & lower back down while breathing in.
Focus Point- As you get stronger & start finding that you can overload, make sure that when lowering the heels, you still keep them off the floor. This intensifies your work. Make it a point to keep your legs totally straight throughout the exercise. Bending the knees takes the pressure off the calves.
• Lunges- forward & backward
Ever worried about your lower body? Here's your magic pill! Lunges! Lunging forward targets mainly the quads, (front of the thighs). Lunging backward zeros in mainly on the glutes (the butt) & the hamstrings (the back of the upper legs). Go with alternating legs when you get started, but later, go with one leg at a time to intensify your work.
Focus Point- The wider & lower your lunge, the harder the exercise & the greater the result. Those with a knee problem should keep their lunges shallow & narrow, or then avoid the exercise. Keep the back straight when lunging, & always check to make sure that the leading leg is correctly aligned, as in the knee falls somewhere within the profile of your foot (& not beyond it, or to the left or right of it). This is vital in keeping the knee safe. Inhale as you lunge, & exhale as you come back up.
And the most desirable- rock-hard, flat abs are a non-negotiable must-have! Here's just how.
While sitting on the edge of a stool, keep both legs bent & apart from one another. Lean back all the way, half-way between sitting up & lying back. Remain frozen in this reclined position with your abs held inward for a slow count of 10, before sitting upright to relax for a few moments. Leaving the arms extended out by your side & parallel to the floor is the easiest option. As you get stronger & can take on more, bring the fists to your forehead, elbows bent & close together in front of you. To make the exercise even tougher, extend both arms straight up overhead.
This works the main abdominal muscle, the rectus abdominus, which is also nicknamed the “six pack”, as well trained abs resemble a six pack of beer. Sounds appealing, hmm?
To include the below belly abdominal group, get into the previously described position, & then get your right ankle up upon your left knee. Hold this position for a slow count of 10.
You can switch legs at a later stage. This targets both the main abdominal muscle (rectus abdominus) & the transverse abdominus which sits in the pelvic cavity.
Focus Points- Make sure the spine is rounded over & your chin is lowered close to the chest at all times. Never hold your breath at any time during this exercise. Breathe normally but deeply right through.
So get your act together, & get set to turn a few heads this season! J
Caution- Never embark on a fitness programme without first checking with your GP, & consulting a Fitness Professional.
Nawaz Modi Singhania of Body Art runs a fitness centre which includes Gym training, Workshop classes, a Pilates Hub, Personal training & more at Hughes Road, Mumbai.