Fitness

Why should women weight train?

Fitness Myth 3 : ‘ I don’t want to lift weights because I don’t want to look like a man ‘

While we are ‘modern’ enough to wear jeans and shirts, serve in the army, fly planes and do everything men do, we remain apprehensive about and shy away from lifting weights due to the fear of bulking up and looking like men. Just as a woman wearing jeans and shirts does not look like a man, the hormones present in a woman will ensure she does not look like a man (even if she lifts weights).

Weight training/Strength training/Resistance training is an important part of fitness and is essential to get a fit body. Let us analyse what are the benefits of weight training and why women shy away.

Weight training burns fat and tones you up

It burns fat faster and more effectively than any other workout. Unlike cardio and other workouts which stop working the moment you stop your work-out, weight training keeps the metabolism high for the next 48 hours.

It improves the lower back and core muscle strength which is a must for losing that pregnancy tummy , that most moms want to lose. Be it an hour-glass figure, flat stomach, toned arms, well-rounded butt or a lean and fit body you are looking for, strength training is a must.

So next time , keep this in mind before googling foods that increase your metabolism.

Weight training strengthens muscle, bones and heart

The picture of muscle most women have in their mind is that of a male body builder (or sometimes a female body builder). For the amount of testosterone produced by women it is impossible to achieve such a body by just lifting weights.muscle n fat.png

Stronger muscles build stronger bones. Based on extended research, the National Osteoporosis Foundation has recommended weight-bearing and resistance training to improve bone density. It increases the effectiveness of Vitamin D and Calcium supplements.

American Heart Association recommends weight training at least twice a week to improve heart health, since heart is also an organ made of muscles.

Weight training improves your hormones

Weight Training improves insulin sensitivity, which is a major trigger factor for diabetes  , most hormonal imbalances like thyroid, PCOS, and other reproductive issues. Regular strength training will ease the stage of menopause too, since bone density and hormonal balance will be enhanced.

Weight training improves confidence and mood

Studies have proven that weight training helps not only in improving strength and fitness, but also in improving confidence and reducing depression. The endorphins released while you lift weights help reduce stress ensuring you feel better. Every time you recover from a sore muscle, it improves not just your physical strength, but also your mental strength.

But, I want to run only marathons

Strengthening and conditioning your muscle and body is important for an injury free run whether it is a fun run, half or full marathon.

It will improve posture, form and timing. With the increased strength that comes with weight training, even the practice runs become more enjoyable.

Ditch the treadmill

In most cases, the first thing that becomes useless within the first few weeks is the treadmill (except for the occasional use as a place to dump or dry clothes).

Running on a treadmill increases the risk of knee, back and hip injuries especially if the muscles aren’t strong enough to bear the weight.

If you can work out only at home, purchasing a pair of dumbbell is cheaper than buying a treadmill (even if it is a used one) and occupies far less space. If you thought walking is the best and safest exercise, read why it is not here.

Even though it was not in the gym, our grand-mothers lifted weights. Fetching water from well and carrying it to the house, grinding in mortal pestle & stone, washing clothes, gardening, squatting in the potty and more. No wonder they had thin waists and flat stomach in spite of multiple pregnancies.

If you are a newbie to work out or strength training, some of the workouts that you can start with are squats, walking lunges, push ups, planks and leg raises. Watch out for a video on the same in this space.

Are you going to weight watch or weight train? 

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Food, Uncategorized

Healthy Chocolate Ice cream in 2 minutes

If any mom realises a chocolate ice cream can be made at home within 2 minutes with just 4 healthy ingredients, she would definitely not let her child have a store-bought ice cream. Store bought ice creams are not just sugar laden, but also in additives such as artificial colours, flavours and preservatives which are known to cause health problems not just limited to obesity, ADHD, behavioural issues and cancer .

This recipe serves 3 and uses just 4 ingredients , more can be added according to your family’s tastebuds. The main ingredient avocado is nutrient dense and contains good fats . It is also rich in vitamin A, E, K, B6 , C , Folate and Magnesium.

Ingredients

  • 2 avocados/butter fruit
  • 250-300 ml chilled whole milk ( Raw milk is the best option)
  • Organic cacao powder( yes, cacao and not cocoa. more details on this at the end)
  • 4-5 tbsp of unrefined cane sugar or date syrup
  • Almonds, Cashews and Pistachios( Optional)
  • Cardamom Powder (optional)

Method

  • Cut avocados vertically into two halves. Remove the seed and scoop the flesh with a spoon.
  • Transfer all ingredients except the nuts to a blender , Blend it for 30-45 sec. ( Can be even mashed with hand and mixed in a vessel if you wish to skip using the blender)

Tada… The easiest and healthiest chocolate ice cream you can ever imagine is ready.

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Transfer the mixture into a bowl and serve at room temperature or chilled.

If you are adding nuts, add it at the end and blend once. This will add a crunch factor to the ice cream.

If you find the mixture too thick, add little more milk and blend again. If it is too dark or bitter for your taste, add a little more sugar or date syrup.

 

What’s the difference between cacao and cocoa powder?

Cacao is the unprocessed, powdered cacao beans. Rich in Copper, Selenium, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Zinc, Vitamins and antioxidants.

Cocoa is cacao processed at a higher temperature and with alkali and usually had added sugar. This changes its nutrients, and structure at the molecular level and doesn’t offer much health benefits. While you read about dark chocolate being good for heart, it’s the cacao that is actually meant. However, when it reaches the magazines and newspapers, it is modified to be read as chocolate. Forget about chocolate (dark/milk) you eat being heart protective, the way it is processed will just clog your arteries.

How about the chocolate milk that we give kids? Be it boost, bournvita , nesquik or milo; it is highly processed, loaded with sugar, salt , synthetic vitamins and chemicals which will harm kid’s health.

Read more about hidden sugar in processed foods here.

If you want to give milk to your child by altering the taste, try cacao powder, or home-made dry fruit powder like almonds with cardamom or fennel seeds. They are wholesome, nutritious, delicious and give the real energy boost.

If they don’t like milk, just chill. Milk is not the only source of calcium/protein in this world.

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Food, Uncategorized

Dill Leaf – The Winter Green

 

Dill is a green leaf that is known for its health benefits. It is available easily in Indian, American and other markets too. The other names include Sabbasige soppu /Chatakuppa/ Soa-Kura  and Soa

Why should you include it ?

Dill leaf is rich in Flavonoids, Antioxidants, Folate, Vitamin A, Calcium , Manganese, Iron, Magnesium, Potassium, Phosphorus and Fiber.
Gives the warmth and immunity you need for the harsh and dry winter. It is also a natural aphrodisiac.

What are the other winter foods you should include in your diet? Watch my video on Winter Diet .

Who should include it ?

  • If you have painful and irregular periods, PCOS – Helps in regulating the menstrual flow.
  • If you are nearing menopause – Strengthens bones and regulates hormones.
  • If you feel bloated, constipated or gassy often -Cleanses and deworms your digestive system, improves your digestive juice secretion.
  • If you are a lactating mom – The age-old tradition of giving new moms this herb is still prevalent to improve lactation and to strengthen bones.
  • If you have bad breath or mouth ulcers – Chew on its seeds.
  • If your little one is crying due to colic – Boil water with a few sprigs of dill and give them to drink.
  • If you feel depressed or struggle to sleep – Include it in your diet or drink water boiled with dill leaf .

How can you include it ?

  • Sprinkle on top of dosa or mix with dosa/idli batter – Easy even on a busy weekday morning.
  • Season your potato curry at the end with chopped dill leaves.
  • Mix  dill with wheat flour when you make chapathi or roti.
  • Make a concoction/tea by boiling water and adding a few leaves in it and drink it.
  • Season/Garnish hot lentil soup/Dal/Pappu with chopped dill leaves.

Make sure you use it when the leaf is fresh, else the flavour and properties diminish quickly.

 

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