The boot camp workout

Here’s everything you need to know about the boot camp workout, the  military-inspired exercise routine. 

Inspired by the training given to those who join the Armed Forces, boot-camps are high-intensity workouts that deliver specific results. “It’s primarily an outdoor group activity where a cluster of people who have the same goal join together,” says J. Keshav, owner and president of BootCamp Chennai, whose 12-week outdoors boot camp costs Rs12,300. The goals of a boot camp could vary, from weight loss, building stamina and endurance to general fitness, stretching, toning or strengthening muscles. 

“In one word, it’s roughing it out,” says Bengaluru-based Wannitaa Ashok, an expert in body transformation. “A full-body cardio and strength workout that’s very effective for weight loss,” she adds. It can help increase lean muscle mass, and build muscular and cardiovascular endurance and strength while improving overall coordination and balance, she explains. An important aspect of the workout is limiting the rest time between each move, so the heart rate goes up and you burn calories faster. “You do circuits of intense exercises for about 30-60 seconds each, pausing for only a few seconds between exercises,” says Vesna Pericevic Jacob, wellness expert and founder of Vesna’s Alta Celo, a wellness clinic based in Delhi. The idea is to schedule challenging workouts that push you to your limits, improve your fitness levels and burn calories faster. 

Boot-camp: The fitness level required

Photographs by Nathan G/Mint
Boot-camp training helps build strength, agility, speed and flexibility. Photographs by Nathan G/Mint

Most fitness trainers know that people who come to them are rookies, so they scale the activities around the group’s requirements, says Delhi-based Kamal Chhikara, owner and head coach at Reebok CrossFit Robust.

Continue reading “The boot camp workout”

Say goodnight with sleep apps

Sleep apps can at best help you discipline sleep habits, not tackle disorders.  There are many sleep apps that claim to use the accelerometer, microphone and camera in your phone to record the quality of your sleep, using sleep graphs to show how you slept, but all of them use average sleep patterns. This is based on the idea that interrupting the wrong sleep cycle—when you’re in slow-wave (deep sleep) or REM (dreaming)—can result in a sense of fatigue.

Image result for sleep apps

But a study published in June in Preventive Medicine Reports, which screened 369 sleep apps available on Android and iPhones, analysed the most popular apps and found that while most help users set sleep-related goals, track and manage their sleep, and even offer white noise or guided meditation, few make use of other methods known to help the chronically sleep-deprived.

“There weren’t a lot of apps that had any information about the benefits of sleep, mentioned health risks associated with not getting enough sleep, and recommended the amount of sleep someone should get on a regular basis,” said Prof. Diana Grigsby-Toussaint from the University of Illinois, US, who led the research, in a press release.

Sleep apps can be useful in disciplining your sleep 

While you can use sleep apps to regulate and discipline your body clock and sleep cycles, you shouldn’t make the mistake of believing these can help you tackle sleep disorders.

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Post 35? It’s never too late to start exercising

You’re post 35 and you’ve finally decided to start exercising? That’s great news. For exercising regularly can reduce fat, stress and cholesterol, improve body functions, prevent diabetes and boost self-confidence, says Ali Irani, head (physiotherapy and sports medicine), Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital, Mumbai. The tricky part, however, is to ensure that your routine is safe, painless and enjoyable, especially if you are above 35. “It’s best to keep yourself low on intensity and duration initially, especially when you’ve never done it before,” he says.

Our experts suggest ways to make sure you keep moving, steadily and steadfastly.

Keep small, realistic goals

Want those six-packs? It’s possible, but you need to be patient, for it won’t happen immediately.

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How to protect your eyes

Your eyes are getting no rest from screens. Here’s how to protect them

An average Indian office-goer spends 6-8 hours daily looking at computer, mobile or television screens, says P. Suresh, consultant ophthalmologist at Fortis Hospital, Mumbai. “The figure is worse for IT professionals or people who use computers for work, as they spend 12-16 hours in front of screens .” That’s more than half a day spent gazing at a screen, glued to a laptop or a smartphone.

“It is like running on a treadmill all the time. You’re not giving any rest to the muscles of your eyes”

Dr P. Suresh

Continuously gazing at a screen causes stress, “leading to eye fatigue and strain, with symptoms like headaches, itching, blurred vision, red eyes, burning sensation, heavy eyes and, sometimes, difficulty in focusing”, says Parul Sharma, senior eye surgeon at Max Eye Care, Delhi.

If you think taking a break from your computer and WhatsApping will make a difference, it won’t. The closer you are to the screen, the more you strain your eyes.

So what should you do?

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7 reasons to add burpees to your exercise routine

Burpees are one of the hardest, most intense parts of a workout session. This sweat-inducing, explosive four-step movement involves squatting, thrusting, getting into a plank position and jumping. “It is a full-body exercise that helps develop muscle strength and burn calories,” says Kamal Chhikara, owner and head coach of the Reebok CrossFit Robust gym in Delhi. It engages all the major muscle groups like the arms, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings and abs.

Our experts list some of the additional benefits. But do remember, if you’re new to exercise in general or 40-plus in age, don’t start it without a trainer—you could get injured.

Good for weight loss

The key to fat loss is keeping the heart rate high long enough to burn stored fat, says Vesna Pericevic Jacob, a fitness expert and founder of fitness centre Vesna’s Alta Celo in Delhi. “The burpee demands all your strength and power, utilizing the muscles from your feet to the neck and shoulders,” she says.

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Get rid of stomach pain through natural ways

You party late into the night, fill yourself up on snacks and drink one cocktail after another. Before you know it, you are feeling bloated and your stomach is hurting. Don’t worry, says Deepshikha Agarwal, dietitian and sports nutritionist based in Mumbai. “Drink plenty of water with ginger or fennel every 2 hours or sip on green tea or tulsi water for a day to reduce the bloating,” she adds, cautioning against over-exercise. Instead, for a few days, improve your diet with complex carbs, fibre, protein and eat smaller portion sizes. And instead of tossing and turning all night or waiting till you have to go to a doctor, heed these tips from experts.

Chew on ginger

Add two pinches of dry ginger powder or a tablespoon of ginger juice to a glass of warm water and sip on it. “Ginger fires up your metabolism and eliminates distention and uneasiness and detoxifies your body,” says Suvarna Pathak, dietitian at the Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital in Mumbai. Or squeeze half a lemon in a glass of water. You can also make a decoction by boiling half an inch of ginger in two cups of water. “Boil on slow flame till it reduces to one cup and sip on this tea,” says Shikha Nehru Sharma, managing director, Dr Shikha’s NutriHealth, a nutrition clinic in Delhi.  Continue reading “Get rid of stomach pain through natural ways”

Everything you need to know about a bootcamp workout

Inspired by the training given to those who join the Armed Forces, boot-camps are high-intensity workouts that deliver specific results. “It’s primarily an outdoor group activity where a cluster of people who have the same goal join together,” says J. Keshav, owner and president of BootCamp Chennai, whose 12-week outdoors boot camp costs Rs12,300. The goals of a boot camp could vary, from weight loss, building stamina and endurance to general fitness, stretching, toning or strengthening muscles.

“In one word, it’s roughing it out,” says Bengaluru-based Wannitaa Ashok, an expert in body transformation. “A full-body cardio and strength workout that’s very effective for weight loss,” she adds. It can help increase lean muscle mass, and build muscular and cardiovascular endurance and strength while improving overall coordination and balance, she explains. An important aspect of the workout is limiting the rest time between each move, so the heart rate goes up and you burn calories faster. “You do circuits of intense exercises for about 30-60 seconds each, pausing for only a few seconds between exercises,” says Vesna Pericevic Jacob, wellness expert and founder of Vesna’s Alta Celo, a wellness clinic based in Delhi. The idea is to schedule challenging workouts that push you to your limits, improve your fitness levels and burn calories faster.

The fitness level required

Most fitness trainers know that people who come to them are rookies, so they scale the activities around the group’s requirements, says Delhi-based Kamal Chhikara, owner and head coach at Reebok CrossFit Robust. Continue reading “Everything you need to know about a bootcamp workout”

Slow down ageing through what you eat

Want to slow down ageing? There is a way. We break down some nutrients that can help you stay agile and young.

Slow down ageing: Infuse turmeric in milk

That old granny tale about drinking milk with a pinch of turmeric actually works. “Having a pinch of turmeric with milk daily (for an adult) makes your skin shine as turmeric has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties,” explains Sawant. A study published in July 2014 in the PLOS Medicine journal proved that curcumin, the powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant chemical in turmeric, protects the shortening of telomeres, keeping the cells younger. “When had in raw form, turmeric helps in fighting against bacteria and in blood purification,” she says. Those who are lactose-intolerant can have turmeric with water, even honey. The idea is to have it in raw form, as cooking reduces the effects of curcumin, adds Sawant. Continue reading “Slow down ageing through what you eat”

Natural ways to get rid of springtime allergy

The flowers are blooming, the grass is lush and green. The allergy season is here and some of us will start sniffling and coughing. “Spring brings with it flowers, fragrances and allergen pollen,” says Shikha Sharma, founder and managing director of Nutri-Health, a wellness clinic in New Delhi. When you come in contact with allergens, be it dust, smoke, pollen, pets dander, insect sting or even a strong smell, your immune system responds hyperactively, making you cough, sneeze or wheeze.

It’s the allergy season

“The irritating dry cough is difficult to control as it is a result of airway hyper-reactivity to allergens,” says Zafar Ahmad Iqbal, consultant, pulmonology, sleep and critical care, at the Fortis Hospital in Mohali. Throat allergies can lead to muscular chest pain, throat pain, wheezing and, in some cases, breathlessness and difficulty in swallowing. The best-case scenario is to pinpoint and avoid the allergen that triggers your cough, but this may not always be possible. “If it becomes severe or lasts for more than two weeks, it might not be allergic in nature,” says Dr Iqbal. “It could be bronchial asthma and you might need a doctor.” If you keep getting a sore throat, however, you should start gargling in the mornings with warm salt water to protect yourself in this season, suggests Sharma. “Gargling pulls out fluids from inflamed tissues in the throat, loosens thick mucous, and removes allergens, bacteria and virus from the throat,” says Sharma. As the mucous thins and the bacteria clears up, your throat will feel better. So before you ravage your body with another anti-allergen pill, try these natural ways to get rid of those constant wheezes.


Shy away from all things floral

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Five signs that say you might be depressed

You’ve been sad for a while now. At first you think it’s just a phase, you lose interest in everything, don’t want to eat, are forgetful and lack motivation. According to World Health Organization research, updated in April, an estimated 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression. “Depressive episodes could be mild, moderate or severe in intensity based on the nature, extent and duration of the symptoms,” says Sameer Malhotra, director, department of mental health and behavioural sciences, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Delhi. “In severe episodes you can develop extreme behavioural changes from a high phase of mania to a low phase, become deluded or encounter hallucinations where you can’t stop listening to negative voices in your head.” Biological symptoms include weight loss, disturbed sex drive, a loss of appetite and interrupted sleep. To some extent, a healthy lifestyle can help prevent depressive symptoms, says Dr Malhotra. “Follow a regular sleep-wake schedule, do regular exercise, have a nutritious and balanced diet, engage in creative hobbies and stay away from drug and alcohol abuse,” he says. Continue reading “Five signs that say you might be depressed”