The Palm Oil Story

Hi friends, happy Friday!

How are you doing? I hope a lot better than last month! At least, now all the items in our grocery list are available, online as well as offline. One can happily go back to the brands or types of products one is used to. I am very grateful that the brand of peanut butter I use is again available online. I am also very grateful that I am now able to make my own blend of wholegrain-multigrain atta/flour, once more.

I can’t tell you how frustrating it was to make rotis from the packaged atta/flour. Once you get used to eating rotis made of your own blend, you simply can’t enjoy them any other way! Same with peanut butter. The store-bought ones just don’t cut it anymore for me. And for good, I say.

Anyways, today’s post isn’t about peanut butter but palm oil. I am sure you have heard already that palm oil is not good to use but hardly a few know why.

What Exactly Is Palm Oil

Among all types of cooking oils that we use, palm oil is probably the one we would never consider using, in our kitchen even if it is the most-used oil commercially.

Palm oil is a vegetable oil that is derived from the fruit of African oil palm tree Elaeis guineensis. These trees are native to Africa however, are now grown extensively in Asia, North America and South America as the oil is much in demand everywhere today. Palm oil greatly contributes to the GDP of the producing countries. Indonesia and Malaysia make up for 85% of global palm oil supply today.

It is extensively used in most commercial food products be it ice-cream, doughnuts, toothpaste, cosmetics or animal feed…even your soap! Around half of the products that we use today have palm oil in them. Why? Because it is extremely versatile and cheap! It can give products higher shelf life. It gives the crispy, crunchy texture to the fried food like your french fries! It has no colour or smell so it is easy to use in food products.

Is Palm Oil Bad For Health?

It has a high saturated fat content which can be harmful for us and is linked to heart diseases. however many studies also say that if you eat a balanced diet (meaning less of junk), the effect is negligible.

Some other studies say that palm oil is rich in tocotrienols which is a form of vitamin-E. These protect our cells and reduce our risk of heart disease as well as cancer.

So, What’s The Verdict?

Palm oil might be okay for our health in moderation. If we consume less junk and processed food, the intake is very low. Which we should anyways and not just for palm oil!

Though one thing is sure. Palm oil is definitely bad for our environment. It is one of the major causes of deforestation around the world, especially the rainforests.

The palm oil tree normally lives for around 30 years but when it grows too tall and it becomes hard collecting fruit from it, it gets chopped down to make way for a new tree. And this chopping down leads to deforestation. This, in turn, leads us to climate changes and loss of habitats to many animal species such as Orangutans! Who said the earth belongs to humans only?

The use of less expensive palm oil is so extensive across industries everywhere that it results into massive destruction of forests and the environmental impact is huge today!

The worst part is that it has become impossible to avoid products that use palm oil. It is everywhere! Imagine my surprise when I noticed that motichoor laddoos that I got from a famous sweet brand, were made in palm oil too! I thought that brand wouldn’t use palm oil at least as every decent sweet brand/shop boasts of using ghee/ in its sweets!

By the way, did you know that ghee-flavoured oils are also freely available in the market today?

Why Not Find Alternative Oils?

Unfortunately, that is not possible commercially. Palm oil is an efficient crop. This means that it produces more palm oil per land than any other oil-crop such as soyabean oil or coconut oil. Thus means that much, much more land would be needed if not for palm oil. This would not address the problem at the core.

What Can We Do?

For starters and to safeguard our planet, we can identify and use products which contain only sustainable palm oil in them. How to identify? WWF has a rating tool for brands that you can easily use. The link is below:

https://palmoilscorecard.panda.org/

We can switch to alternate oils for personal consumption. In processed products that we buy, we can choose products or brands which are RSPO (Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil) certified. Certified palm oil protects the environment and the local communities involved in its production. It is very much possible e.g. in 2016, 75% of UK’s total palm oil import was sustainable.

This is all for today. And if you think that since palm oil doesn’t directly affects your health much and that you need not bother too much about it, think again! It is destroying our home, brick-by-brick!

Till next Friday,

Love, Health & Peace

Is Transformation Your Goal?

Hi friends, happy Friday! How have you all been keeping?

Life has, to a lot of extent, returned to a less panicked state, hasn’t it? Whether it’s due to better survival rate nowadays or to the fact that we are adapting to the new norm of masks, sanitizers and social-distancing, knowing that there is no other way any time soon. Doesn’t mean I am not hopeful of a vaccination this year only. I still am!

And after experiencing this pandemic and seeing how important, more than ever…it is to stay healthy and have good immunity, what better time to start than now?

Also, a big thank you everyone, for your overwhelming response over my last post on Instagram which was me doing one-handed handstand, against the wall. I hope one day, I’ll be able to do that without the wall support 🙂

https://www.instagram.com/jillofmanytrades_blogger/

Today’s post is just a short one! I simply want to stress on the fact that it is very important to stay healthy, have a balanced diet and lead an active life. We all know it already. Much has been said and written already. By me and countless others.

Many of you have recently asked me about my diet chart etc. I wish I could give you one formula but I don’t have one. I have again and again said that one need to combine diet and a basic fitness regime for overall health and strength. Either of this combination alone, would not take you where you want to be.

And weight management is just one factor in the whole health equation. Though it is perfectly alright to start with that motive and any motive is good enough 🙂

Nutrition is a very powerful tool, no doubt. But it isn’t easy! It needs a strong willpower where one could think of food in terms of neither punishment nor entertainment but in terms of nourishment. It is entirely possible to eat what you want but with modifications and moderation.

And if one says that they have done all they could in terms of diets and still reached nowhere, I would still  understand. I have been there.

For starters, it is not the same for everyone. And second, if you reached nowhere, you haven’t done it either right (for you)…or enough! In my case, I did not do it at all! Till I started, I did not know what I was missing out on.

Let’s say you started on a journey which means to take 6 months. You started enthusiastically but stopped after 3 months…would you still reach your destination? Obviously not! You stopped mid-way. You stopped walking!

One thing is for sure, if you gave it 6 months, you would never want to go back! Neither in terms of diet modifications nor in terms of physical fitness. The success, the transformation would keep you coming back for more! It would become a lifelong habit, trust me. Do you remember the golden 21/90 rule? If not, do read this previous post here.

All you need in this journey is to show up…every time you are supposed to. Whether you work on your own or take external assistance, consistency is the key. Even if you make no special efforts, you are sure to move ahead…just by the virtue of showing up. All you need is 1% a day after all!

There is another issue that many of my old friends have come up with and I will write about it in my next post. It is more specific to women than men but all the men who read my blogs, need to read it too 🙂

Till next Friday

Love, Health & Peace

The Confusing Business Of Calories

Hi friends, happy Friday! How are you all?

At my end, it has been pretty hectic lately. No helps still and the house is full of never-ending chores. Everyone in the family (two elders, one Other Half, two little ones and one dog…they all do their bits to help out but at the end of the day, the lady of the house gets the lion’s share of…err, chores, isn’t it?

Anyways, all this keeps me on my toes whole day (now night also, thanks to the latest addition of Kia, the pup. At 5 months, she is now tall enough to pull my hair while I am dreaming at night). I am sure your story is quite similar to mine and a big hug to all of us brave hearts!!

Amidst all the chaos, have you continued your fitness routine or diet plans? Or started any? Tell me if you have!

It does get all very confusing at the end of the day, isn’t it? Especially the term calories! Calories…low calories…zero calories…empty calories…high calorie food…calorie-dense food etc. What are these calories after all? Almost a scary word today especially for weight watchers. Let’s decode calories today!

What Are Calories?

Calories in simple terms, is energy that we need for day to day functioning.

Technically, ‘calorie’ word is the unit of energy that we get from a certain food item. This is how we measure energy. All food items provide us energy – be it sugars, fats, proteins or carbs. The amount of energy or calories each food provides varies. Every single cell in our body needs this energy.

Depending upon the goals and lifestyle, the daily calorie requirement ranges from 1600-2400 calories for adult females and for adult males, 2000-3000. However, men shouldn’t eat less than 1500 calories and women not less than 1200 calories per day – to get all the energy and nutrients required by the body for optimal day-to-day functioning.

Empty Calories

Empty calories come from food which would give us energy for sure but without any significant nutrients. Such foods are what we call as junk food also. Interestingly, one can lose weight on empty calories too, whether it would be healthy or not, is anybody’s guess. A few examples are pizzas, burgers and sugary foods/drinks.

Zero Calories or Low Calories

Products having zero calories such as diet foods and drinks are not necessarily any healthier, if you ask me. Replacing a good balanced meal with a low calorie meal-replacement bar/shake is not a great idea in long run! It just is not sustainable and can easily backfire unless accompanied by a healthy lifestyle change.

High Calories/Calorie Dense Foods  

This include foods that are high on calories in a relatively smaller portion such as butter or sugary sweets. Interestingly, some very healthy foods are very high in calories as well e.g. quinoa (yes, the superfood quinoa), avocados, dried fruits, olive oil etc

Similarly, low calorie foods have low amount of calories relative to the portion size such as many fruits and leafy greens.

How Many Calories Per Day?

The answer to this question would differ from person to person. It depends upon that person’s activity level and resting metabolic rate.

It is important to consume sufficient calories even if one is trying to lose weight. The calories consumed should be balanced out by calories spent.

Under-eating, over a period of time lowers our resting metabolic rate which in turn, affects our capacity to burn calories. So, if you crash-diet or starve yourself in the name of dieting, know that it is going to be rendered ineffective soon enough.

I have found an easy calculator online which should help you to with your daily calorie requirement. The credit goes to the website for it:

https://www.calculator.net/calorie-calculator.html

So, What Kinds Of Calories Should We Consume?

That’s a very important detail and the turning point for you if you have specific goals such as muscle-building, fat loss, weight loss etc. Ideally, 45-65% of calories should come from carbs, 20-25% from fat and 10-35% from protein. Of course, it also depends upon your lifestyle, medical history and goals. Kids need more energy coming from fat as they are growing.

Do you want to know a few easy ways to reduce your calorie consumption? Do let me know.

In The End

It is crucial that we change our lifestyle in such a way that the focus is on staying healthy- physically and mentally. This is the only way to enjoy the process and keep it sustainable in the long run. This enables us to have fun while staying active and healthy. World-cruise at 60, anyone?

Also, it is important to consult a nutritionist or your doctor if you plan to make a big dietary change/switch or go on any low-calorie diets.

Hope you found today’s post informative and it cleared away a few doubts. To join me on Instagram for more tips/tricks on health & nutrition, follow the link below. Your support means a lot to me 🙂

https://www.instagram.com/jillofmanytrades_blogger/

Till next Friday

Love, Health & Peace

All About Probiotics

Hi friends, happy Friday!

For a long while, all days were so similar but now I have again started loving the weekends. Why? Because of start of online-schooling. The precious extra hours of  morning sleep is what makes the weekends special, again!

In my last post on sabja/basil seeds, I wrote that pectin found in them is a prebiotic and some of you messaged me telling I made a spelling mistake there. I sometimes do make a spelling mistake or other, especially on the more hectic days…but this time, it was not a mistake. What I meant was prebiotic indeed! But I do realize that I owe a big thank you to all those of you who read my blogs so closely 🙂

Most of us are probably already aware of the term “probiotic”, thanks to advertisements by  many yogurt brands and fermented milk-based health drinks. The term isn’t very old but has become very popular recently.

Before we come to understanding the difference between probiotics and prebiotics, let’s understand probiotics first.

Probiotics

Probiotics are live microorganisms i.e. the bacteria that are found naturally in our body (mainly intestine) and help our body in breaking down the food. Also called gut-bacteria, friendly/healthy bacteria or gut-flora, these bacteria are mostly divided into two families: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.

Our body generally takes care of our gut-health on its own. However gut-flora can be disbalanced due to bad diet, infections, medications, hygiene habits etc. It becomes even more important to re-build a healthy balance in such cases.

Did You Know?

Our intestines contain 100 billion bacteria (of 1000 various kinds) and some of these are unique to each one of us, quite like our fingerprints!

Benefits

  • Probiotics helps in maintaining the healthy balance of friendly bacteria in our digestive system
  • Not just physical health, some researches have shown that probiotic foods can improve some mental health disorders too such as depression, stress and anxiety etc. How? By producting serotonin, the feel-good brain chemical. Wow!
  • Boosts immune system and this reduce the severity or frequency of cold and certain allergies
  • Prevents and even treats diarrhea
  • Toxic removal from our bodies
  • Better metabolism

Natural Sources Of Probiotics

There are many reasons why newborns are advised to be breastfed and probiotics are one of the main reasons! Breast milk is naturally rich in probiotics and sometimes, formula milk is fortified by the probiotics to get it closer to breastmilk.

Apart from occurring naturally in our bodies, certain foods such as yogurts (with live strains), tempeh (fermented soyabean), miso (Japanese seasoning with soyabeans as main ingredient), kefir (fermented milk drink), kimchi (fermented spicy Korean dish with cabbage or other veggies), sauerkraut (fermented cabbage), pickles (or gherkins, are cucumbers pickled in salt and water), kombucha (fermented black/green tea drink) and certain cheeses etc are rich sources of probiotics.

On desi front – curd, regular yogurt, buttermilk, idli, dosa, kanji, achhar, dhokla etc though are not true probiotics as not standardized, provide many similar benefits.

And no, wine and beer, though fermented cannot be considered probiotics!

Probiotic Supplements

According to the official definition of probiotics by WHO, any strain or product can be classified as a probiotic only if it contains a stipulated amount of live microorganisms which are resistant to gastric juices etc to reach the target area successfully in our body and be of any actual benefit.

Probiotics are also sold as powder/liquid supplements such as Yakult as well as capsules or tablets. Some good quality multivitamins also include probiotics in their composition. Remember, not every yoghurt can be sold as a probiotic unless it clearly mentions the live culture it contains!

I have even been prescribed a urinary tract probiotic as a part of my UTI treatment once. And I am sure most of us have used, Enterogermina, Novogermina and the kinds, at one point or other…especially for our kids. Have you?

In The End

Before you start a probiotic supplement of any sort, make sure you are not allergic to the particular strain found in it. If someone is lactose-intolerant, a dairy-free probiotic is an obvious choice.

In general, probiotic supplements are considered safe. People on antibiotic medication can benefit from probiotics a lot as the antibiotics are prone to destroy the balance of gut-flora by killing healthy bacteria along with the bad ones.

If you have any pre-existing medical issues or any immunity-related condition, do check with your doctor/nutritionist, before you choose your probiotic.

Do join me on Instagram for more such info, tips and daily motivation on

https://www.instagram.com/jillofmanytrades_blogger/

Till next Friday

Namaste, Health & Peace

Want 40% More Happiness In Life?

Hi Friends, Happy Friday!!

While fine-tuning blog-post today, I heard the breaking news and it actually made not just my day but actually delivered my x-mas gift early. Yes, the ‘justice’ in Telangana rape case has been delivered! I don’t care whys and hows, to be honest. There was nothing left to be proven and I am happy. Hope other victims get justice quick and while still alive!

I started writing this post last Wednesday morning actually, hoping to finish it on time, for Friday. However, the entire last week I felt so down and let down ☹. I wanted to say something strong, write something even stronger but just couldn’t! Everything has been said, time and again…these incidents keep happening and the news is full of horrible statistics and as a parent myself, the pain brings tears to my eyes every time I think of these.

I think a quick trial and death penalty is the only solution now, even for juvenile, cold-blooded murderers. Hope the law gets passed soon! Till then, a sad and teary goodbye to all the little children, young lives and even older citizens who weren’t allowed a dignified death. And their family-members who would always be having nightmares, left with feelings of helplessness and hopelessness.

Sometimes, I do wish that ghosts are real…like in movies. Tortured souls would come back and haunt the preparators and take revenge. Guess that would solve the problem too!

The whole week, I needed something that would put me back in a positive state of mind and my chosen weapon was always an intensive workout at gym. Yes, that is how I recharge myself and along with a fit and active body, my reward is also a peaceful, positive mind. And Hopeful!

Think I am exaggerating?

Did You Know?

The depression/anxiety statistics worldwide are staggering! 300 million people worldwide is a shocking figure for an illness that we don’t even speak much of.  India being on top on this list, followed by China and USA.

(*source – WHO report)

Being a very complex illness, there are many contributing factors for bad mental health. These vary from menopause, abuse, certain medications, death or loss, genetics, a life-changing event to many other personal problems.

Today’s post isn’t about depression though. That’s another topic for another day. However, all the researchers and healthcare professionals agree on one thing. Regular exercise plays a very, very important role in combating this illness. In preventing, in managing and in recovering.

Exercise improves and supports mental health as it reduces anxiety, depression etc and elevates negative moods. By a whooping 40%!! This means that people who exercise have 40% better mental health than people who don’t exercise.

We all strive for happiness in life, one way or the other, don’t we all? We do everything for it and we always hope for more happiness and positivity in our lives. How about getting 40% more happiness in bonus now? On top of everything!

There is a cross-sectional study done in US with a huge database was analyzed (sample size – 1.2bn individuals). It’s an interesting and widely acclaimed researched. If you want to read  more of it, read it here:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326910400_Association_between_physical_exercise_and_mental_health_in_12_million_individuals_in_the_USA_between_2011_and_2015_a_cross-sectional_study

How?

  • Other than providing numerous health benefits, exercising makes you feel happier as it stimulates our brain to release powerful chemicals like endorphins and serotonin in our body and these hormones in turn, improve our moods making us feel good
  • Exercise stimulates hippocampus (a part in our brain that is associated with memory and learning), encouraging new cell growth. Hippocampus shrinkage is directly associated with all sorts of mental illnesses including depression, Alzheimer’s, insomnia, alcohol addiction and chronic stress – to name a few
  • Exercise improves our physical appearance and boosts our self-confidence
  • Exercising also helps you socially. It takes us out in the world, reducing any feeling of loneliness and providing us with opportunities for social interactions
  • Regular exercise reduces our stress levels
  • Regular exercise helps with better sleep
  • Regular exercise improves and preserves memory
  • Exercise forces oxygen in our body and fresh blood into our brain, boosting clear thoughts and better co-ordination, even better nerve connections inside our brain!

How Much Should I Exercise for My Mental Health?

30-60 minutes of medium to high intensity workouts, 3-5 times a week is optimum. More if you want. Nothing less.

Which Exercises Are Best For Achieving Mental Fitness?

Some activities have a higher impact on our mental health! Anything that shoots up your heart rate works. Team sports, running, brisk-walking, swimming, tennis, strength-conditioning at gym, aerobics, biking…choose your poison.

In addition to it, Yoga is another tool that would help you achieve a holistic sense of relaxation while helping with the balance and flexibility. However, don’t forget to combine it with some heart-pumping fitness regime for complete benefits.

In this post here, I have already detailed how exercising helps us physically. Now, we know it helps us in preserving and supporting our mental health as well. What more do you want before you start on your fitness journey?

Also, there are many other causes and therapies that help a lot in improving mental health or brain health, if needed. A healthy diet contributes too. Like in the case of any other physical illness, do consult a professional for complete review.

Take the first step towards health today. Not tomorrow, not Monday, not January!

Love, Hugs and Health

Being Ageless: Part 2

Hi Everyone! How’s it going? All good at my end. A BIG thank you to all of you for making my Sugar SeriesPart 1, 2 & 3 a success by sharing it around and also, giving the Part 1: What has Age Got To Do With Anything, a big thumps up!

https://www.instagram.com/jillofmanytrades_blogger/

Happiness is a state of mind. Agelessness is happiness combined with an active and healthy body!

We all know that being happy in whatever we do and where ever we are, is very important. However, this Happiness to be wholesome and holistic, our mind needs to be equally supported by a healthy and active body…there is no happiness greater than a happy mind, in a healthy body!!

Living life to its fullest or queen/king-sized only happens if both your mind and body support the cause. When you look good and feel good, you feel confident and in turn, happier and more positive, in general.

This is my belief. Do you agree?

When I say ageless, I don’t mean just looking young – it also means feeling young. Feeling and looking young – both need to exist together and they would. Read on:

Keep your Brain Young

Not just doing an activity but actively learning something, keeps you young mentally.

There are tons of researches done that have clearly proven that our brain-health is maintained by reading and participating in brain-stimulating activities.

  • First and foremost, exercise daily. Yes, you read it right, even to maintain brain health, exercise daily for at least 30-45 minutes
  • Stay hydrated
  • Avoid high-sugar diet
  • Quit smoking. If you have to drink, moderate alcohol. Absolutely no narcotics!
  • Keep the company that makes you feel positive. That pushes you to be your best without being competitive. That appreciates your commitments
  • Start learning something new. Learning has no age limits. You like guitar or Harmonica or Piano? Always wanted to learn Spanish? Or belly-dancing or Kathak or Salsa? A martial art? Pottery? Singing? Baking? Bar-tending? Choose your poison!
  • Join a class where you get a chance to meet more people
  • Go out just with friends…have some ‘me’ time
  • Read your favorite book or play some music on your speakers that makes you dance
  • Solve a Sudoku puzzle daily. Or a crossword daily? Or few word-cookies?
  • Sleep well

Did you Know?

Researches prove that a healthy mix of healthy habits prevent memory loss and other brain-changes that come with time, including Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Keep your Body Young

One simple way to do this is to get some functional training done, once every week, the blood rushing to your face and the oxygen rushing into your lungs, would keep you looking younger than any facial in the world would. You will sweat, pant and have a red face surely, your heart rate would spike up BUT you would feel as if you can take on anything in this world…and win! Weight-management and strength are added bonus, to name a few!

If you want to look and feel ageless, some form of fitness regime is non-negotiable. Any fitness regime that would make you pant and spike up your heart rate, would do. Don’t have time…alright but remember you live only once, where would you take all this time (and money) once you are old and ridden with multiple health complications and no energy left. Stop and think!

This fitness regime is the foundation of staying young. Rest everything you do, need to be an add-on. Nothing would work if you do not follow this basic principle unless you are blessed with miracle-genes. I wish I was!!

Having said the most important part first, a few more things that would help:

  • Keep hydrated, drink at least 3 litres of water. Read about Hydration here
  • Take multivitamins daily for 11 months a year, this would take care of Vitamins like C, E, D, B12 among others as well as essential minerals
  • Get your blood test done, once every year at least and see which areas need work
  • No smoking and no alcohol is best
  • Reduce your sugar intake, eat healthy
  • Try probiotics and antioxidants
  • Re-evaluate your daily intake of protein
  • Prevent falls – Read post on Strength Training here
  • Before starting any supplements, please consult your doctor or nutritionist especially if have a health concern

Look Young

Once you took care of your fitness regime and diet, consider these:

  • Re-evaluate your wardrobe. Remove all the ill-fitting styles, clothes and accessories
  • Have a haircut if you want (or need). Get some layers, maybe?
  • Colour your hair if you want
  • How about a day in a Spa getting a nice pedi, mani, facial etc?
  • Invest in some basic but good-quality work-out wear. Read post here
  • Throw away all your expired personal care products and get some new ones. Get good brands/products
  • Invest in a good sunscreen, a fine scrub, a good night-serum and a good lip-balm at the least. Do a bit of research and choose wisely. Read post on parabens & sulfates here
  • See if you want to include an anti-aging product from a good brand. These are generally expensive so, do your research
  • Make a simple skincare regime of your own depending on your skin type – Cleanse, Tone, Moisturize and Exfoliate. I exfoliate twice a week and use a vitamin C serum daily instead of a moisturizer as I have oily skin. Boroline in the night takes care of my lips 😊

Last and not the least, give it some time. Be consistent. It won’t happen overnight, it might take longer to see any impact but trust me, soon…very soon it would happen! All the best to you, on this journey of being wise, healthy, graceful and ageless!!

Do you have any secrets what worked for you, a face-mask, a product, a grandma’s recipe maybe? Do share but only if you have experienced it first hand, on your own 😊

Till next Friday

Love, Hugs and Health

Workout Basics: Squats

Hi Friends, how was the week that went by, for you?

The world got another jolt in the form of Greta Thunberg, the 16-year old climate activist and the media, including social media is, once again, divided as to the genuineness and intentions of the person in question.

As for me, I don’t care whether she is or not, genuine that is. What she said needed to be said – by her or by someone else. I agree there are silent workers, foundation-builders who talk less and do more BUT we still need jolters, like her…from time to time!

Do we care about our environment? Do forest fires mean anything to us? Is deforestation of any concern to us? Do we care about saving water, electricity etc and recycling our waste – at least, in our individual capacity? Or are we happy till we suffer ourselves?

Well great, if we do it silently at our end! What about others who just won’t be bothered? One can’t just shy away from their dues to society so easily…you gotta pay them! Anyways, I am happy to see that people who do care are growing in numbers and there is a lot of stress today on balancing things, not just in our lives but also for the environment 😊

Cheers to being aware! And Cheers to health – for us and for Earth!

Health brings me back to today’s post…did you start your fitness routine yet? If yes, which form did you choose? If not, start now – how about a 30-minute walk after dinner tonight?

I did Legs on Wednesday and my video on Instagram is a small part of it 😊. What I did in this video is a combination of Lunges and Squats, a weighted one. Lot of you have asked me about my workouts recently and asked me to share a bit more info. I would love to!

Do check today’s Instagram video here:

https://www.instagram.com/p/B26TLGYDWgL/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link

Now, let me start by telling you today about Squats. I’ll try to be very simple.

What Are Squats

Squats are lower-body exercises. These can be done with the added weights/resistance or without. One of the best and most basic exercise, squats help you with gaining muscles as well as losing weight or even both together!

Benefits Of Squats

  • Strong, powerful toned legs
  • Burns fat
  • Helps build muscles and prevent injuries
  • Stronger joints
  • Improves flexibility
  • Improves balance, mobility and overall body posture

How To Start With Squats

Start easy and if you feel the need, take support with your hands. You can start with 2-3 sets of 10 reps without any weights, twice/thrice a week (or as suggested by your trainer if you have one) and once you get comfortable, you can increase it to 3 sets of 15-20 reps. Gradually, you can start with weights/resistance. Now, to do a good squat:

  1. Stand with feet slightly wider than your hips, toes facing front
  2. Push your hips back, bend at the knees and keep the knees slightly open. Don’t extend your knees beyond your toes
  3. Sit in a squat position while keeping toes and heels flat on the ground. Make sure you kept your shoulders back and chest up
  4. You can keep your hands folded at your chest or away in front (like I do)
  5. Try going parallel to floor. The entire move should mimic the movement as if you were sitting on a chair behind you
  6. While getting up, press into your heels and straighten up to standing position to avoid any pressure on your knees

When you do squats for the first time, ask for help if you want. Make sure you get the form right. It’s a very easy-to-do exercise and of much importance as it works on your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, abs, lower back and hips. Not many exercises can boast of such wide-spread involvement of so many muscles in one go!

As of today, I do 3 sets of 20 simple body-weight squats and then move on to weighted squats (aka Barbell Back Squats) next, doing 3-5 sets of 12-15 reps…oh! and Weighted Sumo Squats (aka Plie Squats) later on, same 3 sets of 15 reps! I try to do Deep Squats also many times. However, all this is once a week only – on my Leg Days. My functional day also include some form of squats such as, Jump Squats or Plyometric Squats 😊

In The End

Don’t forget to read this post here, on DOMS which would tell you what to expect once you start with your work-outs. If you have any medical condition that you feel might hamper with squats, do check with your doctor or trainer first. And stay hydrated!

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Till next Friday,

Hugs, Health and Love,