Five Ways To Look Young In Your 30’S

When I was putting together my before/after’s I realized how young I actually do look now:)

I am in my Mid-30s (well almost), I have been married for 8 years now, I have a kid, I have way more responsibilities than what I had when I was 25 years old. I am onto my second business now and work most of my waking hours.

So what are the things I incorporated into my lifestyle that allowed me to look young. Hey, I am not self-assessing here. My friends/family are actually amazed how I keep looking young every time I meet them.

Let me give you five effective strategies that will make anyone look younger than they normally do.

#1 Tip to Looking Younger

Drop your body fat percentage 

I believe in 80/20 Pareto rule and I use it well, in almost everything that I do. This rule is simple yet powerful. It states that 20% of the things that you do gives you 80% of the results. The beauty about this rule is that you can compound it and it still works.

That would mean that 4% of the things that you do will give you 64% of the results!

Lowering your body fat percentage will yield 64% of the results–In my before photo, my body fat percentage was between 18-20% and in my after picture it’s between 10-12%. When you do that, you will look younger than before, I guarantee it.

#2 Tip to Looking Younger

Start doing High-Intensity Workouts

I swear by heavy weight lifting. I love doing HIIT’s via sprinting, swimming and/or body weight training. I have stopped doing steady state cardio. The latter is not bad per se, but I feel my body responds more to short bursts movements better. With high intensity, one needs more recovery and overall less volume.

That’s why I only train 3 times a week with weights, NO More!

I do few All Out sessions of HIIT and I walk 7,500+ steps daily. Do note I don’t chalk out a separate slot for my walks but instead multi-task walking by going to grocery store, take long walks with my family, take stairs whenever I can and so forth. I use a standing desk to burn even more calories. It saves me from the threat of chronic sitting.

Overall, when compared with what I was doing in my mid-20s, I lowered my total workout time from somewhere close to 10-12 hours a week to less than 5 hours a week.

Studies have shown that high-intensity exercises trigger certain changes in your body. The most important change that HIIT’s trigger is it optimizes your hormonal profile.

  • The release of Human Growth Hormone [HGH]. Even by 771% if you sprint, and sprint hard
  • Improves insulin sensitivity

HGH (Human Growth Hormone)  is called the ‘Fountain of Youth’

After the age of 30, HGH starts to rapidly decline, and continue to do so 12–15% every decade UNLESS you do something about it.

# 3 Tip to Looking Younger

Reduce or eliminate your intake of sugar (including alcohol)

Sugar is toxic. It does accelerate ageing. There are thousands of studies that have been done on the detrimental effects that sugar can have on your body. It’s a huge topic, and only an in-depth article can do justice to this, so stay tuned.

# 4 Tip to Looking Younger

Learn to manage your stress and anxiety levels.

I have way more responsibility now than earlier. In the earlier picture, I was not married, no kids, no business to run. But now life is crazy. Being a father, husband, entrepreneur, blogger, weightlifter, author (I have many more labels)…you got the point. There is a lot of responsibility, stress and anxiety than before, but unlike earlier I have grown mature, learn to respond well to most problems life throws at me.

I use affirmations and mantras to help me deal with it.

See if you like these:

  • Nothing moves me.
  • Whatever happens to me, happens for my greater good.
  • I breathe in courage and breathe out fear

# 5 Tip to Looking Younger

Just get a sexy haircut.

Your haircut can make a difference. Look closely at the picture I have provided. Invest in a good barber who understands the best style based on your facial features

Final Note

I was consistent. Looking young is not my main goal, but building a great physique is.

Fabulous Body is not about just looking good or young, but it’s also about being functional, strong and healthy.

All the strategies will work for you if you stick with it long enough.

How long?

How about 3-4 months?

Check out my program LEAN where I give you a step-by-step workout program and diet chart for 18 weeks to get you started to a younger you.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Amazing Health Hacks Everyone Should Know

Lets me give you 5 Amazing Health Hacks that everyone should know about:

ONE

Optimize your Vitamin D levels

Your levels should be between 50ng/ml to 70ng/ml.

A study of menopausal women showed that maintaining vitamin D serum levels of 40ng/ml cut overall cancer risk by 77 percent.

Here’s how you can do it:

Go out in the Sun between 12 pm to 3 pm. This is where you will be exposed to the beneficial UV-B rays.

Don’t apply sunscreen the moment you step out in the sun, wait for 20–30 min and get Vitamin-D and then apply the lotion to prevent yourself from getting burned.

I have a detailed post here and given many useful tips that will enable you to optimize your Vitamin-D levels:

Over a billion people worldwide are Vitamin D deficient….are you one of them?

TWO

Include High-Intensity Activities that take your heart rate to Zone-3.

Let me explain.

Your Maximal Heart Rate is 220-Your Age

Zone 3: 85–95% of your MHR.

When you do heavy weight lifting, and HIIT’s your heart needs to work hard to support this heavy work.

Your fast twitch muscle fibres are worked.

Not only this results in a substantial increase of your muscle mass, but also in releasing large quantities of hGH (Human Growth Hormone).

hGH, as we know, is also termed as ‘Fountain of Youth’.

This hormone not only helps to burn a lot of fat but is also responsible for cell growth, cell reproduction and regeneration.

After the age of 30, hGH starts to rapidly decline and doing HIT’s can trigger the release of this amazing hormone that can keep you youthful, strong and energetic.

Related posts:

HIIT or Steady State Cardio?

14 Awesome Benefits Of Weight Training

 

THREE

Intermittent Fasting

A study states that a 24 hour fast can increase hGH in women by 1300% and in men by 2000%

Every month or so, you can include a 24 hour fast to gain this benefit.

Besides this practice, I also highly recommend Intermittent Fasting.

No it’s not a fad diet, but instead its a pattern of eating that has been followed for millions of years by our ancestors.

Its a combo of famine and feast.

During famine (periods of underrating ) you avoid food and just drink water.

However, this can be modified by simply having green tea, black coffee or something very light that’s easy to digest fruits, soft boiled eggs etc.

Then Feast.

This is the time you can overeat. This is your feeding window.

You can however, do IF based on your own lifestyle.

You can know more about my pattern of eating here.

Fasting is super beneficial for us humans and genetically we have evolved that way. There is no two way around it.

 

FOUR

Stand Stand and Stand some more.

If you think I am crazy doing this, read this:

According to a BBC report:

“The whole concept of sitting as the norm in workplaces is a recent innovation, points out Jeremy Myerson, professor of design at the Royal College of Art. “If you look at the late 19th Century,” he says, Victorian clerks could stand at their desks and “moved around a lot more.”

Here is Winston Churchill working on his standing desk

Related:

Is chronic sitting the new smoking?

FIVE

WALK

I know what you thinking. You’ll be like Akash, are you serious walking? Walking is for old people, bro?

Ok, hear me out.

Most of us are chronic sitters. We sit on an average for 8–10 hours a DAY!

That’s way too much and against our genetics. Even if you feel you go to the gym few times a week, and play a sport, but if you are a chronic sitter you are going to have problems later on.

This meta-analysis proves this.

Now, the first thing I recommend is

Buy a fitness band.

According to this study, wearing a wearable device can increase your walking by 27%.

You will average around about 2500 steps a day. That’s way too sedentary. Research of James O Keefe on hunters/gatherers suggested that our ancestors used to average at least 5 miles to 8 miles a day.

That’s easily more than 10,000 steps.

My suggestion is to start by keeping 5000 steps as a target and then gradually increase it to 7,500.

Still not convinced?

Well, my job is not to convince you….

Its to educate and empower YOU, in the end, decisions lies in your hand.

Here are some numbers that suggest the number of pounds you can lose in about a years’ time only if:

You stand for an additional 3 hours per day, using a standing desk variation

&

Increase you step count from 2,500 to 7,500.

The difference is roughly 6,000 steps daily. This amounts to an extra burn of roughly 150-200 calories which then adds up to 60,000 calories/year.

1 pound of body fat has 3,500 calories, and that close to 18 lbs of fat burned annually with just walking.

And yes, all the calories burned comes purely from your fat cells!

Yet another article on BBC claims that just by standing an extra 3 hours per day you are burning 0.7 extra standing versus sitting.

This may not look like much, but when you add it up, it comes to about 50 calories per hour.

And if you only stand 3 hours extra per day, five times a week, that comes to about 750 calories and over the course of a year, it’s about 30,000 extra calories!

That’s 10.2 pounds of fat burned!!

Grand Total from Standing + Walking: 18lbs + 10.2 lbs = 28.2lbs of body fat.

What do you think about these unconventional health hacks?

Do you implement any of these in your lifestyle? Have any questions you like you ask, let me know in the comments below!

How to Balance These Hormones To Burn Belly Fat

Cannot seem to burn belly fat?

Do you seem to hit a weight loss plateau?

Can’t seem to move the weight scale even though you seem to be doing everything right like eating correctly and exercising enough?

Well, there can be many reasons for the same, some of the lesser-known but important ones are listed in this article.

In this post, I want to discuss hormones. Your body’s endocrine system or your hormonal system is a very delicate system and due to various reasons like exposure to environmental toxins, stress, lack of sleep, excess sugar, alcohol, caffeine they may be thrown out of balance which may be a strong reason behind your body stubbornness in shedding weight, particularly around the belly area.

Your body’s endocrine system or your hormonal system is a very delicate system and due to various reasons like exposure to environmental toxins, stress, lack of sleep, excess sugar, alcohol, caffeine they may be thrown out of balance which may be a strong reason behind your body stubbornness when trying to burn belly fat, particularly around the belly area.

Let’s discuss three of the most powerful hormone that may cause many health issues especially fat gain when not rectified:

Estrogen: Estrogen is a female sex hormone, but men also have it in limited quantities. In right quantities, estrogen plays important functions in both men and women. But when you become estrogen dominant, i.e. the level of estrogen increases in your body this can be very bad and lead to a host of health issues.

In most cases, the way we accumulate excess estrogen is through our diet and the environment. When we eat foods like soy, or animals which are fed hormones, antibiotics, or eat vegetables and fruits which are treated with pesticides, and other harmful toxic compounds we accumulate estrogen in our bodies.

How can you tell if you are estrogen dominant?

If you are women, and have PMS, fatigue, headaches, too much weight around your hips, and abdomen area and have a really hard time losing weight than you are estrogen dominant.

For men, if you have low libido, little motivation, increased weight around your abdomen area, and can’t seem to gain or even retain lean muscle mass then you are estrogen dominant. One other common condition in men is gynecomastia, that is men with too much estrogen in their system may start developing male breast.

burn belly fat

Here are some of the ways that will allow you to lower estrogen levels in your system:

Minimize your toxic overload including xenoestrogens like BPA found in plastic products. Besides this, try and eat as much organic produce, and avoid any commercially raised meats and dairy which are full of antibiotics, pesticides and other artificial hormones.

Increase your omega-3 content by eating fish, free from mercury. If you don’t eat fish, I highly recommend you supplement with a fish oil, better yet a krill oil. You also need to reduce your intake of omega-6 which is found in vegetable oils like sunflower, saffola etc and replace these oils with more healthier versions like ghee and/or coconut oil.

Reduce or completely cut down your alcohol intake as alcohol increases estrogen levels.

Insulin

Insulin is a hormone released by the beta cells of your pancreas. It helps sugar move from your blood to your cells where it can be used for energy or stored as glycogen in liver and muscles. If you eat too many carbs (especially in the form of simple sugars like cakes and pastries) too often, more insulin is released to combat that extra sugar. Over time, your cells become insensitive to the excess insulin, which ultimately leads to insulin sensitivity.

The higher your insulin levels, the worse your insulin resistance. Elevated fasting insulin is the single greatest marker for assessing a person’s risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Your fasting insulin levels can be determined by a blood test. A normal range should be less than 5, ideally less than 3. If your insulin is above 5, aim to reduce your sugar intake to bring it down.

Here are some ways to get your fasting insulin to less than 5:

You need to go low-carb. Less than 100g a day, ideally somewhere between 20-50grams a day. You can do this for few weeks, or longer if you feel you can sustain this kind of diet. However, once you got the boost by lowering your carbs and have started to feel significantly better you can stabilize your carb intake between 100g to 200g based on your total caloric intake.

Exercise more as studies have shown it can dramatically improve insulin sensitivity.

Going low-carb is not the only solution, you need to completely eliminate processed or refined carbs like white rice, white bread, and all forms of sugar. Ideally, you should avoid fruits for a short while, until your fasting insulin levels are normalized. You can re-introduce them eventually.

Increase caloric intake from healthy fats like avocados, coconut oil, ghee, nuts, egg yolk, whole cow’s raw milk etc to compensate for the reduced carb intake.

Cortisol

Cortisol is called the ‘Stress Hormone’ which is produced by your adrenal gland.

More stress > More Cortisol > Increased Appetite > More food > Weight gain.

Please note some people respond to stress differently. They stop eating and reduce weight, which is not healthy because they don’t just lose fat but also lose lean mass.

Imagine a time when you were super stressed about something, and you ate a whole tub of ice-cream?

I have….

Most overweight [or obese] people develop a not-so-good relationship with food. A term called emotional eating comes to my mind when I think about this. Of course, emotional eating is only linked with junk food. I mean you don’t go crazy eating crazy amount of broccoli when you are stressed right?

Here are few solutions you can implement that will reduce your stress and allow you build a good relationship with food:

Commit to Mindful Eating, once every week, yes just once: Next time when you sit for your meals, try and not watch TV, and eat in silence whenever you can.

First, enjoy the smell and sight of food. Take the first bite and put the fork down. Close your eyes, and really cherish the flavors and the taste. Chew properly and realize how we have then the tendency to swallow quickly and eat the next bite!

Let me know how that goes!

Meditate: You don’t have to sit in a lotus pose for 20 minutes, but instead mindfulnesses can be done for few minutes spread throughout the day. Just pause and make the effort!

Mindfulness can be practiced during mundane tasks—when you are doing your dishes, stopping at a traffic light, or even waiting in line to withdraw cash from ATM, just pause from your “automated thinking” and just be.

Over time, through meditation and mindfulness, you will start to build a better relationship with your food plus lower your stress overall.

Have any doubts or questions? Let me know in the comments below!

5 Surprising Reasons You Are Not Able to Reduce Belly Fat

#1 You are not eating less than your TDEE.

The first law of thermodynamics is the MOST important law to consider when your goal is to lose weight. What it essentially means is that if you eat more calories than you can burn you will gain weight and vice-versa. Even if you are doing everything right (including the reasons that I have mentioned in this post), if you don’t eat LESS than your body burns, you will not lose weight. PERIOD!

Please note, the type of calories matter too—I mean don’t expect to eat junk food and lose weight. While in short term you may lose weight even if you eat junk (provided that you are eating less than your TDEE), but besides seriously damaging your health, you will clog up your metabolism, will lose more lean muscle than fat, and end up gaining all the weight back once you start to increase your calories, and trust me when I say this, in long term you will increase your calories as overeating is a serious concern in our modern society!

Besides emotional eating, which is one of the reasons linked to overeating, foods that you find today in the markets have been chemically altered. Food companies spend billions of dollars every year in R & D to ensure that ‘no one can eat just one’. That’s the trademark line for one of the companies that manufacturer chips. Sure, they want you to eat the whole packet.

Related Posts:

How to Lose Belly Fat [2-3] Inches in less than 21 Days | A Step-By-Step Guide | Part-1

How to Lose Belly Fat [2-3] Inches in less than 21 Days | A Step-By-Step Guide | Part-2

#2 Your metabolism has become sluggish and slowed down due to toxic overload.

Besides eating chemically altered foods, you are also ingesting huge amounts of toxins not just via food, but also through the air, and the water that you bathe in and drink.

Only in the last 75 years, more than 80,000 chemicals have been created. Our bodies have tolerated and adapted to toxins over millions of years but not these types chemicals that have been man-created especially after the industrial revolution since World War-2.

If you are suffering from symptoms like bloating and gas, have frequent constipation, have bad breathe or an offensive body odour, suffer from frequent colds and flu then you are most probably in a state of toxic overload!

As a result, your liver and colon which are your body’s main detox organs are overloaded and overburdened. When this happens your liver cannot metabolise the fat which comes from the small intestine in semi-digested form. In this scenario, your sluggish liver simply dumps it back into the bloodstream which then gets deposited as adipose tissue and you become fat.

Toxins also impair and disrupts your weight and appetite regulation cycle by altering your delicate hormonal balance which then slows down your metabolism. This problem is aggravated by the fact that most of us are not eating enough fiber! If you are women you need about 25+grams of fiber and 40+g of fiber if you are a man. Data shows that we are only getting on an average of 12g /day which is clearly not enough.

Fiber, as we know, is what our colon needs to do its job properly. When this happens the colon is NOT getting the support it needs to remove the toxins and other undigested particles from the body. Over time, these toxins are reabsorbed and send to the overworked liver to be broken down causing more problems and more weight gain.

According to Ann Louise respected nutritionist and detox pioneer, the more toxic your body becomes the more difficulty you’ll have losing weight.

Related Course:

burn belly fat

#3 You are not moving enough:

It’s possible to lose weight with dieting alone, but its short lived. Let me explain. 1 pound of fat has 3,500 calories, so you are required to create a deficit of 500 calories daily from your diet in order to drop 1 lb /per week (500*7=3500). But the reality is WAY different than simple solutions like this. Weight loss is never linear. Your genetics are designed to love body fat.

Being in a caloric deficit signals the body that you are under threat causing the body to slow down it’s metabolism to preserve fat mass. Your body works under the assumption that food is scarce (remember our genetics were formed millions of years ago where our forefathers were hunters/gatherers and had no idea where their next meal would come from, so their genes adapted to love fat tissues as a survival mechanism.)

By the way, when you add exercise when trying to lose weight, guess what happens to your metabolism—it goes through the roof:)

#4 You have nutritional imbalances:

When you eat a diet comprising of complex carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats and enough fruits and vegetables your body receives all the nutrients and phytonutrients it needs to function effectively. This sends a strong signal to your brain which says something like this: “Hey Buddy, I am full, don’t eat more”.

But when you eat a diet which is deficient in these nutrients that your body needs, you start to crave. These cravings are simply a cry from your body to nourish it with nutrients it requires to function effectively.

But you assume cravings for hunger and eat more.

Now, I don’t need to point out the fact that when cravings strike you don’t reach out for broccoli or apples, do you? Instead, you choose pizzas, doughnuts, and chips which overall results in more cravings over time and leads to an addiction. Did you know studies have confirmed the fact that sugar is more addictive than coke (no-no not the soft-drink, but coke)? Check this study out.

So just like millions of others, you become a sugar-addict. Sugar, as we all know, is ‘The Biggest Reason’ for the obesity epidemic worldwide where approximately 2 billion people worldwide are overweight out of which 600 million are obese.

#5 You have a leaky gut and compromised microbiome:

Remember this phrase: “You are NOT just what you eat, you are what you digest and absorb!

It is estimated that there are 100 trillion bacteria live in the human gut, primarily in the large intestine.

Foods like vegetable oils [omega-6], high sugar foods, stress, less sleep, robs us of good bacteria in our intestines- the type of bacteria that we need to lose weight and maintain good health. You also get chronically inflamed which then leads to weight gain and poor health.

For most people when they think of their gut, they think bloating, gas or heartburn. It much more than that. Infact some scientists are calling the gut ‘the second brain’. It’s where your health originates from, and in essence, the latest science points towards the fact that you are as healthy as your gut is!

So doesn’t it make sense to keep your gut in top condition?

Do you suffer from any of the reasons that I have listed in this post? Have any questions or doubts? Let me know in the comments below!

Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good For Weight Loss? Is It Safe To Drink?

Almost six months back, I was looking for ways to lower my coffee intake. I wake up somewhere around 5 am and don’t have my first meal until 1 pm.

That’s 8 hours with no food. Earlier, I used to rely on at least 5 cups of coffee to help me sustain until my first meal. But having following this ritual now for few years, I felt that my adrenal could use a break.

See if you are having organic black coffee and consume it without any sugar or just a pinch of stevia or unprocessed honey, then you are alright, studies have shown that coffee has many health benefits. But if you add milk, sugar etc, you lose those benefits. Either way, I never felt good after my third cup.

I wanted a liquid that would sustain my fasting and provide me with the energy to start my day well and help me detoxify. I started doing my research and one name kept cropping up again and again. So I thought I should give it a try.

The first time I tried it, honest to God, I didn’t like the taste, but then after reading about its amazing health benefits I thought I will give myself a month and if I still don’t like it, I will stop using it.

It didn’t take me long enough to absolutely start cherishing this fabulous liquid which some say is more than 2000 years old.

In fact Hippocrates the father of modern medicine gave it to his patient to help them heal their bodies.

Ladies and Gents…<<Drumrolls>>

…Its ‘Apple Cider Vinegar’

This is the liquid that I am going gaga over. There are many brands of apple cider vinegar out there, but what you should look for is something which is raw, organic, unfiltered and unpasteurized and I feel Dr. Bragg’s is the best brand out there.

Benefits of Raw, Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar 

The top benefit of this apple cider vinegar is that it helps stabilize your blood sugar.

For example, let’s say you have 2 slices of white bread. Now white bread is pretty high on the glycemic index and will raise your blood sugar quickly. 

But if you have apple cider vinegar along with it, you can lower your blood sugar by 34%! 

A study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition proves this fact.

A few other studies support this fact by confirming that apple cider vinegar helps by lowering your blood glucose and improves insulin sensitivity. 

This is good news for people who have type 2 diabetes or anyone who is pre diabetic.

I have always stressed that managing your insulin levels is a very significant step towards lowering your weight. 

Besides weight loss, ACV also helps lower your cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of heart disease

This is because of a compound called acetic acid. 

How is Apple Cider Vinegar Created

The process of creating apple cider vinegar involves fermenting the sugar naturally present in apples by adding yeast and bacteria to the cider. Over time, the cider turns into alcohol and then vinegar.

The distilled variety looks clear in the bottle. Still, raw, unfiltered, or unpasteurized apple cider vinegar contains cloudy bits that float around in the mix are called the “mother” and are formed by natural enzymes during fermentation. It is gut-friendly and safe to be consumed.

Apple cider vinegar doesn’t contain any vitamins or minerals other than a minimal amount of potassium, calcium and magnesium. However, apple cider vinegar does contain amino acids and antioxidants like gallic acid, catechin, chlorogenic acid, and caffeic acid. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S175646461930605X.)

How Much Apple Cider Vinegar to Take Daily

Start by adding 5ml of apple cider vinegar to 100 ml of water. Then, slowly sip it for 30-60 minutes. After that, you can gradually increase the quantity to 15ml added in 250ml of water. 

If you want to consume more, you can add another tablespoon to your salads, especially when having a high-carb meal.

Lastly, never drink it straight up; obviously, you would hate the taste, but it may just burn your food pipe, so always dilute it with water or pour it over your salad.

What’s your experience with Apple cider vinegar? Let me know in the comments below!

5 Worst Fattening Foods That You Should Never Eat

Unfortunately, some of the best-tasting foods are worst for your health. This is no secret.

But do you really know how bad these foods really are?

When we mention soft drinks, pizzas burgers, french fries etc, we know they are high in calories, offer no nutritive value and so forth.

But there are certain man-made chemicals and compounds in them that can cause havoc in your body and cause degenerative diseases over time.

So if you think that you are simply eating these foods in moderation, and justify them by jogging an extra 30 min on the treadmill, well, its time to think again.

These foods are the worst offenders and destroy your health way beyond than simply adding calories to your diet.

Let’s delve in some hard science.

Note: More you know how bad these foods are, more you will be conscious of them and I can promise you that you will start taking steps towards eliminating them as time goes by. If you think you are ok by eating these foods in moderation, at least don’t feed these poison to your kids.

Soft Drinks: Soft drinks are a multi-billion dollar industry and account for the majority of the beverages found around the world.

According to this study, soft-drinks contribute 7.1% of total energy intake and represent the largest single food source of calories in the US diet. Furthermore, the rise of obesity and type-2 diabetes in the United States parallels the increase in sugar-sweetened soft drink consumption.

This is not surprising as just one can of coke/Pepsi contains about 40 grams of sugar including high corn fructose sugar.

This is equivalent to 10 teaspoons of sugar. To combat the sugar, your body releases lots of insulin which is a fat-storage hormone.

Over time, this results in you becoming insulin resistant which ultimately leads to type-2 diabetes.

Also, don’t forget the high corn fructose sugar, which is made from genetically modified corn. Fructose can only be metabolized by your liver and combined with corn, can lead to a fatty liver.

Besides sugar and HCFS these soft drinks have artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose which can have a very harmful effect on your body.

All you are drinking is a sugar-laden drink with absolutely zero nutritive value and some caffeine in it. I strongly advise against drinking any soft drinks ever.

Healthier Alternatives: Green tea, matcha tea, vegetable juice, lemon water.

Chips/French Fries: The next foods in the line-up for absolutely worst food that you can eat are chips and french fries. Chips contain trans-fat which are the worst kind of fat you can eat.

Trans-fats are created when hydrogen molecules are added to vegetable oils.

This converts these oils from a liquid to a solid. Trans-fats are added to chips and hundreds of other processed foods items that are found in the supermarket as they increase the shelf life and make them taste better. Trans fats are associated with an increase in the risk of chronic heart disease.

According to dietary data from participants in the Nurses’ Health Study, where 85, 095 women took part in an 8-year study, the findings supported the hypothesis that consumption of partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (trans-fats) may contribute to the occurrence of CHD.

French fries are no different and are made from potatoes which are fried in vegetable oils like soy and corn oil. These polyunsaturated fats turn rancid when heated at high temperatures. These oils can create aging, inflammation and weight gain, especially around your belly area.

So the next time, if you are ordering at McDonald’s and the friendly staff asks if you would like to add fries to your order, show them this article..just kidding:) Just say No!

Healthier Alternatives: Home Made Sweet Potato Fries made with coconut oil.

Donuts/Muffins: This category of foods like doughnuts, muffins, cookies, are made from white flour, are loaded with sugar and trans-fats. They are very high in calories and offer no nutritive value of any sort. Over time, these foods cause you to become insulin resistant which then ultimately leads to type-2 diabetes.

Healthier Alternative: Homemade cookies made with natural ingredients including whole-wheat flour, honey, stevia.

Pizzas: Pizzas are bad. They are made from refined white flour and processed meats. They are extremely high in calories. One medium slice can give you at least a few hundred calories.

Healthier Alternative: Homemade pizza made from whole-wheat flour and grass-fed meats and/or organic vegetables

Vegetable oils: Conventional wisdom portrays vegetable oils like sunflower, soy oils, etc as healthy. But that’s far from the truth. In reality, they are highly processed and can cause inflammation and are linked to increased risk of cancers.(1,2,3)

Healthier Alternative: Cold pressed coconut oils, ghee.

Bottom line:

Any foods which are fried, made from vegetable oils, have added sugars, trans-fats, white flour or any other refined carbs need to be completed avoided. Instead, choose the healthier alternatives that I have provided.

What do you think of this list? Would you like to add any foods that you think might make this list? Let me know in the comments below!

The most effective Habit to lose weight and keep it off permanently

Resisting unhealthy/fast foods is like standing at the edge of the cliff and hoping gravity won’t pull you down” Unknown

You just can’t survive on boiled chicken or broccoli all the time. I tried eating clean 100 percent of the time for a short period, but unfortunately, I gave in and that resulted in a massive binge for few days!
After which I decided to stick to 80/20 (sometimes 90/10 when I am cutting) and I strongly feel its the easiest and the most effective strategy to eat healthy in the long run.
This rule has literally changed my life, and it will change yours too if you start applying it diligently every day. But first, let’s quickly understand what it really means.
80/20 rule means that 80 percent of the time, you will eat super-healthy—only whole foods like pasture raised eggs, whole cows milk, brown rice, beans, lentils, chicken breast, veggies fruits etc—basically food items that don’t have an ingredient list!
And 20 percent of the time you allow yourself to satisfy your cravings. Red wine, pizzas, white bread—basically food items that have an ingredient list.

Action Plan:

Say your daily caloric consumption is roughly 2000 calories. When you apply 80/20 rule, 20 percent of calories can come from unhealthy food items. 20% of 2000 will be 400 calories.
Here is a Table to illustrate this habit better:

Screenshot 2017-02-11 13.04.05

Add or subtract food items as per your liking. However, do ensure that you stick within the 10-20 percent range by checking out their caloric content and making a table similar to this.

How to lose weight and keep it off permanently

This is an excerpt from my new book ‘Habits for Weight Loss‘.

Dieting just doesn’t work. According to New York times, ninety-five percent of people who lose weight on a diet gain it back, and a significant percentage of people gain back more than they had originally lost, just like in less than a year or two almost everyone who wins the lottery is worse off than before they won it!

Moreover, ninety-two percent people give up their New Year Resolutions of losing weight and becoming healthier!

These statistics are dismal. The obesity rate is at an all-time high, but at the same time, weight loss industry racked in sixty billion dollars worldwide.

How that even possible?

Two simple reasons.

We are an impatient lot. We treat fitness/losing weight as an event rather than a lifestyle. We join a gym and/or start a fitness regime with unrealistic expectations—to lose 10kg (22lbs) for a wedding which is less than a month away, or to fit in our favorite jeans in just a fortnight, or to address our health concern in just a few sessions at the gym.

Although motivated at first, we gradually lose interest as the results are not to our expectations.

The other reason is that motivation and willpower are limited. It comes and goes. Most people rely on motivation and will-power to do the job for them. However, research has shown that we as humans don’t have enough of it.

Given these limitations is there any way out?

Yes, there is. And it starts by Installing Good Habits.

If you want to lose weight and keep it off permanently, then you need to dissolve [not break] your bad habits and build good ones.
According to authors Louise Hay and Cheryl Richardson in their book You Can Create An Exceptional Life: “When you break something, the pieces are still around.” However, when we dissolve something, the whole experience disappears. Basically, habits come from nowhere, and they go back to nowhere.”

So how can we dissolve a habit and build new ones?

By becoming more ‘Self Aware’ This is Step-1.

There is a reason we humans have evolved for millions of years and made it at the top of the food chain. Why? It’s because we have a unique power that millions of other species living on this beautiful planet earth don’t, and that is “Self Awareness.”

Every moment we have choice—to give power to our ‘bad’ habits or to make a choosing to build a good one.

It is you who created those bad habits, and it’s you who is in charge of changing them. There will be times when you will be thrown back by your old habits. Do not despair. Get up and start again. By becoming more self-aware, you will be mindful of the negative thoughts that are giving power to your bad habits.

Once you start noticing that these negative thoughts exist in your consciousness only then you will realize that you have the power to let those thoughts go and not get attached to them.

The next step is to start installing new thoughts. And once you let go of the old thoughts and start thinking good positive thoughts, you will start building new habits.

How this wearable tech changed my life!

Image source: www.goqii.com

I was the Founder and Director of a health club—Jovenus Fitness Pvt Ltd [2010—2016] and most of my time was spent in doing marketing for my gym. This required me to be in front of the computer for most parts of my working hours.

Besides this, writing has always been my hobby, and at that time [2014], I was seriously considering writing a fitness book (by the way, its now available on Amazon). The app on my iPhone told me that my average daily steps were 2,500. I was not really concerned as I trained with heavy weights few times a week and performed few HIIT sessions. I didn’t smoked and was a social drinker. My diet was super-healthy—consisting mostly plant based foods.

Then one day I was reading a book by Tom Rath (which sold more than 6 million copies and was a New-York times best seller), and he stated:

“Sitting more than six hours a day greatly increases your risk of an early death. No matter how much you exercise, eat well, avoid smoking, or add other healthy habits, excessive sitting will cause problems. As soon as you sit down, electrical activity in your leg muscles shuts off. The number of calories you burn drops to one per minute, and enzyme production, which helps break down fat, drops by 90 percent. After two hours of sitting, your good cholesterol drops by 20 percent. Perhaps this explains why people with desk jobs have twice the rate of cardiovascular disease.”

Another study, this one conducted by Rory Heath and published in the British Medical Journal states:
During waking hours, 65 percent of an average person’s day is spent sedentary; that is 9 – 10 hours for adults
Sitting at work accounts for 60 percent of total daily sitting on a weekday, but even on weekends people still sit for 8 hours
Positive associations between cancer risk and sedentary behavior exist:
– Lung cancer risk increases by 54 percent.
– Uterine cancer risk increases by 66 percent.
– Colon cancer risk increases by 30 percent.
The risk of anxiety and depression is significantly higher in those who sit more while increased activity shows better subjective mental health and vitality.

Woo! That was all I needed to ingrain the fact, that besides heavy lifting in the gym few times a week, staying active overall is the key to good health.

The very next day I ordered Fitbit from Amazon. Unfortunately, I lost it soon enough, and since I didn’t had another INR 10,000 ($150) to spare, I started looking for a cheaper alternative.

I came across GOQii and was pleasantly surprised to know they even offered health coaching along with the band. Although I didn’t needed coaching (since I was a health coach myself) I decided to order the band as it looked great value for money— INR 2,000 for the band and 3 months coaching (This may not be the exact figure as I bought it few years back)

The concept of 10,000 steps a day

Our genetics were formed few million years ago, and if you realize our forefathers were almost never obese. With the recent mega-success of the paleo-diets I think it makes sense to turn to our ancestors for some advice.

In James H. O’Keefe’s comprehensive research on the activity of hunter-gatherers, he states:

“A large amount of daily, light-to-moderate activity such as walking was required. Although the distances covered would have varied widely according to hunting and foraging routines, cultures, weather, seasons, ages, etc., most estimates indicate that the average daily distances covered were in the range of 6 – 16 km.”

The equivalent of 6 – 16 km is approximately 3 – 10 miles. The average person’s stride length is approximately 2.5 feet long. That means it takes just over 2,000 steps to walk one mile, and 10,000 steps is close to 5 miles. A sedentary person may only average 1,000 – 3,000 steps a day.

What we need to do is focus on taking at least 5,000 steps every day and gradually increase it to 10,000 steps.

Here are few things you can start doing every day to come close to taking 10,000 steps:

First thing first—Buy a fitness band.

There are many options available on Amazon. Go-Qii by far, is one of the best options available as off now (I only recommend something that I have tried long enough to understand its value— both in terms of cost and quality). You are more likely to walk more, when you have a specific target to work towards and means to measure it throughout the day. This fact has been confirmed by this systematic review.

Make small changes in your routine.

-Take stairs instead of using a lift whenever you can.
-Walk to your grocery store if it’s within a mile distance of your home.
-Similarly walk to your gym if you think you can.
-If you have kids, make sure you choose activities that require everyone as a family to move around, even if it is within the house.
-Use standing desk. According to this study, chronic sitting is touted as the new smoking. Use of standing desk (and sit-stand desk) is widely getting acceptable in offices around the world.
-Whenever you watch TV, make it a point to get up when a commercial come.
-Stand and walk while talking on the phone.

Final Thoughts:

Its been over two years now since I have been wearing my Go-Qii fitness band, and not one day has passed that I have removed it from my wrist (Not even while sleeping; I am serious). My step count averages in the range of 7,000 to 10,000 per day and overall I feel energetic throughout the day. I always aim to stand at least 50 percent of the time, when working on a computer using my standing desk.

Both these habits combined has not only allowed me to burn extra few hundred calories, but have drastically improved my health.

5 Health and Fitness ‘Secrets’ you probably don’t know about

There are people, who are working less harder than you and are achieving 10x more results. They know something that you probably don’t. What is their secret?

I feel these so called “SECRETS” were simple truths that are now buried under all the fluff you find in conventional sources (magazines, trainers, majority of websites, fad diet books etc). Think of these sources as being like our 24/7 news channels. There isn’t much solid content to show on the news for just a few hours a day, let alone 24/7, but the news channels need to show something. So what do they do? They dramatize the smallest thing and show them repeatedly with a twist to keep things interesting.

Don’t follow the masses. Stop doing what everyone is doing. It will not get you anywhere.

Now, lets start with Top 5 secrets that I feel are keeping you away from achieving good health and a fabulous body that you so deserve.

Here we go:
Secret No # 1: You simply need 3 to 6 hours MAXIMUM a week to build an awesome physique and optimize your gene expression. 
Do you think your ancestors (hunter/gatherers) use to jog their way to good health? Note that I always come back to our ancestors for guidance. Know that our genetics were build 2.5 million years ago, and with the recent mega-success of paleo diets, which mimic the diets of ancient hunter gatherers, researchers are turning to a similar concept in fitness and suggesting a fitness routine similar to the physical activity our ancestors engaged in.

If you think about their lifestyle back then, you’ll see that our ancestors were either doing short burst of high intensity activities ( like saving themselves from wild animals or even hunting one ) or low intensity activities for a long period of time, like walking to find shelter or something like that. So forget about doing, long, boring moderate intensity cardio workouts, and perform activities that you are genetically suited for! It disheartens me to see most people in the gym slogging on cardio machines for hours and hours!

Is it a co-incidence that muscle and bodybuilding magazines hardly discuss the golden era of bodybuilding (1940s, 1950s ), where people use to train only 2 to 3 times a week using full body routines with no supplement use and use to look like this:

IMG_1642

I have suffered from conventional wisdom for nearly 10 years doing high volume spilt routines including drop sets, supersets, forced sets, ‘what the fu$k I am doing’ sets, with little results. This was me in 2012 after putting in 10 years of consistent work in the gym:

I didn’t give up, and found better and smarter ways of doing things. Slowly and steadily I started to uncover the secrets and build a better looking and a healthier physique. This is my current physique:

Anyways, in the last few years, I created a training system called FBX ( Fabulous Body Training System ). FBX workout routines are hybrid between full body and conventional spilt routines. You only need to workout three times a week (sometimes even two time will be enough) using mainly compound exercises with minimal use of isolated exercises.

FBX takes into account lifestyle of hunters/gatherers, the latest guidelines from ACSM ( American College of Sports Medicine ) and combines with principles and wisdom from the “Golden Age of Bodybuilding”. FBX will not only allow you to build a good looking, toned physique but will also make you healthy and functional at the same time.

Read 6 awesome benefits of FBX over other conventional routines. I have also listed 15+ FBX workouts in my FREE ebook which are divided into beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. They are further sub-divided into FBX-Cut and FBX-Gain. You can subscribe to my newsletter to get this book and much more!

Secret No #2: You don’t need to eat 5 to 6 smaller meals a day to stay fit and lean.
There are individuals I know of who can follow this meal pattern of eating 5-8 smaller meals a day consistently for very long (I was one of them) and I applaud their dedication and commitment, but is it practical for fathers, husbands, entrepreneurs, working professionals like you and me? I highly doubt it!

I strongly advise against it. Eating needs to be flexible, fun and an enjoyable way to nourish your body. Read more about this kind of eating pattern here.

I think eating smaller meal is probably a strategy orchestrated by the supplement companies. They want you to eat 3 meals and supplement the rest with their expensive protein shakes! 2-3 servings of shakes everyday would mean more profits for these companies.

Do you think Greeks and Romans used to eat 5 to 6 smaller meals a day to keep fit? Let go back in time even further- Do you think hunter/gathers were eating every few hours? Of course not! Yet there were never obese!

Secret No #3: Saturated fat is good for you.
This is probably one of the biggest ‘Secret’ hidden from you for the past four decades. It all started with Ancel Keys and the Seven Countries Study. Keys launched the Seven Countries Study in 1958 to research the relationship between dietary patterns and the prevalence of coronary heart disease. He uncovered a direct link between heart disease from high serum cholesterol and saturated fat intake. However, the study was seriously flawed; Keys started out with data from 22 countries and simply omitted the data from countries that didn’t fit with his hypothesis!

For the last FOUR DECADES, because of him and his deceptive study, we have been eating cereals with skim milk instead of whole egg omelet made in butter!! (Note: Butter is referred to as “white makkan” which is derived from milk in Unites States. Whereas in India butter is the term used for margarine (loaded with trans-fat; worst kind of fat anyone can eat)

In 2010, a meta analysis involving more than 300,000 individuals found no significant evidence that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease or cardiovascular disease.

People, saturated fats are protective! Ditch the cheap, processed vegetable oils like sunflower, rice bran, soy oil that is causing your health great harm, and instead adapt these natural fats like desi ghee, extra virgin cold pressed coconut oil, mustard and extra-virgin olive oil for good health. For more in-depth studies etc read my blog post: Saturated fat good or bad?

Secret No #4: Supplement don’t build bodies.
There is nothing more anabolic and healthy than home made nutritious food. Supplements as the word suggests can only provide the extra nutrients that is missing from your food (due to food processing, mass scale production, high flame cooking etc).
But they can never ever replace your diet. I consume limited supplements on daily basis along with a balanced and nutritious diet. Keep in mind, there are very limited companies that make good supplements. If you consume whey proteins do check out my post on how to choose the right protein supplements for your needs.

Secret No #5: Moderate exposure of sun is good for you contrary to what the sunscreen lotion companies say.
Consider these facts: More than a billion people worldwide are Vitamin D deficient or insufficient, meaning that their blood levels of this important nutrient are less than 20 mg/dl and levels between 20mg/dl and 29mg/dl respectively .
Vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency is the most common medical condition in the world with sometimes devastating, even fatal, consequences. These are not my words but the words of Dr. Michael F Holick, a pioneer of groundbreaking studies in Vitamin D deficiency.

Contrary to popular wisdom, he says, Vitamin D isn’t just for bone health. It is actually a hormone that plays a central role in metabolism and also in muscle, cardiac, immune, and neurological functions as well in the regulation of inflammation.
Dr. Holick further adds that we have been brainwashed into thinking that exposure to sunlight is bad. This is both unfortunate and untrue. There is no substantiated scientific evidence to suggest that moderate sun exposure significantly increases the risk of cancer, even the most deadly form of skin cancer, melanoma. I strongly urge you to get your levels checked today and take your Vitamin D levels in the optimal range. Read my entire post on Vitamin D to know more.

Take away message:

Don’t blindly trust people, governments, non-profit institutions. Questions everything and everyone—even me.

All this knowledge that I share on fabulousbody.com is subjective and is my opinion. I experiment a lot, read tons of scientific data and studies to understand the most effective ways of building a physique that not only looks good but is also optimally healthy.

In the last decade or so, I have consulted thousands of people and hundreds have gotten results using my programs and books. Science is changing almost everyday. I keep updating myself with the latest information and therefore provide you with evidence-based knowledge. I also walk my talk. If I am discussing a concept, a product or a service, be rest-assured I have tired it long enough to know its value, both in terms of cost and quality. I will never recommend you anything, just for monetary gains.

I would love to hear your views on anything that you find interesting in this post. Let me know in the comments below!