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Fat to fit: Four weeks to a fabulous you

Last updated on: June 12, 2013 18:02 IST

Fat to fit: Four weeks to a fabulous you

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Fitness trainer to celebrities including Deepika Padukone, Abhishek Sharma chalks out a detailed four-week workout plan for all the couch potatoes! Can you meet the challenge?

Starting workouts after a long gap is a very tricky thing. One should start on a gentle note, gradually preparing the body over the first few weeks else there is a chance of injury.

I am going to guide you to follow an easy exercise routine over four weeks which will just take about 30 minutes of your time each day. You might be tempted to do more or push yourself more but be patient, go easy and have fun with this light routine. If you stick with this for a month, you would have prepared your body to:

1. Start a proper exercise routine on your own.

2. Attempt a sport/adventure activity/trek etc.

3. Join a martial arts/dance or any other class or the gym.

Abhishek Sharma is the author of Fitness on the Go, which can be purchased here!


Photographs: Still from Race 2

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WEEK ONE

In the first week, just start going for a gentle 20 min walk every day. After the first 2-3 days try to walk a little faster.

After the walk, do these gentle stretches which will improve the condition of your spine which is very important before you start more vigorous exercise in subsequent weeks.

If you have not been sufficiently physically active for a long time then your spine is likely to be stiff. Sitting for long hours and working on the computer further deteriorates the condition of the spine. Many people start a vigorous exercise routine abruptly which further worsens the condition of the spine which needs to be gently prepared for strenuous workouts.

1. Cat stretch (3 times)

Do this slowly. In the starting position put your knees and hands on the floor. Breathe out when you tuck your chin in and push your spine up and breathe in while getting into the second position in which you push the stomach down and raise the neck up.


Photographs: Courtesy Abhishek Sharma
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2. Cobra (4 times)

Lie down on your stomach with your palms on the floor, close to your body, next to your chest on either side. Breathe in when you come up raising your upper body to feel a stretch on your spine and neck. Breathe out when you come back to the starting position resting your chest on the floor again.


Photographs: Courtesy Abhishek Sharma
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3. Rabbit (10 to 30 seconds)

Push your hips back sitting on the heels with toes stretched out and resting on the floor. Stretch your hands forwards resting on the floor with your head down towards the floor. Hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds according to your capacity. If you find it difficult to completely put your hips back then modify this to a position where your hips are up with a 90 degree angle at your knee and the head down.

In this week get very active. During the day, take up every opportunity to walk more and take the stairs.

Also start getting more disciplined about your diet, one step at a time. Reduce sugar, fried and processed food. Start eating a fruit everyday and drinking more water.


Photographs: Courtesy Abhishek Sharma
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WEEK TWO

Walk at a fast pace for about ten minutes. Then attempt to jog very lightly for 3 to 5 minutes. After the jog resume walking at a gentle pace for 5 minutes. After this, do the following exercises at a gentle pace to activate your joints and muscles.


1. Toe touching (4 times)

Stand with your feet together. Breathe in when you stretch up and breathe out when you bend forward to reach for your toes. Do it at a slow pace. Hold the final stretch for a few seconds before moving to the second position.

Abhishek Sharma is the author of Fitness on the Go, which can be purchased here!


Photographs: Courtesy Abhishek Sharma

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2. Side stretch ( 2 times on each side -- hold for 5 seconds each time)

Stand with a little more than shoulder width distance between the legs. To stretch to the right, slide your right hand along your right leg and stretch your left hand over the head to your right side. Repeat the same on the left side.


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3. Knee stretch ( hold for 10 seconds)

In the standing position bend your right knee and press it against your body with the help of your hands. Repeat the same with your left leg. After this bend the right knee with you ankle behind you. Use your right hand to press the ankle further to increase the stretch. Repeat on the left leg.

For both these knee stretches you can take support from the wall to balance yourself.


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WEEK THREE

In this week, start with five minutes of brisk walking and attempt to jog for 10 minutes continuously after that. Walk at a gentle pace for about 2 minutes. Do the following exercise after that. This week we will be pushing the body slightly by attempting strength exercises for major muscle groups after some gentle stretches. In the strength exercises, do not push yourself too much; be well within your comfort zone.

Stretches:

1. Vertical and side stretch (2 times on each side, hold for 5 seconds)

Stand with your feet together. Interlock your fingers and stretch your hands above your head. Bend to your right side to feel a gentle stretch on your left side. Hold for about 5 seconds. Come back to the starting position and repeat the stretch on the left side.


Photographs: Courtesy Abhishek Sharma

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2. Forward and backward bend (2 times on each side, hold for 5 seconds)

Stand with your feet a little more than shoulder width apart. Push your hips back and without bending the knees stretch your hands forward towards the floor, your eyes looking 2 feet in front of you. After this come up and bend backward with your hands on your hips throwing your neck back to feel a gentle stretch on the neck and back.


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3. Shoulder rotation (3 times forward and 3 times backward)

From this standing starting position, rotate the shoulder backwards 3 times and then in the forward direction 3 times. Do this slowly and try to make a big circle with your shoulders.

Abhishek Sharma is the author of Fitness on the Go, which can be purchased here!


Photographs: Courtesy Abhishek Sharma

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4. Hip rotation ( 3 times clockwise and 3 times anticlockwise)

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. With your hands on your hips, make a big circular movement with your hips, 3 times to the right and then 3 times to your left.


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Strength exercises:

1. Push ups ( About 6 or according to your comfortable capacity)

Put your knees on the floor and the palms about shoulder width apart, similar to the cat stretch position. Bend your elbows and move your upper body slightly forward and down towards the floor. In the final position your chest and chin should be touching the floor, your body weight supported on your arms. Now push your body up to the starting position. Come up slowly and without a jerk. Listen to your body and do not push yourself too much or do it with a jerk.


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2. Squats (About 6 or according to your comfortable capacity)

Stand with your feet parallel and shoulder width apart. Stretch your hands in front, parallel to the floor to help you balance. Keep the knees slightly bent in the starting position. Bend the knees as you slowly sit on an imaginary chair, your knees at a 90 degree angle and then slowly come back to the starting position to finish one squat.


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3. Back contraction (2 times on each side)

Lie down on your stomach with hands stretched in front of you. Raise the right leg and left hand as well as the neck up. Hold the position for 3 to 5 seconds to feel a contraction on your back muscles. Bring the hand and leg down and repeat with the other hand and leg.


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4. Stomach and core muscles (2 times with one leg and 2 times with both)

Lie down on your back with hands to the side on either side of the body, palms facing down. Raise the right leg to a 90 degree angle while breathing in and bring the leg down slowly while breathing out. Repeat this 2 times with the right leg and 2 times with the left leg. If comfortable, do the same with both legs together. Avoid doing it with both legs if you have a weak or painful lower back.

Abhishek Sharma is the author of Fitness on the Go, which can be purchased here!


Photographs: Courtesy Abhishek Sharma

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WEEK FOUR

This week, we will again go easier like the first week. Walk fast for 5 minutes, jog for 10 minutes and walk for 5 minutes after that. Practice the following gentle stretches sequence after the walk.

1. Sit with spine straight to centre the mind

Sit with the spine straight for about 10 seconds to centre the mind. Take 3 deep breaths.


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2. Stretch the hands up.

Interlock the fingers and stretch the hands up. Hold the stretch for 5 seconds before coming back to the previous starting position.


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3. Shoulders and neck back stretch

In the same sitting position, put the hands back with the fingers touching the floor. Pull the shoulders and throw the neck back. Hold the stretch for about 10 seconds before coming back to the starting comfortable sitting position.


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4. Cat stretch (3 times)

In the starting position put your knees and hands on the floor. Breathe out when you tuck your chin in and push your spine up and breathe in while getting into the second position in which you push the stomach down and raise the neck up.


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5. Upper back stretch

From the cat stretch position, keeping the knees on the floor at a 90 degree angle, stretch the hands forward along the floor with the neck slightly up. In the final position, as you push the upper back towards the floor and neck up - you will feel a nice stretch on the upper back. Hold that stretch for about 10 seconds. Post this stretch, lie down on your stomach for the next stretch.

Abhishek Sharma is the author of Fitness on the Go, which can be purchased here!


Photographs: Courtesy Abhishek Sharma

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6. Cobra stretch (3 times)

Lie down on your stomach with your palms on the floor, close to your body, next to your chest on either side. Breathe in when you come up raising your upper body to feel a stretch on your spine and neck. Breathe out when you come back to the starting position resting your chest on the floor again.


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7. Rabbit (10 to 30 seconds)

Push your hips back sitting on the heels with toes stretched out and resting on the floor. Stretch your hands forwards resting on the floor with your head down towards the floor. Hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds according to your capacity. If you find it difficult to completely put your hips back then modify this to a position where your hips are up with a 90 degree angle at your knee and the head down.

At the end of this week, your body is ready to continue your choice of exercise on your own else start any new fitness routine!
Even after completing this 4 week routine, keep up the sequence of the seven stretches you did in the last week. Do these seven stretches every morning first thing when you wake up. You can do these right on your bed. With the investment of just 3 to 5 minutes every morning, these will make a huge difference to your holistic fitness and in turn your quality of life.

Abhishek Sharma is the author of Fitness on the Go, which can be purchased here!


Photographs: Courtesy Abhishek Sharma

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