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Your common diet and exercise queries ANSWERED

Last updated on: July 5, 2012 16:03 IST

Your common diet and exercise queries ANSWERED



Fitness expert Brinda Sapat addresses readers' weight and exercise-related questions. Illustrations: Uttam Ghosh

What is body mass index?

Does rice intake increase fat?

Is walking equivalent to certain yoga asanas?

In the following pages, Brinda Sapat answers all these fitness-related queries from readers and more.

How can I lose my weight? And how can I lose fat from tummy, thighs and hips? Please tell me good exercises and some tips.

-- Anisha Meena

Hi! Walk, cycle, swim or do aerobics 5-6 days a week for at least 30 minutes at a brisk, non stop pace. Cut down your fat intake. Have 5-6 small meals in the day instead of 2-3 heavy ones and eat a light dinner 3 hrs before bedtime.

Does yoga help you in reducing mental stress, strain?

--Manoj Joshi

Hi! Yoga is an all over stress-releasing form of exercise. The deep breathing and meditation helps to relax the mind and the stretches open up the muscles and joints making you feel more free and rejuvenated.

Do you like the body pain after doing exercise after a long break ?

-- Jazz

Hi! It is a very good sign -- that means the exercise was challenging for the body and in turn your body will burn excess fat and gain muscle. You can feel this similar pain whever your workout is challenging, and not just after a long break. The idea of exercise is to keep pushing the limit. To reduce the intensity of the pain, stretch long enough after your workouts.

Do YOU have a question for Brinda? Log onto to post your queries and have them answered.

Brinda Sapat is Group Exercise Instructor at Gold's Gym, Napean Sea Road, Mumbai. Certified with Training Zone & Progressive Fitness (USA), she has been a fitness instructor for over a decade.


'Should you walk on a ground or the road?'

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How to increase my muscles without doing gym? What exercise I have to do?

-- Anindya Mukherjee

Hi! You can workout at home and get similar results as you would in the gym. Buy some basic equipment like light, medium and heavy dumbells and a pull up bar. Get a certified trainer to plan a workout program for you to follow and have him supervise you through a couple of sessions after which you can workout on your own and you will surely see an increase in muscle size. Make sure you eat enough protein rich foods.

Are evening walks good for health? Should it be in a ground or the road?

-- Sumukh Chincholkar

Hi! A walk, anytime of the day is very good. Its best to walk on a walking track in a park or ground wearing proper walking shoes. The surface and shoes are important to prevent joint and accidental injuries. Walk for at least 30 minutes at a brisk non stop pace.

I am a software engineer. I generally sit almost 10-12 hours in front of the computer, can you suggest me any excercise that can make me fresh, healthy?

-- Ansu Jain

Hi! The best way to feel fresh is to go out of the office for a brisk 20-30 minute walk/jog/run with your favourite upbeat music. The fresh air and walking will make you feel re energised at once.

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'What is body mass index?'

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Hi, I am 26 yrs old, working in an MNC with a lifestyle lacking any physical exercise. I weigh around 78 kg. However recently there is fat depositing around waist and hip region of mine...and hence my trouser size is increasing. Can you help me out as to how can I reduce with this fat deposition?

-- Shuvro Bhattacharjee

Hi! Cut down your fat intake. Have 5-6 small meals in the day instead of 2-3 heavy ones and eat a light dinner 3 hrs before bedtime. Thoughbit is hard for you, try to make the time for even a 20 minute brisk walk everyday. It is very important to keep the body mobile not only to burn fat, but also keep it in a healthy condition. Also try to take the stairs and avoid the elevators. Try to be as physically active as possible.

Hello Brinda i feel that I lose my energy in noon time as I am at my work. So what should be my diet to keep myself energetic throughout the day?

-- Sumukh Chincholkar

Hi! Opt for foods that are light and fresh. Start your morming with a bowl of cereal with skimmed milk, a wholegrain toast, egg white or low fat cheses if you are a vegetarian; and fruit. Eat a mid morning snack of fruit. For lunch you can either have a wholegrain sandwich with a filling of your choice or chapati and veggies. Now here's the important one for you -- to perk yourself up in the afternoon have a handful of nuts and dry fruits and a juice or tea/coffee, based on what makes you feel better. In the evening you can have low fat yoghurt, idlis or raw veggies with a low fat dip. Have a light dinner if sup, salad and lightly cooked fish/chicken/lentils.

What is Body Mass Index? How to calculate it?

-- Amitava Duttamajumdar

Hi! Body Mass Index is a obesity level indicator. It is calculated by dividing your weight in kgs by height in meters. 18.5-24.9 is the normal bmi anything above indicates a range between being over weight to obese and anything below is underweight.

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'Does rice increase fat?'

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I am studing in college but still I am underweight. I am male, what kind of food can I have?

-- Poochi

Hi! Increase the following foods in your daily diet:
1. Carbohydrates like rice, roti, bread, pasta, cereals and fruits
2. Proteins like chicken, fish, egg white, soya, dairy, lentils and pulses
3. Good fats like nuts, olive oil, fish etc
Have a fruit and nut milkshake every evening.
Start weight training under the guidance of a certified trainer.

Does rice increase fat?

-- Anchal Singh

Hi! Rice is a form of carbohydrate and not fat. Carbohydrates are used to produce energy. Any unused carbohydrate will get stored as fat. So as long as you are not eating more than you are burning, it will not increase fat.

Is walking 4-5 kilometers daily not equivalent to different types of asanas?

-- Girish Thakur

Hi! No it isn't. Walking is a 'cardiovascular' exercise which helps to burn fat, improve stamina, condition the heart and lungs etc; while yoga is 'endurance and flexibility' exercises which helps to make the body more flexible and increases muscle endurance, that depending on the type of yoga you perform. You ideally need to do both these exercises and add another one -- resistance training -- which increases muscle and joint strength. That makes a complete workout and an overall fit body.

Tags: Hi , Poochi

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'What is more important to follow -- regular exercise or stricter diet?'

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How to maintain diet routine if I am supposed to work in a BPO in night shifts?

-- Sumukh Chincholkar

Hi! You need to think of your night as the day. So eat a heavy meal like breakfast before you step out to work. Have a snack in 2 hrs, followed by another meal like lunch, another snack and then after you get home have a light meal of soup and lentils/fish/chicken/egg. Give yourself a 3 hr gap before you go to sleep. Make sure you eat lightly cooked foods. Cut down your fat intake.

What are ways to gain weight?

-- PSA

Hi! Increase your intake of carbohydrates ( bread, chapati, cereal, pasta and fruits), proteins ( chicken, fish, egg white, soya, lentils, pulses and dairy) and good fats ( olive oil, fish, nuts). Have a fruit and nut milkshake every evening.
Start weight training under the guidance of a certified trainer.

In weight loss programme, what is more important to follow -- regular exercise or stricter diet?

-- Third Eye

Hi! In a weight loss program, both exercise and diet are equally important. When you exercise you burn your existing calories, making you lose weight. You need to make sure you are eating fewer calories so that less calories get stored, and thus there's less to burn, which speeds up the weight loss process.

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