Common #fitness #myths decoded

Before you start toiling hard in the neighbourhood gym for those perfect six-pack abs, you must first reject these five commonly cited myths.


There are many paths to a rippling mid section, just as there are many ab myths that need to die.


It’s all about the crunch

Crunches are a pretty useless exercise that burns very few calories, because the rectus abdominus muscles are actually quite small; it would take so many thousands of crunches just to burn off a single pound of fat it is ridiculous to consider it.


Understand that the abdominal muscles are about supporting your torso during a range of activities, holding your internal organs in place. Use a Swiss Ball when attempting the side or reaching crunch.


Spot reduction works

Why oh why does this myth persist? It was busted by comparing dominant with non-dominant arms on tennis players way back in 1971. In the ensuing four-and-a-half decades, no one’s been able to make a scientifically valid case that training your midsection will enhance fat loss from your belly, or from any other body part.


Lose weight via a sustained caloric deficit. Seeing your abs is about losing the fat that covers them, and the only way to do that is to burn more calories each day than you consume until the lines on your midsection show up, and then stay in caloric balance to keep them there. But understand that sustaining ripped abs is anything but easy.


Dieting will target belly fat

Guess what decides where you lose fat first and last? Answer: Mom and dad. Genetics and gender determine where you keep your fat stores, and guys are more likely to keep it in the midsection.It doesn’t matter if you go on a low carb, paleo, vegan diet. There is no diet that has ever been invented that will allow you to target belly, neck, arm, butt or forehead fat.


Know that any diet will work for fat loss as long as it helps you sustains a caloric deficit. So follow a diet that keeps your calories under control, makes you feel energised for athletic performance, bat tles hunger, and is sustainable. Focusing on foods that aren’t heavily refined and contain a lot of added sugar and fat, and choosing more fresh fruits and vegetables instead of cheesy burgers is usually the way to go, but understand that you’re an individual and need to do some experimentation about what works best for you.


Carbs cover abs

No matter what some factually challenged low carb “guru” tells you, there is an indisputable law about weight loss (based on the first law of thermodynamics), and that is creating a caloric deficit. Every controlled metabolic ward study ever done has proven this. It doesn’t matter if your diet is high protein, high fat, or high carb -if you’re in a caloric deficit, weight is lost, and where it’s lost from on your body doesn’t vary.


Focus on unrefined carbohydrates in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain bread, old-fashioned oatmeal, whole wheat pasta and dairy to fuel your exercise sessions. There is no need to go overboard, but if you find your workouts suffering, you may need to up your carbohydrate intake.


Cardio is a must

Plenty of ripped guys got that way with just lifting weights, but they also have well-controlled diets. Cardio can be valuable in burning extra calories. Cardio holds some value for people who want to drink beer, eat pizza, and not worry about calories quite so much. But if you hate cardio, don’t do it. Just don’t expect to reveal your abs if you’re not creating a caloric deficit.


Too much cardio makes you want to eat the entire kitchen. Too slow cardio doesn’t impart as many health benefits, is boring, and doesn’t burn many calories. Go hard and fast, and leave gas in the tank. Do just the right amount so that you’re energised instead of wiped out so it instead of wiped out so it contributes to a caloric deficit rather than makes calorie control harder.

#Interruptions affect #quality of #work

Does your colleague call you out every two minutes just to see his/her picture during college days or a Facebook update even as you try to write an important report?



If the answer is yes and you do not take measures to reduce interruptions during work, quality of your work would suffer, a study suggests.

“People do not realise how disruptive interruptions can be,” said co-author of the study Cyrus Foroughi from George Mason University in the US.

“Interruptions can cause a noticeable decrement in the quality of work, so it’s important to take steps to reduce the number of external interruptions we encounter daily,” Foroughi noted.

For the study, two groups of participants were given time to outline and write an essay on an assigned topic.

One group was interrupted multiple times with an unrelated task, and a control group had no interruptions. Independent graders scored the finished essays on a numbered scale.

The researchers found significantly lower quality in essays completed by the participants who were interrupted during the outline and writing phases than in essays of those who were not interrupted.

In addition, those participants who were interrupted during the writing phase wrote considerably fewer words.

The study appeared in the journal Human Factors.

How to run a #successful #start-up

Establishing a start-up of any kind isn’t easy and managing it is an altogether daunting task. Here are a few tips to lead a new venture competitively.


A vital quality for successful entrepreneurs, leadership skills are important while being at the helm of a start-up. It is niche since holding the reins of a new venture entails effectively managing employees who leave the allure of big organisations to work in a different environment and take up opportunities that wouldn’t usually come their way.

Shubhra Bhardwaj, CEO, founder and director, Ferriswheel (an event management firm) says that styles of leadership change depending upon the size of the company and its employee base.Talking about the distinguishing features of a start-up, he says, “The driving force behind a successful start-up is thinking out-of-the-box. The environment in such a company is also homegrown and informal as opposed to a large company where employees are bound by well laid out codes of conduct.”

According to Andrew Warren Smith, managing director, DDI India, the largest issue confronting start-ups is the risk of failure. “With a 90% failure rate amongst start-ups, leaders must be aware that the odds are stacked against them. Large corporates thrive by maintaining their status quo repeating successes of the past and leveraging scale to remain competitive. Hence, it is important for leaders to back their desire to succeed with innovations that can not only disrupt the status quo, but also carve a niche for the organisation.”

He elaborates further saying that leadership in start-ups goes beyond merely possessing entrepreneurial and commercial skills and has to be coupled with a strong execution capability. “Entrepreneurs today must identify market opportunities and implement robust and sustainable plans that can quickly and efficiently capitalise on these factors.”


An essential quality of a good business leader is to instill a sense of confidence among his her employees. This is especially important in start-ups where individuals are constantly trying to prove their mettle in newer ways.A little pat on their backs can surely help them go a long way.

Says Swapnil Kamat, founder, CEO and chief trainer at Work Better, an executive education and training firm, “Irrespective of the size of an organisation there are a few things that help improve employee morale. Acknowledging their contributions towards the growth of the company, appreciation of the efforts put in and updating them about the progress of the firm are some of the ways to keep them going.”

“As a start-up leader, it’s quite stimulating for me to be around my team whenever difficult situations arise. This brings a lot of positive energy and a sense of oneness to work. One thing that keeps me as well as my team motivated is ongoing communication -addressing work issues, discussing matters and giving honest feedback to each other,” expresses Bhardwaj.


As a start-up leader, it is important to be observant of your people, understand their aspirations and give them timely feedback all year round in order to get the most out of them. It is also important to let your employees know that subject matter experts are as important and vital to an organisation as senior ranking managers, in charge of handling teams of employees.

Secondly, a start-up leader needs to play an active part in helping each team member understand their strengths, weaknesses and what the organisation expects from them.


Be resilient and always on the look-out Leaders of start-ups need to be passionate and ambitious, display high-levels of energy and initiative. Typically dissatisfied with the status quo, they must be competitive and reluctant to take no for an answer. They must also be good at identifying opportunities for new products, services and markets Be confident and engaging Such leaders convey a simple, vivid picture of the organisation’s vision and goal and generate energy and enthusiasm that can invoke passion among employ ees to work towards a common goal Be ready to take risks Leaders of start-ups need to recognise risks and pursue actions that have acceptable levels of risk.

They need to proactively build and align stakeholders, capabilities, and resources for getting things done quickly. They must also be flexible to adapt to change and mend the work environment accordingly Be self-aware and receptive Start-up leaders need to be aware of their impact on others, seek input, be receptive to feed back and take action to improve themselves based such feedback Have a solid vision Your vision of the company is vital and must be backed with conviction. The ultimate test however, is instilling it among employees and encouraging them to put in their best effort towards the company.

How to manage your #work #life #efficiently

While days start to seem shorter for more of us, there are some who maximise the potential every minute offers. Here are five professionals who never run out of time Time is money,’ said Benjamin Franklin.


No other adage seems as pertinent. In a tear ing hurry to catch the 12:23 train and not the one at 12:34, we often find that those 10 minutes make all the difference. Precious seconds determine if we can enjoy that cherished cup of coffee or not have one at all. But for some amongst us, the riddle of time doesn’t prove as difficult. Work, household chores, social interactions -this select group can do it all.

We bring you five individuals who rarely succumb to the clock.


It is hard to ignore Viji Venkatesh’s high energy and excitement. As the country head of Max Foundation, a global health organisation, she is kept busy by patients, cancer campaigns, piles of paperwork and incessant emails. Her day starts with a morning walk, which she terms “is non-negotiable”. She then commutes from Thane to Worli. After a full day or work, you’d usually find her catching a play or having a cup of coffee in Bandra. “I don’t want any minute of the day to be unused. It has to be worthwhile, result-oriented. I believe life has so much to offer. I don’t want to miss out on any of it,” says Venkatesh. “Yes, I have a to-do list. The moment I sit in the car, I get working.The evening commute is spent on Twitter, listening to music etc. But there are still things I haven’t done. Rereading Gone with the Wind, for instance.”


It took us two days, a few missed calls and some texts to finally get in touch with Dr Sudhanshu Bhattacharya. That should perhaps be a fair estimate of how busy he is.Strangely, the surgeon is dismissive of the whole concept of scheduling. He feels that people who say ‘that they are pressed for time’ are just making excuses. Bhattacharya does a full day’s work and insists on getting seven hours of sleep.”One has to be interested in what they are doing -only then is it possible to work and put in as many hours of work they want. If one is unhappy, then work just becomes the number of hours one puts in,” shares the doctor, who has Ajit Tendulkar and Rakesh Roshan as patients. At 68, Bhattacharya is still performing surgeries. “I am still doing a full day’s work. It’s not greed -but a question of self-esteem. Otherwise one will lose oneself,” he adds.


Vishwanathan Anand is always planning. “As a chess player, and I think that’s true for all sportsmen, we function from one tournament to the other. Time is a relative commodity. Two-three days prior to the game, the tension builds up. And it takes another two three days after the event for it to die down,” says the chess grandmaster. Anand’s normal day starts early. Post breakfast, he works out at the gym for one-and-a-half hours. After an early lunch, he works at a stretch for four-five hours and is entirely disconnected from the world. “Two-three days before a tournament, there is no chess. The mind has to be rested,” says Anand. When he is gearing up for a tournament, Anand rests his mind by watching The Good Wife. He also finds House of Cards very gripping. “I have a to-do list and I plan accordingly. But chess is a priority.”


Latif Nathani switches off his cell phone from time to time. “Technology was invented to make life easier for us and help us function better. But we have become slaves to it. We don’t have to answer a text right away or respond to every missed call,” says Nathani.”Everything can be handled. I am not a doctor. My work will not affect a life or death situation. We take too much pressure on ourselves.” Though Nathani travels for about two weeks in a month, he always starts his day with prayer and yoga. For him, it all comes down to compartmentalisation, which in turn helps him perform optimally at work.”The time that I have set aside for myself and my family, I don’t budge from, come hell or high water. The rest of my work time falls into place. I would happily miss a corporate reception to have dinner with my family,” shares the executive.


With the number of marriages heading for splitsville, one can imagine the trouble divorce lawyer Mrunalini Deshmukh would have when trying to prioritise her commitments. She confesses she has a master plan.”One of the reasons why I can manage my day well is because I am an early riser. I am up by 4-5 am and I feel working at that hour is very productive as there are fewer distractions.”

While she feels helpless at court -she can’t control when her case will be scheduled for hearing -she feels that one can try to make the most of the day by not cramming plenty of things into it and focussing on the job allocated for the day. “Often, we have an hour-long meeting which spills over and we end up wasting a lot of time. This is because we don’t allow for patient hearing. Also, if you’ve assigned tasks for the week, ensure they never get carried forward to the next,” she adds.