Tips to attract ‘good’ #energy for your #home

2016-05-07 (19)In Feng Shui, the exterior surroundings are the most important aspects affecting the chi flowing into your home. Hence, looking at the exterior, environment and the interior of a home will help in ascertaining the flaws and the positive trends the building inherits.

Creating balance and harmony through proper arrangement of the interior layout and inviting exterior will ensure that the Feng Shui of the space is beneficial to the occupants in turn giving rise to prosperity and happiness.

It’s a fact that home is where we spend most of our time with the family and all those who are dear and close in our lives. Hence, focusing on the quality of energy, keeping the flow clean and smooth is essential.

In the science of Feng Shui, it is said that chi is influenced by everything concrete in our lives. Our possessions and where they are located can all affect chi energy. Even the layout of our homes and offices affects Chi energy. By adding and taking away objects, changing the positioning of furniture, plants, wall art and more, we can increase our good luck.

Feng Shui has two parts, the visible and the invisible. The visible factors are walls, doors, streets. The invisible factor is chi. This life force energy and predecessor influences are energies of people who previously lived in your house, ghosts, energies in the land. Every person, place and thing is alive with the universal energy called ‘Chi’. Everything is connected by this vital energy that is always changing. When we integrate the Feng Shui principles into our live, we see and interact with the world in a new powerful way.

Understanding the science of Feng Shui and adapting it in the design of homes calls for precision combined with tasteful aesthetics. When we look at a building the first impression we derive determines the kind of energy existing within it and you get a feel about the lifestyle of the occupants too. Comfort and convenience are key factors when planning a home or even a room placement, storage, furniture arrangements and layout.

If you live in a house with bad history, or you’ve had many negative experiences in the house, you need to cleanse the space with saline water, incense sticks and lights. l If you have two or more doors in direct alignment, especially if it is the front door and back door, suspend wind chime or crystal or a moving object to slow down the chi flow.

An attractive, well-kept door will attract good chi, whereas a run-down door will cause bad chi to enter your home.

Clear pathways and keep hallways, driveways, open and clear free for energy to flow.

De clutter attics, lofts, garage and basement and keep them clean.

Pay particular attention to clogged drains and leaky pipes. As conduits for energy, they should be kept clear at all times.

SBS Surendran, Master Feng Shui consultant and traditional Vaastu practitioner

#Workout at #home!

2016-05-07 (18)Sarrah Khilawala speaks to experts about working out at home!

A growing trend nowadays is that of home gyms. Actors, models and even socialites with their crazy work schedules and erratic working hours are discovering that the best way to keep themselves fit is to workout at home and at their own convenience rather than wondering how to juggle work hours with exercise.

Home gyms are starting to become increasingly popular since they don’t occupy as much space and equipment as you’d think. According to celebrity fitness expert Eliyas Qureshi, “Home gyms are for people who have the space to accommodate the required equipment, money to shell out on the equipment and the dedication towards a workout regime.” They can be a little demanding on the pocket but the pros of having one are many.

India’s leading holistic health guru and trainer for the PFMI pageant, Mickey Mehta says, “Exclusivity, convenience and extreme privacy are indeed the pros of having a home gym.” And since privacy is all that celebs vouch for these days, home gyms ensure that they workout in peace within the confines of their home.

Celebs also don’t want to miss out on spending quality time with their better halves and what better way than working out together at their own home gym. However, one needs to give a lot of attention while designing a home gym. “Since it is a reflection of one’s character and personality, it can be as lavish or basic as you want depending on the space and requirement. For example, Anil Ambani is a fitness enthusiast and his gym has equipment that suits the different muscles of his body. Rajshri Birla on the other hand focuses purely on basic fitness and has the necessary equipment to match her requirements,” says Mickey.

A home gym should also be as cost effective as possible says Ketan Ashar, CEO and Technical Director, Qi Lifecare. “The capital investment initially is higher as a lot of money gets blocked in equipment but the long term prospects of a home gym are higher. You can start your gym with as little as Rs 10,000 and exceed depending on an your requirement,” he says.

Master trainer Vinata Shetty says that the cost efficiency home gyms provide is extremely high and convenient as well if a lot of family members use it. “It provides optimum utility for space and money then,” she says.

Equipment in a home gym is very important — you need to carefully pick up machines that will match your space. Treadmills, a multipurpose bench, squat track, swiss balls, yoga mats, a multigym and bicycle are some of the must-haves in home gyms.

Spending time planning the set up is an absolute must, say all experts. Other things to keep in mind include space, ventilation, comfortable flooring, music systems, mirrors, washrooms and a personal trainer (if required) if you plan on having a home gym.

6 steps to #kick-start a #healthy #weight gain #routine

2016-05-07 (17)A person is considered underweight if his or her body weight is more than 20% less than the ideal body weight.

For those of you who fit this bracket, we understand how frustrating it can be when the world looks at you with envy while all you’d rather want are a few curves or definition. But before you decide to eat all the burgers in sight take heed. Gradual weight gain is healthier than sudden drastic weight gain, as sudden weight gain can harm the body, says Shachi Sohal, Senior Dietitian, Dietetics Deptt at Dr. B.L. Kapur Hospital, New Delhi. Here are her top 6 steps to kick-start a healthy weight gain routine.

People may be underweight due to various reasons: Inadequate feeding habits, prolonged meal time gaps, poor selection of foods, increased physical activity without increasing the food intake can lead to energy deficit, are a few of the major reasons for being underweight. Other reasons can be malabsorption due to prolonged illness, diseases such as tuberculosis, cancer, hormonal imbalances (hyperthyroidism) and eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa or bulimia.

Healthy weight gain: Gradual weight gain is always advisable. An increase in 500 kcal per day can result in increasing the body weight by 0.5 kgs per week. Objective should be to restore a desirable weight/ ideal body weight according to one’s age, gender and height. To rebuild body tissues, to maintain a good nutritional status and to maintain ideal body weight are a few reasons why healthy weight gain is important. Easily digestible proteins with higher biological value as milk, eggs, meat, chicken, fish etc. should be taken for tissue building. An intake of 1.5 to 2 gms of proteins can be taken for adequate tissue building. A high carbohydrate diet helps in adequate weight gain and has protein sparing action.

Dietary supplements for gaining weight: Supplements should be taken only in consultation with a doctor/ dietician, only if required in case of nutrient deficiencies. Supplements can cause more harm than benefit as many of these supplement powders contain excess of proteins, which are used by people who are gymming for body building and can overload the work of the kidneys. There can be an increase in BUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen) levels and creatinine levels. Excess of multivitamins can cause hypervitaminosis leading to various problems as diarrhoea, vomiting etc.

Food groups you should consume: Fibre intake should be only sufficient to regulate bowel movements and avoid constipation. Prefer whole grain cereals, sprouts, green leafy vegetables, which provide adequate amounts of fibre as well as nutrients. Fats are a good source of energy, hence can be consumed liberally but excess of saturated fats as ghee, vanaspati etc. should be avoided as in due course of time it may lead to elevated levels of bad cholesterol. Good sources of vitamins and minerals should be consumed to ensure good nutritional status and build up for the deficiencies which may be present. Fruits and vegetables should be taken in adequate which provide essential vitamins and minerals. At least 2 – 3 servings of fruits should be taken.

Food habits that help you gain weight: Chew the food properly to improve digestion. Avoid beverages as coffee and excess of tea immediately after meals, as it hinders the absorption of minerals as iron. Keeping a track of your weight as it is essential to increase approximately 5 to 6 kgs weight per month which is healthy weight gain. Cook smartly using wide variety of food choices which are beneficial for health as make palak pooris instead of plain pooris. Use a variety of fruits and vegetables to make salads, amla pudina chutney, which is a good appetiser. Consuming right type of fats is important because consuming excess of saturated fats increases the levels of bad cholesterol which can cause health hazards as cardiovascular diseases.

Exercise: Exercise plays an important role in gaining weight. Light exercise as walking, jogging, yoga, dancing, meditation etc help in reducing stress, building stamina, improves blood circulation, improves digestion, increases and induces sleep. Thus, promoting better health. Exercise helps in building muscles. Light exercise can be done in gym and light weight can be lifted to build muscle mass.

#Dance #workouts, you cannot miss

Dance workouts, you cannot miss (Getty Images)Achieving the ultimate fitness goal is a never ending process. And if your monotonous fitness regime ceases to motivate you and give the desired results, then here are a few exciting rhythmic workouts to keep you charged.

Bokwa Fitness

This workout is apt for those who are looking for intense cardio aerobic activity, but the interesting part is that it follows a rhythmic format. It is a combination with South African war dance – Capoeira along with kickboxing. The moves are quite vigorous and can help you burn up to 1,200 calories in a single session. “Through the use of fast paced extreme movement, it sums up to be a fun, challenging and an energising full body workout.

If you’re not the one who normally enjoys the gym, Bokwa may be right up your alley, many participants say that the dance doesn’t feel like exercise because they’re having so much fun,” says Ruchika Tolani, an instructor. Since the steps are structured and based on the forms of letters and numbers like L, 3, J, K etc you needn’t count steps, like a traditional eight count followed by most dance-based fitness programs. You can freely move with the beat.

Tabata workout

It is a combination of cross-fit and interval training, it’s also known as the four minute workout. The workout gets it name from Dr. Izumi Tabata, a Japanese physician and researcher also the creator of Tabata. “For someone seeking to experience quick results, then this workout is just perfect. The workout is short on time and tough on fat. Tabata is a unique form of cardiovascular exercise that delivers more healthy benefits than virtually all traditional physical exercises,” says Lavina Khanna, an instructor.

Struggling with busy schedules and setting unachievable fitness goals is everybody’s story. This training pattern may condense the time spent on exercise and help get desired results.


This dance workout is a fusion of various international styles. The dance form has sassy moves which comprise of street and urban styles. So that’s where the energy level rises.

Twerking, whacking are the dance hall moves that make the workout fun. It’s a high intensity regime and can make you shake your leg even on Hindi as well as international numbers. You’ll sweat it out with this high power-packed workout resulting in over all toning.

Ideal #diet before and after #workout

2016-05-07 (16)What you eat before and after a workout is as important as the regimen itself…

An effective workout depends on many factors – the most important one being your diet. What you eat before a workout prepares your body for the stress and the meal after that is responsible for muscle building and body repair. Here’s what you must keep in mind so as to tailor your meals and maximise your workout.

Pre workout:

Get the carbs

Give your body a dose of carbohydrates one hour before you hit the gym. Eat a fruit (apple would be ideal). You may also have toast, cornflakes or idlis. You could also just eat a banana for the complex carbohydrates it provides. These foods need comparatively little time to digest, are easy on the body and provide you with maximum energy during the workout. Also, ensure that you drink a glass of water before the workout, so that your body is well hydrated.

Never go hungry

Do not hit the gym on an empty stomach. The stress that exercise has on the body, combined with the lack of sugar (energy) will lead to hypoglycemia, a condition that will make you prone to fatigue.

After a heavy meal

For a diabetic, it is very important to workout soon after a heavy meal. However, normal individuals must maintain a gap of two to three hours between a heavy meal and the workout. The logic is to allow the sugar level in the body to reach an optimum level.

Post workout:

Use the window

During a workout, the level of cortisol (also known as the destructive hormone) in the body increases, thereby making it prone to infections. That’s precisely why the hour just after a workout is known as the ‘window period’, as it allows for infections to enter the body. Use this opportunity and eat as soon as possible.

Get a drink

The body loses salt due to sweating. That is why it’s very important to compensate via a rich source of electrolyte such as ORT.

Have proteins, but…

Do not rely completely on proteins for your supply of energy, as they are far more difficult to digest and take a toll on your kidneys. To aid digestion, make sure you include lots of greens in your meal, as they are rich in fibre.

Create supplements

The body needs a high-protein diet for muscle building. However, relying on supplements is not the answer. The best option for a post workout DIY supplement is to take the watery part of curd (that is very rich in proteins), chop a banana and apple into it and put it in the blender. It’s a perfect combination of proteins and carbohydrates. Not to forget, the apple is rich in fibre.

#Pizza – the new #vegetable?

2016-05-07 (15)The Obama administration apparently has just said so. Purists and food lovers back home debate on whether it’s a passing fad or if the pizza finally makes the healthy mark. Ismat Tahseen reports.

It’s being hailed as the biggest nutritional blunder in America since when President Ronald Reagan tried to declare ketchup as a vegetable to cut costs. And now with the final version of a US spending bill released recently, it may unravel the school lunch standards the Agriculture Department proposed earlier this year to allow tomato paste on pizzas to be counted as a vegetable. This current step is also being ridiculed, with nutrition advocate Margo Wootan of the Center for Science in the Public Interest telling a website, “It’s ridiculous to call pizza a vegetable.” Foodies and health lobbyists back home debate on whether the pizza ought to get into healthy ‘veggie’ garb.

‘It’s very wrong’ Mumbai health experts are shunning the move. “Calling pizza a vegetable just due to its sauce is outrageous,” says diet and naturopathy expert Sejal Vora. “It can never happen here, because for one, the pizza served to us often has this pureed industrial sauce that is full of additives and preservatives and stored for days. Let’s assume you may put fresh tomatoes on it, what about the maida or white processed base that is has? It’s extremely harmful, so is the cheese content. So in the name using a tomato or two you’re giving people other poisonous ingredients. Pizzas and burgers are the leading cause of obesity worldwide and the chief cause of lifestyle diseases back in India too, so we must watch what we eat,” she advises. Adds dietician Priya Karkera, “Even ketchup as a vegetable is a totally wrong notion. No pizza sauce can have the critical number of nutrients and vitamins and I would never classify a pizza as a vegetable. Perhaps switching the usual sauce for a home-made salasa one, may help a little but that’s it.” Foodies, say ahoy! “Anyone who calls pizza a vegetable must be out of their minds, but this could be a temporary phase,” says foodie Kunal Vijaykar, adding. “If my ‘guess-timate’ is right they first said egg yolk was bad for cholesterol, then they said it was good for cholesterol then chocolate and butter was bad and then good and so on, so the see-saw goes on there.” His own favourite? “A really thin crust pizza with lots of meat and cheese, oh and you can take the crust away,” he laughs.

What happened so far… Under a House spending bill, pizza would still count as a vegetable serving — without extra sauce. It reverses previous school lunch standards proposed by the Agriculture Department limiting the use of potatoes and allowing tomato paste on pizzas to be counted as a vegetable.

#Work-#life #balance

Work-life balance (Getty Images)Keep your workout routine in sync with your lifestyle. The crisp winter breeze, layers of fashionable clothing and sheer joy of celebrating with loved ones; what’s not to love about this season? If there’s anything that can steal the charm of winters, it has to be your own body’s physiological response to the chilly weather. “Winters can make one sluggish. Of course, it all depends on which part of the country you call home. The best way to stay motivated is to stay in well-lit places,” explains a Fitness Expert.

Burn calories indoors

Apart from weather conditions, winters are also the unofficial party season of the year. It’s difficult to make working out a priority when you have frequent weddings, engagements and anniversaries. Enter home workout routines. Working out within the confines and comfort of your home can be only as rewarding as the amount of effort you are willing to invest. If individual yoga asanas have always been your go-to formula, push the boundary this season and try surya namaskar, the 12-step holistic yoga workout that strikes the right balance between muscular stretching and cardiovascular exercise.

Balance is key

Partying hard this season while still maintaining a healthy lifestyle can feel like a tightrope walk. The key to acing this game is moderation and compensation.”Opt for social gatherings during lunch or early evenings so you can compensate by eating a healthy dinner. Avoid binge eating or drinking excessively. If you really can’t avoid guilty pleasures, choose snacks that are not deep fried and fruit-based desserts,” advises lifestyle consultant Dhruv Singhal.

A #healthy start

2016-05-07 (14)The fact that breakfast is the king of meals is common knowledge. But do you know what ingredients and nutrients make for a delicious, nourishing breakfast? Here’s how to pack a nutritious punch with your first meal of the day

Well begun is half done,” ” said Aristotle. This is particularly true about your breakfast which, if consumed in the right measure, with the most appropriate nutrients, can refuel your body, repair worn-out tissue and leave you feeling positive and energetic all day. While there are no rules about what comprises a wholesome breakfast, as each individual’s energy demands differ significantly based on lifestyle and heredity, it helps to bear a few tips in mind while planning a quick yet nutritive breakfast for yourself and your family. “A healthy breakfast always includes a good source of low-fat dairy products, protein and some fresh fruits or vegetables. A breakfast like this ensures you don’t suffer from a drop in blood sugar mid-morning, which can make you both, lazy and restless.Choosing amongst healthy foods like whole-grain breads, lean meats, and even nuts for breakfast is always a good idea,” says Dr Sonia Narang, a Delhi-based nutritionist.


There is a certain nutritive value and pure scrumptiousness to conventional Indian breakfast items such as poha, upma, steamed idlis, eggs and parathas, finished off with a piping hot cup of tea or coffee. But one often forgets that these delicacies must ideally be accompanied by at least one serving of fresh fruit before the caffeine fix of the day. The fibre that the body receives from fresh fruit or uncooked vegetables is really the unsung hero among all other nutrients in our modern diet. “We know that protein and carbohydrates make for a healthy meal, but we need to start thinking seriously about our about our fibre intake.This is especially true when it comes to breakfast because a large enough serving of fibre at the start can stimulate the digestive system to perform optimally throughout the day,” advises Dr Maya Adam, a US-based medical doctor who also teaches at Stanford University.

The secret to increasing your daily fibre intake is to twist conventional breakfast goodies and replace nutritionally less important ingredients with those that add more value. “For instance, try adding chia seeds and oats to a traditional fruit smoothie to tone down the natural sweetness of fruit while increasing the roughage value of the dish. Load your egg or chicken sandwiches with lettuce or fresh cucumber and tomato slices to enhance texture a well as taste.Now is the time to skip health juices and packaged cereal, instead train children to enjoy fruits and vegetables in their whole, natural state for long-term health and lifestyle benefits,” advises Dr Adam.


The importance of complex carbs, protein and a little fat in constructing a well-balanced meal cannot be emphasised enough.However, it is high time we focus on micronutrients like vitamins and minerals that help our body to absorb the right amount of carbs, protein and fat, while also improving regular body functions.Fibre-rich foods like fresh fruits and vegetables are a great source of vitamins and minerals such as iron, zinc, phosphorus and magnesium.”It is very important to add calcium in your daily breakfast. Calcium helps to build bones and maintains your bone strength. For a calciumrich breakfast meal, you can add yogurt, milk and cheese in your morning meal. Choose low-fat or fat-free choices. Try a smoothie with fruit and skim milk which contains calcium. Have wholegrain toast with an egg and low-fat mozzarella cheese, which contains 207 milligrams of calcium,” advises Dr Narang.

3 #trendy #fitness #trends

2016-05-07 (13)Animal flow workout

This workout taps into your primal instincts to get you to move your body in ways you’ve never imagined before! (Pun intended) You’ll go through a series of functional bodyweight movements that fuse gymnastics, acrobatics and breakdancing. You will be doing all these workouts staying on the ground and trying to engage all the muscles at once. You will walk like an elephant, twist like a tiger, jump like an ape! This is a heavy sweat-it-out workout.

Wave workout

Inspired by surfers, you have to move like waves. This 45-minute, equipment-free workout draws on the multidimensional movement patterns of surfing to build explosive strength, endurance, balance, and flexibility. As a result you get a tight, toned body.


The rowing craze is quickly catching and has almost become the new ‘spinning’. This workout tones your muscles as rowing is high intensity. If you want those perfectly toned arms, get rowing!

#Fitness #facts that you know all wrong

2016-05-07 (12)Faulty fitness tips can acquire the form of believable myths.

In this extract from her new book, a popular city-based trainer digs for the truth In the world of fitness, there are plenty of myths and half truths. Some myths are just harmless half-truths, but others can actually be harmful. They can cause frustration in working out, and sometimes even lead to injury. There’s a lot of fitness information out there -some reliable, some not.

The important thing is to ask questions. If you don’t understand something, ask a qualified fitness professional for advice. One reason myths get started is that we all react to exercise a little differently. So what’s true for one person may not be true for another. That’s why you have to find your own things that are true for you. But there are still some fitness myths that just need busting.


FACT: Ever heard the term skinny fat? According to researchers at Mayo Clinic, US, over half of so called normal weight adults fall into this category. It has been defined as having more than 30 per cent body fat for women or 20 per cent for men. Too much body fat puts you at the same disease risk as an obese person -you’re just more likely to suffer from undetected diabetes.


FACT: Size zero is a dress measurement, not your figure. And this so-called size zero can be attained if you stop eating and exercise to within an inch of your life. Size zero means you are bordering on anorexia, and that is neither healthy nor beautiful.


FACT: Weight training actually helps women slim down instead of bulk up, since women have much lower testosterone than men. In a study at Central Michigan University, US, researchers had women train one arm doing a just a few reps of a heavy weight and the other doing more reps with a lighter weight (both lifting an equivalent number of pounds).

Surprise: The heavy lifters got stronger, but gained no more size than the arm lifting the lower weights.Ladies, weight training is very good for you. It will lead to increased metabolism and strength, lower risk of osteoporosis, and a smaller waistline!


FACT: The only way to get a flat stomach is to strip away the fat around the midsection. This is accomplished by doing cardio aerobic exercise to burn calorie, weight training to increase metabolism and following a proper diet. Abdominal exercises will help to build muscle in your midsection, but you will never see the muscle definition unless the fat in this area is stripped away.


FACT: Exercise should not be painful. At the height of your workout, you should be sweating and breathing hard. It’s important to distinguish between muscle fatigue -what people at my gym call “the burn” -and muscle pain, which is sharp and uncomfortable when you move.Pain is your body’s way of telling you that you’re doing something wrong. Listen to your body. If it’s painful, stop.


FACT: If you want to gain muscle, you’re going to need carbs. If you take them out completely, you’ll burn more body fat during training perhaps, but you can’t keep it up for long. Carbs are fuel for intense workouts, fats are not. You need a minimum amount of carbs to ensure that your brain functions properly.The brain needs glucose to work.Your body can be
ketonic and use fatty acids to fuel your muscles, but your brain can’t.


FACT: Most shakes are a mix of cheap protein, vitamins, sugar and coloring agents. It’s not that they’re inherently bad for you, but that they won’t keep you full. Whole foods have more fiber and take up more stomach volume, which keeps you feeling satisfied. They also require more digestive work, so use more energy and keep the metabolism up.But if you just have to drink them, look for high-end whey protein and add some fats like nuts or oil to increase satiety.


FACT: Egg yolks have been having a bad rep for a long time -they are supposedly bad for your cholesterol. A study by the University of Connecticut, US, found that the fat in the yolks helped to reduce LDL, or the bad cholesterol. The yolk contains most of the vitamins and minerals in the egg, plus half the protein. Since an egg white-only breakfast is nearly fat-free, it will cause a significant insulin spike and promote hunger cravings as well as energy swings later in the day.


FACT: This is absolute rubbish! Menstruation is a normal function. Your period is not a disability; you can do anything during your period that you can do when you’re not menstruating.In fact, exercise releases endorphins -the body’s natural painkiller. This means that light workouts will reduce period cramps and pains.

-Extracted with permission from Total Fitness: The Leena Mogre Way