Is your weighing scale heaving and groaning its way to the truth? Perhaps you need to do a bit of a re-think about your workout routine then. And if you’ve been there and done that with all the fitness fads and latest equipment, how about giving a back-to-basics program a try?
Well, simply put, you don’t use any fancy or not so fancy gadgets or machines to glamorize or add ‘muscle’ to your workout. Heck! Before you sock me with a dumbbell, just hear me out.
“One of the dominant reasons for bunking workout is the fact that we’ve made ourselves completely dependent on machines”; posit fitness fanatics, “No doubt, machines do help. Among other things, they facilitate variety in your workouts and provide you an estimate of how many calories you are burning. But you’ve got to looks at it this way too à the fewer the workout accessories, the smaller the chances of your backing out!”
That’s because you can actually not chicken out with lame excuses like, ‘There is something wrong with the stepper today’, or ‘It’s raining and my car might get stuck on the way to the gym!’ A back-to-basics workout would just need a room and you!
Even those top-notch fitness consultants and instructors agree, “There’s something to recommend anything natural. And if we can go gaga over natural foods, natural lifestyles, natural fibers, we can surely plan out a natural workout routine too.” After all, your body is the most remarkable machine ever made, and it has solutions within itself, provided you’re willing to scout around for them.
To kick start with, here are some basic categories for flab –burners that are completely do-able sans (surpass) any gadget.
Walking is easily the safest and one of the most effective modes of exercising. It is suitable for all age-groups and can be done alone or in company. However, without a treadmill to glamorize it, walking is sometimes considered staid. The way to solve that perception is to ‘energize’ it. It irritates me no end when I see walkers trudging along in their comfort zone. Well, to people like these, I’d like to say, you can keep walking for 20 years without increasing even a bit of stamina or losing even half a kilo off you! You have to push yourself, lunge forward and make your hands play a more active role by flailing them too! A good 45 minutes of this and you have had just the right start to the day!
And if you feel walking depends on too many weather conditions, you could sometimes try what a friend of mine does. She walks from the front door of her house through a passage that finally leads to the balcony. “When I need to walk, I just remove the deterrents and bric-a-brac out of the way and briskly walk to-n-fro!” After having gained enough stamina from it, try jogging. This would translate into the number of calories lost being more than doubled.
The key word here is ‘push’! Isometric exercises are those in which a force is applied to a resistant object. In this sense, it has certain elements of strength training. A lot of isometric exercises would require the use of workout equipment, but you can include certain aspects of the discipline for your hands-off-machine routine too. One of the most basic isometric routines would be to push against a wall. There is no actual movement here, but the tension that builds up in the muscles increases their strength. “Also we must maintain each position for six to eight seconds and it should be repeated about 5 to 10 times, each time ensuring maximum muscular contraction”, assert fitness experts.
Like isometric exercises, Pilates too, is used for deep body conditioning and to strengthen the body’s core muscles. And quite like the former, it sometimes requires a lot of tools to work with. That however, shouldn’t stop you from using aspects of it in your back-to-basics workout, say fitness experts. The only aspect they warn about, though, is that “you have got to do it just right, so much so that there is no point starting out on a pilates-only programme unless you have a trainer to see you’re doing it just right!” Pep up points ? Pilates helps develop strong muscles, a flat stomach and a strong back, and improves posture.
While other routines work at strengthening the body, yoga consultants assert that yogasana works towards the complete harmonization of mind, body and soul. Once, I was going through a very low phase personally and feeling dead on the professional front too. That’s when I tried yoga. Believe me, it gave me a fresh lease of life, I was looking forward to each new session. One can now opt from a wide array of yoga, power yoga and Bikram yoga being two of the many choices.
For an intense Back-to-Basics workout, follow famous fitness fanatics’ regimen!
- Do some stretches to loosen your muscles. Spot jogging works well for a warm up. Continue till the first beads of sweat hit your forehead.
- Next do 10 squats followed by one push-up; nine squats, two push-ups; eight squats, three push-ups. Continue till you have one squat and 10 push-ups.
- Follow up with shadow skipping for a minute. Pretend you are skipping and have a rope in your hands.
- A one minute session of ‘Jumping Jacks’ would do great for the next set. This would involve you to jump on to such a position where your legs are spread wide enough with hands touching overhead followed by returning back to the position with your feet together along with arms at the sides.
- Now, try a combination of plié squats and bench dips. The plie squat is a modified squat with the feet inclined outwards and this works your inner thighs. Now combine 10 plie squats with one bench dip (stand straight, hold both hands against the wall with feet on the ground and press — or rather dip — down), nine plie squats with two bench dips and so on to reach a count of one plie squat and ten bench dips.
- Do a set of stomach crunches next, for three minutes.
- Do the strength training exercises mainly towards the end, after your main routine is over. If you intersperse cardio with strength training, your heart beat rate will come down midway through the exercise.
- Always exercise early in the mornings on a (near) empty stomach for best results. With your glucose levels depleted through the night, it won’t take much effort to burn the fat. If you work out in the evenings, it will take around 25 minutes of exercise to work at the glucose before burning fat!
So, kick-start your regimen as well with these basic and regular stamina boosting exercises, that you often tend to overlook after the gradual emergence of those heavy-duty machines. Stay fresh, rejuvenate your senses and revamp your healthy living into a lifestyle ‘extraordinaire’!