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Sleep better!

Well, we all love to sleep, don’t we? In the last blog post, we read about the importance of sleep.
But just knowing the WHY doesn’t teach us the HOW.
There are a number of things you can do to ensure your “good night sleep” is actually good!

Read below for a few tips and tricks that can help you get those zzz’s…

* Maintain a daily schedule:
One of the most important things you can do to sleep well is make a schedule and stick to it. Try to go to sleep and wake up roughly at the same time every day. This will help your brain and body get used to being on a healthy sleep-wake schedule.

* Avoid caffeine!
Ah, the smell of coffee early in the morning is enough to kickstart your day!
But try and avoid caffeine after the clock strikes noon, even in things like health drinks and your favorite chocolates! They can affect your sleep later that night.

* Unplug and power down:
From smartphones to laptops to televisions, our lives are full of screens. Their soft-blue
light hurts your sleep. So turn them off, or cover the displays, an hour before you sleep!

* Don’t go to bed on a full stomach:
Heavy meals right before you sleep overload you digestive system. Have a light evening snack instead. Try to finish your food intake at least two hours before you sleep.

* Regular exercise:
Working out regularly helps you sleep well. Just don’t do it too close to your bedtime! Try and finish any vigorous exercise 3 to 4 hours before you sleep. On the other hand, gentle mind-body exercises, like yoga or tai chi, will help you sleep better.

* Keep bedroom dark and quiet:
Light signals the brain to get up and get moving! Low light or a dark rooms signals your brain to make melatonin, the hormone that regulates the sleep wake cycle.

* Keep a journal:
Spending just a few minutes to reflect on the positive highlights of your day can transform your attitude, and calm your brain down, resulting in a relaxed and peaceful mood.

* Limit beverage before sleep:
How much do you hate those pesky nighttime trips to the bathroom? Avoid them by avoiding consuming liquids in the last 2 hours before you sleep.

So follow these little tips, and soon you’ll be on your way to a well rested mind and body!

Tried some of these? Or have any other tricks that you use? Let us know in the comments below!

Hit the Snooze Button!

We all just LOVE hitting that snooze button in the morning, don’t we? If its after a good night's sleep, its just us being lazy and wanting to steal those extra 5 minutes. But if its because you haven't slept well at night, you may have to change your sleeping pattern to make sure your body is well rested !
A good night's sleep is just as important as exercise and nutrition for the body. It does a lot more than boosting your mood and getting rid of those under-eye circles!
Some benefits of sleeping well are -


Your brain recharges when you sleep.

Lack of sleep affects the frontal lobe of your brain and can cause you to have trouble recalling information, causing you to make decisions that you normally wouldn't! Also, not sleeping well raises the overall anxiety levels.

Sleep keeps your heart healthy!
Sleep plays an important role in your physical health. Getting a good night's sleep reduced the risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, obesity and stroke!

Your cells repair themselves.
As you drift off to sleep, your body starts its night-shift – repairing damaged cells. Sleep supports healthy growth and development. Deep sleep triggers the body to release the I hormone that promotes normal growth in children and teens. This hormone also boosts muscle mass and helps repair cells and tissues in children, teens, and adults.

Adequate sleep helps you avoid obesity and weight gain!
A healthy diet and exercise are very important for preventing and managing obesity. Lack of sleep contributes to the rising numbers in obese and diabetic people. When your body doesn't get enough sleep, you become lethargic and your physical activity levels go down. Sleep deprivation in excess can cause weight gain due to the way our body processes carbohydrates. This alters levels of hormones that affect our appetite and cause slow metabolism.

Sleep improves concentration and memory!
Sleep has been linked to psychological, emotional and mental recovery, as well as learning and memory. With memory at its peak, the mind restored and the hormones all balanced, the mind has a healthier imagination, making you more creative!

Sleep helps in muscle repair and recovery post workout.
One of the primary benefits of sleep in terms of muscle growth is the recovery time. When you exercise, tiny tears occur in your muscle fibres. Your body needs time to repair this damage and build muscle mass. Sleep gives your body an opportunity to concentrate on recovery and repair of muscle tissue.

So now that you know more about how sleep benefits you mind and body, you have all the more reason (as if we needed any more, right?) to hit the sack, and just doze off!

To know how to sleep better, come back for our next blog post!!

The Attitude of Gratitude

Most people spend more time complaining about what they don’t have rather than being thankful for what they do have.

We often skip the need for gratitude, not realizing what a massive impact it can have. Just starting the day with gratitude for everything you have (maids showing up, getting a good nights sleep, waking up with a house full of loving family) can swing your day the right way.

Happiness is necessary to be fit and healthy. Without daily gratitude you will not achieve your health and fitness goals. At Holistique we believe in this strongly, because in order to rejuvenate after a workout, your mindset and emotional health needs to be in a good state. We believe that fitness and gratitude has a real connection, and only when you start appreciating your body will you see results. This is because once you truly love and respect yourself, you will fuel yourself with better foods, and you will treat workouts as a reward for what your body is capable of doing – rather than a punishment to try and burn off those extra calories you consumed.

Here are some ways in which you can achieve the attitude of gratitude:

  • Start a daily gratitude journal. Every day (when you wake up, or before you go to bed – your choice), make a note of three things that you are grateful for. It can be as simple as knowing that you have healthy kids.
  • Try and notice new things you are grateful for every day. It will help improve your emotional health and even your relationships.
  • Club the gratitude habit with another existing habit – for example, practice gratitude during your daily shower. Or start your family’s evening meal with a one minute chat around the table of what each of you are grateful for.

It might take a month or two of daily practise, but you may realize that it’s the little things in life that truly make you happy. Gratitude has the power to open up a level of inner consciousness, and lead to self-introspection – this in turn can help you power over your thoughts and live with positivity in your daily life.

Think of it this way: you have the power to turn any day into a good day, by just focusing on the good things that happen, rather than dwelling or cribbing or complaining about the bad. At Holistique, we feature daily gratitude as a major part of the journal, and we not only encourage it – we insist that you try it – and we guarantee you will be amazed at the results!

Health is nothing without food

In today’s blog post we’ll help you look at food in a different way. Food, and eating it, is not just a mechanical process that we do day in and out (like breathing). Nourishing yourself in the right way with the right fuel for your body will help you not only nutritionally and physically, but also stabilize your moods and overall balance.

When it comes to eating right, there is no one-size-fits-all meal plan for everyone. As part of the Holistique program, we help you figure out what works for your lifestyle, and provide some invaluable advice along the way. For example, we encourage that you eat every 2-3 hours and that too eat what you enjoy. We don’t advocate going on fad diets for a temporary goal. These diets are not sustainable for the long term, and often make you feel bad when going off the plan, leading to guilt eating.

Instead, we suggest foods based on your existing diet pattern, as that is what your body has been used to for so many years. The most important thing is to plan your meals in advance, and once you are into a routine of doing this, you’ll see how easy it is to maintain a food plan that works for your body whilst also giving you results along with the workouts you are doing.

A couple of other tips and tricks on nourishment:

  • Remove all junk food from your pantry! If it’s not there, you won’t be tempted to eat it
  • Eat the right foods at the right time. We can help you figure out when your body will best digest that dessert you crave, as well as pre and post workout meals
  • Eat the rainbow! This means eating all types of fruits and vegetables, preferably seasonal and locally produced

*SPECIAL RECIPE – TURMERIC MILK*

The irony about food in this generation is that our grandmother’s recipes are often dismissed as old wives tales, and yet these very recipes are proving their ageless value over time. One such example is the simple yet effective “haldi doodh” – turmeric milk. We all know that turmeric is a store house of healthy properties, and is used for healing, and as an every day spice in all Indian homes. Typically, turmeric has been known to boost immunity, and a nightly dose of haldi doodh can keep all ailments away, according to grandma. Here’s a simple recipe for this power drink which you can have every night before bed, or as a snack in between meals:

Recipe Ingredients:
  • 1 inch fresh turmeric (grated) or 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder    
  • 200ml milk
  • Honey or sugar to taste    
  • Black pepper powder to taste (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon Desi Ghee

Method:

  1. Heat ghee in a pan until slightly warm. Add 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder (or grated turmeric) to it and mix well.
  2. Pour in 200ml milk, mix well, and bring to boil for a couple of minutes.
  3. Once it boils, turn off the heat and allow the turmeric milk mixture to rest (covered) for two more minutes. 
  4. Strain the milk and turmeric mixture into a glass, stir in sugar / honey and black pepper as desired
  5. Garnish with sliced almonds and pistachios, and serve the turmeric milk while still hot.

Enjoy!

If you have any more old family turmeric milk recipes, tell me in the comments below!

Rant Alert! When you got it, flaunt it

Ladies, let me tell you something. The fact that you work out is a privilege, it’s a good thing, it’s something you ought to shout from the rooftops! Don’t be shy about it, be proud of it! You do it because you are able, and because you have the right idea of taking care of your body and living an active life!

This rant is about why women want to hide it from the world that they workout. Many women refuse to share their videos or photos on social media, and yet they want to be clicked, and worse still – viewing similar stories by strangers online inspires them. Is it that you feel embarrassed? Is it that you believe in the evil eye, and some undeniable force might stop your progress just by viewing a picture of you on social media?

It’s understandable to fear the unknown, the random strangers who don’t know you and yet might enjoy checking out such posts and pictures. That’s something we can’t really avoid in today’s digital age. What you ought to remember is that you could be inspiring another ordinary person with similar challenges as you to take out time for themselves and achieve their goals. Haters are always going to hate, and living in fear of that should not stop you from being accountable for your goals – so ladies, put it out there! Get online!

Think of it this way: you are helping to make the world a happier, healthier and fitter place. People will always talk, so let them. If they talk negative, it could be that they are jealous. If they talk positively, then be glad that you impacted someone in that way. You never know who you might inspire by sharing your journey, so just know that whatever you are doing is not only good for you and your direct family, but for your peer influences as well.
All this aside, be proud of the choices you have made to keep your body moving. Realize that your hard work and progress can motivate and inspire others. Show people your before and after shots, and even your work-in-progress shots. Because the truth is, it’s always going to be a journey. Fitness has no final destination. Once you get a taste of it, you will always and only want to better yourself.

Workout Smarter not Harder

How often should you train? Is 5 days better or 2 days?

These are some of the questions I am often asked at the studio. The truth is, training frequency is a highly debated topic in the fitness industry. Currently the mindset of most women is to work out five days per week because they believe that the more you exercise, the more results will show. This is a MYTH! In fact, many women spend an hour or less a day working out and the rest of the day in a somewhat sedentary fashion – which actually negates the workout benefits!

My philosophy on training for strength and fat loss is simple. I want to do as little as possible to continue making progress. If anything, I’d rather under train than over train. This goes hand-in-hand with another key priority: I always focus on quality of training and movement. What many fail to realize is that for fat loss, we often need a total lifestyle overhaul.

Benefits of training 2 days a week include:

– Prevents gross overtraining

– See progress faster than traditional workout frequencies

– Joints love 2 days per week as it reduces chances of doing something that hurts or injures your joints

– Exercises in the program are more focussed, making you good at what you do and getting you the results you need and want

– Time is freed up to focus on your nourishment (planning, shopping, cooking) and rejuvenation part of your lifestyle. Without nutrition and stress management, you won’t get the maximum benefit from your workouts

Your body builds or gives you the best results when it has time to recover from every workout along with good nutrition and rejuvenation. In any myofascial fitness program, I recommend 48 hours for recovery. But that doesn’t mean your body isn’t working – during recovery your body is actually repairing and becoming stronger on a cellular level, and burning fat to do this!

Now, I don’t advocate that you spend the rest of the days lazing around – in fact you’ll feel the opposite. Your workouts should give you energy on your other days to keep your body moving as it was meant to. You can go for walks, treks, cycle, dance, play with your kids, and feel great that you’re living an active lifestyle. You will see for yourself once you move more frequently – not only are you more in tune with your body, but you tend to “get it” much faster.

At the end of the day, the real question is not how often you should train but how much can you recover from training?

By switching from 5 days to 2 days a week, I have made the best progress in my career for my clients and myself.  Like everything in training, you need to figure out what works best for you and your body. Once you figure it out, you’ll be amazed at the progress you make.

Tell me in the comments below what kind of workout works for you!

The Holistique Journal

Remember back at school when you were forced to write down whatever the teacher was writing on the blackboard? The very act of doing that was what made the learning stick in your mind. It has been proven that writing things down enforces learning and can actually be therapeutic.

Journalling in fact dates back centuries, when people would note down their thoughts on a nightly basis, treating their journal as a dear friend (therapist?), confiding in them what they would never dare reveal to a person, and helping themselves gain clarity by writing things down.

A journal will never judge you, but allows you to understand yourself better. By getting into the habit of regular journalling, you are able to track your patterns and improve on yourself and your habits.

The Holistique journal is like no other – it’s a food log, an exercise log, a place for weekly goals, a space for feelings and gratitude. It even has artistic meditation to help you de-stress, and motivational stickers to make it all fun. It focuses on all aspects of you – fitness, health, happiness and productivity.

As part of the Holistique program, we want you to enjoy the journey to your healthy lifestyle, and we believe this journal is a key factor in this process. There’s something about having to actually write down your day’s logs and efforts that makes you feel committed to the process and helps you stay motivated. Taking a few minutes out of your day to be mindful and aware of your health and fitness activities is sure to bring about a change in your lifestyle. And the best part is – no matter what workout or diet plan you are on, the Holistique Journal is there to help you on your journey to a successful transformation!

Every single page has been carefully thought out to keep you on track and motivated. Its unique un-dated weekly and daily page layout consists of blocks for goals, motivation, workout and activity levels, nutrition (planner and log), emotions, sleep and gratitude. Some of the benefits of using the Holistique Journal include: tracking your progress, serving as a reminder to work out (even when you see it lying around the house), keeping a note about your goals and keeping you motivated, and helping you schedule and stick to your appointments!

Let the Holistique Journal be your personal storybook, making your whole transformation memorable and enjoyable. Order yours today!

Healthy Feet Mean Healthy You

Going barefoot is a natural state of being for us, especially Indians. Even now, in some Indian villages, people spend almost 100% of their time barefoot. Many wander through fields and do hard, physical laborious work, and yet they rarely develop any feet problems. Instead, it has been proven that being barefoot actually strengthens your feet to support the rest of your body the way nature intended, which is one reason why barefoot training has taken a huge leap forward in recent years.

Wearing different types of footwear and always keeping our feet confined and protected actually has the opposite effect to strengthening. We are providing cushions and insulation to our feet, which then make our feet dormant and lazy, after which foot problems can arise (which we blame on footwear and the ground!). Think of it this way – why are humans the only species on earth who feel the need to wear shoes?

Going barefoot also improves our proprioception – which is the sensory input we receive from the soles of our feet, which plays a role in our stability, balance and coordination. It helps us to connect to the earth and to the environment, thereby allowing us to move in every way possible. The more stable the body, the more benefits we can reap from our workouts. Our feet create stability and help our body feel safe – and this stability allows us to progress further in all our workouts, without the danger of losing balance.

Feet affect everything – almost all of us know about the reflexology points in the soles of our feet, which connect to all parts of our body and nervous system. Your foot is connected to your core (pelvic floor and abdominal) – so all the more reason to train barefoot, to give you a strong core, flat abs, prevent back pain and improve running speed.

More benefits of working out barefoot include: stronger arches, improved muscle alignment, stronger ankles, increased flexibility, and healthier feet overall. It also strengthens our entire body by helping energy to flow smoothly through our body.

Barefoot running has gained huge popularity in the past decade, but several other regimes can be followed on a barefoot program, including yoga, martial arts, gymnastics etc. Barefoot and minimalist training is the most ideal way to workout, however your body needs to be properly prepared first. At Holistique, you get to train under Barefoot Master Instructor and Physiotherapist (Dr Anuja Luniya), and the program fuses a blend of workout styles conducted entirely barefoot, which gives additional benefits which you now know!

Exercise and the Indian Woman (part 2)

Let’s talk about exercise, fitness and health in the Indian setting. Enough has been written about this topic from a western perspective, and now that the fitness trend is picking up in India, we ought to embrace this movement!

Women’s fitness in particular has picked up significantly, with women-centric studios and programs cropping up. We all know exercise is essential, especially due to our sedentary lifestyles. For women this is all the more important – from young girls, to post menopausal women, and everyone in between. The benefits of exercise for women are countless throughout all stages of life. From building bone strength and muscle mass to preventing gynecological problems to restoring posture, balance and functional independence, the benefits are endless. And today’s Indian woman knows it!

And yet, the question remains: why do only 10-15% of Indian women exercise? What about the other 90-85%? The myriad of reasons for women not having time to exercise is astounding. Health cannot and should not be taken for granted! It’s always better to jump on the prevention bandwagon first, rather than learn the hard way.

Now, exercise does not mean a walk in the park for an hour. There are a variety of workout styles for a reason. Women need to incorporate strength training, especially Indian women (more on why in a later blog). Your exercise toolkit should have a variety of workout styles so that you achieve not just the weight loss benefit but other benefits of exercise. And sorry ladies, stretching is not working out! And doing cardio to lose those tyres isn’t going to work! Walking, jogging, running, cycling or an hours Aerobics/Zumba (no matter how much fun) are all good but alone, are not enough to keep you fit. Cardio is only one aspect of fitness. You need strength, balance, agility, power, flexibility, reduced risk of lifestyle diseases and hormonal balance too. You need exercises to keep you gynecologically healthy (the number of young girls with PCOD is on the rise and so is the number of women going in for IVF).

Exercise to show and maintain results requires sincerity, dedication and perseverance. Before joining a class, make sure you get to know what the exercise program is all about. Does it interest you? Do you think you can persevere with it? Always choose a program that you will be able to enjoy and sustain, because that’ll keep you from quitting.

Healthy living is not by chance. It’s a choice. A lot of little choices you make everyday to live healthy. Now ask yourself, do you really want to take your health for granted?

Exercise and the Indian Woman (part 1)

The Indian Woman. Where do we start to describe her. Obviously there is no ‘one size fits all’, no generalizations that can be made about Indian women, because we come in all shapes and sizes. But one thing that Indian women do have in common (mostly) is their selflessness in prioritizing other things before their own health. Whether it’s a new bride who wants to put in effort into new relationships, or a new mom who puts her kids needs first, or an ambitious career woman who makes sure she never lets the ball drop at work. The connecting thread is that Indian women generally have this mentality of considering their own health only after all the rest of the work gets done.

Indian mothers make sure their child joins enough extracurricular classes – dance, martial arts, sports, theatre, arts – to keep them active. To help their children develop into healthy individuals. They make sure their husbands have their post workout meal ready after gym. She takes all measures to see to it that her family eats healthy. Then why does she skimp on her health? Her nutrition? Why does she eat whatever is there? How come no effort is taken to see to it that the lady of the house eats well and stays active?

We believe this is the very mentality that needs to change. A woman needs to give health and fitness equal priority as other matters in her life. After all, it’s only in good health that we can enjoy and achieve all of life’s demands. We no longer live like our previous generations, who believed in sacrificing every personal desire for the greater good of the family. Young moms no longer feel the need to eat the leftover scraps off their kids’ plates, and many mothers now utilize the time when their kids are engaged in an activity class to do some exercise of their own.

These are the mindset changes we foster in the women I coach. It’s a simple yet powerful change – when you exercise regularly and see the “holistique” benefits you gain not just physically but emotionally too, you realize that it’s a lifestyle choice to embrace for the rest of your life.

Don’t you think it’s high time we Indian ladies show ourselves the same importance, love and dedication we shower on our loved ones every single day?  Your health is not an expense but an investment, for your family and yourself. Choose to invest in yourself.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this post which goes into detail about which exercises are necessary and suitable for Indian women!