Don't hold your breath while working out.
Eating well, combined with a moderate amount of exercise, is the best way to lose weight.
Work out wisely and well.
These are some of the mantras fitness expert and nutritionist Samreedhi Sharma shared with Get Ahead readers in an hour-long chat on October 13.
Samreedhi Sharma: Hi everybody! This is Samreedhi.
Ruchit: Is the height, age, weight match able to say whether one is healthy or not?
Samreedhi Sharma: Hi! No. The height weight chart can only give you a rough outline of what you should weigh on the scale. It does not take into account your muscle mass or your fat percentage. Your body fat percentage is what is really important. Most gyms have machines to measure the same. Of course, an annual health check up is also very important.
aashna: Hello. I am quite unfit and I don't get time for regular workouts. What is the best way to workout in little time?
Samreedhi Sharma: Hi! You do not need loads of time for a good workout. Even if you have just 20 minutes, do cardio exercises (walking/running/cycling/dancing) three times a week and do weights/strength training on the other three days. You will be surprised at the results and the change in your body and stamina level!
mani: Hello, I am Mani. I am 35 years old. I tend to get fat around my tummy and feel very lethargic. Please help.
Samreedhi Sharma: Hi! Getting rid of fat around your tummy requires you to reduce your fat intake from food. You also need to exercise regularly. Just doing stomach crunches, however, is not going to solve the problem. Do a regular cardio routine. Give equal importance to training all the muscles of the body. This will increase your metabolism and, overall, your body will be more proportionate. Remember, spot reduction is a myth!
nusrat: Hi. My hubby is fat. He walks a lot and eats accordingly, but we both want his weight to reduce. What should we do so that he can reduce his weight? Everyone in his family is fat. Is it hereditary? Could you please help me?
Samreedhi Sharma: Hi! The fact that all people in the family are fat obviously means you are using too much fat while cooking. Avoid making fried food at home. Instead steam/bake/grill food. Replace fried farsans and nashtas with low fat, baked snacks. Make exercise a habit. Set a realistic weight loss goal for the family. Instead of going out to dinner all the time, plan picnics with loads of activities.
ajaygupta: Hi, Samreedhi. I am 36 and want to know how to control blood pressure.
Samreedhi Sharma: Hi! If it's high BP you are talking about, limit your salt intake. Avoid processed food with a high sodium content (read the labels before buying anything). If you are eating Chinese food, ask for it to be made without ajinomoto. Drink plenty of water and exercise regularly. Learn how to deal with stress and check your blood pressure regularly.
gautam: I smoke five cigarettes a day. I also work out at the gym for one hour and have a healthy diet. Does this negate the effect of smoking?
Samreedhi Sharma: No, not in the real world :). Don't kid yourself. Give up smoking. It definitely negates your workout!
Vidya: Hi, Vidya again... How can one evade stretch marks during pregnancy? Please let me know the suitable medicine. Thanks.
Samreedhi Sharma: Hi! Massaging with Vitamin E oil can help lighten stretch marks. However, no product till date can guarantee stretch marks will be erased.
Harish: Hi, I'm underweight. What's the right way to gain weight? I have good stamina and I don't get tired easily. Looks wise, though, I can't wear half-sleeved tee shirts. I want to gain some weight and develop a body. Can you suggest something?
Samreedhi Sharma: Hi! Start weight training!
alokasks: In your previous chat, you suggested tablets containing 'multivitamins with zinc'. Can you please tell the name this tablet?
Samreedhi Sharma: Becosules with zinc
neelimakaushik: Hello, I'm Neelima. My question for you is about my ideal body weight. I'm 5' 3" tall. What do you think my weight should be? My weight as of now is 82 kgs.
Samreedhi Sharma: Hi! Assuming you are a medium-framed person, your ideal weight is between 59-61 kgs.
jvs_1975: Hi Samreedhi, Jaya here. Can we go to the gym at the time of menses?
Samreedhi Sharma: Hi! Yes, there is absolutely no problem. If you feel tired, though, do a lighter workout.
Vivek: Hi Sam, my name is Vivek. I am 19 years old. My height is just 5'4". Can you give me some tips to gain height?
Samreedhi Sharma: Hi! Height is genetically determined. If you have the genes, you will be tall! There is nothing you and I can do about it! Wear vertical stripes, they make you look taller.
Abhishek: Hi Sam, Abhi from Germany. I am 26 years old -- height 5.5 and weight, 65 kgs. I have polio and I have little belly. Please tell me how can I keep myself fit now and in the future. I drink a good amount of multivitamins and other fruit juices. Tell me some specific exercises I can do.
Samreedhi Sharma: Hi! You should ask a physiotherapist to train you so you can improve the strength of your leg.
Maunesh: Hi, how can you counter depression?
Samreedhi Sharma: Hi! You should see a psychologist. Exercise also helps you develop a more positive attitude!
imzi: Hi Samreedhi. I am 5' 6" tall. My weight was 78 kgs. After exercising intensively for three months, it reduced to 69 kgs and has remained that way for three months now. I still have quite a lot of fat around my waist and look plump. I want to have a sleek physique and lose another 5 kgs. But the weight stubbornly remains, though I exercise five days a week now. What should I do? Also, should I do more of cardio or more of weights?
Samreedhi Sharma: Hi! The last five kilos are a little stubborn in most people. Keep gymming and cardioing. Watch what you eat. Don't give up gymming even when you reach your ideal weight and you'll will achieve that sleek look!
sudesh: I am a 48 year old male, completely healthy. I do about 500 cal on the treadmill almost everyday. I am in my right BMI index. Is there a possibility of a problem with my knees in the long term?
Samreedhi Sharma: If you have a knee problem, you should opt for cycling rather than the treadmill. Tell your trainer to work on strengthening your knees. Get them x-rayed. If you have arthritis, walking is not such a great idea. If you are gymming, avoid squats totally.
sajid: Hi, how can I avoid being lazy?
Samreedhi Sharma: Hi! Get a personal trainer/enthusiastic workout partner!
sunny: I have developed a lot of pain in my knees and low back. What exercises can I do to feel better?
Samreedhi Sharma: Hi! Check with an orthopaedic doctor/physiotherapist before you do any further damage. Remember RICE -- Rest, Ice Compression (with ice), Elevation (of feet above heart level) -- for any injury.
chandra: What exercises would you advise for high blood pressure?
Samreedhi Sharma: You can start with walking outdoors or on a treadmill. When your BP is in control, you can start with weights. NEVER DO ANY EXERCISE IN WHICH YOU HAVE TO HOLD YOUR BREATH.
madirakshi: Are walking machines any good?
Samreedhi Sharma: Yes, especially in the rainy season if you cannot go outdoors. But walk both outdoors and indoors if you can. Motorised treadmills are better than manual ones.
pavannu2: Hi, I am 22 years and weigh around 84 kgs. My height is around 175 cms. I have a back problem because of which I can't do strenuous exercise. After an MRI, I found out I had a disc protrusion in my lumbar region. I thought of doing Yoga to strengthen my muscles and get relief from pain. Is Yoga a good and permanent relief option for this problem or should I try something else?
Samreedhi Sharma: Hi! Yoga is okay if your trainer knows to deal with your kind of problem. However, I would suggest physiotherapy too.
ajaygupta: Does drinking a lot of water -- say about 1.5 to 2 litres -- at one go in the morning put any burden on heart?
Samreedhi Sharma: Hi! No it does not. But only drink how much you are comfortable with. Don't force yourself.
srikanth: I am suffering from hyper acidity. Is there any food I should avoid?
Samreedhi Sharma: Hi! Drink lots of water. Avoid deep fried and spicy foods. Eat at fixed meal times. Eat lots of fruits but no raw salads -- that will aggravate your acidity.
Sameer: Hi Sam, this is Sameer. My dietician asked me to have soya milk each morning. She said this will add protein to my diet. Will this also help me in weight loss (assuming I watch my diet and exercise regularly)?
Samreedhi Sharma: HI! SOYA IS NOT A COMPLETE PROTEIN. It is better if you have the regular milk after it has been skimmed.
Sameer: Hi Sam. Should skimmed milk be had once or twice a day?
Samreedhi Sharma: Hi! If you are vegetarian, twice is good. If you are a non-vegetarian, once is okay.
ajay_sk3: Hi. Is it okay to jog, skip, swim and also work out in the gym in the evening... all in a day?
Samreedhi Sharma: Hi! Depends on the time duration that you are working out -- one and a half to two hours a day is more than sufficient. It's not just the time but also the intensity that is important.
manas: Hi ma'am, I am suffering from stress and cannot wake up at the normal time. Please help with a solution.
Samreedhi Sharma: Hi! You have to find the root of the problem and deal with that first. Exercising regularly will also help you get better sleep.
siva: What will happen if I suddenly stop my exercises?
Samreedhi Sharma: Hi! You are burning calories during exercise. Exercise also helps control appetite. When you stop, your appetite usually goes up but you also stop burning calories so you will obviously gain fat weight.
rajpretan: Samreedhi, please list the food items we should avoid to lower the uric acid level without medication.
Samreedhi Sharma: Hi! Plasma uric acid is usually high in people who are very obese. Weight reduction will bring your levels down. Ask your dietician to give you more alkaline foods in your diet. Avoid too much meat.
sunita: Hi, I have a problem. I am 50 kg, 5'3", female but my body structure is not uniform. Compared to my legs, I have thin hands. I also get tired quickly and look thin on my face. Can you suggest some remedies to look healthy and radiant through the day?
Samreedhi Sharma: Hi! Eat well, sleep well and exercise well. Drink lots of water.
sheebav: I know that one should drink ample water to prevent dehydration. Does it matter whether you drink hot water or cold water?
Samreedhi Sharma: Hi! No, it does not matter. But don't wait till you are thirsty. Drink water throughout the day.
Sanjay: Please give me advice on how to reduce my tummy.
Samreedhi Sharma: This question has already been answered. Please read the transcript.
Rakesh: Dear Samreedhi, please reply. DON'T DISAPPOINT ME PLEASE... I am 28 years and have put on 15 kgs in the last two years after marriage. Now I am feeling depressed. I want to quickly lose atleast 10 kgs. Would centres like VLCC/Personal Point be of any help?
Samreedhi Sharma: Hi! There is no need for depression. Join a gym or hire a personal trainer. Eat well and workout regularly. It should take you just 3-4 months to lose that weight!
sachin: Hi Samreedhi, Sachin again. Should I eat only fruits for dinner to reduce the fat around my stomach?
Samreedhi Sharma: No, that won't help.
Andy: Does switching from rice to wheat really make a difference in reducing weight?
Samreedhi Sharma: Hi! No one food can make you fat or thin. Eat everything in moderation and you'll be fine.
troy1: How important is breathing while doing stomach crunches? What is the proper technique?
Samreedhi Sharma: Breathing continuously during any exercise is essential or you will feel dizzy. Just keep breathing in and out... when is not important.
siva: Is drinking water on empty stomach advisable?
Samreedhi Sharma: Yes!
Manjula: I am 24 and have been doing aerobic workouts for six months now. I have been lifting 1 kg dumbbells for a month. What is the max weight women can lift?
Samreedhi Sharma: Hi! I do not recommend that you do weights with aerobics.
sheebav: I use the sauna and steam room twice a week. Can you tell me if there are any drawbacks as far as using the sauna is concerned? Will it be harmful to my skin in the long run?
Samreedhi Sharma: It depends on your skin type. However, reduce it to once in 10 days. Steam and sauna open your pores so more dirt goes in and spoils your skin.
Gururaj: Hi. I am 39. All of a sudden, for the last two years, my knees and ankles hurt like hell. Even climbing the stairs is very painful. What could be wrong?
Samreedhi Sharma: Hi! It could be arthritis or an injury. Consult an orthopaedic doctor/physiotherapist immediately.
gowrisankar: Tell me how to avoid drinking coffee.
Samreedhi Sharma: Drink lots of water. Drink coffee in smaller cups so your intake is reduced.
ashuu: Can you please suggest a Web site or a book containing information about correct methods for all weight training and fitness exercises?
Samreedhi Sharma: You can Google search my name and read my articles in various publications including www.rediff.com. www.fitscape.com is a good site.
Savita: Hi Samreedhi. There are lot of advertisements on television regarding the height enhancer instrument YOKO (shoe soles). It uses some technology like acupuncture. Is it worth trying it for increasing height?
Samreedhi Sharma: Hi! No, height is genetically determined.
ravneet: Samreedhi, I am following a low carb diet since two years but my weight is still increasing. I have got my thyroid checked. It is normal. What should my exercise routine be?
Samreedhi Sharma: Low carb diets ensure you will gain fat. Eat a well-balanced diet with a good balance of carbs and proteins and a small amount of fat too!
Manjula: You mean to say weight training has to be done on days when I don't do aerobics?
Samreedhi Sharma: Yes!
pranab: Hi, Pranab here. I am of medium build and have suffered from a slip disc last year. Should I start going to the gym now or should I go for light exercise? What do you suggest?
Samreedhi Sharma: Hi! Get a clearance from your doctor first. Yes, you can go to the gym but avoid any exercise that requires you to bend your body at the waist. Try not to pick up heavy weights off the floor.
Samreedhi Sharma: It was great chatting with you all! If your question has not been answered, do go through the transcript of the chat. Someone else may have asked a similar question :). KEEP THINKING FIT!