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Surefire tips for bodybuilding by Dr Mickey Mehta

Keen on bodybuilding? Here's a healthy and holistic way to gain weight and build muscle mass.

Body building for me is body culturing with application of scientific principles of various forms of exercises for body sculpting and contouring, for boosted energy, stamina, endurance, agility and flexibility.

The current trend of body building with agonising exercises and injudicious use of stimulants and supplements needs to be considered seriously. A large majority of people are encouraged to believe that doing exercises with heavy weights and supplements are necessary to ensure largeness or for bulking up. For women, it is virtually impossible to build or increase muscle mass at the same rate as men. This requires an adequate amount of the male hormone testosterone in the blood stream which women do not have, nor do they have the natural genetic potential to develop large muscles. Women must exercise regularly for the feel good factor to kick in and for all the other benefits that exercises offer.

Don't rushinto bodybuilding -- Follow your body's cues

The pre-requisites for a sculpted body are working out with passion, a good diet, yoga, conscious breathing exercises and meditation. Exercises must be done in a holistic way to address the entire body in totality without isolating or fragmenting your body parts as is the trend in most gyms that promote body building. Avoid aggressive and painful exercises that make you sore and uncomfortable. It is mandatory to listen to your body and respect it by taking into consideration various factors like body type and constitution, gender, age etc. Avoid the urge to follow or ape celebrities as your fitness role models. It is imperative to understand the parameters of holistic wellness and aim for total wellbeing and not just physical looks or fitness. Want bigger biceps? Follow these tips.

I am not averse to weight training for body building goals. I advocate free flowing exercises for energy flow in the body through a combination of exercises like calisthenics, yoga, boot camp, agility drills, swimming, Yo workouts, etc using your own body resistance, breathing and meditation. Weight training or use of heavy weights for building up muscles is an individual s choice and must be done under complete guidance and supervision. Focus must be on health. One can opt for dumbbells, bar bells, tubes, etc to achieve your goals.

Follow these rules and principles for your body sculpting workout:

1. Begin your workout with a proper warm up session with light activities like spot jogging, jumping jacks, twists, toe touches, shoulder shrugs, neck rotations etc. to lubricate the muscles and joints and to prevent risks of injuries and sprains.

2. Intensity: the intensity of your workouts must be based on your age, sex, and recent activity patterns to determine your workout stimulus.

3. Concentrate on flexibility by slowly stretching during each exercise.

4. Gradual progression with the sets/reps or even the weights and other props used is recommended without sacrificing form in an attempt to achieve better results. Progression will depend on your response and your judgement.

5. Include variation in your workout routines for better body response to your exercises and to prevent stagnation. Different exercises, different frequency and different intensity can add interest and motivation and can do wonders to your daily routines.

6. Keep in mind that setting realistic goals is important. No physical or mental change can occur over-night. Discipline, consistency and perseverance play key roles in making lasting changes in your body.

7. Train with moderate weights thrice a week and intersperse with yoga, meditation and breathing exercises on the other days. Recommended exercises are hamstring/quad stretches, upper trunk stretch, side and calf stretch, squats, lunges, standing calf raises, push ups, bicep curls, triceps extension, ab crunches, oblique crunches, plank pose, side plank pose for the core strength and stability and yogasanas like bhujangasana, dhanurasana, naukasana, pawanmukhthasana, tadasana to mention a few. All these exercises and yoga need to be done with guidance and under a competent trainer or authority.

8. Cool down is an aspect of exercise that is often overlooked.Lastly do shavasan or sit or lie down with eyes shut and relax your entire being to be in a state of bliss and calmness. Shavasana is a restful process.

9. Hydrate adequately and well and lastly lay emphasis on proper rest, relaxation and sleep.

Strength and toning exercises help by building and firming the muscles, boosts stamina and the immune system, increases muscle and bone density and overall muscle tone and helps in shedding the excess fat.

An important contributor to good muscle and bone strength and health and well-being in general is the role of food. The right choice of food strengthens and purifies the mind, body and spirit. 60-70 percent of our transformation is through the foods consumed. I do not recommend supplements or steroids for body building. Everything that the human body needs can be obtained from natural and seasonal foods like whole grains, millets, vegetables, root vegetables, fruit, nuts, dry fruit, herbs, beans and legumes, tofu, cow s milk and healthy fats like olive oil, sesame, coconut oil, ghee, seeds of flax, sunflower, chia etc and avoid preserves, processed and packaged foods, excess sugar, sodium, oils or deep fried foods, alcohol and aerated drinks.

To achieve and maintain a great body all that you need is discipline, avoid extreme diets, steroids, supplements, fat burners etc as these lead to digestive, nervous and hormonal damage which can have adverse effects on your behaviour, thought processes and attitudes.

Image source: Shutterstock (Image for representational purpose only)


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