We’ll be the first to admit to packing on some extra pounds during the lockdown.
Working from home saw most of us sitting in the same place for hours and bingeing on junk food nearly every day, which meant fitness took a backseat. And now, when the world is reopening gradually and some of us are returning to the office, it’s time to sculpt our birthday suit into a finer form.
If you are not keen on hitting a crowded gym just yet, consider working out at home with simple, no-equipment exercises. For some fitspiration, we’ve consulted celebrity trainer Vinod Channa to design a full-body fitness routine that can help you get back in shape in a jiffy.
A household name in India, Vinod Channa is responsible for the chiseled physiques of Bollywood actors like John Abraham and Ayushmann Khurrana, as well as business tycoon Mukesh Ambani’s son Anant’s impressive 108kg weight loss within 18 months.
Channa, who owns the VC Fitness gym in Mumbai, swears by traditional weight loss techniques such as exercising, changing one’s diet, and enforcing a “target-centric approach”, which entails setting realistic fitness goals for each month. These will be instrumental in helping you slim down and lose that stubborn lockdown weight.
A no-equipment, full-body workout
Channa’s regimen comprises two phases and kicks off with simple drills that get increasingly difficult. These are to be done over a week, before one can progress to more intense exercises that build stamina, tone muscles and promote weight loss.
“Immobility amidst lockdown has affected the overall strength, agility and flexibility of most people. So in order to get back in shape while avoiding risk of injury, it’s important for people to practise a few conditioning movements for a week and then move on to hardcore exercises,” he said.
1. Conditioning training
Begin with conditioning exercises like planks, monkey walk and crab walk for a week, to get your body accustomed to movement.
Practise these movements regularly with increasing intensity over a week:
An upper body and core exercise, crab walk works your arms, legs, core and hamstrings. By using your body weight as resistance, it proves one of the best full-body cardio movements.
- Sit on the floor with your legs hip distance apart. Put your hands behind your back, with your fingers facing your feet.
- Lift your hips from the ground and tighten your abs.
- Now start walking forward by moving your left hand and right leg before switching to your right hand and left leg. Alternate between sides.
- Practise for as long as you can.
If you wish to know how long a minute can feel, hold your body in a plank position. This move is one of the best ways to strengthen your core. Channa says beginners can try holding on for 20 to 30 seconds and increase the time gradually.
- Place your forearms on the ground parallel to your body, shoulder distance apart.
- Place your toes on the ground and balance your body on the forearms and toes.
- Keep your body parallel to the ground and hold it in this position for as long as possible.
For stronger shoulders, quads and hamstrings, practise monkey walk.
- Start with a sumo squat position and keep your hands on the ground.
- Move your hands ahead and hop forward.
- Start at a relatively slow pace and increase the speed as much as you can.
If you’re unsure about how to do these exercises, Channa demonstrates them and a few additional movements in the video below.
2. Hardcore exercises
After a week of conditioning workouts, Channa suggests moving on to a fitness regime that lasts a little more than 20 minutes for beginners. The routine includes squats, lunges, planks, cross crunches and mountain climbs.
While squats and lunges must be practised the traditional way, the other movements can be tried in standing, sitting or floor positions. The drill can be concluded with Bhujangasana (Cobra pose) and Chakrasana (backbend pose).
Channa recommends this exercise for toning legs and buttocks, and inducing weight loss.
- Stand upright with your back facing the wall.
- Now squat into a position like you are sitting on a chair.
- Try to hold on to it for 20 to 30 seconds.
- Over time, as your strength increases, hold on for longer.
For beginners, Channa suggests 1 set of 10 counts. Over time, one can move on to 3 or 4 sets of 15 counts.
- Stand straight with your legs shoulder-distance apart.
- With your left foot, step back and bend both knees at a 90-degree angle.
- Now, as you get back up, put your weight on the right heel.
- Repeat the same with your right leg.
Although a part of conditioning exercises, planks can be incorporated into the 20-minute routine as well. This core-centric position can be done the traditional way, or in other forms such as side planks.
This exercise targets the core muscles and tones your waist and abdominal wall. Channa suggests that beginners perform one or two sets of 10 to 15 counts. After a week, the number of sets and counts can be increased.
- Lie down on the floor or a mat with your knees bent.
- Support your head with your left hand and cross the right leg over the left knee.
- Now crunch and bring your left elbow across towards the right knee.
A full-body workout, mountain climbers improve core strength and agility.
- Begin with one set of 10 to 15 counts and increase the number of sets and counts after a week.
- Get into a the plank position.
- Pull your right knee towards the chest as much as possible.
- Then switch legs and pull your left knee towards the chest as if you are running.
- Keep your hips low through the process and run as fast as possible.
- Inhale and exhale with every leg switch.
Once you have completed all the exercises, Channa recommends concluding with Bhujangasana and Chakrasana.
Bhujangasana (Cobra pose)
- Lie down on your stomach.
- Keep your legs together and toes flat on the floor.
- Place your hands on the floor, palms facing downwards, shoulder distance apart.
- With their support, raise your chin, chest and abdomen off the ground while keeping your navel on the floor.
- Continue breathing in and out.
- Hold for 5 to 10 counts and perform two sets.
- Lie flat on the ground.
- Bend your knees and bring them closer to your hips.
- Raise your hands and bring them under your shoulders.
- Now inhale, press your arms and feet on the ground and lift your body up.
- Try to raise your hips as much as possible and hold onto the position.
- Practise it 3 to 5 times.
Apart from exercise, nutrition is also key to smashing your fitness goals. Channa suggests cutting down on carbs, oily food and sugary treats. Here are a few tricks that can help you lose lockdown weight:
- Stick to a smaller meal than usual.
- Eat fruits when craving for a sweet treat.
- Make a vegetable stew with different types of lentils.
- Instead of oily snacks like packaged crisps go for peanuts, almonds, walnuts and lotus seeds.
- Prepare a natural protein shake with almond milk, hemp seeds and chia seeds.
- Opt for unpolished rice instead of regular basmati rice.
- Replace regular potatoes with sweet potatoes.
- Have oats and eggs for breakfast.
(Main image and featured image credit: Jonathan Borba/Unsplash)