G.One is out, enter the dragon

Get a headstart on the exercise and diet rules that will reign in 2012. Tunali Mukherjee asks the experts to share their fitness predictions

Acquiring strength will be more important than a six-pack
Sorry G.One! In 2012, Ra.One's lean physique will be more in demand than the six-pack abs of its futuristic, muscular hero. Sunil Kudva of Elite Fitness, says, "People now desire a lean, athletic frame, like that of Arjun Rampal or Ronaldo, as opposed to a bulky, muscular SRK."

He adds that the idea is to follow a holistic approach to fitness to achieve the look: A mix of martial arts and weight-training focusing on the core muscles is the preferred way to go, rather than just targetting a particular part of the body and bulking up," he says.

Women are also picking up on the trend, with an increasing number aiming for a lean, rather than a skinny body. "People are realising the importance of fitness throughout the year, and so even if they plan on running the marathon only once a year, they are now training the entire year for it," he adds.

Cooking in will be bigger than eating out
"Home cooked food will gain importance this coming year as people are increasingly becoming aware of the harmful effects of processed food," says Nutritionist Anjali Peswani, who believes that 2012 will be all about eating simple and correct.

"Many will opt for eggs as numerous benefits have been highlighted about this wonder food. It takes care of Vitamin D, K and B12 deficiency, which has been a perennial problem of our lifestyle. It has also been rated as one of the top-most wholesome foods, when combined along with a whole wheat toast for one's breakfast," she says.
"Another important trend that we can hope to see is people not falling for short term 'yo-yo' diets as they will realise that these diets are short-lived and harmful in the long run.

Also, skinny bodies will no longer be a fascination, and women will desire a healthy, voluptuous body that will not starve them, but at the same time will require food, which is cooked with least amount of oil and without preservatives.

Whole grains, oats, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat and skimmed milk products will be the choice of many. Look out for restaurants keeping up with the trend by catering to their health-conscious clientele and keeping their choice of taste in mind," she sums up.

Convenience foods will be a popular choice
Nutritionist Purwa Duggal, Fortis Hospital, says ease of accessibility and visibility play a major role in determining our food choices. "The economy has recently grown at unprecedented rates, yet the per-person-calorie-and-nutrient intake is declining, except for fat consumption, which is increasing due to the convenience of fast foods," she says.

For most working youngsters especially those away from home convenience, not nutrition is likely to be the criterion. Cost cutting and the pressure on time may also lower the quality of food provided in workplaces, believes Purwa.

Her advice? Think twice the next time you reach out for that ready-to-eat meal on the supermarket shelf.
With more and more people signing up with fitness centres and gyms, an increasing number of people are also being prescribed vitamins and dietary supplements.

"In the food supplement category, herbal food products, supplements and functional digestives are likely to be the choice of the health-conscious population. Protein-based sports nutrition products are likely to gain popularity as well, because of frequent prescriptions by trainers," she adds.

The key to a healthy 2012, therefore, is to be conscious of what you consume in the name of convenience and health.

Workouts will become shorter, but more intense
Fitness guru Zareen Watson says, "Workouts will get shorter, but more intense. Technology will play a huge role, with more apps coming into the market, which will help one keep track of one's workout in the absence of one's trainer."

She adds that she is looking forward to 2012 as the year that proves to be a win-win situation for both fitness trainers and students. "It's important that people get what they pay for," says Zareen. "This means that the trend will shift to people opting to train with instructors who are better qualified."

Zareen adds that a lot of trainers are choosing to educate themselves, as per the needs of their clients, specialising in fields like weight and obesity management, and diet.

However, remember to set aside a little more than you typically would to your fitness budget. "A trainer who invests so much time and money towards equipping themselves to provide you the very best, deserves to be suitably compensated," adds Zareen.

People will work out in groups, instead of going solo
Personal trainer Jordyn Steig predicts that 2012 will see an emphasis on feeling, and not just looking, fit. "Those of us who commute daily know how hard it is on the body. Our roads aren't getting any better, and the rickshaws and trains hardly have any space," says Jordyn.

"Functional training, as opposed to the one-size-fits-all gym training, ensures that all your real fitness needs are catered to. The exercises are built around problems we suffer from in our daily lives like bad knees, sore backs and spondylitis."

Functional training is weaved into one's lifestyle, so that the workout and its benefits go beyond the time spent with one's instructor.

"The exercises are based on daily activities, including picking up your baby or bending to pick up a pencil from the floor," says Jordyn, adding, "Functional training helps enforce correct posture, so that with practice and in due course, one learns how to bend, sit or lunge correctly in everyday life.
This helps benefit overall health." He adds that while fitness needs are increasing, it's not necessary that one's salary is too. "I believe that the trend, next year, will be to train in small groups, so that it serves the dual purpose of fitting one's budget and pushing one's stamina by motivating your workout partner and vice-versa."

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