You can’t ‘out-exercise’ a bad diet: Celebrity fitness trainer Namrata Purohit dishes out fitness tips that actually work

01 January,2024 06:26 PM IST |  Mumbai  |  Aakanksha Ahire

Unlike most videos on the internet that guarantee weight loss in two weeks, trained and educated professionals like celebrity fitness trainer Namrata Purohit say, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to fitness. Mid-day Online conversed with her and a nutrition expert to help you walk the right path towards fitness in 2024

According to Namrata Purohit, listening to your body throughout your fitness journey is paramount. Photo Courtesy: Namrata Purohit

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The vicious cycle of eating salivating foods and working out to burn fat will never come to an end. Like every other year, 2023 too was about sinful indulgence in an array of delectable dishes across cuisines. It was also the year when health and fitness took centre stage.

Now, with the arrival of 2024, it's time to reflect on how close we came to achieving our fitness goals in the past year and make the right amends by redefining our fitness goals for 2024.

Setting fitness goals at the beginning of the year sets the right tone, clearly defining what we should and shouldn't be doing in the coming 12 months to ensure we stay fit.

Today, a majority of our health and fitness actions are driven by suggestions we find on social media or celebrity influence. However, it's necessary to have a guided approach to health.

For this very purpose, Mid-day Online reached out to someone who has been a part of some of Bollywood celebrities' fitness journeys - celebrities who often inspire us to stay fit with their chiselled, toned and near-perfect body postures.

Namrata Purohit, Pilates expert, entrepreneur, founder of The Pilates Studio, and a celebrity fitness trainer for some of the B-town celebrities spills the secret to staying fit in 2024.

We also roped in a Dr Sangeeta Tiwari, clinical nutritionist, Artemis Lite, New Delhi, who tells us how we must plan our diet that perfectly complements our workout regime to ensure overall well-being.

Exercising for the body and the mind
Your workout regime should ensure you stay fit physically and mentally. "Pilates is one such kind of exercise that benefits the body and the mind. I always say that when you're doing Pilates, you're going to get strong like a warrior, but you'll have a lean, long, flexible body like a dancer," says Purohit.

The origin of this form of exercise traces back to the Second World War when a man named Joseph Pilates developed this form of exercise. The trainer, who herself was introduced to Pilates after suffering a fall from a horse, says "I had injured my knee and was looking for exercises that would help my knee recover in a pain-free manner. That's when I fell into the lap of Pilates. Four days into it, for the first time in an entire year of trying everything else, I could exercise without any pain."

Pilates is performed on various kinds of equipment, like the reformer, Cadillac, chair, ladder barrel, and other Pilates-specific equipment. "On each piece of equipment, you can do more than 1500 - 2000 different variations and exercises working the entire body."

She adds, "It will help you focus on your breathing, ensure a full body workout and work on all aspects of fitness like strength, agility, balance, endurance, stability, flexibility, coordination, concentration, and more."

Purohit says that besides pilates, one can and must also engage in a mix of different kinds of exercises like Yoga or strength training.

She shares, "Whichever form of exercise you choose, a mantra I ask my students to follow is that of KISSS - Keep it safe, simple and smart. I always believe that your fitness regime has to be customised for you, your body type, and your goals. It should be something that energises you and not drains you, something that helps you to sustainably reach your fitness goals."

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to working out
When asked about some top exercises that one must practise every day, this fitness trainer says, "I wish fitness would be that simple where just five exercises would be good for all but that isn't the case. I wouldn't say there's a one-size-fits-all because everyone's body type is different and every individual's needs are different. But in general, if you want to stay healthy, you must practice a combination of right exercising, nutrition and sleep."

She adds, "Concerning workouts, you can practise a mix of cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, muscular strength, Pilates, and Yoga. It all depends on what your goals are and what your body type is."

All must understand their body type and requirements which can be helpful to design a personalised fitness routine accordingly. This routine shall also be designed keeping in mind your stamina, strength and also your whole day's routine.

Although many state that at least 45 minutes of workout is necessary, Purohit states that given the fact that most people are busy and find very little or no time to workout, "Even a 30-minute workout done right is good enough. Even a 20-minute Electric Muscle Stimulation, which is done just twice a week, is good enough, especially for those who are extremely busy. Further, a 30 - 40-minute moderate-intensity or 20-minute high-intensity workout also can yield great results. It depends and differs from person to person."

Importance of listening to your body
According to Purohit, listening to your body throughout your fitness journey is paramount. Sharing an example of some of the celebrities she trains like Sara Ali Khan, Kareena Kapoor Khan and Saif Ali Khan, she says, "They always listen to their body instead of pushing it to do something against its will."

"Sara for instance, when she's focused and working on her fitness regime, she won't eat after a certain hour at night. She also makes sure she doesn't miss a workout. Even if she has an early shoot schedule, she makes sure to squeeze in that workout before her shoot. She listens to her body. When her body tells her that she has worked a lot and requires rest, she conveys the same to me. So, they all have slowly and steadily learned to listen to their body, which I think is the biggest thing that one needs to learn."

Common misconceptions about exercising
Many misconceptions surround fitness. In Purohit's observation, there are mainly two which she highlights.

"Many believe the more you work out the better, which is a false belief. The body develops and improves more when you give it the right amount of rest. Rest is a very important part of a fitness regime, which people often forget. It's more about the quality than the quantity when it comes to exercising," she states.

Another misconception she observes is around diet. "Most people tend to eat less, which is unhealthy for a body that works out. People believe that if they eat less it will help them lose weight better. Exercising and losing weight or just staying fit is also about eating right. Eat enough quality food in the right quantity and you will yield better results.

The trainer also says that many today believe that they can out-exercise a bad diet. "You can't. You have to eat right, otherwise you're not going to lose weight no matter how much you work out - if that is your fitness goal. Besides, it is not just about the calories or the weight, bad nutrition could be harmful to your overall health.

Further, she also urges all to steer clear of misinformation or misleading fitness videos on the internet. Most of us also attempt to tone our bodies like celebrities. Commenting on this she reflects, "It is important to know that for celebrities, looking a certain way and having such toned bodies are a part of their job. This is not to say that one must not take inspiration from them. You must, because the actors do put in a lot of effort to build that body and to stay fit, however, each body is different and we must not forget that You must do what best suits your body."

Right foods to eat for overall fitness
Seconding to Purohit's take on the key role nutrition plays in one workout regime, Dr Sangeeta Tiwari, clinical nutritionist, Artemis Lite, New Delhi says, "Complementing your diet with exercise is vital for overall health. Exercise enhances metabolism, improves cardiovascular health, supports weight management, and contributes to mental well-being. It works hand-in-hand with a healthy diet to maintain muscle mass, boost energy expenditure, and promote vitality. The combination of a nutritious diet and regular exercise creates a synergistic effect for optimal health."

For those trying to maintain a healthy weight, Tiwari suggests consuming nutrient-dense foods like lean proteins (chicken, fish, tofu), whole grains (quinoa, brown rice), fruits, vegetables, healthy fats (avocado, nuts), and hydrating foods.

These choices provide essential nutrients, help control calorie intake, and keep you feeling full Adopt a balanced diet with a mix of macronutrients (carbs, proteins, fats), micronutrients (vitamins, minerals), and fibre. Emphasise whole foods and limit processed items. Tailor the diet to individual needs, considering factors like age, activity level, and health conditions.

Tiwari suggests dividing your day into five meals:

1. Breakfast: Whole-grain cereal with fruit and yoghurt.

2. Snack: Handful of nuts and an apple.

3. Lunch: Grilled chicken salad with quinoa.

4. Afternoon snack: Carrot sticks with hummus.

5. Dinner: Baked fish, sweet potato, and steamed vegetables.

On a parting note, Tiwari says, "Fitness goals should extend beyond just weight loss. Prioritise goals related to strength, endurance, flexibility, and mental health. Aim for a holistic approach to well-being, focusing on sustainable habits that contribute to long-term health. A balanced lifestyle, including regular exercise and a nutritious diet, should be the main focus, promoting overall physical and mental vitality."

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