This is the final post in the health series which I started almost 3 months ago on the request of a friend. I hope some of you found the posts helpful. I would like to conclude the series with my exercise habits.
My Workout Routine
In my previous post, I mentioned that I am an ectomorph. I have always been a skinny guy and have difficulty gaining weight. My ideal weight is 60 kgs but I never crossed 50 kgs up until I started working out. When I started on my first job I was downing outside food (mostly pizza, burgers, Mexican and Chinese takeouts), and drinking 3 or 4 caffeinated soft drinks (Mountain Dew was my favorite) a day. I was gaining fat but not much weight. For some reason, in mid 2008, I just decided to get rid of the fat and build some muscle and gain weight. I was 50 kgs with 15% fat. My goal was to hit 60 kgs at 7% body fat.
I read a lot of books on health and fitness and made myself a workout plan. I diligently followed the plan updating it as my knowledge improved. Most of the workouts used to be just strength training. Eventually I made it to 57 kgs but could not gain any more beyond that point. This was the time when I was eating 10 to 12 eggs a day and lifting weights like crazy. Eventually in 2017, I decided to add more exercise types than just strength training. Enter martial arts, where flexibility, balance and endurance were a nice addition to strength training. So as of now, I train martial arts 2 times a week for about 2 hours. I do strength training and a bit of calisthenics 2 times a week for 2 hours (including time for warm-up, stretches and cool-down) and stretches another 2 days. I have an off day. Due to the change in exercises, I have lost some weight and now I usually hover around 52 to 53 kgs.
I try and maintain my body fat at around 9%, which works out well for my body. It is difficult but not extremely difficult to maintain it. It is a happy medium. I use body fat calipers to check my body fat from time to time. Most of the times I just use visual guide in the mirror. The best I could do was 7% and it was extremely difficult to maintain that level of fitness everyday.
I basically follow overcoming gravity for all my exercises. It has exercises for all levels of difficulty in strength, balance and flexibility. If you are serious about all aspects of fitness, I would suggest that book. Strength workouts include pull ups, push-ups, rows and dips. Balance exercises can be crow pose, peacock pose and handstands (struggling in this one). Flexibility could be middle splits, pike compression, full bridge and L-Sit and I am struggling in pretty much all of them. Still have a long way to go, but it is quite fun to have a goal and reach it!
Anybody can become healthy and fit, but it takes a lot of grit and hard work. The principles of health are quite simple really. My basic advice is — know your body, eat natural whole food, and exercise. Eat lots of vegetables and moderate amount of fruits and nuts. Have very little or avoid all kinds of junk, deep fried items, sweets, cakes, juices, drinks etc. Many people claim that avoiding meat or even turning vegan helps. Give that a try. Try out intermittent fasting. See what works for you and stay fit.
Eat your food as medicine, otherwise you will have to eat medicines as your food
That is pretty much everything I wanted to write in this health series. So what’s next? Well you could read some literature or peer reviewed research publications or take some MOOCs to further your understanding. I audited the following courses a long time ago. Not sure if they are still available or relevant today. Give them a try
- Nutrition and Health: Macronutrients and Overnutrition
- The Body Matters: Why Exercise Makes You Healthy
- Useful Genetics Part 1: How Our Genes Shape Us
- Essential Human Biology: Cells and Tissues
- Fundamentals of Immunology, Part 1
Let me know in comments section below if you need to know more.