38 Y.O. Fitness Blogger Mum Tanya’s Guide To A Heal-Thy-Fit Lifestyle
- IWB Post
- December 7, 2017
I hadn’t even recovered from the fitness-dose that we received from the 51-year-old body-builder mum last month and I virtually bumped into another fit mum this week. Universe conspiring, you think? Let’s find out!
Thirty-eight-year-old fitness blogger Tanya Agarwal approached IWB to not just speak about her ‘fit’ lifestyle, but with a motive to spread awareness and encourage people to adopt a health-oriented routine.
A fulltime blogger and mum of two young kids, Tanya runs Wellthyfit.com and is head-to-toe into fitness. And why not, she has been a sports lover from childhood, loves trekking, runs marathons, does yoga, and unlike the popular belief, none of these hold her back from hitting the gym!
Particular about what goes on the table, Tanya believes in ‘practise what you preach’, and is all set to talk about the importance of exercise, and how a healthy lifestyle is incomplete without good nutrition!
So strap on your shoes and run along, or roll out the mat if that is your way, but don’t miss out on this healthy-dose of fitness, is what we’ll say!
Let’s begin with talking about fitting fitness in the urban lifestyle, the classic “I don’t have time for it” excuse.
I’d tell them, carry your shoes to work. If there is no time pre and post your work hours, then might as well take some time out during work. A short 1.5km run or walk up and down to the workplace can be made in 20-30 minutes easily. And that also happens to be the best possible option for people who are “always travelling”.
Or perhaps, do some squats and lunges. And, of course, eat right! If you have an option to choose between parantha and bhatura, you can pick parantha, right? So it’s all about making attempts at knowing right and choosing better, and keeping at it until it becomes your lifestyle.
Ha-ha. Indeed. So what is your fitspiration?
I am a true believer of “only if you are physically fit, can you be mentally fit”. The more I exercise, the better I feel emotionally and psychologically. It is my ‘want’ to be healthy, and I am true to my commitment to self.
Taking a cue from my mother who suffered from lifestyle diseases, I instilled in me the belief that not only do I want to be fit for myself, to deal with what my body might greet me with as time passes, but I want to be fit for my kids as well. They need to know that their mother is always available.
Aha! Give me a quick glimpse of the fitness bond you have with your children?
My kids are very active, and they see their mother active throughout the day. I am always in my yoga pants, so whenever I find a window, I quickly get through some exercises. They know how much I love trekking, and I take them along sometimes. They love being a part of all my workouts.
A few healthy bits of fitspiration from your kitchen?
Both of them know that their mother is very particular about food. I have cooks, but I prepare the food myself, and make sure that all the five essential nutrients go on the table. Not to say that I don’t let them have pizzas and burgers, in fact, I myself make that for them, and we are all ice cream lovers. But I’ve taught them well to prefer homemade over outside food, and they understand it well.
One fit-smart mum you are! So what do you have to say about the role of diet and its importance? A quick message, perhaps?
Eat less, please! I often see that people eat portions that are way too large than what the stomach demands. But, at the same time, it is important that one doesn’t miss meals – set one meal as the most important, and make sure that you don’t skip it. Also, please don’t miss out on the essential fats and carbohydrates. Our body needs omega, and foods like paneer, ghee, eggs, and dark chocolate ought to be incorporated into the meals.
And she shared that to make do with less oil, switching to non-stick pans could help.
Your take on fitness-focused parenting?
It is extremely important, both in regard to exercise, and nutrition. Parents must ensure that their child plays some sport every day, and takes healthy homemade food that includes good amount of ghee, green veggies, and essential carbohydrates.
Also, please don’t fear from giving your child supplements. Get them regularly tested for vitamin and iron, and in case of deficiencies, don’t try to balance it with over-feeding of natural diet. That, too, has its negative impacts.
Speaking of children and young age, what is your advice to teenage girls? A few pointers on what to eat and how to exercise?
Teenage girls must eat everything, and must eat a lot, especially ghee, i.e. homemade butter. And secondly, they must play sports, and try a lot of them. In the teens, a girl is typically dealing with too much pressure at once, academics, physical and emotional changes, and with peer. So it is very important for her to be able to release those energies. Not only in holidays or breaks, every day! A minimum of one hour of physical activity is a must, and parents should ensure that she gets that.
Beyond beauty, and regardless of girl or boy, sports are essential for all teenagers. (Would you suggest yoga, too, for them?) Of course, if they’re able to do it and find interest, why not! It might help them find the body-mind connect early in life, and what could be better than that.
And moving to the next age bracket, what would be your word of caution to young girls suffering from PCOS and Thyroid?
Before I talk about what they should do, I’d like to talk about why these two health issues, in particular, have become so common in girls of age 15-25. We all know about it being a consequence of hormonal imbalance, but why does the balance go off? Only in 20% cases is it genetic, 80% cases are caused by stress, which, in turn, is again a question of lifestyle, exercise, nutrition, and supplements!
Girls dealing with PCOS must intake high fiber food, like salads and bajra rotis, and they should ensure inclusion of healthy fats in their meals, which by the way, should be kept small and light. Also, drink lots of water; otherwise the fiber-rich diet might lead to constipation. And since PCOS increases the chances of diabetes, exercise regularly!
Diabetes being another common issue, how can a fitness-dedicated lifestyle help combat diabetes, blood pressure, and gynaec problems?
In the age bracket of 35-45, you will find that 60% of females are dealing with some or the other health issue. And most often, they don’t exercise, or pick a wrong workout, and would either be on a wrong diet, or not keep a check at all. So most important is to start right and slow.
Start with walking, which is great for women who have blood pressure or Type 2 diabetes, as aerobic exercises pump the heart rate and help keep it in control. And gradually, they could begin sprinting, and also, initiate strength training. It is proven best for them.
Let’s dig a bit deeper on strength training, for people often have qualms about it. And also, if you could shed some light on yoga.
Yeah, so why I stressed on strength training is because with age, we begin to lose muscle mass, which, in turn makes it even more difficult to maintain blood pressure and sugar level. And resistance training helps to maintain the muscle mass.
Yoga, too, is great. As with all the other exercise benefits, it also helps reduce stress. But more often than not, people tend to get bored of it, or get discouraged because of lack of flexibility. So they could try swimming, which is ideal for diabetic patients and for those who are injury prone. Or else, stationery cycling is another good option!
Okay! And what would you suggest to women in the postnatal phase?
Postnatal is meant to be taken slow; don’t be in a hurry. Don’t take up any exercise for 3-4 months, or more, in case the doctor has suggested, which is mostly the case in caesarian delivery. Slow walk or very light yoga can be practised, but nothing that increases the heart rate and leads to release of endorphins in your body, as that intoxicates the breast milk. Gradually she can start with her choice of workout, but I’d suggest that until she is breastfeeding, heavy workout should be avoided.
That’s one important thing to remember. Okay, Tanya, now I am eager to get your reaction to the popular “I want to be lean” fitness motivation.
I think this mindset is temporary, comes with the adolescence phase and fades as you near 30s. By then you tend to get more accepting towards your body. But yes, earlier the realization, the better it is. For instance, I have a pear-shaped body, so I know that I need to be more cautious about the hip and lower body workout. But it can only help me maintain, I can’t keep an impractical target of going from a size say 36 to 32.
It is very important that one understands their body strength. Aiming to be thin/lean is not wrong, but ask yourself if you are strong enough to climb the staircase, to carry your groceries, to hold a door with your foot. And if the answer to these is negative, get back to checking the ‘strength’ clause.
Your advice to women fearing gym shaming?
Nobody cares if you don’t. I can totally understand where this question is coming from, but it is important that we remind ourselves why we started in the first place. Don’t let anything deter you. If you’ve decided to get fit, to look good, then why think about anything else? It takes a lot to cross that initial line of getting yourself out, so buck up and don’t let yourself fall back!
And on that note, things that you’d like the home-gymming fit-freaks to note down?
It can be done, but make sure that you acquire proper knowledge beforehand. Otherwise, the chances of injury may arise. For cardio, you can keep a treadmill, lunges and squats could be done free, and for strength, keep few barbells, kettle bells, resistance bands, exercise balls, etc. But it also depends on the space available, speaking of which, do keep mats and foam rollers!
I feel like I almost ran a question-marathon with you here, ha-ha. But before we stop, tell me, how do you take a pause?
Ha-ha. I must tell you that Ioved running along! I meditate every day, 10 minutes in the morning, and 10 before I call it a day. Though I am not a person who takes much mental stress, I keep things easy and flowing, so it isn’t necessarily a stress-buster activity for me. But I strongly believe that regardless of the routine, everyone should practice focused breathing for at least five to ten minutes.