They say health is like money, and we don’t know the value until we lose it. With a healthy body being the abode of a healthy mind, it is important to know the path to achieving it. And as the focus of current times shifts from fads of low-cal and size-zero to eating healthy and staying fit, the Yo! team interacts with eight different people in Visakhapatnam who’re promoting fitness in the ways they know best.
The healthy life
Bringing the first farm to table restaurant to Visakhapatnam, KV Suresh Kumar, owner of Swaraj Naturals store, highlights the importance of shifting to healthier food options.
“Oils in the market, including the popular Olive oil, are adulterated”
With oils being a commonly purchased item on the grocery list, KV Suresh Kumar is quick to question the logic behind the pricing. He questions how the cost of a litre of groundnut oil can be lesser than the cost of a kilogram of groundnuts when it actually takes close to 3kgs of groundnut to get one litre of double-refined groundnut oil? Commercially sold oils, he shares, are adulterated up to 90% and contain non-combustible white oils, which are harmful. Busting myths about the popularly sought olive oil, he asks, that when only one country produces olives, how is it possible to get so much oil at that cost?
“Ask yourself what your grandmother would recommend”
With the next natural question being, what one should opt for, he recommends food habits based on the old days. Traditional extracting methods for oils; grains and vegetables grown without pesticides; millets, traditional cooking utensils, dairy from a safe source, are a few of his recommendations.
“Eat food like medicine, or you’ll have to eat medicine as food”
With cultivating own food sources not being possible for all, he started Swaraj Naturals, to address the gap. Most of the products here are from his farm, carefully cultivated without using chemicals. Selling lentils, brown rice, millets and sugarcane, the poultry products of eggs and milk here are also healthier as the animals aren’t injected with any chemicals. Sugarcane is used to make organic sugarcane juice, which is sold at six outlets across Visakhapatnam. With the support of Indian Institute of Millet Research (IIMR), creation of value-added products with millets is happening as well. Finally, the farm to table concept is being brought through a restaurant that will use clay pots and healthy ingredients to give the complete health experience.
Junking out the junk
Ramya Adimulam, who runs Fitness Edge, speaks from her own personal experiences regarding foods for a fitter and better you.
A mother of two children she tried every ‘exercise regime’ to bring down her weight, and finally succeeded after she also changed her diet. She consequently completed a course on nutrition and diet and adopted a more nutritional back-to-basics traditional diet which actually worked.
Know what you eat
“Knowing what goes into a dish on their plate, can solve a lot of food problems. So, go desi, and opt for regionally grown foods rather than exotic imported foods. Choose traditional cold pressed locally produced oils like sesame, coconut and groundnut for taste and health. Buying from the local oil mills ensures purity and avoids chances of adulteration and chemicals added in commercially packed oils.”
“Don’t fall for fad diets; as now its millets, compared to brown rice in the last year. Instead consider portion sizes and quantity, as that’s more important. Follow a food routine that doesn’t have an expiry date.”
Way to fitness
Exercise isn’t just for weight loss, and a daily fitness regime will improve both physical well-being and mental health as well. This will lead to better productivity at the workplace and improve relationships at home too.”
“Don’t binge on exercise to lose the weight accumulated over years in short time, as this can have adverse effects on the body. Also, following a single workout regime everyday can make one lose interest in fitness. So, try a mix of different workout styles like power yoga, gym, HIIT, aerobics, dance, functional training, swimming and sports along with regular meditation to keep the mind rejuvenated and focussed. A 60-minute workout that increases the heart rate with proper warm up and stretching, 5- 6 days a week with mindful eating every day is the key to following a healthy lifestyle.”
Being role models
“Kids observe and do as their parents do. So parents should take up a regular sport or go for long walks every week. After all, a healthy family is a happy family.”
Breaking into a Dance
With breakdance being his passion, Sohail created ‘Breakfit’ in Visakhapatnam, that gives equal focus to both fitness and breakdancing, making this a fun way to stay fit.
“Sedentary lifestyles, usage of technology or sitting in classes for too long, makes today’s children less active. While dance is a fun way to stay fit, breakdance pushes one’s limits, as it demands small bursts of energy and high-intensity performances. Incorporating fitness and agility exercises, it helps to strengthen muscles and build stamina. Unlike jogging, where energy is used over time, it also teaches learners to pack energy. Compound exercises that involve more than one muscle groups are part of the package, that help breaks the monotony of exercising, through music and fun. Kids need strength training, for it reduces the risk of injuries, makes them active and sharper than the average crowd.”
The classical experience
Aditya Anukula of Kuchipudi Kalaa Kendram shares how this classical dance form is a great way for building fitness of the body and mind as well.
While fitness is as achievable through dance as it is through workouts at the gym, classical dances like Kuchipudi pack more advantages. This essence of our culture, strengthens the mind along with the body, as classical dancers need to focus on the song’s meaning, its tempo, rhythm, emotions and story as well.
“We may think that our mind is in our control, but we are often in its control,” reflects Aditya, who adds how this form has benefitted many people with physical and mental disabilities. “Children with foot problems, like bow legs have gained better balance through this dance form. Also the high level of energies of mentally challenged people, could properly be channelled through this dance form. With children being enrolled from an early age of 6-8 years, this form of fitness merges with the arts as well.
For those who feel that classical dances like Kuchipudi have many constraints, Aditya shares that it is the methods, equations and measurements in classical dance that are its essence and help in better expressions while keeping the traditions alive.
Dancing your way
A professional dancer and Zumba trainer, L Sharat shares his views on the fitness scenario in the Visakhapatnam.
With many people preferring contemporary ways to get fit, Zumba dance workouts fetch an increasing demand in Visakhapatnam. Involving dance and aerobic moments that go with lively music, the exercise is an engaging alternative to the traditional methods.
“Dance-based fitness formats involve a lot of fun. While fitness is definitely one of the results, dance adds an all-new flavour to the whole activity, making it an entertaining choice,” shares Sharat. Most workouts in this format are based on music and the activity involves mind-body coordination that help in conditioning the entire body. Unlike forms that concentrate on one specific muscle at a time, dance-based fitness activities call for the working of different muscles at once. Also, these forms use one’s own body weight to achieve fitness rather than depending on any external weights,” he adds.
Commenting on the current scenario in Visakhapatnam, Sharat observes that many people are moving towards this as compared to a few years ago. “Many dance and fitness academies have been finding their feet by the day”, he adds.
Technology and sports for health
With sports being preferred by many to stay fit, ‘I Am Not Out’, an app by Arun Medapati, aims to bring together sports enthusiasts and organisers.
A lover of sports since childhood, Arun enjoys the activity, and not because it would make him fit. And this is the case with many people; who play sports purely out of interest with getting fitter being a result that’s is bound to happen. Opining that an individual physical activity would tend to bore many, he finds that sport, which typically involves groups, offer an engaging and enjoyable alternative of getting fit. Apart from enhancing physical well-being, sports also help in improving the mental health and overall personality of an individual. Pointing out these reasons, Arun has created an app to encourage people towards sports. This app, which is in its beta stages, will connect sports enthusiasts from different places and also play a crucial role in inspiring their peers to showcase talent in a sport of their choice.
Going Organic and Natural
Visakhapatnam-based startup Sattva Naturals, founded by Lakshmi Teja, offers a range of healthy products.
“Growing awareness and the willingness to switch to healthier lifestyles have brought organic and natural products into the reckoning once again. Catering to this demand, Sattva Naturals offers a variety of products including millets, pulses, cold pressed oils, and spices sourced directly from the farmers. I also look to build a community through the store. The idea is to bring together like-minded health enthusiasts and spread awareness on the significance of eating healthy. While there has been a spike in the levels of awareness among the people, the largely prevalent misinformation calls for active campaigns and workshops to educate the citizens. This would further help in fortifying the health scene in the city.”
The dietary planners
A good diet is a key to a good fitness plan elaborates Robert, Founder of Kaloreez, which delivers healthy meals to the doorstep.
The Kaloreez menu features a wide list of breakfast options, salads, soups, main course and much more. Interestingly, it all comes with a properly calculated calorie chart. “While our initial customers were people looking to lose weight, we now also customise to specific dietary needs like for kidney and heart patients and diabetics”, says Robert Rejoice Kumar, the Owner at Kaloreez. With a dietician on board, the client’s BMI, metabolism rate etc are checked before suggesting a plan. With food awareness on the high, Kaloreez offers millet idlis, ragi brownies and also has a special KETO range of dishes. In fact, it also plans interesting food options for the cheat days.
Talking about the many gyms in Visakhapatnam, he shares that while people would visit gyms mainly for bodybuilding in the past, now functional training and fitness-specific gyms focus on overall fitness; and 70% of that comes through healthy food.