Archive for July, 2013

One of the biggest things to miss out on life is to explore what you’re own body is capable of. A lot of people will die without exploring their own limits and I feel that is very sad. Why wouldn’t someone want to know their limits? Isn’t it a part of self assessment and exploration? This post however is about the different perspectives of beauty in the world.

blog post

 

I write this to all the women in the world (doesn’t mean men shouldn’t take notice). The media and paparazzi of today has created an image of the perfect woman. This perfect woman is slim and that supposedly makes her sexy. I urge you to look at the photos above and tell me which pair of legs looks sexier? The one on the left which is markedly slim or the one on the right which appears firmer and stronger? To be honest, the lady on the left is clearly not eating enough food.

In my opinion a woman should be strong too. With the advent of modern technology, the need for strength is losing its value among people. It used to be expected of men to be strong physically as they had to protect their family and support it. Now the only support required is financial. This is one of the reasons why we have diabetes, heart disease, obesity and all of this is just because of a lack of awareness. But women need to be strong too. A woman undergoes many stages in her life which requires a lot of strength; childbirth being one. A woman needs to have legs strong enough to carry herself when she has a life inside of her. Do you think the lady on the left has legs strong enough? A woman also needs to be strong enough to pick up her child and walk around with it all day if required. Mind you that is not a measly task and it requires strength.

The media paints a very dazzling picture of how a woman should look and we, like sheep, follow what they say. Here are a few examples of how the media dictates our perception of beauty.

Case of Disappearing Muscles of Celebrities

Photoshop makes Celebs look brighter more appealing

We all know what happened to Beyonce at the Superbowl. She sported her strong muscular legs and this is what they did to mock her.

The media needs to stop the campaign of defining feminine beauty. The campaign is more anti-women than it is pro-women. The women of the world need to wake up and realize what the media has done to them in terms of their food habits and everything else. And the first step has to be taken by us. We as responsible inhabitants of this planet have to tell the media to go to hell and boycott the airbrushing of celebrities.

In the first link above there is a picture of Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton. When she saw her exposed back with the muscles, she was proud because she put in a lot of hard work to achieve that. And what did the media do? The retouched her muscles to make her look feminine. Women are also human beings. And all human beings have muscles – around 600-800 in all. It is very natural for women to have them as they are the same species as men. Now they don’t have the hormone testosterone in as much quantity as we men do. That makes their muscles smaller in general than their male counterparts. But it certainly doesn’t mean that a female cannot have muscles. In fact having more muscle mass is beneficial for longevity and health of any individual.

I hope someday people will wake up and help me change this perception of female beauty. Women with legs like the lady on the left in the picture don’t need praise; they need help.

 

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No one is perfect. Even the biggest of celebrities, the best of philosophers and the strongest of athletes have their own imperfections. As promised, I am going to write about my visit to the chiropractor this last week, and how it helped me to identify my own imperfections.

imbalances - chiro

I was a little apprehensive going for a visit to a chiropractor for the first time. I told her what I thought could have been wrong with my body; the alignment of the top vertebra – atlas. I continued by narrating my experiences while lifting weights and finding that one side clearly produced more force than the other as if amount of nerve cells on one side was greater than the other. She listened to me and went on to do an assessment. There was a thermal and an EMG test to determine small temperature and current differences between the two sides of the body. The chart which you see above is the result.

On the left side you can see white lines all over the spine. The white lines represent balance between both sides. On the right side is what my back looks like. There are a couple of whites which is good, a few greens which stand for low level imbalances. And then there are blues which stand for moderate level imbalances. The reds stand for high level imbalances and the black ones are “off the chart” imbalances.

As I had suspected, there is something really wrong with my atlas which can be seen with the colorful top vertebra. Another thing which I had suspected was the right hip, notice how the two black lines branch out from it. After my assessment, I was made to lie down in a prone position. The first thing which the chiropractor did was to examine my leg lengths. She told me that my right leg was a little over an inch shorter than my left leg. She then proceeded to crack a couple bones in my back; which is called adjusting the spine. She then said I had a week left knee, which I was expecting as my left knee has given me trouble in the past. She proceeded to crack my neck and answered a few of my questions.

I came back thinking of whether it helped at all. I put on my chuck taylors and squatted down in a body weight squat and surprisingly felt better while doing so.

Yesterday I was squatting 180 lbs when something struck me.

muscle imbalances

On the left you see a normal pelvis. And on the right is my pelvis which is tilted toward the left. This makes my right leg shorter than the left and when I squat, it results in a lot more force on the right side and the left side just does the supporting due to a lesser range of motion. And this prompted me to do something which I had never ever advised anyone else to do; neither had I tried it myself. I extended my left leg a little out to the side to widen my stance in a staggered way. What this did was to adjust my pelvis to be normally aligned and distributed the force of the weight on my back evenly between the two legs. I felt the difference instantly and my right hip which had been taking a grinding over all those ruthless training sessions felt a lot better.

Now my overhead press is a similar case, I feel a lot more muscle activity on the right side and the left side just does the supporting. So I slid my right hand a little wider than my usual grip hence lengthening the range of motion on the right side. This would in turn cause the weight to distribute evenly between the two sides and it did! I was in awe. I had just found the answer to the most difficult problem I have ever faced in training. And now I am really excited to try a similar thing in my bench press and hopefully my bench pressing woes will go away too.

Do let me know what you think of this and stay tuned for more training adventures!

muscle - nervous system

I know that the post title sounds funny. Muscle virus is actually a termed coined by Elliot Hulse, strongman and strength training/fitness/health guru. I was watching a short video series yesterday when I realized that I might have a common deformity which might impact my weight lifting.

Since when I was a small kid, I have noticed that my neck is slightly tilted to one side. The tilt is so small that I never noticed it in the mirror, neither did my parents. However, when I used to go to the studio to get my picture clicked, the photographer always asked me to straighten my face. And I never understood why he said that. Over the years I came to realize that it was there and I would have to live with it for the rest of my life. I had never even thought the kind of impact it could have in my life.

I read many fitness articles and watch tons of videos everyday. And I learn something new everyday. In this video series, Elliot talks about the various muscle imbalances that might be preventing the guy from lifting heavy weights without injury or pain. In the video he talks about Atlast adjustment. So I did some research and found this video of his. Here he gives some more details about muscle imbalances and how they might be related to the nervous system. He talks about how a certain set of vertebra in the body (Atlas) floats and can be adjusted. This vertebra directs the function of the rest of the spine and hence the whole central nervous system.

The picture above shows the detailed muscular anatomy of a human (forgive me for using a male as an example, I am not chauvinistic). It just so happens that your left shoulder, lats, traps are linked to your right hip, low back muscles and both of these as a group are linked to your left leg muscles as pointed in the picture. So, if you’re stronger in the right hand side of the body, it is very likely that your left hip is stronger than your right. I didn’t know this and now it makes so much sense to me. This is the reason why I feel as stable as a rock when I kick a football with my right leg; because my left (stronger) hip keeps my body stable while I execute the motion.

Elliot Hulse calls this a muscle virus. In simple terms it is just how the muscular and the nervous system overlap. So what do you do if you find that you have such muscle imbalances or a tilted Atlas? I am going to the chiropractor to see what they can do. Other than that, in today’s lifting session I tried hard to focus all my strength on my weak side. It actually felt good and my right (weaker) hip is sore now. I would also recommend yoga and lots of stretching combined with a lot of foam rolling. Foam rolling has done so many wonders for me that I can’t even count them on my fingers.

Will update about how my session with the chiropractor goes and the wealth of information I get from there. Until then happy lifting!

Who Am I?

Posted: July 4, 2013 by Savvy Saver in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

As you guys would have guessed, I am a tube light. It takes some time for me to realize stuff. So after writing four posts about strength training, I decided I’ll write a little bit about myself and how I got bit by the iron bug.

There comes a point in your life when you realize that you’ve been doing everything wrong. It is at that moment that you decide to shuffle things up and pick up the trash. For me there have been quite a few moments like that.

At 19 years old, I was 5’10” weighing around 55kg (121lbs). I was leading a sedentary life wasting my youth away. I thought I was normal, heck everyone thinks they’re normal. It was then when something hit me hard. It was the glass door of the mess. I had lost my senses of vision and hearing and ran into the glass door and fainted immediately. The doctor said I had low blood pressure – 95/60. It wasn’t too shocking for my deluded brain. It was what happened afterwards was what changed me. I had to rely on other people to do routine stuff. Someone had to bring me food from the mess. If I had to go somewhere, I’d need someone to go with me so I don’t fall down and faint again. And they’d have to carry my stuff because I was so freaking weak.

old college

This is me in 2006

I decided that things had to change for the better when the doc told me that I had iron levels less than a girl’s normal levels. I started eating healthy and started going to the gym. I had no idea of what I was doing, but at least I was trying.

A couple of years ago, I came to the United States to pursue higher education. When I looked around at the Indian population, I saw pot bellies and sagging double chins. These were people who were barely in their twenties.

I remember I had gone for bootcamp one day and I was the only Indian there. Guess what I found? The American girls had more stamina and strength than myself.

In the country I call home, people like to eat good food and enjoy. But this doesn’t mean that you don’t take care of yourself and let your belly go beyond your toes. Oh, and you don’t need two chins; one is enough. People in the west think that we Indians are only good at math. They think that we are weak physically because we never show up on the scene in sports like Football. This is not their fault. This is our own fault for being lazy and not being conscious about our own selves.

I started training seriously in September 2012. After about 9 months of training I look like this today.

progress2

My purpose is to change the world’s perspective about India and Indians. I want to show the world that we Indians can be strong and fast. I want to create Usain Bolts and Rafael Nadals in India. And then I want to look at the people of the world as they look in awe at us Indians.