Body speak

Fitness freak Rahul Dev sheds light on the importance of functional training in workouts.

Anamika Butalia        Print Edition: March 7, 2010

Eleven months ago, model-turnedactor Rahul Dev joined forces with Milind Soman to open Breathe, a gym-cum-fitness centre in New Delhi. For over two decades now, Dev has been known to have one of the best bodies in the business. He talks about the shift in interest from bodybuilding to functional training for those running the corporate race. Excerpts:

Tell us about "functional training", the latest buzz in fitness.
Rahul Dev:
It's really simple. Think of all the movements of your day. Pulling and pushing doors, walking up the stairs, climbing into cars, cabs, trains and metros, sitting, picking up something that has been dropped. To perform these functions, our body needs energy. What we don't pay attention to is that the body can become stronger by performing these very functions, which we term as "functional training".

In a gym or for those working out at home, what exercises do you recommend?
Dev: When we talk of fitness, there are three basic aspects to it. These are cardiovascular exercises, strength training and flexibility building. Walking is a cardiovascular exercise that I highly recommend for those starting out. Once you start building stamina, which should take a week, strength training is necessary. You could use a swiss ball or a band- if you don't visit a gym or have access to weights-and work out your biceps, triceps, shoulders, back and most importantly, the calves. Working on flexibility is extremely important. It is what keeps injury at bay. I strongly recommend that warm-ups and cool-downs are paid attention to with this regard.

How else can a person become fitter?
It's important to understand that even breathing deeply and naturally can change not just your mental make-up but also help you manage stress better. That's the reason why it's said that when you're angry, breathe deeply and count to 10. It's not the counting that cools you down, but the breathing. This, too, is a functional exercise.

For those who are highly motivated and have time on their hands, a wholesome approach would be if they could incorporate yoga in the morning, follow it up with cardio and weights during the day and finally with a class of either pilates, spinning or martial arts. But remember, one's medical history should be considered before taking up any additional class or even joining a gymnasium.

What does it take to build a body like yours?
I have always been highly motivated about building a good body and keeping fit. Back in school, for a short while, I was 84 kg, but I was still fit as I used to be athletic and involved in sports. But for the last 21 years, I've hovered at 77-78 kg and never lost the cuts in my muscles. It did take a year of diligence and discipline initially for it to happen.

Any advice for those who're looking to lose weight?
Dev: Pay attention to your diet. Train well. But more important than these two things is to get a good eight-hour rest. Not just physically, but it's important for people to be at peace with themselves and with life to be able to rest well. For training, pick a good trainer or gym instructor who'll help you get fit. Food: It's important for every single person to have breakfast. Eat a heavy breakfast, you have all day to burn off the calories. But keep dinner light, or get an early dinner so that the body has enough time to break down the food and digest it before you hit the sack.

Any myths you'd like to dispel?
Dev: Drinking warm water is a good remedy to digest food and ensure that your body throws away all excess calories. I drink about 6-7 glasses of hot water (not counting the number of litres of water I drink to keep myself hydrated throughout the day).

If you've taken a long break from working out, just go out there and work out as much as you can. You body will tell you how much exercise it can handle, just listen to it.

Diligence and discipline can make you lose weight and you'll see major positive changes in 60 days. But it is important to understand what body type you have to have realistic expectations from it. So, don't push hard, you'll get to your ideal BMI on time, just work it out and then, adopt a workout to maintain it. Enjoy working out, it's bound to make you feel great once you achieve the look you so desire!

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