Fitness Q&A: The key to strength development is progressive resistance

Fitness expert, Namita Jain answers readers’ questions on fitness. Get your doubts cleared and see them featured on our FAQ page every Thursday.

1. My age is 22 and I am a male. As of now Iam very lean. Is there any way to become a hunk by following proper diet and fitness. Kindly help

Yes. Consider these two important factors for increasing muscle mass:

1. Formulate an appropriate exercise plan

Weight training or strength exercises play an important role in building muscle.

Exercise selection: You can do supersets for bulk and definition – for example; bench press followed by dumbbell flies for the chest muscles or barbell curls followed by dumbbell curls for biceps. To increase intensity target the same muscles from different angles using a variety of exercises.

The key to strength development is progressive resistance. As muscles adapt to a given resistance, increase resistance to stimulate further strength gains.

Rest: The one important aspect of high-volume or high-intensity training is – REST. Especially while weight training, muscles need at least 48 hours of rest in between workouts sessions to recover and recuperate.

2. Follow a sensible eating plan

Also remember that healthy eating and exercising go hand in hand. If you eat healthy, you will have the necessary energy to exercise and be active. It’s a cycle.

If you workout regularly, make sure you consume between 1.2 to 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight. Proteins are essential in repairing tissues. Animal sources such as milk, milk products, meats and eggs are complete sources of protein.

2. Hello Madam I just want to know the important food to be consumed to put on weight. I am 22 yrs old and from 2009 i have been loosing my weight from 50kg to 47kg whereas my aim was to increase till 60 according to my height(5’5).Can u please help me regarding this issue as of wat food to be consumed to gain weight as it is very difficult for me to face people around me who keep on pointing out towards my underweightness or the thin body structure.Thank U.Hope to hear soon from u

Here are some tips to put on weight:
· Use whole fat dairy products such as whole milk, regular cheese and yogurt, cottage cheese.
· Modify Cooking: Experiment by adding almonds to salads, cashews to a trail mix, or granola to yogurt.
· Use “Extras”: Try mixing in Ovaltine or almonds with a glass of milk. Add dried fruit or granola to yogurt. Mix in nuts, such as cashews or almonds to salads, trail mixes or cottage cheese.
· Increase portion size gradually: Slowly try to increase the overall volume of the food at each meal, starting with one meal. For example, try adding one food item to a typical breakfast such as – add some fruit to cereal and milk. Then try increasing the amount of cereal. Once portions have increased over a few days at breakfast, add more to dinner or lunch.

· Small meals of nutrient dense foods which you enjoy – this optimizes the smaller stomach capacity and provides structure.

· Liquid supplements taken with or between meals – milk with complain, fruit milkshake… this is especially imp when it is necessary to overcome the lack of interest in food and eating.

· Get adequate exercise and sleep/ rest

3. i do regular exercise in gym but while walking on tread mill i go for incline to max (15) My age is 28 and my height is 5.3 . Weight is 59kg.Please suggest and let me know whther walkin with incline is good or not?

Avoid going too fast or going too steep. If you find yourself over-striding or leaning forward in an attempt to walk fast – decrease speed and correct your posture. Too much, too fast, too steep are the main causes of injury, especially to the knees and back.

Also remember to warm-up and cool down. A warm-up prepares the body for the activity to follow. A cool-down prevents dizziness and extreme fatigue post-workouts.

4. Eggs are good for breakfast but what about egg yoke are they rich in cholesterol?

Eggs are great for health and make a wholesome breakfast. But avoid the yolk of the egg if you are watching your cholesterol levels. An egg yolk typically contains 215mg of cholesterol.

5. Its a nice time to read all queries. Now I want to know that I am suffering from continous headache but I don’t have migrain n also I am not able to concentrate well in my studies. So will yoga help me and if yes then what are the aasans that i should follow. I am a regular morning walker for about 30 min and my body is according to body mass index.

You must consult your physician to determine the cause of your constant headache and follow his advice to alleviate the discomfort.

6. I request you that I am 49 years old and having height of 162cm & weight of 72kgs. I assume that I am overweight, kindly advice the precautions to be taken for getting normal weight.
A Unnikrishnan

7. Can you suggest diet plan for me Weight 50, Height 153, age 24?
Umesh Shihora

8. Can U pl tell me the comparative chart for height and weight along with the presumptions if any.
I am 55 years with 168 cms height and weight as 85 kg. Can U also also give me veg diet chart also. Thanks
Vinod Sehgal

9. Hi Namita I am 28 yr old working mother of 1 yr old. i have a very hectic lifestyle and do not have much time for myself. i ve put on weight since my delivery 1 yr ago and not able to shed it. i ve got myself checked for TSH as well as PCOC. every thing …
shweta dhyani

10. hi i m 35 yrs working woman having 2 kids, my height is 158.5 cms & weight is 73 kgs pls suggest me good diet so that i can reduce 5-7 kgs without affecting my skin & hair i m vegetarian

11. I’m really wanting this page. I’m too fatty, need help, my height is 5’6 inches and weight is 92 kg my age is 23+.
Sagar Paul

12. i am 44yrs.old my weight is 84kg my hieght is 5.2feet iwant to reduce weight i am female
For questions 6-12, the answer is as follows:
To lose weight you need to create a calorie deficit. Weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week is safe. To lose 1 pound a week you need to cut back on 500 calories a day. That is a total of 3500 calories a week. The best way to achieve this is by reducing your calorie intake and increasing calorie expenditure through exercise.

Diet plus exercise

Diet plus exercise is the ideal way to lose weight. A sound weight-loss program should include –

§ Decreased fat consumption
§ Portion control
§ Palatable food choices
§ Adequate nutrition
§ Consistent, sensible eating and exercise habits

I suggest you include any of these exercise options. Here is a rough calorie guide for you:

Simply walk: Just put on your walking shoes and walk anywhere, anytime, as convenient.
Calories burned: 300 an hour.

Walk uphill: This increases walking intensity and shapes the legs and hips.
Calories burned: 400 an hour.

Cycle: Outdoor cycling is a great exercise for toning the lower body.
Calories burned: 350 an hour.

Diet chart

2 idlis and sambhar
1 bowl grapefruit/ papaya
1 cup coffee or tea

1 Apple
1 coconut water

1 serving mixed veggie salad
2 rotis or I cup rice
1 cup green vegetables
1 cup dal or curds

2 non-cream biscuits
1 cup coffee or tea

1 coconut water or herbal tea

Late evening
1 cup roasted savoury such as popcorn (without oil or butter)

Vegetable soup with whole wheat croutons (toasted)
1 cup mixed vegetables
2 rotis or I cup rice
1 cup dal or curds

Namita is a Clinical Exercise Specialist and Lifestyle & Weight Management Consultant. She is currently attached to Bombay Hospital as their clinical and wellness specialist.
Send in your questions on fitness to now! And don’t forget to include `Fitness FAQ` in the subject line.

Image: Flickr/creativecommons andy54321