Fitness Q&A: What’s a sound weight-loss program?

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

This week’s answers:

1. Is there any real solution for weight loss or all companies behind my wallet? I have tried many products for weight loss, but none, none has given me any results. Can someone help me with a solution on this please?

The best and safest way to lose weight is by exercising regularly and eating healthy, low-fat meals. Exercise helps burn more calories – decreasing the body fat percentage. Weight loss occurs when there is a reduction in caloric intake and increase in caloric expenditure. So, if you want to shape-up, watch what you eat! Cut back on fats and sugar. You don’t need to starve yourself, but eat a well balanced diet has a high intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grain cereals and sprouts.

Types of exercises:
– walking
– cycling
– swimming
– tai chi/ yoga

A sound weight-loss program should include –

§ Decreased fat consumption
§ Portion control
§ Palatable food choices
§ High fibre
§ Adequate nutrition
§ An active lifestyle
§ Consistent exercise habits

2. My father underwent open heart surgery last year. Can he do weight training now?

Yes, he can do weight training. Please make sure he makes sure he does the exercises with correct form and technique and progresses gradually to avoid injury.

3. What is the recommended duration for reps in strength training?

Based on your current fitness level and medical history, formulate an exercise program that is structured, challenging and progressive. Here are some ways you could vary your strength workout routine in order to recruit different muscle fibers and increase muscle mass:

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.

A set of 8 to 12 reps with 70 to 85% of maximum resistance is recommended for strength development.

Exercise sequence: While performing a series or circuit of strength exercises, it is advisable to proceed from the larger muscles to the smaller muscle groups.

Exercise sets: You could do multiple-set strength training or single-set strength training.
Exercise progression: The key to strength development is progressive resistance. As muscles adapt to a given resistance, increase resistance to stimulate further strength gains.

Give your muscles adequate rest: The one important aspect of high-volume or high-intensity training is – REST. The body needs adequate rest to avoid the possibility of physical burnout. Especially while weight training, muscles need at least 48 hours of rest in between workouts sessions to recover and recuperate.

4. My 8 yr-old daughter is very puny. Please suggest some exercises and fitness plan

The goal of this workout is to strengthen and stretch your body. You develop muscles that increase the body’s metabolic rate, the bones become strong and you look and feel better.


Start with a 5-minute warm-up by walking briskly.


Thrice a week, on alternate days.


2 x 16 reps


· 2 water bottles or dumbbells (weights)
· A chair
· A carpet / mat
· A bath towel

Exercise description

Hold weights in your hands, keeping feet shoulder-width wide go into a squat position by bending the knees; make sure your knees don’t go beyond the toes. Return to starting position.

Bent-over rows
Sit on a chair and lean slightly forward from your hips. Hold weights in each hand. Keeping elbows slightly bent, slowly, lift your hands squeezing your shoulder-blades and then lower.

Shoulder press
Sit on a chair and hold weights in each hand. Lift your hands up to shoulder level and extend your arms overhead. Bring your arms back to shoulder level.

Lie on your back with your knees bent, support your neck by placing your palms behind your head. Keeping your chin off the chest, slowly lift up twisting to the right side, then to the left side and then lower.

Hamstring and calf stretch
Lie on a mat or carpet. Extend the right leg up and place a bath towel around your right foot. Hold the ends of the towel and straighten your leg. Hold for 15-20 seconds and then switch legs.

5. Hi. I am 23 years old, weight 75 kgs and height 5 feet 5. I don’t feel overweight but get breathless easily. What should I do?

Judging from your height and weight you do need to lose weight of around 10 kgs.
This can be achieved by following a moderately restricted healthy balanced diet along with regular exercise. I suggest you do cardiovascular or aerobic activity, for 30 minutes to 1 hour daily to increase stamina and burn calories; examples are walking, jogging, swimming or cycling.

Namita is a Clinical Exercise Specialist and Lifestyle & Weight Management Consultant. She is currently attached to Bombay Hospital as their clinical and wellness specialist.

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