Actor, health activist, adventurer, mother and an aviator –Gul Panag maybe a lot of things but a quitter she is not.
“People tell me that I have great legs and I tell them that you would too, had you been going for runs regularly for 25 years. I have been running since I was 15 and I still wear the same jeans size since I was in my 20s,” she says.[instagram]https://www.instagram.com/p/By-wFmsJtPm/?utm_source=ig_embed&utm_campaign=loading[/instagram]
Now at 40, the actor continues to stick to her health regimen, which *surprise* is not exactly rocket science. As she puts it – Your 10th std biology textbook told you all you needed to know about fitness and you ignored it.
“You just have to make a choice and ask yourself - Do you want to fit into size 26 jeans that you were wearing in your 20s? Or are you okay with putting on a kilo every passing year?” she says.
So, if you made your choice. Read on to know her fitness mantra that help you crack the *The Secret* (Hint: Biology textbook):
Rule #1: Your body is a machine. Treat it like that
“Call it a plane or a car, but the body is a machine with a fixed fuel capacity (aka food) that you cannot exceed. Secondly, your body, the machine, can only take a certain type of fuel – this just means nutritious, non-packaged food rather than junk food,” says Gul.
And how exactly do you learn to drive this machine? Well, calculate your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). “BMR is the rate at which your body needs fuel for the body organs to function. It’s even available online and anybody can calculate it. For instance, at my age, my BMR is 1300 calories. Now, I don’t like counting calories but this is just to give you an idea about what you are eating,” says Gul.
Rule #2: Do not get into an abusive relationship with food
“Exercising does not make your food consumption infinite. If you run 10 km/hour you will only burn about 500 calories that is equivalent to 2 beers and one brownie. So, to say that I exercise and I can eat whatever I want is the biggest misnomer,” says Gul.
Ouch! There go your weekend-plans.
The key, as Gul says, is to ensure that 95 per cent of your diet is nutritious and rest of the 5 per cent can be ‘kachra’ or junk food.
“I eat dal, rice, roti, sabzi, chicken and everything. That’s a balanced diet. I do indulge but I maintain 95% of my body fuel as nutrition and avoid packaged or processed food. I don’t do fad diets because I believe the body needs carbohydrates, protein, minerals and even fat,” she says.
She adds, “We have unhealthy relationships with food. We eat when we are sad, stressed, happy or angry. Food is nutrition and that is the primary role. If you understand that you will never have a weight problem.”
Rule #3: Just move
Tabata, cycling, sprinting or just hitting the gym – make sure to have an active lifestyle. Just move!
She may have been running since 15, but there is not a fitness move that Gul has not tried out. “I do Tabata, HIIT, yoga or if I don’t have time, I do 100 Surya Namaskars in my hotel room. If it’s raining in Mumbai and I can’t go for my run, I’ll go up and down eleven floors in my building ten times. I innovate, I don’t look for excuses, I look for solutions,” she says.
Interestingly, Surya Namaskar is also the OG of all fitness moves, especially if you can manage it a hundred times a day (Yes, that’s what Gul said).
“Ideally, your fitness regimen should combine strength, flexibility and endurance. Strength comes from resistance exercises such as push-ups or squats using your body weight, for flexibility, there is Yoga or Pilates and endurance comes from running or cardio,” she says.
BRB, see you on the other side of 100 Surya Namaskar!