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I notice that all the Entrepreneur friends and family around me have an attitude that business comes first. It trumps everything else – family, friends and even health. I have done it myself. Have sacrificed all these things for my business. The whole focus was on making business successful. I was lucky. Minoo stood by me. Despite my giving very little time to the kids, they still consider me as their role model. I didn’t loose friends but I hardly fulfilled my role as a good friend.
My entrepreneur journey was not all about money. After some point money becomes irrelevant. It becomes mere numbers after some stage. The drive at that time is to build something great. Endorphins ran as I got out of discussions and meetings. That made me brush other things aside. Now I realise it was a mistake. That’s why today I care more about my exercises and hobby than business. It’s not easy though.
I have a growing business. Some 250 odd families are directly dependent on me. I have some 30 odd customers in all the continents of the world. They are dependent on me so that I supply them the right products that will help their business grow. This all adds lot of work. Any day my to do list will be of 10-15 very important matters to attend and almost 50 emails to look and respond. And lot of meetings. And yet each and every week I spend more than 10-12 hours on my fitness, completely focussed.
I have found that over the last few years if there is a clash of schedule – a client meeting or a travel happening which means I have to skip gym, I prefer to reschedule my client meeting. I do this because I and my business can survive the consequences of rescheduling that meeting. But as soon as I start pushing off my workouts, I will start skipping them. If I start to skip my workouts I am close to stopping workouts together. If my exercise stops my health goes down. With that my productivity, And with that my business. I have learnt from my experience excelling in one area in life rubs into other areas too. Exercises are measurable and easiest area to control. When I do exercise, I lift my other areas also, including business.
People and society around me made me believe that if I was not doing Business First, rest all is useless. I was not a good husband, son or father. But I think they are wrong. If it is my number 2 or 3 priority I have found it does not matter. In fact my returns from my business in the last three years have been better than 17 years before that when Business was my only priority. After I started exercise I find I am excelling in all my roles as a entrepreneur, father, husband and friend. Putting exercise top in my priorities has created a win win situation everywhere. I have never been this healthier. All my medical reports are normal. I know I am doing justice to my family by being healthy.
I see lot of my friends, colleagues in similar trap like I was.The whole idea of this blog post is to make the reader relook into their lifestyle and prioritise from my experience. If you spend few hours a week on your fitness regimen, you may have few hours less at work but you will have more productive hours, fulfilling life and an overall feel good aura around you.
In this issue :
  • 20 week guide to run a marathon
  • What is Static Stretching
  • The 5 top barbell Exercises for Strength
  • Body Weight exercises or Gym workouts – which is better
  • How Tea was bought to India
  • 100 Day Challenge
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Stay strong, stay fit and stay healthy.
Sandeep Mall

Do you ever feel like all that stretching you’re doing doesn’t seem to work? You get a little looser temporarily but then all that progress is lost a couple of days later?
If this is the case, here are a few potential reasons why:
First though, it’s important to understand what stretching actually does, from a physiological standpoint. We tend to think that stretching literally ‘stretches’ muscle fibers, making them longer. This is not actually the case.
Your range of motion is governed by the nervous system. If you try to access a range with which your body does not feel safe, it kicks in the stretch reflex and contracts the muscles, preventing you from moving any further. This is a protective mechanism. The goal of stretching is to alter your stretch tolerance, so the stretch reflex doesn’t kick in so quickly, thus giving you access to more range of motion.
Changing your stretch tolerance takes time. Which is why it is recommended that you hold stretches for 2+ minutes. They need to be performed fairly frequently also (2-3 times per week is a good benchmark).
Another important component of stretching is your breathing. Holding your breath or breathing very shallow through the chest won’t achieve a thing. Deep, diaphragmatic breaths will.
by Nishant Mandal
Complete Strength is your ability to lift heavy objects. The heavier the barbell you can lift, the greater will be your absolute strength. The barbell is arguably the best equipment that can be used to build strength better or with more versatility. No other tool comes close to it. If you haven’t lifted with barbells, make sure you do so as you can literally build elite strength and a world class physique with only these 5 barbell exercise which have stood the test of time .
1) The Back Squat: One of the most popular barbell exercises of all time is the back squat. Back squats are often called the king of all barbell exercises by many fitness experts. The fact is if you want to build a body you, better start with squatting as it’s the best closed chain way to train your entire lumbopelvic hip complex. Nothing builds functional leg strength more effectively than the barbell back squat. 
2) The Conventional Deadlift: This lift can actually be ranked #1 , it just really depends on who you ask. I personally consider the deadlift to be the most functional of all barbell exercises as there is nothing more functional than bending down and lifting something heavy up from the ground. No other exercise builds more strength to your posterior chain muscles than the deadlift.  A strong back is a healthy back. Just make sure to prioritise correct technique and maintain spinal tension when deadlifting at all times.
3) The Bench Press: My least favourite barbell lift because how often in real life (outside of the gym) are you lying flat on your back and forced to press a heavy weight off your chest? Not that often. However I’ll still rank it #3 as it is undeniably effective at building a lot of upper body pushing strength. No other upper body pushing exercise allows you to press more weight than the barbell bench press.
4) The Overhead Press: Also referred to as the strict press or the military press, this lift is much more a functional exercise compared to the bench press as we often have to lift heavy objects overhead like putting your luggage in overhead compartments of a plane or a train. Although it’s often the most difficult lift to improve upon, learn to embrace it and train it often to build size or strength in shoulders effectively.
5) The Bent Over Row: Want to build brute strength, mass, and power? Do HEAVY bent over rows. This exercise builds strength in the entire posterior chain and you will find this staple in every serious lifter’s routine. 
These all lifts are the most basic. No other exercises build foundation strength or complete strength as effectively as these. Remember to prioritise the basics and don’t stray from them. 
Nishant Mandal is a certified Personal trainer/Online fitness coach based out of Delhi NCR. He is ACE-CPT, Crossfit L-1, PN-L1 certified and Calisthenics enthusiast, Deadlift Junkie, Movement & Mobility expertise Getting people to move and better themselves since 2010 through individualised and challenging routines but not much than what one can’t handle. You can connect with him on Twitter at @NishantPTrainer
by Nachiketa Shetty
When it comes to working out for your goals, be it fat loss or muscle/strength gains, the most common question I get from my clients is: “Will I have to workout in the gym or can I build an equally great physique working out at home?”
Before yoga professionals, marathoners, and devotees of other exercise disciplines feel left out, let me clarify that other exercise disciplines have their own time and place too. However, in this article I solely want to address the topic in hand.
Bodyweight exercises and working out in the gym with weights, both help in improving your strength and muscle mass. Especially when you are a beginner, you might stand to squeeze out more or less similar gains from both the forms of exercise. However, as you start to get accustomed to all the exercises involved and make progress in terms of skill, you may not make the same progress with bodyweight exercises as you would working with weights.
To understand the reason behind it, we first need to learn the meaning of the term “effective reps”. As proven in studies done on strength athletes, you make the most muscle and strength gains when you reach failure or get close to failure. For example, if you lift a 10kg dumbbell and do bicep curls until you reach 13 reps beyond which even if I hold a gun to your head and threaten to kill you if you do not push another rep, even at this point your arms simply can not manage to move the dumbbell for another rep, then THAT is your point of failure. The 13th repetition is the repetition which gives the highest stimulus for muscle gain. The final 4-6 reps of the set, before you hit failure, are the repetitions which are responsible for almost ALL the gains you make from this set. These meaningful reps which come towards the end of the set where the speed of the repetition slows down, are what we call “Effective reps”.
When you are fairly new to working out, a set of 10 repetitions of pushups and bench press (with equivalent weight), both will require you to put in the same effort, which also means that both will give you similar gains but we also need to remember that a beginner makes faster progress than a seasoned lifter. The same set of 10 pushups will seem much easier after a few weeks. With the bench press, you simply add more load on the bar and 10reps will not be easy still. And therein lies the fundamental difference between pure bodyweight exercises and working with weights: Loadability.
Of course, you can do more repetitions of pushups and hit failure at say, 21reps. But this threshold will keep increasing over time until you reach a point wherein, you’re doing 60-70-80reps in each set just to reach failure. A new problem which crops up here is that even in a set of 60reps, the initial 50-54 reps gave you almost zero stimulus for muscle gains. In other words, you had to do 50-54 reps of pushups just to reach the starting point of muscle gains; final 10-20% of the reps gave you all the gains. In comparison, in a set of 10-12 reps of bench press, it’s still the same 60-70% of the reps which give you all the gains.
Finally, there’s also the fact that if you are an obese individual who weighs 100kgs on your first day of workout, then a set of pushups at this weight will be akin to doing a bench press of 70-80kgs on day-1. On the contrary, you can start off with an empty barbell if you were in the gym and keep adding weights as and when you feel comfortable to.
All of the above arguments are for bodyweight exercises without using anything else other than your own bodyweight and gym workout involving all kinds of weights available to the mankind. Most of the bodyweight training experts, however, tend to use weights to increase the difficulty of the sets instead of increasing the repetitions. You might come across videos all the time, where people place a dumbbell or ask someone to sit on their back while they do pushups.  This won’t fall under the category of pure bodyweight exercises as the resistance offered is not only by the bodyweight but some external loads as well.
At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter which one you choose as long as you enjoy doing it. All this talk about optimal way of doing things only count when you do it consistently throughout your life simply because you enjoy doing it. So pick a form of exercise you enjoy doing and try to become the best at it. That alone shall keep you stronger and healthier than even the most optimal training routine in the world to ever have existed!
Nachiketa is a nutrition and exercise coach and have been in this profession since 6+years. He has trained over 2000 clients, including a few celebrities and their coaches too. Apart from coaching, he has been an educator in this field having given 30+ seminars, some of them for esteemed organisations like Vedantu, Capgemini and Dell.
You can find him on Twitter @NachikethShetty
There is no universally agreed consensus on the best way to train for a marathon but the program is designed to get a relative beginner over the finish line of a marathon in 20 weeks, in under 5 hours.
  • All units are in Kms
  • The hardest and most intense training period is between week 12 and 17
  • Numbers in bracket means indicate that the run should be done at a pace higher than your anaerobic threshold pace
  • Numbers in red indicate that you should run at race pace
  • The final long distance ru should be done two weeks prior to the race day
  • Two days before the race, jog 2-3 kms and increase speed over 1 km to stimulate the race and stimulate the legs.
  • Strength train at least once a week, if possible two
  • Foam roll regularly
  • Warm up before every run
  • Keep Hydrated. Take Electrolytes
From the book : The worlds Fittest book by Ross Edgley
From the book : The worlds Fittest book by Ross Edgley

The earliest legend brings the story of a Buddhist monk who lived 2000 years ago and wanted to spend 7 sleepless years to understand Buddhism. But after 5 years he struggled to stay awake and chewed on some leaves to revive himself.

This was the wild Indian tea plant. Since at least the 12th century, leaves of wild tea shrubs were used as medicine by the Singhpo tribe in Assam. The Singphos believed to be among India’s first tea drinkers, still process tea through the traditional centuries-old method, dhooan chaang. The first mention of tea growing in India was chronicled by a Dutch traveler, Jan Huyghen van Linschoten in 1538. He mentions in his travelogues of natives making a vegetable dish that incorporated tea leaves with oil and garlic and also boiling the leaves to make a brew.In the 18th C. the Britishers were actively looking for alternatives to counter the tea monopoly of China.  In 1788, British botanist, Joseph Banks, reported to the British East India Co. climate in British-controlled parts of northeast India was ideal for tea growing.

However, in his report he seems to have missed the fact that the plant was a native to Bengal and simply suggested transplanting tea bushes from China. Believing his idea to be impossible and hence without merit, it was firmly ignored. In 1823, an English Army Officer, Robert Bruce, received a medical tea drink, brewed from a wild plant, from the Singpho King, Bisa Gam. Intrigued by the brew, so much like tea, he along with his brother Charles sent a few samples of the plant to Calcutta botanical gardens.
This idea of growing tea in India didn’t resurface till 1833 when China refused to trade tea with British East India Co.  The samples sent long back gained fresh attention. What happened next was the planning of one of the biggest botany espionage in tea history.

In 1843, Scottish botanist, Robert Fortune, sailed to China, funded by the Royal Horticultural Society, to study the varieties of the drink grown there. The British East India Co. reached out to him in 1848 to smuggle tea seeds. However, at that time, Fortune failed. In 1849, he tried again, stealing branches from the Wuyi Mountains, famous for black tea with the help of his Chinese servant Sing Hoo. 
He took the specimens to Shanghai and packed them off to India with soil inside glass containers. This time, the heist was successful.
Charles Bruce, who was familiar with the Assam region, was entrusted to build a nursery with the 80,000 seeds from China.
Bruce hired professional tea makers from China to help him perfect the art. Soon the imported Chinese tea struggled with the harsh climates of Assam.
Ironically, the native plants flourished. It was eventually decided to make subsequent plantings with seedlings from the native tea bush. The first 12 chests of manufactured tea made from indigenous Assam leaf were shipped to London in 1838 & sold at the London auctions.The East India Company wrote to Assam to say that the teas had been well received by some “houses of character”. There was a similar response to the next shipment, some buyers declaring it “excellent”. Having established a successful industry in Assam’s Brahmaputra valley, the Assam Tea Company began to expand into other districts of northeast India. Cultivation started around the town of Darjeeling in the foothills of the Himalayas in the mid-1850s. By 1857, 60-70 acres were under tea.  The China variety of the tea plant had not liked the conditions in Assam, at elevations of 2500- 6000 ft, it grew well. The company pushed on into Terai and Dooars and even into the remote Kangra valley, 800 miles west of Darjeeling.
In the 1930s, William McKercher invented the CTC to make tea cheaper for the masses. And after World War I, Indian and Eurasian vendors began selling tea with milk at the historic railway stations of Bengal, Punjab, & the Frontier provinces.
This led to the popularity of chai.

Slowly, each region and community in India took its own time to adapt tea to its taste, and steadily it became a part of every Indian household. 
Today the popularity lives on with over 837,000 tonnes of tea consumed by Indians, every year!
It’s crazy how fast time flies and how things progress. We just completed 50 days of the 2nd 100 Day Challenge. Going by the emails and DMs I have been receiving, some of the participants have made remarkable progress in their fitness journey – maintaining discipline of exercising regularly. Some, who weren’t able to start earlier, good to see them kick-start late in the challenge, inspired by others in the tribe. Continue Challenging yourself to keep up the regularity in next 50 days – trust me, you will love the fitter self! #AdmireYourself 
It’s interesting to watch the data dashboard and see the numbers rising everyday. The admins have had some challenging yet happy days with single day data entry exceeding 670! They have reviewed more than 30000 entries in first 50 days. Kudos to them! 
More than half of the regular participants took up the wildcard challenges and grabbed some bonus points. There are more exciting ones coming your way. Do participate to give a quick push to your points. 
Of the entries for monthly step count challenge, the number of participants clocking in daily average of 10000 steps, stands impressively high at 200+. Keep it up everyone! #LetsGetFitterTogether 
We also bring you a great opportunity to reward yourself for completing half way through your 100 day journey. Coming soon – an online shopping festival by the sponsors of the Challenge – 25% off on their products for 5 days only. Details will be sent to the participants via email, Telegram and Twitter.  
FITstar of the week – Ramanpreet Singh
Ramanpreet, a Telecom R&D professional, who played national level badminton during school and university days, has recently renewed his fetish for fitness. For him, taking part in the first Challenge was about testing the waters in order to come back to an active lifestyle routine after decades. “It helped me to create a discipline to work out at least 30 min a day,” proclaims Ramanpreet, who is also harbouring the dreams of playing professional badminton again and aspires for a pain and medicine free life.

Ramanpreet’s passion for fitness has been gainfully contagious, as following his dad, his son too joined badminton classes and recently got selected in district badminton team.
Meanwhile, losing 10 kgs after the first Challenge has made him more ambitious and now he is all set to spike up his fitness regime with 2nd 100 Day Challenge. Going by his fitness role model, Sandeep Mall’s dictum, Ramanpreet wants to ‘look good in and out of clothes,’ and asks all the parents out there to be “stronger than their excuses and be an inspiration for the kids”.
Ramanpreet is also enjoying Fitness and Strength Training Coaching with Project Fitness Company, the guidance of Chirag Barjatyaa’s team of experts. 
Share your experience of being part of the 100 Day Challenge and we will love to feature you here. Email to us at healthchallenge@sandeepmall.com.