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STRAIGHT FROM THE DOCTOR’S MOUTH: ONE ON ONE WITH DR. BIBEK RAJBHANDARI ON FITNESS & HEALTH

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Life is an intricate balance of needs, wants and sacrifices. You want to look good in a tight shirt and be healthy, you need to concentrate on your relationship/ work/social-life and you need to sacrifice one of the two at some point or the other.

But things don’t have to be as difficult as it is made out to be, at least if you know how to go about it in the proper manner. Dr. Bibek Rajbhandari is a doctor and is looking to specialize in sports medicine. He works in one of the busiest hospitals in the country, the TU Teaching Hospital, and has to work 24 hour shifts on a regular basis. To the layman, that leaves very little time to focus on maintaining a fit lifestyle (even for a doctor). Nevertheless, Bibek’s biceps beg to differ.

Frankly, it was embarrassing. We tried looking down at our feet in shame but our gut got in the way. Clearly, it was time we got our act straight. But we needed a few pointers to get started.

  1. Tell us about the difficulties of balancing a busy schedule and a dedicated fitness regime.

It’s all about how you prioritize your life, which of course depends on your interests and passions. Finding a balance between your work and fitness is difficult, but it is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. When you get that balance, lifestyle and a busy schedule are nothing but excuses.

Working duties that extend to 36 hours at the Teaching Hospital, Maharajgunj doesn’t give me a very flexible schedule. But I still manage to take time out for my workouts. So it all depends on how much you’re willing to dedicate yourself when it comes to fitness. But it’s not always easy. When I’m too tired to hit the gym I lift light weights and do some pushups at home. On the mornings where I have 24 hour shifts and I’m certain the next day I’ll be dead tired when I get back home, I go for long runs. Being fit isn’t a temporary state of being, but a lifestyle that you incorporate into your daily life.

  1. Do you have any tips on managing work and fitness?

Hard work and consistency are the two words that will get you there.

  1. What got you into fitness?

The Ladies… I’m just kidding. Growing up I was very lean and thin, I wanted to build muscle mass and strengthen them. At that time I had very little knowledge about it, but once I started to work out I realized there were many techniques. Implementing these techniques gave amazing results. Also, I looked up to some of the big guys at the gym who were enormous and strong as an ox. I wanted to be stronger than them. That’s one of the main reason I worked hard almost twice as much as anyone.

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  1. What does it take to get results? If someone works out on a regular basis and is still not seeing results, what is he/she doing wrong?

To get results there are few things you have to assess before you start. You can’t just walk into a gym, run for hours, starve, lift weights and expect automatic results.

It’s a good idea to have some basic knowledge of the physiology of the human body. The three basic body types are the Mesomorphs(low body fat, prominent muscles), Endomorphs(high body fat), and Ectomorphs(low body fat and low muscle mass).

  • Before you start working out, you need to consult with your gym instructor and find out what your body type is.
  • Note your body weight and measure your body fat.
  • Once you start working out keep tabs on your body fat percentage and body weight.
  • If there is decrease in body weight it is important to distinguish whether the loss is body fat or muscle mass.
  • Always remember endomorphs body type takes longer time to lose fat, whereas ectomorphs have hard time gaining muscle. So do not compare yourself with others at the gym and get demoralized. Every body is different and it takes varied sets of exercises and time periods to see changes. After all this, the next steps is to follow the four cardinal rules of effective exercise:

1) Sustained, proper, adequate exercise routines which include proper stretching, warm up and cool down

2) Well timed and proper diets

3) Adequate rest

4) Monitoring your body development.

When the heart rate is increased, the cardiac muscle works more than the normal rate and fat consumption is increased.

  1. What is the fastest way to get results?

I hate to be so brutally honest, but there are no shortcuts. The time duration depends on the targets you are looking to achieve. You might want to lose fat, gain muscle, increase strength and endurance or get a ripped body.

Your targets will determine your course of action and how fast you can achieve the results you want.

For instance, if you are looking to lose fat you need to maintain a sustained target heart rate (dependent on your age) while working out, regardless of the activity you’re involved in.

Here’s the reasoning. Fat is the primary source of energy for cardiac muscles. So when the heart rate is increased, the cardiac muscle works more than the normal rate and fat consumption is increased.

To calculate your target heart rate a simple formula is used: Target heart rate = 65% of Maximum heart rate.

Maximum heart rate = 220 – Age. Maintain the adequate target heart rate for at least 30 minutes three times a week. This will reduce pure body fat by 54 grams that is 0.6grams/minutes. But keep in mind, the healthy way to lose fat is 0.5-1 kilogram a week, not more than that. Also we need to maintain our essential body fat percent which is 10- 13% in women and 8-10%in men.

  1. How important are supplements to see improvements?

In my opinion, protein, vitamin(water soluble), omega fats(fish oil) are enough as supplements to make a natural healthy body.

However, if you want to see growth in your muscles, protein supplements are a must; normal diets just won’t cut it. Protein requirements for sedentary adults are 0.8 mg/kg of body weight while the number increases to 1.6 mg/ kg body weight for endurance athletes.

Achieving such goals with your normal diet is not practical, at least not in Nepal.

To put this into context, let’s take an egg. An average egg contains 6 gms of protein. The egg white has 3.6gm protein while the yolk has 186 mg cholesterol. The recommended daily cholesterol level is 300 mg, so for the average 60 kg athletic male, the protein requirement comes to around 60 gram.

This is equivalent to 17 eggs (whites) and that is not practical. On the other hand, a scoop of whey protein contains 25-35 grams.

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  1. Is it safe to take supplements?

There are bad supplements that you should avoid because they have major health risks and are a waste of money. These are the ones you should stray clear of:

1) Excessive fat soluble vitamins and minerals

2) Hormones

3) Anabolic steroids

4) Stimulants

5) Antioestrogens

  1. Should you rest an injury completely or work it out lightly till you get better?

Most of the injuries you sustain while working out are acute, as we call it. For acute injuries RICE is the go to treatment.

R-Rest

I-Ice

C-Compression

E-Elevation

RICE with anti-inflammatory and analgesics are enough to get you back on your feet. Consult a doctor if pain persists, chronic pain and for overuse injury for diagnosis and treatment.

  1. Your take on diet plans and workout routines.

Due to my busy schedules it’s very had for me to follow particular routines. Hence I work out whenever I get a chance to. But it’s very important to have a workout routine starting out with basic exercises followed by strengthening and finally your targeted body type exercise. As for diet plans, I generally keep it simple and stick with heavy breakfasts in the mornings, short interval meals during the day and low carb, saturated fat meals after 5 in the evening.

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LOCATION: OYSTER FITNESS CLUB

PHOTOS: BIBHAS MAHARJAN SUWAL

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