The Bellyrina Diaries

The Bellyrina Diaries

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Drink Clean With The nkd Pod+ Water Bottle

Drink Clean With The nkd Pod+ Water Bottle

Fitness isn’t just about exercise and external health. A great deal of true fitness is what you put in your body. Good food and clean water play a massive role in determining your overall health. Which is why I’m currently in love with the nkd Pod+ water bottle.

Working Out In The Water : HydroFit at JW Marriott Bengaluru

Working Out In The Water : HydroFit at JW Marriott Bengaluru

If you’re looking for an effective workout that tones you up without hurting your joints, then HydroFit is what you need. Check out what this fun fitness routine is all about!

Beating DOMS With the Bodycraft Sports Massage

Beating DOMS With the Bodycraft Sports Massage

If you’ve been working out with me for a while, you’re probably as achy as I am on a regular basis. Like I mentioned in my post on DOMS, there are several ways to deal with muscle soreness. But what I’ve never tried so far has been massages — and I’m not talking just the gentle, relaxing massages. I mean a real, intense sports massage — one that’s designed to release deep tissue knots and improve circulation. So when Bodycraft invited me to try their Sports Massage Therapy, I couldn’t refuse!

I headed over to their Lavelle Road outlet after what was a particular sore week. Between workouts and long hours on my laptop, my muscles certainly needed some release.

Now before I continue, let me tell you that I’ve been a Bodycraft loyalist for over 4 years now. There are few places I trust so implicitly to take care of me. Ladies of Bangalore, if you’re looking for a haircut, head to the Bodycraft at Lavelle Road and ask for Kesang. I literally trust nobody else in Bangalore to touch my hair!

Back to the spa experience. The Bodycraft Spa and Salon at Lavelle Road is a gorgeous one, with warm, luxe decor. The waiting area has large leather sofas and ceiling-to-floor windows that light it up with warm sunlight.

Bodycraft Salon | Sports Massage and Cellulite Scrub | Fitness Blog | The Bellyrina Diaries

The salon section is just as luxurious, with plenty of natural sunlight and a clever use of light and mirrors. The entire space looks warm, bright, and luxe.

Bodycraft Spa | Sports Massage and Cellulite Scrub | Fitness Blog | The Bellyrina Diaries

I was greeted with a cup of coffee, and a quick consultation form where I needed to list details of any medical conditions that may be affected by a spa treatment. I sipped on my coffee as I gave them the information they needed, then waited in the lounge while my therapist prepared my treatments.

Oh, did I mention the ceiling is mirrored too?

Bodycraft Spa | Sports Massage and Cellulite Scrub | Fitness Blog | The Bellyrina Diaries

In a few minutes, I was greeted by my therapist Joyna, who led me to the spa section. This part of Bodycraft feels more relaxing. The sounds and smells are markedly different here — the salon has fun, peppy music while the spa has soothing chants and sounds of the forest.

I was led into a lovely therapy room, with bright white walls and massage beds dressed in turquoise and brass. An interesting combination, it manages to feel both energetic and calming at the same time.

Bodycraft Spa | Sports Massage Therapy | The Bellyrina Diaries

Once in the room, I was proffered a dressing gown and disposable underwear, and left to ready myself for my massage treatment. The room already had spare slippers for me, and coat hangers for me to set my clothes aside.

When I was ready, my therapist started with a stone wash for my feet and an aromatic camphor smoke inhalation to begin the session.

Bodycraft Spa | Sports Massage Therapy | The Bellyrina Diaries

Before the Sports Massage, I was also treated to Bodycraft’s Coffee Anti-Cellulite Scrub. The scrub used is one designed by their MD, Dr. Manjul Gupta, and is prepared in-house. It doesn’t look too great in pictures, but let me tell you, it smells divine! The aroma of coffee, with hints of clove and cinnamon, was intoxicating.

Bodycraft Spa | Anti-Cellulite Scrub | The Bellyrina Diaries

The Anti-Cellulite Scrub works largely on two principles. Firstly, caffeine is a great ingredient for battling cellulite. It improves circulation and promotes lymphatic drainage, which helps minimise the dreaded orange-peel skin that so many of us know all too well. Secondly, the massaging/scrubbing action is concentrated in an upward direction, that is, towards the heart. This is the ideal massage pattern to help drain cellulite. In fact, even when using your loofah or body brush at home, ensure you brush in the direction of the heart.

After being scrubbed clean (literally!), I was directed to shower and get all the scrub off me before the Sports Massage session. The therapy room has an attached shower, stocked with shower gel, shampoo, and conditioner. The scrub took a while to rinse clean, but I could immediately feel how much softer and smoother my skin was. Bangalore winters had not been kind, and I had visible flakes on my arms and legs when I came in. All gone!

Glowing Skin After Coffee Scrub | Anti Cellulite Scrub at Bodycraft | The Bellyrina Diaries

By the time I stepped out of the shower, Joyna had already replaced the liners and sheets on the massage bed, and prepared the oils and potlis for my Sports Massage. Per her recommendation, I opted for the use of Ayurvedic oil for my massage, but you also have the option of olive oil, almond oil, and cream.

Bodycraft Spa | Sports Massage Therapy | The Bellyrina Diaries

Awaiting me were a large bowl of the oil, two large potlis (muslin bags filled with sand and herbs), and a plate of hot coals. She worked me over in sections, starting with my legs, then arms, and then torso. She started by slathering me with warm oil and kneading me like a bhatura worthy of an emperor! Now I must clarify, a Sports Massage is supposed to hurt. If you’re looking for pampering and relaxation, this is not the therapy for you. This is specifically designed for deep tissue release, and to increase circulation and promote new muscle growth.

My therapist is clearly a pro. She adjusted pressure as she felt different muscles, giving my tight shoulders special attention, and kneading them until they gave in. As she finished massaging each limb with oil, she followed it up by using the coal-heated potlis as hot compresses. The heat of the potlis, combined with the massaging action, allows the oils to penetrate deeper, and also increases blood flow to the muscles. You can literally feel the tension melt away.

By the time my massage was finished, I felt like a puddle of custard. Muscles that had ached for weeks had suddenly called a ceasefire, and I felt incredibly relaxed. While I would have loved to just lay there and snooze for a bit, it was time to get up and take another shower to get all the oil off me.

When I stepped back into the room after my second shower, I was greeted by a tray of lotions, cleansers, cotton wipes, and earbuds. Incredibly thoughtful of them, and a lovely touch.

Bodycraft Spa | Sports Massage Therapy | The Bellyrina Diaries

I thought that was the end of the pampering, but nope. As I stepped into the reception area, Joyna awaited me with a glass of refreshing lemonade. This wasn’t just thoughtful, but also necessary. After nearly two hours on a massage table, one tends to get rather dehydrated. The lemonade refreshes and energizes you before you get ready to return to the bustle of the city.

And so I returned to the maddening honking, the crawling traffic, and the non-stop cellphone notifications. But all that is infinitely easier to deal with when your muscles are all gooey and relaxed. Sigh.

Book your own Sports Massage at Bodycraft Spa & Salon, Lavelle Road. Call +91-80-4890 3312 . Tell them Chitra sent you ūüėČ

PeeBuddy : For The Girl On The Go

PeeBuddy : For The Girl On The Go

As any woman who has done road travel in India would agree, our country is still severely lacking in clean, hygienic restroom facilities. PeeBuddy is here to save the day!

My New Year Resolutions for 2018

My New Year Resolutions for 2018

Everyone’s making their new year resolutions now, and I’m no different. Here’s a look at what I resolve to do/change in 2018!

Festive Fitness

Festive Fitness

Merry Christmas, FitFam! I hope you all celebrate the day surrounded by love, joy, and good food. I certainly will be.

This post might be a tad late, but I’m hoping to help ease some of the stresses that the holiday season can bring, especially if you’re working to get fit. After all, you’re surrounded by rich food, you’re going to parties, meeting family… how on earth do you not undo a year’s worth of hard work in one week?

Read on for my tips on staying fit during the festive season.

What Can I Eat?

Umm… everything! This is literally what I’ve been eating the past few days while on vacation.

Staying Fit When On Vacation | What To Eat | The Bellyrina Diaries
[Image of fried fish courtesy yummraj(dot)com]

Yes, I’ve been eating dosas loaded with ghee, rich Christmas cakes, filter coffee, and tonnes of fried fish (not photographed because I was too busy gobbling them up before anyone else did, so I’ve used this image from Also Mysore pak and laddoos and other delectable Indian sweets were eaten, after several months of being sugar-free.

The key is moderation. Unless you’re disallowed from eating something because of medical/religious/any other such non-negotiable reasons, there’s no reason to deny yourself delicious holiday food. Have a slice or two of cake, a couple of pieces of chocolate… and don’t beat yourself up about it. In fact, even if you don’t eat in moderation and decide to binge a little, that’s okay! Enjoy the food, enjoy the vacation… a few days of eating what you enjoy will not undo a year of hard work. And while it’s important to stay fit, it’s just as important to cherish vacations, and moments you spend with loved ones.

How Do I Exercise While On Vacation?

This can be tricky, depending on what kind of vacation you’re on. If you’re doing a hotel/resort trip, you’re likely to have access to a great gym and/or pool. Sweat it out for 30-45 min everyday, or do a few laps — exercise sorted!

Stay Fit On Vacation | Gym At Hyatt Andaz Delhi | The Bellyrina Diaries
The gorgeous gym at the Hyatt Andaz, Delhi. Makes it easy to stay fit on vacation, eh?

If however, you’re going to be on the move, or at your family home, then you might want to plan ahead. Carry your running/workout shoes, for starters. A lot of times, just the fact that you’ve carried them creates a psychological trigger to use them. Head out for a jog/run, or roll out a yoga mat and do a quick HIIT or yoga routine. You can get a LOT done in 30 minutes, with no equipment.

Can’t do that either? Or forgot to carry your gear? No problem, baby! Grab a sturdy chair and do a series of tricep dips, pistol squats, leg raises… again, so much you can do with one piece of furniture. In fact, here’s a video to make it easier!

What about if you don’t manage to do any of these? Well, take a deep breath, sip on some mulled wine (or whatever your poison may be), and relax. Every day needn’t revolve around your fitness efforts, and it’s totally okay to just switch off and enjoy the holidays.

Things You Absolutely MUST Do!

  • Drink plenty of water — especially if you’re also sipping cocktails during the day.
  • Wear sunscreen. Regardless of where you are or what you’re doing.
  • Try the local cuisine.
  • Take plenty of pictures for you to cherish once the vacation is over.
  • Enjoy yourself.

Have a great vacation, my lovelies! Here’s wishing you love, health, and happiness, whatever those words may mean to you.

My Diary

My Fitness Journey (So Far!) – Part 1

My Fitness Journey (So Far!) – Part 1

“How on earth did you put on so much weight? Aren’t you a dancer?”

“I thought dancers were supposed to be fit.”

“And they say belly dancing makes you lose weight lol.”

These are just a few of the many hurtful (some intentionally so, others not so much) comments that were directed at me over the past couple of years. As someone who has always struggled with weight issues and body image, I can tell you that they were all equally painful, intentional or not.

To give you a little background, I gained a tremendous amount of weight — 15 kilos — over the past couple of years, owing to health issues (which I am in the process of having remedied). Losing the weight has been an uphill battle, to say the least. Weight gain that’s associated with illness is also generally a lot¬†more stubborn than the sort gained from overeating — hormones and stuff get involved, and it’s really¬†tricky to battle those! And that, in itself, destroys the will to even try to get fitter. After all, if it takes 3 months of intense exercise and diet control to lose a glorious 400 grams, why bother, right?

Via Giphy

And that’s what I did for a very long time. Not bother. But thankfully, I have a family (specifically, a husband) that won’t let me simply feel sorry for myself, and instead pushed me to get back on track. And¬†thus began my fitness journey.

I started cutting out all the junk food that I would hug close as I watched TV on the couch, and replaced it (not entirely, but for the most part) with fruit, nuts, and other considerably healthier options. I would head out for a walk every evening, getting a solid dose of fresh air and activity for about an hour. I would Google various home workouts and hop about each day, trying exercises I didn’t know existed.

My fitness journey needed me to make healthier snack choices
My fitness journey required that I make healthier snack choices

J (the husband)¬†was often greeted by a sweaty, out-of-breath mess when he got home each evening. And while he wouldn’t hug me until I had showered (I really don’t blame him, I wouldn’t have hugged me either!), he was always cheering me on, telling me how proud he was that I was doing something to fix my fitness.

The problem, however, was keeping myself motivated. It’s a Herculean task to have to push yourself to workout, and yes, you’re bound to fail every now and again. I needed a buddy¬†— someone who would make sure I stuck to my workouts, and didn’t fall off the wagon too easily.

And so, like I usually do, I took to Twitter (read more about how that happened in this post) to find me some workout buddies to join me on my fitness journey. And so, #TwitterGetsFitter was born!

The premise is¬†simple — we keep each other motivated, and accountable. We were on this fitness journey together, and we were going to do everything we could to make sure nobody hopped off the bus!

And you know what? It works!

Not only has #TwitterGetsFitter changed my life, and the lives of 70+ other enthu cutlets, it has grown¬†into a tribe. The WhatsApp group and email lists are forever buzzing with activity! People share their workout updates, talk about what they’re eating, and even share ideas for ‘reward meals’. And most importantly, we shared insecurities. We were all united in our quest for¬†fitness, some of us by body image issues — and it didn’t matter. Here was a place with no judgment, no negativity, no bullying.

TwitterGetsFitter celebrates each other as we continue on our fitness journey
The group is always buzzing with energy, and cheering each other on

The movement saw far more traction and interest than I had ever imagined. What’s more, they didn’t want it to stop! While the initial plan was for everyone to get fit in time for New Year’s Eve, about 90% of the group requested that the program continue into 2017. And so it has! And I’m thrilled to report that enthusiasm levels haven’t waned. ūüôā

Watch this space, as my fitness journey — and the fitness journey of over 80 other amazing people — continues! You can also catch everyday updates on my Twitter and Instagram.

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