The Bellyrina Diaries

The Bellyrina Diaries

Fitness | Travel | Lifestyle

Recent Posts

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

Dealing with DOMS? Ease the pain with a good Sports Massage, like the one at Bodycraft Spa in Bangalore!

PeeBuddy : For The Girl On The Go

PeeBuddy : For The Girl On The Go

I wrapped up 2017 with a few delightful road trips. With trips to Mangalore, Shoranur, Cochin, and Coimbatore, I spent several hours on the road. And as any woman who has done road travel in India would agree, our country is still severely lacking in clean, hygienic restroom facilities. This often leads to women holding their urine for far too long and developing urinary tract infections. Not to mention how ridiculously uncomfortable it is. Well ladies, say goodbye to having to hover-and-pee at gross public toilets. PeeBuddy is here to save the day!

PeeBuddy | Women Stand And Pee | Travel Accessory | The Bellyrina Diaries

The lovely people behind PeeBuddy saw how often I travelled, and very kindly sent me a few samples to try out. Their timing couldn’t have been better, given all the road trips I had planned for December. I’ll admit, I was both excited and a tad sceptical. I mean, standing and peeing? Could it be true?

PeeBuddy | Women Pee Standing Up | Travel Blog | The Bellyrina Diaries

Before I get into the working of it, take a look at the PeeBuddy. It’s made of laminated paper, and is essentially really cool origami. It’s shaped like an angular funnel, to mimic a man’s you-know-what. The instructions are fairly straightforward — you unfold the PeeBuddy to unflatten it, press the wider opening into your crotch, and pee! Sounds simple, but I needed convincing.

I carried my pack of 3 PeeBuddy devices along during my road trips, armed and ready to deal with icky public bathrooms. Lucky (?) for me, the route did not disappoint. I encountered many a gross bathroom, where I really did not want my tushie to touch the toilet seat.

PeeBuddy | Women Stand And Pee | Travel Accessory | The Bellyrina Diaries

So out came the PeeBuddy. The flattened device unfolds easily. After that, it’s pretty simple — press against crotch (make sure it covers your clitoris, urethra and vagina, so you don’t have any leaks), and pee! Remember to make sure you aim the end of the device properly, or you risk getting pee on your clothes/shoes or missing the bowl. For most women, the first time you use one can be equal parts empowering and totally weird — it certainly was for me. It took me a moment to really come to terms with the fact that I was indeed, peeing standing up!

Once done, simply toss the used PeeBuddy in a trash can (not in the toilet). It’s paper, so it’s bio-degradable. Yay!

So what’s my final verdict on the PeeBuddy? I’ve listed pros and cons (my personal opinion only!)

Pros

  • Fits comfortably in most purses and handbags, so easy to carry around.
  • Easy to use. No complicated instructions or assembly.
  • Great for travel.
  • Also useful for pregnant women, or those with any sort of joint issue that makes sitting on the toilet difficult.
  • Biodegradable.
  • Affordable — it retails on Amazon (get it here!) for only INR 195 for a pack of 10.

Cons

  • Because they’re single-use, you need to make sure you’re stocked up. (I know, not exactly a con, but you know what I mean!)

So ladies, if you travel often — even if it’s just around the city — I highly recommend keeping a pack of PeeBuddy with you. It makes life SO much easier, that I now always have a few in my handbag. I would advise also keeping some wet wipes, just in case you don’t have access to water to wash up after.

Shop for PeeBuddy by clicking here for a pack of 10, or here for a pack of 20.

Vive la revolution!


Disclaimer: This post includes Amazon affiliate links. I may receive a small commission when you make a purchase through these links, at no extra cost to you. This helps me keep the blog ad-free, and I thank you for your support!
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

The holiday season can bring a lot of stress, 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?

What Is DOMS?

What Is DOMS?

Anyone who has exercised a day in their life is familiar with those aches and pains you get during workouts. And then of course, the ‘morning after’ pains — those groan-inducing aches that can almost make you rethink working out in the first place. Well, those aches have a name – DOMS.

DOMS stands for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. It’s essentially caused by tiny tears that occur in the muscle fibre during workouts. Before you freak out about ‘tears’ in the muscle fibre, let me be clear — that’s completely normal. During intense workouts, tiny (like, microscopic tiny!) tears are caused in the engaged muscles. The body then works to rebuild these muscles, a process that burns calories. That’s essentially how exercise works to help you build muscle and burn fat even post your workout, by the way. Your lesson for the day!

DOMS | Fitness Blog | The Bellyrina Diaries

Coming back to what DOMS is all about. According to studies and observations, DOMS is noted as being caused more by eccentric portions of resistance exercises than concentric ones. Eccentric muscle movements are those in which the muscles are lengthened — for instance, the lowering motion during a bicep curl. Conversely, concentric muscle movements are the ones where the muscle is contracted or squeezed, like the lifting/curling motion of a bicep curl. The reason for this is that eccentric training causes greater muscle fiber and connective tissue disruption, and greater release of enzymes associated with muscle damage.

Let me throw some science at you now. During exercise, damage occurs not only to the muscle fibres themselves, but also to the muscle cell membrane, known as the sarcolemma. This causes a small amount of inflammation or swelling in the affected muscle. The pain of DOMS is often not just the pain of tears in the muscle tissue, but of the edema or inflammation that follows the workout.

Muscle Tissue Anatomy | DOMS | The Bellyrina Diaries

Now I know a lot of people who equate the pain of DOMS to a successful workout — “Oh man, my quads are killing me, I totally crushed those squats”, or “Man, my abs hurt when I laugh, I guess those crunches are doing their job!” This isn’t quite an accurate way to judge the success or efficacy of a workout, though. You can have a perfectly good workout without feeling DOMS, and you can feel DOMS without a truly optimal workout. The whole ‘No pain, no gain’ adage is frightfully misleading!

DOMS is, however, one indicator of possible future hypertrophy. When the body heals muscle tears, much like white blood cells battle an infection, the tears are reinforced with slightly stronger muscle tissue than the original. In this roundabout way, localised inflammation – a source of DOMS – leads to a growth response that increases the ability of the muscle tissue to withstand future damage!

That said, I must emphasise again — DOMS is NOT to be considered a direct marker of a successful workout. I know a lot of trainers who will have you believe that soreness is the goal, and that it signifies you’ve truly worked your muscles. For want of a better term, that falls under the category of ‘bro science’. Training with DOMS as the end goal can leave you feeling dissatisfied with your workout, or even straining yourself to the point of injury in your quest for soreness.

Different bodies also experience DOMS differently. But it commonly sets in within 8 to 12 hours of a workout, and stays uncomfortable for about 36 to 48 hours, post which the discomfort eases.

Is there such a thing as too much soreness? Indeed there is. All too often, I see participants and clients push themselves far too hard, not realising they’re doing more harm than good. Let me put it this way — if you can’t comb your hair the day after an upper body workout because you’re in too much pain, you went too far. That level of soreness likely means you’ve caused muscle damage beyond what your body can repair in a day. Should that happen, rest the area. Pushing through the pain is not heroic, it’s foolhardy.

DOMS Injuries | Fitness Blog | The Bellyrina Diaries

And of course, the million-dollar question — Can anything be done to ease DOMS? Absolutely! A great way to start is with a hot shower post your workout. The heat gets the blood rushing to your muscles, and helps speed up recovery. If you’re bathing rather than showering, adding salt to your bath water has been known to help. Gentle massage and stretching can also improve circulation, and ease some of the cramping. If you’re very uncomfortable, taking an OTC anti-inflammatory like Combiflam or ibuprofen can help, too — just don’t make a habit of it.

As counterintuitive as it may seem, one of the best ways to ease muscle soreness, is to exercise. A little light cardio gets the muscles warm and the blood pumping, which accelerates muscle regeneration. It’s important to note, however, that this works only for regular DOMS that doesn’t cripple you. If you have intense soreness (like being unable to comb your hair or sit in a chair), then simply rest and try the earlier tips.

In case you’d rather not have to deal with DOMS at all, well… sorry bro, that isn’t really an option (unless you simply stop exercising, which should not be an option!). The best precaution to minimise DOMS is to ensure you warm up properly before any workout. Ensuring your muscles are warm and stretchy helps minimise the damage they endure during your routine. So work up a good sweat, and maybe even add a little foam rolling to loosen up more, before you head for those weights.

Now that you understand DOMS a little better, go forth and conquer that workout! And if you have any of your own personal remedies for the post-workout pain fest, leave them in the comments so other people can give them a try 🙂


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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. 🙂

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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