Ayurveda in Body Building

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ayurveda bodybuilding
You may also picture this that outside a city mall where it’s a shopping paradise, you can find a floor where they have clear glass window panes and you can see people jogging and running while you are relishing a burger in your hand and looking down on the ketchup that just spilled on the size 40 tummy.

When you switch on your TV to watch your favorite show, you come across commercials that run for hours that would actually make you look like a complete loser or ridicule your size and the model who displays his / her chiseled body when you are actually struggling with your expanding love handles.

Now, it’s high time to take all such things with ease.

Body building has caught up as a rage these days. This can be seen by the number of gyms mushrooming in any city. To have a grotesque body with splendid muscular capacity has been in our blood. Evolution also demands the survival of the fittest.

Body building is not new to Ayurveda. Now let’s see what Ayurveda has to offer in this regard.

We have to first understand in terms of physique, that Indians are mediocre people. it means if we see the human races from West to East, we come somewhere in between in terms of our body. The average height of a westerner could be a cool 6 ft. Even ladies stand at an average of 5’8″ as tall as Indian men. Now when we see the other side of the globe the height decreases, say in Japan the average height is around 5’3 to 5’8″.

The same can be true for bone & muscle mass. A European / Westerner have a higher bone & muscle mass. They have bigger & stronger muscles. This doesn’t mean that we Indians have any muscle shorter than them. It’s the anatomical difference and in our genes and one has to accept this fact.

Body building is an art and a science. If done methodically and scientifically, weight training can be easy. The key is to understand our body types as per ayurveda (Vata, Pitta & Kapha) and also what sort of diet & lifestyle changes to adopt to get a sculpted body.

Vata individuals are skinny with prominent joints, light body frame, tall and are highly active & jittery.

Pitta individuals are medium built with good digestive and metabolism.

Kapha individuals are muscular with heavy body frame, more fat deposition in their body.

In western medicines, there are 3 basic body types: Ectomorphs ( Lean individuals), Mesomorphs ( middle) and Endomorphs( heavier individuals with higher bone & muscle mass). This can be correlated with our body typing as per Ayurveda(Vata, Pitta & Kapha).

So, what causing this phenomenon of- so called once “sleepy sluggish muscles” to grow stronger & bigger in size. Actually there is a phenomenon known as muscular hypertrophy (increase in cell size) and not in number of muscle cells. The gain in size happens due to increase of cell protein mass and also the glycogen stores. There are not much of direct ayurvedic medicines for body building but this can be achieved by following proper nutrition, exercise and lifestyle guidances if one is ready to do so. We would also discuss some of the ayurvedic supplements for bodybuilding here.

  1. Ayurveda Nutrition: In Ayurveda, to increase body building brimhaniya dravya ( or unctuous / heavy / smooth / high calorie food) is to be taken. A word of caution here is that there is No thumb rule for GOOD FOOD FOR ALL. Even sugar can become poison and poison can be a life saver.
    1. Eat as per your energy requirement & physical activity. Under eating and overeating can be the first hurdle to your dream figure.
    2. The list of food for brimhaniya group are milk, ghee, cheese, sweet items, curd, wheat rice, and proteins of high biological value like Chicken, egg, fish, mutton. There is a very common question people ask whether Ayurvedic science is vegetarian or not. It is interesting to note that ayurveda treatise has strong references about the qualities of different type of meat along with taste & what effects they have in our system. So, it definitely makes Ayurveda having non vegetarian aspect as well. The reason for such a perception may be due to Buddhist influence of Non Violence, Ayurveda has turned out to be vegetarian science. In other words, any food item that doesn’t create incompatibilities to one prakriti ( body constitution) is an ideal food to that person.
    3. Ayurvedic Herbs :The herbs that increase body mass is a combination of herbs like Ashwagandha ( Withania Somnifera), Amalki ( Embelica Ribes), Musli ( Asperagus acendus), Shatavari (Asperagus racemosus) to name a few. These herbs not only increase the bulk but also build stronger immunity. Ashwagandha is also present in a number of products like Ashwagandhadi Choornam, Ashwagandhadi Lehyam etc. It is very popular in the virtual world as the “wonder herb“.
    4. Powerful Nuts : Consuming dried fruits like dates, almonds, pistachios, raisins, groundnuts, figs are also a good source of carbohydrate and proteins. They are good power sources and can be excellent if consumed in daily cereals / as a snack.
    5. Proper hydration: Water is essential in maintaining good hydration level, detoxification and proper muscle tone. So, sipping small quantities of water can be very useful during workouts. Ideally, water can be mixed with honey & lemon and can be used as a splendid drink.
    6. Ghee is not a taboo for people on body building. Ghee infact Idea is that proper input output of energy expenditure has to be planned. No wonder it is famous in North of India. Proper intake of oils helps in raising immunity, providing sustained energy during workouts.
  2. Physical Workout : As per ayurveda, one should exercise based on ones strength. The measure is that one should do about 50% of workout based on ones maximum capacity.
    1. Exercise mentioned Yogic Aasanas is basically a toning & stretching exercise. These aasanas can bring agility without any injury to the body. The strenuous exercising routine can begin with Yogic Aasanans.
    2. Aerobic exercises like Jogging, cycling, swimming etc are actually increase heart rate and oxygen consumption in the body. This can be passive (without any weight bearing) or active (with weights or against gravity).
    3. Proper weight training: Weight training has to be mastered with a proper trainer. Wrong weight training can lead to muscle / joint injury that can play spoil sport in the life of a body builder.
  3. Sleep / Ample Rest is the key : In Ayurveda, rest / sleep is a very important aspect. Probably it is the second pillar of health after Aahara ( Food) and before Bramhacharya ( Celibacy). Proper exercise works up the muscles and these muscles / muscle groups needs ample rest between workouts. During sleep / rest period, body works on the wear & tear aspect and tries to attain normalcy in individuals.

With these 3 golden rules, one can achieve their dream of having a grotesque body.

Written by Danny Devasy

Danny Devasy

Dr. Danny Devasy is an Ayurveda Doctor by profession, besides being a freelance writer. His passion is to spread the goodness of Ayurveda around the globe. He loves to travel, listens to music, enjoys food and loves to share the information of Ayurveda. His family includes his wife and two adorable kids whom considers as a priceless gift from the Almighty.

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