Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Bike Trip to Chirala - fun, nature, good food, an accident, suggestions etc

                                                        On the Vijaywada Expressway

It all started one Sunday when we had our Jukaado family Lunch meet. Our senior student Prateek suggested that we can look at a place called Chirala for our next training camp. Especially since it has a beach it would be a nice place to train. Sravan our manager further supported the suggestion. That night I checked the place out on google and contacted few of the resorts there to plan our camp. Two weeks later the date was set for a trip to Chirala. 

My bike a 200cc Bajaj Avenger will complete 5 years this August. Had bought the bike with the hope of doing long rides but somehow work and commitments kept it far from being a reality. The Chirala trip gave me the perfect opportunity to have this long awaited bike ride and a wonderful way to bring in the 5 year partnership between man and machine. To sum it up the Avenger rocks even after 5 years. It handles well even on wet roads or rain, has good traction, balance and grip even at speeds between 80 - 100 km/ph. Good roads, muddy tracks, wet marshy tracks all roads are like a piece of cake for the Avenger. Secunderabad to the resort at Chirala is about 380km. We covered about 800 plus kms in the weekend.

It had been constantly drizzling in Hyderabad for the last few days but I had no intention to cancel the trip. So on Friday morning my pillion rider Lynette and myself draped ourselves in raincoats and started our road trip at 5:30am.  We had to go slow till L.B. Nagar as the roads from tarnaka till there were filled with potholes and the nonstop drizzle was making it difficult to see them. Surprisingly the rain seemed to vanish about 2km from L.B. Nagar. It was cloudy but no rains the roads were clear with no traffic and visibility had improved. Allowing me to zoom through the outskirts of the city. After crossing Ramoji Film City the roads are very  good even though they are not part of the expressway they are well maintained. We were cruising at around 80 - 90 km/ph. At around 8:00 am we stopped at Hotel 9 on the expressway for some cups of hot tea and puri. We took a stop of about an hour then continued. The roads were just perfect the clouds started to disperse bringing the sun out to shine a bit. We virtually had the expressway to ourselves with only a few trucks or cars every few kilometers allowing me to zoom between 90 - 100 km/ph. It was just amazing the wind in the face and lush green nature on either side of the expressway. My helmet began to fly with the wind it was like a good conditioning / strengthening workout for the neck and jaw. Stopped and tightened the helmet strap and whizzed through the expressway. About 50km before Vijaywada the expressway heading to Vijaywada diverts through few small villages and towns bringing settlements along the highway and hence reducing our speed to between 50 - 60km/ph. We entered Vijaywada to face the worst traffic jam I have ever been stuck in. It took us about an hour to just cross about 2km to reach the Guntur bypass road. The Guntur bypass road is good too but being a state highway was much smaller and had settlements along the road so preferred to stay within 60km/ph. 

                                                      The hills of Vijaywada.

                                          The state highway.

One should be aware of a strange practice of people from Vijaywada till Chirala - if you ask anyone for directions they always reply saying  Right  but their hands may point to the left. So basically look at the hands and do not follow their words because they always say Right. After crossing Guntur and entering the highway leading to Chirala it was a long ride. I think it seemed longer because we were getting hungry and could not find a nice place to eat. We crossed through few villages but there were long stretches between these villages with empty roads allowing us to maintain a decent speed. At Bapatla we did see a few decent places to have lunch but with Chirala being only about 15km from there we preferred to ride to our destination. We were heading to Ramanpuram beach at Chirala. With no rains after Vijaywada people were starring at us like we were from some other planet all covered in raincoats. We reached our resort - Palm Coast Beach Resort at around 1:30 and immediately ordered food. Which seemed like it took eternity for them to prepare I think they went to catch the prawns fresh after we ordered for it. The resort is small but has a beautiful location with the beach in front and a back water on its side. However am sure they can improve on their facilities and service especially since their competition is really well organized and professional in their service.

                                                     Palm Coast Beach Resort.

           The backwater beside the resort.

There are only two resorts at Ramanpuram beach - The Palm Coast Beach Resort and the Sea breeze Resort. The Sea breeze however is the better one to select. 

                                      The Sea Breeze Resort.

Saturday we went about discussing our camp with the managers of both the resorts and negotiating a good package for our students. The beach is virtually your own. Except for a few fishermen in the morning the rest of the day there are not many people on the beach making it ideal for our training without any disturbance. 
                                          Fresh catch crabs- Sushi anyone!!!

                                    The beach at Ramanpuram.

We made a trip to the Chirala town to fuel up the bike and look around. The food was very nice at the Palm Coast Beach Resort. The prawns were really fresh and made nice and spicy. Sunday morning we decided to check out a day earlier and ride 60% of the distance and stop at a hotel on the highway then finish the remaining trip the next day so it would be less of a strain. We left the resort at around 9am and were heading back. There was no rain and it was sunny. Just 30km from the resort on the highway near auto nagar there was this 14- 16 year old boy standing with his cycle in the middle of the road he just was not moving and being a narrow state highway there was not enough place to evade him. We were at about 60km/ph I kept honking and even started shouting too but he just did not move. I slowed down the bike to 30 - 40 km/ph and ended up banging in to the cycle. We skid along the road. Good that we were both wearing helmets as it protected us when our heads banged on the road. The villagers came to help us and I was relieved to see that my pillion rider was alright. However I was unable to land my left leg down it felt like the bone had shattered and there was nothing left. Two men held me by my shoulder and guided me near their homes and made me sit. Luckily the knee had not swelled up which is the first sign of a fracture so I was relieved. A wandering baba came to me and started doing something to my feet and my knees, it felt much better after he had played around with my leg. I had scrapped my left forearm extensively and a bit on the right palm too. Lynette my pillion rider had a bruise on the palm and a slight swelling on the left foot. An old lady brought out some powder and started applying it on the wounds that were bleeding at first I thought it was chunna so was okay but then she removed the bottle and it turned out to be Dermi cool powder. I anyway was already covered with the powder so protesting made no sense now. Quite a few people stopped and offered to help us out or arrange anything we want. Even the policemen that came by to inquire as someone had apparently called them up were very helpful. The boy whom we banged into was fine too with no visible injuries they were scolding him for sometime and then he just rode his cycle and left. After about an hour I was able to walk with a limp though. The bike surprisingly escaped with no damage except a slight bent handle. Feeling better I decided to ride to Bapatla to the hospital there and get medical attention. It was a 10km ride to Bapatla from the accident spot. The doctor at Baptla seemed nice he thoroughly checked my knee and confirmed that there was no fracture and gave me a tetanus vaccine and a diclofenac along with some anti- inflammatory tablets. We rode on to Guntur and got the handle straightened by a mechanic and continued riding. We crossed Vijaywada and stopped for lunch at a hotel. I was hoping to get ice somewhere to ice the knee but did not get it anywhere used ice cold water bottles at the hotel to ice the knee instead. Once on the expressway we were again cruising between 80 - 100km/ph. The last 20km to our stop at Hotel 9 was through rain and resulted in me slowing down considerably and a stop for 4 cups of tea too. We reached the Hotel by about 6pm and after pouring lots of hot water on the knee I felt better. The knee had swollen up a bit due to no rest to it after the accident but the movement was there and pain free so I knew there was no fracture. Applied lots of Capsidol gel on it and slept. The burning from the Capsidol gel was really helping in soothing the swelling. Next day we started at about 10am and reached the city by 12pm. Luckily it was not raining and we could avoid the potholes. We reached home at 1:30 after a good lunch I took some rest and headed for class at 6pm. 

I did get an  Xray for my left knee to just confirm that there is no fracture and am happy to say that the knee is intact with not even a scratch to the bone. The swelling of the knee is reducing too with the ginger treatment and magic oil that we use at Jukaado.

There are a few things that I realized on the trip and through this accident. They are- 

I am blessed with lots of well wishers and some very good friends. It is their blessings and good wishes that have saved me I feel. 

I should also mention the concern that some of my students who came to know of the accident seeing me limp to class was very touching. But they should know that am not going to leave troubling them with training so easily.

Wearing a good helmet by the rider and the pillion is a must as it saved us both from getting any head injury.

My training over the years saved me. My bike is heavy and the fuel tank banged my left knee to the road had it been another person who does not train like we do he may have surely shattered his knee bone. Even my forearm is intact without any pain in the elbow or bone though I broke my fall with it and it is completely bruised. My pillion rider has also learnt to break fall pretty well I guess as she only secured a bruise on the palm which would be used to break the fall.

Wildcraft an Indian company manufacturing adventure gear are really doing a great job. We were carrying a wildcraft rucksack ( Savan 45) which did not tear or rip apart even though it scrapped on the road with us. I guess we should all support such brands that are trying to come up by providing good quality gear.

May it be a national highway or a state highway the government should install crash barriers all along the way. It would surely prevent kids and cattle from running on to the roads like this. Had I been riding a car that boy who for some crazy reason just stood in the middle of the highway would have surely been severely injured or may be even dead with such a collision.

To sum it up -

It was a weekend well spent and am looking forward to another bike ride soon.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Importance of weight training and Protein Supplements when training for any martial art, sport or fitness routine.

Over the years I have come across so many people who are connected with some form of fitness routine but due to improper guidance or no proper training pattern or even a wrong idea of diet and training has ended up causing regular injuries for themselves. 

This post is aimed for these people who are serious about their training and wish to get over their aches and injuries and move to a healthy training pattern.

I have always stressed and continue to do so that if you are going to be stuck in just one activity then you may fool yourself in to thinking that you are fit but in reality you are more imbalanced or unfit than those who do not do any exercise. Well lets see suppose you are a runner and you just keep running you may have toned legs with a good running pace but you are not fit as your upper body will be weak and if your diet and training is without weights then even your leg muscles will be weak.

At Jukaado training is very wholistic  for we do about anything and everything that can be done. Whatever is your area of training, sport or fitness activity a good weight training program to accompany it is a must. Well it is simple you need to build muscle for better performance. Over the last year or so I have come in touch with a lot of runners all over India because of my connection with Spartan Race India. Most of the runners have shin bone pains, knee pains, IT band pains, ankle pains, hamstring pains and injuries. So we will use the runner pattern itself for all examples however it is the same logic that needs to be applied to all other sports and fitness routines. Now when you are a runner you are constantly building up your mileage every day running varying kilometers. I may not be a professional runner but being in martial arts and training crazy for the last 28 years I have run a lot and have an understanding as to the cause of these injuries that most runners face. In my 28 years I have not suffered any form of severe aches and injuries due to the proper guidance and training pattern that my instructors taught me with. If you are a runner and run daily then you are constantly working your leg muscles. When your leg muscles are not able to bare the load of the increasing mileage the strain shifts to the bone and joints and hence the aches and injuries occur. A runner should ideally give 3 -4 days a week for weight training and core training. They need to strengthen their muscle structure to enable it to take the load of the mileage. It is a long forgotten myth that weight training is only for weight lifters or body builders. Yet it is funny to see people still shying away from weight training. A good weight training routine is very important for any fitness routine. Yes you could give more emphasis on some areas that you may require for your activity of choice for eg a runner could give more focus on weight training for their legs and core and a bit lesser emphasis on the upper torso. A balance is what has to be achieved. I have seen the calf muscles of many runners in Hyderabad they all have a potato like toned upper calf and supper thin lower calf / legs well that is a clear indication of inadequate training. Yes their calves look toned but are toned and shrunk instead of the muscle growing and getting toned. Some will argue that professional marathon runners from the continent of Africa are like that too. Well in their case it is genetics that makes them super lean and it is the same genetics which makes their muscles capable of long distance running and endurance activities. For all the others we need to grow our calf muscles and strengthen them. Observe the calf muscles of international footballers they are at times bigger than the biceps of most people. That is a healthy calf muscle. So do get around a good and well balanced weight training routine and trust me you will see the difference.

A great master once told me - The greater the disparity between the softness of a muscle when idle and the hardness of the same muscle when flexed is the best way to know how healthy the muscle is.

Diet is also an area most neglected by many. There are many who feel that a good balanced diet is sufficient even with intense training. Well they are wrong. When we train we not only expend the bigger nutrient groups of protein, carbohydrate etc but also expend numerous minerals and vitamins. Even if you are having a well balanced diet you may recover the protein, carbohydrate, fat etc required to meet your training needs  but may not get the amount of minerals that you have expended. Most minerals and certain vitamins are available only in traces in our natural well balanced diets. So if you are not training intense a well balanced diet will provide enough of all minerals and vitamins. However when you train intensely you will expend a lot of all these minerals and vitamins too. Which a healthy well balanced diet may not be able to replenish before the next workout. This will result in a deficit and over a period of time affects muscle recovery and other functions of the body. That is why it is important to depend on protein and other supplements as they have a mix of all the required minerals and vitamins required for a healthy training pattern. I do not say consume very powerful supplements especially if you are not training professionally but a decent supplementation is necessary. 

It is all about finding the balance between your workout, weight training and diet. It is not necessary what works for one person will work for you too. You need to find the perfect ratio of all the 3 such that your health and performance are both benefiting. 

If you are facing such stress pains and injuries and would like a personalized training plan or guidance for yourself you can get in touch with me.