Covid-19 lockdown side effect: Six-pack to family pack

The Indian gene is prone to high fat deposition in periods of no exercise or high calorie intake. Most of this fat deposition is focused around the belly.

Published : Jun 27, 2020 11:49 IST

Squash star Joshna Chinappa.
Squash star Joshna Chinappa.

Squash star Joshna Chinappa.

Every athlete and celebrity is equally affected by the lockdown. The lack of training facilities, trainers, coaches, nutritionists and other experts has led to a slackening of focus. As a result, many have gained body fat percentages.

The Indian gene is prone to high fat deposition in periods of no exercise or high calorie intake. Most of this fat deposition is focused around the belly. The six-packs disappeared to four-packs in April and two-packs in May. In June, the packs will become the family pack or the beer belly.

Here are my nutrition tips to help you burn that belly fat.


Eat less carbs

Research has shown that a high carbohydrate diet leads to higher insulin resistance. When the body releases more and more of resistant insulin, the body begins to store fat. For sportspersons, this is a fine line between losing fat and taking too little carbs and eventually you lose performance and stamina.

Eat more protein

A higher protein diet will ensure you prevent muscle loss. In weight-loss programmes directed at losing belly fat, the athlete will overdo muscle training, thereby increasing microscopic trauma, which leads to loss of muscle if the diet is not replenished with protein. Post workout, a 20gm grams dose of protein from the diet or a supplement is one sure tip. Keeping protein intake a day at 1.2-1.8gm per kilogramme of the athlete’s body weight is best.

Eat more fibre

Plant-based foods have carbs in the form of indigestible material. This is commonly known to us as fibre. Fibre helps in slower release of digestible carbs, holds back excess oils and creates a sense of fullness when we eat. Examples are white rice and brown rice. White rice digests faster, releases more sugar faster, and has more calories and hence contributes more to fat deposition. Brown rice has a fibre-like coating that releases the carbs very slowly, hence a lower calorie level, and you feel full eating brown rice thus making you eat much lesser quantities. Green leafy vegetables are the best for a six-pack. I would recommend you eat spinach ( palak ), lettuce, salad leaves, red bhaji) or lots of purple, red and green cabbage. Cauliflower also is a good substitute as a vegetable.



Two role model athletes in this lockdown have been footballer Pritam Kotal and squash champ Joshna Chinappa.

Here are the things my athletes have committed to at the start of the lockdown.

  • Not overdoing eating. They are eating with moderation. In fact they sometimes started eating later in the day. This allowed an intermittent fasting situation. So we got a 14-15 hour fasting period. They finished their dinner early by 7 p.m. Breakfast, the next day. would be post 10 a.m.
  • Their cheat meals were limited to ‘eating out was banned’ in the lockdown. So they experimented with home cooked desserts and portion controlled them. No sugar, no sweets except one serving per week. They could chose any sweet dish but it had to be under 100 grams weight.
  • We increased their protein post workout but consumed lesser or no carbs post the workout.
  • They focused on high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and did a lot of core work.
  • We added probiotics to reduce bloating and we removed gluten and bread as much as possible.
  • We added a lot of walking to their regime — 5-6km a day of a light run or jog.
  • They were asked to strictly follow the table (above) along with other food options.



Low-rice fried rice

The best way to lose weight is to design your rice dishes with lesser than 40 percent rice in it. This is my all-time favourite high-fibre, high-protein and low-carb dish.

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