Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Book review: From XL to XS – A fitness guru’s guide to changing your body

Reviewed by Eisha Sarkar
Posted on Times Wellness on Tuesday, June 07, 2011  

Author: Payal Gidwani Tiwari
Pages: 319
Price: Rs 199
Publisher: Random House India

Over the past decade, we’ve seen Kareena Kapoor go from tubby to tad healthy to terrific. We’ve aspired for her size zero figure and marvelled at her disclosure that she does a 108 Suryanamaskars per day. As an increasing number of women aspire to mould themselves into Kareena’s form, her fitness experts and dieticians have taken to writing books to document the actor’s success, and their own too. First, it was her nutritionist, Rujuta Diwekar, who in Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight told you how you can get a bikini-perfect body by eating every two hours. Now, fitness expert Payal Gidwani Tiwari, in her book From XL to XS, illustrates the benefits of yoga and how it can help you attain that ‘perfect 10’ figure.

Tiwari starts off with differentiating between the terms obesity and overweight and provides you with the formula to calculate your basal metabolic index (BMI) and ideal body weight. She then describes the different body shapes – apple, pear, wine glass, cylinder and ball – and describes the asanas that will help you work on your problem areas and how you can improve your flexibility, endurance and strength. She shares the beauty tips and regimes of stars such as Sridevi, who’ve turned the clock back in time and look nearly 10 years younger than they are but warns against the “many shortcuts and quick fixes available in the market” that will “only ruin your health in the long run.” And for those who just want to stay healthy and fit, without a specific goal in mind, she has included a crash course at the back of the book.

Asanas and the stars

By packing in testimonies from actors Kareena Kapoor, Saif Ali Khan, Tulip Joshi, Zoa Morani, Sridevi, Jacqueline Fernandez, Rani Mukerji and case studies of many other clients, Tiwari manages to make an otherwise how-to guide an interesting read. You figure that Sridevi does 25 rounds of Suryanamaskars on Thursdays in two sets and that Kareena did “Simhasana (lion pose) for high cheekbones and helped make her cheeks thinner by sucking it inwards and holding it there.” You learn about their flaws and how yoga helped them overcome them. Tiwari demystifies the stars’ exercise routines and fitness and diet schedules, making you believe that even you can get the body that you want. She does well by including small boxes on why you shouldn’t be drinking energy drinks, how you should watch your back during pregnancy and a list of precautions before you start on yoga and why dusky skin-tone is in.

In conclusion

While the book is written in the easy point-format with tables, it lacks in presentation because the pictures of the various poses are put together on other pages, instead of appearing next to the description of the asana. Since, there is no provision for cross-linking the references, you end up turning pages to find out what a Trikonasana would look like. This may seem like a minor drawback but there are a zillion books on yoga in the market. If you’re a serious yoga practitioner, you’ll probably opt for something with a lot more depth. But if you still need a reason to do yoga or just want to start, in spite of the minor creases around the edges, From XL to XS seems to fit all right.