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Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym

An 'accidental' fitness model on how to get into fab shape

If 40s are the new 20s, no one lives it truer than Amrit Dhaliwal. The Canadian fitness model of Indian origin transformed herself into her current avatar after injuring her lower back while skidding on ice. She was prescribed power-lifting to strengthen the muscles. Toned and lighter, the then 27-year-old suddenly went from being a corporate professional to a bikini babe. "My idea of fitness is about getting away from scale and size to building confidence," she says on a visit to Mumbai last week. Mirror chats with Dhaliwal about what it takes to get beach body ready.

Find your own X factor 
The most frequent questions I get are, "How can I get a flat belly?", "How do I rid the jiggle under my arms?", "How can I tone my legs and hips?" Women can get very comparative about their bodies. There is an aesthetic illusion that most women harbour. It's the X shape — shoulders out, waist in, and a curvy lower half. But, every woman has her own form and shape, so you need to see reason. Find what you love, and it will become your lifestyle. Be it cardio, squats, swimming, dance or zumba.

Draft a fitness blueprint 
For my own workout, I tune in to my biological clock and wake up at 6 30 am. I prefer a mix of workouts, so I scatter them through the earlier half of the day when my body is most active. It's cardio in the morning, followed by a breakfast of oatmeal or egg whites. Between 12 noon and 2 pm, I do weights. I also focus on building one aspect of my body a day. So, it's legs on Wednesdays and Fridays, for example. This means I must always put up somewhere where I will have access to a gym.

I prefer gymming to yoga because I love to hit the heavy weights. I walk into my gym with a swagger and I am full of energy when I work out with the big body builders. If you can find a personal trainer who will inspire you to be responsible about working out, nothing like it.

Manipulate food 
Great abs are made in the kitchen, not at the gym. When I was younger, my diet was Coke, chips and chocolate, but I had youth on my side. I have an irresistible sweet tooth, so I always travel with a supply of apples with cinnamon. It's an effective fat buster. During munch time, I snack on nuts or carry cucumber and celery sticks. I have a bite of a protein bar now and then, but I keep it within limits because they can make you bloat. I like to have water flavoured with lime or orange juice.

Most people who are overweight tend to be emotional eaters. Body weight is a byproduct of bad emotions. Obesity and other ailments are signs that something's not right with your life, and you are reaching out to food to fix it. Walk away from the donut. It's not worth it.

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