Saturday, April 25, 2015

FITNESS PHOTOGRAPHY, PHOTOPROCESSING and PHOTOSHOP. For Dummies.


First there were morons in the field of fitness who thought: Supplements = Steroids. Now comes the second wave of morons who think PhotoProcessing = PhotoShopping. What we learn from this is that the only true fact is that Hater = Ch**ya #facepalm
- Pushkaraj S Shirke

Fitness is one field where everyone has a tendency to think that they are all experts. A grand bunch of know it alls schooled from IIN(internet) with large doses of conventional wisdom. So its not surprising that we see waves of fools one after the other. The first few waves were about heavy training making people huge and light training keeping people lean, the second wave was about supplements being steroids, and now a growing wave is the bunch of idiots that like to comment "Photoshop!" on every striking physique they see. The kind of fools who don't even know the basics of fitness or fitness photography - the idiots who don't even know what a RAW image is, what a processed image is, what retouching is and what photoshopping and morphing is.

So here are the basics of fitness photography just for those willing to get out of their pool of ignorance and willing to learn:


1. LIGHTING
Fitness photography is all about lighting primarily. Simple Glamour lighting doesn't work here. Lighting that flattens and softens your hard earned physique doesn't work here. You need lighting that compliments every curve of muscle that you have earned.

Me consulting with Fitness coach and Bodybuilder, Kaizzad Capadia as to what
bodybuilding poses will highlight Athlete Yashmeen Manak's most prominent Musculatures. 
2. POSING
Though there are many 'fitness' photographers who shoot soft-porn and boudoir magazine centrespreads in the name of fitness, real fitness photography is not soft porn. If the poses in your photo can be captioned as "take me baby!" and seem like an invitation to take off your clothes, its probably not fitness photography. I mean no disrespect to boudoir photography, I have shot lingerie commercials too. But when you do that, call it that. Don't name it fitness photography and disrespect a field. Fitness photography poses involve poses that display your grit, strength, fitness attributes and musculature - and thus often involve lifts, weights and dynamic movements - or simple classical poses that enhance the visibility of the most well developed musculature of the athlete.


3. THE RAW FORMAT
WIKIPEDIA: A camera raw image file contains minimally processed data from the image sensor of either a digital cameraimage scanner, or motion picture film scanner.[1][2] Raw files are named so because they are not yet processed and therefore are not ready to be printed or edited with a bitmap graphics editor

Now this is where we get to the technical aspects. A professional photographer always shoots in the RAW format. What RAW means is not that it is a real picture - it means that it is a very high resolution picture that carries millions of micro details of the picture that was shot. RAW IMAGES are NOT the final images. They are like the Negative of a film reel. They need to be processed.

A processed image of Model Ishan Qureshi shot by Me, Pushkaraj S Shirke.

4. PHOTOPROCESSING
Earlier processing used to take place in dark rooms with silver nitrate dips. In modern days, photo processing takes place on a simple software called LIGHTROOM or in PHOTOSHOP. Just because these images are processed in photoshop, it does not mean that they are photoshopped. Photoprocessing only involves altering light, contrast, hues, levels, clarity, sharpness and shades of the picture.
Photoprocessing does not involve RE-TOUCHING OR MORPHING in any way. A good photographer will always give you a bunch of processed images. That is where a photographer's job ends. Retouching and Photoshopping, if required by the client, different professionals are hired who charge a separate fee.


5. RE-TOUCHING 
In the field of glamour, retouching is a package with the photographer. Since the demands of the beauty industry are so fake, most photographers are dependant on having their images retouched for commercial usage.
Above Photo(26th) was retouched by Phowd
Skin softening, scar removal, clean up, hair re-do, make up and eye brigthening etc are a part of this process. Genuine fitness photography that is non-commercial rarely involves re-touching. Retouching is a beautificiation process much like over painting and is still ethical within limits. What is absolutely unethical and unfortunately rampant in fitness photography is MORPHING.
Refer to this page for good examples of retouching: http://webneel.com/25-best-photo-retouching-masterpieces-and-tips-designers


6.MORPHING
Morphing is what true photoshopping is. Morphing is when you use photoshop tools (usually like liquify, stamp, clone, replace etc) to contort the body/physique out of its original proportion.
Obviously there are people who go way overboard even with morphing, just for fun. 
Increasing biceps, straightening shoulders, increasing the bust size. widening lips, enlarging eyes and lips, straightening the nose, re-structuring the jawline, adding abs, reducing fat, shaping the legs and arms, reducing belly fat etc are all called BODY MORPHING / PHOTOSHOPPING. This, in my perspective is absolutely unethical.
For people battling image related self esteem issues, a photoshopped pictur of themselves could help them realise that they are already beautiful and  be able to see the strings behind the 'beautiful' faces of the celebs they admire. 
* THE ONLY EXCEPTION TO BODY MORPHING ETHICS: Like plastic surgery, even photoshopping has its ethical ground in certain unique cases. The only time where Photoshopping is an exception is when it's done not to fool people, but to help some one improve their own sense of self - to help them realise that they already look amazing and that the people they see in the media are all just like them, but enhanced with photoshop. It makes a huge difference to such people. It can also help people with body image identity disorders and help get such people out of depression. And this entire phenomenon is actually caused by the media and its fake representation of body and beauty ideals.

A picture of Yashmeen Manak Clicked by me on which morons were screaming 'PHOTOSHOP'.
This woman, my friend, is a professional athlete and trainer and in my opinion has
the most camera friendly female physique in India.
So, the next time you see an amazing physique on social media, think about it. Don't just be one of them random trolls that comment 'Photoshop' and piss on that athlete's hardwork and photographer's skills. It might be photoshop, it might be raw or it might be photoprocessed. But before you comment, make sure of what it is. Or else it only shows you as a fool, nothing else.
Another picture clicked by me. This is Miss World Fitness Physique winner
and a professional Muscletech athlete, Shweta Rathore.
Hating is easy. Finding Inspiration over your hate, may not be, but it sure is worth it.

Regards,
Pushkaraj S Shirke
Fitness Coach, Fitness Photographer and Film Director
www.pushkarajsshirke.com

Friday, April 24, 2015

Is one Love greater than another? or are you comparing concepts?

I just read a post glorifying the story of an old woman who never moved past her childhood love, whom she married and lost to cancer. And My reaction to the story may not be one everybody agrees with in a world full of people dependant on 'romanticizing' everything. Hence sharing my take on it.
First thing - beautiful story. I havent verified it, but yes, its beautiful to read. And such stories do exist.
Now for the tough part - Glorifying one romanticised perspective of 'love' doesn't make it any better than any other form of love. Human beings will love. Whether its one person or ten, it doesn't make a difference. Brooding over a person you knew all your life after that person is dead doesn't make this brand of 'love' better than any other. Its beautiful, no doubt. But also beautiful is the love of woman who dares to love again after being heartbroken by fate. Or the love of a man who'd willingly sacrifice everything to see the women he loves live happily. Or the love that never ties down into any socially explainable bond like marriage or lovers. 
If humans probably learn to Love 'Love', and not our romanticised concept of love, we humans just might be a happier race of beings.

- Pushkaraj S Shirke

The Lessons on Finance that Schools dont teach you


tunring 30
Turning 30, for many people, is a wakeup call. It’s the time when you typically enter a new phase of life- either you get married or have kids (or plan to have them).
  • Sameer starts investing Rs 10,000 every year at the age of 25 and stops at the age of 35, but does not withdraw
  • Rajesh starts investing Rs 10,000 every year at the age of 35 and continues till he’s 65 years old


In this article, We cover 9  important financial decisions you need to make before you turn 30.
#1: Understand the most powerful word in finance: Compounding
Consider the investment behavior of two friends, Sameer and Rajesh
Who do you think will have more money when they are both 65?
As crazy as it may sound, Sameer will have 2.5 times the amount Rajesh has (1.28 Crores vs 46.5 lakhs), even though Rajesh invested for 20 years more.
What happened in this case is that for Sameer, money started compounding early, and earned interest, which in turn generated further interest, and this goes on. This is the true power of compounding. (Click here to see the calculation sheet)
Expert Tip: Start investing today. Even if it’s just Rs 10,000 a year, it will compound to many times that amount by the time you retire.
#2: Buy a home or keep renting?
Most of us would like to have a place we call home. The question you have to ask yourself is, do you need to buy one or would you want to stay in a rented place?
Buying a home is more of an emotional purchase rather than a logical one for most people- especially if they are taking a home loan.
Understand the pros and cons of owning a home/living in a rented accommodation and make a decision. Your home buying/renting decision will have a huge impact on your future financial planning since it’s probably the biggest single ever investment you’d make in your lifetime.
If you are not sure about renting vs buying, use this interactive calculator to find out if buying home makes sense for you.
#3: Get insured
We have all, at some point of time, seen those LIC advertisements. It portrays the role LIC plays in helping with children’s marriage or education when the earning member of the family has passed away unexpectedly.
While we all wish it does not happen to us, life is highly unpredictable. Make sure that you get a life insurance – term insurance is most recommended. The earlier you get a life insurance, the lower the premiums and complications.
And don’t stop with just life insurance. With rising medical costs, you also need to get a medical insurance to cover your medical costs. Even if your employer gives you a medical cover, take one additional to cover you and your entire family.
Taking medical and life insurance also helps you save tax under Section 80D and Section 80C respectively.
Expert tip: Insurance is an expense and not an investment. Don’t fall for money back plans that typically give you much lower returns for your investments. When choosing life insurance, always opt for term insurance.
#4: Set aside an emergency fund
You should set aside 3-6 months of your monthly expenses (including any EMIs you might have) in a separate emergency fund. Make sure you do not withdraw from this fund unless it’s for emergencies.
And no, upgrading your hatchback to a sedan does not count as an emergency!
#5: Make the right career choice
Chances are, by the time you are 30, you would have switched a couple of jobs. If you are not yet settled in a job (not a company, but a line of work), you have to do some soul searching.
Find out what ticks with you and stick to it. Just because you might have read about someone starting up and claiming that you should be your own boss, doesn’t mean you can succeed at your own business.
Take calculated risks. Following your passion does not guarantee that it can help you pay the bills. In all likelihood, the moment you try to earn a living by following your passion, you’d probably starting liking it less.
Figure out what makes you happy and helps you pay the bills. Then stick to it and follow a routine investment plan to ensure you have enough savings to help you retire and do what you are most passionate about (even if it means you have to keep spending money on it).
#6: Invest in yourself
There are two ways to get more money.
One, be thrifty and save as much as possible. Two, increase your income.
The latter is better because there is only so much you can control when it comes to saving. There are too many external factors (rent increase, petrol prices shoot up and so on) due to which making money by controlling expenses become difficult.
Expert Tip: Increase your income by investing in yourself. Learn a new skill so that you get a promotion in your current job. Or maybe just spend money for a relaxing vacation to make you more efficient when you come back fresh.
#7: Plan for retirement
Unfortunately, most people are not prepared enough for retirement. Either they miscalculate the amount of money they require at the time of retirement, or start saving when it’s too late.
Don’t make the mistake of not having enough money and having to rely on your kids for your expenses.
Start planning for your retirement before you hit 30 (the earlier the better).
Not sure where to start? Here’s a handy retirement guide for you that helps you save 10 crore retirement corpus and also retire 7 years earlier than planned.
#8: Become debt free
If you are not debt free yet, you are not alone. With easy access to loans and EMI schemes, more Indians than ever are under debt.
Debt is something that you need to get rid of before you turn 30 – or at least take steps to minimize it.
The next time you get your bonus or hike in salary, instead of the latest feature-packed mobile on EMI, decide to pre-pay your loans and become debt free as soon as possible.
Expert tip: While becoming debt free is good, not all debt is bad debt. Debt taken for purposes of creating a long term high value asset (like starting a businesses or buying a reasonably priced home within your budget) is OK.
#9: Plan for your children’s education & marriage
Even if you don’t have children, it pays to make a financial plan. With the spiralling cost of education, it’s important that you start planning as early as possible.
Some kindergartens charge you more than a lakh for admission. A medical seat in a reputed private college can be more than 60 lakhs. An MBA from a good business school can easily cost you 13-15 lakhs (50 lakhs + if you want to do it from a reputed school outside of India). That’s how expensive good education has become.
Make sure you start a SIP for your child as early as possible so that by the time they want to want to get into a good college, lack of funding won’t hold them back.
You have heard of the big fat Indian weddings. When it comes to your children’s marriage, you want to celebrate it- and that’s OK. These are small things in life that are ones in a lifetime moments.
Make sure you set a separate target for your children’s marriage spending and work towards that goal. Since the cost of conducting a marriage is increasing at a very rapid rate, traditional saving accounts like bank FDs and RDs won’t work.
recommendation: Start a SIP in equity mutual funds. One year before the event, move the total corpus to a debt fund for protection from volatility of equity market.

NOTE: This article is not written by me. I have just curated it because its a worthy article that states a lot of things that i wanted to say for along time but didnt have the time to write.
- Pushkaraj S Shirke

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Gaining Strength: Push-Pull Training Routine Variation

Back to training after a full recovery, my focus is gaining strength again. If it were not for my osteoporosis that causes joint and bone pain, I would have used the strict push-pull routine. But since I can't do that, I'm making basic adaptation to the routine to ensure that there is enough time for recovery so that my main compound lifts are not compromised.

Basically what I'm doing is breaking down my 3 day push pull split into a 5 day split in which the major compound lifts are on a separate day and the bodybuilding/assistance workouts and lifts are on a separate day. I'm doing this on deadlifts and bench and not on the squat since I have just recovered from a knee injury and due to that my squats are not as heavy as usual. So I can do my assistance work on the same day as my squats and save a day for some cardio and abs.

For those who dont know what the Standard Push Pull routine is, please google it.

Cheers!
Pushkaraj S Shirke

Posts and valid queries from Facebook:

  • Omkar Jogdand Whats d scientific reason behind keeping chest just one day before shoulder + triceps day ? heavy chest wrkout not gonna affect recovery of ur shoulder and triceps?

  • Pushkaraj S Shirke The shoulder joint is used in all pushing movements. A heavy chest workout fatigues my shoulders. So continuing shoulders and tricpes on the same day would lead to a compromised ST workout. So I split it over to the next day as chest muscle fatigue does not carry over much (though it does carry over a bit especially on the tricep workout) to intervene with a good shoulder workout.

    • Singh Daman Only deadlifts day? Wats ur protocol
    • Pushkaraj S Shirke For the main lifts - squats, deads, bench and OHP, I'm following the standard periodization method. 
      Week no: sets x reps . %of 1Rm
      Week 1: 3x10 . 65%

      Week 2: 5x5 . 80%
      Week 3: 5x3 . 90%
      Week 4: 3x10 . 65%
      Week 5: New 1RM attempt

    • Riyaz Khan is your routine is suitable for intermediate pro.??

    • Pushkaraj S Shirke This is an advanced split. An intermediate should stick to the standard push pull 3 day split with 8-10 reps, 5 reps, and 3 rep weeks.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Food-Supplements-Pharmaceuticals-Steroids-GH and Peptides: The hierarchy of BodyBuilding essentials.

BattlereadyX: Food-Supplements-Pharmaceuticals-Steroids-GH and P...:

This is me on my first ever cycle of testosterone after 10 years of training. Though I took it only in medicinal doses for my osteoporosis and not in dosages required for bodybuilding. 
Since a million people keep asking this, I thought I should post it out here itself.

IF YOU WANT TO BUILD A COMPETITIVE PHYSIQUE, THE SEQUENCE OF IMPORTANCE, KEEPING TRAINING AS A  CONSTANT, IS AS FOLLOWS:

FOOD - SUPPLEMENTS - PHARMACEUTICALS - STEROIDS - GH and PEPTIDES.

Never ever jump the order. It will never be worth it. And even though I have mentioned it above itself, I repeat again - TRAINING and REST AND RECOVERY IS A CONSTANT. It is an inseparable part of the equation. I have come across trainers and coaches who in order to make a quick buck or to show extreme results, jump the gun and skip the order of ths hierarchy - often at the cost of their trainee's health and wellbeing, not to mention, their financial wellbeing as well.

Remember, even before you consider all this, you need to consider an ROI. A return on Investment. 

How much money are you making and how much can you make and how much will this eventually cost you? 

Can you afford it as a lifestyle or only as a one time thing?

Can you afford to go wrong and face a side-effect and pay for that too?

Remember, once you go beyond the pharmaceutical stage, the stakes only get higher. So you always have to keep a risk to returns ratio in mind. Its called being grounded. And it makes a hell of a difference.

Coming to the hierarchy:

1. FOOD COMES FIRST.

2. WHEN FOOD ALONE CANNOT COMPLETE YOUR BODY's NUTRITIONAL NEEDS, ADD SUPPLEMENTS.

3. WHEN YOUR TRAINING EXCEEDS YOUR BODY's CAPACITY TO RECOVER DESPITE ADDING IN FOOD AND SUPPLEMENTS, USE PHARMACEUTICAL AIDS TO AID DIGESTION, ABSORPTION, BMR and BLOOD FLOW AND NUTRIENT TRANSPORT.

4. BEYOND THAT POINT, YOU MIGHT CONSIDER STEROIDS. Even here, don't jump to complicated cycles. Keep a progression in mind. And you will need enough downtime between cycles to recover and asses how your body reacts to a certain steroid.

5. AND THEN and only AFTER PLATEAUING OUT EVEN ON STEROIDS, DO CONSIDER ADDING IN GH. BECAUSE THE SIDE-EFFECTS OF GH taken in effective dosages are way more compared to anything else. 2 iu of gh will only give you lipolytic benefits. To have an anabolic advantage you will have to exceed 6-10 IU a day.
AND THAT'S BLOODY EXPENSIVE. IN COST - FINANCIAL AS WELL AS PHYSICAL.

PS for the common people: THIS IS ONLY FOR COMPETITIVE PHYSIQUES. PEOPLE WHO DO NOT AIM FOR COMPETITIVE PHYSIQUES NEED TO READ THIS. AND YES, IT IS NOT 'HEALTHY' - but neither is racing motorbikes or drinking alcohol. Im not a bodybuilder, i train for fitness. But i do understand that Bodybuilding is a sport of passion - and that it is not for everyone. So don't judge the ones who do.

PPS: I will try and do a video on the importance of this anabolic hierarchy soon. 

UPDATE:
Needless to say, this unleashed a mini storm on social media, but some points were valid and need to be added here. So posting off from my FB page here:

  • Pushkaraj S Shirke PS for the common people: THIS IS ONLY FOR COMPETITIVE PHYSIQUES. PEOPLE WHO DO NOT AIM FOR COMPETITIVE PHYSIQUES NEED TO READ THIS. AND YES, IT IS NOT 'HEALTHY' - but neither is racing motorbikes or drinking alcohol. Im not a bodybuilder, i train for fitness. But i do understand that Bodybuilding is a sport of passion - and that it is not for everyone. So don't judge the ones who do.
    20 hrs · Like · 4
  • Ashim Matthan You have to make the drugs work for you. Not the other way around where you become enslaved to the chemical.
    20 hrs · Unlike · 3
  • Pushkaraj S Shirke Ashim Matthan amen. i recntly met a huge bunch of people who have been utter beginners and have been pushed into complex roid cycles and GH when their basic nutrition is also not on track - neither are their finances. so i just had to write this article.
    20 hrs · Edited · Like · 4
  • Ashim Matthan Yes. Plus, if you really want to do it right you have to train consistently for 10 years with good nutrition and supplementation (as per your pyramid order of importance) in a consistent regular and progressive manner before you can really get the benefits of any of these roids and super chemicals.
    20 hrs · Unlike · 2
  • Pushkaraj S Shirke yep. or atleast be past that age where the sideeffects wont matter as much. for eg a 40-50 year old attempting to get competitive.
    20 hrs · Like · 2
  • Ashim Matthan True. Better than some half informed kid who's 25 up to his eye balls in roids because his cool trainer told him to do it.
    20 hrs · Like · 1
  • Aditya Kulthe Yes sir me also facing this problem in Nashik city some trainers directly told to take steroids for fitness or for looking cool...and that's why that kids didn't believe on exercise...and didn't workout... 
    20 hrs · Like · 1
  • Vishal Zaveri Well Pushkaraj S Shirke I have been ur frnds& follower since may be a year, this is the 1st time am seeing a genuine, un-sadistic blog/article from ur side which has no extra sauce topping over it. Its a very honest & psych/tech correct article. I have...See More
    16 hrs · Like · 1
  • Vishal Zaveri Accha & one more thing abt ur last article abt oly lifts potraying Vivek.Singh as a pic model & terming it as a flawless lift,,,,,,? ; the second pull in Snatch should never be so high that it crosses ur mid-chest. pls review Viveks photo again to ever term it flawless. Sry for pin pointing boss.
    16 hrs · Like
  • Vishal Zaveri Humari Tapasya hume itni Taquat dila saqti hai ki hum aasmano pe udd sakte, magar kabhi na bhulo dost hum insaan hai basera toh zameen par hi mukararr hai.. Pls dont miss-und my hyper views kya karu passionate hu.
    15 hrs · Like
  • Pushkaraj S Shirke Well u clearly haven't followed me enough then. Go through my blogs. Its free. 
    15 hrs · Like
  • Pushkaraj S Shirke And btw,viveks lift is a high pull and not a snatch. In a snatch the bar will never leave the hand. I suggest you apply for the master trainers course at K11 for a deeper insight into lifts if you are genuinely interested in them. Cheers.
    15 hrs · Like
  • Vishal Zaveri Boss lekin woh high pull ka matlab hi qua joh snatch ki taraf targeted na ho,, otherwise its simply a upright row. pls explain me why would a person practice a high pull,, its a power technique..!
    15 hrs · Like
  • Vishal Zaveri Boss aapke joh master trainers hai woh mere juniors reh chuke hai. Am not against K-11 campain but honesty should not be lost..
    15 hrs · Like
  • Pushkaraj S Shirke They must have been your juniors, but they have clearly surpassed you if you think that a highpull is the initiating movement of a 'snatch'. Please learn your lifts before arguing. I will not comment on this any further. You can use google to know how massively mistaken you are.
    15 hrs · Like
  • Vishal Zaveri Then Sir please explain Me what is a 'High pull' used for & its benifits. And ur date of birth aswell.
    14 hrs · Like
  • 14 hrs · Unlike · 1
  • Vishal Zaveri SIR AM WAITING FOR A COMPLEX REPLY. BUT PLS Post ur birth year aswell..
    14 hrs · Like
  • Pushkaraj S Shirke For this ^^guy. Go home. Learn atleast your basics before you argue with me. Or please remove yourself from my timeline. Your ignorance is hilarious. But i like to keep serious topics serious.
    14 hrs · Like · 1
  • Rupesh Kamble Aren't pharmaceuticals and steroids same ?
    14 hrs · Like
  • Pushkaraj S Shirke Rupesh Kamble not all pharmaceuticals are steroids. Steroids are a category of pharmaceuticals.
    13 hrs · Like
  • Ashim Matthan There are super chemicals that make steroids look like whey.
    13 hrs · Edited · Like
  • Rupesh Kamble Could u please give eg of pharmaceuticalswhich don't fall under steroids category
    13 hrs · Like
  • Pushkaraj S Shirke Clen, ephedrine, dnp are simple examples of pharmaceuticald used for increasing BMR artificially and shredding fat. Then there are those used for enhancing performance, improving digestion, and aiding faster recovery. There are also anabolic pharmaceuticals that dont fall under the category of steroids as Ashim Matthan correctly pointed out.
    13 hrs · Like · 2

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