A. As many as you can, however doing bicep curls, dumbbell presses and squats will get the same results. You cannot target fat loss by exercising one specific area. Fat comes off the entire body at the same time. You will notice the greatest reductions in the area you have the most accumulation. Your training programs should address the whole body, not just problem areas. Nutrition is also a very important part of losing body fat and increasing lean muscle mass.
Q. If I need to lose weight and tone, should I spend most of my training time doing cardiovascular exercise rather than weights?
A. That is a very common belief, but the answer is no. Resistance training, done with proper form and intensity, will get you to your goal more efficiently than simply spending hours on the elliptical machine. Cardiovascular training simply means elevating the heart rate for an extended period of time. By using good biomechanics and short rest periods between sets, resistance training offers all the benefits of cardiovascular training with the added benefit of increasing lean muscle. Increasing your lean muscle will burn more calories throughout the day as well as improve your strength. By controlling your lifting weight and repetitions, we can progress toward your goal of losing weight and getting toned rather than simply adding mass.
A. Simple free weights (dumbbells and cable machines) are significantly more effective than the typical circuit machines. Free weights require your muscles to control all planes of motion. Think of a chest press machine. You adjust the seat, plop down, grab the handles and push. The path of travel is predetermined regardless of your size, strength and imbalances. By using a bench and dumbbells, you are responsible for not only pushing the weights away from the chest (vertical), but also the rotation and horizontal planes as well. In addition, free weights move independently, which places equal resistance on both sides of the body. Weight machines could allow a stronger side of the body to carry more of the load, which does nothing to correct a strength imbalance. Free weights do require a greater knowledge of biomechanics, but the results are well worth it. Get trained and get started!
A. Most of us grew up thinking that eating a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner would be enough. Actually, eating five or six small healthy meals is optimal. Eating five or six smaller meals will increase your metabolism, encourage weight loss, provide a more consistent level of energy, discourage overeating and continuously provide nutrients for the body to use while recovering from training. Eating three times a day (every eight hours) encourages the body to save and store calories due to the infrequency of meals. This is one of the most valuable and important concepts in health and fitness. Each small meal should contain an appropriate amount of carbohydrates, protein and fat.
A. Absolutely not! Every month a caption on the cover claims to have some revolutionary technique which guarantees results in 30 days. Nonsense. How can a magazine address issues with every individual’s goals, size, schedule, technique, previous injuries, and physical limitations? In many cases, an equipment manufacturer or supplement company publishes the magazine. Be aware of the ‘scientific article’ that compares the latest performance enhancing supplements. The small print at the top of the page reads, “Special Ad Report.” When they start basing their articles on unbiased scientific research, I’ll read them.
A. The only supplements I recommend are a good multi-vitamin with antioxidants and in most cases, a quality protein source. The majority of performance enhancing products you find at the local ‘health food’ store is worthless. Some are potentially harmful to your health such as ephedrine that is found in many weight loss supplements. The government classifies nutritional supplement as food, not drugs so they are not held to the same standards or regulations. I could grind up breath mints, repackage them as Keath’s Muscle Builders and it would be perfectly legal. The product can only state on the label what “may” result from taking it. A good multi-vitamin with antioxidants should be included in everyone’s diet. Using protein powders in shakes is an excellent way to be sure that you get what you need to rebuild muscle and recover from a training session. Keep in mind, that any overuse will be converted to fat. As far as the rest of the “miracle” powders, pills and drinks… leave them on the shelf.
A. Start by checking their training and experience. The fitness industry is growing rapidly and many are jumping on the bandwagon. Trainers are required to be certified, but there are a number of associations that make getting certified very easy. Insert quarters, turn the dial and write your name on the certificate. Research the associations they are certified from. Next, ask yourself if they practice what they preach. What kind of credibility do they have if they eat fast food and look like they haven’t left the couch except change channels? Don’t you want someone who knows about being motivated and disciplined first hand? Watch them exercise if possible. If they don’t use proper form and technique, how can they teach clients to exercise correctly? Lastly, interview the potential trainer. Do you feel comfortable and confident that the trainer has the ability to communicate important ideas and concepts to you? Professional fitness training requires a trust between both trainer and client. You have every right and reason to be selective. Your health is too important to just trust anyone.
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