THR is Target Heart Rate. You
will often hear this mentioned as a range. Your THR is the
number of times your heart should beat per minute while doing
cardiovascular workout. THR is dependent on age and the goal
of the exercise. Target heart rate guides that are found posted
on many pieces of equipment are just general guidelines and
care should be taken when using such guides.
2) What is a maximal heart rate?
Maximal Heart rate for a person is the highest
attainable heart rate for that person. It can be derived using
Max Heart Rate = 220 (Your Age)
3) What Is the ideal heart rate for burning
It has been found that when you exercise
at 65-70% of your Max Heart rate your body burns most number
of calories from Fat. Exercising in this zone is optimal for
4) How do I measure my Heart Rate while
I am exercising?
There are many ways of measuring and tracking
your Heart Rate. You can either get a heart rate monitor which
includes a strap which you wear on your chest and the heart
rate can be measured and tracked on the watch that it comes
with. You can also calculate it yourself by measuring your
pulse for a six second count and multiplying it by 10 to get
your Heart Rate.
5) Why do I need to workout if I am already
Working out, including resistance training,
cardiovascular training, and flexibility, is not just for
people who wish to lose weight. Fitness training is for your
health, not just your looks. Thin does not necessarily mean
healthy. Research has shown that someone who is thin and unfit
is actually less healthy than someone who has a few extra
pounds and is fit. People who are thin and unfit can have
heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc.
just like people who are overweight and unfit. A sound exercise
program can also make your already thin body look even better.
Make a commitment to yourself and your health and begin your
fitness program today.
6) Can exercise help me lower my blood
Exercise is one of the first lines of defense
against chronic high blood pressure (hypertension). It is
a proven aid in the reduction of high blood pressure. Most
physicians will recommend changes in diet, loss of body fat,
and exercise for their patients who have chronic hypertension
before they will prescribe medications to lower blood pressure.
Before starting any exercise program, especially if you are
hypertensive, be sure to check with your physician.
7) Is swimming a good cardiovascular
Swimming is a great cardiovascular workout.
It works all of the large muscle groups in your body and is
especially ideal for people who have joint problems, problems
with overheating, or are too obese for weight bearing exercise
yet. Make sure that you are a proficient enough swimmer to
get your heart rate into its target range and swim continuously
for at least 20 30 minutes. Some people may need stroke
instruction before being able to use swimming as a fitness
activity. Check with your local recreation department or a
private swim club for adult lessons. Many areas have masters
programs for adult swimmers that can provide stroke instruction
as well as group workouts. Remember safety first and never
8) Can I do a variety of different things
for my cardiovascular training? I get bored very easily.
Absolutely. This is called cross training.
Doing several different types of cardiovascular workouts not
only helps alleviate boredom and prevent overuse injuries,
but also ensures that you work a variety of muscle groups.
Make sure that when choosing a cardio activity that you can
get your heart rate into its target range and keep it in this
range for thirty minutes. Do your cardio training at least
three times per week.
Keep in mind that some very physical activities
will not keep your heart rate in its range and some may not
be suitable if your skill level will not allow you to work
continuously for thirty minutes. For example, swimming is
a great cardiovascular exercise but if your skill level does
not allow you to swim continuously, it will not be a good
cardiovascular workout until your skill level improves to
a point at which you can swim continuously for a sustained
period of time. Chose cardio activities that work your large
muscle groups, that you can do for a sustained period of time
(goal of 30 minutes minimum), and that you enjoy.
9) I have joint problems. Running, brisk
walking, and even the elliptical trainer hurt my knees and
back. How can I get a good cardiovascular workout?
Dont worry! You can still have a great
cardiovascular workout. You can use swimming, treading water,
or even water running or walking to have a great cardio workout
without stress on your joints. There are buoyant vests and
even special athletic shoes designed for running and walking
in a pool. See specific swimming FAQ's for details on swimming
as a cardiovascular activity.
10) What is the best cardiovascular workout
one can do?
You cannot look for one "best"
when it comes to cardiovascular training. What is good for
one person may not be good for another. Not everyone enjoys
the same activities or has the same skills. (If you can't
swim then obviously swimming is not your cardio activity!)
Your own "best" cardio workout may vary from month
to month, week to week, and even day to day. This is why cross
training is important. You can do different cardio workouts
depending on what you feel like doing, where you are, what
body parts are tired, etc.
When choosing a cardio activity, pick an
activity you enjoy that uses large muscle groups and allows
you to get your heart rate into its target range and maintain
it for thirty minutes. You should do this minimally three
times per week. If you have been sedentary, it may take some
time before you can build up to thirty minutes of cardio training.
Be consistent and patient and eventually you will be able
to comfortably train in your target range for thirty minutes.
11) Are the ""calories burned""
on the cardio machines accurate?
Don't count on it. The calorie estimates
on some machines are good ballpark figures, but they're never
exact. To figure out how you're working, pay attention to
your body instead of numbers. Are you leaning on the stair
stepper or standing tall? Are you challenging yourself or
practically sleepwalking through your workout? Your ultimate
goal is to get in better cardiovascular shape, because the
harder you're able to work out, the more calories you'll burn
during and after exercise. So focus on getting fit, not the
number of calories burned in a single workout.
12) Does regular participation in aerobic
exercise lower an individuals risk of developing cancer?
While it has not been shown that a given
level of physical activity per se can reduce overall cancer
risk, research suggests that exercise often modifies some
of the risk factors associated with certain kinds of cancer.
Obesity, for example, has been linked to cancer of the breast
and the female reproductive system. In turn, regular exercise
has been shown to help promote weight loss. Several studies
have also found that men who worked at sedentary jobs for
most of their lives had a greater incidence of colon cancer
than those in more active jobs. A longitudinal study of Harvard
alumni found that highly active or even moderately active
individuals had a substantially lower risk of developing both
colon and lung cancer than alumni who were less active or
sedentary. On the other hand, exercise will not offset the
effects of a high-fat diet or cigarette smoking. Still, it
can contribute, even indirectly, to a reduced risk of cancer.
As such, exercising regularly is recommended by the American
Cancer Society as an integral part of its cancer prevention
13) Should I continue my aerobic workouts
when Im sick?
According to most sports medicine experts,
the location of your symptoms can help determine whether its
safe for you to continue to exercise. In general, when your
symptoms are experienced only above the neck (e.g., headache,
runny or stuffy nose, scratchy throat, or sneezing), the infection
is usually mild and wont be worsened by mild-to-moderate
exercise. On the other hand, symptoms that occur below the
neck or throughout the body (e.g., fever, chest cough, achy
muscles, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea) indicate that the
infection may be more severe and requires rest. In fact, those
symptoms are frequently associated with the flu, pneumonia,
or some other potentially serious infection (viral or bacterial).
If you do decide to exercise when youre not feeling
your best, start at approximately 50 percent of your usual
exercise intensity level. If, after about 10 minutes of exercising
you feel no worse than before you started, you should gradually
increase your intensity levelbut stay well below your
normal level of effort. If, however, the activity makes you
feel worse, call it a day.
14) Does any proof exist that exercise
can help a person live longer?
Absolutely. In fact, the largest study measuring
fitness ever conducted found that regular exercise will indeed
help a person live longer. Led by Dr. Steven Blair of the
Institute of Aerobics Research in Dallas, the eight-year study
evaluated the fitness and mortality levels of 13,344 men and
women. Researchers involved with the study found that exercise
reduces the death rate from all causes, particularly cancer
and heart disease. Physical fitness was measured by each subjects
performance on a standardized treadmill testa test which
is designed to accurately assess aerobic fitness (the most
commonly accepted indicator of cardiorespiratory fitness).
Based on the test results, the subjects were then grouped
by gender into five categories ranging from least to most
The results of the study, which were published
in the Journal of the American Medical Association, showed
that the higher the fitness level the lower the death rate,
after the data were adjusted for age differences between the
subjects. Compared with the most-fit subjects, individuals
in the least-fit category had death rates 3.4 and 4.6 times
higher for men and women respectively. The differences in
mortality rates held relatively constant even after adjustments
for coronary risk factors, such as smoking and cholesterol
level, were considered. For both men and women, the largest
drop from one fitness category to another was from the least-fit
to the next most-fit group. Expressed as deaths per 10,000
person-years, the age-adjusted death rates for men and women
in the sedentary category fell from 64 and 39.5 to 25.5 and
20.5 respectively in the next most-fit group, a decline of
more than 60 percent for men and 48 percent for women.
The implication of Blairs findings
are extraordinarily significant, particularly for a sedentary
individual. On a major scale, this study documents the fact
that a modest amount of exercise can and does go a long way.
The equivalent of brisk walking 30 minutes a day is all that
is required to move from the most sedentary category to the
next most fit catagory.
15) Does aerobic exercise training significantly
strengthen the muscles involved in the activity (e.g., does
running significantly strengthen the leg muscles)?
A regular program of aerobic exercise can
produce a number of health benefits, including an increase
in aerobic capacity, reduced body weight and fat stores, an
improved blood lipid-lipoprotein profile, and lowered arterial
blood pressure. For healthy, active adults, however, significant
strength gains are not among the benefits of aerobic training.
The leg muscles of elite distance runners, for example, have
not been found to be significantly stronger than those of
healthy, relatively inactive individuals of similar age and
16) Does aerobic exercise really help relieve
Aerobic exercise is one of the most effective
"depressurizers" because it helps you dissipate
nervous energy and allows your body to metabolize stress-related
hormones more rapidly. Any physical activity that involves
the major muscles of your body -- such as jogging, walking,
biking, and swimming -- and that is sustained for at least
15 minutes will help to relax your muscles. It will also cause
your body to release endorphins, which are naturally produced
chemicals that, according to available research, can help
relieve stress, impart a sense of well-being, and help you
fight off stress-related issues.
17) Can aerobic exercise actually be fun?
As a point of fact, you should not perceive
exercise to be a tortuous expenditure of your time. It should
be enjoyable. If you don't find your conditioning regimen
to be relatively enjoyable, it is very likely that you will
give it up for "greener pastures." Fortunately,
almost all individuals can find an exercise activity that
both meets their particular needs and is well tolerated --
emotionally, as well as physically. Not surprisingly, exercise
adherence is always higher (all other factors considered)
in those individuals who enjoy what they are doing.
18) Is it true that aerobic exercise burns
fat faster than other types of exercise?
Aerobic exercise is the only way for your
body to burn fat directly. Anaerobic exercise uses only carbohydrates,
while aerobic exercise uses carbohydrates and fats. At a point
after approximately 20 minutes of aerobic exercise, your body
shifts from using mainly carbohydrates as fuel to using more
fats. You need to keep in mind, however, that when you eat,
you replenish both carbohydrates and fats. As soon as you
reach a point of having consumed an excess of calories, your
body begins to store those calories as fat. If you eat after
an activity that utilizes more fats than carbohydrates, you
fill up your carbohydrate stores faster, thereby creating
a situation where the excess calories are converted to fat
anyway. Thus, you haven't altered your body's overall caloric
balance. You lose weight when you expend more calories than
you consume, not because you burn fat when you work out.
19) Does an aerobic workout cause an
individual's resting metabolic rate to stay elevated for a
long time after a workout (the so-called "after burn"
In general, the available scientific data
indicate that the amount of energy expended after an aerobic
workout tends to be very small. The number of calories burned
during the recovery is dependent upon the intensity and the
duration of the workout. Following exercise of unusual intensity
and duration, your metabolic rate may remain elevated for
as long as 24 hours -- but at levels that are just barely
above resting baseline levels. In general, approximately 15
extra calories are burned during recovery for every 100 calories
expended during an exercise bout.
20) Does aerobic exercise have a positive
effect on the reduction in resting metabolism associated with
Most available research suggests that moderate-intensity
aerobic exercise training does little to diminish the usual
10-20 percent diet-induced reduction in resting metabolic
rate (RMR). In fact, some studies indicate that combining
aerobic exercise with a very low-calorie diet (less than 1000
calories per day) stimulates the body to conserve energy,
thereby signaling the body to initiate the process of decreasing
21) If aerobic exercise doesn't help
me to lose weight much faster, then why should I spend the
extra time and effort running, stair climbing, cycling, etc.?
Despite its limitations with regard to promoting
weight loss, exercising aerobically provides several important
health benefits. Among the major health benefits of aerobic
exercise for overweight/overfat individuals are the following:
· Improved aerobic capacity. All other
factors being equal, an individual with a high aerobic capacity
will have a high physical working capacity.
· Reduced risk of developing obesity-related
diseases such as diabetes, coronary heart disease, and hypertension.
· Improved blood lipid-lipoprotein
profile, specifically decreased triglycerides, and increased
high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) -- the "good"
· Improved psychological status, particularly
enhanced self-esteem, general well-being, and decreased anxiety
· Increased fat loss to weight loss
ratio (i.e., more of the weight lost is fat).
· Enhanced long-term weight management.
Regular exercise is the most powerful predictor of long-term
weight loss success. It helps to ensure that individuals not
only lose weight, but also keep it off.
22) What basic steps can I take to minimize
the risks associated with exercising?
Unfortunately, no human endeavor is totally
free of riskincluding exercise. The risks of exercise,
however, can be minimized by adhering to certain principles
and guidelines. The first step is to ensure that you are medically
safe to exercise. This process involves seeing a physician
and undergoing a physical examination and evaluation before
you initiate your exercise program. The extent of your evaluation
depends on your age, health status, and the anticipated exercise
intensity. For example, all older asymptomatic individuals
(males 40 plus, females 50 plus) or at high risk (e.g., having
one or more risk factors, including smoking, hypertension,
high blood cholesterol, obesity, stress, family history of
medical problems, diabetes) should undergo a physician-supervised,
graded exercise test. Healthy individuals under age 40 for
men and 50 for women are usually cleared for exercise upon
completing a medical/health status questionnaire, if the answers
dont reveal any possible contraindications to exercise.
The next step is to develop a sound exercise
program based on scientifically documented information. Such
a program should involve starting at an intensity appropriate
for you and then progressing gradually to a point where your
body must respond to increasingly higher physical demands.
The temptation to do too much too soon should be avoided.
Moderation is essential. The point to remember is that a major
cause of musculoskeletal injuries is overuseplacing
demands on your body that your body simply is not designed
to handle. A sound exercise program always includes provisions
for stretching the major joints of your body before and after
exercising. It also ensures that you get proper rest (sleep).
Rest enables you to better recover from the demands placed
on your body by exercising.
The final step is to listen to your body.
You should respond accordingly to common exercise termination
signals (e.g., dizziness, light-headedness, abnormal heart
beats, pain or pressure in your chest, musculoskeletal trauma,
prolonged fatigue, etc.). These signals are your body's way
of telling you that something is amiss and that you must decrease
the level of stress to which you are subjecting your body. 23) What is the best method for determining
an individual's ideal body weight?
To determine ideal body weight, individuals
should not rely solely on a bathroom scale, height-weight
tables, or percent body-fat measurements. Sound nutrition
and exercise science principles, along with common sense,
mandate that individuals should avoid setting "hard and
fast" body-weight goals. Rather, they should strive for
achieving a level of body weight that is compatible with a
healthy life-style (e.g., sensible eating, regular exercise,
etc.). All factors considered, the body weight that results
from adopting such a life-style should ultimately be considered
as the ideal union between an individual's wellness level,
genetic potential, and a state of reality. What represents
a safe, realistic, and, perhaps more importantly, attainable
body weight for an individual will depend (to a large extent)
on the following factors:
· Medical History. An individual's
current medical history, to include a thoughtful review of
personal health-risk factors, should be taken into account
when attempting to define ideal body weight. For example,
if an individual's blood pressure is elevated, a modest weight
reduction (e.g., as little as 10 lbs.) has been shown to be
quite beneficial. Extra body mass means that the heart must
work harder to pump blood through miles of extra capillaries
that feed that extra tissue. Type II diabetes and blood lipid-lipoprotein
profiles are further examples of medical conditions that can
be positively affected by weight loss.
· Family History. Body weight,
like most other physical characteristics, is strongly influenced
by genetic factors. If an individual's parents and siblings
are extremely overweight, it is highly unlikely that such
an individual will ever be "model-thin." As unfair
as such a judgment might first appear, such a limitation should
be kept in mind when establishing ideal body-weight goals.
· Body Composition. Leaner
bodies are more effective calorie burners. The more muscle
or lean body mass individuals have, the more calories they
burn. Men naturally have more muscle mass than women, and,
as a result, have higher metabolic rates. Furthermore, individuals
who exercise on a regular basis tend to have more muscle mass
and higher metabolic rates compared with their sedentary counterparts.
Accordingly, although individuals who have a relatively high
amount of muscle may weigh substantially more than others
of similar heights, their body-weight levels may be entirely
appropriate given their lean muscle mass.
· Body-Fat Distribution. Body
fat located in the upper-body region is very risky in terms
of health profiles. If individuals possess a high amount of
upper-body or abdominal fat, they should consider losing weight
(specifically body fat) through a combined program of sensible
eating and exercise. One commonly accepted method of determining
whether individuals have excessive amounts of upper-body fat
is to look at their waist-to-hip ratios. The waist-to-hip
ratio (WHR) is a simple, yet accurate, method for determining
body-fat distribution patterns. WHR is determined by dividing
the waist circumference by the hip circumference. Waist circumference
is defined as the smallest circumference between the rib cage
and belly button. Hip circumference is defined as the largest
circumference of the hip-buttocks region. Men with WHR values
exceeding .95 are considered to have an excessive amount of
upper-body fat, while those with less than 0.95 are deemed
to have an acceptable level of upper-body fat. Women with
WHR values above 0.80 are considered to have an unhealthy
amount of upper-body fat, while those with scores less than
0.80 are designated as having a reasonable level of accumulated
adipose tissue on their upper bodies.
· Functional Ability. If the
ability to effectively and efficiently perform activities
of daily living and to comfortably engage in a variety of
recreational pursuits is impaired, an individual should strive
to attain a level of body weight that will support a healthy,
24) What is the significance of the waist-to-hip
ratio measurement from a health-risk perspective?
Recent data indicate that the pattern of
fat distribution throughout the body is an important predictor
of the health risks of obesity. Exercise scientists have classified
where the fat is deposited on the body into two basic categories:
male-pattern (or apples) and female-pattern (or pears). Despite
their names, each type of fat pattern can occur in both sexes,
although men tend to be apples and women tend to be pears.
Apples characteristically deposit high amounts of fat in the
abdominal and trunk regions, while pears deposit high amounts
of fat in the hip, buttocks, and thigh regions.
The waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) is a simple,
yet accurate, method for determining your body fat pattern.
WHR is determined by dividing the waist circumference by the
hip circumference. Waist circumference is defined as the smallest
circumference between the rib cage and belly-button. Hip circumference
is defined as the largest circumference of the hip-buttocks
Men with WHR values exceeding 0.95 are considered
apples; those with less than 0.95 are deemed pears. Women
with WHR values above 0.80 are considered apples, those with
scores less than 0.80 are designated as pears. Research has
shown that apples are at a greater risk for developing a number
of health-related problems, the most prominent being hypertension
(i.e., high blood pressure), type II diabetes (i.e., non-insulin
dependent diabetes), and hyperlipidemia (i.e., elevated levels
of fat in the blood).
Scientists believe that two characteristics
of abdominal fat cells are probably responsible for the greater
health risk associated with being an apple. Abdominal fat
cells tend to be larger than those located in other regions
of the body. Relatively large fat cells are associated with
insulin resistance (i.e., reduced tissue responsiveness to
insulin), which means body cells will take up less glucose
(sugar) from the blood, causing the blood sugar level to rise.
In response to the elevated blood sugar level, the pancreas
secretes more and more insulin (hyperinsulinemia). Full-blown
diabetes (type II) can develop if blood sugar rises enough.
Hyperinsulinemia, by promoting sodium reabsorption
by the kidneys and stimulating the sympathetic nervous system,
can predispose an apple to hypertension. Also, the rates of
enzyme-initiated chemical reactions are higher for abdominal
fat cells, thus making them more metabolically active than
fat cells located in other regions of the body. The more metabolically
active abdominal fat cells can be easily released into the
blood stream resulting in hyperlipidemia.
All the news is not bad for apples, however.
Research has shown that weight reduction tends to be easier
for them, as they benefit from the high turnover rate of abdominal
fat. For pears, however, weight loss is more difficult because
fat cells in the hip, buttock, and thigh regions do not easily
relinquish their fat. This tendency for pears to stubbornly
hold onto their fat helps to ensure that nursing mothers maintain
sufficient energy reserves. While it is true that apples are
at a greater health risk and pears are at a disadvantage with
regard to weight reduction, exercise training and a prudent
diet (regardless of your body shape) can help to counteract
many of the negative health consequences of obesity and result
in a weight loss that can be maintained.
25) What causes cellulite, and what,
if anything, can be done to eliminate it? Do any of the creams,
herbs, wraps, antitoxins, or special exercises actually work?
When the fibrous strands within ordinary
fat tissue become stretched, they produce a dimpling effect
on the overlying skin. The dimpled appearance, often seen
on the hips, thighs, and buttocks, is commonly referred to
as cellulite by the plethora of manufacturers, marketers,
and sellers of the various gimmicks and gadgets that purportedly
work to remove it. However, nothing unique exists about that
kind of fat on the body. Short of liposuction, no special
or "secret" methods -- including creams, foods,
diets, drugs, machines, or exercises -- will selectively eliminate
the so-called cellulite.
26)I'm interested in losing weight.
What type of exercise is best?
It takes two different types of exercise
to help you most effectively lose weight and keep it off:
one to burn a high number of calories (aerobic-type exercise),
the other to build and preserve muscle tissue (strength-training
exercise). Muscle tissue enables you to lose weight and keep
it off because it helps you maintain your resting metabolic
rate, thereby allowing you to burn a greater number of calories
when you're at rest. An analysis of the available data indicates
that, in general, the combination of a conventional aerobic
exercise program with a severely calorie-restricted diet does
little (if anything) to help preserve lean body mass during
It is important to keep in mind that the
less lean body mass you have, the lower your resting metabolic
rate will be. As a result, it is more likely that you will
regain some or all of the weight loss you may have achieved.
On the other hand, if you engage in exercise designed to improve
your muscular fitness level at the same time you are losing
weight, you will enhance the likelihood that you will be able
to maintain your level of lean body mass. As a consequence,
the optimal exercise prescription for sound weight management
is one that combines aerobic conditioning and strength training.
27) Will I lose body fat more efficiently
by performing my aerobic workouts at a low, rather than a
Many aerobic exercise programs and videos
feature low-intensity workouts which purport to maximize fat
burning. The argument behind such an alleged theory is that
low-intensity aerobic training will allow your body to use
more fat as an energy source, thereby accelerating the loss
of body fat. While it is true that a higher proportion of
calories burned during low-intensity exercise come from fat
(about 60 percent as opposed to approximately 35 percent from
high-intensity programs), high-intensity exercise still burns
more calories from fat in the final analysis. For example,
if you perform thirty minutes of low-intensity aerobic exercise
(i.e., at a level of 50 percent of maximal exercise capacity),
you'll burn approximately 200 calories -- about 120 of those
come from fat (i.e., 60 percent). However, exercising for
the same amount of time at a high intensity (i.e., 85 percent
of your maximal exercise capacity) will burn approximately
400 calories. Using a 35 percent fat utilization yardstick,
140 of the calories you've burned will have come from stored
Although the more vigorous exercise burns
both more total and more fat calories, the less intense form
of exercise has its benefits as well. For example, because
many overweight people tend to find that lower-intensity exercise
is more comfortable, they may, therefore, be willing to engage
in such workouts. The point to remember is that low-intensity
workouts do, in fact, promote weight and fat loss. You just
have to do them for a longer period of time.
Low-intensity aerobic exercise, however,
is not a better or more effective way to lose weight than
more intense physical activity -- the idea of a "fat-burning
zone" is simply a myth. Keep in mind that you lose weight
and body fat when you expend more calories than you consume,
not because you burn fat (or anything else) when you exercise.
28) Why does aerobic exercise have minimal
effect in accelerating weight loss when combined with a low-calorie
Several possible reasons exist for why aerobic
exercise does little to accelerate weight loss when combined
with a low-calorie diet. Among the more commonly cited reasons
are the following:
· Many overweight/overfat individuals
are unable to perform high amounts of exercise without subjecting
their bodies to an undue level of orthopedic stress -- thereby
incurring an injury. High amounts of exercise are needed to
promote weight loss, but the risk of orthopedic injury limits
the amount of exercise that can be safely performed by many
· The "net caloric expenditure"
of moderate aerobic workouts is relatively small. The net
calorie cost of exercise is equal to the number of calories
expended during an exercise bout that are used beyond the
number of calories expended by an individual's resting metabolism
(RMR) and other activities that the individual might have
engaged in had he/she otherwise not been exercising (refer
to Table 8).
· Some individuals who exercise tend
to reward themselves by resting and relaxing more after their
workouts are over. As a result, the net change in their total
24-hour caloric expenditure levels may be virtually unchanged.
29) Does aerobic exercise counter the
decrease in lean muscle mass associated with dieting?
In general, the combination of a moderate-intensity
aerobic exercise program with a low-calorie diet does little
to protect lean muscle mass during weight loss. During weight
loss, the percentage of weight lost as lean muscle mass increases
in direct proportion to the magnitude of the calorie deficit
encountered by the body. As a result of rigorous fasting,
the total body weight that is lost is approximately 50 percent
fat and 50 percent lean muscle mass. During a very low-calorie
diet (with adequate protein intake), the proportions improve
to 75 percent fat and 25 percent lean muscle mass. During
a low-calorie diet (approximately 1200-1500 calories per day),
the proportions improve even more to 90 percent fat and only
10 percent lean muscle mass. Moderate-intensity aerobic exercise,
on the other hand, has been found to have a very limited effect
on these body composition proportions. Resistance training
during weight loss, however, has been shown to provide a sufficient
stimulus to offer protection against the loss of the lean
muscle mass during sensible dieting.
30) Is there a quick and easy "weigh"
to lose weight?
In a word, no. Almost all diets share at
least one common trait -- eventually, they don't work. To
lose weight and keep it off (the really difficult part of
controlling your weight), you must be willing to incorporate
permanent changes in both your eating habits and your physical
activity level. In addition to a formal exercise program,
physical activity must be increased in your daily living.
31) Is beer a good post-workout drink
It may taste good when you're thirsty, but
beer is not an effective way to rehydrate after exercising.
Alcohol has a diuretic effect. As a result, instead of replenishing
fluids, beer promotes additional water loss via urination.
In reality, the diuretic effect of beer can lead to hypohydration
or, in severe cases, dehydration. Some individuals believe
that beer gives them a carbohydrate boost plus extra potassium.
An urgent need for these nutrients immediately following a
workout doesn't exist, however. Even if an individual needed
these particular nutrients, beer is a relatively poor source.
For example, compared to orange juice, beer has only 13 grams
and 89 milligrams of carbohydrates and potassium, respectively,
versus 39 grams of carbohydrates and 700 milligrams of potassium
in orange juice.
32) Several people at the gym that I
go to say that creatine supplements will increase the size
and strength of my muscles. Is this true?
Creatine is certainly one of the hot supplements
among fitness enthusiasts. A growing body of evidence exists
to suggest that taking creatine supplements may improve a
person's ability to perform short-term, intense exercise.
All skeletal muscle tissue contains creatine, and dietary
creatine is found in meat and fish. During exercise, a portion
of the muscle's creatine is depleted. Creatine phosphate plays
an important role in resynthesizing ATP during short bursts
of high-intensity exercise. Creatine supplements have been
shown to increase the total creatine content (creatine and
creatine phosphate) of muscle on an average of 20-30 percent.
Several studies suggest that ingestion of 20-25 grams of creatine
monohydrate per day for 5-6 days improves muscular performance
during activities that require high levels of strength and
power (e.g., weight lifting, sprinting). Sufficient evidence
exists to state that, under certain conditions, creatine supplementation
can enhance performance in activities that require short periods
of high-intensity power and strength. If individuals can train
at higher intensity levels, it follows that they may be able
to add strength and power at accelerated rates over a period
of time. Creatine can also lead to weight gain, but the mechanism
responsible for the added weight has not been adequately investigated.
Before you run out and start taking creatine supplements,
consider the following precautions:
· The long-term effects of taking
creatine have not been studied. The majority of studies have
examined the effect of the short-term (30 days or less) use
· All the studies conducted have involved
adults only. Creatine's effects on children are unknown.
· Consuming large quantities of creatine
(greater than 30 grams per month) may encourage fat to accumulate
in the liver.
· Stomach cramping and diarrhea have
been cited as adverse side effects of creatine supplementation.
33) Are there any risks associated with
excess protein consumption?
The human body is unable to store extra protein.
Protein consumed in excess of the body's needs is not used
to build muscle; rather, it is used for non-protein bodily
functions. If individuals consume protein in excess of their
caloric and protein needs, the extra protein will not be stored
as protein. Unfortunately such extra protein is converted
to and stored as fat. As a result, if individuals consume
large amounts of extra protein, in addition to their regular
dietary intake, any weight gain would very likely be in the
form of fat.
Another important point to keep in mind is
that the potential for harm exists if protein is consumed
in excess. Such harm is most likely to occur in the individual
who consumes protein or amino acid supplements. For example,
excess protein may lead to dehydration, because protein metabolism
requires extra water for utilization and excretion (i.e.,
elimination) of its by-products. Since exercising individuals
are already at an increased risk for dehydration, the additional
strain of protein waste excretion may further promote dehydration.
Excess protein has also been shown to lead to an increase
in the loss of urinary calcium. A chronic calcium loss, due
to excess protein intake, is of particular concern because
it may increase the risk of osteoporosis, especially in women.
In reality, with regard to serving as a source
of energy, all carbohydrates are not all the same. Some release
energy quickly. Others do it over a longer period of time.
To determine which foods provide quick energy versus those
that will keep energy levels high until an individual's next
meal, it helps to understand the Glycemic Index (GI) which
assigns a value to each food indicating how fast energy will
White bread -- the standard by which foods
are judged -- is assigned a GI of 100. Foods with a relatively
low GI rating (i.e., 75 or less) release energy gradually.
On the other hand, foods with a rating of greater than 75
provide a comparatively faster energy boost that tends to
fade fairly quickly. (Note: the higher the GI rating, the
faster the energy is released.) A list of the GI ratings of
an average serving size for some commonly consumed foods is
provided in Table 9. When selecting the food choice for a
"carbo load," individuals should decide when they
want the energy to kick in -- sooner or later?
Glycemic Index for Various Foods
types of cookies
Ryeor wheat bread
Frozen green peas
34) How much improvement in aerobic capacity
can a person typically expect to experience, and how long
does it take?
Increases in cardiorespiratory fitness with exercise training
generally show a positive correlation to the frequency, intensity,
and duration of exercise. The amount of improvement in aerobic
capacity (i.e., VO2 max) that can be expected from training
is very individualized and is inversely related to each individual's
level of fitness. In other words, the more fit an individual
is the smaller the degree of improvement in VO2 max associated
with training. For example, an untrained individual may experience
approximately a 25 percent increase in VO2 max after roughly
8 to 12 weeks of conditioning. A trained individual, on the
other hand, may experience only a five percent improvement
over the same period of time.
35) In the health and fitness column
in my local newspaper, the physician writing the column wrote
that in order to get something out of your aerobic conditioning
efforts, you have to work out within your "aerobic training
zone." To what was she referring?
Aerobic training zone refers to the training
intensity range that will produce improvement in your level
of aerobic fitness without overtaxing your cardiorespiratory
system. Your aerobic training zone is based on a percentage
of your maximal heart rate. As a general rule, your maximal
heart rate is measured directly or estimated by subtracting
your age from 220. (It is important to note that the method
involving subtracting your age from 220 may be associated
with considerable error.) Depending upon how physically fit
you are, the lower and upper limits of your aerobic training
zone are then based on a percentage of the maximal heart rate
-- approximately 60-90 percent, respectively.
36) I want to exercise aerobically, but
I absolutely do not like running. Is running the best aerobic
The best aerobic exercise for you (or anyone
else for that matter) is one that you enjoy, one that is safe
for you, and one that you will engage in on a regular basis.
Keep in mind that one person's trash is another person's treasure.
In other words, even if you don't want to jog, you can still
develop and maintain an adequate level of aerobic fitness.
Just pick an aerobic activity that you personally like --
exercising on a stair climber, walking on a treadmill, cycling,
swimming, etc. -- and make it a regular part of your workout
regimen. Make sure that your body likes it as much as you
do (i.e., the activity doesn't expose your joints and muscles
to undue stress).
37) Do certain types of strength training
significantly enhance a person's level of aerobic fitness?
A type of strength training known as circuit training has
been shown to increase aerobic capacity by an average of approximately
five percent -- this will vary depending upon the individual's
fitness level and how hard the person trains. For example,
one study reported that three 20-30 minute circuit training
sessions a week for a period of 20 weeks improved aerobic
capacity by approximately seven to eight percent -- one-third
the improvement that might otherwise be expected from a conventional
aerobic conditioning program. Some evidence exists, however,
that circuit training can be used to effectively maintain
improvements in aerobic fitness achieved through traditional
forms of aerobic training (i.e., running, cycling, stair climbing,
38) What is cross training and does it
offer any significant benefits?
Cross training is typically defined as an
exercise regimen that uses several modes of training to develop
a specific component of fitness -- in this instance, aerobic
fitness. A relatively sound argument can be advanced to support
the premise that using two or more types of aerobic exercise
in your training regimen is in your best interest. While no
evidence exists to support the often stated claim that cross
training somehow induces a better aerobic conditioning response,
research indicates that using several modes of training can
provide an exerciser with positive musculoskeletal and orthopaedic
benefits. By combining different exercise modes, you prevent
the same bones, muscle groups, and joints from being stressed
over and over. As a consequence, cross training tends to reduce
the likelihood of your being injured as the result of exercising
"too much." In addition, cross training has also
been shown to have a positive effect on cardiovascular function
(principle of training specificity) and an individual's long-term
adherence to a training program.
39) How fast should my heart beat during
an aerobic workout?
How fast your heart should beat during exercise
depends on your age and fitness level (refer to Table 5).
According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM),
aerobic fitness can best be improved by exercising at an intensity
level between 60-90 percent of your maximal heart rate. If
you are just starting your workout program, you should exercise
at the lower end of the intensity scale (i.e., 60-70 percent).
When this level becomes less challenging (usually after three
to six months), you should gradually increase the level of
exercise intensity until you reach the middle of the range
(70-80 percent). As your level of aerobic fitness continues
to improve, you may then decide to adjust your exercise intensity
rate up towards the higher end of the recommended range (80-90
percent). You should avoid exercising above your target heart
rate range, since this could place you at risk for overtraining
and/or injury. As a general rule, if you are unable to comfortably
carry on a conversation while exercising (a.k.a., the "talk
test"), you should reduce your exercise work rate regardless
of your heart rate response. Because the "talk test"
tends to err on the side of conservatism, and it can be very
helpful in ensuring that the intensity of an exercise bout
is not excessive for you.
* During exercise count how many times your heart beats in
a 10-second interval. Use this chart to see whether your heart
rate is in the appropriate range for your age and relative
40) How important are the warm-up and
cool-down portions of a workout?
Warm-up and cool-down activities should be
an essential part of all exercise programs. The purpose of
warm-up activities is to prepare the body, especially the
cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems, for the conditioning
or stimulus phase of the exercise session. Our experience
suggests that the ideal warm-up for any endurance activity
is that activityonly at a lower intensity. Hence, participants
who engage in brisk walking during the endurance phase of
their workout should conclude the warm-up period with slow
walking. The cool-down phase assures that venous return to
the heart is maintained in the face of significant amounts
of blood going to the previously working muscles. Light aerobic
endurance activities, coupled with stretching activities,
provide the fundamental basis for both the warm-up and cool-down
phases. The length of the warm-up and cool-down periods depends
on several factors, including the type of activity engaged
in during the conditioning period, the intensity of those
activities, and the age and fitness level of the participant.
In general, the warm-up and cool-down phases should last approximately
five to ten minutes each. If the individual has less time
available to work out than usual, it is recommended that the
time allotted for the conditioning phase of the workout be
reduced, while retaining sufficient time for both the warm-up
and cool-down phases.
41) Do I need to warm-up and cool-down
before a relatively long run?
Your performance and recovery will be enhanced
if you perform a gradual warm-up prior to your exercise regimen
and, subsequently, engage in a gradual cool-down program before
returning to a resting activity level. Some runners like to
finish their training runs with a sprint at the end of the
run. This practice can be counter productive. Stopping strenuous
exercise abruptly does not offer any positive training benefits
and may even be dangerous. If you suddenly stop exercising,
blood tends to pool in your legs, placing significant strain
on your cardiovascular system as it tries to maintain your
level of blood pressure. This response can cause dizziness,
fainting, light-headedness, etc. and, in some instances, cardiac
failure (i.e., individuals with cardiac abnormalities). By
gradually cooling down at the end of your exercise bout (e.g.,
by engaging in a sprint
42) Are saunas, hot tubs,
or steam rooms dangerous for individuals suffering from hypertension
(i.e., high blood pressure)?
Using saunas, hot tubs, or steam rooms can
be dangerous for hypertensive individuals and those with heart
disease. Surprisingly, however, it is not because the individuals
blood pressure rises too high, but rather because it can drop
to dangerously low levels. The basis for this dilemma is easier
understood once the bodys response to excess heat is
The thermoregulatory mechanisms of the body
cope with excess heat through two principal mechanisms: (1)
sweating and (2) the redistribution of blood close to the
surface of the skin so that heat can dissipate into the air.
When an individual sweats, the moisture on the skins
surface evaporates, creating a cooling effect. In hot, humid
environments, however, sweat does not readily evaporate. As
a result, this evaporative cooling mechanism becomes ineffective
and inefficient. In an effort to compensate, the peripheral
arteries near the skin dilate, so that greater amounts of
blood can be transferred to the skins surface. This
compensatory process is responsible for the characteristic
flushed look individuals have when they become
overheated. Redirecting blood flow to the peripheral arteries
requires the heart to work harder.
In fact, the heat stress associated with
using a sauna, hot tub, or steam room can be enough to cause
the heart rate of an individual to nearly double in less than
10 minutes. In addition to performing its usual task of supplying
the muscles and other vital organs (e.g., the brain) with
sufficient amounts of blood, oxygen, and nutrients, the heart
struggles to meet the demands for increased blood flow to
the dilated peripheral arteries. The dilation of the peripheral
arteries results in significantly less resistance to blood
flow, and concomitantly, a dramatic drop in blood pressure
(clinically referred to as hypotension).
Research has shown that heat stress from
saunas, hot tubs, or steam rooms typically wont cause
significant blood pressure changes in normotensive individuals.
Hypertensive individuals on medication, however, may experience
a rather sudden, dramatic drop in blood pressure. Such a hypotensive
response can result in symptoms such as dizziness, light-headedness,
and fainting. In order to compensate, the heart beats more
rapidly, attempting to supply blood to all the areas of the
body that require it. Left unchecked, this reaction can cause
a complete collapse of the cardiovascular system. For a person
with an already compromised cardiovascular system, the heart
can beat at extremely rapid ratespotentially triggering
a myocardial infarction (i.e., a heart attack) or cardiac
arrest (cessation of the normal heartbeat). In summary, individuals
who suffer from hypertensionor any other type of cardiac
conditionshould be advised to avoid using saunas, hot
tubs, and steam rooms.
43) Im somewhat confused by the
wide array of advertisements in both my local newspaper and
on television for aerobic-type exercise machines. How can
I know which machine would be best for me?
Unfortunately, many of the exercise machines/devices
marketed on television are less than advertised. Not only
are many of them shoddily built, they also have a tendency
to subject users to an undue risk of injury because of their
unsafe design. Essentially, you have two logical choices when
it comes to selecting aerobic exercise equipment. First, you
can contact one of the premier health, wellness and fitness
organizations in the country to ask them for advice, for example,
either the American Council on Exercise (1-800-529-8227) or
the American College of Sports Medicine (1-317-637-9200).
Second, if you belong to a local health club, YMCA, or JCC,
you should try out the aerobic exercise equipment that this
particular facility has to offer. Provided you ensure that
the tryout period lasts for at least a few weeks, your body
will let you know if it likes your choice of exercise machines.
44) Is "spinning" a good aerobic
"Spinning" is a popular group exercise
activity performed on exercise cycles. Typical spinning classes
simulate the outdoor cycling experience. Participants maintain
very high pedaling rates (at times, as fast as they can pedal)
during the workout. The exercise work rate determines the
aerobic demand placed on the body (specifically, the cardiovascular
and muscular systems). Accordingly, a high heart rate during
a spinning workout reflects a relatively substantial level
of stress on the body's cardiorespiratory system and, consequently,
a significant level of aerobic conditioning. No scientific
evidence exists, however, to suggest that spinning is a better
aerobic conditioning method than many other popular training
modalities (e.g., running, stair climbing, cross-country skiing,
45) Should aerobically active individuals
take supplemental forms of antioxidants?
All factors considered, the jury is still
out on whether an individual should take antioxidant supplements.
On one hand, the renowned founder and president of the Cooper
Institute for Aerobics Research (based in Dallas, Texas),
Kenneth Cooper, M.D., claims that individuals who exercise
regularly need antioxidant supplements more than ever. Other
scientists -- in an attempt to examine Cooper's largely anecdotal-documented
claims -- have conducted scientifically controlled studies,
which have produced results that actually refute Cooper's
Both sides of the argument tend to agree
that relatively large amounts of exercise (e.g., more than
five hours per week) will increase the body's production of
free radicals (minute reactive chemicals that are produced
in response to a cell's natural process of using oxygen for
metabolism). In the long run, an excessive level of free radicals,
if left unchecked, can cause irreparable harm to the body,
including an increased risk of heart disease and some types
of cancer. By neutralizing free radicals, antioxidants may
protect the body's cells from damage. Many noted medical and
nutritional experts contend that the best defense against
free radical damage is to consume antioxidants -- particularly
beta carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E -- which are chemical
compounds either produced by the body or obtained from foods.
Based upon unpublished data gathered at the
Cooper Institute, Cooper has been at the forefront of a relatively
small group of medical and nutritional experts who advocate
taking megadoses of antioxidant supplements on a daily basis.
Cooper's detractors (in the matter) point to the results of
a recently published six-year study conducted by Finnish physicians
to support their contention that antioxidant supplementation
may not be all that it's purported to be. Surprisingly, this
investigation found that supplements of vitamin E and beta
carotene may actually increase, rather than decrease, a smoker's
risk of cancer, stroke, and heart disease.
In reality, until more controlled research
is conducted on the issue, you should strongly consider taking
a middle road between the two extreme positions on antioxidant
supplementation. In other words, you should eat as many foods
rich in antioxidants as you feel is feasible. Subsequently,
if you feel that your diet is not providing you with enough
antioxidants, then take an antioxidant supplement -- but only
in moderation. Avoid the "more-must-be-better" megadose
approach. Taking megadoses of antioxidants (or any other vitamins)
is not advocated by most health and nutrition experts, because
some vitamins, when taken in megadoses, can be toxic or cause
serious adverse side effects, and the long-term effects are
46) What effect, if any, does smoking
have on my running performance?
Research has established that smoking impairs
an individuals ability to perform vigorous exercise
because of an increased level of carbon monoxide in the blood,
a reduced level of lung function, and a decreased level of
maximal oxygen uptake. Carbon monoxide primarily affects exercise
performance through its strong (i.e., 200 times stronger than
that of oxygen) capacity to bind to hemoglobin in the blood,
thereby reducing the bloods capacity to transport oxygen.
This factor decreases the delivery of oxygen to the muscles
during vigorous exercise, making all effort seem more difficult
than normal. At rest, and to a lesser extent during exercise,
nicotine from cigarette smoke increases heart rate, blood
pressure, and the oxygen demands of the heart. During exercise,
nicotine also increases the blood levels of lactic acida
substance that can cause individuals to feel fatigued when
it rises to relatively high levels. In studies conducted on
animals, nicotine has been shown to impair high endurance
exercise capacity (essential for long duration running or
swimming). The resistance to airflow following smoking is
increased in the passageways of the lungs, making it more
difficult to deliver air and oxygen to the lungs during strenuous
exercise. In some individuals, cigarette smoke can trigger
asthma-like symptoms, making it virtually impossible to exercise
until the symptoms disappear.
In general, most health and fitness experts
believe that when compared with nonsmokers, smokers are less
fit to start with because of their smoking habit, and then
lose more fitness and lung function with the passage of time.
Scientists who have compared the fitness of smokers and nonsmokers,
for example, report that smokers come out on the short end.
In a study of 1,000 relatively young Air Force recruits, Dr.
Kenneth Cooper found that the ability to run as far as possible
in 12 minutes was inversely related to the number of cigarettes
smoked, with those smoking more than 30 cigarettes a day exhibiting
the poorest run performance.
The first thing you need to understand is
this: we ALL have six-packs! Six-packs aren't 'created' by
doing ab exercises...they already exist. Don't believe me?
Take a look at Figure 1 (below) for a peek at what your abs
really look like.
The reason most of us can't see our abs is
because they're covered by a layer of fat. What this means
Doing ab exercises to achieve a six-pack
is an impossible goal
The only way to see your six-pack is to reduce your body fat
The best way to reduce your body fat is with cardio, strength
training and a healthy, low-calorie diet
This doesn't mean that ab exercises serve no purpose--strong
abs support your spine and protect your back. However, keep
in mind that your ab workout is just one part of a complete
program when it comes to getting a six-pack. For more information
on this, keep reading.
48) How do I get rid of that spare tire/lower
belly pooch around my abs?
As mentioned previously, ab exercises will
NOT GET RID OF FAT. The spot training fallacy assumes that
if you have have a layer of fat over your abs, doing crunches
will somehow change that when, in reality, they won't do a
thing. To lose body fat, you need to burn more calories than
you eat with the following:
Regular cardio exercise in your
Target Heart Rate Zone. Beginners, do 2-3 non-consecutive
days of cardio (such as walking) for as long as you
can. Increase your cardio by 3-5 minutes each
week until you can go continuously for 30 minutes.
Strength training for your entire
body 1-3 non-consecutive days a week. If you're
a beginner, try Strength Training for Beginners.
For advanced exercisers, visit my Workout Center for
A healthy low-calorie diet.
This is by far the most crucial part of your program.
To make it work you need to:
bad habits by replacing them, one by one, with healthier
choices (fruits and veggies will fill you up and give
you nutrients and fiber)
changes every day instead of changing everything at
FAQ's About Your Abs
Frequency, Reps and Sets
49) How often should I work my abs?
Your abs are no different than the rest of
your muscles. You wouldn't work your shoulders every day and,
similarly, you shouldn't work your abs every day either. Your
body needs recovery time In order to grow stronger and change.
Work your abs 2-3 non-consecutive days a
week, taking care to target all your ab muscles:
Rectus abdominis - ball crunches are just one way to target
Transverse abdominis - the plank is a great way to strengthen
Internal and external obliques - the bicycle works all
your ab muscles!
For more, see my Abs & Back workout or a sample ab routine.
Another important note: whenever you work your abs, make sure
you work your lower back too.
50) How many sets/reps of ab exercises should
As mentioned above, your ab muscles are just
like other muscles in your body. That means you want to do
between 10-16 reps of each exercise for 2-3 sets. If you've
been doing abs for a while and find that you're not fatigued
at the end of each set:
Check Your Form. Don't use momentum or other
body parts (like your neck or your hip flexors) to help you.
Go slow! The slower you go, the more your muscles will work.
Challenge yourself with different exercises.
Try dynamic activities such as Pilates to target your abdominals
in a whole new way.
51) How do I work my lower abs?
Many people still think their abs are divided
into lower and upper sections. This isn't true. Your rectus
abdominis is actually one long muscle that travels from your
lower chest to your pelvis so any exercise you do works the
That isn't to say that reverse crunches (or
other exercises that target the 'lower' abs) are useless.
It's a good idea to do a variety of exercises, but don't expect
to do 'lower' ab exercises to get rid of a lower belly pooch.
Remember--the only way to do that is to reduce your body fat.
52) I've been exercising and dieting, but
my belly is still flabby. What gives?
The media leads us to believe that Hollywood
has found the secret to lean, flat abs. What you may not know
is that for many people, it's not physiologically possible
to achieve a flat-stomach. Maybe the genetically gifted folks
in Hollywood can do it, but the rest of us probably can't.
The factors that dictate how our bodies look
are often out of our control: age, genetics, and gender are
just a few factors that decide where we store and lose fat.
Yes, you can exercise and reduce your body
fat, but you many never have a flat belly. Take a look at
your parents and relatives. Does your mother have a flat belly?
Does your father? Did they ever? If not, chances are you won't
If your body is genetically incapable of
giving you a flat belly, trying to reach that goal is A WASTE
OF TIME. Set new, reachable goals instead of worrying about
one little imperfection (an imperfection that most of us have!).
53) What are the best exercises for my
Almost any exercise that works your abdominals
is effective. However, there is a definitive study that has
ranked ab exercises in accordance with how much muscle they
activate. According to the study, the number one exercise
is the bicycle because it gets every part of your abs--the
rectus abdominis, TVA and internal/external obliques. Can't
beat that with a stick!
54) Do ab gadgets work?
Short answer: NO! Most of the bizarre contraptions
you see on infomercials promise weight loss in a very short
amount of time. That is a big fat lie. You don't need special
equipment to work your abs.
In a study commissioned by ACE, researchers
found no differences in muscle activity for basic crunches,
obliques and reverse curls than for exercises done on top-selling
Conclusion: Don't waste your money. All you
need is yourself and a floor (preferably clean). Need some
ideas? Try this ab workout.
Have a question I didn't cover? Email me
and, if it's a good one, I'll add it to the list. (Please
visit Ab Resources before you contact me--I may have already
answered your question there)
55) Can I get rid of cellulite around
my butt? What the heck IS cellulite?
Cellulite is fat. Period. Cellulite is simply
a term used by scientists to describe that cottage cheesy
stuff that you often find on your thighs, butt, and hips.
Women typically have cellulite because their adipose tissue
is structured differently from men. As we gain weight, our
fat cells swell while our connective tissue stays the same,
thereby causing that lovely dimpling effect we all love to
So, can you get rid of it? Since cellulite
is fat, there are NO MAGICAL SOLUTIONS to get rid of it. If
you reduce the SIZE of your fat cells, you can reduce the
cottage cheese look. This is best accomplished with diet and
exercise (ugh). Note: body wraps, toning lotions, electrical
muscle stimulation, herbal remedies and other quick fix solutions
you see on TV and in magazines DO NOT WORK! Any effects are
temporary, so deal with it.
56) What exercises will get rid of saddlebags?
Saddlebags are just another name for cellulite,
flabby butt, etc. Remember that there are no exercises you
can do to target the fat around your butt, hips and thighs.
As above, you have to reduce overall body fat with diet and
exercise. You CAN incorporate strength-training exercises
for your legs to help tighten your hips and butt. When you
build muscle, you burn more fat all the time since muscle
burns more calories than fat.
57) How do I make my butt bigger?
To gain muscle (whether it's on your butt
or somewhere else) you have to do two things: eat more calories
than you burn and strength train with heavy weights. Keep
You can't choose where you gain weight. If
you start eating more and lifting weights, there's no guarantee
your butt will reap the benefits.
The shape of your butt is primarily based on genetics. Take
a look at your parents or other relatives and you'll probably
notice that you have inherited some of their genes.
Doing lower body exercises (along with upper body training
and cardio, of course) and eating more calories than you burn
can help you build muscle but your genetics will decide how
much your butt can really change.
There isn't a magic exercise that will make your butt change.
That doesn't mean you shouldn't lift weights--lifting makes
your muscles strong and firm and the more muscle you have,
the higher your metabolism will be. Some of the best exercises
for your butt include squats, deadlifts and lunges, so incorporate
those weekly. Check out the top butt exercises.
58) After I started lifting weights,
my butt seemed to get bigger? Why?
Many women avoid weights because they think
they'll bulk up. First, very few women (and men for that matter)
have the capacity to build huge Incredible Hulk-like muscles
because they don't have enough testosterone in their bodies
to do so. If it seems that you're getting bigger from lifting
weights, it may be because you aren't losing body fat even
as you're building muscle (see previous question) or it may
be your genetics. If you feel your rear is expanding faster
than you want, don't stop weight training! You simply want
to make sure that you're burning more calories than you eat.
This article, How To Lose Weight, explains how.
59) Will stair-climbing or cycling make
my butt big?
Plenty of folks out there still think that
these activities will enlarge their rears. But, like many
myths out there, it simply isn't true. Your body has different
muscle fibers: slow-twitch and fast-twitch. Fast-twitch muscle
fibers (think of bodybuilders) are made to lift heavy weights
and grow larger. The slow-twitch fibers (think marathon runners)
are made for endurance and can't get very big. Remember that
when you do aerobic exercise, you're relying on your slow-twitch
muscles so they will NOT get bigger from cardio.