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Quite often, people don't like the answer to this- though at the same time, are relieved:
No amount of situps will make you lose inches off your waist!
If you have a waistline you're not happy with, chances are you just have to uncover it- which means losing fat. And as spot reduction is a myth, there's no sense in you doing 100 situps a day. If you have extra fat around your waist, there's several things you can do:
1) Diet. As what you eat accounts for 80% of how you look, make sure that your dietary intake is appropriate- in what, how frequently, and quantity.
2) Cardio. An effective heart is an efficient fat burning machine. Train in all areas of your heart rate zones. A higher heart rate zone will work your heart, but it taps into a different energy source. Train in a lower heart rate zone and that will use fat as energy.
3) Resistance training. Having more lean tissue (aka muscle) on your body means your body requires more energy to maintain it- which means a faster metabolism. It's denser than fat, so your weight may not change, but your inches will!
4) Remember there's no such thing as spot reduction, so a smaller waist will come, but expect to see leaner legs, more toned arms, and more energy along the way!
As far as I'm concerned, the best type of cardio is anything you can stand doing for any duration. I personally dislike cardio, so I really have to force myself.
However, not all cardio is created equally. A weight bearing form of cardio (aka walking) is better than, say, a bike- as you're sitting down. If you're using a treadmill, though, make sure you're using it properly. If the intensity is high enough that you have to hang on and almost drag yourself along, it's not as effective than if you reduce the intensitygo and swing your arms naturally.
Keep in mind your physical limitations. If there's an injury involved, some forms of cardio may not be prudent.
Find a form of cardio that you enjoy doing to the point you don't consider exercise (dance or martial art) and that's the best form of cardio!
This is somewhat a loaded question for me as (mentioned before) I hate cardio, so if I have a choice, I'll do weights over cardio. The truth is, and not shockingly, they're both important. Weights make you stronger, add lean tissue, increase metabolism; and cardio helps lose fat, makes your heart healthier, helps cleanse your body through sweat. They're both beneficial and should not be ignored.
Here's a couple options:
60 minute workouts:
10 min warmup, 30 min weights, 15 min of cardio, 5 min stretching
5 min warmup, 30 min weights, 20 min cardio, 5 min stretch
(you get the idea)
Also, they don't have to be at the same time. You can do cardio in the morning and weights later on in the day. Just always make sure to include a warmup and cooldown- minimum 5 minutes each!
Also don't forget stretching. Equally important to any workout routine, it's also the most overlooked. Stretching will help keep muscles from getting overly tight, release lactic acid, and help support healthy joints.
This is a difficult question to answer as everyone's circumstances will be different. Do you work? Do you have children? Health or physical limitation? Life has a habit of getting in the way.
Doing some form of exercise for 30 minutes, 5 days a week is ideal, but health benefits can be seen at twice a week for 60 minutes. If you can't devote as much time as you'd like, don't sweat it- do what you can! Even if you can only squeeze in 15 minutes a day, start with that! Do a combination of strength, flexibility, and cardio to keep it interesting.
This will depend on your goals, so here I go:
Fat loss: In order to burn fat, you require oxygen, so you need to work out at a longer duration at a lower heart rate zone. Unless you have a heart rate monitor, it may be difficult to determine, so here's an easy method: if you can somewhat easily hold a conversation, you're likely in a good zone. If the conversation is too easy, pick up the pace or find a hill; if you're huffing and puffing, slow it down!
Cardiovascular: If you want to improve the health of your heart, pick up the pace, get ready to sweat, and don't even think about having a conversation! This quite often can't be done for long periods of time and takes time to get up to longer periods. Uses a different energy system than fat burning, so you may burn more calories, but it may not be from fat. Even if you're trying to lose fat, though, train in the higher heart rate zone to improve your heart; a healthy heart means it can pump more blood with every beat- more blood means more oxygen, and since oxygen is required to burn fat, it'll become more efficient to burn fat!
Muscular Endurance: Training for endurance will help promote longer leaner muscles. Weights should be light enough that muscles fail at about 15 reps.
Muscular Growth: Adding muscle to your frame is a great way to increase your metabolism. Weights should be heavier and your muscles fail at 8-10 reps.
Strength: You will get stronger when you lift weights, but if you're going for pure strength, you're looking at heavy weights- only being able to get 1-2 reps before muscles fail. Obviously this can be dangerous and only should be executed by seasoned athletes who know what they're doing and with a spotter.
Most everyone who works out has suffered from this. Either the day after a workout and sometimes 2 days after. Sometimes it lasts for a day- I've had it last up to a week.
There's not much you can do to prevent it, but there's a few things you can do to lessen the discomfort:
* Proper warmup and cool down
* Epson salt bath
* Glutamine immediately after your workout
Muscle soreness is going to happen- whether you're a regular at the gym or new to it, it's the reality of most people! The extent of your soreness will depend on whether you decide to work out- or should work out!
Firstly, you should have minimum 48 hours between training the same body part. If you're still sore, you still need to heel- but if it's "tender", then it might be alright to work out again.
If you are too sore to work out, still go to the gym, but try an extended, light to moderate cardio session to get the blood flowing and spend more time stretching- but only after the body is sufficiently warmed up!
Some people argue that doing cardio first thing in the morning immediately after waking (or at least before breakfast) while energy systems are depleted is more efficient to lose weight. True? Don't know. My opinion?
Work out when you're most able.
If you're not a morning person, don't try and force yourself to get up and work out in the morning. If you have the most energy in the afternoon, get your workouts in then if you can. Everyone's "internal clock" runs different, so don't fight it!
This depends... are we talking about being a little "under the weather", or oozing, leaking grossness?
Every now and then, I have people showing up for training and it's obvious that they should be in bed- so I send them home. Their response is often "I thought sweating is good if you're sick"... which is somewhat true. If you're sweating because you've bundled up with a blanket, cup of hot tea or soup, relaxing on the sofa, then that's fine! Sweating because you've raised your core temperature due to exercise, not so much!
Working out while sick could draw out your illness because you are putting too much stress on your body and not allowing it to rest and heal. Not only that, you're going to spread your germs around! Do everyone- and yourself- a favour and stay home until you're well!
Both forms of equipment have their purposes. If you're new to working out, then stick to machines where you can for the first little while. Machines have a set range of motion and it's less difficult (but not impossible) to hurt yourself while using. If you're unsure how to use a machine, then ask- as quite often you can adjust the seat (minimum) and if it's not set properly, you may not be targeting the muscle correctly.
Don't get stuck only using machines, though. If your body has an imbalance, using a machine will maintain and likely increase that imbalance. The body will take the path of least resistance- so the stronger side will remain strong, and the weaker side will remain weak (or more so!)
Machines are a great way to "prime" the body to getting used to working out, but move to dumbells as soon as you feel comfortable- and if you're unsure, then ask someone or pay for a trainer to show you- it'll be worth saving you a potential injury by learning proper form!
Working with dumbells, and working the muscles independently, will help fix imbalances and ultimately make you stronger!
This is always a tricky question as everyone is different. People respond differently to nutrients, food sensitivities or allergies, dietary requirements, lifestyle... I am not a nutritionist or dietition, but here's some hints that can be found online.
One person, whom I highly respect in the fitness industry, recently had a post about this and her "calculation" was 100 calories per pound of body weight you want to weigh... minimum. So if you want to weigh 140 lbs, the minimum you should be eating is 1400 calories. Keep in mind that this should be a realistic goal. Plus, if you're used to eating 2000 calories a day, don't cut that down all the way, otherwise it may back fire. If your body thinks it's starving, it'll start retaining everything you eat.
Also eat 5-6 smaller meals a day, 2-3 hours between each. This will help balance your blood sugar levels and keep energy more balanced; preventing the typical "afternoon slump" which has most people reaching for a chocolate bar!
It depends... are we talking about not having a second or third helping, or not having anything but coffee and rice cakes?
When most people think of "diet", they think of cutting down to minimal food intake. When I refer to diet, it's referring to what is being put in your diet to sustain you.
If you're cutting down your food intake to below your basic dietary requirements to function, that is bad. Anything less than 1200 calories a day is bad- and some "diets" I've seen out there have their participants on 800 claories a day! This will put your body into starvation mode, you'll store fat.
If you want to lose weight (aka, FAT) you need to eat enough to maintain your minimum requirement for basic functioning- and then some!
If you're a regular in the gym, you may have heard guys mention "anabolic window". It is said that you have a 20-30 minute window of opportunity after a weight workout that the muscles are absorbing nutrients at a higher rate than normal as the blood is still pumping at a higher rate to the muscles.
Keep in mind, though, that if protein takes 2 hours to digest... well, do the math! Don't eat something... drink something!
Depending on what you're doing, it's always a good idea to eat something before a workout to provide your body with the energy required for what you ask of it.
Pre workout should be something that will quickly digest.
Carbohydrates 20 minutes
Protein 2 hours
Fat 4 hours
30 minutes before a workout, have something higher in carbohydrates. Banana or oatmeal (with raisens and almond milk- no added sweetener) are a couple of my preferred pre-workout meals.
Post workout meals should be a combination of nutrients- in other words, balanced. Carbs to immediately replace the energy used, protein to help repair, and healthy fats to help ward off hunger.
BMR = Basal Metabolic Rate. This formula uses a combination of weight, height and age for a more accurate method of determining your minimum daily caloric requirements. Keep in mind when calculating that it doesn't take into consideration of muscle-to-fat ratio; leaner bodies require more calories, and less lean bodies require less calories. With that in mind, these calculations will work with most people other than those who are overly muscular (under-calculate) and overly fat (over-calculate)
Women: BMR = 655 + ( 4.35 x weight in pounds ) + ( 4.7 x height in inches ) - ( 4.7 x age in years )
Men: BMR = 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) - ( 6.8 x age in year )
Also keep in mind, this is minimum! Even if you're trying to lose weight and you're exercising, you'll still require more! My BMR is about 1700 calories a day... minimum! Technically, I should be eating about 2200. Do I? No. It will vary, but it's never less than 1500 calories a day- and that's a bad day!
Yes... and no...
I'm a realist and know it's nice after a long week at work (or day!) to sit and relax with a glass of wine! Or on cold, wet nights, curl up with a blueberry tea... like tonight! Or a "girls night out" with martinis and margaritas!
After all, after a recent study, it was shown that red wine has health benefits because of the anti-oxyidants and other macronutrients... though they can be obtained through other means!
Keep in mind that alcohol is high in sugars and calories. Even someone who eats clean and works out regularly can sabotage their progress by regular alcohol consumption.
Everything in moderation. A glass of wine every now and then won't hurt!
Food diaries can be a useful tool when you're embarking on a lifestyle change. It will make you become more aware of what you're eating and the more information you include, the more useful it'll be! Including informtaion such as times you're eating, how you feel, even what you're drinking can help pin-point issues with progress- maybe even dietary intolerances! Do you find that every time you eat a specific food, you feel ill? Or is there a certain time of the day, every day, that you get really hungry? Do you crave certain things at certain times of the month? A food diary can help reveal habits and patterns.
Not only that, if your progress is stalling, it's a good way to figure out why. Are you eating enough? Not enough? Too much? The wrong types of food? Maybe at the wrong time of day! Bad performance during a workout? If you're not writing it down, how are you going to know? So many times, I hear people say their diet is fine- and yet when I look at it, there's some obvious gaps!
The biggest thing is to be 100% honest when you write it down. If you have a bowl of icecream, don't be embarassed- write it down! If your trainer is having a look at it, how can they help you if you're withholding information?
Fat is not only essential, but also required in a balanced healthy diet- but it's all about where it comes from!
The easiest way to know good fats from bad fats is plant source and animal source. If the fat comes from an animal, it's the bad type of fat which clogs your arteries and increases cholesterol. Plant sources of fat are the good fats which come from seeds, nuts, and avocados.
This, of course, is a very basic way of determining good and bad fats, but not all fat is created equally!
Unless you're vegan, it's near impossible to go without animal products of some sort! If you eat animal products, try and keep it to low-fat dairy products, poulty, and fish and seafood. Beef is very hard to digest and is usually marbled with artery clogging fat (I know- that's what makes it tender!) so keep beef to once or twice a week and the leanest form possible. Also try bison- much leaner than beef, it's lower fat and higher protein!
Plant fats are typically in the form of seeds and nuts. They can be added to cereals, baked goods, and salads- among many! Use caution, though- it's very easy to eat more than you should!