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Fit Tip Of The Week

Spring Clean your fitness routine.

... Here are some tips to help you get started!

 

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What is your question? 

This week's highlighted Q&A:       

Why Can't I Get Rid Of That Pesky Belly Fat                          

Q: Hello, I'm a 30 year old stay at home mom with two kids. I'm currently on a weight loss journey. I have lost 20 pounds but I'm having a hard time losing my belly fat. Any suggestions? Thank you!!

A: Ahh, if I could wave a magic wand and magically make belly fat disappear I would be popular world-wide. Alas, no such thing exists.

Pesky belly fat is a common problem among women, particularly those who have given birth to children. Part of it may not be belly fat but more about stretched skin from pregnancies. That can get tricky to make progress with. But let's concentrate on what you can work on.

Contrary to what many marketers pitch, crunches and ab strength training alone will not do anything to reduce the fat. Just like fat concentrations on other parts of the body, belly fat requires cardio work to reduce it. That being said it is also important to strengthen your abs with crunches, planks, core exercises, ball fitness and more.

Enroll in one of our affordable programs to receive a complete body workout plan that includes a huge variety of very effective abdominal strengthening exercises.

More Questions and Answers  

Why I'm Not Losing Weight Or Inches                          

Q: I exercise a lot and eat right but the scale is hardly moving and my clothes feel tighter.

A: First of all, try not to focus too much on numbers. It is so common for individuals to get so caught up, even obsessed, with the numbers on the scale, on the BMI chart, on the tape measure. There is a place for tracking those, but more focus should be placed on the healthy things you do daily and their end results.

And keep in mind that muscle weights more than fat. So, that can make a difference in the number on the scale. Also, muscle actually takes up more space than fat, so that can have an affect on your measurements.

The most accurate way to track your numbers is through a body fat percentage measurement. So, you might try to set an appointment to have that tracked. You may also need to evaluate what workouts you are doing and how often. Also, are you eating the right amount and eating frequently enough.

Those are some things to look into. Again, though, focus on how you are feeling and remembering that exercising and eating right do all of the following:

Reduces Heart Attack Risk

Lowers Risk For High Blood Pressure

Lower Risk For Alzheimers

Diabetes Risk Is Reduced

Exercise Helps Ward Off Dementia and Memory Loss

What Time Of Day Is Best For Exercising                          

Q: Should I workout in the morning or evening? Or another time? What time is best for exercising.

A: I could site study X or research Y and try to pretend there is a correct answer to your question. But, in reality there is no one correct answer. I personally think that is totally an individual preference. Think about it, YOUR schedule truly will dictate the best time to exercise.

If you are SO not a morning person, then trying to force yourself to get out of bed for a workout does not seem like an effective plan. Or, if you work nights, then obviously your not going to be able to exercise then. Maybe afternoon is your ideal time.

What I would suggest is that you take a few minutes and seriously plot out your weekly schedule. Pretty quickly you will see a pattern that reveals your most available times. Maybe that varies from day to day -- that's okay. Now schedule your workouts based on that information. AND, this is important, have back-up plans. Think about what could potentially get in the way of your exercise and 1) determine how you can avoid that happening 2) have a back-up time scheduled in case something unavoidable prevents you from fitting in your workout time.

What Causes A "Bad" Run Day                          

Q: I've been running for about 3 months and I've make good progress. I've been able to go a little faster and a little longer week after week. But this week I went for my 4 mile run and it was terrible. I got cramps, I was exhausted and I had to walk a lot of it. What did I do wrong?

A: We may never know! But, there are a few things to consider. 1) Did you not hydrate enough both during your run and before it? 2) Did you eat something too soon before your run or had you not eaten for a long time prior to your run? Did you skip your normal warm-up? Did you switch from always running indoors to an outdoor run? Did you significantly change your pace? Were you too focused on the run or instead possibly spending too much time thinking about things your to-do list?

These are a few things to think about to find the root cause. But, I will caution, there may be no known reason. The reality is, even veteran runners occasionally have what we all call a "bad" run day. They can just randomly happen.

 

Hitting A Workout Wall                          

Q: Dear Sir/ Madame. I have been working out and dieting for the past 3 months now, and energy levels are starting to run low, and I find I an starting to "hit the wall" so to speak. I do rest at least twice a week from weights and once a week from cardio. What do you think I need to do, rest more, eat more, or just keep going and eventually will my body get use to it? Please help as summer is nearing lol, thank you.

A: First of all, congratulations on sticking to your plan for three months! Of course, I cannot give an absolute answer since I am unable to see you in-person nor do I know your specific workout plans and eating habits. So, first be sure to rule-out any health issues that could be a cause of energy drops.

Once medical options are eliminated, then you may want to try several things to see what works best. Here are some suggestions:

1. Take an entire week off from all workouts. Give your body plenty of time to completely get energized.

2. Check your calorie intake against your calorie expenditure. If your dieting, don't go less than 500 calories in the deficit direction. If you are not trying to lose weight, look for zero balance on calories in/out.

3. Are you getting enough sleep? 7 to 8 hours per night.

4. Is it truly physical tiredness or is it a matter of your body getting bored with your current workout routine? Maybe it's time to change up all of your workouts. Try something completely new and different.

 

Fitting In Exercise Time At Work

Q:  "I work in an office building and sit most of the day.  I was wondering if there are any exercises that I could do while at work? "

A: Yes, there are many exercises that you can do at work. For cardiovascular workouts you can try taking short walking breaks or climbing stairs. You can also do strength training exercises right at your desk, for example tricep dips that work your upper arm area. This doesn't require any equipment you can do it either with a sturdy chair or just on the floor. You also can try standing push-ups where you place your hands against a wall. If you have a resistance band/tube you can take that to work with you and do dozens of strength training exercises for the entire body. Try taking a 3 minute break every hour at work to do just one strength training exercise.

For a complete program that includes every single workout detail -- so you don't have to waste a single minute of your time trying to figure out what to do, Enroll in one of our affordable programs. You will receive weekly workouts with detailed instructions for cardio workouts, upper and lower body strength training workouts, abdominal workouts and stretching. And you will have access to our entire HUGE library of exercise demos. 

 

 

Arm and Ab Home Exercises

Q: How can I get strong abs and arm muscles not going to the gym?

A: There are many, many options for strength training that don't require a trip to the gym. If you have dumbbells, a resistance band, or an exercise stability ball, there are literally hundreds of exercises that you can do at home. With these exercises you can increase your muscular strength, muscular endurance plus of course get a more defined look in your physical appearance.
 
Even if you have no equipment, you can still do a lot to strengthen your abs and arm muscles. Of course there are the standard no-equipment exercises like push-ups, crunches and tricep dips, but there are also a lot of other options available too.

Here are some exercise examples:

Dumbbells: Preacher Curls, Tricep 90 Degree Pull Downs, Chest Flys

Resistance Band: Bicep Curls, Tricep Push Downs, Lat Pull Downs, Leg Extensions

Stability Ball: Crunches, Hamstring Curls, Adductor Squeeze

No Equipment: Tricep Push-Ups, One-Legged Tricep Dips, Oblique Crunch

To receive instructions and view exercise demos for the above samples, Enroll in one of our affordable programs. You will have access to our entire HUGE library of exercise demos. And you'll receive a complete body workout plan that includes an extensive variety of very effective abdominal and arm exercises.

How To Get In Time For Summer

Q: Summer is just around the corner. What kind of exercises should I do to get in shape for the summer?

A: There are three major components to any successful fitness program. They are: cardiovascular training, flexibility, and strength training. So, you will want to ensure that you participate in a total workout plan that includes all three of those components.

For cardio, you want to do exercises like walking, jogging, biking, swimming, jumping rope, etc. and including interval training is highly recommended. Flexibility is as simple as performing stretches for the entire body. Strength training should include some type of resistance (e.g. weights, bands, ball) exercise for every major muscle group.

How Frequently To Train

Q: Is it bad for your body to workout some of the same muscle groups daily?

A: There's not a absolute answer to that question because it depends on how hard you are working the muscles, what exercises you are doing, etc. But, in general it's best to allow your muscle groups about 48 hours to rest and recover before working them again.

This is generally the rule for strength training. Usually it's okay if you for example strength train your legs on Day 1 and then run on Day 2. You'll note that you are working the legs on both days, but the cardio training is different and therefore probably okay to do after strength training.

 
The key to any successful strength training program is to be sure you are doing the exercises with correct form, using the right resistance, and the right number of reps/sets. You'll also be most successful if you use a periodization technqiue which will progress you each week in a pre-determined, specific plan.

Proper Weight Size

Q: As a beginner what weight size ( in pounds) should I start with?

A: There's no one size fits all weight size that is best for beginners. The size of weight you use depends on your goals, skills, past fitness experience, etc. A good rule of thumb is start with about 70% maximum resistance with 8-12 reps and 1-3 sets. To determine your specific 70% max. size, you must first determine the maximum amount of weight you can lift.

For example, you would determine what the heaviest weight is that you can lift just one time on each of the exercises you plan to perform. From there then you reduce that weight size down to just 70% of your maximum. 

However, it's typically not recommended that beginners attempt to lift their maximum amount of weight, for safety reasons. So, another simpler option is to choose a weight size that provides fatigue after the 8th - 12th rep is completed.

Proper Rest Time Between Strength Workouts

Q: Is it bad for your body to workout some of the same muscle groups daily?

A: Typically you should allow your muscle to rest about 48 hours before working it again. This is the safest approach and also the most efficient approach for improving strength. It will help you increase hypertrophy more effectively. 

So, if you want to workout every day then consider alternating which muscles you work on each day. For example, on days 1, 3 and 5 you could work your biceps, triceps, and chest and on days 2, 4, and 6 you could work your shoulders, back and legs.

The only muscle group that may be able to be worked more often is the abdominals. Most of the time it is okay to work them every day.

 

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