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Monday, October 1, 2007

Your Fitness Questions Answered - The Funny Ones


photo by leraism

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Here are the answers to some of the funnier questions that Internet searchers have asked:

What's the best way to lose your grandma arms?

I'm assuming the dreaded "grandma arms" are the buildup of fat behind the arms. Again, you can't spot reduce fat from any part of your body. Situps and crunches won't give you six-pack abs and tricep exercises won't get rid of grandma arms. The best approach is to do a moderate strength training program with a variety of exercises for each major body part, do 4 or 5 days of cardio for at least 30 minutes per day, and watch the number of calories that you consume. There is no quick fix for fat loss, but the flip side is that EVERYONE can lose fat if they follow these recommendations.

How should grandmas strength train?

Apparently, my site is real popular with the grandma strength training crowd. The Fit Club...where grandma goes...TO GET RIPPED! The answer is simple; grandmas should strength train just like everyone else. Strength train with a program designed to exercise all major body parts with enough weight to make the last repetition difficult between rep 8 and 12 of each movement. Do at least 2 sets per movement and strength train at least 2 days per week. These are the same recommendations that I would give with one exception. I would recommend more compound movements like squats and deadlifts for younger people, but I would not initially recommend those exercise for older people. As older folks get more experience and a better sense of balance and coordination through a beginning strength training program, I would slowly transition them into more big compound movements.

When will lack of exercise kill you?

Well, there is nothing showing that a lack of exercise has directly caused someone's death, but in the context of an unhealthy lifestyle, is can be an indirect player. Exercise has been shown to positively effect your body in such a way as to minimize risk of dying from some major causes of premature death. That doesn't mean that the converse is true, that a lack of exercise will kill you. My recommendation is to get the minimum recommended amount of exercise weekly and don't worry about it.

How can Americans stop eating junk food and start going to the fitness center?

If I had that answer, I would be sitting off the coast of my own private island in my personal yacht right now. That isn't the case, but I'll do the best I can. We live in a culture where UPS can deliver anything to our front door. The only thing stopping us from getting anything we want is how much money we have. We collectively sit around and wait for someone to "figure it out" and produce a pill to do the job. The problem is that no amount of money can buy health and fitness...it takes hard work and as a culture we can't accept that. Oprah Winfrey, who's worth, what, billions of dollars now, has very publicly struggled with her weight for many years, and has access to every advantage that money brings, personal chefs, personal trainers, etc.

Several years ago, Oprah ran the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. Even with the trainers and chefs, one fact remained, even for her, she still had to do the work. The sooner we stop thinking that it's our manifest destiny to consume what we want, when we want, and how much we want with no regard for the consequences, the better off that we will be. Rant over, for now.

Why don't the 12 steps work for weight loss?

It takes a lot more than 12 steps to lose weight. BA-DUM-DUM-CHHH! Thanks, I'll be in town 'til Thurday. Actually, I know nothing about 12 step programs, but weight loss involves more than "support for eating less". Exercise is an important component. Strength training is an important component. Eating healthy, quality food is important. Any program, 12-step or otherwise, that doesn't address these issues will likely not lead to long-term weight loss.

Can cardio exercise kill you?

There are some things that make intense cardio activity riskier, any of the risk factors for coronary heart disease (high blood pressure, abnormal cholesterol, smoking, family history of heart disease, diabetes, sedentary lifestyle, and obesity) and a variety of serious cardiac or pulmonary issues. The irony is that people with risk factors for coronary heart disease have the most to gain from exercising more. If you fall into this category, the solution is simple, get checked out by your doctor before starting an exercise program. Let's face it...your more likely to die prematurely from not doing cardio than by doing cardio.

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