As a certified personal trainer and health coach with a great interest nutrition, I get asked lots of fitness-related questions.
I get asked many of the same questions, so here they are:
1. Are abdominal exercises effective if I want to lose extra fat around my stomach? No. Abdominal exercises are great for strengthening your core and back but there is no such thing as spot-reducing fat. Comprehensive cardiovascular workouts throughout the week are the most effective and will reduce the amount of fat that has accumulated on the body.
2. How many calories are burned while walking or jogging one mile? On average, the caloric expenditure per 100 pounds of body weight per mile is 62 calories. So if a person weighs 200 pounds, they would burn approximately 124 calories while walking or jogging.
3. I have been working out for a while now and stopped losing weight. What is happening? More than likely, you have hit a plateau. This means that your body has become used to the activity you have been doing to lose weight. Our bodies are smart machines and become very efficient over time when the same activity is performed. To challenge your body, do a variety of exercises. If you like to run or walk, increase your speed every 2 minutes to increase your heart rate even more. For example, walk 2 minutes, run 2 minute, and repeat for 20-30 minutes. For runners, run 2 minutes at your normal speed then sprint for 1 minute and repeat for 20-30 minutes.
4. How many calories does it take to burn one pound of fat? It takes 3,500 calories to gain or lose one pound. To lose one pound per week, you need to decrease your calories by 500 every day. This is usually done by cutting 250 calories out of your diet and burning the other 250 through activity.
5. What types of exercise are better for weight loss? Choose endurance activities for weight loss such as jogging, aerobics, bicycling, rowing, or swimming. Exercise at a moderately intense level. You should be able to talk without running out of breath during the activity. Exercise for more than 40 minutes. During the first 20 minutes, your body taps into your sugar reserves (carbohydrates stored as blood glucose and muscle glycogen). Between 20 to 40 minutes of exercise, the body continues to use up your sugar reserves and starts to tap into your body fat. After 40 minutes the body starts to burn even more fat. Choose aquatic workouts or exercise in the cold. This causes the body to burn more energy and melt fat more quickly. The body draws on its fat reserves to stay warm.
6. I have no time to exercise, what can I do? This is - by far - the most common complaint I hear. If this is a challenge for you, concentrate on getting small workouts in throughout the day. If your job takes the majority of your time, consider taking 3-10 minute breaks and walk at moderate intensity, where you break a little sweat and are slightly out of breath. Taking these breaks is not only good for physical health, but also for mental health. You will go back to work feeling refreshed and satisfied. If home life consumes most of your time, consider doing squats or other muscle toning exercises while doing housework. If you work from home, use a stability ball instead of a chair to sit on. Walk on the treadmill during conference calls.
These are small changes that can make a big difference in overall health and weight loss. And remember: Doing something is better than doing nothing!
What questions do you have about fitness? I can answer them for you here.
Rashein Lindsey, CPT, CSN, CHHC, AADP
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