Frequently Asked Diet and Fitness Questions: Page One

Do carbohydrates make you fat?
Why Life Weights?
Do I Have Extra Fat Cells?
Just what occurs when I reach my target heart rate?
How can I lose my saddlebags?
Why do I sweat so much?
Can I take pain relievers before a workout to head off aches and pains?
How can I get my unmotivated body to work out?
How can I get faster results?
I finally got the weight off - now how do I keep it off?
Won't my appetite increase if I exercise?
Can I make losing weight easier?
What's the best way to get rid of fat?


Why Lift Weights?

As we age, our lean body mass shrinks and our metabolic rate - the rate at which we burn calories - slows. We can eat exactly what we did ten years ago and weight the same, but have a higher body-fat percentage. More fat carries risks including diabetes, arthritis, back pain, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. It can even raise your risk for certain cancers. Strength training lowers body fat by building lean muscle mass; 20 minutes, two to three times a week, is all you need. Get body fat measured at a gym or health club - that number is much more important than your weight.

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Do I have extra fat cells?

Commonly believed theory:  We are born with a certain number of fat cells that just grow and shrink when we gain and lose weight. Is this true? For the most part, yes. You develop fat cells between the ages of 12 and 18 months and again during puberty. After that point, your 25 to 35 billion fat cells respond to weight gain by growing up to twice their size. But if all of your fat cells have already doubled in size and you continue to gain weight, your body cells have already doubled in size and you continue to gain weight, your body starts making new ones. So if you have gained more tan 30 or 40 pounds since your teens, you could have more fat cells tan someone who has gained less.

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Just what occurs when I reach my target heart rate?

Once you achieve your target heart rate, your body releases adrenaline, causing your fat cells to release fat into the bloodstream. When the fat passes an exercising muscle, the muscle picks it up and burns it as a source of energy. As the body withdraws fat from the cells, they begin to shrink, eventually making you appear slimmer. Nice bonus, huh!

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How can I lose my saddlebags?

The only way to lose weight there is through aerobic exercise and by eating a healthy, low-fat diet. But you can tone up the underlying muscles. Add the following move to your routine two or three times a week:
Lie on your stomach with hipbones on the floor, legs extended. Rest chin on hands. Slowly lift left leg, foot flexed, about six to 12-inches, keeping hips glued to the floor.
A.  Move leg to the left 12-inches, hold for two counts and bring it back to center.
B.  Then shift leg 12-inches to the right (or as far as you can without lifting your hips), hold for two counts and return to center. Lower leg to ground and repeat. Do three sets of 15 reps on your left leg, the switch sides; repeat.

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Why do I sweat so much?

Sweating is how your body dissipates heat and keeps its core temperature down when you are working out. Usually the more you train, the more easily you sweat, because your body knows it is going to get hot and starts working to cool itself off. There is also the possibility of some having more sweat glands than others have -- men sweat more than women do for this reason. Overall, when you find yourself sweating more easily, take it as a good sign you're really fit!

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Can I take pain relievers before a workout to head off aches and pains?

No one is really sure if taking such painkillers will prevent aches and pains such as cramps and/or muscle soreness. Most experts agree however, it is better not to. More important: Cramping or pain is your body's way of telling you something is not right. Masking pain in order to exercise could aggravate an injury. If you are just feeling a little leftover muscle soreness though, taking aspirin, ibuprofen or Tylenol before your exercise can make you feel better.

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How can I get my unmotivated body to work out?

This is so common and understandable! You meant to get to that gym or take that walk yesterday, the day before, last week... Take heart -- it's okay! All you really need to do to get healthy and lose weight is move. Research reports that so-called lifestyle exercisers, those, who regularly take stairs instead of elevators, walk instead of drive, cleaned the house, etc., lost just about as much weight and body fat as those following a structured exercise regime. The real key to weight control is simply becoming more active in general. Try shooting for 30 to 40 minutes of unstructured exercise daily.

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How can I get faster results?

Change your workout every four to six weeks, or switch the order of what you do. For example, if you usually do weights and then aerobics, switch it around. Better yet, try new moves for old ones in your weight routine and try a new form of cardiovascular exercise. This way you challenge your muscles in a new way, which forces your body to work harder. This helps ward of that dreaded plateau and continue to see results. In addition, it wouldn't hurt to take a look at what you're eating. Your exercise efforts won't trim you down if you eat high-fat and high-calorie foods.

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I finally got the weight off - now how do I keep it off?

The best way to keep off pounds is to keep moving. Don't quit exercising just because you've meet your goals, and turn off the TV! Experts say the more you watch, the more you gain. When you just sit, you only burn about 1.4 calories per minute verses 9 or more when in motion. If you simply gave up one half-hour sitcom and replaced it with a walk, you'll burn 171 calories in that half-hour which will translate into 13 pounds of weight. If you insist on sitting on the couch, do some tricep dips or squats, or march in place during commercial breaks.

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Won't my appetite increase if I exercise?

No, but this is a common myth. Many feel if they workout more, they'll eat more and blow their diet completely. But in truth, nothing is further from the truth! Regular exercise, including strength training, will help you lose and control your weight. High intensity exercises such as running or in-line skating actually help suppress appetite. In addition, studies show that those who practice strength training tend to eat less fat while boosting their metabolism with added muscle.

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Can I make losing weight easier?

You can sure try! Monitor your eating and exercise patterns by writing everything down. Studies show that one of the common links of those that lost more than 65 pounds and kept it off for six years was that they frequently kept track of the calories they ate and burned.

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What's the best way to get rid of fat?

Good question! There is a lot of debate about whether longer, slower workouts are better as opposed to shorter, more intense ones. Technically, you burn a greater percentage of fat calories with the slower workouts (long jogs, walks). But high-intensity workouts such as running or multi-impact step aerobics burn more calories overall, so you end up burning more fat calories in total. You really can't go wrong either way, though - both approaches will help you lose weight if you are consistent. It basically comes down to personal preference - do whichever you prefer -- and whether you have time for a longer workout or more energy for a shorter, very intense one.

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Do carbohydrates make you fat?

Any food can make you fat, not just those foods high in carbohydrates. Carbohydrates, like protein, provide 4 calories per gram; fat provides 9 calories per gram. But complex carbohydrates (starches such as bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes), especially those derived from whole grains, are the body's best source of energy nourishment when they replace saturated fats and excess protein in the diet. Eating more calories than you work off and leading a sedentary lifestyle are what add the extra "poundage."

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More - Page Two!




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