Welcome to the first edition of "Ask Paul," where I answer a few of the questions I receive on the site. I get literally hundreds of questions from people all over the world, and a lot of them follow a pretty common theme. I've picked a few from the last few months and done my best to provide people with some insight.
If you have a question for me, click here and fill out my online form. I can't answer them all, but I'll try my best to get to yours.
I remember an episode where you mentioned that low-fat dressings are unhealthy. after watching it, I am definitely in agreement. You mentioned a substitute with honey or maple syrup and a couple of other things, but I forget what they were.
Also could you suggest some ideas for what to put in a salad? Tossed salad gets boring after a while 🙂
Angela from Sackville
Check to see if sugar is one of the first four ingredients on a low-fat dressing product. Sometimes they substitute some fat for sugar to make the dressing taste good. Try 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp honey and 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar.
My favorite salad: spinach, broccoli, blueberries, roast chicken, orange peppers, pecans, feta cheese, with my dressing.
Change it up all the time, it is a great complete meal with healthy fats, protein and carbs.
Love the website!
I quit smoking 5 years ago and have gained weight. I see a trainer once a week and workout on my own 2-3 times a week. I work out hard on my own because I don't want to suck when I see my trainer.
My question is some days I am better at the gym than others ie, my legs feel heavy, can't lift as much or do as many reps as previous day. What foods or drinks should I have before I go? Or what should I avoid? Do the foods I eat the day before dramatically affect my early morning workouts as I prefer to go in the morning to the gym.
Steph from Napanee
Great job on quitting smoking — that is huge!
When training, it's important to cycle stress to specific parts of your body. If you are loading your legs with volume and intensity you must recover before using them again at the same level. If you had a hard leg workout sometimes it takes a week before you can train them at the same intensity. Focus on one workout at maximal levels for you and a couple times per week be satisfied with sub-max levels.
Make sure you are getting eight to nine hours' sleep daily for recovery. Eat a really good meal within 45 minutes post-workout to get your body in recovery for the next training session. An example would be some organic roasted turkey, yams, green beans and water.
I'm 62 (a young 62) & I have struggled with weight my entire life. I weigh 223 lbs. I go to the gym three times a week and I've had a personal trainer for two years. She works me very hard on weight training and cardio. I am 5'5" and I can't seem to get the weight down; especially through the middle. I am frustrated beyond belief. Can you possibly assist me in a eating plan?
I watch your show faithfully and I enjoy the challenges you present to your clients. Please present me with an eating challenge.
Connie from Guelph
Let me tell you some of the secrets to eating:
- Eat calories specific to your metabolism and daily activity level.
- Eat high nutrient dense foods ( lots of vitamins and minerals in comparison to the calories you get from the food).
- Eat every three hours.
- Don’t drink any calories.
- Use food as fuel not entertainment.
If you need help designing an eating plan feel free to sign up for one on my website. I personally make them all up myself specific to the individual.
How does one get rid of that large fat deposit on your lower tummy? After having three children and doing a million reverse curls plus cardio, it just doesn't seem to get smaller or flat. It's hard to look good in a tight-fitted skirt with that big bulge sticking out. Hope you can help!
Karen from Calgary
I wish I could give you spot reduction advice — I would be a gazillionaire!
The only way to get fat off specific parts of your body is liposuction. However, if you decide on the non-surgery way, which I hope you do — plastic surgeons are rich enough already — here are some tips:
- Focus on getting between 1400 to 1600 calories of high nutrient dense foods daily
- Pick activities that you enjoy doing at least one hour every day
- The best bang for your time exercising is full body functional core circuits. They burn lots of calories and will train your deep ab muscles at the same time.
If you would like one set up for you, please sign up for a personalized workout plan on my website.
Your opinion on supplements, and if you favour any, which ones?
Todd from Calgary
I am neither in favour nor against supplements. I personally do not take anything. I just like eating clean, healthy foods.
There are two sides to the argument on the subject of supplements. Side one (the people that make supplements) says you cannot get all the nutrients your body needs from food. Food oxidizes and decays and most nutrients are lost before you ingest it unless you grow your own garden and have an organic farm.
The other side (Canada Food Guide and dieticians) generally says you can get all the nutrients you need just by eating healthy and a variety of foods. I say eat clean and take a multivitamin just to make sure.
I run on a treadmill for about 20 to 30 minutes a day and burn between 700 to 1000 calories. The speed on the treadmill is between 6 to 9. How accurate is the machine on recording your calories burned?
Thanks for reading my question,
Warren from Kitchener
Check out my new post on cardio machines in the blog section of the site. The calorie readouts are generally incorrect. Caloric expenditure depends on the muscle activity involved and intensity specific to your fitness level. The machines cannot estimate that properly.
I am a new mom; my little one is two months old. I used to be in fabulous shape. I had a BMI of 21 and a weight of 135 lbs, I'm 5'6".
I wrestled for 11 years, including at university. I coached wrestling (and will get back to it soon), I taught spin classes up to 7 months pregnant, and did deep-water workouts up to two days before i gave birth.
Even with all of this activity I managed to gain 60 lbs while pregnant, and am having a very hard time getting the weight off. I know that it won't come flying off, and that I may not get back to my previous shape, but I'm finding it very difficult to find the time to workout with my little one.
My question is what are the best exercises you can do at home, in the shortest amount of time (baby nap time or happy time) that will have the most affect on the pregnancy weight areas, the tummy, hips and thighs? I want my old body back, but don't have 4 hours a day anymore to work at it.
Sarah from Calgary
The best workout you can do in 30 minutes or less is a full body functional core circuit. You need a stability ball, dumbbells and your own body weight.
You can do all the exercises right at home. You pick about ten movements that train all the muscles in the body at the same time. Do the movements one after the other with little or no rest. You just need to see a trainer once to get the right exercises set up specific to your fitness level and then you are good to go.
This is a complete workout and trains all components of fitness. It is convenient but intense. Have fun!
When I walk my right foot tends to have an outward rotation, so when I squat I need to bring the right toes inwards to be even with the left.
What muscles could be tight?
David from Brisbane
Ideal squat and lunge position is the knee cap over the second toe. The key muscles to stretch are your calves and hip flexors.
Try standing on a step and letting one heel lower to the floor for the lower leg. For the hip flexor try the warrior pose.
I was just wondering: I remember you saying in one of your X-Weighted episodes that circuit training does nothing for you. I was just wondering why that is? Isn't moving in any form helpful?
Karen from LaSalle
I like circuit training — when done properly it is very effective for improving fitness. I was referring to the circuit workout they do at Curves For Women. They do workouts where you move from one machine to another. All the machines involve sitting or lying down with back support (very lazy). They isolate one muscle at a time.
This is totally the wrong way to train the body. You are actually doing more harm than good. You do not teach the body how to move properly in the world the person is trying to survive. People need fitness specific to their environment. They need to do upright exercise on their feet moving loads with their arms and legs while stabilizing their trunk with their deep abdominal muscles.
This is how humans live on earth not sitting on artificial machines squeezing their legs together hoping they get rid of inner thigh fat (worst exercise machine ever). I also don't think Curves is entirely accurate about how many calories you burn in their 30 minute program. Most people would be lucky to burn up to 175 calories, not the 500–600 that's claimed.