Ask Paul, ninth edition

askpaul_september10

Welcome to the ninth edition of "Ask Paul," where I answer a few of the questions I receive on the site. I get literally hundreds of questions every month from people all over the world, and a lot of them follow a pretty common theme. I've picked quite a few from June and done my best to provide people with some insight and assistance.


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.


Paul


question

Hi Paul,


I started running about a year ago (I had never ran even a block in my life) and have completed 3 10ks and a 5k. I run 3x a week (2 x 3 miles and 1 x 6 + miles) and circuit train 3x a week. I am currently training for a 1/2 marathon and would like to get faster. I have improved my first 10k time from 1hr 25min to 1 hr 11 min, but want more. I think that a have poor core strength could this be the problem? Is is best to have a program set up by a personal trainer? I also would like to build my endurance up as the last couple miles of a long run seem to be a struggle. What do you suggest?


Linda, from Sherwood Park


answer

Hi Linda,


To become faster at running you need a combination of three things.

  1. Running economy – you become so efficient in your stride that you do not waste unnecessary energy. Need to work with a run coach to help you with running mechanics.
  2. A fantastic cardiovascular system and supporting muscular system. Need to work with a trainer to set you up on a progressive run program and resistance training program that will allow your muscles to absorb the high impact of running long distances. This will include core work, hip work and a good flexibility program.
  3. Less body fat – you do not see heavy people winning running races. A clean eating plan specific for your metabolism and weekly energy expenditure is important. You can see a dietician about this or maybe fill out the questionnaire on my eating plan program I offer on the website. I can definitely help here.


Paul


question

Hey Paul,


Quick question bud... what do you know about the benefits/problems associated with taking a pre-workout drink such as super pump 250 by Gaspari?


Thank you


Officer Jim Lahey from Edmonton



answer

Hi Mr Lahey,


The big benefit is that you can get your body into a heightened state of arousal that you perform with much more energy in your workout. This can lead to a more intense workout which would improve whatever fitness objective you have. The problem is that some of the ingredients they put into “increased energy type products” can be harmful to the body. Be careful of ephedrine, high doses of caffeine, human growth hormones, excessive protein, excessive creatine. I am not very familiar with this specific product so do your research and identify the ingredients, the quantity and compare it to what the body can handle. Realize that unless you plan on taking this product for life the results you gain will just diminish back to normal levels if you stop using it. The long term effects are probably unknown. Unless you are training for something at an elite level or getting paid big $ for your physical performance I would be cautious. As a general citizen I don’t expect you to chase down criminals long distance on foot or beat up a gang of thugs on your own so take it easy buddy.


Paul


question

Hi Paul,


What's your opinion of yoga as part of a fitness regimen? Can you build strength and muscle tone through regular yoga classes?


Thanks!


Jen from Edmonton


answer

Hi Jen,


Yoga tends to work stability or static strength also called “isometric strength”.
You generally hold postures for periods of time using your body weight as resistance. This is great and should be part of a fitness program. Where yoga lacks is the speed, power and explosive strength of the muscles using multiple movement patterns. An example would be jumping drills under a load, rapid medicine ball throws or explosive barbell lifts like the clean and jerk. Yoga tends to work mainly the slow twitch muscle fibers of the body not the fast twitch. As we age the first thing to go is the speed and explosive movement of the body. We can have static strength and endurance well into our senior years. If you do yoga just make sure you are doing the hard stuff as well.


Paul

question

Hi Paul


Where can I find this pamphlet "How to be lean, fit and pain-free in the 21 century"? I just heard about it at the spa this morning. I'm looking forward to learning HOW to be in better health.


Thanks!


Mable from Edmonton



answer

Hi Mabel,


Just go to my website and click on “personalized plans” at the top of the page.


Paul


question

Hi Paul,


You had a girl Annalisa on X-Weighted who had CP. My daughter Aurora was born Dec 31 2009 3 months premature and subsequently had a 4th grade brain bleed and developed hydrocephalus. I remember she inspired me so much. She gave me hope for my baby girl. If she and her parents would be willing ...would they contact me? As a result of a premature bleed is often Cp??


Thank you,


Heather from Halifax


answer

Hi Heather,


I recommend contacting Anaid Productions. This is the company that produces the show. They may be able to help you out.


Paul


question

Paul


I am a wheelchair triathlete currently competing in Olympic distance triathlon. I compete against able-bodied athletes most of the time as there are not a lot of paratriathletes. It took me a lot of years to jump from a sprint to an Olympic and now I am wanting to take on a half ironman next summer, 2011. I read on the x-weighted website that someone won a trip for two to spend a weekend with you in Canmore. Do you offer this as private two people weekends or is it just the group weekend with mountain hikes? I am looking for some help to push me over the top from Olympic distance to half ironman but tri camps do not work for me because of being all able bodied athletes. Plus I do not live in a large enough center to have access to strong tri training gyms or trainers. As I said, I am looking for some professional training and education to add to my current training to help me make this leap and from watching your show some time and training with you would help me learn what I need to do to reach my dreams.


Thanks for your time


Tammy from Red Deer


answer

Hi Tammy,


If you are ever in Edmonton give me a shout at my personal training studio, Custom Fit. Maybe we can do a training session. Would love to see what you can do.


Paul


question

Hi Paul,


When are you coming to Bedfordshire in England? You are such an inspiration 🙂


Suzie from England


answer

Hi Suzie


I have heard the producers talk about doing a UK version of X-Weighted so you never know. Would love to come check out your country.


Paul


question

Hi Paul,


I go to the gym for cardio exercise and do my weights at home. I want to be able to run 5k but don't feel confident about training outside in public just yet. I can only spend an 1 1/2 hours down the gym a day and use the treadmill to do the Couch potato to 5K programme. What other cardio machines could i use to get the full benefit of my time there? and also, could i do interval training on the rowing machine?


Thanks,


Amanda from Malaga, Spain


answer

Hi Amanda,


I would recommend to avoid cardio machines all together unless you really enjoy being on them. Your best bang for the time spent exercising in a gym is free weight/body weight functional core exercises in a circuit format. You could do 45min of this type of workout instead of the 90min you are currently doing and get better results. I am all about getting the most payoff physically for the least amount of time spent. Next month I will be offering workouts of this type through my website. Check it out in a couple of weeks.


Paul


question

Hi Paul,


I have Rheumatoid Arthritis which has flared recently in my arms and hands so that I had to give up my workouts with weights. Other than walking what can I do to get my fitness level back up and be toned again.


Thank you,


Valerie from Saskatoon


answer

Hi Valerie,


Actually the best thing you can do for RA is to move all the different joints in the body stimulating blood and oxygen flow. There are thousands of exercises you can be doing. I recommend seeing a trainer who can assess your function and then set you up on a program specific to your fitness level and ailments.


Paul


question

Hi Paul,


I remember you as a child working at your father's restaurant in Hinton. You used to bus the tables, etc. I loved going to the Timberland , the gravy was to die for, then began my lifelong struggle with weight. I am a single mom of two great kids and I have had a life changing experience in the last two years. I got interested in this clean eating program that is encouraged by Tosca Reno. Two years later I am 60 lbs lighter and feel better than I did 10 years ago. My problem is that I would still like to lose another 30 or so pounds but am finding it very difficult to do so. Are there any words of encouragement or any strategies you could give me? I can't really afford to go to a gym, but would like some ideas.....I feel stuck in a rut!


Thanks for replying,


Doris from Edmonton


answer

Hi Doris,


Wow you are going back a long time. I had quite a few French fries with that gravy you are talking about. One of the reasons I was an overweight child.
Generally I like most of what Tosca recommends for eating. If you are following her plan you are doing well. To get past plateaus if you can not improve your eating anymore you have to make the change through exercise.
If you are already training everyday for up to an hour at a time and the weight is not changing then you have to move to the recreational athlete level. You have to start training for something or a purpose other than weight loss. I recommend signing up for a race or a competition of some kind. A sprint distance triathlon, the MS bike tour (150km ride), or a sports team. To stay motivated and keep adding on workout intensity you need a reason to keep you consistent. This is what works for me.


Paul


question

Hi Paul,


Thank you so much for your advice on getting a personal trainer. I did exactly what you said and found a great guy. Very professional (hard task master which works for me) and we are on the same wave length which is great..


My next question is how long do a have a trainer for? I can afford to have three sessions per week and would like to keep this going for as long as it takes to lose 70lbs. Is that a good idea or should I only have a trainer to get me started then go it alone which I am afraid to do.


Thank you,


June from Newcastle England


answer

Hi June,


If you can afford it I recommend working with a trainer for life. I have been training most of my clients for 15years plus now. Once you find someone you like, develop a good relationship and get the results you want it is hard to let it go. Let them take care of your fitness and health needs so there is one less thing for you to worry about all the time on your own. If money is an issue scale back to once per week and just make sure you do the homework they give you. You can also do once per month and just check in with them to upgrade your workout as you get fitter. I recommend to never lose touch once you find someone you like. Good trainers are hard to find.


Paul


question

Hi Paul,


I'm confused about whether to use sugar or sweetener in my tea and coffee. I'm concerned about adding extra calories but I also get that adding chemicals to your diet is not good either. When I have used sweetener its Splenda. I usually have one or two coffees a day and maybe 2 teas. that’s a maximum of 6 teaspoons of sugar. I believe I read somewhere a tsp of sugar has 19 calories. Is adding 80 calories better than using Splenda? I have used honey in tea but not sure how that would taste in coffee?


Thank you,


Heather from Pickering


answer

Hi Heather,


First honey is no better than sugar in its relationship to insulin and the calorie intake. If you want to sweeten something try Stevia. It is from a plant and not processed as much as other sweeteners. Sugar is everywhere. It is a good idea to remove it as much as possible from your diet.


Paul


question

Hi Paul,


Disaster hit me this morning! I was five minutes into my training session with my PT, as I was getting up from a 2oom sprint on the rower my back went (had microdiscectomy 17 yr ago, had intermittent pain - hence why I now have a PT). My question is what can I do to prevent this from happening again? I'm also receiving badminton coaching sessions once a week as my goal is to win this years veterans All England and hopefully be selected to play for England.!!!


I know you must be thinking why I am asking you to help me and not my trainer, the answer is simple - you are the best!! and yes, if I could afford you and, more importantly, lived closer I would have you as my trainer. However, since miles are an issue I have to do with picking up ideas from your TV show (latest being x-weighted families, not your best show as one doesn't get to see you work with people). Please help me Paul! Whoops forgot to add. Had to stop running because I also suffering from pirriformis pain. I had months of physio treatment but with no improvement. Please Paul I can't bare to think that my health problems will end up putting a stop to my love of sport and fitness. Please, I'm begging you to help me. I'm to scared to even send this in case the reply is what I dread!!!


Thank you,


Christine from Cheshire


answer

Hi Christine,


If you are getting pain in your butt or leg chances are there is a protruding disc that is irritating your sciatic nerve. The good news is that you don’t have to necessarily stop badminton. The key is to build an even kinetic chain from the feet to the top of your neck. You want the forces of impact from running to be distributed evenly so that one area is not taking the brunt of the impact. This involves good core training to provide stability to the trunk and hips. You also want to make sure your ankle is not excessively pronating and your femur not internally rotating. Stretching your calves, peroneals, psoas, tensor fascia latte and erector spinae muscles is a good idea. Strengthening your core, hips , tibialis anterior and mid trapezius muscles will help develop good length/tension relationship between the muscles and joints. Finally trying to do integrated movement that connects the lower body, hips, torso and upper body in proper motor sequencing can help with nervous system and muscular system integration. I know this all sounds complicated but if you can find a good trainer in your area they should be able to put together a program that can correct any postural problems that you may have. If you do this you may have a chance to last longer playing your favorite sport and avoiding injury.


Paul


question

Hi Paul,


A number of years ago, I was actually short-listed to be on X-Weighted but you guys dropped Victoria for a different city. I've followed your show and website and recommended it to a lot of people, especially your comments on ellipticals/"cardio" equipment...


My question is about anabolic steroids. I was curious if you have ever known anyone who has done winstrol-V and whether or not I should attempt a cycle. I see an endochronologist who told me that pre-Ben Johnson, doctors prescribed stanozolol and win-depo to menopausal women to combat ostioperosis. Her only concern was that it spikes cholesterol and that I would have to buy it illegally. Obviously I'm not looking for you to give a medical opinion but here's the deal - I lift 1.5hrs 3 days, run 5-8km every other day and eat a lean diet (lost 70lbs over last year). I am still carrying a lot of fat and my endochronologist says that's because I am hypothyroid. I bounce around inside of a 10lb range but never lower than that. I've tried all the diet "tweaking" I know and nothing works. I even tried a plan i bought off of you and applied it - I’m a former competitive boxer so I'm aware of plateaus both dietary and physically. I know many guys who've taken the Winstrol before and cut a lot of body fat. I'm on the fence though. I respect your opinion and wondered your thoughts on it.


Thank you,


Aaron from Victoria


answer

Hi Aaron,


There is no way I am going to recommend taking steroids. Get that idea out of your head. The draw backs to your hormonal system out weighs any temporary physical or performance benefits. Focus on sleeping 8hrs per day. Eating 6 meals per day with about 25% of your calories coming from protein, 55% from carbs and 20% from fat. Lift weights 4 times per week for no longer than 1hr at a time. Keep your running short 5km max focusing on sprinting drills which stimulates the fast twitch muscle fibers. Work with a trainer that understands what you want without the drugs. You may think you have exhausted all natural resources but you really have not, keep


Paul


question

Hi Paul,


Paul, I am wondering if you could help me out with some pre and post workout "snacks" that I should be eating. I have been working out for about a year, mainly I walk 5K and lift weights. I am curious about what I should be having before my workout and what after. Generally before I don't have much right now and after I have a banana or a glass of chocolate milk.


Thank you,


Kate from Kamloops


answer

Hi Kate,


For a pre workout meal aim for eating 3 hours in advance to allow time for digestion. Any healthy protein/fat/carb combo will do. An example is a chicken breast with yams and some salad with an olive oil vinaigrette dressing. A pre workout snack is only needed if your workout is going to be longer than 90min. You have enough stored glycogen (energy) to sustain you for that time. A good snack would be a piece of fruit with 175ml yogurt.

The post workout meal is important. Try eating within 45min of the workout.
For recovery and muscle repair protein is a good idea. I am a big fan of a vegetarian omelet. To rebuild energy stores more carbs are necessary especially if you plan on being active again within the next few hours. A cup of wild rice with diced apples and dried cranberries is great.


Paul


question

Hi Paul,


Is it possible to lose weight (approx. 50 lbs) without having sagging skin and how?


Thank you,


Patty from Port McNicoll


answer

Hi Patty,


Each person has a different degree of elasticity in their skin. It depends on your genetics. Nothing you can do about it.


Paul


question

Hi Paul,


I am 70 years old and have gained weight during the last 10 years. I try to walk 30 minutes per day and other than that just do the usual around the house chores. Would it be advisable to wear weights around my ankles or wrists while walking or doing housework? I am in good health.


Thank you,


Marilyn from Edmonton


answer

Hi Marilyn,


I am not a fan of adding weights to the body during walking. In case you have some postural problems the added weight may cause unhealthy stress to your joints if they are not distributing ground forces properly. I recommend walking faster, or walking up hills for more intensity. During house work type chores try lunging while vacuuming, put a weight plate (the one with a hole in it) through a mop or broom stick for more resistance to work your core, try washing windows while balancing on one leg or holding a plie squat while ironing. Try this if you want to make housework harder.


Paul


question

Hi Paul,


I love your program, but I do have one question regarding what you tell people about their meal and snack eating. You mention that people should eat every 3-4 hrs, but for almost all people who work, this really is not feasible. In this day and age of fast paced work environments, most businesses do not even give employees time for coffee breaks and if you do not work at a desk you cannot have food in your hands while working, eg, if you are a nurse, you do not work at a desk but go from patient room to patient room.



What is your suggestion if you cannot have a snack or eat every 3-4 hours as suggested?


Thank you,


Lynn from Burlington


answer

Hi Lynn,


The concept of eating every three hours is to prevent your body from lowering its metabolic rate. It is an inherit genetic trait human beings share passed down from our prehistoric ancestors. They did not get food on a regular basis. Their survival depended on metabolic slow down to conserve body fat levels. Since most people’s goal today is to lose fat and not conserve it, eating every three hours gives us that extra boost in daily caloric expenditure at rest. If you can’t do this then you will simply not benefit from frequent eating. What may help slightly is to eat a bit more protein before your work shifts. Protein digests slower and it takes your body more energy to process it than carbs and fat. Lean meats, eggs, beans, a few nuts and seeds are your best bet.


Paul


question

Hi Paul,


I watch your show regularly and really appreciate your positive attitude and also your honest statements about weight loss. It's helped me to drop the emotions related to weight-loss and accept that it's all about diet and exercise levels, nothing more.

My question for you is, I'm often hungry just before bed and if I don't eat something, I sleep poorly because of my hunger pangs. To avoid this, I usually end up having a piece of (homemade) bread because it fills me up for the night. Overall, I've cut down on my portion sizes and am eating very healthy food. By that I mean vegetables fresh from my garden, whole grains, small meat portions, lots of water, no desserts, and nothing processed. My questions are, why am I so hungry just before bed and will late night eating like this contribute to weight gain or limit my ability to lose weight?


Thanks Paul!


Laura from Regina


answer

Hi Laura,


If you are hungry late at night look at these items and check it off your list.

  • Did you have a substantial breakfast?
  • Are you eating every three hours?
  • Are you getting at least 25%-30% of your calories from healthy protein choices?
  • Are you getting over 35grams of fiber daily?
  • Are you getting enough food in relation to the activity you do in a day?



If you can’t sleep try taking in about 10 raw almonds. It should do the trick.


Paul


question

Hi Paul,


I am currently an RN on the path to a career change. I am generally healthy and physical activity/diet has always been a big part of my life but since the birth of my third child I have been overwhelmingly consumed by health and fitness. Can you please recommend the most reliable and recognised training source for becoming a personal trainer.br />


Thank you,


Katherine from Kitchener


answer

Hi Katherine,


If you want to go back to school a degree in Physical Education is a good idea. Some technology schools like N.A.I.T offer a two year program specifically on personal training. I would also recommend checking out online the American College of Sports Medicine or the National Academy of Sports Medicine. They have some great certification courses on personal training.

Good Luck


Paul


question

Hi Paul,


Great show!!! I started my lifestyle change Feb 17 2010 and have lost 57 lbs. I completely changed my eating habits by seeing a natural path who has gotten me on track so eating is not the issue for me in the least.


Exercise however is the problem I have plateaued with the last 30 lbs to lose. I do a lot of brisk walking, some jogging, stationery bike, stair climbing and I have some dvds- walk away the pounds and biggest loser work out. I had a treadmill that I really enjoyed but got really bad shin splints and so I would have to ice for a few days then get back on. (sometimes I get them while walking/jogging so I do different exercise.)


For the past month I have not exercised as I have fisshers and hemorrhoids and need surgery. I feel that there is something I must be able to do like lift weights while sitting down, or push ups against the wall. From behind I look thin, but from the front I have target areas - my mid section and my upper arms. I am looking for advise on great work out ideas for these areas now, as well as when I am "feeling better


Thank you,


Dawn from Kitchener


answer

Hi Dawn,


I think weight training is key for you and all women at least two to three times per week. It is the best way to shape the body and increase your metabolic rate so that you are burning calories during the hours of the day you are not working out. In a couple of weeks I will be featuring workout programs people can use on my site. There will be a variety to choose from depending your goals and fitness level. I believe these workouts will take you past your plateau. You have to force your body to do something it is not used to.


Paul


question

Hi Paul,


My doctor told me to lay off weight baring exercises because of possible arthritis in my knees. I started riding my bike and it feels great!

I’ve been reading more and more about target heart rates. I’m just wondering how much truth there is to it. A bunch of articles and experts say if you want to lost fat you need to work between 60-70% of your max heart rate. Is this true? Or should I be working as hard as I can for an hour?


Thank you,


Greg from Toronto


answer

Hi Greg,


The heart rate charts do not work. They are based on a formula using age to determined workload and intensity. The problem is that people of the same age can have vastly different maximum heart rates. I train a lady in her 60’s that can workout at a heart rate of 170 beats per min continuously for 30min. According to the heart rate charts she should be training no higher than 136bpm. At this level she does not even get a workout. If you are going to use heart rate to train I recommend training at 75-85% of your max for 30-60min. You just have to determine what your max is for you. You may be burning a higher percent of fat calories at a lower intensity level but the total calories used up is much less. You can’t get fit training at low intensity (less than 75%). Improved fitness and total calories burned in a workout beats the percentage of calories used from fat every time.


Paul