Welcome to the tenth 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.
Here is my question. I’ve had my share of surgeries thus I have to be careful with the kind of activities that I do. My long time dream is to come to Vancouver for a triathlon. How should I start training, how long per week I should train and the most important how can I train very good for the triathlon and be careful not to hurt myself with exercise or activities? I appreciate any help you could give me. Xox
Vickie, from Ottawa
The best advice I can give you is to work with a triathlon coach. This sport has become very popular. You do not have to be a professional or even good at it to work with a coach. There are many trainers out there taking sedentary people and designing a plan to help them achieve any level of triathlon distance they wish to train for. The coach will assess your postural mechanics, fitness level mind set and design a plan specific for you. You can work with them on a regular basis or get a plan set up to do on your own and check in with them once in awhile. The coach will set up your progressions, intensity, frequency , recovery time, etc. I recommend going to and contact Kevin Masters. He is the best. If you are going to do something don’t waste time or hurt yourself, do it right and efficiently.
Is it true that you should not eat carbs at night?
Carly, from Philadelphia
Hi Mr Lahey,
The time of day you eat plays only a small role in the amount of body fat you will carry. It is really the amount of calories you consume over a week, month and year compared to the energy you expend that affects how much body fat you will gain or lose. Just because you eat during a few minutes later into the night will not make or break your body composition levels. However it is more ideal to eat carbs right after an intense workout. The types of carbs you eat are important as well. Some carbs are great for you while others are not. For example yams are highly nutritious while French fries are not. Both are potatoes. You need to also analyze why you are eating late at night. If you are hungry then maybe you should eat earlier in the day. If you are just bored then find something else to do, if you are a shift worker and your eating patterns are just different than the average person then that is acceptable.
I’ve just had my third baby, and am very proud to say I’m in the best shape of my life! I’m 5’6″, and have gotten myself down to 130 obs. This is after being 60 lbs overweight with my first baby.
Recently I’ve taken up running. I am currently training for my first 5K 🙂 I run every other day, and do pilates on my off days. I’m up to 4K, but just can’t seem to break through that barrier. Do you have any tips to get me past the 4K and up to 5? I really want to finish this first race still running.
By the way, when I’m running and think I can’t do anymore, I picture you beside me running along and encouraging me. Sounds cheesy I know, but without you I wouldn’t get through most of my morning runs!
Kelly, from London Ontario
Congrats on losing the pregnancy weight. Some women never recover after gaining excess weight during their pregnancy. For your first 5km run I recommend doing 9min of running with a 1 min walk break for the entire time. Based on your weight and description of fitness I am guessing you are going to be around 40min or slightly less. This system will break up your race into four segments. The walk break will give you a chance to take in water and recover slightly. In addition the four segments are mentally more easily manageable than trying to run the entire time. You will have a faster time doing run/walks than trying to run the whole race. The amount you slow down at the end of the race will be less by breaking the race pace up.
My question has to do with diet pop? How bad is it for you? REALLY? I always see you take away people’s pop on X-Weighted but it always seems to be regular pop. Diet pop does not have any calories or sugar so can you tell me how bad it really is? I am an addict to Diet Pepsi so could really use the help.
Alanna from Edmonton
It is the additives, chemicals and preservatives in diet pop and all packaged foods that we have to worry about. In the future more research will be done on the risk of cancer by consuming these products. Our liver has to filter toxins that we take in. It is impossible to remove all of them from our diet unless you live secluded on an organic farm. All we can do is control how much poison we put into our body. Any kind of pop is not good for you. How much is too much? Nobody knows. Enjoy one once in awhile but try not to make it a daily habit.
I ordered your personalized eating plan and I feel totally ripped off for the 75.00 I paid. I watch your show when I can, and am a big fan. I guess I just expected a more than the three pages I printed off. For that kind of money your exercise program should be included aswell. Or I should have just taken notes from your show for free.
Amy from Consecon
Maybe you can tell me why you feel ripped off. You wanted a plan that is going to help you lose the weight you desire and that can be realistically followed for life. This is exactly what I gave you. I made it simple to follow. You get to be part of the decision making process which I think is important for long term success. I set up the options that are available to you with the portion sizes specific to your metabolic rate (which I calculated). I ensured you are getting all the nutrients your body needs daily without supplementation. This has been verified by a dietician that I work with. I also mentioned in the email you received that I am available to personally consult with you if there are any questions or concerns you may have with the plan I developed. I received no response whatsoever. If you just give the plan a chance you will see that it works. I can send you dozens of emails I received from happy people that not only dropped the weight they wanted but feel healthier. The time it takes me to set up your plan, the quality of the eating plan plus the time I set aside after to consult with you is what you pay for. I believe it is a deal. Let me help you make this work. I guarantee you will be satisfied.
if I were to designate a one hour visit to the gym, what ration of cardio versue weights should i be doing? for instance: 40 min cardio and 20 min weights?
Thanks for your time
Danielle from Courtice
I would not separate the two. The cardiovascular system and muscular system work together for body performance. If you want to be fit and functional for real life activity, do full body functional free weight exercise in a circuit format. Link 8 exercises together that engage multiple muscle groups and have movement patterns in many planes of motion. Aim for 15 reps per exercise with a weight that causes muscular failure by the last rep. The method of doing weights first and cardio second or vice versa is so 1980s.
I have recently focused my attention on losing weight. I’m a mother of two with the youngest being three months. I have a few questions about working out my core and legs. What type of exercises can I do at home for these areas. Currently I’m walking an hour a day and 30 mins on my cross training machine. This is helping but I also need to tone up. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated
Kelly from New Hamburg
I would recommend working your legs and core in the same movement pattern. If you look in terms of function this is the best way. Good exercises are lunges with rotation, squat with low to high wood chop or a burpee with a medicine ball. If you are not sure what these exercises are then I recommend either seeing a trainer who can show you how to do them properly or sign up for a personalized workout plan from me on my website.
On the episode of X-Weighted today, you mentioned your dislike of elipticals. I have always used them because they do seem to be easier on my knees and “experts” have said that with elipticals that have the “ski-poles” you get more results for less effort. Is walking for an hour or more better for weight loss and fitness than working on an eliptical?
Wendy from Toronto
If you look on my website in the article archives I have written an article about why I think the elliptical is a poor choice for exercise. Yes I would say walking at the same intensity as working on the elliptical is better for you. The calorie expenditure is about the same but walking has a functional purpose as the elliptical does not.
Nice meeting you at the Weight Wise Conference today, good job on the obstacle course.
Sarah from Ottawa-Napean
I have always wanted to come to Ottawa. I get many requests. I just need someone to help me set it up. Do you know anybody?
I was reading about kettlebells seems like you can get a very good workout with them. What is your opinion about them? I’m wondering if they would give me a good workout.
Bernadette from Calgary
I think kettlebells are a fantastic way to train. You just have to do exercises appropriate for your fitness level. There is a technique and skill set to learn to get the most out of them. If you are patient and eager to learn you will get a great workout.
I am a relatively new PT. I have been a trainer for about one year now. I work for a large, chain gym. I am growing tired of corporate fitness. Do you offer any seminars on how to train trainers? I have been to your Lean, Fit & Pain Free seminar, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I want to move on from my current job, but feel as though I may lack some of the expertise to do so. I want to be ‘real’ trainer!
Andrea from Ottawa
Your best bet is to get out of the large gym chain and get into a good private personal training studio. You will learn more here. Generally private studios have better more ambitious trainers that have ventured off on their own. You will also have a better opportunity to make more money. Large gym chains take a big chunk away from the trainer.
If you hate ellipticals what do you suggest for someone with knee issues and shin splints? I have paid so much for Physio to “get rid” of my shin splints but nothing is working.
Joanne from Saskatoon
Generally if you have pain in one part of your body it is a result from a problem elsewhere. I would look at getting an assessment of your hips and core. Weak glute medius muscles, tight psoas muscles, a weak core and tight lower back can all contribute to faulty movement in the lower extremities. Excess stress is being placed around your knee and ankle joint because forces are not being distributed evenly through out your body..
I have noticed that there was a national challenge for 2009 and 2010. Will there be a national challenged for 2011? If so, how do I register and be part of that?
Linda from Edmonton
Yes there will be. Go to
I want to excercise but I have not enough time or budget to go to a fitness studio or buy equipment. Which is the best way to exercise at home?
Daniel from Mexicall
You can do a full body workout with just your body weight at home. You just need to get exercises specific to your fitness level and fitness goals. See a trainer for this. You will be surprised at what is possible with no equipment at all. Gyms are going to hate me for this one. Stork stance, one leg squat touchdowns, push ups, plank rotations, lunge variations, yoga poses, etc. I could list a hundred moves
I love your show! I had two questions, the first one is about x weighted. Are the producers going to have an update version of past participants? The second questions deals with body cleanses e.g isagenix. What are your thoughts on these cleans diets and more specifically about the isagenix system?
Frank from Fort Frances
I am not a fan of Isagenix. One of the biggest scams on the fitness market in my opinion. Completely unnecessary product. Your body has a built in cleansing system already. Your kidneys, liver, small intestine and lymphatic system will keep your body clean of bacteria and toxins if you just make smart eating choices. Spend the money on healthy food.