Welcome to the fourteenth 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 April 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.
I enjoy HARD workouts and keep track of my heart rate...but...my heart rate normally always exceeds the recommended max heart rate for my age. Should I be concerned? My resting heart rate is around 60, but when working hard on a machine which monotors heart rate, I am always at least 20 beats per min over the MAX. Should I scale it back? I don't feel any pain or weakness whatsoever, and feel energized when pushing myself!
Linda from Winnipeg
The Heart Rate charts on cardio machines are complete bogus. They should be removed from every one of them. Two people with identical ages can have vastly different maximum heart rates. Therefore the percentages they workout at are also different. I have 50yr old clients that are quite comfortable working out at near 180 beats per minute while others find getting near 150 beats per minute challenging. Some people have smaller hearts that require more beats per minute to send the same amount of blood to the working muscles. It does not mean you are fit or unfit. If you want to work out in training zones you need to get a maximum heart rate test performed specific to yourself. See a qualified trainer in your area to set one up.
I wanted to know what you thought of the 17 day diet? Is it something people who are overweight should look into?
Nichole from Winnipeg
The 17 day diet is dumb. Let me explain to you the key to weight loss. Eat high nutrient dense foods specific to your metabolic rate, daily activity level and metabolic type. It is making the right choice for you as much as possible through your entire life time. Identify obstacles that prevent you from making the right choices.
Is there a rule about not eating about two hours before bed if you are watching calories? Is that true?I love Cream Of Wheat and although it's carbs, is a healthier choice than chips. But am I adding calories in attempts of being healthy?!>
Stacey from Toronto
If you are eating healthy with the appropriate amount of calories for your basal metabolic rate and daily activity level it does not matter what time of day you eat. Some people are shift workers, some workout later in the day(best time to eat is 45min post exercise). Ideally eat smaller portions every three hours. The only problem with late night eating is coming up with a good reason for doing so. Most people are just bored, watching TV and eat mindlessly. As long as you are not one of these people go for it.
I have bad knees I am 48 years old. Previous surgery all when I was a teenager two on my right knee and one on the left knee. The problem was disclocating knee caps. That was fixed. I lift weights play tennis and run 5 to 6 times a week. The problem on my left knee was a development of a bakers cyst. The doctor gave me a cortisone injection today April 8,2011. He also stated my knees are that of a 65 or 70 year old man. He told me that all I should be doing is biking and using the elliptical machine which I know you hate. He said I can still play tennis just not every day. He said runners tend to run every day. Anyway with these issues can you recommend exercises that are good cardio and gentle to the knees at the same time. Except for the fluid build up in the back of the left knee, my knees feel good they don't feel old and now after the cortisone shot they feel even better. I can't swim so that is not an option.
Kevin from Sudbury
I have seen many clients with bad knees. The first thing that is recommended by doctors is to not do weight bearing type exercise while bending your knees. The problem with this is that if you want to function on planet earth you have to move your body against gravity, sometimes with added load and bend your knees to sit on a toilet, get out of a couch, get in and out of your car, climb steps, etc. This is why elliptical and stationary bikes do not provide any functional real life benefit. There are many movements you can still do. See a qualified trainer in your area and have them set up a circuit type workout that involves you moving your body weight, free weights, and a variety of functional exercises you can do without pain that will help you in everyday life activity. Swimming, biking and especially elliptical trainers offer no practical benefit for your time.
Need your advice on Degenerative Disc Disease. What are some good exercises?
I am training a couple. Wife: 38, 267lbs, husband 182 with DDD. I am a mobile trainer and I go to their home. I have a hallway to work with and some stairs. Of course I bring my equipment when needed (Eg: SB, TRX, Kettlebells, DB, Bars, etc) but I am finding it hard because when he walks he looks as though he is in pain. I just don't want to do something that would compromise his health. If I load him up, I have him sitting in a chair to protect his back, I don't do any jumping with him of course and I try to add in as much functional exercises as i can, but once I add in more compound exercises he looks as though he is in more pain. I try to put in floor stuff for his back (Bird Dogs, Planks, Hip Thrusts, etc), but I am not sure if these are exactly what he needs.
His wife on the other hand does not like exercises AT ALL. She will try to kick me out of the house and tell me to leave, but I tell her that she loves me to much and would miss me.
So I have one with DDD and one who doesn't want me to be there. Any advice?
Terese from Calgary
For your client I recommend they get a kinetic chain assessment. This is a postural assessment to determine any muscular imbalances that exist. Ideally you want to have the body distribute force evenly through all the joints without one area taking on more stress because of muscular tightness, weakness or mechanical issues. This type of assessment is important before anyone engages in any kind of strenuous exercise. Check with physiotherapists or trainers in your area that are qualified to perform one.
I read a lot of different guidelines on how many calories I should be consuming a day. Could You help me out? I am 5"0, 25, female, I would say my workout level is light and around 3 times a week on average. Please help thanks
Tahnee from Meaford
The best way to measure your resting metabolic rate is to use a metabolic cart. You usually find these at health audit clinics or Universities in the medicine or physical education departments. An equation you can use to estimate how many calories you need in a day is-
10 X weight in kg + 6.25 X height in cm – 4.92 X age – 161 for females + 166 for males. This equation is in my booklet on my website. You would then have to multiply your final number by how active you are. This information is also in my booklet.
I know your a very busy man!! lol Do you work with people one on one? If so how does some one go about getting to that point?
Terri from Morinville
In Edmonton I have a personal training studio called “Custom Fit Personal Training”. If you are in the area give me a call and I can do a workout session with you. You can also access workouts by me through my website. The new video exercise library is very cool.