Ask Paul, fifteenth edition

askpaul_may2011

Welcome to the fifteenth 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 May 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.


Hello Paul!



question

Can I work out every day without hurting myself? I do 30 mins cardio/interval, then one set of weights (5 upper and 5 lower) then some pushups, stretching/yoga\? I am 52 yrs old and female. I have 10 lbs to lose overall and eat very well.


Maureen from Truro


answer

Hi Maureen,


You can work out every day but it depends on your intensity level and the muscle groups that were stimulated. If the intensity is very high then take three days off before training the same muscles and movement patterns again. But realize most people do not train hard enough to require that much recovery time.



Paul


question

Hi Paul,


Would you be so kind to tell me how many calories I lost, if a climb 780 steps, and how much I will loose if I run 1.500 kilometres.


My age is 45 years old and my weight is 80 kilos, my height is 1,69 cm, I have lost 5 kilos y 6 weeks. I hope you can answer me and sorry for my bad English, my problem is I love pasta,bread,thats why I gain weight.


Thanks in advanced and I am you fan number 1 here in Mexico.


Norma from Mexico City


answer

Hi Norma,


Nobody can tell you exactly how many calories you burn doing anything. Caloric expenditure is really dependent on the intensity level you are training at specific to your fitness level. I do know that the average person burns approximately 100 calories walking or running 1.5km

Thanks for watching X-Weighted down in Mexico


Paul


question

How is it possible for a single mom of two boys, who are gone from home from 8:15am until 7:15pm, with just over an hour to make and eat dinner, do french homework, shower and change, tuck them into bed and when they're finally asleep by 9pm, start the laundry, dishes, lunch packing etc. to fit in ANY excercise program? I've tried waking earlier, but after a serious back problem (muscles seized from years of stress) my body just refuses to move in the morning and at night time, I am just plain tired! I REALLY NEED HELP! Any more X-Weighted shows casting calls, or even a NEW show from you?


Rachel from Brampton


answer

Hi Rachel,


I guess you will have to slowly work on restructuring your entire life. That type of schedule does not make it inviting to wake up every morning and look forward to starting your day. I am not sure where you would start I need more information to make suggestions. The key is to first figure out what you want your life to be like. Most people have no idea. Next you start figuring out how to get around the obstacles preventing the life you want. Finally you take baby steps by making the right decisions towards your vision. Right now you have too many obstacles to make the changes you want.


Paul


question

Hi Paul,


Could you please share with us your opinion in regards to ISEGENIX diet ?


I want to try to prevent my friend not to spend all their money on a thing that doesn`t work or if it works only for a short time. I don’t believe in drinking most of your meals , I do think a shake in the morning it is fine but that`s about it ...and ¬´I have this discussions with my friends and I try to explain to them that they should stop and should invest in great eating habits and eat organic and home cooked and lots of veggies and lean proteins and whole grains ...I respect a lot your opinion in regards to nutrition and healthy eating and that`s why I thought to ask you too .Am I wrong or is this just another pyramid scheme . Thank you a lot


Claudian from Guelph


answer

Hi Claudian,


I believe Isagenix is a big scam. The company is trying to tell people by taking their meal replacement shakes, pills and powders that they will be healthier and lose weight. How about teaching people how to integrate real food healthy eating into their lives. Who would want to live the rest of their lives drinking gross shakes and taking supplements? The cost for this disgusting program is outrageous.


Paul


question

Hi Paul,


my name is sarah i am 18 and 212 lb im only 5'3 im looking to be fit I need meal plan and lots of help i know you do the x weighted and i would love to do it, i hate the way i look and the way my family makes fun of me all the time for being big my mom always says that my 30 year old sister well live longer then me i just want to be fit and love the way i look.


Sarah from Grande Prairie


answer

Hi Sarah,


You are still young enough to establish good habits for the rest of your life. Your family is not helping by making fun of you. They think that if they shame you change will occur because you will feel guilty. This rarely occurs, all that happens is you get depressed and eat more bad food. Start nice and easy. Pick one activity you enjoy doing that gets your whole body moving. Do it as often as you can. Next try this one dish four times per week for dinner.

  • 1 cooked chicken breast chopped into pieces
  • 3 cups raw spinach
  • Half a red pepper chopped
  • 1 cup cucumbers chopped
  • Half an apple chopped
  • Half a cup any berries you like
  • 2 tablespoons of slivered almonds
  • 2 tablespoons of feta cheese


Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Add this dressing, 1tsp liquid honey, 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and 1 tsp olive oil. This is one of the healthiest and tasty dishes I know of. Make these two changes and then let me know by the end of summer how your body has changed.
Good Luck


Paul


question

i dont speak english very well i hope that you understand me i am your fan because i see you tv program by infinito chanel i would like to lose weight and i do exercise every day but i feel that is not enouhg what can i do in order to loose weight maybe i need to try with the food my exercises are zumba and i running 10 or 15 minutes per day help paul i need your help


Gracias


Itan from Mexico


answer

Hi Itan,


Thank you for watching X-Weighted in Mexico. If you feel you are exercising quite a bit already then you should definitely look at your food intake. Eating healthy is really responsible for most of the fat a person can lose. The average person may be able to burn 500-600 calories if they work hard for an hour but you can eat that amount in five minutes.


Paul


question

Hi Paul


I love X-weighted and just wanted to say I wish you were here to motivate and push me. With that said what words could you offer to upstart my motivation??? I'm a mother of two and don't have much time really to get to the gym. At least during the week. Any home stuff u could offer advise on?


Kristin


answer

Hi Kristin,


If you go to my website I recommend signing up for my video exercise library. Most of the exercises on each program can be done at home with just dumbbells and a stability ball. There are many levels of progression as well to fit any fitness type.


Paul


question

Hi Paul


I'm a dancer and I'm currently at university studying opera. I'm quite a small person and my weight fluctuates around the 100 mark. My question pertains to protein drinks. In the morning I have zero appetite whatsoever but if I don't eat in the morning I crash. Last year I started making protein shakes each morning with organic whey protein and I usually have a piece of rye toast with it or something similar. What are your opinions on protein drinks? Are they healthy? Do they contribute to weight gain? Thanks very much,


Eva from Vancouver


answer

Hi Eva,


For someone who is overweight I generally do not recommend protein drinks. If you are at a healthy weight and very active then I suggest a drink per day. A shake in the morning is fine to start your day. Make sure you add some fresh fruit, yogurt, and real juice to the powder. Don’t worry you will not gain weight. Missing breakfast is never a good idea.


Paul


question

Hi Paul


I know that you, among many other health guru's, dislike the use of salad dressings that come in a bottle. Can you make a few suggestions on what we can use instead? I eat a lot of salads and always choice a vinaigrette type dressing but I don't really like all of the added ingredients.


If you could be as specific as possible (with recipes or suggestions), that would be fantastic! Thanks!


Andrea from Edmonton


answer

Hi Andrea,


1tsp liquid honey, 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp olive oil. Yum Yum


Paul


PS: I love all of your helpful hints on X-Weighted!


question

Hi Paul


I'm a regular viewer of your show X-Weighted, in fact the show has played a major role in my weight loss since the birth of my first child 9 months ago. I watch the show and work out at the same time while the baby naps. It has inspired me to push myself to lose the extra weight from my pregnancy. I have lost all the weight, and more.


I enjoy step aerobics, running, weight lifting etc. However I am having some trouble toning up my abdomen. I have been doing crunches as part of my work out. Can you recommend some exercises that I can do to tone my mid-section? Thanks!


Amanda from Hamilton


answer

Hi Amanda,


Congrats on the new baby. Crunches are a waste of time. They are a lazy movement because you are laying on your back. They provide no functional purpose and give you minimal and inappropriate stress to your torso. I recommend checking out the exercises on my video exercise library. I have in progression the easiest to most aggressive purposeful abdominal exercises. Fitness tip is to integrate training your abdomen with your arms and legs. Movements like a lunge cable twist or squat wood chops work great.


Paul


question

Hi Paul


I was wondering if you do personal training? Thanks


Stephanie from Toronto


answer

Hi Stephanie,


Yes I do. I have a personal training studio in Edmonton, Alberta called Custom Fit. Check out the website at www.customfit.ca


Paul


question

Hi Paul


I would like to lose about 20-30lbs in two months and I was just wondering if you could tell me what the safest and best way to lose the weight is? I have been told that cutting carbs completely out of my diet would help, but I've also heard that you should eat carbs after a workout...I'm confused.


Ana Bela from Toronto


answer

Hi Ana Bela,


Carbs can be a problem if you eat too many or the wrong type. If you pick potatoes as a carb they can be good or bad for you depending on the form they are in and the nutrition they provide for you. Yams or sweet potatoes are very healthy in moderation, French Fries are extremely unhealthy in and moderation. Carbs are the preferred energy source for high intensity exercise so make sure you eat the healthy kind specific for your metabolism. If you need help setting up an eating plan sign up for one on my website.


Paul

Ask Paul, fourteenth edition

askpaul_may2011

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.


Hello Paul!



question

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


answer

Hi Linda,


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.



Paul


question

Paul,


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


answer

Hi Nichole,


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.


Paul


question

Paul,


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


answer

Hi Stacey,


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.


Paul


question

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


answer

Hi Kevin,


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.


Paul


question

Hi Paul,


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


answer

Hi Terese,


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.


Hi Paul


question

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


Thanks


Tahnee from Meaford


answer

Hi Tahnee,


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.


Paul


question

Hi Paul


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


answer

Hi Terri,


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.


Paul

Ask Paul, thirteenth edition

askpaul_mar2011

Welcome to the thirteenth 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 February 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

How should you negotiate between healthy work outs and damage to your joints. As a morbidly obese person (320 lbs, 53 years old) with arthritis in some of my joints and a hip replacement in one, I am concerned that step-ups, squats etc. may be hurting rather than helping. After 3 months of consistent work (3 times per week) with a personal trainer, I am still in pain.


Sally from Windsor


answer

Hi Sally,


To improve function in the body you must perform the exercise you specifically want to become better at. I do not suggest giving up on step ups and squats. You just have to find the volume of sets and reps your body can tolerate without excessive pain. You can also reduce the intensity of the movement. Using a smaller step plus having hand support for the squats. Build up your tolerance to the stress and progress to the more challenging movement. You can also compliment the work to your lower body by doing movement patterns that will aid in joint mobility and strength without having to lift your entire body weight. Doing leg swings for the hips and butt. Lying on your back you can do bridges or stability ball roll ins. It may take another 60-70lbs of weight loss before you start noticing a reduction of pain. Try to keep moving but if a movement pattern hurts too much do not do it. Your body will compensate by moving away from the pain and distort your posture. There is always another exercise you can do.



Paul


question

Hi Paul,


I am fairly fit, 5 foot 1 inch tall and 118 pounds. I exercise 5 times a week training for half marathons, 10k's and so on. I would like to lose about 6 pounds but find it very difficult as I am not significantly overweight but would like to be able to see some killer abs one day! any hints as to how to lose these few difficult pounds? i am not afraid of pain or hard work! PS.. love the show!

Kind Regards,


Catoriona from Inverness


answer

Hi Catorina,


I am glad you are not afraid of pain or hard work because that is exactly what you will have to go through to drop your last few pounds and see a six pack. You will have to perform workouts that your body has never done before. You will have to train at an intensity your body has never done before. If you impose a demand on your muscles that they are not accustomed too then changes will occur. The key now is what kind of volume, sets, reps, exercises should you be doing. The only way to know this is to hire a trainer for a consultation and have them work with you. You can also try looking into the video exercise library on my website. The last three workouts are extremely intense and only suitable to the fittest of people. See if you can do those exercises.


Paul


question

Paul,


The age old question of how many calories to eat!

Height 5ft 3

Weight 168

Female age 27

BMR 1558 (so they tell me!)


I've been eating 1400 calories (as i have been told to do) lost 30pounds but now have been at a stand still for 8 months.... I think i should be eating more. I burn anywhere from 500 to 800 calories a day plus my BMR. If I eat 2000 calories, and burn the above would this strike up my weight loss goals again?

Thanks!


Joelle from Nanaimo


answer

Hi Joelle,


Based on the equation I use, I estimated your BMR (basal metabolic rate) to be 1454 calories. Please realize this is only an estimation based upon your weight, height and age. To get a more accurate reading you need to get a metabolic test done with a metabolic cart. Some health audit clinics and Universities have a metabolic cart. To figure out your active metabolic rate AMR, you will have to add the energy you expend in a day. Usually based on the type of job you have, the exercise you do and any specific active hobbies you engage in.
If you want to lose a pound of fat in a week you must expend 3500 calories more than you eat. If you eat 1500 calories a day that equals 10,500 calories in a week. If your AMR is 2000 per day on average, that equals 14,000 calories in a week. When you subtract the two numbers you will have a 3,500 calorie deficit and lose one pound of fat. Realize if your numbers are wrong by just 100 calories per day. In a year that extra 100 calories adds up to a 10lb weight gain. Sick HuH?


Paul


question

How do you feel about energy drinks?


Jennifer from Sydney


answer

Hi Jennifer,


I hate energy drinks. The calories and extra chemicals you ingest are completely unnecessary. The temporary energy boost you get from so called “natural” products advertised is just that, temporary. If you lack energy look at the root cause. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you exercising regularly with adequate recovery time? Are you stressed (financially, emotionally, work related, relationship related). Deal with these issues. You can suck back all the energy drinks you want. It is not a long term solution. You spend unnecessary dollars.


Paul


question

Hi Paul,


What fitness activites do you recommend for a person on disability for chronic pain due to spinal arthritis in both neck and back which impedes walking. I'm not referring to stretching exercises to increase mobility i.e. cdn back institute, rather exercises to improve cardio. Are there any previous episodes where people with health issues have shown their stories?



Cathy from Aurora


answer

Hi Cathy,


First I would avoid repetitive movement patterns. Cardio Machines like the elliptical, bike and rower should be avoided. You do not want to keep repeating the same muscular action thousands of times plus you do not want to be put into a position that is static. I would recommend getting a functional body weight circuit designed for you. You need to move all the muscles in your body in multiple planes of movement and speeds. The movements should focus on range of motion rather than load, should engage many muscles groups rather than isolate them plus be specific to your present fitness level and function. I would recommend to see a qualified trainer and get one designed for you.


Paul


question

Can almond butter be part of a healthy eating plan when losing weight? I follow many health and fitness blogs and see how popular it is. I realize it is a good source of protein, but wonder about the fat/caloric content.


Thanks


Kobe from Richmond


answer

Hi Kobe,


You notice that I nearly always remove peanut butter from people’s homes. That is because you do not get a large quantity of food for the calories you put into your body. Although almonds are a nice source of fat, if you are trying to lose fat I recommend dumping it. Unless you absolutely can’t live without it, I believe you can get better sources of protein and healthy fats that will satisfy hunger through lean meats such as fish.


Paul


question

I keep hearing that heart rate rather than weight/speed/distance really determines the number of calories burnt during exercise. So here's my question:


There are two 50 year old, 145 lb women who both run 5k in 30 minutes. One of them is still able to talk at the end but the other is struggling.


Assuming that the struggler has the higher heart rate, it she burning more calories? Why?

Thanks in advance!


Millie from Toronto


answer

Hi Millie,


If the same amount of work is performed in the same time the person who works closer to their maximum fitness level will burn more calories. This because more ATP(energy source) has to be created by the body because of the increased demand for oxygen plus the need for the muscles to contract at a higher rate.


Paul


question

Hey Paul,


I have a running question. When starting out is it better to run slower for a longer period of time or faster for a shorter time. I have run on and off over the years and would really like to get better at it. I would like to build up my endurance and recovery time.

Thanks!


ps. You gave me a meal plan a few yrs ago and it worked like a charm! 50lbs gone in 6 months. I am a huge fan. Thank You for inspiring so many 🙂


Stacy from Moncton


answer

Hi Stacy,


Your best bet is to run faster for shorter bursts multiple times. Think about doing a fast run for 2-3minutes recovering with a one minute walk break then repeating 10 times. Your total workout will be 30-40min in duration. The benefits are:

  • Less up down impact. Long duration runners bounce up and down more where faster runners run horizontally. Less chance of impact injury
  • Better cardio improvement because you are training closer to maximum levels.
  • More caloric expenditure for the same amount of time as a moderate pace workout.
  • More caloric expenditure post workout because of heightened metabolic activity from the high intensity workout.
  • Reduced run boredom
  • More specific to sports training
  • Don’t have to run for 2hrs slowly.



Glad my eating plan worked for you, great job.


Paul


question

Hi Paul,


Is it better to do MORE reps with less weight or LESS reps with more weight to attain muscle quicker?

Example: 3 sets of 12-15 using 80 Ibs or 3 sets 0f 8-10 using 100 Ibs.


Pat from Moncton


answer

Hi Pat,


For muscle gain the research shows the optimal range is a weight that causes momentary muscular failure in the 8-12 rep range. If you can do more than 12 reps on lunges the weight is too light. If you can not do 8 reps then it is too heavy.


Paul


question

Hello Paul,


I check out your blog regularly. Several times I've seen you make a recommendation to find a personal trainer. How do you find a personal trainer? Are there any qualifications to be a personal trainer? What is a fair price range? What should I be asking them? I don't know where to begin.


Dinah from Edmonton


answer

Hi Dinah,


In Canada there is no law about what specific qualifications someone needs to call themselves a personal trainer. Here is what you should look for:

  • Do they have liability insurance? How much and with who.
  • Do they know how to do a kinetic chain or postural assessment.
  • Look for experience training people with the characteristics you possess, ask for references.
  • For education look for a degree in kinesiology, physical education, diploma from a technological school specific in personal training.
  • Additional upgrades to education from ACSM or NASM or local provincial certifications.
  • Look for a personality that you enjoy and can stand being around for an hour.
  • Price range can vary from $60 to $75 per hour. Any more and you will have to ask them to justify why they believe they can charge so much.
  • I would interview about half a dozen and go with your gut feeling.


Good Luck

Paul


question


Hi Paul


Love the show. Like the pain is temporary attitude. I am a 57 year old cancer survivor,with a heart condition.


I feel like I have been given a second chance at life. I don't want to blow it by being a slob. During the time of my sickness approximately 2 years, my weight got as high as 290 lbs. I am just under six ft. tall. I believe the term is morbidly obese.


I have been in remission for about a year. In that time I have been working on cardio, and using dumbbells. My eating habits obviously suck. I am down to 265 lbs. as we speak.


Your show inspires me to carry on. My fitness goals are to drop down to as close to 200 lbs as possible, and live a healthier life style. Any hints or tips would be welcome.


Now that's my story.


Thanks


Jay from Red Lake


answer

Hi Jay,


Congratulations on surviving cancer, that is great. I used to think people with weight issues have it easy compared to those battling cancer. You think that being overweight is just a choice someone has made. Cancer is not a choice. I am sure the person sitting in a hospital for 8hrs getting a chemo drip, and puking from the toxicity of the drug would trade that in for 50-100lbs of extra body fat. Since you have experienced both sides you are probably the better expert in understanding who has it tougher. But maybe it is not a matter of who has it more difficult. Maybe it is a matter of how that person deals with adversity. Some things they can control and other things they can’t. Think about the things you can control. If your eating habits “suck” then try to identify why they suck. The key is to find out what your obstacles are then develop strategies to overcome them. For example if your problem is poor food choices at night ask yourself “why do I pick bad food items at night” and “what can I do about this”

  • Not have these food items in the house
  • Maybe I can get out of the house and reduce my boredom by doing something fun and active.
  • Am I hungry at night? If so maybe I can eat more healthy choices earlier in the day so I am not as hungry.
  • Am I eating just because of stress. If so what stresses me? What can I do to get rid of the stress?



Realize Jay there are solutions to all problems. You just have to look hard enough, and deal with what you can control.


Paul

Ask Paul, twelfth edition

askpaul_feb2011

Welcome to the twelfth 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 hope you will read my email because I really need help with my weight. I am 54 years old, grand-mother of 2 babies that I love very much. In the last 6 years or so I stopped taking care of myself after I went into depression. I use to go to the gym 3 times a week, I was eating well and my weight was 128. Today I'm 170 and I hate myself for what I did to my health.

I've been watching XXL every week and I found myself judging the people when they don't really get into the program......well well well, who am I do that????

Today I decided that I will take care of myself, put my body into shape but I don't know where to start and what to do to give me the strenght to do the first move to get back healthy.

I hope you will help me put my body where it is suppose to be.

Thank you for taking the time read my email and hope to hear from you.


Carole from Laval


answer

Hi Carole,


Where you start back into fitness does not matter. There are thousands of different ways to achieve the results you are looking for. There are some keys that can maximize your chance of success. A few are:


  • Engage in activity that involves multiple muscle groups, causes fatigue in your muscles and increases your heart rate for approximately one hour every day. Does not have to be a continuous hour.
  • Do something that you enjoy and allows you to be social at the same time.
  • Find some fitter people to hang out with. Hang out less with your chubby friends.
  • Identify the obstacles that stop you from being active and making smart food choices. Figure out or seek help in how to overcome them.
  • Be prepared in your eating every day. Shop often, find healthy recipes, clear out all bad food in your home, eat out less often, possibly look into a healthy meal delivery service.


Paul


question

Hello Paul,


I have to say, I watch X Weighted all the time and love it. I enjoy your fitness tips, knowledge and advice that you give in the show's. I am wondering about my body fat. I am 4'11" and weigh 107lbs, an athlete/normal. I have been on a electric body fat analyzer at my gym and it stated my body fat was 20.1% The trainer was suprised who saw this. Can I be too fit/muscular for the scale to read correctly?

Thanks Paul!


Charlene from Trenton


answer

Hi Charlene,


First the electric body fat analyzer is a complete waste of time to measure percentage of fat, the degree of error varies too much. If you want a more accurate % of fat you have to try either a DEXA Scan, underwater weigh, or Bodpod. You may be lower than 20% check one of the other methods first.


Paul


question

Paul,


Help! I cannot put hardly any weight on my left foot after running almost every day for the past 4 months. (I should add that I started running weighing about 235 pounds and now weigh 209). I can appreciate that I should see a doctor (who will no doubt tell me to stay off of my foot to let it heal). My question is: What cardio exercises can I do in the meantime (given that I live NOWHERE NEAR a pool or a gym!!!) Feeling demoralized after doing so well!

Thanks!


Nicole from Hopedale


answer

Hi Nicole,


You can do many feet friendly exercises using your body weight, dumbbells and a stability ball at home. When you link 10 -12 movements in a row without recovery you will get a fantastic cardio/muscular endurance workout that burns many calories. The benefits are more so than running. You may never run again after doing a workout like this. For examples of the right exercises for you check out the new video workout program library on my website. Some knee friendly moves are “prone ball knee tuck ins”, “supine torso rotations on the ball” “butt blaster hip extensions supine on the ball”.


Paul


question

Hi Paul, I like everything about you 😉


Tell us what you think of those vibration trainer machines that are popping up in gyms these days?


Leah from Montreal


answer

Hi Leah,


If you look on my website I wrote an article on Vibration Trainers. It is early in the Blog Archive, or click here to read it. Basically if you use the machine to perform exercises, it works like any other equipment aid. You get from it what you put into it. The vibration works to add another element of intensity to your program. If you are one of those people who believe just sitting or standing on the machine doing nothing is going to give you fantastic results then you are very mistaken.


Paul


question

Hi Paul,


I watch xweighted in the uk i have lost 61/2 stone over a period of 5 ys at the moment i am struggling to lose more i am very active do bootcamp training kettlebells circut gym and spinnin could you give me any advise how i can spur myself on as this is getting me down when i started my weight loss journey my motto was to never give up on my dreams but the old demons inside of me seem to be creeping back in


PLEASE CAN YOU HELP


Sue from Doncaster, England


answer

Hi Susan,


Thanks for watching the show in the UK. You must realize that as you lose weight and you get lighter that the fat loss process becomes more difficult. Losing 6.5 stone (I think that is just over 90lbs) is a great accomplishment. To get to the next level you have to start training like an athlete. You need to train with people fitter than yourself. You need to engage into sports that you enjoy, you need to sign up for fitness competitions like a run, triathlon, tournaments of some kind. The key is to develop a competitiveness in your head. Training for something keeps you motivated at working hard and consistent. Training with and playing sport against other people takes your fitness level to another level. The fat loss will be a byproduct of your consistency and intensity. Going to the gym three to five times a week and grinding it out on a program you have been doing for a long time all by yourself will only get you so far.


Paul


question

Where do we start?


Hi I am 320lbs and should be about 150lbs. My husband has also put on the pounds since we met. He over 300lbs too. I feel lost, this is not me!! I just don't know where to start. When I think I have things figured out I find out I really don't. I have 2 kids now and I feel tired all the time. I need to do this for me and for my kids they need a mom who has energy and doesn't need to sit down after 10 mins cause my back hurts so bad. So My question is where do we start? How can we stay motivated to really do this?


Thanks


Alicia from Sherwood Park


answer

Hi Alicia,


I think the best place to start is to work with a trainer to begin with. Right now you are not highly motivated to lose weight or you would not have let yourself get up to over 300lbs. Getting some help first is a good idea and over time hopefully the process will become more self motivating and you will want to make smart food choices and put time to becoming more active. If you live in Sherwood Park I recommend True Form Personal Training. Call them and ask to speak to Craig. He is a great guy and help get you started.

When starting on the path to eating healthy and exercise you must address the obstacles that will prevent you from making the right choices. I would recommend you and your husband sit down one night and write down all the reasons you can both think of what will prevent you from making the changes you want. If you want to give the health and fitness thing a try you must come up with a plan to overcome your personal obstacles. Many of these can be solved on your own with others you may need some outside help.


Good Luck

Paul


question

Dear Paul,


I'm a big fan of X-Weighted here in the UK. I am nearly 20 years old, 5 foot 4 and weigh about 166 pounds. You have motivated me to do something about my health and fitness. However, this will not be the first time I have tried. My attempts usually fail within the first few days; my main problem is hunger pangs. I experience physical pain when I don't eat as much as I am used to eating (which is a lot!) and I feel as though I am eating all the time. I also eat when I am bored or stressed. How do I overcome this? Can you suggest some foods that will help keep me feeling fuller for longer?


Also, I have scoliosis and have been told high impact exercises are a big no-no. I think this rules out the treadmill, which probably would have been the basis of my workout. What can you suggest for me that is low-impact, yet effective at strengthening and burning fat?

Thanks Paul!


Chloe from London


answer

Hi Chloe,


The research shows foods that provide us the most full feeling are proteins, healthy fats and fiber. An example of a healthy meal that will do the job is Fish (not fish and chips) more like salmon, tuna or tilapia baked-yams-steamed green beans. The quantity of each depending your physical characteristics and daily energy expenditure.

If you are bored then find something to do other than eat. I like playing sports.

If you are stressed, identify the stressor and find a strategy to eliminate it. Eating just makes you feel good temporarily.

For non impact exercise that burns lots of fat, works cardio and improves muscular shape and endurance nothing beats – Full body functional core circuits. See my new video exercise fitness library for more info on the website paulplakas.com


Paul


question

Hi Paul,


My Question is regarding doing stairs so far it's been great for me I LOVE DOING THEM. I have seen faster results doing them in 6 months than when I use to go to the gym.

I was wondering how much calories do you think one can burn?? I do 20 going up and 20 going down.


There are 184 stairs takes me 1 hour to complete I change it around I run,lunges,double step ect...

I am 33 years old 5"2 and weigh 140 I have lost 50 pounds so far.

Thanks You


Carla from Edmonton


answer

Hi Carla,


I am definitely a big fan of the stair workouts. It is impossible to tell you how many calories you burn in a session. There are too many variables to accommodate for. Just focus on intensity. Right now you are doing 20 sets of 184 = 3680 steps going up (never count the ones on the way down). Here are some step progressions you can focus on.


  1. Walking one step at a time.
  2. Walking two steps at a time.
  3. Running one step at a time.
  4. Running two steps at a time.
  5. Sprinting two to three steps at a time (focus on about 60 steps full out)
  6. Jumping one step with two feet landing.
  7. Jumping two steps two feet.
  8. Jumping one step with one foot.
  9. Jumping two steps with one foot.
  10. Bungee cord around your waist, sprint steps one at a time with someone holding you back as they walk up while you sprint.



Have Fun


Paul


question

Hi Paul,


I used to be quite active and in-shape. I've walked 5 marathons, the last one being in New Orleans. The reason I walked the marathons is that I have osteoarthritis in the hips and walking was gentler on my body. While training for the last marathon, I slipped on ice and landed on the small of my back - the fall flattened my water bottle. So now I have crushed vertebrae in the small of my back and I'm on a waiting list to have nerve ablation done on my back - an 18-mnth waiting list.

My question is - what type of exercise can I do to get me back in shape and lose weight. If I exercise too strenuously, I trigger a flareup. I hate being limited by these injuries/conditions, so any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated.


Thanks for any help Paul!


Liz from Calgary


answer

Hi Liz,


The key is to work with a trainer that can assess your function and what movements trigger a pain response. You need to have a professional watch your posture as you perform exercise. Giving feedback on how your body feels will provide the trainer information so that they can plan a workout program you can do. No matter how much you are injured there is always something you can do to be active. I have had someone with a rotator cuff tear, bulging discs in the lumbar area plus a torn MCL in their knee and still managed to give them a good workout. The key is to identify what causes you acute pain and work around it.


Paul


question

Paul,


I have a brother who is stubbornly underweight. he thinks it's okay because he is a distance runner. he is very skinny, dry pale skin, buldgy looking eyes, absolutely no body fat, or muscle! barely eats, over exercises heart rate at 42.

He never resistance trains and has orthorexia. (which I don’t know if u agree is an actual term or not but it is said, as I’m sure you have heard to be an obsession with health foods to the point where it runs your life)

is there any way u can think of that I can explain to him about healthy weights, even for distance runners? he just looks sick. like I did when I had anorexia, which runs in our family.

PLEASE HELP ME HELP HIM!


What do I say to him?


Lindsay from Winnipeg


answer

Hi Lindsay,


I would recommend you talk to a health professional in the field of eating disorders. If your brother does have one then he needs to be treated right away. Go to your local hospital and get a referral .


Paul


question


I am thinking about starting the South Beach Diet. I hear it has good results and reviews


I need to lose about 30 pounds


Do you recommend the South Beach Diet ?


Thanks for your time!


Alice from Victoria


answer

Hey Alice,


Please throw the South Beach Diet book in the fire right away. It has shown to temporarily help people who are massive carb consumers lose weight but the results are short lived. It is not a way of eating that can be sustained long term. Anyone I know who used to do this diet has put all the weight back on. It is a gimmicky diet that does not teach people the issues of food selection, portion sizing, nutrient density, food preparation and how to integrate ALL healthy foods into your diet long term.


Paul


question

Hi Paul,


As a workout for my core I do mainly crunches, reverse crunches, a few planks, etc. I'm noticing that I'm developing the "six-pack" abs, which as a female, isn't really the look that I'm going for. Are there moves that are better for "flattening" the abdomen and won't make my rectus abdominis muscles so obvious?


Thanks


Paula from Toronto


answer

Hi Paula,


Crunches and reverse crunches do not work your core. When your entire body is supported by the ground then there is very little need for the deep spinal stabilizers to work. The rectus abdominal muscles which are the ones closest to the skin and furthest away from the spine grow just like any other muscle. If you put tension on them for a period of time they will adapt and the muscle fibers will thicken. The key for a flat abdomen is to first look at the foods you are eating. Any food that causes you gastro distress can cause an inflammatory response in your gut. Avoid processed foods, too much gluten, too much dairy and sugar. You want to be consuming foods that enter your body, vital nutrients and energy absorbed with the rest being eliminated. You should be going to the bathroom at least twice per day for a bowel movement. Focus on lean meats, whole grains, nuts, seeds and plenty of plant based foods. When training your abdominals focus on compound joint while keep the muscles braced. Heavy deadlifts, squats, lunges, torso rotational movements and bending movement patterns are great. If you want functional flat abs always train them on your feet.


Paul


question

Hey Paul,


As a FORMER peanut butter addict, I have to tell you what got me off it so you can share with the other thousands of women who LOVE pb. I saw a Dr. Oz episode and he said that they are allowed a certain amount of RAT HAIR in pb. Ewww. Now I'm sure if we knew what was in the food we are eating we would all be thin, but this really grossed me out, and I haven't had pb since October. I ate pb everyday for breakfast and to start the day with something obviously so bad...the rest of the day just seemed to follow badly. I have now lost 18 lbs and am well on my way to a healthier body. I do have a question though...how does one keep motivation up? I want so much to have a healthy body but those old bad habits just keep coming back. I'm sure at this point I would have been down a lot more than 18 lbs if my motivation was stronger. Any suggestions? Thank you and I am a huge fan of yours.


Susan from Oshawa


answer

Hi Susan,


Rat Hair really, that would get me off of the Peanut Butter as well. I always remove it from people trying to lose weight because the calorie content to nutrient ratio is not very good. My comments on “motivation” vary. It is different for everyone. I keep fit because I like the freedom to do whatever I want with my body. I am also very competitive and love playing sports. Keeping fit to be a better player is motivation enough for me. One other thing. I love eating. To support this pleasure a certain amount of energy expenditure has to occur for me every week. If not then next time I might be a participant on the show.


Paul


question

Hi Paul,


I was watching an episode and you were saying how you weren't keen on the eliptical machine. Why is that? I have arthritis in my knees and that's the only machine I use for cardio when I'm at the gym. I needed something that would really push me that wouldn’t have any impact on my knees.

Looking forward to hearing from you.


Jackie from Dartmouth


answer

Hi Jackie,


There is an entire article on the elliptical I wrote in my Blog archives. Check it out here. Essentially it is the worst choice for your time exercising. If you are looking for knee friendly exercises that work all components of fitness plus develop function, your best bet is body weight exercises with free weights in a circuit style. Check out the video exercise program library on my website. You will find many workouts suitable for your arthritis.


Paul


question

Hey Paul,


Just went on Jenny Craig and am working out on the treadmill an hour a day, I was kinda working out before the diet but never consistent. Just had my weigh in and only lost 2 pounds, was frustrated, thought I should lose more in the first week.......any suggestions? And yes I am drinking the water and not cheating lol!


Thanks Paul!


Cathy from Calgary


answer

Hi Cathy,


First I would recommend getting off Jenny Craig immediately. I am not a fan of any diet program that forces you to spend large sums of money buying processed foods promoted as being healthy and low fat. What are you going to do, eat Jenny Craig the rest of your life? Spend your money at a healthy grocery store buying real food. You need to learn how to prepare food and develop a good relationship with food. Jenny Craig teaches you to open up a package filled with additives and preservatives, heat and eat. Buy a healthy cookbook. Spend 15 min a day preparing food that is healthy and that you enjoy.

The other recommendation is get off the treadmill. Continuous, repetitive moderate pace exercise is not the based way to spend your exercise time. Spend time doing more intense cardio intervals combined with functional free weight exercise. This will provide you more fitness benefits than walking or running on the treadmill for an hour. People that walk or run on treadmills while holding the handrails or watching TV drive me crazy. Focused intense exercise that is purposeful needs a mind muscle connection. Hire a good trainer for a couple of sessions and get a program set up specific for you that requires your undivided attention.


Paul

Ask Paul, eleventh edition

askpaul_december10

Welcome to the eleventh 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

Paul,


I know you get a lot of questions but lately I have been so confused about what type of exercise to perform and how often. I see you're not a big fan of cardio machines and prefer weight/plyo type workouts. My dilema is how often should this be done? I have seen where you recommend 45 min per day of exercise but I thought you're not suppose to do weight type exercise every day in order for the muscle to rest and recover. So how do you do this type of exercise everyday or six days a week and still allow the body ample time to recover? I know you can work different muscle groups but if your doing a whole body core type strenght moves, can you do this everyday? What do you recommend?

PS. I have been thinking of purchasing P90X. Any thoughts on this program?

Thank-you


Vickie from Belleville


answer

Hi Vickie,


With traditional type of weight training people would go into the gym and train muscle groups like chest and triceps or back and biceps. Today most personal trainers take a functional approach to weight training with their clients and train movement patterns like pushing, pulling, bending, twisting, squatting and lunging. In traditional body building training they would isolate one small part of the body and train it with many sets. When you do this the muscle fibers of that area are being stressed quite a bit and need a period of recovery time before they are trained again. In functional training we integrate not isolate the body. The entire body is being used with multiple joint action, multiple planes and multiple movement patterns. This is how the body functions in sports and everyday life activity. The workload is spread over a much greater cross section of muscle. You can do weight training taking the functional approach every day. The key is to find the exercises appropriate for your body and fitness goals. I will be offering a video exercise program feature on my website very soon. It will feature the functional exercises I am talking about. Regarding the P90x please refer to previous articles which I have answered.


Paul


question

Hi Paul,


I hope you will read my email because I really need help with my weight. I am 54 years old, grand-mother of 2 babies that I love very much. In the last 6 years or so I stopped taking care of myself after I went into depression. I use to go to the gym 3 times a week, I was eating well and my weight was 128. Today I'm 170 and I hate myself for what I did to my health.

I've been watching XXL every week and I found myself judging the people when they don't really get into the program......well well well, who am I do that????

Today I decided that I will take care of myself, put my body into shape but I don't know where to start and what to do to give me the strength to do the first move to get back healthy.

I hope you will help me put my body where it is suppose to be.

Thank you for taking the time read my email and hope to hear from you.


Carole from Laval


answer

Hi Carole,


It looks like you want someone else to motivate you to take care of yourself. This may work for a short period of time but to be truly successful you have to become self motivated. You need to find out why you do not value yourself enough to take care of your health. If you value something enough you will give it priority and take care of it. You need to look back at what once made you successful and retrace those steps. If you were in the habit of taking care of your body and health once you can do it again. Identify what obstacles prevent you from exercising and making the right food choices and deal with them one by one.


Paul

question

Hello Paul,


I want to lose weight and I know that I have to watch what I eat and exercise.

What is the minimum amount of exercise that I should do every day?

For example.

Should I walk fast an hour a day.......7 hours a week? or is that not enough? Should I be lifting weights...every day?? I don't know where to start.


Jennifer from Digby


answer

Hi Jen,


There is no exact rule on what the minimum amount of exercise is for someone. It depends on where you are starting from and where you want your fitness level to be. If you are sedentary and out of shape I would recommend walking everyday for one hour, do functional weight training exercises twice per week for 30min, plus pick an activity that is more strenuous that you enjoy to do (dancing, sports, stair climbing, yard work) twice per week for about 60min. In my opinion the average person should be doing this amount of activity to have a reasonable chance to achieve a healthy functioning body.


Paul


question

Hi Paul,


I have very bad joint problems (my ankles crack with almost each step), and I was wondering if exercising on a little rebound trampoline is an effective daily workout. I enjoy running, but I am afraid of damaging my ankles. Do you have any suggestions for other cardiovascular exercises that are low impact on joints?

Thanks!

Ps. You are awesome!!


Karen from Toronto




answer

Hi Karen,


I have three suggestions better than the rebounder for this time of year that is low impact and ankle friendly.

  • cross country skiing
  • ice skating
  • tobogganing (not kidding, multiple climbs up a snow packed hill is an awesome workout).


Paul


question

Hi Paul,


I'm sure you get bomb-barded with questions all the time but watching X-weighted frequently, your information is endless.


I am just wondering if it's possible to loose 20 pounds in 3months. I am going away to Mexico in Jan. I have hired a personal trainer to help get me over the plateau. I work out regularly and love it. My weakness is definitely SNACKING!


Just wondering if you could offer some good breakfast solutions for some-one on the go.

Also I work-out early A.M. what's best to eat before and after my workouts to maximize weight loss?


Thanks for you time.



Natalie from Port Elgin


answer

Hi Kelly,


It depends on how much you weigh to start with. I can say I helped a client of mine with an eating and exercise plan to achieve weight loss for a trip to Mexico. She wanted to lose 10lbs in 5 weeks. The problem is she was only 122lbs at 5ft 6in and 45yrs of age. She wanted a ripped bikini body look. Not easy to drop body fat off someone who is already pretty lean. She ended up losing 12lbs in that time period. She was willing to sacrifice a great deal to get the look she wanted. My answer to you would be yes it is possible to lose 20lbs in 3 months. The question is are you willing to do everything to get there?

Try one hard boiled egg, 1 cup of plain yogurt and piece of fruit for a quick breakfast. Right before a workout try 10 almonds and piece of fruit for immediate energy. Within 45min post workout make sure you plan a good large meal. You want to intake protein, fats and carbs. I would try a half chicken breast with 1cup cooked whole wheat pasta and a cucumber/tomato/feta cheese salad with a tsp of olive oil.



Paul