Remember a few weeks ago when we asked you to dig deep and leave some questions for TJ, the personal trainer and co-founder of For U Mothers? Today, I am going to share all of the questions and answers with you… I have to say I learned a lot!
Q: Is it more beneficial to exercise in the morning or in the evening, or does it matter?
A: Aahh…..the ongoing debate of when to exercise. There has been a lot of discussion on this topic (especially between me and my husband).
Some have said that it is better to exercise later in the day after your body has been moving around all day. (But that’s no excuse for a proper warm up).
Others have said it’s better in the morning when you have more energy.
The truth is – it doesn’t really matter as far as caloric expenditure when you exercise. What matters is what time of day works in your schedule. The consistency of an exercise is what is going to get you the best results.
I can tell you right now – that if I waited until 5 o’clock to get a run in – most days it wouldn’t happen. I am a 6am”er”. For my husband – that’s the only time he can do it.
Q: I’ve heard that it’s good to get 30 minutes of cardio a day. And I’ve also heard that it doesn’t matter if you break it up into 3-10 minute increments. Is that true? Do you really get the same benefits if it’s broken up?
When you mention warming up, what constitutes a sufficient warm up before working out?
A: I say – YES (at least to some extent):
For weight loss purposes, calories out should exceed calories in. Simple math – don’t eat more calories in a day than you burn off. Therefore, moving through out the day in 10 minute intervals would be beneficial. I always tell clients to just move as much as possible and keep burning those calories.
For cardiovascular fitness, a beginner will benefit from short increments for a while. Once that person’s fitness level increases, she (or he) will need to push a little longer and a little harder to benefit.
I believe that every walk I give the dog counts!
Q: My biggest problem area is my thighs…what can I do to slim them down? I’ve heard that the treadmill is a great place to just keep going to slim them down, is that true?
A: I know you’ve heard this before – but you cannot pick a part of your body to loose fat. You just need to burn off those calories and eventually you should see results.
What’s great about the treadmill is that you can increase the speed for a while, then slow it down and increase the incline. Walking on an incline is great for those glutes!!!!
You can also add some simple squats and lunges to your routine to firm up the leg muscles. Keep the weight low and the reps high.
(Just make sure to check with your doctor if you have concerns about starting an exercise program!)
Q: I, for one, would like some weightlifting advice! What are the best exercises/machines, in your opinion?
What’s more important, number of reps or increased weight?
What’s your favorite ab exercise?
A: I am a cardio junkie and my new favorite machine is the rowing machine. I run a lot so I welcome the upper body work of the rower.
For weight machines, I really like the assisted pull up machine. It really gets those back muscles. I also like the cable machines to do lower body work.
As far as reps vs. weights – they are equally important. I alternate clients between high reps/light weights and low reps/heavy weights. I think it’s important to keep your muscles “confused” so that they cannot adapt to your routine.
I have to say my favorite ab exercise is the Plank. Center and side ones! It’s what keeps everthing sucked in. I am aim to get clients to hold it for 1 minute.
My second favorite one is the medicine ball twist. What you do it sit back (about half way down to the floor) hold a 4lb. medicine ball or light weight. Keeping your knees as still a possible – rotate your trunk right to left. Keep your abs tight, exhale and twist. This is a good core exercise.
If you have lower back problems, do the plan on your knees and do the twists with no weights.
Q: I’d like your opinion on a couple of things:
1. Walking -how much does the pace matter? somedays I walk w/the child care kids & we go pretty slow but usually go for an hour. do I get the same benefit w/that as a fast paced 10 minutes? or anything from the slow one?
2. Wii-fit- do you have any opinion/recommendations on it?
A: cientific research may disagree with me but I believe that the pace matters. I tell my mother all the time that shopping isn’t exercise! No matter how blocks you walk while going in an out stores.
To get the cardiovascular benefit you need raise your heart rate – ya know – sweat a little. The quicker you go – the further you’ll go – the more calories you’ll burn.
I think the wii fit is a great tool to get started. However, long term you will need to step it up a bit. It still a great way to rev up and burn some calories.
Q: I’m looking for a beginner treadmill workout, about 30 min. long. Any suggestions. I used to have this great one out of a shape magazine then I lost it when I moved across the country!
A: I can’t really publish a program for you but I can give you some pointers.
(I also need to stress that if new to exercise, please concsult with your doctor before starting an exercise program)
What you want to do is start off with at least a 5 warm up, then do one of two things:
Increase your speed for 1 minute (then recover at a slower pace for 2 mins)
Increase your incline for 1 minute (then recover at a lower incline for 2 mins)
You can mix it up and do a few speed intervals, then a few incline intervals.
Do 5 intervals, then cool down (walk slow and no incline) for about 5 mins.
Always pay attention to how you feel – on a scale of 1-10 (1 being totally relaxed and 10 being unbearable!) you should be around a 7 on the intervals.
This gives you a lot of flexibility to change up your program.
Q: Is it true that it’s hard (or harder) for women to “bulk up”? I know a lot of people will avoid strength training because they’re afraid they’ll get too bulky.
Also, for those of us who like working out to DVD, what is your favorite work out DVD(s)?
A: It’s really hard for us ladies to bulk up. You would have to heavy weights (more than 15 lb dumb bells) to see that start to happen. I am all for weights lifting for women. It’s great for bones, weight loss and looks. You’ll get a nice sculpted back doing weights.
As far as DVD’s – I love the Firm series (all of them) and Cathe Friedrich. I have also heard really good things about the P90X but haven’t tried those. My sister has been raving about them and she’s a tough cookie.
Q: What am i doing wrong?? I’m at 136, been doing 1200-1500 calories per day and working out 3-5 times per week (mix of weight training and cardio). why am i not losing weight? I’m down only 2 pounds from my cheeseburger/tv diet.
A: What type of cardio and for how long? You need to do at least 40 minutes of cardio 3-5x/week. You should be slightly out of breath (able to have short conversations while doing your cardio exercise) and have your target heart rate at about 65% (that would 220-your age x65%) – it’s just an estimate but it’s a good guideline to see how hard you are actually working.
There’s a great site I use called fooddiary.com. It keeps track of all calories taken in and expended (it asks for your exercise activities and calculates est. calories burned). I like it because it shows me where all my calories are (and I love to see how many extra calories I can have in a day because of my exercise!)
If you’ve been at it while and have hit a plateau – you may need to mix it up. Try something totally different like a boot camp class!
Let me know what exercise you are doing now –
Q: I can’t help but think that my body has hit that proverbial “wall”. I’m a semi-distance runner (I’m back up to 7 miles), so I’m burning a crazy amount of calories per workout (between 4-6 days per week)…I’m also pretty conscientious about what I eat (and how much) but not to the point of tracking WW points or calories..and I haven’t seen the scale move (down, at least) in a couple of weeks. What are some “easy” things I can do to “shock” my body? Bring down the calories, weight train (what specifically), interval runs?
A: You mentioned interval runs – MY FAVORITE!!!! I think that would be a great way to change it up. Sprint for 30 seconds, then walk for 90 seconds. Don’t worry about distance – do it for time. Add a short slow run after you’ve done the intervals for 15 minutes.
You should also try incorporating strength training into your routine. Muscles will rev your metabolism up a bit. Take a day or two week to just do weights – upper body, lower body, and abs (always!).
For weight training, I break it up:
Day 1: Biceps, Triceps, Legs, Abs
Day 2: Chest, Back, Legs, Abs
Keep the exercise very simple. Start with the weight on the light side and keep the repetitions high (3 sets of 15 per exercise).
Thank you so much, TJ, for answering all of our questions! We appreciate it so much!
And now, for the GIVEAWAY!! For U Mothers is giving away a tee/tank with your mantra of choice to one lucky reader!! To enter, leave a comment below stating your FAVORITE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. The contest will end Thursday, March 26th, at 11:59 pm and the winner will be randomly chosen and announced the following day! Good luck!