Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fitness and Nutritional Q&A: What about Stretching?

When Should I Stretch?

Stretching should be done to relieve tension and stress during or after a workout.  Stretching should also be done to increase your range of motion and flexibility.  Flexibility is the ability to move your joints throughout their full range of motion.  Flexibility can also be referred to as the interrelationship between muscle and joint mobility.  During a workout you should only stretch to the point of short discomfort.  After a workout, or during a normal stretch period you should stretch to the point of moderate discomfort.  This stretch period is targeted towards increasing your range of motion and the prevention of shortened muscles.  When you are sore a day after a workout it is also good to perform moderate intensity stretching to reduce post-exercise muscle soreness.

Why am I not flexible?

Your level of flexibility is genetically predetermined in relation to your age and gender.  Younger people are typically more flexible than older people.  Women are often more flexible than men.  Exercises that are performed in a restricted range of motion continuously help you develop shorter muscles.  Shorter muscles can decrease range of motion and increase the risk of injury.  The proper way to exercise is to fully extend and contract your muscles keeping them long and flexible.  This will also promote more muscle definition.  Prolonged sitting and a sedentary lifestyle can put alot of pressure on the lower back, decrease your conditioning level and also decrease your flexiblity.

How long should I stretch after my workout?

You should stretch for 10 to 15 minutes after a workout, no more than 20 minutes.  Hold a stretch for 15 to 20 seconds maximum.

What is the best type of stretches for me to do?


Static Passive Stretching:
Involves a partner (or a personal trainer) applying force to move you towards your full or maximum range of motion.  It is important to breath normal deep breaths and relax during this stretch period.  This type of stretching is prohibited before weight training because it can cause weakness in muscles.

Dynamic Stretching: 
Involves swinging arms and legs in a controlled manner.  Gradually increase your range of motion during this stretch period.  Dynamic stretching is more of a sports specific style of stretching and can be used prior to activities and exercises to loosen joints and prevent injuries.

Monday, May 2, 2011

How to "Increase Your Metabolism" to Burn Fat!

Metabolism is the chemical process in your body which promotes the breakdown and synthesizing of nutrients to produce energy to sustain life.

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is what you want to increase, the rate at which our bodies burn fat.  Your BMR is the number of calories you would burn over 24 hours while lying down but not sleeping. 

Reducing your BMR would reduce the rate at which your body burns calories.  This can also make you gain all that was lost back faster and make it harder to lose fat in the future.

What could reduce my BMR?

  • Following a fitness and nutritional plan that reduces lean mass percentage. "Too much cardio"  A fitness routine that does not focus on maintenance and development of muscle mass.  A low calorie nutritional diet plan that limits the consumption of carbs and proteins.

So what is the best way to increase my BMR with fitness and nutrition?

  • A fitness routine which will help increase your BMR is one that promotes muscle growth.  The more muscle mass you have, the higher BMR you will have.  A fitness routine that focuses too much on aerobic training is detrimental to your lean mass gains and can cause it to minimize.  Always remember that when you lose muscle mass your BMR will also decrease.

  • A nutritional diet plan that will help increase your BMR is one that compliments a balanced resistance training routine.  You also need to eat more healthier and more consistantly.  Do not make any significant reductions in your total daily calories for long periods of time.  Instead use the "Zig-Zag" Approach", meaning "Zig-Zag" your calorie intake, rather than reducing calories for a long period of time, which results in a significant reduction of lean mass.  On days that you are working out it is recommended that you eat more to fuel your workout (pre-workout meal) and more to promote and maintain muscular development (post-workout meal).  On days that you are not working out eat 5 meals, but normal portions, which compliment your activity levels for that day. 

  • When ever you plan to cut calories never cut calories from daily protein sources.  Protein is what your body needs to maintain and rebuild active tissue or lean mass (muscle, skin, bones, organs).  So it is important to always consume the necessary amounts of protein which your body needs each day.  Plan to reduce calories from complex carbohydrate sources and fat sources in your diet.

Following these 5 Rules will help you formulate a sound nutritional diet plan:
  1. Always eat 5-6 times a day.  Feed your body, keep your body energized so it will not breakdown muscle and store energy as body fat.
  2. Have an appropriate caloric ratio.  50% Carbohydrates    40% Proteins    10% Fats
  3. Each meal should compliment what you will be doing the next 3-4 hours.  If you are about to workout, then take in more energy.  If you are about to go to bed, eat a simpler carb meal.
  4. To lose fat you must have a negative caloric balance meaning you are consuming less calories than you are burning.  To build muscle you must have a positive caloric balance meaning that you are taking in more calories than you are burning.  This calorie intake is accompanied by and consistant with a balanced resistance and aerobic training routine.
  5. In order to get all the nutrients you need to maintain your lean mass supplementation is necessary.  It is hard to eat 5-6 meals a day for most people so sometimes a supplementary shake could pose as a meal replacement.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Fitness and Nutritional Q&A: Getting Fit Efficiently for the Summer

"It's almost summer and I have to lose weight in my midsection so I can look good at the beach!"  "What am I going to do?"

Build and maintain muscle to lose fat and look good.  Maintaining or increasing your lean mass(muscle, skin, bone mass) will result in a lower body fat percentage.  Following a balanced resistance training and cardio routine while also following a consistent nutritional plan, will give you the best results.  Avoid a target overall weight and focus more on a targeted lower body fat percentage when setting goals for yourself.

"What if I cannot lose weight as easy as others when I exercise?"

There are 3 types of people.

Naturally slim individuals.  These people lose fat easily, but it is hard for the to gain muscle mass. 

Naturally muscular individuals.  These people lose fat easily and put on muscle easily.

Naturally obese individuals.  These people carry more fat easily and can lose it easily but have to continue a fat loss regiment to maintain a fit physique.

WHICH ONE ARE YOU?  FIGURE THIS OUT!  This will give you a good idea on how to plan your resistance and aerobic training routine to lower your body fat percentage.


  • Due to hormonal differences, men tend to build muscle easier than women.  Women store more weight in their midsection due to their hormones being more supportive of child birth and pregnancy.  Losing fat and maintaining it is harder for women than men due to hormonal differences.

  • Losing weight rapidly can work against you in the long run.  When you lose more than 2-3 pounds in one week, that weight loss is most definitely fat and muscle.  This rapid weight loss will decrease your lean mass percentage which will also decrease the rate at which your body burns calories.  Losing 1-2 pounds a week is considered healthy weight loss and will result in, if weight lifting consistently, only fat loss. 

  • Your fitness plan should be designed to be long term.  Permanent fat loss results take time to achieve.  You must look at following a fitness plan and eating nutritionally as a lifestyle and something that is neverending.  You will benefit more from your routine the less strenous it is and the eaiser it is on your body.  Avoid overtraining and limited calorie diets to keep you consistent and helping you continue your fitness lifestyle.