Each day on the weight room floor, people ask me questions concerning their fitness needs. Before I get started, let me say that I think I’ve learned more from these conversations, than they have learned from me. Their knowledge of exercise science, nutrition and overall health is really impressive.
The top question that I am asked is this: “How do I get rid of excess weight around my abdominal area…more sit-ups?” As you probably know, people accomplish this goal many different ways. But research tells us there is no such thing as spot reduction. That means if you lose weight in one area, you’ve lost weight in other areas also. To put it another way, you’re unable to choose the areas in which reduction will occur. So all the sit-ups in the world aren’t going to get rid of the excess fat. To get the job done, it takes a combination of a clean nutritional plan, varied cardio routines and an abdominal exercise program, along with sound weight training to speed up the metabolic rate. Plus being CONSISTENT with your workouts.
No Pain. No Gain?
The second question that I get asked a lot is this: “How about the no pain, no gain rule?” Here’s what you have to realize: Exercise should not be painful. At the height of your workout, you should be sweating and breathing hard. However, you should not be so out of breath that you cannot answer a question. Then again, you should not be so comfortable that you can carry on a full conversation either. Your breathing is one indicator that you are working at a good level.
When weight training and doing sprint work, it’s also important to distinguish between beneficial “muscular burn” and damaging “joint pain.” Muscles will last forever (though they may get smaller) but joints will wear out—and believe me, I know. Think of the body’s joints like door hinges. The door (made of muscles) remains solid, but the hinges (the joints) need to be oiled and taken care of.
The third most popular question is from the men (sorry ladies) and it’s this: “Should I take something to up my testosterone?” There are plenty of good supplements to help with that, especially if you’re older than 40 years of age. But first and foremost, get your butt out of the chair and start lifting weights. And lift them consistently.
Now, let me ask you guys a question: Do you think the Old West cowboys, working on the ranch all day, had issues with low testosterone? I don’t think so. Today’s reality is that Americans work on computers and sit at their desks to make a living. It’s understandable. But my goodness, get up out of those chairs 3-4 days a week and lift some weights, run sprints or work out in the yard.