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 1. I have seen those "ab crunch" machines on TV, do they work?
They move up and down, if that is what you mean. Do they get rid of body fat? Hardly at all. Do they make your stomach muscles stronger? Only if you get your muscles exhausted while using them. Do they give you that "ripped" look to your stomach? Only if you have low enough body fat and underdeveloped enough muscle so that when and if you get your stomach muscles exhausted they get stronger and possibly grow and let you see the "6 pack" we all seem to want.

2. I can't seem to get inspired to work out. Got any tips?
Well, this answer is as varied as the people asking it. But a few points can be made. First of all, how many bodies do you have to take care of? ONLY ONE. And you carry it with you everywhere you go. Check out the THEORY OF PRIMARY RESIDENCE on the body composition page. It follows the brief description of "body composition", which would be good to read to get inspired. Also, depending on your spiritual beliefs, some consider the body to be a temple. TEMPLES ARE NOT MEANT FOR DESTRUCTION. And last, but not least, there is NEVER a good reason to have bad health.

3. I saw your picture on your web site. It's easy for YOU to talk about the benefits of working out and good health, but how can you relate to me and my struggles?
Thanks for the question. This is the EASIEST for me to answer. I WAS YOU. I used to weigh 228 pounds, was about 23% body fat and my favorite things in the world were eating and sleeping. I used to watch TV all day long and could tell you what was on channel 13 from 8 in the morning until 10 at night. I now weigh 195 and am about 7% body fat. At age 43 I have blood panels of a 21 year old. My HDL and LDL cholesterol ratio is that of someone at birth. HEALTH WORKS! I am a living example of how it can accomplish almost anything. The only things most people are victims of are ignorance (to ignore - as in the benefits of health) and laziness. I WAS IGNORANT AND LAZY. I AM TRYING NOT TO BE NOW.

4. Do you think diet pills work?
At what? Making you healthier? Barely (only if you lower your excess body fat). Helping you lose fat? Maybe (but there are healthier and more permanent ways to do that). Making your body stronger? NO (working out can do this). Speeding up your metabolism in a healthy way? NO (exercise can do this). Teaching you that food carries nutrients? NO (common sense tells you this). Giving you a "quick fix" to a better and healthier lifestyle? NO.

5. Should I try to sweat by wearing plastic or rubber clothing to lose weight? 
If you lose water by making yourself sweat, you will lose weight. But you probably want to lose body fat, right? Let's take a closer look at what makes up your muscle and your fat. Your muscle is about 72% water and your fat is about 13% water. If you lose body water, guess what you lose, MUSCLE OR FAT? Logic will answer this one for you. FAT IS STORED ENERGY, NOT water. Muscle is water. Do you want to lose muscle, the major contributor to your metabolism's ability to use up your excess fat? Didn't think so.

6. What about going into the sauna, will that help me lose fat?
WOW, you just won't leave it alone, will you? Your metabolism might speed up if you are in a hot environment, thus using up some of your stored energy. But the amount of  stored energy (fat) you can use up in the sauna compared to the amount you can use up with exercise is minimal at best. But you want to sit on your butt to lose fat, don't you? SORRY, life just ain't like that.

7. I see people wearing those rubber belts around their waists, do they help you lose the fat on your stomach?
I think your gut feeling answers this for you. Let's break it down. Heat might be created in the area, but we already learned you can NOT spot reduce an area. So if your body uses up the fat in your legs more than the fat in your stomach, then these belts would only be good for the extra heat they create. But the amount of stored energy (fat) that this heat will use up compared to the amount that exercise can eat up is minimal at best, just like in the sauna. So, to give you the "skinny" on these belts, "do they help"? Possibly, but not to a very high degree. Lo and behold, exercise is still the winner here.

8. What about the steam room or the jacuzzi for fat loss? Are these in the same category as the sauna and plastic/rubber wear?
I see someone is reading and thinking about my answers.

9. Is it better to lift weights in a smooth and controlled manner or quickly?
This is a question where both scenarios might prove beneficial. Research has shown there to be slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscle fibers, some European countries even doing muscle biopsies to find out the content of certain athletes in order to direct them to certain sports. So each speed would prove helpful. But the quicker lifting might be dangerous to your joints, tendons, ligaments and muscles if you are not warmed up. So lift at various speeds, but be careful when you use fast speeds.

10. Should I stretch before or after a workout?
It matters what you are trying to accomplish. To warm up, before might help. But using smooth and fluid movements at the beginning of your workout can do this too. To increase your flexibility make sure your body is warmed up. Stretching for flexibility, where you truly get to a point of tautness and stay there awhile, is better done later in the day when your body has been "up and around". You will find yourself to be more flexible when you have been up for awhile and your cells have had a chance to be loosened up.

11. Which one is better, yoga class or my own stretching?
This depends on your knowledge of stretching and what you are trying to accomplish. It also depends on the teaching ability of your yoga teacher. If you are trying to "quiet" your mind, I find quieting my mind to be most beneficial. If this is hard for you, then take a yoga class if it helps you. If you are trying to get more flexible, anything that gets you to a state of tautness in your muscle and soft tissue areas and lets you stay there awhile can help your flexibility. Each one of these has possible benefits for you, depending on your goals.

12. How many sets should I do to get the most out of my weight training?
What exhaustion percentage do you go to when you do a set? (Oops, I answered a question with a question, a supposed no-no). Most people I see don't get full exhaustion when they do a set. They just decide to stop. There should be no decision as to when to stop. Exhaustion of the intended area is the decision maker, not you. Want more results? Get more exhaustion. But also couple it with plenty of rest and proper nutrition. How many sets? As many as it takes for you to get fully exhausted.

13. If I hear you correctly, different people would do different amounts of sets to get optimal results. Is this true?
If you truly "hear" me, you have sensory capabilities far beyond the normal human being, for this is only the written word. But to answer your question, "YES", since humans have, at the very least, slightly different bodies and different genetics and different nutrition practices and different attitudes and different desire levels and different recovery rates and different metabolisms and different work ethics, etc. A big farce is a trainer who can supposedly tell you what kind and level of work will produce what kind of results. It is best to start on a program and see what happens and then adjust it accordingly. 

14. What pulse rate should I be at when doing aerobic exercise?
Generally speaking, (220 - your age) times 60% to 80% is your THR (training heart rate). For a 23 year old this would be (220 - 23) times 60% to 80%, WHICH IS (197) x 60-80%, WHICH IS about 118 to 158 beats per  minute. Your current level of health combined with any past health problems and anything else your doctor wants to throw in might alter this pulse rate. So check with your personal doctor to see what level is a safe level to operate at.

15. Is it important to know what heart rate I am at during aerobic exercise?
Oh, I don't know, is it important to know if you are truly aerobic when you are claiming to be aerobic? (Oops, another question answer to a question!). YOU BETCHA. You can not tell the effort of your heart, only of your muscles. This is one of the GOLDEN KEYS of aerobic exercise. Based on your personal biomechanical efficiencies and deficiencies, there are certain movements that will generate aerobic levels of pulse rates without taking up too much energy. With these exercises, you will be able to "last" longer and use up more fat than with other, harder exercises. And since your musculature won't wear out with these exercises, you will be able to perform your "aerobics" more frequently, thus burning off even more fat. WAS THIS ANSWER A LITTLE TOO TECHNICAL? (WOW, I started and finished an answer with a question, I'm in trouble now).

16. I have heard that I should breathe out when I lift a weight and in when I lower it back down. Is this right?
If you don't want to get into too much detail, it is. But if you want to take it a step further, no, it is not. Your breathing is part of your aerobic system. When you weight lift you are supposed to be accessing anaerobic benefits for your muscles. Therefore, your breathing is NOT part of your weight training program, it is part of your AEROBIC system. For instance, when you weight train your biceps muscles, the rest of your body is still aerobic. Only your biceps are taken to an anaerobic state, where air is not used. But you are breathing for the rest of your body, which is still in an aerobic state, granted, perhaps not a high enough level to get aerobic benefits, but nevertheless, aerobic. BUT YOU DO NOT WANT TO LIMIT YOUR AIR FLOW. This is why you have heard to breathe out while lifting the weight and breathe in while lowering it. But since your breathing is NOT for your lift, you should breathe IN and OUT regardless of where the weight is, breathing both in and out while lifting the weight and in and out while lowering it back down. And breathe deeper breaths in and out as you approach muscle exhaustion to counteract the "normal human tendency" to limit breathing while exerting effort. Just be careful NOT to hyperventilate while taking in larger amounts of air. Passing out while weight training could prove to be dangerous!

I will put up MORE Q&A's as I get them. See ya. And remember........YOU ONLY HAVE ONE BODY TO TAKE CARE OF. TAKE CARE OF IT AND IT TAKES CARE OF YOU.
 

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