Health & Fitness Q&A – Pt.1
- Personal trainers are expensive
- Nutritionists are expensive
- Physiotherapists are expensive
- Cardiologists and Orthopedic surgeons are really, really expensive
So…to make your life easier, fitter, healthier & sexier… I am starting this brand new Q & A series for HHM.
Every now & then, I am going to email 2 or 3 questions to a group of the web’s smartest health & fitness bloggers. When I have enough answers, I will write up the post and put it online.
Here’s the first installment
In your opinion, what is the healthiest way to eat?
- Nia Shanks says….I’m all about simplicity. Simplicity breeds compliance, and that brings about long-term success. I recommend people eat real, natural foods at least 90% of the time, eat approximately .8 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight, and enjoy their favorite treats on occasion because banning certain foods rarely works (exceptions include allergies, of course). It truly can be that easy, and I suggest people give it a try before searching for more strict rules and guidelines. Why make things more complicated than necessary?
- James Stokes says…Vegan would be the healthiest way to eat. Ironically it’s the hardest to maintain.
- Kodjo says…Eat small meals throughout the day, preferably 5 to 6 times. First meal (breakfast should be the most important one) should be eaten within an hour of waking up, to jumpstart your metabolism. Between lunch and breakfast, eat a snack. Keep lunch moderate; be generous with cruciferous vegetables. Between lunch and dinner, eat another snack. Eat dinner at least 3 hours before bedtime; and if you feel hungry late at night, eat a small snack. Stay away from artificial sweetners. Drink at least half your body weight in ounces of water daily. For example if you weigh 150 lbs, drink at least 75oz of water daily.
- Ben from TDF says…We are convinced that having a varied and balanced diet is far more important than any of the faddie dieting ideas that constantly float around the internet. We all know deep down that if we eat a generally healthy and balanced diet, whilst doing at least 30 mins of exercise a day, we will lose weight and feel healthier. Its just that people go looking for an easier one stop solution instead of trying to change their lifestyle for the longer term.
- Jessica Ellis says…CLEAN. I have read SO many diets and fads and in my experience, eating clean, whole foods is the best way to go. It’s easy to modify for on and off season and it is a way of life rather than a “diet”.
- Miz Fit says…I firmly believe when we can get there INTUITIVE or mindful EATING is the healthiest approach to food. It took me lots of trial & error (and error and error) to get there but I’ve found it to be freeing and ‘satiating’ on more levels than merely hunger. Now that I’m a mindful eater I’ve found it’s spilled over into my being more mindful in all areas of my life. For example I’ve become more an ‘intuitive’ than “plannedoutscheduled” exerciser as well.
- William Lockley says…In my opinion, the healthiest way to eat is to eat foods closest to their natural sources ie. whole foods such as fruit, animal protein, natural fats (avocado, nuts, olive/coconut oils) & foods that are higher in fiber.
- Srdjan Popovic says…The healthiest way to eat is the way our primal ancestors ate for millions of years. Here’s my advice – 1 - Minimize your consumption of carbohydrates (grains, starches, sugars) and highly processed foods and drinks. This includes breads, pastas, potatoes, rice, oats, sugary junk foods, and sugary drinks. Fruit intake should also be moderated. 2 -Incorporate as much healthy fat into your diet as you need. Our bodies are designed to use fat as its primary fuel source, not sugar. – 3- Consume more organically raised meats, lots of fish, nuts, and fibrous vegetables. Consume moderate amounts of protein. The best sources are from grass-fed, antiobiotic-free, organically raised animals. This combination will provide you with optimal health and leanness.
- Ann Gates says…Eat a healthy, well balanced, recommended portion sized meal 3 times a day. A healthy, nutritionally rich breakfast is THE most important meal of the day: so don’t miss it! EVER! Always give your children a healthy breakfast, and sit and eat with them, preferably round the table, to set a good life long example of a healthy lifestyle. Evidence is that families that eat together, stay healthy together! Adopt the DASH food plan to ensure that you reduce your risks of high blood pressure and heart disease. Don’t take supplements unless specifically prescribed or advised by your doctor or specialist for your specific health condition. Use the money instead to buy some fresh fish or fruit and vegetables! Drink water throughout the day, and if you exercise make sure you drink water before, during and after exercise. Avoid eating any processed food whenever possible. Avoid drinking soda, sugary drinks or eating anything that your grandmother wouldn’t recognise as healthy, home cooked food! Choose sustainably sourced, fair trade food if you can afford it. When shopping in supermarkets, try and buy fresh produce when you can, and always wash it thoroughly before cooking. I have always advised patients to buy the best quality, organic food, preferably locally sourced, or grown yourself. There is no real medical evidence for this advice (although some organic food can contain 30% less pesticides, which makes sense to me), but it does seem common sense! And always enjoy a little bit of what you fancy, in moderation! This great tip was from my Grandmother who lived until she was 94 years old.
- Waychaun says…I think the healthiest way to eat is consuming small meals, multiple times throughout the day! Ideally, about 5-6 meals will help keep your metabolism burning.
- Jeff Green says…The key word being “healthiest”, I would pick the paleo system. Not because it’s hot and popular right now, but because it’s the dietary regimen that addresses so many dietary restrictions yet still is effective in lowering overall body fat and increasing muscular hypertrophy. It addresses lactose issues and gluten issues, it makes up for the sorry lack of animal protein suggested by most diets, it puts fruits and vegetables as the only healthy carb source in its proper hierarchy where fructose can get out of hand so quickly. And lastly, puts nuts and healthy fat sources back in our diets where the belong and does a great job on nutrient timing where fats and carbs are concerned.
- HUSLfit says… Here at HUSLfit, we don’t buy into the fad diets and quick fixes. “Low-fat” meals that come in a box, loaded with sodium and additives, are not how we get down! We encourage people to simply eat clean, meaning to think simple and make small changes like avoiding processed meats, eating more fresh vegetables & fruits, and switching from white rices & breads to the healthier whole grain options.
- TeamDNA Fitness says… Healthy way to eat is by avoid junk food all together. What we mean by junk food is anything cheap and processed. We uderstand that it’s not convenient and many times more expensive but your health is expensive so it’s a good investment! Having healthy snacks daily such as fruits, veggies or items which contain good fats like oatmeal bars, granola bars, peanuts and yogurt ar all healhy habits to pick up. It’s important to know whats going in your mouth by reading nutrion facts on all that you eat, something that many dont care to find out. Eating sensible portions are vital to eating healthy so if your plate of food is larger than your cupped palm of your hand, then you’re eating too much. overall you have to stay away from junk foods, sugar, and high fructose corn syrup items.
- Heather Frey says…CLEAN. That is, none (or as little as possible) processed, sugared, chemicalized foods. I don’t believe you have to eliminate whole food groups or only prepare your food one way in order to be healthy and I’m not a fan of those that try to scare people into thinking it is. There are 1000′s of studies out there with as many conflicting theories so to believe just ONE is right, and right for everyone, is limiting and has the potential to turn people away from healthy eating. I love most veggies but some I refuse to eat raw. Yuck. I believe in whole grains. I’ve been starchy carb depleted when I pulled way back and my brain power and energy were at an all time low. I love what my morning oatmeal (and sometimes afternoon) does for me. If that doesn’t work for you, then great! Find a way of clean healthy eating that works in your life, for your tastes. I think the clean eating principals apply to nearly every solid food plan. If you stick with the idea that the more whole and natural the food, the better, and that you should eat a mix of protein, good carbs, green and fruit carbs in the most delicious and creative ways as you want, then you’re doing pretty great.
For the average person, which is more important…cardio or resistance training?
- Nia Shanks says…Resistance training, no questions asked. You can achieve the results you’re after (lower body fat, “toned” appearance) in much less time. The average female gym-goer spends anywhere from 30-60 minutes on a cardio machine 4 or more times per week. They can build a better body with 3 strength training workouts per week that take 30-40 minutes.
- James Stokes says…Cardio all day. You can do everything else all day but without endurance you’re hit.
- Kodjo says…You can’t pick one and leave the other. You need a little bit of both. Resistance training will help you build strength while cardio will help you burn stored fat, and promote lean muscles.
- Ben from TDF says…We hate to sit on the fence but it’s got to be a mix of the 2. We think it’s strange that most people measure their health by weight when most of us know muscle weighs more than fat and really often what people care about is how they look. For that reason resistance training is important. To really enjoy life and for all the health benefits you need to be fit though, so cardio is probably the most important of the two.
- Jessica Ellis says…BOTH - but an average person just starting out, I would focus more on cardio and then slowly increase resistance training. You need both but cardiovascular health and losing weight is usually at the top of the list for someone starting out and cardio is great for that.
- Miz Fit says…Uh oh. Another one where I’m super opinionated and ‘firmly believe.’ RESISTANCE TRAINING. For myriad reasons from fat loss to functional fitness. Im completely biased though as the weight room is where I not only shaped but physique—-it’s where I found my voice.
- William Lockley says…I believe they go hand in hand and really depends on the individuals goal. Fat loss, more cardio/cardio based movements. Muscle gain, less cardio but still SOME form of extra cardio to help keep added body fat to a minimum. Personally, I prefer HIIT.
- Srdjan Popovic says…There is really no right answer to this because it’s highly dependent on your goals. I think for the average person, a proper balance of both can be highly effective. Two side notes: 1. Don’t over-do your cardio. A short 10 minute session of HIIT followed by a 15-20 minute session of LIT (low intensity training) – such as walking – is a highly effective strategy. 2. Always do your cardio after your resistance training. Studies have found that subjects who perform cardio before weights have their growth hormone response to weight training blunted by almost 1,100% compared to when they did resistance training first. What this means is that if you do your cardio first, your resistance training efforts will be useless.
- Ann Gates says…Both! But in fact a balanced weekly program of the 4 types of exercise are advised: cardio (or heart health exercise), strength (resistance), stretching (flexibility) and balance exercises is what we recommend for the average person. In fact ‘average’ people no longer exist, as many have long term health conditions or have been inactive for long periods. Everyone, but especially children, should make sure that they get at least the World Health Organisation’s (multi language versions available) recommendations for physical activity to help prevent and treat disease, each week! What is important, is for you to choose an exercise program that you enjoy, that you can maintain, and that has opportunities to be shared with friends and family. Diseases from inactivity and unhealthy lifestyles kill more than 36 million people each year. So choose a fun, exercise program where you can stay active daily and insure, yourself and your family against ill health by enjoying a healthy lifestyle!
- Waychaun says…Oh, that’s a tough one, because they both are so important! But if I had to pick one or the other… for the average person, I’d say cardio! I think your heart is the most important muscle in your body, so you definitely want to make sure your heart gets a good workout. With cardio, you can strengthen your heart, while burning fat to decrease your body fat percentage. Then later start to think about building lean body mass, to help burn more calories at rest. But cardio would definitely be the place to start!!
- Jeff Green says….Resistance training by far. The benefits are a list as long as one’s arm while traditional cardio (steady state training) tends to be limited in its overall benefits. One’s time should prioritize strength training for its injury prevention, body composition and performance functionality benefits. Cardiovascular training has its benefits for overall heart function and performance application but ‘traditional’ cardio yields little benefit to a positive body transformation result.
- Justine Keyserlingk says… Both should be incorporated in order to get the most benefits. If anything one may want to focus more on one over the other depending on their fitness goals. (Think weight loss/toning vs getting stronger/increasing muscle mass). Cardiovascular training strengthens the heart, is great for caloric burning. It also increases levels of “feel good” hormones such as serotonin, which helps with mood, and positive outlook on life. Resistance training strengthens overall muscles and tendons which help protect the body by preventing overuse and sudden onset injuries. Furthermore, it also helps protect the bones which, in the long run will prevent fractures, and any number of debilitating diseases such as osteoporosis and arthritis, just to name a couple. Overall, cardiovascular and resistance training combined helps one feel stronger, fitter, happier, and increase overall energy levels throughout the day. Win win situation if you ask me
- HUSLfit says… People commonly say that a certain percentage of the health grind is dependent on nutrition and the remaining percentage is based on exercise. HUSLfit isn’t about the 50/50 lifestyle though, and we feel like the following is true for everyone: 100% focus on nutrition AND exercise makes you 100% more likely to succeed!
- TeamDNA Fitness says… We think cardio has a lot of benefits but for the average person ,it seems that resistance training would be more benefical. Resistance training allows you to target specific areas to tone your overall physique while cardio trims the”fat” off the the top and since everyone holds fat differently, it’s unlikely to get the same results. Another thing is that cardio is very hard on the joints, tendons, ligamens and muscle so very easy to actually hurt yourself while resistance training is very limited and focused on a particaular body part. Overall, most people look to shed of weight but the thing about cardio is that you burn a lot more calories DURING exercise but when you’re done your body quickly returns to your starting metabollic rate so pretty much you get very little, if anything at all. Resistance raining helps you build muscle which spikes up your metabollic rate even when you’re sitting on the couch doing nothing, shedding away fat.
- Heather Frey says…It just has to be both, BUT I don’t think it needs to be just the standard dumbbell and barbell lifting. That’s just one way to work the muscles, but with wave of full-body workouts (CrossFit, Tabata, to name a few) you can do both at the same time. I’ve worked with people who have done nothing but one of the other for years and can’t understand why they never make progress and always look the same. Certainly some of this is their nutrition, but only moving fast doesn’t address the muscles you’ll need to carry you through life on a functional level. On a fitness level, for those who are really going for that athletic fit look, it’s an absolute must. The average person has the same physical needs at the fitness-fiend. Going back to the old car analogy, you can’t just give the car gas to go, it will only take you so far. You have to take care of the belts and bolts of the engine to keep it like new. Whenever I’m asked what’s the best way to workout I tell them two things: 1. Pick something you love. Find a fitness you’ll stick with and a way to move that moves you. 2. Think full-body health (heart, muscles, guts), not just weight loss. Weight loss alone has the mindset of urgency to it, an “I’ll push hard until I lose weight, then go back to the way things were” which of course defeats your greatest purpose, lifelong health and fitness. Find the best way to workout that hits the whole body.
Tell me about an exercise or training method that:
- You love and
- Very few people know about
- Nia Shanks says….I love push-ups. The sad thing is, everyone knows about them, and most people write them off as an exercise only for beginners. This is a huge mistake because push-ups can be used for building strength, and they’re much more shoulder friendly than barbell pressing exercises. If a traditional push-up is too easy, you can increase the difficulty by performing a more advanced variation, or adding external resistance via bands, weight plates, chains, or a weight vest. The majority of my clients use push-ups as their primary horizontal pushing exercise, and they say their shoulders have never felt better, too.
- James Stokes says…Intense Abs / sit ups but stopping 10% of the way up and doing a set every 10% to hit muscle people normal pass by.
- Kodjo says…I love doing V burpees and W burpees. They are advanced variations of the regular burpee routine.
- Ben from TDF says…Tennis Cardio Training is something we love and don’t think many people will have heard of it. As the LTA say ” Cardio Tennis is a series of tennis-based drills and activities played to up-tempo music on a tennis court. It does not require tennis skills, but is all about keeping your heart rate up, burning calories and having fun. If you want to really get fit whilst improving your tennis skills, Cardio Tennis Training is perfect.
- Jessica Ellis says…There is a dam close to where I live and there is a huge set of stairs that people like to run up and down. Instead of running the stairs (I had knee surgery in 2005) I run up the grass hill right beside the stairs. Then I walk down the steps to the bottom and do it again. Its my own twist on HIIT.
- Miz Fit says…What I love and what I do is something we all know about and yet few of us put into practice. Im renown for NOT being hardcore in my workouts and approach to fitness. My training method? CONSISTENCY. Zero fits & starts as I firmly believe (<—theres that again) they are what hurts us both physically and emotionally. I found my healthy living path close to nineteen years ago, shed 35 pounds and have never regained the weight. My method is simple: a little bit of something, every single day, until youre dead. DONE!
- William Lockley says…The training method I love is HIIT because it gets straight to the point. The misconception with HIIT is that it’s balls to the wall, feel like passing out type of workout, it’s not. HIIT simply consists of keeping the intensity high. Intensity can take on different forms ranging from tempo to load. The exercise I particularly love is the front squat to press, sometimes referred to as barbell thrusters.
- Srdjan Popovic says…One of my absolute favorite training methods is kettlebell training. Not many people are aware of the incredible power that kettlebells possess. Kettlebell training can help you build a strong posterior chain, improve your posture, improve your cardiovascular fitness, strengthen your core, rehabilitate various joints, and shed fat like you’ve never seen all in extremely short and unique workouts. I have a complete kettlebell training guide that will show you how to get started.
- Ann Gates says… An exercise program that I love is Nordic Walking! It involves daily walking, and can easily be shared with friends and family. The health benefits are well researched: ‘Nordic walking can produce up to a 46% increase in energy consumption compared to walking without poles. It also has been demonstrated to increase upper body muscle endurance by 38% in just twelve weeks’. Nordic walking is a great exercise for many patients with diabetes, obesity, Parkinson’s disease, and helps with many other diseases too- so I often recommend patients to ask their doctor or health care provider how to find local classes or a qualified instructor. Many people don’t realise that walking is such a great form of exercise, and Nordic Walking combines not only better use of muscles BUT it also provides a great cardiovascular workout!
- Waychaun says…There are two exercises that I love. The first would be swimming, because it’s a full body workout, from head to toe!! Getting in the water gives you a weightless feeling on one hand, but on the other hand, can provide a good amount of resistance to really fatigue your muscles! It’s great! My most favorite would have to be dancing! Latin dance, Zumba, Hip Hop, all of it! I love taking the classes that keep you moving the entire time, but you’re having so much fun that time just flies right by!! Those are the exercises/training methods that I love!
- Jeff Green says…I like the use of Iso-extremes as an adjunct to my current training practices. Iso-Extremes is a training tool to where one holds themselves (bodyweight) in the weakest range of motion for a pre-defined time limit. It teaches form and technique above all as the application of said exercise is imperative the right muscles are firing in the correct sequence with the correct distribution. The collection of exercises include iso-lunge, iso-squat, iso-GHR, iso-pull, iso-push, iso-curl and iso-dip. The collection of exercises and their application have been around for years and perfected by the Russians. We use them in the beginning of the workout for pre-exhaust, at he end for a great finisher, or by themselves for field work as no extra equipment is needed.
- Justine Keyserlingk says… Speaking of Cardio vs Resistance training, my favourite method combines both in one – meaning strengthening (very often using ones own body weight or free weights) along with keeping the heart rate up. This could be as simple as combining body weight resistance exercises such as push ups and squats, with a more aerobic exercise such as jumping jacks, running around the block, or even burpees for more advanced clients (which is, in my mind the most full body exercise out there, both aerobic and resistance wise) - Spin X-fit class is a class that we have started to offer at Quad Spin, the studio I train clients and teach spinning at. This workout entails a similar structure as described above. In this case, we alternate between intervals of short cardio bursts on the spinning bike, with heavier weight & core training off the bike. This structure makes the time go by so fast since it is ever-changing, and also keeps everyone motivated since there is almost no chance of them getting bored!! All angles of fitness are being tackled here!
- HUSLfit says… We love circuit training! Nothing revs up the heart rate and demands the muscles to battle fatigue like stacking up multiple sets without breaks! One way we do this is by performing one set of each movement planned for the day on succession, then resting for about 60 seconds after the entire round is done. We’ll repeat that for 3 rounds. This keeps you moving, as some body parts rest while others work. It’s quicker and more efficient than traditional formats, and really gets the body sculpted!
- TeamDNA Fitness says…A training method that we love has got to be calisthenics. Calisthenics uses the resistance of your own body to build strength, increase flexibility and burn fat. We recently got involved in it couple months ago and fell in love with it. The reason behind this is because it requires no equipment or weights, and the exercises can be performed anywhere there is a floor and enough space to move in. The benefits of calisthenics effects are wide-reaching and many people we’ve come across didn’t even know the meaning of calisthenics until we told them. Calisthenics workouts involves using multiple muscle groups in your body instead of just plain isolation exercises. Calisthenics can change your overall physique no matter what goals you have.
- Heather Frey says…Honestly, I love a lot of training methods and wouldn’t tell anyone to do just one. I love the intensity and body workout efficiency of CrossFit (though I don’t recommend it for beginners); I tried a workout at a studio that spends half the hour doing a non-stop, sweat-pouring, full-body circuit and the other half doing cardio machine circuit; I have the Insanity DVD’s when the day gets away from me and I can’t get to the gym; and I love my solid beloved weight training, different muscle groups on different days. Bottom line, I like to feel the workout when I leave, and see the workout in the mirror.
[box type="important"]If you have any questions that need answering or want to suggest a fitness guru that I should contact for the next installment…leave a comment[/box]
- Nia Shanks’ website - her Twitter feed
- James Stokes’ marketing biz website - his Twitter feed
- Kodjo’s website – his Twitter feed
- TDF – Total Diet Food website
- Jessica Ellis’s Twitter feed
- Miz Fit’s website – her Twitter feed
- William Lockley’s story – his Twitter feed
- Srdjan Popovic’s website – his Twitter feed
- Ann Gates’ website – her Twitter feed
- Waychaun’s website – her Twitter feed
- Jeff Green’s website – his Twitter feed
- Justine Keyserlingk’s website – her Twitter feed
- HUSLfit youtube page – their Twitter feed
- Team DNA youtube page – their Twitter feed
- Heather Frey’s website – her Twitter feed