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When it comes to fitness, just do it

Hello, Albany. I hope you all are finishing up a wonderful weekend! Throughout the course of the week, I receive questions about health and fitness and would like to take this column to answer just a few of them.

FINDING TIME

I get numerous e-mails about this topic, and even though the question comes in many different forms it is still the same. Readers are always asking me for ideas and programs that will allow them to fit exercise into their busy lifestyles.

To be honest, I am not sure I have the answer they want to hear. Nike launched their "Just Do It" complain many years ago and even though it is a simple statement, it is the right answer!

We now live in a world of "8 minute abs" and "in less than 20 minutes a day" programs that seem to flood the airways, hoping to capitalize on this very problem. Unfortunately we fall for this more often than not because we feel as if we order this particular time saving program we will end up looking just like the models that market the product.

The truth of the matter is that the model we so desire to look like spends hours a week training and eating right to get that way. Chances are that they don't even use the product they are selling!

The bottom line is that we make time for the things we want to, and if a healthier body is what we want; well, you get the picture. ... I am not into peddling workouts and quick fixes, so, as they say, "Just Do It!"

PROBLEM AREAS

"How do I lose this? (Insert pointing finger to a particular body part here.)

I get this all the time! People want to know how to lose belly fat or work on particular areas of the body. This is known as spot reduction and even though there some studies going on to see if it will ever be possible, there is no real evidence to support it.

I don't care how many Thigh Master Squeezes or butt crunches you do, you will not see the results that you are going for with these exercises alone. It is far better for you, and the results you want, to commit to a full body "overall fitness" regimen that will allow you to build muscle and keep your heart rate up.

Building lean muscle will raise your metabolic rate and allow you to burn more calories throughout the day by creating more of a caloric deficit, and eventually losing fat. Fat will come off in some places faster than others, unfortunately you cannot choose the location, unless you seek council from a plastic surgeon that is ...

LONG OR SHORT?

"Is it better to run long distances or short sprints?" It all depends on what you want to accomplish.

The people I train never run more than 800 meters at a time. Go back to the summer Olympics. Out of the sprinters and the long-distance runners, who would you rather look like?

Higher intensity, shorter duration cardio bouts will allow you to retain more muscle than longer runs. Look at the winner of the marathon this weekend as an example. Pretty lean individual, yes, but very little muscle.

My endurance athletes only work on long distances once every 10 days! This, combined with their regular routine, has shown great results in the event that they train for, such as a triathlon, century, 10K's and marathons. I would say for overall fitness and especially fat loss, shorter runs at higher intensities are the way to go!

I hope this column continues to help you in your quest for better health and fitness. If there are any particular topics that you would like to see discussed, please let me know! I could ramble on endlessly about things that I find important, however, your concerns hold far more weight in my eyes and will take precedence.

Keep in mind that every question is a good question and we will never know unless we ask, so please feel free to keep them coming! Have a great up and coming week Albany and, as always, thanks for reading The Herald!

E-mail fitness columnist Kris Morrill, certified personal trainer and owner of World Camp Fitness in Albany, at kris@worldcampfitnesstraining.com.