By Dave Patania
Question: I run every morning before I eat breakfast. Is this OK? I want to lose body fat and add a little muscle mass. What else can I do?
Answer: Not eating before your run is a great idea if you are not a serious, competitive runner who is logging many miles per week. If you are a competitive runner who is at a high level of conditioning, you should have a pre-workout shake or energy bar.
Your carbohydrate/blood sugar levels are low in the morning, so if you are looking to burn some body fat, it is OK to run before eating breakfast. This will force your body to utilize more fatty acids (your body's second choice for energy after carbohydrates), thus keeping your body fat lower.
Be sure to mix up your morning runs so your body doesn't get too used to any one type workout. Have hard, intense, shorter runs some mornings and longer runs others. You also can have days when you do speed work or run as many hills as you can find for an ultimate pump. Variation is the key.
Nevertheless, to properly recover from your runs, be sure to have a healthful breakfast after you run to replenish nutrients. Also drink lots of water.
You also could have a high-quality post-workout energy shake or bar, then eat a hearty breakfast a couple of hours later when you are settled down. An energy bar or shake with a 60-40 ratio of carbohydrates to protein is deemed optimal by nutrition experts for post-workout recovery.
For muscle definition, be sure to eat ample amounts of protein, such as fish, chicken breast, etc., and lift weights to increase lean muscle mass.
Q: I lift weights three days and run five or six days a week, but I am considering a religious fast. I want to do this for seven to 10 days. I plan on drinking sports drinks and taking vitamins. I want to continue working out during the fast. What do you think?
A: Keep in mind that lifting weights and running with no fuel for your body can drain it of much-needed energy and nutrients that are necessary for recovery and proper body function.
Consider reducing the amount of intense activity during your fast. Check with a doctor about what type of activity would be acceptable during a fasting period.
Q: I am a 38-year-old female and would like a good exercise to produce a firmer, lifted hind section.
A: Try barbell squats - squatting with a barbell on your shoulders. They are great for shaping and toning the rear end.
Combo that with some barbell lunges and time on the leg press machine with your feet placed high on the foot platform. With your feet placed high, most of the resistance will go to your rear-end muscles (gluteals).
Try doing all three of these exercises for 15-20 repetitions with no rest between exercises. Do two or three rounds, stretching between rounds.
If you have never performed these exercises, get an experienced trainer to show you how. Proper form and technique are necessary for maximum results and safety.
Contact certified personal trainer Dave Patania by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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