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Exercise Questions

  • It's coming up to Summer. I'm at 15% body fat. Should I cut or bulk?

    It really depends upon your goals - what is more important to you in the short term?

    The general trend is to bulk for Winter and cut for Summer.  Personally I like to try to maintain relatively low body fat levels all year round so I don't have to worry about losing 5-10% bodyfat every Spring.

    You can try a concurrent training program - where you introduce cardiovascular work for fat loss and resistance training for building muscle.  Whilst it is possible to do the two simultaneously, the additional cardio will most likely have a negative impact upon your lean mass gains.  To what degree depends upon a vast array of variables such as your training, diet, recovery, lifestyle etc.

  • How do I lose my butt?

    If you are seeking to build muscle around your buttocks (ie. your glutes), the following resistance exercises are excellent:

    - Squats
    - Leg press
    - Incline leg press
    - Lunges

    If you are seeking to lose fat from your buttocks, all you need to do is some cardiovascular exercise.  Unfortunately you cannot choose where to lose fat from - your body does the job for you.  Hypothetically, you could perform 200 repetitions of leg press (in a cardiovascular style of training) yet lose more fat from your stomach than your bottom.  Spot reduction is a complete myth.

    Worth noting, be very careful with squats.  Whilst squats are an excellent lower-body exercise, squats can be very dangerous if not performed properly.  A good idea is to begin on a more basic exercise, eg. leg press.  Once you have gained more experience in the gym, squats may be a more viable option.

    Any form of cardiovascular exercise will assist in losing fat from your entire body - treadmill, bike, recumbent bike, rowing machine, walking, sports, leisure activities etc.  Introduce a regular cardiovascular exercise regime into your lifestyle, along with a sound diet and watch your butt (and fat from the rest of your body) disappear!

  • I feel faint and dizzy during exercise. What is wrong?

    Feeling faint and dizzy during exercise is not a good thing.

    It may be due to a nutritional deficiency (eg. lack of carbohydrate in your diet, vitamins, minerals etc.).  Often when people go on "diets", they cut out essential nutrients which lead to adverse side effects like you have described.

    It is also often the result of low blood pressure (hypotension).  Hypotension is a funny thing.  Some people have low blood pressure and are in extremely good health, particularly athletes.  Whilst their blood pressure may be well below the standard 120/80, they experience no ill-effects of this.  However, the other group of people with low blood pressure also experience the symptoms of this - feeling light headed, dizzy and faint.  People in this category are at risk of permanent organ damage due to reduced blood flow throughout the body.  This can be extremely dangerous in itself.  Persistently low blood pressure can lead to shock, a life threatening condition.

    There are many causes of hypotension including dehydration, bleeding, heart disease and medications.  Have this checked out by your doctor immediately.

  • I have been exercising for 3 days and I am so sore!

    Yeah it's the down-side of beginning an exercise program.  This soreness is what is known as DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness).  Your muscles just aren't used to the new workload...and no doubt you're discovering muscles you never knew you had.

    Getting out of bed may be tough, but you will probably find that your muscles will hurt much less when you begin moving. Warming up on the weights circuit will probably be the sorest part of the workout.

    You will eventually get used to using your muscles. As a result your body will adapt to the physical demands and you won't hurt as much. You've already completed a couple of days and your body is already starting to adapt. So, the hardest part is probably over, it becomes much less painful from now on as every day passes.

    Now as crazy as this may sound, try to think of the soreness as recognition of the effort you have invested into your exercise programme. Already your body is responding to the new exercise regime. If you continue to force your body to adapt to increased levels of work over the coming weeks, imagine the physical changes you will experience.

  • I am losing fat. Is it possible to do too much exercise?

    Yes, you can do too much exercise.  That said, it is impossible to generically determine how much is too much.  This is because every individual will be able to handle different loads depending upon their fitness level, eating habits, genetic makeup etc.

    Often the person that can best assess if you're overdoing it is yourself.  If you feel excessively run down and low on energy, this could be a sign that your body is not handling the exercise load effectively.  If you experience mood swings and are easily irritated, this is also a sign of fatigue.  Some other more obvious signs that too much exercise is being performed may include a reduced quality of sleep, decreased appetite, affected menstrual cycle, injury, increased resting heart rate, increased blood pressure and depression.

    Whilst additional exercise will often result in additional weight loss, if your weight loss is extremely quick, this poses many health risks.  Risks may include gallstones, elevated blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary heart disease, altered hormone levels, increased fatigue, increased disposition toward fat storage and depression.

    The best advice I can give is to listen to your body.  If you are experiencing any side-effects of excessive exercise, give your body time to rest and recuperate.  Also remember that it is important to begin exercising slowly and build up gradually.  This will allow your body to adapt to the increased demands.

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