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General Questions

  • I have a curve in my back which is quite severe. How do I minimise it?

    First and foremost - get it checked out by your doctor and always follow any professional medical advice given to you.

    Now on a more general note, look at your flexibility - particularly your hammies, glutes, quads and back.  If your muscles are tight and restricting your movement, they can pull your bones in all kinds of directions.

    Compound movements may improve posture - squats, deadlifts, bench press etc. And also make sure you exercise all body parts evenly so you are not disproportioned.

  • I

    The bad news is that you can’t get rid of them, but they will fade and you may be able to help that along a bit. Unfortunately, genetics plus amount and rapidity of weight gain/weight loss are the main factors that determine whether you get them or not.

    If skin has been stretched by rapid growth due to pregnancy, weight gain, or extreme weight loss, it can be affected by a form of scarring called stretch marks, or striae. Stretch marks often start off as reddish or purplish in colour, then over time, become glossy skin that appears streaked in silver or white. Stretch marks occur in the dermis, the middle layer of skin, which is very elastic and allows it to retain its shape. However, when it’s stretched too far or for a long period of time, the dermis can break, leaving stretch marks.

    Both men and women can get stretch marks and they can occur on various parts of our bodies, with the most common including the abdominal area, thighs, hips, breasts and upper arms.

    When you lose quite a lot of weight, stretch marks can initially become more obvious – as the surrounding skin shrinks, the pigmentation is concentrated in a smaller area and therefore appears darker. This can be really disheartening, after all your hard work in shedding the excess kilos. But don’t despair – they will definitely fade and become almost unnoticeable in most cases.

    Prevention

    The following tips may help to prevent stretch marks from occurring:

    • Drink plenty of water. Proper water intake keeps your skin soft and less likely to develop stretch marks.

    • Caffeine can increase your risk of stretch marks. If you drink a lot of coffee or tea, make sure you balance this out with extra water.

    • Stretch marks can also result from a nutritional deficiency. Make sure you eat foods that promote skin health. These include:

      • Zinc-rich foods such as nuts or fish

      • Foods high in vitamins A, C, D, such as carrots, citrus fruits and milk

      • Protein-rich foods such as eggs, meat and poultry

    Treatment

    You can never completely eradicate stretch marks, but there are some options that may make them less obvious.

    You can try using Tretinoin cream (commonly known by the trade name Retin-A). Some studies have shown that applying 0.1 percent Tretinoin cream may help with stretch marks. This apparently works best on fairly recent stretch marks, while they still have their darker pigmentation.

    Some people swear by emu oil – commonly available at health food stores and some pharmacies in Australia. Vitamin E oil is another commonly recommended treatment.

    Laser therapy is the most drastic option and should be carried out by a qualified dermatologist. The best results seem to be achieved with pigmented stretch marks, and these treatments may be quite expensive.

    Massage, dry skin brushing and moisturizers such as cocoa butter are touted as helping to reduce the appearance. Quite honestly, the stretch marks are going to fade by themselves anyway, so it’s difficult to say whether these things help or not. They’re unlikely to do any harm though, and are cheap options.

    So, what can you do?

    At the very least, massage and moisturizing etc will help improve circulation to the skin, giving it an overall healthier appearance. But the best way to disguise stretch marks is with fake tanning products. Professional spray tans or self-tanning products will both hide a multitude of sins. In between tans, a moisturizer with an added tanning product, like Johnson & Johnson’s Holiday Skin, is an easy way to build up and maintain a golden glow and minimize the appearance of those stretch marks.

    Don’t forget that all of those photos of celebrities that you see in magazines have been digitally altered to make them “perfect”….most of them have exactly the same imperfections as the rest of us – including stretch marks. And look around next time you’re at the pool or the beach – you may be surprised to find just how many people have stretch marks. This may not make your stretch marks disappear, but it should make you feel a whole lot less self-conscious about them.

  • I am a petite woman. I want to tone up but I'm scared of getting too big by lifting weights!

    You will be happy to know that your fears are for nothing. The reason men become so much larger to women after weight training has minimal to do with the training itself, but is mostly hormonal. You see, men have a lot more testosterone floating around their bodies then women do. Testosterone is the hormone responsible for the physical distinctions between men and women in regards to muscle size and strength. No matter how much or how hard a woman trains, she will not turn into a muscle bound male impersonator. There are some women who do seem to represent your fear, but it more then likely would be caused by the way they 'supplement' their training, if you know what I mean. The average women who is training for shape and tone has nothing to worry about.

    Hey, do you want to know the fastest way to achieve a lean, toned physique - train like a guy! Common gym mentality instructs men to train with high weights, low reps to build muscle and women to train with low weight and high reps to 'shape' the muscle. You know why that is instructed - ignorance. Its the same 'old school' mentality that has been around for years, back when women only occupied the aerobic room. Weight training is basically a stimulus for your body to change, so with a bigger stimulus there is more chance of change. Weight training will NOT make you big.

  • I'm a teenage guy and I want to get big - can you help?

    You will be happy to know that this is an easy question to answer. There are no secrets to getting big, no expensive supplements or complicated training programs, just sound nutrition and effective training.

    Training - Firstly you need to train in a manner which is geared towards muscle hypertrophy (muscle growth). This means training with a program that focuses on compound exercises with heavy weights and low reps. You need to choose a weight where you will be working with maximum intensity. In a rep range of 4-6 for example, if you can manage 6 reps comfortably, then you need to increase the resistance. During this time, you still need to focus on some type of cardio-vascular training. Not the traditional fat burning 1 hr long sessions, but 2-3 15 minute high intensity sessions per week. This will increase your physical conditioning, which will enable you to push harder in the gym. Make sure though that your cardio training does not interfere with the recovery needed from your weights. If you feel that the cardio is taxing your body too much and you are not recovering, reduce the number of sessions, not the intensity.

    Diet - Remember what your goals are when it comes to your approach to nutrition. Mass just doesn't happen by accident, but is a result of high intensity training and sufficient eating. To increase mass, you need to eat more calories on a daily basis then your body uses for all its metabolic functions. Whilst your goal is + calories, you still need to focus on quality. Focus on lean cuts of meats, enough carbohydrates to meet your energy requirements, and don't forget the essentials fats. If after a week you have not increased in weight, slightly increase your total calorie consumption by 300-500 calories per day.

    Most important, remember to consume a Hydrolyzed Whey Protein Isolate and a high Glycemic Index carbohydrate drink directly before and after training for best results.

  • Why do bodybuilders shave their entire body?

    Quite simply to enhance the definition of their physique.  If body hair is present (even the really fine stuff), this will reduce the rips and cuts that you see from skeletal muscle.

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