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General Questions

  • Do abdominal products advertised on TV actually help flatten your stomach?

    In my opinion, the vast majority of products that you see on the television that are advertised to flatten your stomach are no where near as effective as what they claim to be (most of which I highly doubt are effective at all relative to a sound workout regime).  There is very little (if any) scientific backing to many of these products.  The main idea behind them is to generate profits by making outrageous claims that are simply too good to be true.

    Consider how long these products actually last on the market.  Years down the track they are taken off the shelves while something new and exciting replaces it.  It's all marketing - the hype has died down because hardly anyone achieves any results.  So in order to revive the hype, a new product is released.  This is what is known as your fad product - they have been around for the last 30 years.  Think about it, if these products really were that great then why on earth would they not render your basic (and proven) exercises obsolete?

    The models on the commercials - of course they have been training for years upon years!  I feel that it is heavily implied that they have only used this machine to attain a great figure...I can say with absolute certainty that this is not the case at all.  If you ask them how they attained their physique, it would have most likely been through a more standardised program (ie. lifting weights combined with a sound diet and cardio routine).  Not a fad product.

    Sometimes the host actually goes outside and asks passers-by if they can "feel the muscle working".  Whilst one may feel the abdominal muscles being used, this does not mean that it will assist the abdominal muscles to grow (or to burn a significant amount of fat either) - it simply means that they are being used...nothing more.

    A flatter stomach is a result of losing fat for the majority of people (as most people wanting a flatter stomach are carrying excess fat).  This is not achieved through a resistance based workout.  It is achieved through a cardiovascular routine.  Running, walking, sports, rowing, riding etc.  A cardiovascular workout will burn a significant amount of fat in conjunction with a sound eating regime.

    Many of these bogus products are based on the premise that it is possible to perform spot reduction (an old wives tail).  The spot reduction myth is defined as choosing a specific section of the body to burn fat from.  For example, if you carry extra fat around your belly, then the idea would be to perform situps to lose fat from the stomach area.  The physiology of our bodies does not allow for this.  There is zero scientific evidence that this is possible.  Yet this belief is exploited by such companies time and time again.

    I'd like to suggest reading an article I wrote regarding this topic:

    How To Get Healthy Without Raising A Sweat 

  • How much water should I drink?

    How much water you consume will depend upon your own body.  We are all different - from our genetic makeup to our daily lifestyle and exercise activities.  Someone who is 40kg will require less water than someone who is 140kg.  Thus, we all require different amounts of nutrients - water included.

    As a general rule of thumb, 2-3L is recommended for the average person.  If you perform more exercise than the average person, chances are that you will require more water, since you will lose a lot of fluids through sweating.  If this is the case, 4-5L per day is still very safe to drink.  You may even require more than 5 Litres.  Additional water will only assist fat loss and toxin excretion (within reason, of course).

    If you are unsure if you are drinking enough water during exercise, try this.  Weigh yourself prior to your exercise.  After completion, weigh yourself again.  If you have lost weight, this will be due to fluid loss primarily through sweating.  Therefore you are not drinking enough to sustain your hydration levels.  eg. A loss of 500g is equivalent to approximately half a litre of fluids.  Conversely, if you gain too much weight, you may be drinking too much.  This could hinder your performance during exercise due to bloating.

  • What can I do to become motivated toward my health and fitness goals?

    Being motivated about a fitness or health endeavour is extremely important in determining your short and long-term success.

    Without a doubt, failing to plan is planning to fail. Unless you have a predetermined direction, it is so easy to get lost along the way. They also play a major part in self-motivation.  Plan out your goals and write them down - it's no use just "thinking" of something - it needs to be there in black and white.  Have a big goal and break it down into smaller, incremental goals. It's just like climbing 1000 stairs - take it 1 step at a time and the journey doesn't seem as intimidating.

    Different techniques will work for different people - some people stick motivational quotes around the house, others listen to motivational speakers like Tony Robbins (who I think is awesome by the way). I think it's important to treat yourself to rewards (along the way in addition to a big reward) to celebrate your big (and small) successes/achievements.  Ensure these rewards are not food based as detaching yourself from emotional eating is imperative when leading a healthy lifestyle.

    A support group can be an extremely powerful force of motivation. They assist you and you assist them - it's a symbiotic relationship. This could be in the form of a training partner, or getting the entire family to revamp their eating habits in the pursuit for a healthier lifestyle.

    What I believe is extremely important is to be excited about your plan. Your diet must be something that you enjoy and that you can become excited about. Same deal with your training. If you hate the plan, motivation is going to be hard to come by.

    A personal trainer will also play a vital motivational role.  It is our job to set down a realistic plan that you can adhere to and become excited about.

    There are multiple articles available on Amino Z that will provide further insight on this topic:

    Set Goals and Make a Plan

    The E Work...EXERCISE

    Also, here's a link to a search for the keyword "motivation" on the website.  There are articles all over the place!

    Hope this helps!

  • I want to do the BodyBlitz Challenge but I am really lacking a support group. Since high school the weight has piled on - how can I get through this emotionally?

    A 12 week challenge can be tough, particularly without an external support group.  You will most likely endure high's and low's as your lifestyle goes topsy-turvey...but it is of so much benefit to have other's providing encouragement and advice throughout the challenge.  Unfortunately not everyone will support you in your endeavours (as I experienced first hand myself), so I really feel that a support group is a vital factor in determining your success.

    If you're unable to find family or friends who will undertake the challenge with you, hop on our discussion forum.  During my challenge, I found a forum to be of excellent encouragement - particularly when you are discussing matters that everyone on the forum can relate to.

    Also, consider a personal trainer.  A 1on1 personal trainer is a great idea if you can find someone local who you feel comfortable with.  Alternatively, online personal training can be just as effective.  A personal trainer will provide you with direction, motivation, inspiration and knowledge - all key ingredients in getting through the 12 weeks successfully.

    I hope this is of help and all the best of luck with your goals!

  • I sweat a lot during exercise. How much water should I drink? Can I drink too much fluid?

    It really depends upon how much you sweat to determine how much water you need to consume.  As a general rule, it is advised to consume 2-3 Litres of water per day.  However, the more exercise you perform, the more fluids you will need to ingest.  Since you mention that you sweat considerably when exercising, then your water requirements will most likely be higher than the average person.

    A good way to determine how much fluid you lose/gain during a workout is to weigh yourself before and after exercise.  If you lose half a kilogram, that's equivalent to losing half a litre of sweat.  In this case, you need to drink more to replace your bodily fluids.  Conversely, if you gain mass, you have consumed more fluids than you have lost through sweating.  Try to aim for similar before and after figures.  This will give you an indication on how much water to consume during exercise.

    With regards to water intoxication (Hyponatremia), yes this is a possibility if you consume excessive amounts of water.  Generally you're looking within the vicinity of in excess of 15L a day, or averaging over 1L per hour.  This will overload your system with fluids, lower bodily electrolyte concentration and even possibly cause swelling of the brain - which may result in death.

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