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Diet and exercise: Aug'13

David Williams is one of our Physiologists' at AXA PPP healthcare and answered all your questions about maintaining your diet and exercise during holiday season.

AXA PPP healthcare: Good afternoon and welcome to today's live chat. Please get your questions over to our expert physiologist David Williams now.

Duncan asked: I run regularly, I'm 65, just now I have a knee problem so running is out. How go I maintain general fitness and avoid weight gain? Thanks, Duncan

David Williams, Physiologist Health Services answered: Hi Duncan, you could look at other forms of low impact exercise. These include swimming and biking. However you should be careful that your knee condition is seen to by a doctor if it is a long lasting problem. 

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Scannie asked: I am a 45 year old man, 6'3" tall weighing 18st. I have been going to the gym at least twice a week for three months in order to lose weight. I do 40 minutes' cardio (bike or cross trainer), 30minutes' resistance and 20 minutes' core work. Although I feel better, I am not losing any weight, even though I am definitely not using the gym as an excuse to increase my calorie intake. Am I doing anything obviously wrong?

David Williams, Physiologist Health Services answered: Hi Scannie, there may be a number of reasons for this. One is that your body is building lean muscle which weighs hevier than fat. Try and monitor your progress through how you look and feel as well as what the scales say. Another reason for this may be that they type of calories you are taking in make sure that you are getting the right amount of proteins, fats and carbohydrates in your diet and you are eating wholegrain products (wholemeal bread, rice and pasta) Fresh fruit and veg (especially green leafy vegetables) and lean white meats that are high in protein (Chicken and turkey breast) and oily fish such as salmon. Dont waste all your time on the stair climber or cross trainer machine when you could be doing something that will burn fat and build (or at least preserve) muscle at the same time.
My favorite types of  conditioning that will actually build muscle simultaneously are sprints. You can choose from hill sprints, sled or prowler sprints… the bottom line is to sprint one way or another. If you have knee issues kettlebell swings and snatches would be a great option for you. Another often forgotten conditioning method is  rope jumping. This will not have as much of an overall anabolic or muscle sparing effect as sprints but it can lead to an increase of metabolic rate. It’s also awesome for improving foot speed, not to mention the fact that being really good at it is just pretty damn cool.

Abby asked: I very healthily, with a mixed & balanced diet. But I usually have 1 chocolate bar and 1 can of coca cola a day. Is this bad?

David Williams, Physiologist Health Services answered: Hi Abby, Coke and Chocolate should be treated as snacks we eat every now and again. I would advise that every other day you sub your Coke for a glass of water and your chocolate bar for some fruit.

Chris asked: When looking to add muscle is it better to lift heavy and less or light and more?

David Williams, Physiologist Health Services answered: Hi Chris if you want to add some lean muscle. you need to be lifting heavy. More sets less reps. For example 4/5 sets of 6 reps.

David Williams, Physiologist Health Services answered: It is important that you are lifting heavy enough so your last rep really is your last rep and you couldn't get any more out. Rest then repeat. Be aware it also takes time and patience to build lean muscle. Its also going to help if you moderate your diet accordingly.

Chris commented: Okay thanks. In terms of diet, what would an ideal breakfast be. I change between scrambled eggs with bacon x2 and porridge with honey and semi skimed milk?

David Williams, Physiologist Health Services answered: I love my porridge. I take it with full fat milk as the milk supplies some nice added protein, fats and nutrients that you wont get from the semi skimmed version. Eggs, yes great start. The bacon isn't bad either however be wary that this is a processed meat. I also find pineapple with some full fat natural yoghurt is a great way to start the day.

Chris commented: Brilliant thanks a lot, will try the pineapple yoghurt combo! Good insight about the full fat milk too!

David Williams, Physiologist Health Services commented: You're welcome. You should also make sure that you are getting the correct amount of carbohydrate and protein in your diet too. Good quality carbohydrates should always be eaten around exercise in order to get the best results.

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If you missed our live chat and have any further questions relating to diet and/or exercise, then why not ask our panel of experts a question?

  

Becs asked: when doing free weights is it better to rotate between types of weight lifts or stick with the same one for each rep?

David Williams, Physiologist Health Services answered: It all depends on what you are looking to achieve becs, it will reflect on the intensity of your workout and how much time you have also. Drop sets, supersets, trisets and circuit sets all have their specific place dependant on the goal. It is vitally impportant that the correct form is maintained throughout any weight lifting exercise in order to get the best results

David Williams, Physiologist Health Services answered: straight sets will be traditionally used to build maximal strength
Supersets are a time saver and fat stripper if done correctly
Trisets again save time and raise metabolism
Dropsets are for a quick workout and to produce quick muscle fatigue
Circuit sets are used in the full body workout. Most valuably used in a class like bodypump.

Becs commented: What are supersets? I am looking to lose fat and tone up, plus to get stronger core muscles

David Williams, Physiologist Health Services answered: A superset is a set of 2 different exercises perfomed back to back with no rest. Its best used when you pair compound exercises (exercises that use multiple joints) for example combine a chest press with a bent over row or a shoulder press with a deadlift. To save time you can pair non competing muscle groups, such as your deltiods and glutes (shoulders and legs - bum) so that one muscle group is able to recover whilst the other one is working.
 
AXA PPP healthcare asked: We've just had a question come through on Facebook from 'Andrew' "What's more beneficial for weight loss, cardio or weight work?"

David Williams, Physiologist Health Services answered: When you say weightloss, i am presuming you mean fatloss. A good balance of both is the best way to do it. However, not the old style long slow duration cardio exercise. High intensity exercise is the best way to loose fat and build lean muscle. If you are running to high intensity interval running or circuit training. Similarly when you are doing resistence exercise lift heavy enough to get your heart rate high, and exhaust the muscles. whilst not having too much rest inbetween sets. The answers to Scannie and Bec's questions may also be useful to you.

Nick1 asked: When running is it better to do so on concrete, softer ground such as grass, on a treadmill, or a mixture? Also, is it true that running consistently on one type and switching to running purely on another could be damaging to your joints due to the change in pressure on them?

David Williams, Physiologist Health Services answered: Many runners prefer natural atmospheres and take to the forest trails, grassy parks or dirt roads when running. Grass, dirt and sand provide uneven surfaces for runners, which allows the body to work the full range of muscles, joints and tendons for a more challenging and comprehensive workout. However, these uneven surfaces require extreme focus and awareness to prevent falls, ankle twists and injuries. Running on natural surfaces can often reduce the stress placed on joints.
Concrete and asphalt surfaces, especially when newly formed, offer runners a smooth, although hard surface. Old hard surfaces, however, can have cracks, holes and worn spots that offer as hazardous surprises. The hardness also tends to be rough on knees and feet.
Usually the choice is down to personal preference however a few points i'd advise considering a few research points when making a decision.
Grass has been proven to be the least pressurising to run on for the foot. Treadmills are fouind to be the most stressful to run on for the body due to the fact that the knee has been found to overflex by 6% on treadmills.
There is a lot of conflicting evidence out there, supporting and discrediting each surface. I persoanlly do a mixture of concrete and grass running whilst making sure that my route is clear and flat and my trainers are of good quality.

AXA PPP healthcare: Today's live chat is now over. Thanks for your great questions, and thank you to David for his brilliant answers. We hope they have helped.

David Williams, Physiologist Health Seervices: Thank you all for your questions. Hope the answers are helpful.

 


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