Fitness and exercise: Jun'13

11 June 2013

Lucy is a highly successful personal fitness trainer based in the south of England and answered all of your fitness and exercise questions here:

AXA PPP healthcare: Good morning everyone and thanks for joining us. Welcome to Lucy, who will be answering your fitness and exercise questions today!

Anonymous94 asked: I would like to take up running but I don't know how to start -what sort of timing should I leave between a walk run walk type of exercise

Lucy Wyndham-Read answered: The best way to start is do 4 minutes fast walking then 1 minute running, repeat 4 times,then the following week go for 3 minutes walk and 2 mins run, repeat 4 times, then the next week 2mins run and 2 mins walk repeat 4 tims, then aim for 5 ims run and 2 mins walk , repeat 3 times, as the weeks go on you will find the running becomes easier.

Anonymous94 asked: What's the better type of exercise walking or swimming for losing weight?

Lucy Wyndham-Read answered: The answer to this is both, and the key is to do the one you enjoy the most as you are more likely to stick to it, the best way method for weight loss is by doing intervals , so say if you are in the pool swim  two lengths fast then one slower for recovery and keep repeating this, for walking do 2 minutes very fast pace then 1 minute  brisk pace. The intervals make you train harder and this is what strips body fat fast.

Becs asked: How much exercise should young children do?

Lucy Wyndham-Read answered: Children should not be pushed into hard exercise and instead should just be encouraged to be active and eat well, sport is a great way to keep young children active as it keeps them fit but is also good for confidence, ideally young children should be active for an hour a day, so very young kids playing games at home like treasure hunts around the house and garden is a good way to keep them active.

Anonymous99 asked: Is it unhealthy to exercise when I am sick due to a cold? or when I feel with low energy after a long day?

Lucy Wyndham-Read answered: It is always sensible to listen to your body when it comes to exercise and if you are feeling sick due to a cold you should not do any high impact of intense exercise, however a gentle walk should be ok, but it is better to be safe than sorry and wait for a full recovery.

PPP S asked: I have been training on and off for approximatly 3 years, I have gone through different physiques and training methods but find it hard to stay consistant in any particular regime before changing it in order to get faster gains. How long would you advise to consistantly conduct a programme before changing to stop any plateau effects?

Lucy Wyndham-Read answered: I am a great believer in always varying a routine as the body gets use to exercises very quickly, so I always do a new mix of exercises every week, even if you just change the order, so one week may be lunges, then the next week do side lunges, if you do running then go for a shorter run but use hills. The more you mix it up and keep changing  the less likely you are to hit a plateau.

PPP S asked: I have begun hypertrophy training for mass gaining, however I have a conscious fear of putting on fat than muscle due increased carbohydrate intakes. How much interval/cardio training would you say to do each day/week to see the best gains? Or would introducing compound exercises perhaps assist with the fat burning process?

Lucy Wyndham-Read answered: The compound move are the best in my opinion as they work so many muscle groups at once and become a big calorie burner, plus they are great for improving  balance and flexibility. Some of the best compound moves are squats with shoulder press, deep lunges with high leg kicks, burpees and mountain climbers. A great way of controlling your weight and just focusing on gaining muscle instead of fat is to stick to eating clean fresh foods and opt for whole grain carbs

Heather asked: In the past 6 weeks I have been going along to a spin class twice a week and being taking a weights class 1-2 times a week. Each class lasts on average about 45 minutes, how long should it take before I start seeing results? I'm 5'3 and roughly 8 stone 3 so I wouldn't class myself as overweight so does this mean it will be harder for me to lose weight and tone?

Lucy Wyndham-Read answered: I always say if you are doing at least 3 training sessions a week which you are training at the right intensity and by this I mean it should feel challenging and you are sticking to a sensible eating plan you can expect to see results in your measurements and body shape by week 3, (if not a little sooner)

Heather commented: I'm not really sure if I have noticed drastic changes - i feel my legs are slightly more toned and my stomach feels a bit tighter also. I maybe need to push it on a bit further to see better results - thanks

Nicola asked: I have just started the 5:2 diet plan which involves 2 days of fasting - what do you think of this way of dieting

Lucy Wyndham-Read answered: This is interesting as this is very popular at the moment, I think it does help certain people and on the fasting days the 500 calories will lose weight , but really it should go back to basics we should just focus on eating healthy clean fresh foods, eat the right size portions and be active everyday then we would not need to do this.

Ruth asked: I've been having problems with my feet lately, it can be really painful to walk or run in anything other than completely flat shows (likes vans/converse). When at the gym I can only go for about 10 minutes on any cardio machines while wearing trainers before it becomes too painful. I'll be going to the doctor to get referred to the hosp soon but in the mean time what can I do to improve my fitness without running/using the cross trainers.

Lucy Wyndham-Read answered: Have you though about swimming as this is a great way to improve your fitness and this will not put any pressure on your feet, then you could also do some floor based pilates or yoga.

Ruth commented: My gym doesn't have a pool but I think I'll have to look into it as this has been going on for a while now. Thanks

Ianto asked: Hi - question about hydration. I never really feel thirsty after running (I run 15 -20 minutes about three times a week). I'll have some water when I get home - maybe 200mil - is this enough?

Lucy Wyndham-Read answered: It is a good habit to still drink water even if you are not thirsty , so aim for 8 glasses a day and after a run  a glass of water is a good idea as it will help keep your hydration levels topped up.

Heather asked: What food do you recommend eating for a light dinner after a spin/ weight class if my main goal is to shed some weight and tone

Lucy Wyndham-Read answered: I would have a high protein meal as this is good after a workout as it will help repair the muscles from training  and will also aid in weight loss, so something like grilled chicken breast with small amount of wholegrain rice and spinach or grilled salmon with cous cous and broccoli

Heather commented: Ok great! Prior to my workout I'm increasing how much water I drink through the day and also eating bananas, oatcakes and a small amount of peanut butter as snacks and my lunch will usually be a salad, tuna pasta or couscous with a bit of chicken so I want to make sure I'm getting the right balance  to meet my goals!

Lucy Wyndham-Read answered: That sounds perfect and the snacks you are eating are ideal for pre and post run workout snacks.

billyb asked: I am scheduled to run a 10k this Sunday. Unfortunately, ive tweaked my calf muscle - are there any methods i can utilise to speed up my recovery?

Lucy Wyndham-Read answered: This is tricky as you do not want to make an injury worse, swap you running at the moment for walking and do some gentle calf stretches and light calf raises, but the key thing is to listen to you body and if it feels painful it is best to wait for a full recovery, I can imagine it is annoying if you have been training hard, but running on it if it is painful could make it worse.

billyb commented: Thanks for that. Yes, this is my frustration - spent a while building up to the run and it all goes wrong in the final week! The injury has actually eased a little, ill do as you say and see how things progress - i won't run if there's a risk of making things worse.

Lucy Wyndham-Read commented: I know how annoying it is, but think long term you don't want to make it any worse!

Andy_M asked: I've recently started weight training however when I'm lifting weights I often feel a pinging sensation in my right elbow - is this something i should be concerned about?

Lucy Wyndham-Read answered: I always say to clients any pain is normally a waring sign and we should never ignore it, so it maybe worth seeing if this is simply that the weight you are lifting is to heavy , so try a lighter weight and it may be a good idea in the gym to get an instructor  to asses your technique if it still carry's on it maybe worth getting it checked.

Andy_M asked: How many times a week would you recommend doing weights to tone? Are there any other exercises to tone and strengthen muscles? The key areas I want to focus on are abs, upper arms and thighs

Lucy Wyndham-Read answered: Toning exercise should be done 3 times a week and you can use weights in the gym or simply use your own body weight at home, toning is great for us as not only does it tone and shape our body, but it keeps out bones strong and helps the body burn more calories. A good circuit you could do at home for your abs upper arms and thighs would be: 20 squats, 10 press ups, plank for 20 seconds, repeat this routine 5 times and do this 3 times a week.

Anonymous103 asked: I exercise 5 times a week, or more, for approx 45 minutes, usually on cross trainer/treadmill at a fairly high intensity, but I don't seem to be losing any weight in the process.  Can you tell me where am I going wrong??

Lucy Wyndham-Read answered: Okay this may come as a shock, but I  bet your body has got use to this and you have hit a plateau, so try doing the workout just for 21 minutes and go for ratio of  2 minutes train at a harder pace, then 1 min recovery, repeat this 7 times. You can do this with inclines or by changing the speed. More important than duration of exercise is the intensity so this should save you time but more importantly will speed up your weight loss and increase your fitness.

Anonymous105 asked: I hate cardio but really need to lose weight. Would doing a lot of weight machines at the gym be sufficient? I'd still do maybe 20 mins of the elliptical, but I just get so bored.

Lucy Wyndham-Read answered: Okay this will be a great option for you , a 4 minute fat burning workout, this you can do at home and always spend a couple of minutes marching on spot to ensure you are warm , then you need a stop watch or clock with visible 2nd hand and do
20 seconds jog on spot as fast as you can
then 10 seconds march on spot, repeat this non stop for 8 times and that is your total of 4 minutes,. This is great for weight loss as it increase your calorie burn for hours after , so you can easily squeeze it in a busy day and aim to do it 6 times a week,then each week swap the 20 second move, so another time you could do squat jumps or star jumps, you can expect to see amazing results in 3 weeks form this.

Anonymous105 commented: Thanks!

Karris asked: I retain a lot of weight around my back and middle. What exercise would be best to tone up and trim down:?

Lucy Wyndham-Read answered: There is no one exercise that we can do to shift excess body fat from one area, as it comes off all over , but a great fat melting exercise is walking and what you can do is grab a small pair of hand weights and use these while walking as this will help you burn off more calories and at the same time tone and shape up your middle and back area

J Banks asked: I'm hearing a lot about HIIT being potentially dangerous, is this true?

Lucy Wyndham-Read answered: HITT is very popular at the moment and is a great way of training and I think with anything is some is a complete beginner to exercise they would not want to be doing advanced HITT training like box jumps and super fast high impact moves, but they could start with  walking and adding in intervals of faster walks for short periods, which is really what HITT is based on, so just start with a more moderate exercise than high intesity.

Ruth asked: Following on from the question above, a lot of people I know who go to MetaFit have ended up injuring themselves at the classes. Is MetaFit worth it?

Lucy Wyndham-Read answered: With any exercise you should always be informed of how to preform it safely and effectively as the body is complex and if you are doing high impact moves it is so important l you do them correctly. The other thing to take note of is the surface in the gym as if it is concrete and you are doing high impact moves this will not be good on the joints.  Always make sure the teacher shows you how to preform each move, and never do anything that hurts and never go back if you are getting injured! as exercise should challenge us but not hurt us.

PPP S asked: In terms of supplments, 'good' protein shakes tend to be beneficial for muscle recovery, but in assisting fat burning and muscle growth, what would your opinion be of CLA and Creatine?

Lucy Wyndham-Read answered: For fat burning the best things are spices such as cayene , chilli  and mustar powder, as well as cinnamon, ginger, lemon and green tea, so you can use these simple ingredients to make your own drink to help raise your calorie burn, then for helping muscle growth just focus on eating plenty of protein, so in my opinion the natural way is the best way

AXA PPP healthcare: We've just had a question come through from Sam on Facebook:
"I have recently been trying to improve my abs by eating healthier and doing a 5minute daily circuit, consisting of 'plank, side plank x2, spider crawls and russian obliques' Can you reccomend any other exercises to help tone my abs?"

Lucy Wyndham-Read answered: People often think planks and floor based tummy exercises are best for abs, but actually you are better doing compound moves, so in other words and exercise that use lots of muscles all at one, so I would swap this to a 5 minute circuit consisting of Burpees, squat jumps, moutain climbers, walk out push ups and plank

Anonymous107 asked: Are their any fitness DVDs you would recommend?

Lucy Wyndham-Read answered: I am a big fan of 4 minute workouts at the moment as they are easy to do at home and can suit any fitness level, they do 20 seconds high intensity , then 10 seconds low intensity such as The LWR Fast Fat burning method

Paddy asked: Should we stretch before and after a workout?

Lucy Wyndham-Read answered: Always stretch after and before it depends on the exercise if it is walking or swimming , theses are less impact so no need yet for high impact like running, cicruits or weight training then yes it is important to do both pre and post workout.

Robbie asked: Whats the main differences to fitness benefits between yoga and pilates?

Lucy Wyndham-Read answered: Yoga is more on flexibility and pilates more on core toning, but now days there are so many variations of each it is always worth checking each individual class in advance as you could end up at Bikrham Yoga which is done in a very hot room!

Evan asked: What's the best type of cardio for weightloss and how much should I do a week?

Lucy Wyndham-Read answered: The best exercise is more the intensity so in other words you could do, jogging, walking, cycling, use the cross trainer at the gym, and focus on doing short intervals of training really hard then small bursts of lighter exercise and keep repeating this as this tunrs and cardio exercise into a fat burning workout.

Jules asked: I'm overweight and going to the gym. A lot of people there drink protein drinks...should I start?

Lucy Wyndham-Read answered: The best thing is to do as you are doing, and simply take a bottle of water as that is all you need and the best port workout snack is a banana.

AXA PPP healthcare: Again, thanks for joining us, but that is it for today. We hope all your questions have been answered. Thanks also to Lucy for her brilliant responses. The live chat is now closed.