1. Exercise, physical activity and fitness: What’s the difference?
- Physical activity is simply any bodily movement performed by the muscles that expend energy. This includes all the movement one does throughout the day, whether it be intentional, part of one’s job/occupation or simply for transporting one’s self from one place to another. All activity and steps count toward your health.
- Exercise is a subset of physical activity that is planned and structured with the purpose of improving or maintaining physical fitness or health. In general, exercises are divided into activities that are predominantly aerobic (like running) or resistance (like weight lifting), although most sports and physical activities have components of both.
- Fitness is the ability to perform activity at a moderate to vigorous level of intensity without tiring easily. Metabolic Equivalent of Tasks, or METs, are commonly used as the unit attributed to different activities to describe the intensity and the amount of energy spent in that activity. The more fit you are, the more physical activity you can do and then the more oxygen the body uses to meet the energy demands. METs can be measured during an exercise (treadmill or bicycle) stress test, and they are commonly performed at a doctor’s office to investigate cardiac or pulmonary disease. Fitness also depends on your age, sex, body size and genetic background. But it’s clear that regular physical activity improves your fitness level.
2.Are Nuts Healthy?
- Most experts seem to all agree that nuts are very healthy, but they seem to have a lot of fat in them. Won’t eating high fat foods like nuts make it more difficult to lose weight?
- People seem to focus on and single out one food type and ask if it is good or bad.
- My experience is that someone asking is usually asking about their favourite food, or one they just can’t give up; nuts being a very popular food in this case. Instead of looking at whether nuts are good or bad, we are best off looking at the bigger picture – are they eating a balanced diet with some protein and plenty of greens. If so, and in this context, nuts are good.
- But if someone is eating a whole packet of nuts by themselves while they watch a movie after eating a pizza… then the answer is no.
- But to answer the question directly, will eating unsaturated fats as part of a balanced diet make it more difficult to lose weight and the answer is no, simply because fat makes you satiated (full), and is essential as part of a clean diet.
2.How often should I strength train? Every day?
- Our advice is to strength training 2-4 days per week depending on your goals and schedule. Generally, avoid strength training the same muscle groups two days in a row.
- If you do a lot of push ups today, wait at least 48 hours for your chest and triceps muscles (the major muscles used in a “push” movement) to recover before doing lots of them again.
- If you do barbell squats in the gym, you should wait at least 48 hours to do them again.
If you do a TON of pull ups, don’t do them again tomorrow!
- Now, if you do a workout in which you do a lot of lower body exercises (and only lower body exercises) today, you can work out tomorrow and do all upper body exercises, because you’re working out different muscle groups! However, we generally recommend that beginners don’t do this, and instead work out your whole body, and then take a full day off – on your day off you can do the fun fitness activity you picked above!
4. What pre-workout enhancer should I buy?
- Energy drinks and pre-workout powders? Skip ’em. Loaded with sugar, chemicals and crap. Why would you down (in some cans) 19 teaspoons of sugar, then enter a gym for a healthy workout? Before a Wellington-to-Auckland drive, you’d fill up your car with quality fuel, not sand – do the same for your body.
- Music works. Science shows that music increases performance. Put down the drinks, and put on the headphones.
5. What’s the best diet? Paleo? Fasting? Gluten-free? Anti-cancer diet?
- The tough answer is this – diets don’t work. People lose weight in the short term, and then they put even more back on over time.
- The best diet? Nobody knows. It’s really up to you. Use your common sense. But if you go by the general rule of eating close to a farmer. hunter and fisherman, you’ll do your body good. Fewer pills, powders, and meal replacement shakes – more water, red wine (in moderation, if that’s your thing) and real food.
- I have a corporate client, Karen. She’s down 40 kilograms (my role is admittedly small – she’s the boss of her own journey) and she hasn’t done it by copying anybody’s program but rather researching recipes, recommitting to her health, and experimenting with changes she’s able to implement into her (long-term) lifestyle. It hasn’t happened overnight, and it wasn’t easy. But it’s her challenge. Her knowledge of healthy foods and fitness starts in her mind, then flows straight down to the rest of the body. That is the best diet.
- How did she do it? Karen says: “I stopped settling for a second-rate life. Conscious choice is now my way of life. I choose to fuel my body with real food, preparing on the weekend for the week ahead. I purposely get quality sleep. The alarm goes off at 5am, I choose to get up and exercise. It’s all about intention. I got serious about the little daily choices – they are the ones that will accumulate into a changed life.”
6. I’m keen to lose weight, but I just can’t give up the drinks … it’s my social life. What should I do?
- Then your health and fitness journey will sputter. You just don’t want it badly enough. Admit it, and crack open another. Or you could change your relationship with alcohol.
7. How long should I work out?
- This is a tough one to answer, as your goal should determine your exercise session length. Are you training for a half-marathon, or seeking hypertrophy? Longer workouts will be your thing.
- But if you’re after weight loss or general fitness, it’s time to lift the intensity. People either love or hate CrossFit – I’ve always been a fan because no matter the workout, intensity is preferred over length of the session.
- High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), Tabata training – these types of sessions are superb for beginners and the ultra-fit. Get involved, and you’ll find yourself exercising less at a higher intensity, with better results than staring at reality TV while sliding on the cross-trainer.
Agree or disagree with the above Questions and Answers? Cool. Let your opinions be heard in the comments below.