washingtonpost.com  > Live Discussions > Health > Moving Crew
Transcript

Moving Crew: Holiday Fitness

With Jonathan Ross
Certified Personal Trainer
Thursday, December 2, 2004; 11:00 AM

You need to get moving.

Let's face it, we all do -- not to claim boasting rights in the gym or look good in a Speedo (you don't) -- but to boost our chances of staying healthy and energetic, regardless of age and athletic ability.

The Moving Crew is not aimed at health faddists, body builders or extreme athletes. But if you're a harried deskjockey trying to find creative ways to squeeze in exercise, a senior looking to stay active or a workout enthusiast whose routine's gone flat, you might find the answers here.


Wednesday's Sessions
World: Greece's second bailout, 11 ET
Food: Free Range on Food, 12 ET
Entertainment: Reliable Source Live, 12 ET
Style: 30 Lessons for Living, 12 ET
Weekly Schedule

___ Message Boards ___
Weigh in with your opinion on the latest news and analysis 24-hours a day.

Readers Are Talking About...

Each week the Crew will explore some facet of fitness from the inevitable new trends to the latest research and offer ways to overcome the excuses that keep so many of us desk- and sofa-bound.

A transcript follows.

Editor's Note: Washingtonpost.com moderators retain editorial control over Live Online discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts; guests and hosts can decline to answer questions.

_____________

Craig Stoltz: Greetings, Movers, and welcome to this pre-holiday edition of the only online chat that tells you that you sit at the computer too much.

Today we're delighted to have as our special guest Jonathan Ross, proprietor of Aion Fitness in Bowie, Md., who was recently named as one of Men's Journal's Top 100 Trainers in America. He's certified by the American Council on Exercise and the National Strength and Conditioning Association, two of the most demanding certifications. He's well-known for helping the seriously unfit turn their lives around, and helping the more mobile reach new levels of bodily function. Quoting a kid at one of his Career Day appearances, he describes himself as a "gym teacher for grown-ups."

Just as important, Jonathan has a shaved head, thus joining the many men who, much to the relief of this Moving Crew member, make bald guys look cool.

So toss our way any questions about personal fitness, your exercise regimen, coping with holiday stress and schedules, those nagging injuries and whatever else is on your mind. Moving Crew column author and regular host John Briley is away this week. He's surfing in Central America. Really. Let's hope he was current on his core and balance work before he left.

_______________________

Moving Crew: Read this week's Moving Crew column Watch Your Back.

_______________________

Washington D.C.: Does anyone know if a top-line jump rope out there? Any recommendations?

Jonathan Ross: I like the Powerrope available at Power Systems, www.power-systems.com, 1-800-321-6975

_______________________

D.C. flat: I am a woman in early 30's with flat booties. Yeah I said it (lol). I work out reguarly. What are the best ways to improve it? thanks

Jonathan Ross: Building muscle is the best bet and that is done by regular resistance training with heavier weights in the 6-10 rep range. The muscle has to be challenged to respond.

_______________________

Richmond, Va.: I am 38, 180 pounds and I really should loose 10 of them! I am in good shape, not an athlete, but a healthy guy. When I am on a treadmill or stationary bike, what should my minimum heart rate be for cardio benefits?

Jonathan Ross: First, you need to know your resting heart rate. Then you can use that to calculate a better training heart rate than you get from using age only.

220-age-resting heart rate

Take that number, multiply by .60 and then .80 and you will have a good estimate of your training heart rate range. Spend some time in all areas of this range for the best benefit.

_______________________

Washington D.C.: So I like to eat whatever's in front of me- can't help it I like food. I don't gain a ton of weight as Im very active and feel in-shape. If I feel okay, is there any danger to my health with eating say a steak and cheese sandwich and finishing it off with a large amount of ice cream?

Jonathan Ross: That depends...do you have that meal once a week or once a day? What you do on a daily basis has far more impact than what you do infrequently. If your nutrition is sound most of the time and you exercise progressively, you won't drop dead from a meal like this.

But, steak with an ice cream chaser every day is a fast track to the mortuary.

_______________________

Atlanta, Ga.: I like to exercise almost every day, but with the Holiday season upon us I am finding it ever more difficult to get to the gym.

What are some suggestions you can offer regarding exercise and this busy time of year?

Craig Stoltz: Hi Atlanta,

You and me both. My ideas: (1) Make an exercise "appointment" every day. If you try the old "I'll try to get to it," this time of year you won't. (Mine's at 3 p.m. today. Meet me at the Capital Hilton Fitness Center. (2) I follow the Sally Squires/Lean Plate Club advice of parking at the remote reaches of the parking lot and hoofing it in. Those people driving around cruising for close spaces: You can see the hate-the-holidays stress on their face. (3) After-dinner walks. Easier way to decompress.

Trying to build fitness with a rigorous program during the holidays is pretty tough. If you're time-pressed, at least try to move and do what you can, then buckle down in January.

Anybody else have ideas to share with Atlanta?

_______________________

Silver Spring, Md.: Exercise, exercise, exercise - so I know I'm supposed to get off the couch - are there any exercises or stretches I can do while ON the couch?

Jonathan Ross: Get up and down off the couch non-stop for 10 minutes straight. That way you'll never leave the comfort of the couch, but still get moving.

_______________________

College Park, Md.: Please review mid-age mid-section flabby strategies. Will be 45 in January, and despite running about 9-12 miles a week, yoga/stretching in front of TV every night, and even lifting 7 pound weights 3 days a week (up from 5 pounders) -- ACKK! Toned arms, great legs and bottom, fairly flat tummy but love handles!

Oh, yes. Am female. Do take thyroid supplement and that dose looks/feels right.

Susan Morse: Hi College Park,
Maybe Jonathan will want to add his two cents in a minute, but allow me to jump in meanwhile. A lot of us in the middle years are all too familiar with that, um, sinking feeling. Your keeping active by running regularly --give yourself a pat on the sagging (sorry) back--is one good way to fight back.
I'm a big fan of mat Pilates (some moves not so dissimilar from yoga) for strengthening core muscles--abs and back--that play a big part in how strong you feel as well as trim you look. Sitting on one of those big inflatable balls while you watch TV or read also engages the abdominal muscles more than sitting on a chair does. What else.... My guess is you need to gradually step up the weight you're lifting. Just make sure you don't sacrifice form to do this. And then, of course, there's not grabbing for the snacks while you watch, but you know that.
Let us know what works for you. Good luck.

_______________________

Ellicott City, Maryland: How does someone start exercising that hasn't done it for 4 years and is 50 pounds overweight, 44 years old??? My doctors have told me to exercise, but I get out of breath and don't know if I am doing things wrong, so I get disgusted and stop. I need to exercise because for the first time in my life my blood pressure has started to increase.

Jonathan Ross: It is great to hear you are taking control of your health.

First, don't think that you need to do high intensity, long distance exercise initially.

You want to start moving, but avoid going too fast, too far, and too long too soon.

You need to challenge your cardiovasculary system (cardio exercise) and your musculo-skeletal system (weight training).

For cardio, do what you can for as long as you can. To be beneficial, exercise needs to be 'comfortably uncomfortable' and should leave you feeling like you got a challenge, but you aren't completely wiped out. Over time, add a minute or two, go a little more quickly, and you should gradually notice an increase in stamina.

For weight training, simply perform one movement for the major muscle groups a minimum of twice per week for 8-15 reps. Over time, you progressively increase the challenge, just like with cardio.

With some consistency and progressively challenging workouts, you will be living in a healthier body.

Put yourself on the path, expect progress, NOT perfection, and enjoy the restults.

_______________________

Arlington, Va.: If you're already in decent shape, is there any benefit to steady state cardio at less than 80 percent max heart rate

Jonathan Ross: Yes, but you probably don't need to do it more than 1-2 times per week to maintain endurance levels. A high level of fitness is very easy to maintain, but harder to achieve.

Also, it depends on your goals. If you are an endurance athlete competing in longer events, then you would want to spend a bit more training time in that area.

_______________________

Craig Stoltz: To return to the "booties" question. (There was some discussion about whether the questioner meant "booty," or, um, "breasts.")

If you meant the former, to add to Jonathan's excellent advice: Lunges are really good for your "butt." (OK, I can quit with the quotation marks.) I've begun doing lunges where, as you step forward, you press light dumbells in a military-style press. That sure gets my "booty." (Dang.)

If you meant your chest, flyes are an excllent way to address your pectoral muscles, even better than bench presses.

The American Council on Exercise (www.acefitness.org) has a public area with advice on lunges and flyes. Form is really important on these (and all exercises) to avoid injury and maximize benefit.

Jonathan's too modest to say so, but I'll bet he'd say a personal trainer could help you with your booties. ("")

_______________________

Treadmill Help: Im looking for a reliable, yet inexpensive treadmill for the holidays. With all the sales going on, could you suggest a few for me to look at without having to spend a down payment on a car?

Jonathan Ross: Due the nature of treadmills, I would steer you away from inexpensive treadmills. They all use motors and have an array of moving parts. Cheap ones don'e work well, are creaky, and will break down early and often.

A good way to get a very high quality treadmill is to contact the manufacturers of the high end ones and ask about refurbished models that have been in health clubs for a few years and are then traded in. The manufacturers sometimes put new parts in them and re-sell them. (Life Fitness, Precor, are some of the manufacturers)

_______________________

The Couch: Thanks, but that would require me to get OFF the couch....

Craig Stoltz: OK, Couch-king: The book Stretching by Bob Anderson has a bunch of stretches aimed at desk workers, which could certainly be transeferred to the couch. Shoulder shrugs, hip turns, side bends sitting, etc. Hey, you won't "feel the burn," but you can improve your range of motion. A bit.

When I watch TV, I like to sit on my stablity ball or stand on my wobble board. (My family is annoyed by this.) But it's a way to make some small use of your 'Tater Time.

_______________________

Heartrate Zones: You said:
"220-age-resting heart rate

Take that number, multiply by .60 and then .80 and you will have a good estimate of your training heart rate range. Spend some time in all areas of this range for the best benefit."

But that would be way too low to be any good. Do you mean 60-80% of your maximum HR (old approx was 220-age, but best to test using a HRM)? Or do you mean that you should add your resting heart rate back in after doing the 60-80% calculation?

Thanks.

Jonathan Ross: Yes, you would add back in the resting heart rate to get the range...(hit reply to soon, sorry.)

The bottom line is, it should feel challenging to you. For cardiovascular training to be beneficial, it must be challenging enough to increase your body's demand for oxygen. That is key...this meand you can get a cardio workout anywhere. It doesn't have to be on machines, you can play tag with a bunch of kids. Just about anything qualifies.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: Happy Holidays!;

Are there any exercises you could recommend to a 30-year old who is in shape but with a weak back, aggravated by a large chest? I find myself hunching over more than I'd like to admit.

Thanks!;

Craig Stoltz: Hi Washington, funny you should ask. This week's Moving Crew column, which our cheerful producer has provided a link to above, offers three good exercises for your lower back. I like the superman (lie face down, spread-eagled, and raise all four limbs simultaneously a few inches off the floor. Hold for 3-5 seconds and release). Looks goofy, but it's good.

And just about anything with a stability ball will help you engage your core muscles, which includes your back muscles.

_______________________

Arlington, Va.: What do you think of non-weight lifting oriented conditioning like Pavel Tsatsouline and Matt Furey? Do they work?

Jonathan Ross: They are great, but it is still weight lifting! You are lifting body weight or other small implements. Your muscles don't care if you lift a 10 lb. dumbbell, a 10 lb. rock, or a 10 lb. child, it's all resistance! Whatever brings challenge to the muscles can bring results.

_______________________

Washington D.C.: Thanks for your Moving Crew article on the importance of a strong lower back. As you noted, people often ignore that area becasuse "you can't really see the lower back, unlike the upper back, which is kind of a 'show muscle'." But then you illustrated the article with a photograph of a man with ... an impossibly muscled UPPER back!;

Craig Stoltz: Hey, Washington, thanks for reading so closely. I thought the same thing when, late and blearly, I saw the picture *our extremely talented art director* chose.

Truth is, it's *hard* to find a picture of a lower back. Which proves the point,I guess.

Anyhow, thanks again. Now back to the supermans, you!

_______________________

Moving Crew: So you have the fitness down, looking to manage your eating? Try taking the Lean Plate Club Holiday Challenge, where the goal isn't necessarily to lose weight, just maintain the status quo.

_______________________

Jonathan Ross: The holidays are here...you're busy at work...busy at home...busy buying presents. But you still want to exercise.

For weight training work only the largest muscles (chest, back, thighs, core) and don't worry about the smaller ones (biceps, triceps shoulder, calves). Do 2 sets of at least one movement for each.

For cardio, if you want to do less time, increase the intesity by doing intervals. Many people do steady state training all the time and their programs suffer.

A little does go a long way...the holidays come every year at the same time. Plan for them, and plan for exercise. Think of how good it will feel when the holidays are over.

_______________________

Re: Holiday fitness: What about any sort of exercises at work? Something like keeping resistance bands on the back of your door, or a thighmaster or mini stepper under your desk? Do these have any effect?

Susan Morse: Hey there, Holiday,
You mean, short of getting your employer to put in a gym, thereby increasing productivity while improving your health and lowering their health costs???? (Employers, are you listening?)
Okay. Back to the real world. Do other things work? Sure they work. It helps if you have the support of some folks around you. In our office, Craig likes to invite supplicants (I mean colleagues) to stand and throw a weighted ball back and forth with him while discussing one matter or another. (Talk about walking and chewing gum at the same time...but you get the hang of it after a while.) And it beats just sitting.
Another colleague prefers to sit on an inflatable ball instead of a desk chair at her computer. Stomach muscles and all that.
Some other fitness toys we've tried: resistance bands (adaptable, cheap, effective), a lightweight bar for torso twisting exercises, and something called a Sim-Cycle (that you pedal--away from your desk so you don't hit your knees).
Other chatters have office fitness toys to recommend?

_______________________

Moving Crew: Here's that link for the Holiday Challenge.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: I'm a female, and I lift weights regularly under the supervision of a personal trainer. He emphasizes the need to push myself, to keep increasing the weights I lift so that I'm working my muscles appropriately. I'm at the point where I feel I'm as strong as I want to be - my muscles are there, they're just hidden under a stubborn layer of fat (but I'm not asking about the obvious fact that I must not be doing what I need to do nutritionally). How do you lift to maintain muscle, as opposed to increase muscle?

Jonathan Ross: By doing progressive resistance training under the supervision of a personal trainer rightly emphasizing the importance of needing to challenge yourself, you have built a body that is READY to burn off excess fat.

The muscle is where fat is burned. But you have to create the right hormonal environment to give the body a reason to send the fat to the muscle. Yes, we're talking about...

Nutrition. It has the power to either make your workouts more or less effective. What I have found working with clients is that if they are getting stronger and adding muscle, but not losing fat, there is some attention needed in the nutrition area. A high intake of sugars and saturated fats will keep a layer of fat covering that hard-earned muscle.

If you don't need more strength, just stay where you are with the weights and vary the exercises.

_______________________

D.C. Heart: Hi,

I'm a healthy 28-year-old woman, and my resting heart rate is 58. Does that really mean that my workout rate is supposed to be between 75 and 110?!; I normally get up to around 180 with just a moderate workout.

Jonathan Ross: Your Heart Rate Reserve is 134 (220-age-resting heart rate).

Multiply this by 0.60 and 0.80 and then add in 58 to get a range of 138-165 for a training heart rate zone for you.

Make sure you are increasing your body's demand for oxygen in spite of what the heart rate may be. The above range is still just an estimate.

_______________________

Craig Stoltz: For those just beginning exercise programs: First, congratulations. Second, I continue to recommend The Fitness Book by the American College of Sports Medicine ($16, Human Kinetics Publishing). It assumes no knowledge or current level of fitness, so it's great for beginners and the newly resolved.

Importantly, it starts with a fitness self-assessment, which has two functions: provides benchmarks to document your progress as you move along; and lets you start with the right exercises for your level.

Anything bad to say about it, you ask? The illustrations are dorky.

_______________________

Boyds, Md.: I'm a 43 year old male living a sedentary life and have so for most of my existence. I want to get into shape, but I have an aversion to gyms. What can I do at home? I intend to throw myself into a situp/pushup/treadmill regimen. What advice can you provide?

Many many thanks. This course of action of mine is long overdue, any advice you can provide would be a godsend.

Jonathan Ross: Congratulations on making a decision to put yourself on the path to living to your physical potential.

Invest in a Stability Ball. It is the most cost-effective piece of exercise equipment you can buy. (they look like big beach balls, but can usually hold 400-500 pounds)

I would balance all strength exercises around each joint. That means balancing pushing and pulling movements to not result in your training creating muscle imbalances.

I'd recommending getting a few sessions with a qualified personal trainer to get instruction on how to do the exercises.

Your body is your one true possession. I wish you well in your commitment at maintaining it.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: Jonathan,

Two questions - What made you want to become a personal trainer? And how often do most people work with a trainer (for those of us with financial concerns...)?

Jonathan Ross: My father died at age 56 and 424 pounds. Yes, it's true, I wasn't born with a "fitness silver spoon" in my mouth. I had to make the same changes that all of you have to make in your pursuit of health. His death was the flash point for my personal training career. I try to use my knowledge to help others live the way he did.

If a trainer does their job well, you won't need them anymore! I want all of my clients to become independent exercisers. For most people, this takes anywhere from 3-10 sessions for you to develop an understanding of what to do when the trainer isn't there. This is critical. If you aren't walking away from each session feeling more eduated about exercise, you are over paying.

I am always teaching, teaching, teaching. Your mind should get just as much work as your body in pursuit of fitness.

I have many clients on a monthly or bi-monthly schedule once they get clarity on their workout program. They don't need as much one-on-one time and the infrequent sessions allow me to continue to educate them while still providing them with accountability and a chance to get regular input from me while keeping it affordable for anyone.

One session a month is something that almost anyone can afford. One session a month for a year will leave you 12 hours smarter about exercise than you were at the start of the year.

_______________________

Craig Stoltz: To add to Jonathan's answer to Boyds: I'd reiterate what I said above about the benchmarks. If you write down the number of push-ups, crunches (not sit-ups!) and other body-weight exercises, you'll have motivation to continue to improve your abilities. Just doing the exercises until you can't won't give you a sense of progress, which in my experience is key to staying motivated.

Another easy, at-home exercise suggestion: The Plank. This week's Moving Crew column describes it. You'll likely start barely able to support yourself (on your toes and forearms, back straight) for 30 seconds. But you'll likely be able to increase every time you do it, by 5 seconds or so. OK, I'm about to brag: I just hit 3 minutes.

Sorry.

_______________________

Washington, D.C.: I'm a 33-year-old male looking to gain weight (muscle) rather than lose it. I've been eating plenty of (mostly) clean food and have cut back on the cardio while lifting heavy weights three times a week, focusing on major muscle groups. I've gained about four pounds over the last six months, increasing my chest measurement by 1 inch (unfortunately, my belly by one inch, too). I keep thinking I should be seeing more success from my program, especially since I've been so consistent. Help?

Jonathan Ross: Are you checking body fat levels? How are your clothes fitting? These are much better barometeres of success than the scale weight.

It may be possible that you have cut the cardio too low and/or are consuming a bit too many calories. You don't need an excessive cardiovascular program. 15-30 minutes works well for individuals such as yourself provided it is challenging enough to provide the body with a training stimulus.

Hard to answer this definitively without knowing your specific program and nutrition status.

_______________________

Greenbelt, Md.: I'm not sure I have all the right terminology for this, but you know when you are at an ellipsis machine or treadmill or something that measures your heart rate with those sensors on the handles? Well, you start out by entering your age and weight (22, 113), and then if you pick the "cardio" options you get a heart rate range you're supposed to stay in. I find, though, that when I'm working out I often end up getting above the "maximum" heart rate noted in the range. I find that it's a lot more work for me to stay within the range and then I don't feel like I get a good workout. Is there a danger of going above the range noted on those machines since I often stay that way for most of the workout? You kind of answered this in another question but I'm still not sure.

Oh, I have really low blood pressure. I don't know if that makes a difference. Thanks for taking my question!;

Jonathan Ross: You're welcome! Always make sure you aren't letting a number on a machine tell you that you are getting a workout (or not).

Does it feel challenging to you?
Does it feel like you can maintain it for at least a few minutes?
If yes, you're probably fine, even if you go "over" the target heart rate.

Even if you do go over your upper limit for your target heart rate, it isn't wrong. It just isn't cardiovascular training anymore. Sprinters do it all the time when they run at a high intensity.

Here are the three best methods to track intensity of cardio: (use ALL of them to double check each other)

Method 1: Target Heart Rate Zone (calculated as explained previously) Use pulse on wrist, built in heart rate monitor on machines, or use a separate heart rate monitor.

Method 2: Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale. You pick a number between 0-10 that describes how hard you feel like you are working out. Your goal is to arrive at a number between 4-7 ("moderate" to "very hard").

Method 3: (Easiest to use) Talk Test
While performing cardiovascular training, you should be able to converse while exercising. However, you should not be able to speak at normal conversational speed. Instead, your pace of speaking should be similar to that of the "Pledge of Allegiance." Meaning, you should have to pause for a breath every few words.

_______________________

Silver Spring, Md.: I know nutrition is part of the fitness triad so to speak, but I'm too stupid to understand a legume from a protein. Are there any good excercise nutrition books you can recommend for the "dummy"?

Thanks,
Steve

Susan Morse: Hi Silver Spring,
Sally Squires, our resident nutrition expert who leads the Lean Plate Club, recommends Nutrition for Dummies. She also likes Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook, by Human Kinetics. Another suggestion: Victor Herbert (an MD and PhD) has a book called Total Nutrition.
Good luck boning up on those legumes.

_______________________

Anonymous: Is it possible that I am exerising too much? I am eating the same amount but have increased the amount that I am exercising and I find that I am losing too much weight. I have a very small body build and high metabloism so weight comes off very easily. (I know, I know, lucky me) I want to stay in shape...but not lose weight. Cut back on the cardio? Any ideas?

Jonathan Ross: Hard to say for sure through this forum, but yes, it sounds like you may be overdoing the cardio.

Some people, due to their genetic make up, only need 12-15 minutes of cardio training. Remember, cardio is to train the CARDIOvascular system...in other words, to get the heart and lungs doing their job more effectively. That's it. It's not for fat loss, that is where the weight training comes in as the most important factor (although cardio plays a role). You didn't mention it, but you should be doing resistance training as well.

_______________________

baltimore : I have carpal tunnel syndrome which limits me greatly on my lifting weight. How do I avoid using my hands when I work on my upper body?

Jonathan Ross: If you have access to machines at a gym, you can do exercises that involve pads that rest agains the upper arm.

Also, you should definitely be doing exercise to strengthen your wrist flexors (the muscles responsible for putting your hand in the position opposite of what they are in when typing on a keyboard.)

Turn palms up, keeping forearms flat on a stable surface and curl dumbell upward (roll your palm toward your face). Good luck!

_______________________

Washington, D.C. : OK, this may be a silly question, but...

I am a woman of very athletic build. I am trying to lose a few more pounds but - and here's the silly part - I don't want to build additional muscle in my thigh area (which is the only part of my body disproprtional - my quads are especially large), but I can't figure out how not to!; My gym has a treadmill, eliptical, stationary bike, recumbant bike, and stair machine. Can you recommend a workout that would limit the bulk while giving me a good workout? I have been riding the bicycle on low resistance, but predictably that has been increasing my overall size. Please help!;

Jonathan Ross: First, please, I'm begging you, lose the focus on weight as a measure of fitness.

Now that we have that out of the way...

Do you have enough energy to get through the day?
Do your clothes fit better?
Do you like what you see in the mirror?
Do others comment that you are 'getting in shape?'

If you answer yes to most of those, congratulations you are making progress and the scale weight should mean less to you over time.

You may be someone that has the genetics to develop large leg muscles very easily. Short from taking up speed skating, you can increase the time you spend training upper body movements (you didn't mention doing weight training, but it is essential) and decrease - but not eliminate - the time you spend on lower body movements.

I would need to know more about you and your goals to answer more completely.

_______________________

Owings Mills, Md.: My husband and I would like to buy his younger brother (freshman in high school) a set of weights for Christmas. He's recently begun working out, but all he has is an ab machine his mom uses. They live in the middle of nowhere in a small town so there aren't any gyms he can join or use. Do you have any suggestions for weight sizes that would be appropriate or a good book we could also give him?

Craig Stoltz: Hi Owings Mills. Sorry, we're nearly out of time, so I've jumped in here. I'd get him dumbells in 5-pound increments going up to 25 lbs., and a triangular rack. Much better variety, functional training than you can do with a barbell. For books, for a young guy who's ambitious I like the Men's Health Home Workout Bible (hope I have that title right). It's a bit snarky but well-grounded physiologically.

_______________________

Manassas, Va.: Formal exercise has become increasingly boring to me, plus I have so many other higher priorities (job, children) that require my attention that it was hard to justify the time spent at the gym. I decided to try out the "lifestyle" exercise concept by regularly cleaning my house, a task that had been sadly neglected. Strangely enough, when I started to think of cleaning as exercise rather than drudgery, it became more tolerable and I have kept up the weekly cleaning routine for about 2 months now. I get a pretty good upper body workout and feel like I'm burning a lot of calories. In additiona, I take a half-hour lunchtime walk. Just thought I'd share this; I didn't believe that cleaning was a workout until I actually tried it.

Jonathan Ross: That is so wonderful to hear. Our bodies are made to move. Period.

200 years ago we didn't need exercise machines, health clubs, and miracle weight loss products.

When you have to build your own log cabin, fight off wild animals, hunt for, clean, and cook dinner, wash all your clothes by hand, and chop wood to stay warm, you don't even know the meaning of the word exercise.

Eat your beans, eat your greens, go out and play...healthy living as simple as it gets.

Keep up the positive mental approach.

_______________________

Silly question, continued: Actually, I can't fit into my pants because my thighs are increasing. I know I am making progress, everything else is good, but I just want to slow down the thigh expansion process. For weight training, I do pilates.

And speed skating is out of the question...I lack that essential coordination.

Jonathan Ross: It sounds like your genetics combined with a training program too heavily skewed toward lower could be the reason. Pilates is a fine way to build strength.

_______________________

Craig Stoltz: Well, that's all we have time for today, gang. I want to thank Jonathan, who (I suspect characteristically) was amazingly productive in sharing so much info in such a short amount of time.

To Crew fans, thanks as always for your good questions and good cheer, and be sure to see us again after the holidays. We suspect we'll all have some work to do. Enjoy!

_______________________


© 2004 Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive
Viewpoint: Paid Programming

Sponsored Discussion Archive
This forum offers sponsors a platform to discuss issues, new products, company information and other topics.

Read the Transcripts
Viewpoint: Paid Programming