Expert answers to your health and wellness questions
Question: Well, it’s that time of year again. Any advice on sticking to my New Year’s resolutions in 2013?
Answer: To be honest with you, I don’t really like the whole resolution approach at all. Wasn’t it Einstein that said doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is a sure sign of insanity? If that’s true, I find it ironic that people set similar goals year after year, and yet fail to reach those goals year after year. It’s clear you want to make some changes—that what resolutions are all about—but it sounds like it’s your mindset that needs to change. You have to determine how committed you are to living a lifestyle of health. After all, it takes dedication and hard work to exercise consistently, make healthy food choices most of the time, and get adequate sleep each night. And these are just some of the behaviors that define wellness. But here’s the thing—when you decide that revamping your lifestyle is more important than reaching some short-term goal for 2013, New Year’s resolutions will become a thing of the past!
Question: I’d love to run a 5K with some friends this spring, but I am not active at all right now. How should I go about training for something like this?
Answer: This is a great question! There are actually several plans on the internet that can take you from the couch to the 5K course in as little as 8-10 weeks. In fact, you can even use one of these plans if you have no intention of running a 5K, but simply want to start incorporating fitness (running) into your lifestyle. Most of the plans start with combination walk/jog/walk session, 3 days per week, steadily increasing the actual jog time from just 2 or 3 minutes to about 10 minutes by weeks 4 or 5. At this point, you also start to add an extra day of training, totaling 4 sessions each week. As you continue to increase your jog time, you gradually remove the walking warm-up, thereby finishing each workout with just a basic walking cool-down. By the time you get to 10 weeks, you should be able to run consistently for 25-30 minutes without stopping. Not bad for a former couch potato, huh? Do a Google search for couch-to-5K training programs, or check out www.halhigdon.com for more information. Good luck!
Question: I’m looking to add some serious muscle mass, and I’m curious about the engineered weight gainers out on the market? In other words, do you think weight gainers should be used to gain weight?
Answer: Weight gainer supplements can have a place when it comes to adding muscle, but here’s my general philosophy on the matter. First of all, we know calories are of prime importance if gaining weight is the goal. We also know that some people simply can’t eat enough to gain the type of weight that they’d like to. This means that liquid calories become pretty important because liquids obviously aren’t quite as filling as solid foods. But my personal preference would be to create my own weight gainer smoothies with real foods, like fruits, yogurt, protein powders, oats, milk, and even things like peanut butter, frozen yogurt, and a little bit of chocolate. Then, you can combine these “beverages” with some hearty meals, and you’ll be on your way to a bigger you in no time. If you’ve found a particular weight gainer supplement that you happen to like, and you can afford it, then you can certainly go that route too. I just happen to be a “food first” kind of guy, and I’ve always found my smoothies and shakes more palatable than what is on the market. In the end, do what you think is best, and don’t forget to train for weight gain as well.
About the author: Grant & Cathy Pritchard are the club owners at Anytime Fitness in Buckley & Orting, Washington. To submit a question for future articles, please contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.