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5 Most Asked Fitness Questions By Men

By Kelly Marshall BSc (Hons), Dip PT, NASM, SFS, IFS

1) How do I get rid of my beer gut?

A 'beer gut' is often the result of over-consumption (through liquid and/or solid sources) and the simple answer is about considering how much you consume! The term 'beer gut' can be quite accurate because alcohol is hugely calorific, often consumed in bulk and the majority of the time consumed in the evening; not the best combination because the body has to do something with the excess calories that aren't used and subsequently they are stored as fat! Maximize your calorie expenditure through regular, frequent exercise (see answer to question 2 for the best types of exercise for calorie burning) and try to reduce your calorie intake.

Be smart about when you exercise for damage limitation, i.e. if you are out socialising on a Saturday night look to do a couple of high intensity training sessions in the days leading up to Saturday as this will ensure your metabolic rate is in its most revved state to deal with your calorie consumption during your night out!

What won't get rid of the beer gut is doing 100's of sit ups, although doing crunches will strengthen those abdominals, being able to see the six-pack underneath comes down to nutrition and burning more calories than you consume!

2) What do I need to do to get better muscle definition?

If you are looking to develop a defined yet muscular body, put some of the following principles into effect. Firstly, make sure your diet is low in junk and processed foods, and make sure you are eating five to six times a day to keep your metabolism up.

Don't eat everything in sight - increasing visible muscle isn't about eating lots of food regardless of what it is. Doing this will add mass, but a greater portion of it will be body fat, bringing you further away from the toned physique you're looking for.

Don't neglect cardio training because if you want that lean look, you'll have to do some! When it comes to cardio, the preferred method is interval training. This allows you to push your body for a short period of time, and then take a period to rest and recover before going once again. It is preferable because it will also help develop your fast twitch muscle fibres and will kick your metabolism into high gear.

Don't take long rest periods during weight training sets. Reducing your rest time won't impact on you muscle development but will increase your metabolism, helping you get leaner.

Do circuit training. Aim to complete an entire circuit of exercises for your whole body. Perform one set of each exercise before moving onto the next one with little or no rest in-between. Once you finish one whole circuit, take a few minutes to rest, and then complete it again one to three more times.

Do supersets. This is where you perform one set of an exercise for one muscle group, and then another set for an opposite muscle group. I.e. bicep curls followed by overhead tricep presses. This both cuts down on your total workout time and increases the overall amount of calories burned during your training session.

Getting lean and toned is dependent on burning more calories than you take in to remove excess body fat, so anything that helps you accomplish this is a step in the right direction. Try to incorporate these types of exercises into your workout as much as possible. Once you have mastered the workouts and the diet your physique will get noticed.

3) If I just exercise more, do I need to bother changing what I eat?

Absolutely, if it's worth doing, it's worth doing right! Changing your body shape is 50% nutrition and 50% exercise so make sure you adjust both, for health and fitness reasons.

4) What is the ideal rep range for increasing muscle mass?

It was once thought that performing weight lifting exercises within the 8-12 rep range was the most effective weight to pack on size, but research now suggests that incorporating the whole spectrum of rep ranges is the most effective way to build long-term mass! If you stay with one rep range it means you only activate and overload a certain number of muscle fibres in a certain part of the muscle. By varying the rep ranges you can recruit a greater percentage of the muscle fibres and therefore achieve better strength and growth. So, try training for a week within a 3-7 rep range, then the following week within an 8-12 rep range and then periodically throw in a week where you hit the endurance fibres with a 13-15 rep range.

5) Im really unfit and overweight - any advice on getting started on an exercise programme?

Follow these simple principles and make sure you start right!

  • DON'T compete against others - there will always be someone better than you!
  • DO compete against yourself
  • DO keep records - the challenge of finding out what you are capable of doing is a great motivator but just don't use it as a stick to beat yourself with!
  • DON'T overdo it - exercise at a pace that feels somewhat hard but doesn't make you gasp for breath
  • DO what you like - how long are you going to stick with something you don't like?
  • DO make exercise an end in itself - your exercise program should make you feel good so if it doesn't change it!

You are advised to seek medical advice before making any changes to your diet or lifestyle with an aim of weight loss. This website and the content provided should not be used by persons under 18, by pregnant or nursing women, or individuals with any type of health condition, except under the direct supervision of a qualified medical professional. The information contained in these articles, and elsewhere on this website, is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only, and is not intended to replace, and does not constitute legal, professional, medical or healthcare advice or diagnosis and may not be used for such purposes. Continue...

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