Live chat with Tina McNulty - Fitness Professional - transcript

February 28, 2006

The Herald-Mail will present a live chat with Tina McNulty, starting at 1:00 pm and ending at 2:00 pm today. Questions or comments can be submitted by clicking here before and during the chat.

The text of the live discussion will flow into the bottom of this page during its live hour. You can either click "Refresh" on your browser window or hit "F5" on your keyboard to see new responses. Make sure you scroll down to see the latest answers.

Moderator: Does everyone need a doctor's OK before they begin a fitness routine?

McNulty: I would suggest getting a physician's approval prior to beginning an exercise program, if you have been sedentary for over a year, you are over 65 and do no currently exercise, if you have had any health issues or past or present injuries or surgeries or if you have experienced any chest pains or dizziness. Most physicians will give permission to exercise in some capacity. They may state any limitations or exercises to avoid. There are exercises to do even for those who can not walk or get out of bed.


Moderator: How often does a person need to exercise each week, and for how long each time?

McNulty: How often a person needs to exercise depends on their goals and their lifestyle. With the obesity rate in our country, it is recommended that everyone be physically active for 60-90 minutes daily, but that does not mean a workout in a gym, just being active in your daily routine ie. moving around, grocery shopping, walking to the mailbox, housework, etc. counts toward this time. It can even be broken down into ten minute increments and be beneficial.

For a beginner exerciser, I would suggest working out a minimum of 3 times per week for a minimum of 20 -30 minutes per session and gradually increase your the number of days, time and intensity as necessary in order to work toward your goals. If you have healthy eating habits your time spent working out can be reduced significantly.

Moderator: How should I get started in an exercise program?

McNulty: Once you have your doctor's approval to begin your exercise program, you need to set realistic short-term attainable goals. For example; I am going to go to the gym 3 times per week and drink 6-8 glasses of water per day. Then set specific goals such as "I am going to lose one pound per week". Once you figure out your goals, then you have to figure out what you have to do to reach them.

I would suggest meeting with a fitness professional to make sure your goals are reasonable and attainable for your height/frame, etc. Once you know what you need to do, it's time to get started. With a personal trainer you will learn how to reach your goals in a safe/healthy manner in the shortest amount of time possible. You should add your workout to your schedule just as you would any other appointment and make it a priority. You should wear workout clothes that you are comfortable in and the right shoes for your activity to avoid discomfort or injury. If you are working out on your own, start slow and gradually increase your workout time and intensity. Everyone is different, what works for one doesn't mean it will work for you.

You may want to keep a workout and food journal and monitor your progress. As you reach your goals, reward yourself in some way and then set new ones to stay motivated. Change your workouts regularly to continue making progress and avoid getting bored. Choose activities that you enjoy doing or workout with a friend or family member to stay accountable.

Moderator: In your experience, what is the main reason people do not stick with an exercise program?

McNulty: People stop exercising when they do not see results quick enough or get bored with doing the same routine. Most people start an exercise program to lose weight. You must keep in mind - there is no such thing as spot reduction or a miracle pill or workout.

Most people's downfall is their eating habits. You can increase your metabolism, by simply eating small frequent meals - when you wait too long you overeat and your body may go into a starvation mode and everything you eat is stored as fat to protect you, which inturn slows your metabolism down. It also helps to drink water. Often a feeling of hunger is actually your body telling you it's thirsty! Make sure you are get enough protein and focus on eating foods with a lower glycemic indexes. Balanced Lower glycemic meals will build more muscle, store less fat, have more energy and it will help you keep your appetite under control. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables, the fiber will help you feel full and your body needs the vitamins and minerals.

Experts say that a pound of fat contains roughly 3,500 calories, so if you simply decrease your calories by 500 daily (combination of decreasing your intake of calories by 250 and burning an extra 250 through exercise) you will lose 1 pound of fat per week. It is not safe or healthy to lose more than 1-2 pounds in one week.

The Herald-Mail Articles