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Fitness Matters: Expert answers to your health and wellness questions

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From page WH8 | July 31, 2013 |

aisner catherine

CATHERINE AISNER

Question: I know water is great for my health and hydration, but I get really tired of drinking it all the time. Are there any other healthy alternatives that will allow me to hydrate just as well?

Answer: Water is optimal for quenching your thirst and it’s important for many bodily functions, but many people just get bored with it and yearn for something else. A great way to spruce up water is to add fruits and vegetables right to the glass or pitcher. Add a citrus flavor to your water with orange or lemon slices, add cucumbers, or for a hint of sweetness, add strawberries or another sweet fruit. Another option is flavored seltzer water, or make your own seltzer by combining your favorite juice with seltzer water.

Tea is another healthy alternative that can quench your thirst, as well as provide immune-boosting antioxidants that can help repair oxidative damage done to the body. If all else fails, try watering down a juice you like, or even better, try juicing your own fruits and vegetables to provide your body with the hydration and nutrients it needs.

Question: I am someone who regularly skips meals and workouts, thanks to both a busy work schedule and family life. I’m wondering if you have any tips that might get me back on track.

Answer: Luckily, there are many people that lead busy lives while still finding the time for healthy meals and productive workouts — it can be done! You need to make sure that fitness and nutrition are priorities in your life. Once you make this commitment, doing the “right” thing will seem like a lot less work. Try taking an inventory of your week on Sunday night, figuring out which days are light and which ones are heavy in terms of work and family responsibilities. Then, you can schedule your workouts in your planner and resolve any meal planning issues as well.

For example, maybe you need to pack more comprehensive snacks if you have a meeting during lunch, or maybe you need to create a reminder so you remember to take frozen meat out of the freezer the night before you cook it. These seem like small, almost trivial, changes, but they make a world of difference when you’re in a time crunch. We typically schedule things we don’t want to forget, so why not schedule meals and workouts too?

Question: My wife thinks she’ll get big and bulky if she starts lifting weights with me. How do I convince her otherwise?

Answer: This comes up all the time, and it’s one of the biggest myths out there. First of all, women simply don’t have the proper hormonal balance to put on large amounts of muscle tissue. Secondly, even if they did have the right physiology, it would take some serious training to do it. Getting bigger muscles requires high-volume workouts (lots of sets and repetitions) and a pretty high intensity level as well. Picking up a few weights here and there isn’t a recipe for building mass — it’s what you do and how you do it that really makes the difference.

Remind your wife that weight training programs can always be tailored to specific goals, so if she doesn’t want to put on large amounts of muscle, that’s just fine. Generally speaking, a full-body circuit with higher repetition ranges a few days per week would work well if she’s just looking to tone up or maintain her current level of muscle tissue. If she wants to get an individualized program based on her goals, working with a qualified personal trainer can really help.

Question: Boot camps seem to be a pretty popular form of exercise these days. What do you think of these workouts — worth a try?

Answer: You’re right — boot camps have taken the country by storm. Group exercise instructors are including them in the club setting, but there are also a number of companies popping up that hire fitness professionals to facilitate camps in a variety of outdoor locations as well. I personally like boot camp workouts because they’re different. They get you out of your fitness comfort zone. When workouts become stagnant, results tend to follow, and this is sure to have a detrimental effect on your motivation to exercise. These types of workouts also tend to focus on multi-joint, full-body movements with both cardio and strength components, which often produce greater fitness benefits. But that’s not even the best part! Boot camps are a lot of fun, and we all know you’re more likely to participate in something that you find enjoyable.

Catherine Aisner is one of the owners at Anytime Fitness in Cameron Park. Contact her at CameronParkCa@anytimefitness.com.

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