Ask Anytime Fitness
Expert answers to your health and wellness questions
By Jen Jacobson, Manager at Anytime Fitness
Question: A friend of mine eats 5-6 smaller meals each day and keeps telling me that I should be doing the same. Are there actually any benefits to doing this, especially if 3 meals per day are satisfying?
Answer: Experts have been telling us to eat more frequently throughout the day for years now. And the prevailing wisdom says that increasing your meal frequency will increase your metabolism and help with weight loss. The theories behind these perceived benefits are sound, but unfortunately, much of the research conflicts with these statements. In fact, numerous studies indicate that increasing the number of meals consumed per day has very little impact on overall food intake and body composition. This makes sense since increased frequency doesn’t seem to strongly affect total daily energy expenditure or resting metabolic rate either. There may be some benefit when it comes to appetite control and satiety, but the jury is still out on this too. If your energy level waxes and wanes throughout the day, then eating more frequently may be advantageous. But if you’re satisfied eating three squares a day, then by all means, continue to do so.
Question: I would do almost anything to get a nice 6-pack. Can you give me some tips and hints?
Answer: Absolutely! Not everyone has this particular goal, but the ones that do seem to be very passionate about it. First of all, you have to do some serious core work, focusing on the abdominals, obliques and low back area. In doing this, most people make one of two mistakes. The first mistake is working these muscles too many days of the week. Some think you need to do abs almost every day, but you wouldn’t do this for chest, back, and legs, so why would you do it for your abdominals? The other common problem is that people don’t push themselves when doing core work. I’ve seen plenty of people stop their set right when they start to feel the “burn.” Others may only use their bodyweight, never thinking that weights might actually challenge them even more. Remember, the harder you work your abdominals, the less you’ll have to do them—and you’ll get better results. Aside from strength training, the other key components to getting a firm, lean mid-section include cardiovascular exercise and, of course, proper diet. You should try to do cardio 5-6 days per week, especially if you have some extra flab to lose, and try to follow a well-balanced, calorie-controlled diet. If you have more specific questions, be sure to schedule a meeting with a trainer at your local Anytime Fitness.
Question: My doctor told me that eating after 7pm can lead to weight gain. Is this really true?
Answer: I was wondering when this question would come up. This is actually a very common myth that has been perpetuated by consumers and professionals alike for a very long time. Truth be told, there is no strong connection between eating at night and weight gain. Obviously, if your calorie intake exceeds your calorie expenditure, then you will certainly gain weight, but this is true no matter when those calories are consumed. So could the calories taken in at night contribute to weight gain? Sure. But it still comes down to a calories in vs. calories out issue. The idea of avoiding calories at night stems from the fact that most of us are pretty inactive in the evening hours, and if we’re not active, then filling up our gas tanks seems counter-productive. This is understandable, and I do think that too many people consume far too many calories during the evening hours. However, should you be overly concerned with weight gain if you had to miss a meal during the day or had to eat sporadically because of a busy schedule? That answer is no!
This blog post is by Jen Jacobsen, an Anytime Fitness Club Manager. She has a passion for changing peoples lives to give them a better quality of life with their loved ones. To submit a question for future articles, please contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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