Ask the Anytime Fitness Guy

By Jon Spangler
Special to The Citizen

Question: How come I never see anyone else doing a warm-up prior to working out?

Answer: That’s a great question, and one that’s relatively easy to answer. Most people simply don’t make time for a warm-up. Lots of folks just want to “get in and get out,” and don’t really consider the benefits of properly preparing the body for exercise. Let’s highlight a few of these benefits, so you have justification for incorporating it into your workout.

Increases the temperature of your muscles and joints, which makes movement more efficient and reduces the risk of injury

Causes blood vessels to dilate, which shuttles oxygen and nutrients to the muscles, allowing you to achieve peak performance

Prepares you for exercise mentally, heightening your senses and allowing you to focus and concentrate on the work at hand

There are lots of other benefits, but no matter why you do it, a simple fact remains. You will feel better and perform better if you include a warm-up in your exercise session. Take five minutes, and do some light cardiovascular exercise, along with a few basic bodyweight strength exercises. Try the elliptical or some fast walking, and throw in some lunges, push-ups, squats, or planks. And don’t forget, it’s best to try and mimic your actual workout if possible!

Question: I’m sure you knew this was coming. How do I manage my food intake during the holidays, especially with all the cakes, cookies, and other goodies seemingly everywhere? Help!

Answer: I thought we were going to skirt by without addressing this, but I’m glad you asked. Interestingly enough, the answer depends almost entirely on you. Assuming you’re susceptible to sweets and other treats, you really only have three options—go all-out and worry about the ramifications later, avoid them at all costs, or take a reasoned approach and indulge to a modest degree. I think most people would argue that the third idea is the best one. After all, why not treat yourself to a few holiday goodies, especially if you can limit yourself to one or two here and there. And don’t forget to continue with your workouts during this time as well. Restricting foods that you truly enjoy will only increase your cravings for them, and make for an unhappy holiday season. Bottom line—it comes down to choice, and you can choose to make healthy decisions or not, but you have to be realistic.

Keep variety, moderation, and balance in mind, and reward yourself for being active all year long!

Question: I saw a trainer post something in the club about resting metabolic rate testing. What is this, and is it worth it?

Answer: Resting metabolic rate (RMR) testing is something that’s becoming much more common, and for good reason. Your resting metabolic rate is essentially the number of calories needed to maintain basic bodily functions, and represents the approximate number of calories you would burn if you laid in bed for 24 hours doing nothing. When someone is trying to reach a specific weight goal, they often want to pinpoint (as accurately as possible) how many calories they need to reach that goal. Knowing your RMR is the first step in that process, and obtaining a measured RMR is more accurate than using a standard equation. Your metabolic rate is determined by a breath test, which measures your oxygen consumption and carbon dioxide production. These values can be directly linked to caloric expenditure. Keep in mind, once you know your RMR, you also have to determine how many calories you burn through daily activity and the digestion of food, and also factor in a surplus or deficit if you want to gain or lose weight. A personal trainer can help you calculate your total caloric expenditure, which takes into account all of these variables. Then, you can then match this number with your dietary intake in order to reach your goals. This is what calorie balance is all about. Give it a try and see what you think!

About the author: Jon Spangler is the club owner at Anytime Fitness in Peachtree City . To submit a question for future articles, please contact the author at peachtreecityga@anytimefitness.com