Thursday, April 2, 2009

Michelle's Mailbox

I love a good April Fool's Day joke. That's why when asked me to help out with their one-day promotion of "Sasquatch Jerky," I couldn't resist. But in order to thank you for going along with their little prank, they want to give you with 10% savings on your order. (You can check out my review of their pineapple jerky here.) Just head to, select the products you want to try, then use the coupon code ABSOLUTIONBIGFOOT when you check out. Plus, your shipping is free!

You readers have been keeping me busy (which I love, by the way!) You have so many questions! (Send your question to me at if you have one!) I decided to use today's post to answer some of the most common questions I get. Hope this helps!

Are free weights better than machine/cable weights?

Free weights generally challenge an overall muscle group more intensely. They assist in the development of core trunk strength, stabilizing muscle strength and balance. However; for the purpose of weight loss, muscle toning and overall fitness, both groups will serve an adequate purpose.

How many calories are burned while walking/jogging/running a mile?

On average, the caloric expenditure per 100 pounds of body weight, per mile is 62 calories. So if you weight 200 pounds, walking or jogging a mile will burn about 124 calories.

How do I know how much weight I should be lifting?

For those of you who are weight lifting for overall fitness and health, the general rule is to maintain a rep count of 10 – 12 repetitions. While lifting, the final rep (10, 11 or 12) should be relatively difficult to complete. If completing 10 reps is too difficult, reduce the weight. If completing 12 reps is too easy (i.e. You can complete even one more rep) increase the weight.

Are crunches, sit-ups and other abdominal exercises ideal for losing weight around the abdomen?

No. The human body is not capable of spot reducing fatty deposits. A well rounded fitness program and a well rounded diet are the ideal, and only, ways to reduce overall body fat.

How many calories do I have to burn to lose a pound of fat?

A pound of fat is roughly equivalent to 3500 calories. If you’re goal is to lose 1 pound of fat per week you will need to increase you activity levels by 500 calories per day, reduce you caloric intake by 500 calories per day or settle on a combination of the two.

How important is it for women to strength train?

It is monumentally important for women to weight train. Among dozens of other benefits, weight bearing exercise reduces the rate at which bone density is depleted, leading to healthier bones for a longer period of time.

Is it dangerous for children to weight train?

Yes and No. Children of any age should be active. And contrary to popular belief, weight training will not stunt growth if it is done properly. At a young age (8 – 13) weight training should be kept to body weight exercises such as pull-ups, push-ups and the like. No matter what exercise a child is performing, proper supervision is essential!

Will strength training decrease overall flexibility?

The short answer is No. However, if one gains too much muscle mass, they may become “muscle bound”. This is unlikely though. Very few people have to worry about the possibility of becoming muscle bound.

How often should I exercise?

It is my personal belief that the human body is designed to be active often. I feel most people should participate in some physical activity for at least 30 minutes 6 days a week. I do understand how busy our lives get. That said, I typically recommend an absolute minimum of one hour, three days per week.

How will exercise and physical fitness help me?

This question was posed several times and its answer could go on for pages. I’ll narrow it down some of the most important:

1. Decreased risk of diseases/conditions related to excessive weight or obesity.
2. Decreased risk of cardiovascular disease.
3. Lower cholesterol levels.
4. Lower blood pressure.
5. Decreased levels of stress/anxiety.
6. Better self image.
7. Ability to sleep better.
8. Decreased risk of injury while performing routine activity.
9. Decreased risk of depression.
10. Delays the onset of physical signs of aging.

That's all for now - I'll keep posting answers if you keep emailing me questions to Now, go order some jerky with your discount!