Question: I have a very simple question for you…how often should I weigh myself?
Answer: Assuming you’re trying to lose weight, it really depends on where you are in the weight loss process and how sensitive you are to the results. If you’re in the early stages of active weight loss, I’d only recommend weighing in once every one to two weeks. Keeping it to a minimum will help you focus more on your behaviors. After all, consistency is key when it comes to both diet and exercise, and obsessing about the numbers on the scale won’t change anything. And let’s not forget that it can take some time for the scale to start trending down, especially if you’ve just started an exercise program. However, if you’ve reached your weight loss goals, and you’re now in maintenance mode, I’d recommend weighing yourself more frequently. That’s right—I said more often, and there’s actually research to support this. The logic behind it is simple. If you’re weighing more frequently, you’ll be able to quickly identify weight gain trends and respond accordingly. A couple days each week is probably enough to keep you at or near your target. There’s one last point that’s important here, and it sort of goes without saying. The number on the scale is just one aspect of the weight loss process. In other words, tracking other metrics of success, like how you’re feeling, your circumference measurements, and your body composition are just as important!
Question: People keep telling me that MOST supplements simply don’t work. If that’s the case, can you tell me which ones do work well?
Answer: I would agree that there are many supplements out there with very strong marketing, but little research to support either their efficacy or safety. That said, there are some tried and true supplements that may help improve health and/or performance, but the decision to use them or not depends on what your specific goals are. Without knowing much more about your particular situation, here’s a short list of what I like to call foundational supplements that may be beneficial in one way or another:
- Multivitamin/ mineral
- Fish oil
- Sports nutrition bars
- Sports drinks
- Protein powder
- Pre- and post-workout formulas
These are generally considered to be safe supplements that either promote health or provide some ergogenic benefit. However, this is by no means an exhaustive list, so my advice would be to talk to a registered dietitian so they can help you determine whether a specific supplement is appropriate for you.
Question: A friend of mine keeps telling me I should be doing more compound movements. What does this mean and what are the benefits?
Answer: Your friend is right! Isolated movements are really more appropriate for targeting weak areas or for rehabilitating after an injury. Today’s fitness trends typically involve more functional movements that mimic real-life activities. That’s why compound exercises are becoming so popular. They’re essentially just multi-joint exercises that work several muscles at a time. Examples include pull-ups, push-ups, squats, lunges, deadlifts, kettlebell swings, dips, and even jumping rope. And this is only scratching the surface when it comes to compound exercises. There are numerous reasons to incorporate more compound movements into your training. Here are just a few of the benefits:
- Provides a full body workout in a shorter period of time
- Improves coordination, reaction time, and balance
- Provides cardiovascular benefits by keeping your heart rate elevated
- Decreases risk of injury during sports
- Burns more calories
- Allows for heavier lifts that will build strength faster
I highly recommend adding compound movements to your workout regimen, and if you give them a try, have fun with them and get creative. Think of new ways to use stability balls, medicine balls, Bosu balls, bands, kettlebells, ropes, and, of course, your own body weight to work multiple muscle groups at a time!