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Sweet Cravings

Question: I'm 5"4 147lbs . . . trying to get to 130. I have tried everything. I crave sweets intensely and have problems breaking away from sweets. Help.

Justin Leonard: Your sweet cravings are without a doubt the end result of bad nutrition.

Here's what I would do:

Increase meal frequency. That way my "blood sugar" levels are kept at a constant pace, which would ultimately help to minimize sweet cravings.

Consider using a meal replacement drink in the place of, or in between meals. For example, Met-Rx or Myoplex. They taste good (some taste like cake mix) and they're sweet! They're just like milk shakes, but they're healthy and high in protein and can help you to lose weight when taken in between or in the place of meals.

Additionally, you may want to look at supplementing with a weight loss formula to help speed up the metabolism in the morning hours. Lastly, don't overlook physical activity.

Abtronic Side Effects

Question: I was wondering if the AbTronic can have any negative affects on a woman's reproductive organs? Please let me know ASAP. This is really important to me.

Justin Leonard: Unfortunately I am in no position to answer this question. It's a question that requires extensive knowledge of the female reproductive system and EMS technology. A doctor would be better suited to answer your question.

How Much Can I Lose?

Question: In order to lose 40 pounds by June 2002, how may calories should I consume each day?

Justin Leonard: This question is very vague. It varies depending on several factors including physical activity, how much you currently weigh, how much of your weight is lean muscle, if you're male or female, etc. Beware of anyone who gives you a numeric answer (i.e. 6 weeks) to a question like this without doing their research first!

Too Much Cardio?

Question: I am 15 years old and I have been working out for roughly a year. On the side of that, I recently have been doing half an hour on the bike 5-6 times a week (it works up a good sweat). Should I cut this down to once a week for an hour? Keep in mind I have no protein shakes or anything. Thanx for your time please right back.

Justin Leonard: It depends. What is your goal? If you're trying to build muscle, yes, you're doing way too much cardiovascular activity. Remember that you cannot build muscle while in the fat burning or cardio zone. If your goal is to build muscle, once a week for 30 minutes to an hour is more ideal.

Layer Of Fat On Abs

Question: I play basketball at the collegiate level so I workout everyday because of practice. I am in good shape and fairly muscular. I feel that I work my abs enough to see them. I also feel that I have a layer of fat that is covering my abs. What can I do to get rid of that layer of fat so my abs will show?

Justin Leonard: Definitely focus on the diet section of our sister site. It's the diet that will be the biggest contributor to fat loss. Be sure to visit the following URL:


Spot Reduction

Question: How can I lose inches around the waste without losing weight all around. I'm 115 and I just wanna lose a few inches and tighten up. Should I use the abtronic or ab energizer?

Justin Leonard: Impossible. Scientific studies prove that bodyfat is lost throughout the entire body, not just in one spot. The AbTronic and the Ab Energizer both get mixed reviews (mostly positive). We don't advocate these products. Instead we advocate what we know works . . . diet modification and exercise.


Question: Hi. I wanted to comment about my abs. I normally do about 100 crunches every other day but sometimes it feels like it gets firmer but I don't see any change. Also when I stop doing my crunches for a while and then do them again I feel the muscle pain a little the next day after that continuing the ab workout for a few days I never feel anything any more. What do you think I should do? Maybe I am repeating [my workouts] too much and my body got used to it? Should I do more than just 100? Let me know, thanks.

Justin Leonard: This is perfectly normal. What happens is your body builds up a tolerance the more frequently you do sit-ups. The more days you have off in between ab workouts, the more pain you'll feel. 100 sit-ups? Instead consider doing about 4 sets of crunches with your legs elevated. This takes the upper leg muscles (hip flexors) out of the movement and gives you a chance to recover in between sets. Consider starting with a repetition range of 25 - 40 crunches per set.

Exercise On Full Or Empty Stomach?

Question: Is it better to exercise on a full or empty stomach? Depending on your answer then which is best carbs or protein?

Justin Leonard: Consider exercising with little in the stomach. It is also possible for some people to workout with nothing in the stomach. If you eat too much, your workout performance will suffer because of the amount of energy your body needs to break food down into blood sugar.

A combination of carbs and protein are needed, but depending on what your goal is (marathon runner or powerlifter), you may require a significant amount of carbs and a certain type of carb. For example, complex carbs work great when eaten hours before a workout, but simple sugars taken 5 minutes prior to working out will maximize physical output. For best results, it is best to go approximately 1.5 - 2 hours (depending on how big the meal is) without food before you workout.

C-section Loose Skin

Question: I have loose skin around my ab area after 2 c-sections (last one 10 years ago). Can this program really help me?

Justin Leonard: It will help to burn fat, but it will not help to eliminate loose skin. Beware of programs that say they can! The loose skin does not consist of fat. It can only be surgically removed.

Xenadrine EFX

Question: I have a female friend who is 23 years old and weighs no more than 105 lbs. She has started taking Xenadrine EFX and stopped eating. I have tried to explain to her that this is a bad idea, but she won't listen. Are there any medical concerns that she should worry about? As a sidenote, she probably only has about 1 or 2% body fat.

Justin Leonard: I can't emphasize enough how EXTREMELY DANGEROUS this is. The first problem she will run into will probably be a burned stomach lining (ulcer). Too many fat burners with little or no foods will begin to build a very nasty and destructive acid which can literally begin to eat the lining in the stomach. This can cause excessive diarrhea or vomiting in a very short amount of time. If it continues, internal bleeding can occur which can obviously lead to infection, dehydration, and a countless number of related illnesses.

Family Fitness Consultant

Question: I read your article and I am very interested in building my body. I am 5'10'' and weight ~115lbs. I am skinny, but I workout all the time. I have noticed my flaws and am taking a new course of action. I recently got a suggestion from my uncle. He said that when he was young he would mix four eggs with a glass of milk every morning and workout. I understand how this may help, but is that really a good way to go about building muscle? Another question I have is: What time length should I allow to start working out after I eat. I have no intention on being "HUGE" but I would like to be above average. Please can you help me?

Justin Leonard: Whatever you do, DO NOT take your uncle's advice. That was cool in the old days, but nutrition science has vastly improved since. The body actually processes boiled or cooked eggs better. When the eggs are boiled or cooked, the proteins in the eggs become denatured. The denaturing of these proteins actually helps with absorption in the human body. It's also a good idea to cook the eggs to prevent getting salmonella. Consider a whey protein supplement instead.

After you eat, there should be about 2 hours before you workout.

Wing Exercises

Question: Hi. I recently started working out, and would like to know what exercise would be best to target my wings. I would like to lose the fat, and to tone up. I don't want to build muscle. Thank you for your time.

Justin Leonard: A variety of wing (a.k.a. back, latisimus, or lats) exercises works best. Specifically, the lat pulldown is probably the safest, easiest, and most convenient back exercise. You WILL build muscle and burn fat if you start working out. This is actually what happens when you "lose the fat and tone up." If it's bulky bodybuilder muscles you don't want, don't worry, it takes years of precision training and nutrition [for most people] to get that way.

Need Flat Abs

Question: Since January I have lost 100lbs and have another 42 to go but I want to get rid of my stomach. I walk 6 miles everyday and work on toning during the week. What can I do to get rid of my stomach and develop those abs?

Justin Leonard: Because of the amount of weight you lost in such a short amount of time, you will more than likely have excess skin. It's not necessarily fat. If you have another 42 pounds to go, you're still a way's out. For adult males, the bodyfat levels must be close to 12% (give or take) before you can see the formation of abdominal muscles.

Please Help!

Question: Firstly, your information is great. You are helping lots of people, thank you for the great job you do. My friend is a 50 year old male who plays racquetball hard for 7 months out of the year (winter in Alaska). He believes he needs to sweat lots to loose weight (he also needs to watch his blood pressure) and he only has a Slim Fast shake for a meal afterwards. I'm concerned he is straining his heart, what do you think and could you suggest a better program for him? Thank you.

Justin Leonard: The sweating theory is a myth and is not required for weight loss. A Slim Fast shake or similar meal replacement drink after a workout is ideal. It may be even better than a meal. So far, nothing you mentioned should be of concern. What I'd need to know to be more accurate are his eating habits.

Biceps & Triceps

Question: Mr. Leonard, is it recommended to exercise both the biceps and triceps during the same workout session? Or will it be better to exercise them on separate days and why? Thank you in advance for your input.

Justin Leonard: If you're already training both on the same day and are seeing results, keep doing it. But I normally advocate working muscles that accentuate each other. Examples are chest and triceps, biceps and back, etc. When you train a large upper body part, the secondary use muscles are mainly going to be either the biceps or the triceps [and sometimes shoulders]. You could also incorporate both techniques: spend a few weeks training the biceps and triceps together, and a few weeks training them on separate days, either by themselves or with other body parts.

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