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Slim Legs Without Bulk

Question: I have been working out for about 2 months now with the goal to slim my legs. I have notice that I am putting on weight which I was fine with until my pants started getting tighter, the opposite of what I wanted. What is a good routine to slim legs without bulking them up?

Justin Leonard: This may be due to several factors including genetics, nutrition, natural age-related growth depending on your age, etc. Exercise may not cause a reduction in weight for all people, which is why we should never use it as a solution for significant weight loss. On average, an exercise program is responsible for only about 5 to 8 pound of weight loss. Nutrition should be the primary solution for anything dealing with slimming or losing weight. But it's recommended to do exercise in conjunction with a nutrition program that promotes weight loss for best results. What exercise will do is allow your muscles to burn fat more efficiently and at a greater rate. A good routine to slim the legs would in essence be no different than any other leg workout. Although I would recommend making the workout more cardiovascular by minimizing rest in between sets and keeping repetitions over 15.


High Sodium And Abs

Question: Why is high sodium a bad thing when trying to get a six pack? I'm 43 and determined to firm/trim my waistline. I like salt. Any substitutes for my urge?

Justin Leonard: You don't have to completely eliminate salt. In fact, that's not recommended since sodium is important for muscle contraction and other bodily functions. However, if too much is consumed, it can cause you to hold excess water. It can also cause your blood pressure to go up. So really I'm just talking about excessive amounts of sodium. This doesn't just mean salt, but other foods like dressings, seasonings, etc. are all high in sodium and should be used sparingly if you wish to have a decent midsection.


Workout, Muscle Gain Confusion

Question: Hi, just stumbled across your site and found it very useful. I do have a question about my workout routine. I currently work out twice a week (was about to change to 3 times a week), and exercise all my muscle groups within each workout. Based on what I have been reading on your site, I'm doing it all wrong and I should target specific areas on each workout. I feel like I'm pushing myself to the max on each workout, rest for a day then do it again. My muscles seem to have recovered as I am able to do the same workout again & usually find it easier and don't struggle as much on the last set. I'm slowly getting stronger and bigger but it seems to be taking forever. Is that because I'm doing a full upper body workout every time? When maybe I should be targeting specific groups of muscles. Any advice would be very helpful.

Justin Leonard: In my opinion, there is no right or wrong way to train. Every workout system works for someone somewhere. Full body workouts are not necessarily bad for you unless it gets to the point to where you are overtraining. So be sure you are getting plenty of rest and recovery. A variety of exercise techniques seems to work best. This may include targeting one, two, or even three muscle groups in a workout, training on different days of the week, training at different times of the day, doing high reps, low reps, etc.


Cellulite Dot Com

Question: Hello Mr. Leonard. This is my first time on your website and want to tell you I've really enjoyed reading the Q and A's. Very helpful. I noticed that nobody has a cellulite problem though. I'm a 34 year old 5'8" female whose been battling this problem since mid teens. I've always been around a size 4 through 8 and active. (golfer since 18) My legs have always been a little big for my body and I don't mind that but I do mind the cellulite. I do workout with weights and do a stair stepping workout as well. Legs are shaping nicely but still have the trapped fat. In fact, the strangest thing is that when I'm done with the stepper or after walking a golf course, the cellulite is more apparent! A few years back at a size 2 it seemed to worsen but improved after a little weight gain. I don't want to lose weight and have it look worse again. Should I just add more weight to my strength training? Phew!!! Thanks

Justin Leonard: Cellulite has very little to do with fitness. This is more of a topic for medical professionals. Cellulite is sort of a unique beast that is usually genetic. If you've had it for several years, it probably is here to stay. A person does not have to be fat to develop cellulite, and it is not always improved with weight loss. In most cases, it is totally unrelated to fitness levels and body composition, but rather the skin's ability to pull the skin tight enough to reduce the dimpling. Here are a few websites that may provide a more detailed explanation of cellulite:

http://www.walkinbeauty.com/pro_cellulite.cfm

http://www.aestheticmd.com/

The articles have useful information, but be wary of any treatment procedures listed within them. I'm not endorsing any medical treatments.


Is Bread Bad?

Question: Is bread bad for you if you're working on your abs?

Justin Leonard: No. It's actually good for you as long as it is eaten in moderation. Bread provides one of the essential nutrients that everyone needs: carbohydrates. Carbs provide 4 calories per gram and are absolutely necessary for all bodily functions, including the metabolism of fats.


Extreme Weight Loss Measures, Nothing Works

Question: I'm 20 year old female 5'3" tall and weigh about 127. I am aiming to lose about 15-20 pounds. I have been working out about 35-55 min in the morning doing interval training on the treadmill 6 times a week for three weeks. I also do weight training three times a week. I eat about 1000 to 1200 calories a day. Sometimes I do eat way more, especially on the weekends. Because I haven't seen any results for three weeks, I decided to cut my calories to 900 and allow myself to eat junk food only every two weeks. I also have been running for 50 min in the morning and do 40 min on the elliptical machine at night for past four days which allows me to burn about 1000 calories a day. Is it dangerous for me to do this much cardio and burn more than I eat? What can I do to make my workouts more effective, because I think I am one of those people that just can't lose weight.

Justin Leonard: You are actually at a normal, healthy weight. It's not necessarily dangerous to burn more than you eat because that's what is required for a weight reduction to occur. But more than likely, your body doesn't want you to lose any more weight because it's trying to hold on to essential weight that is meant to protect your own well-being. The body will sometimes try to defend a certain weight because it feels that it can operate optimally at that weight. Also, by drastically reducing your caloric intake, the body may decide to activate its natural survival mechanism known as the starvation reflex. In this case what the body will do is try to maintain its current weight as much as possible. When the body finally gets more fuel [on the weekend], it will hold onto what it was already trying to defend plus the new fuel it received. The body will literally "stockpile" the calories. So it is quite possible that you are unknowingly creating optimal conditions for weight gain. A solution might be to NOT do anything drastic.


No Improvement After 3 Weeks

Question: I walk Monday thru Friday. I've been walking a mile a day during my breaks at work for 3 weeks now but still haven't notice anything in my body. I've even cut down a little on the food intake. I sit at my desk all day, so I started walking on my two 15 minutes breaks. What am I doing wrong?

Justin Leonard: I assume your goal is to lose weight. If so, you may not notice a weight reduction in 3 weeks. What are you using to gauge your progress? Don't use a scale. There are a lot of physiological changes happening within the body such as building muscle and burning fat, which might explain why it seems that nothing is happening. There could be other things that are not right but it's hard to tell. Have you considered resistance training? It will help the muscles to burn fat more efficiently, which can ultimately help to speed up the weight loss process.


Low Carb Diet Help

Question: Hi. I've lost 50 pounds and am stuck with the diet that I have been using which is a low carb diet. Protein shake in the morning, whatever carbs I want for lunch, and no carbs for dinner. I want to start taking ripped fuel but I am scared if I stop taking it I will gain the weight that I lost back. Will I gain the weight back and if so how can I shed the extra 30 pounds if I'm stuck.

Justin Leonard: If your carbs are too low, you will stop burning fat. You may want to consider reintroducing more carbs into your diet because they will act as catalysts to burn fat. Carbs absolutely positively MUST be present in order to metabolize fat. If you're not getting enough carbs, it might explain why you are stuck. With a low carb diet, you will more than likely gain some weight upon the reintroduction of carbohydrates. This is why I don't like low carb diets. But carbs are not necessarily the cause of the weight gain. It is instead caused by the body's deprivation or lack of desperately needed carbs. Remember that protein and carbs are equal in caloric content. They each provide the body with 4 calories per gram.


Gaba For Fat Loss

Question: What do you think of GABA for fat loss?

Justin Leonard: Gamma-aminobutyric acid "is not" effective as the claims are made out to be. I referenced the following website that provided additional info along with independent studies on the effects of GABA at the following location:

http://www.ast-ss.com/Products/ProductPage.asp?ProdID=16

One study yielded the following results: "In all of the 19 subjects studied, compared with 18 controls, plasma growth hormone levels were significantly increased (above 5 ng/ml) by acute oral administration of 5g of GABA."

I'm referencing the term "subjects." Was this study performed on humans or lab rats? I definitely recommend staying away from this supplement.


Breathe For Fat Loss

Question: I was wondering, what is your take on the programs called Oxycise and Lifelift? Both are very good I presume because everyone knows that the focus to lose weight is through breathing (oxygen). Can weight loss really be that simplified? I remember a program called the Jack Attack, where he trained pageant winners to lose bodyfat with just simple movements, the results where amazing!

Justin Leonard: I'm not convinced . . . This program can have some health benefits, but nothing significant (i.e. weight loss). The metabolism can only slightly be altered through this type of training. I referenced 2 websites to base my opinion:

Lifelift - http://www.lifelift.com/lifelift_lobby.htm

Oxycise - http://www.oxycise.com

For the most part, you won't find these types of programs in health clubs. Why? Because they aren't as effective as aerobic or anaerobic training. It would be great if burning fat was this simple. My job would be much easier.


Improve Golf Swing

Question: What type of workout would increase muscle speed so that I can hit the golf ball further? I have been told that I have slow-twitch muscles and should have a long swing. Can I do plyometrics to increase my fast-twitch muscles and gain more power?

Justin Leonard: Plyometric training is definitely the way to go! Anything that mimics the actual golf swing is beneficial. Another helpful method of strengthening your golf swing is through the utilization of pulley cable machine movements or rubber resistance bands.

Other than that, increasing strength throughout your shoulders, abs with emphasis on the obliques, chest, and arms will contribute significantly to overall golf swing power.


Eating During School

Question: I am 15 and I want to know how could I eat weight gain calories when I can't eat 4 - 5 meals a day because of school. What is the best way to do this?

Justin Leonard: It may be extremely hard to eat the needed amount of weight gain calories in this case. When I was in high school, I packed an additional lunch with convenient high-carb snacks such as bagels or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and ate them in between class periods. I also ate the school lunch. That's really all you can do with the time you have.


Weight Loss, Extra Skin

Question: I have recently lost a lot of weight and seem to have extra skin with some fat covering my lower abs. Is surgery the only solution?

Justin Leonard: Not necessarily . . . For some, the skin's elasticity will change over time back to its normal state. But admittedly, others' will never change. You may want to give it a couple months for improvement, just to make sure it isn't a temporary state for your skin.


How Much Protein?

Question: For bodybuilding, please tell me which protein to take and how to use it in the proper way?

Justin Leonard: Whey protein is definitely the best type of protein for building muscle. There is no right or wrong way to take it. In other words, you can supplement with protein at any time of day. The body will only utilize what it needs.

Excess just becomes waste. On the other hand, you don't want to overdo it because the kidneys will be forced to work overtime. The amount required per person depends on a combination of how much physical activity you do, your overall size, and your gender.


Dizziness With Fat Burners

Question: I have just started taking the Twinlab thermogenic formula ripped fuel. I only take 2 capsules once a day about twenty minutes before my workout. Although it was only my second time taking it, both times I have experienced dizziness after sets, as well as feeling faint during portions of my workout. Is this normal?

Justin Leonard: No! Stop taking this product immediately! It wasn't meant for you. A different formula may work, but this definitely isn't the norm.


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