Apologies for no Q&A last week, I was having blood taken and it knocked me about more than I thought – a few things got pushed to the wayside!
I’ve not exercised for years, where do I start?
If you have any medical conditions that might stop you exercising or requires special considerations when exercising, I would think about getting the OK from a GP first.
Even though you should have to fill out a health questionnaire before you start at a Gym, there’s no such thing if you just fancy going out for a jog or a bike ride.
If you’re really unsure where to start, take it steady and build up slowly. Go out for a walk and then add in bits of jogging, slowly increasing the amount of time you’re running – you could use lampposts, trees or even parked cars as a point of reference.
Make sure you book in for an induction if you’re using a Gym for the first time, mainly so you know you’re using the equipment correctly, and you’re getting the most out of your gym membership.
Booking a session with a personal trainer might take away some of the stress or apprehension, so that might something to keep in mind.
The main thing to remember is starting slow and building up – if you go too hard too soon, you’re likely to put yourself off and think that you can’t do it.
I’m in a desk-bound job and I’m starting to get a bit of lower back pain, what can I do to help?
Try to get up and walk around at regular intervals throughout the day, so just so you’re not sat for so long – walks at lunchtime, walking to see a colleague instead of emailing or calling, or simply standing up to move about will all help.
Strengthening your core should help with the back pain, so try dorsal raises, crunches and the plank – these work the muscles used for stabilization, so might take some of the pressure and support your spine.
If you’re in any doubt about the back pain, go and get it checked out.
Should I stretch before or after my workout?
Stretching a cold muscle will, generally, do more harm than good so stretching before a workout is not a good idea. As part of your warm up, I would add in dynamic stretches – arm circles, leg swings etc. – but static stretching is best left to the end of the session. This is mainly because stretching helps get your body into the pre-exercise state and it gives you chance to get your heart rate back to its normal rhythm as well. Your body will know it’s the end of a session, so will start to relax and you’ll get the most out of the stretches.
I saw your favourite post-workout meal, but what do you eat on a typical day?
It really depends on what I have on for the day.
If I have an early start, I’m a bit rubbish at eating before I leave the house, so I’ll take cereal, a yoghurt and some berries with me to enjoy about 8am.
If I have a later start I have peanut butter on seeded toast.
Every morning involve strong black coffee!
Recently I’ve been making soups, so I’ve been having that for lunch – homemade chicken and rice, tomato and chilli, tomato and pepper etc.
I also like chicken and brown rice with salad, and I find that I have to make sure I have enough so that I don’t snack too much in the afternoon.
If I’ve been a bit poor with my planning, a cheese sandwich is always a good back up!
Chicken with stuffed peppers and cauliflower rice is a firm favourite at the moment, anything with turkey mince or a good, old fashioned stir fry is good with me.
Saying that, you can’t beat a jacket potato with cheese and salad.
I try snack on fruit and vegetables, but I do have a packet of crisps or a brunch bar – Fridays are the worst day, because I’m usually running out of shopping or I’ve been a bit too greedy at the start of the week 🙂