When trying to get in shape should I concentrate on dieting, weight training or CV exercise?

Clare Wyness says ...

You need to work on all three of these things to get in shape. It sounds as if you have become overloaded with information from all the masses of literature on health and fitness we see every day.

To keep things simple, I would advise that you initially calculate how much you eat every day, and keep a daily record of your eating habits . Try to eat regularly, around 5 - 6 small meals per day of good quality, nutritious and varied foods.

A rough indication would be if your diet is multi-coloured and contains a high level of fruits and veggies with low fat protein such as fish or white meat twice a day, you are going along the right lines. Avoid high fat salty snacks and eat nuts or dried fruit instead. Above all, do NOT allow yourself to get hungry. That is when we are at our weakest and will submit to the nearest chocolate bar or bag of crisps on hand.

All over endurance weight training (lots of repetitions with low weights) about 3 times per week concentrating on big muscle groups are good to help you get in shape. Remember that weight training helps to build muscle which in turn needs more energy to keep the muscle built up. Therefore, you burn off more calories if your muscles are well toned and used regularly.

CV exercise will get your heart and lungs in shape and improve the amount of oxygen your body can take in and use. It makes your body much more efficient and burns off lots of calories into the bargain. Plus, you'll feel great and have lots more energy as you improve. Good luck !

Clare Wyness, Personal Trainer

Mark Raynsford says ..

All 3, will always be key for any fitness goal! The nutrition will help with weight control, will repair the body, and will fuel it for workout. Probably 75% of your goal will be nutrition based. The next important will be resistance work. As well as shaping your body, by building lean muscle you will further heighten your metabolism which will burn calories at rest. Cv work is best done as intervals. This was they are completed quicker, and give better results. It will also preserve muscle tissue, which is your primary goal - something that long steady state cardio will not do.

Mark Raynsford Personal Training Dip PT, RMT, Markspt

Heather Gillam says ...

The truth is that all 3 are important - the hierarchy of fat-loss is:

1) Nutrition - this is a massive subject, but the key thing is to only eat NATURAL things that you would have been able to eat 10,000 years ago.

2) Weight Training - I don't mean those stupid machines in the gym either. Get some proper instruction from a proper Personal Trainer and get using free weights - "big moving" exercises which use all the muscles in your body are essential. Train hard and you'll get big results!

3) Aerobic Exercise - Not what you think I'm going to say though. The key is high intensity intervals. 20 to 30 minutes is all you need to do, but make sure you are working hard during this. Skip, run, swim, cycle, row - itdoesn't matter, but work for, say, 2 minutes HARD, then recover at a slower rate for 1 minute. Always make sure the speeds are the same; don't let yourself start to slack as you go. If you really can't keep up, you started too fast! It does take some practice to get this right, but the key is to work hard. Working at a constant pace in this "fat burning zone" is pretty much pointless for fat loss, as it encourages your body to store more fat, so next time you work in the fat-burning zone you have enough fat to burn!!

Heather Gillam, Personal Trainer, Fit Biz Training

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