misc.fitness FAQ (part 2)y Asked Questions (and answers 🙂 —

This is part 2.

– Continuation of Part 1: The Frequently Asked Questions (and answers 🙂 —

35. What’s the best exercise to do and when is the best time to workout?

The best exercise to do is whatever exercise you enjoy. Most people like variety and will run one day and play basketball the next day. Find an activity that you enjoy and stick with it.

The best time to work out is, again, whatever time of day you like. Some people are morning people and they usually have no problem with going to the gym at 0600, others like to workout at night. What time of day you workout isn’t important, what’s important is how you’re working out and if you’re getting enough nutrients and rest.

36. Shin splints: What is it and what to do if you have it?

From: holtcscs@supercom.win.net (Stephen Holt, CSCS)
** Stolen from the rec.running FAQ. **

———— START ———
Shin splints (Harry Y Xu hyx1@cunixa.cc.columbia.edu )
(Doug Poirier os2user@dougp.austin.ibm.com )
(Rodney Sanders rdsand@ccmail.monsanto.com )

Excerpts from _The SportsMedicine Book_ by Gabe Mirkin, MD. and
Marshall Hoffman:

“Shin splints is….condition that can result from muscle imbalance. They are characterized by generalized pain in front of the lower leg and are particularly common in runners and running backs…. The most common cause is a muscle imbalance where the calf muscles–which pull the forefoot down–overpower the shin muscles–which pull the forefoot up. As the athlete continues to train, the calf muscle usually becomes proportionately much stronger than the shin muscles.

The treatment for shin splints is to strengthen the weaker muscles (shins) and stretch the stronger muscles (calves).

To strengthen the shins, run up stairs. To stretch the calves,…(do stretching exercises for the calves, et. the wall push-ups)” *end of excerpts.


In my experience, I have found that stretching is the real key to avoiding shin-splints. I believe there’s a book with stretches by Bob Anderson that you may want to check. Also, back issues of running magazines sometimes have helpful information. Basically, I do the standard “lean on the wall stretch” and a stretch by standing flat-footed on one leg and bending at the knee to stretch the achilles. I then top these off with a few toe raises (no weights!) before I head out to run… If you’re having trouble, I’d recommend stretching 2-3 times a day until you get over the problem. Startslowly!

Also, you probably should avoid hills and extremely hard surfaces until the situation improves. I’ve known several people who’ve had shin splints and gotten over them by stretching. (Of course, you should be careful in case the shin splints are the result of a more severe problem…)


Help with shin splints.

1. Try picking up marbles with your toes and holding onto them for a few seconds.

1A. While recovering from shin splints, it may help to use a wedge in the heel of your shoes. By raising the heel, you are reducing the pull on the muscles and tendons on the front.

2. Stand on the stairs with your heels out over the edge. Lower your heels as far as they will go without undue discomfort, and hold for 15 seconds. Slowly raise yourself up on your toes. Repeat 5 million times. (Sherwood Botsford sherwood@space.ualberta.ca )

3. If you can, rig something with either surgical tubing or a large rubberband. For example: put the tubing around one of the back legs of your desk in some sort of a loop. Reach under the tubing with your toes, with your heel as a pivot pull the tubing toward you. This will work the muscle in the front of the shins. Repeat 6 million times. It’s easier than the stair exercise

4. Run on different terrain, preferably grass. It’ll absorb the shock.

5. This normally affects knees, but it might affect shins. Don’t run on the same side of the road all of the time. It is sloped left or right to let the water run off. Running on the same slope for long periods of time will cause adverse effects to the ankles, shins…etc…. If you are running on a track, alternate your direction of travel, as the lean when you are going around the corners is at least as bad as the crown slope of a road. This is especially true of small indoor tracks.

6. For strengthening the front muscles: Make a training weight by tying a strip of cloth to a pop bottle. Sit on the kitchen counter top, hang the bottle from your toes, and raise it up and down by flexing your ankle. The weight can be adjusted by adding water or sand to the bottle. (Sherwood Botsford sherwood@space.ualberta.ca )

7. Scatter a few chunks of 2×4 around the house where you tend to stand, say kitchen and bathroom. Now every time you are at the stove or at the bathroom (in front of either fixture) stand on the 2×4 and rest your heels on the floor. One in front of the TV and used during every commercial will either stretch you, or stop you from watching TV. (Sherwood Botsfordsherwood@space.ualberta.ca )

Also from David Will < david.will@ColumbiaSC.NCR.COM >

Shin splints – Usually refers to damage of the connective tissue on the front of the lower leg (tibialis anterior).

Shin splints usually are caused by putting weight/stress/shock on the ball of the foot. Causes include poor shoes (not much shock absorption), changes in surface, lack of stretching before and after exercise, rapid increase in intensity and duration. When walking or running make an effort to do this heel to toe. Heel comes down first, then let the toe come down. On the steps, you are probably flat footed.

Basically do dorsal flexion (toe raises w/heel flat on ground).This can be done sitting or standing with or without weight onthe top of your foot. This will strengthen the muscle. To stretch this muscle you need to do plantar flexion (point your toes). This should be done before and after the exercise. I sometimes standwith my heel on a step, and point my toes down as far as I can.

There is another disorder called Anterior Compartment Syndrome.This is severe persistent pain in the shin area caused by build up of pressure in the connective tissue and fascia. This is probably what you’ve heard referred to as shin splints. I don’t know of any exercise that makes shin splints heal faster (but maybe there is). I think they just get better with time.


37. Will muscle turn into FAT?

No! They are two different things. Will an apple turn into an orange? The muscle, if not used, will become smaller and FAT deposits may appear over and within the muscle, but the muscle doesn’t change into FAT.

38. What are Plyometrics?

From: lylemcd@delphi.com

Well, plyometrics are basically a form of modified power train-ing. However, generally speaking, only body weight is used due tothe high impact nature of this technique. Similar power train-ing, plyometrics emphasizes speed of movement over anything else (well, perhaps not safety). The goal is to “teach” your muscles to respond quickly and powerfully. Also, some feel that plyometrics may improve neural pathways and improve muscle fiber
recruitment over time. This makes it useful as well for athletes who don’t necessarily need power but desire improved strength (i.e. power lifters and body-builders). So, what exactly is plyometrics.

Well, before I get into the actual description of plyometrics and how to incorporate them into a work out routine, let me bore you with some physiology. Plyometrics relies on one of the basic facts of muscular physiology: a pre-stretched muscle is capable of generating more force. Basically, if two conditions are met during the performance of plyometrics, greater force output can be realized.

The two conditions are these:
1. The muscle must be pre-stretched prior to the concentric movement
2. This pre-stretch must occur immediately prior to the concentric movement or nothing happens

Actually, you’ve probably all done this if you’ve even jumped.
Think about it, when you jump what do you do right before leavingthe ground? You take a slight prep by bending your legs so that you can jump further or higher. Well, this prep movement satisfies the above two conditions. This is why high jumpers do a quick knee flexion before jumping and basketball players do the same thing, so that they can go higher easier. Ok, enough physiology.

Although plyometrics can be used for essentially any muscle, it is probably most frequently performed for the legs as most athletes require the majority in their legs. Probably the most basic plyometric exercise is depth jumps. Very basically, you stand on top of a box, chair or table and jump to the ground off of it. You should absorb some of the impact by bending your knees (which fulfills requirement 1) and then immediately jump ashigh as possible (which fulfills requirement 2). This can be performed for several repetitions. As you can imagine, the limit to plyometric exercises is really determined by one’s imagination. Plyometric push-ups are very possible by exploding the body off the floor, absorbing the impact with the hands, lowering the body slightly and then exploding again in rapid succession.Also, there are several books available which outline various plyometric exercises for various muscles.

However, understand that there is a high injury potential as this type of exercise is extremely high intensity. Generally, box height on depth jumping should be kept between eight and sixteen inches (1) to minimize risk potential. Also, due to it’s high intensity nature, plyometrics should probably only be performed at limited times during the year (preferably during the power phase if you are following periodization) and no more than once a week to avoid injury. Also, due to the high stress that will be felt on the connecting tissues (ligaments and tendons), at least six months or more of basic weight training should be performed before incorporating plyometrics into any routine.

For more information, please see “Explosive Power: Plyometrics for Bodybuilders, martial artists and other athletes” available from Health for Life (1-800-874-5339), “Jumping into Plyometrics”by Donald A. Chu, PhD available from Human Kinetics (1-800-747-

For a catalog of previous posts send requests tolylemcd@delphi.com along with questions/comments.


References: 1. M.F. Bobbert et. al. “Drop Jumping II. The influence of dropping height on the biomechanics of drop jumping” Med. Sci. Sports Exerc Vol 19(4), 322-346. 1987.

39. I don’t want to look like a bodybuilder. Should I still lift weights?

YES! For most people, adding muscle is very difficult. Hard work, eating right, and having the right genetics are all needed to get the bodybuilder look. It also takes years, and most often a lot of steroids, to put on the kind of mass that you see in magazines. If you find yourself getting more muscle than you’d like, then you can stop training and they will shrink, due to lack of
work. You can use weights, or progressive resistance, to make you stronger, faster and more explosive, as well as making yourself look the way you want. If you want bigger arms it’s possible to train your arms and they’ll become larger. Looking like a bodybuilder takes extreme determination and the right gene pool, it isn’t something that “just happens”. It is also important to note that most athletes use weights to improve their strength and their performance, and don’t end up looking like a bodybuilder, even though they train very hard.

40. If I’m doing both aerobic exercise and weight training, which one
should be done first?

If you want to add muscle and lose FAT during the same workout you should do the weight training first. Why? First of all you’ll have more energy, which usually results in a more productive weight training workout. Second, there is a time span of about 60 minutes, after starting the workout, where Growth Hormone levels are slightly higher than normal. You want to take advantage
of that by making the workout not last more than 60 minutes. Weight training first may hamper the aerobic exercise because your tired, but you raise your chances of building muscle, which will burn more FAT in the long run. A better way would be to do them on different days and allowing yourself adequate rest between weight training sessions.

41. Is there a nutritional database available via FTP?

The USDA Nutrient database is available from info.umd.edu in the
directory /inforM/EdRes/Topic/AgrEnv/USDA/USDAFoodCompositionData/Data/SR10

It’s pretty trivial to add fields to the numbers in the database, which
is about 4.5MB.

The following nutrition data files are available from anonymous
ftp to ftp.cray.com in the /pub/misc.fitness directory:

ABBREVIATED.DATA.gz Abbreviated database from the above
site with each field labeled.

NUTRITION.DATA.gz : Concatenation of the SR files from the
above site.

NUTRITION.LABELED.gz : Nutritional database with each field

42. How does form affect the muscles that are worked?

From: Tim Mansfield < timbomb@cs.uq.oz.au >
This is a summary of an interview with John Parillo entitled “Form vsStructure” by Greg Zulak, Musclemag International, #136, September1993.

Parillo argues in the interview that what some people take to be genetic differences between two trainees, who do the same exercise but gain different results, may in fact be the result of differing exercise form. Small differences in the execution of the exercise can stress entirely different muscles or parts of muscles.

Exercise variation muscles exercised
Bent Row pinch shoulder blades rhomboids, trapezius
shoulders down lats, teres
bar to stomach rear delt, lower lat
as well

Chins lean back upper lats, teres
lean forward, knees up lower lats

Pulldowns stay vertical, pull elbows
to bottom, not back, shoulders
down at bottom of movement lower lats
arched back, elbows behind upper lats

Bent Lateral straighten arms at top rear delt
leave arms bent, pinch shoulder
blades rhomboids

Behind Neck Press keep shoulders lowered at the top

Bench Press sternum arched, shoulders
down and back pecs
chest flat, shoulders raised front delt

Flyes as for bench press

Tricep Extensions
elbows wide, bar moves
straight tricep belly
elbows in, bar moves in an
arc tricep heads

Bicep curls supinated (palm down?) at top outside head
pronated (palm up?) at top inside head

Squats hips forward at start of raise thighs
hips back and up at start lower back, glutes
narrow stance, toes forward,
push with balls of feet front thigh
wider stance, toes out,
push with heels outer thigh

Calf Raises toes straight, heels turned in
at the top inner head
toes straight, heels turned out
at the top outer head
seated, feet under body soleus

Deadlifts arched back, pivot from hip hamstrings
rounded back, pivot from lower
back lower back (dangerous)
arched back, pivot from hips
drive hips forward at 2/3 point,
squeeze glutes glutes

43. Supplements (Chromium Picolinate, Met-Rx, Vanadyl Sulfate,
Cybergenics, etc. ), Do they work?

Supplements don’t have any anabolic affect. They may provide extra protein or calories, but they won’t build muscle for you. Those ads sure do look nice don’t they? Look carefully at them. The before picture is low light, gut hanging out, bad pose, and usually no tan. In the “after” picture they’re sucking in the gut, doing a descent pose, good light, oiled skin, and are usually very tan. All of that is done to make them appear larger and more defined. Supplements may have a psychological affect, which could easily make you work harder and gain muscle, but it’s not the product that’s making you gain muscle, it’s the extra work you’re doing.

The bodybuilders are getting paid very well for saying that a certain product made them who they are. The fact is that they are approached well after they win a few contests and after they are already huge. The only supplement that works is anabolic steroids, which won’t be discussed in this document.

Use supplements only if you’re having trouble eating a well balanced diet or are trying to increase your calories or protein intake. Don’t buy them with the thought that they will suddenly pack 10 pounds of muscle on your body, they won’t! Your money would be better spent on a hiring a good trainer or on buying better food. If you are going to buy a supplement, Twinlab has a good reputation for high quality products. Don’t buy any Weider product. Many of their products have been tested and found to be very low quality.
What do some supplements really do?

– Research found incidence of impotence & infertility in
– Increase absorption of Calcium & Magnesium, which
stimulates alertness in the brain.
– No anabolic effect.

Vanadyl Sulfate:
– Increase glucose transport into muscles.
– Muscles will appear larger in approx. 80% of the people
who use it. Once it is discontinued, the muscles
go back to normal. It should be cycled, and it
could be used to give you an advantage for a
contest. Order it from Sports Pharma.
– No anabolic effect.

Chromium Picolinate:
– Insulin boosting action. Will provide energy for
people with low blood sugar.
– No anabolic effect.

– Good, detailed training program, the supplements provide
no anabolic effect.

– Good when used as a meal replacement.
– Expensive.
– No anabolic effect.

If you’re looking for mail order places here are some recommended
1-800 numbers. Most, if not all, offer a catalog and very
cheap prices.

Hardbody Enterprises NJ 1-800-378-6787
Iron Warehouse -Canada 1-800-561-3856. open 24hrs.
Power Store 1-800-382-9611
Vitamin Wholesalers 1-800-848-6896
DPS Nutrition 1-800-697-4969
Nutrition Discounters 1-800-362-3306
L&H Vitamins NY 1-800 221-1152
Price Destroyers 1-800-xxx-xxxx (number unknown/changed)
(If you know their number please fwd to glex@cray.com )
Warehouse Sport Sales 1-800-677-4810
Health Depot 1-800-786-4611
Nutrition Warehouse 1-800-362-3306
JBN 1-800-487-2111
DSS 1-800-666-6865
S&S Enterprises, Inc. 1-800-456-3955

44. How much protein is in an egg?

The egg is the most complete souce of protein.

White Yolk
Protein 3g 3g
Fat Nil 5g
Calories 15 60

————- Part 2: Exercise Equipment information —————

THIS PART of the FAQ is edited as most of the info is not applicable to us.

The majority of home exercise equipment is no longer in use within a year of purchase. Why? Frankly, it is boring to run on a treadmill, ride an exercise bike, ski on a ski machine, etc. Think _very_ carefully before spending your money. I like my treadmill because I can train hard in the winter for the summer racing season. Without that goal, I doubt ‘d use it very often.


I’ve now spent $600 for the NordicTrack, $1100 for the Parabody EX350, about $1500 for new CDs of music to work out with, about $3000 on new clothes and alterations to the old, and $300 for a new CD player stereo for my little gym. So, the actual retail cost of losing 65 lbs is just $6500, $100 per pound. Maybe I should have thought of this when I was putting that weight on. Ah well, it was money well spent, I think.

>What is better for shedding fat? The [x-equipment] or [y-equipment]?

It doesn’t make any difference. Any exercise that allows you to maintain a training heart rate (60% to 75% of HR reserve) for 30-60 minutes, 3-5 times a week will help you to lower your levels of stored body fat (assuming nutritional intake is appropriate). Other than that, you should choose a machine (and activity) that you like and that is of good quality to keep you motivated.

The idea that one machine or another (or that one intensity of aerobic exercise or another) will burn more fat or cause you to lose your stored body fat faster is mostly a bunch of marketing crap. Stick with what you like.

Help spread the word