TRAIN for HER’s very own Tabitha Klausen answers your health, life and fitness questions right here.
What’s the best equipment for your abs?
Infomercials are enticing enough to lure in even the staunchest sceptics, but are they all they claim to be? Seems not. Research in the Journal of Athletic Training compared the ab roller, ab slide and Fitball against the trunk curl and found that the ab slide was slightly better at working the muscles to the side of your abs (obliques), but overall the bodyweight ab exercises (sit-ups, planks etc.) came up trumps. This has been echoed in several other studies that matched woman against machines. The truth is, your body is your best gym.
I eat a lot of chicken breasts, so what would you recommend combining with them?
It’s a wise move because one chicken breast will give you upwards of 30g of protein, which will keep you feeling fuller for longer, making you less likely to reach for unhealthy snacks. It’s also rich in B vitamins that’ll give you the energy you need to tackle your day with extra oomph.
Chillies are a welcome addition because research in the Journal of Proteome found that a compound in the hot stuff can cause weight loss and fight fat build-up. But don’t forget about regularly adding generous amounts of fresh basil, because it has a near-perfect nutrient score, since it contains just about every vitamin and mineral your body needs to be healthy from the inside out.
What’s the best cardio that uses your upper body?
Skipping is very underused and great for your shoulders, but try not to use it on a concrete surface without a mat or something soft beneath your feet. Not only will the hard surface transfer the impact of your bodyweight through your ankles and knees, it’ll also wreck your rope in quick time. The best place to skip is on wooden floorboards, since these have a little bit of spring, which absorbs the impact of your landings. For the best results, use pyramid sets. Skip for 30 seconds in the first set, do 45 seconds in the second set, 60 seconds in the third, but then skip for 45 seconds in the fourth set and finish off with 30 seconds in the fifth set. Rest one minute between bouts for muscle-toning cardio.
I want to run and exercise but my body doesn’t seem to work properly in the cold. Any advice?
The cold weather can make you feel 20 years older, feeling every minor injury in every joint and muscle you’ve ever used. To prevent a running injury in the cold, warm up your muscles indoors before venturing outside. When a muscle is cold, it’s less pliable and you’re more susceptible to suffering a pull. Do three sets of 12 reps on squats, push-ups and lunges in your hallway before you head outside.
Find health and fitness advice and more in every issue of TRAIN FOR HER magazine.