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Health Q & A: Nutritious snacks and the Bodybugg

Welcome to your health questions, answered.

In this new section, SDNN and a range of local experts will be answering your burning health and wellness questions - everything from exercise, diet and fitness to health and body issues. We’ll crack the myths, correct the contradictory information and put truth into the hearsay that is so often a part of the wellness world.

Want to know how to get rid of that pesky cellulite or what time of day you should be exercising? Just ask.

What do you want to know? Get a professional’s opinion and send your questions to health and wellness editor, Jennifer Reed, at jennifer.reed(at)sdnn.com.

Starting us off this week are three trainers from Fitness Quest 10 in Scripps Ranch: Ryan Burgess, Director of Football, sports performance coach Anna Renderer, and Jeff King, strength coach and Director of Basketball.

Q. How important is it to vary my workouts? Is it okay to run and do nothing else?

A. Anna says: It depends on your goals! Are you happy with your fitness level? Do you want to improve your strength or decrease your body fat or weight? Are you preparing for any races or triathlons? Your workouts should be designed to help you achieve your goals or advance your fitness level.

The body likes change and demand. When you place a demand on the body greater than what it’s accustomed to, it will get stronger and change. If you don’t vary your exercise, then you will either become over-trained from the same routine or hit a plateau.

It is important to vary your workouts if:

- You’ve hit a plateau and are not getting further results;

- If you have been doing the same workouts for more than six months and you are starting to feel more tired than energized (you may be over-training or not cross training properly);

or

- If you are working out seven days a week and you feel great, but are not losing weight or seeing a change in your body (indicating that you might have adapted to your workouts and now need to change the routine or vary the intensity).

Jeff says: For long-term fitness and health success, it is important to vary your workouts. The biggest reason to do this is to avoid monotony and boredom. The reason most people stop working out is because they stop seeing results. The reason people stop seeing results because they are doing the same thing for months on end. The body is great at adapting to change. This is a gift and a curse. Someone who starts to work out consistently will see results no matter what program they are doing because it’s a new stimulus to the body. However, after a few months, if no part of the workout regimen has changed, they will stop seeing results because the body has become so efficient and adaptive at doing those exercises that it does not require the same amount of energy to do the work. There are many ways you can manipulate your workouts, including: changing exercise selection, exercise intensity, exercise type and exercise length.

I always recommend an individual to do more than just running. The problem with just running is that it can lead to either boredom, which we just discussed, or over-training. Over-training can lead to depression, excessive fatigue and muscle soreness, as well as weight loss, among other things. Even people who are competitive runners should do some form of cross training, like strength training or swimming.

Q: What is a Bodybugg and how does it work?

A: Anna says: The Bodybugg is an armband that tracks your total calories burned throughout the day. If you want to track every calorie burned as well as every calorie taken in, this exercise tool will be just right for you.

The Bodybugg is worn all day and allows you to keep track of your calorie intake and expenditure through a web-based program. This program is included for the first six months.

The Bodybugg will calculate your calories burned similar to the way a heart rate monitor does when worn during exercise — by using formulas based on your heart rate, age, gender, weight and height. It is more accurate than a heart rate monitor, however, since it also keeps track of your temperature, perspiration, body movement and weight-bearing activity.