2000-08-05 / Columnists

Fitness Forum….

Ask The Personal Trainer

By Shaun Ruskin

Anyone catch page 41 in last weeks Wave? It seems as if I’ve sparked a bit of controversy with my July 22 column on weight gainer, weight loss, and energy boosting products. So controversial that a gentleman named Mark Dana decided to write in with his thoughts about "a" subject. Not "the" subject that I had written about, but for whatever reason he decided to write about another subject. His subject was about vitamins, antioxidants, and other nutritional supplements that he sells, for he is an independent distributor of these products. Unfortunately, he didn’t mention anything that had to do with what I had written about in my column. He did although feel the need to say my advice was "way off the mark" on his subject. The problem is, I never wrote anything about his subject. Okay, if you’re confused, I’ll try and clear it up.

The question asked of me by Ryan in the July 22 issue of The Wave was whether weight gainer, weight loss, and energy boosting products worked, nothing more, and nothing less. If someone had written in asking about vitamins, I wouldn’t have answered the question (although I take them every morning and know a bit about them) because I’m not a registered dietitian or a nutritionist. I’m a personal trainer -- one who offers encouraging advice, hailing from personal experiences, often supported by factual information.

Mark spoke about his neighbor who suffered from a chronic pain condition for six years, was bedridden and tried all types of medical therapies. As a last resort she tried some of his products and within two weeks began getting relief. I seriously doubt she was cured by a weight gainer, a weight loss pill or an energy-boosting tablet, the only three products I wrote about.

Normally I welcome all sorts of critique and criticism, and in this case it was nice to learn about Mark’s products and all, but I’m sure it could have been done without attacking me. For instance, next time maybe he could take out a paid advertisement with his name, phone number, corporate web address, his 12 page report called "Your Health is in Danger" and all his other information in it.

In conclusion, I’d just like to say to Mark thanks for reading and I appreciate your dedication, but next time read the entire column before criticizing. As for everybody else, keep on asking, and I’ll keep on answering to the best of my personal, professional, and academic knowledge.


Dear Shaun,

My goal is to lose weight and also tone my muscles. I’ve already begun to jog on the treadmill, and I’m going to start lifting weights very soon. I want to do both in the same gym visit. How should I start my workout? Should I jog first or lift weights first? Which is better?




Sometimes I wish there were a definite answer for every question asked. It would make life so much easier for all of us. Unfortunately, or fortunately, this is one of those questions that has no universally definite answer, but has a solution depending on what you want to focus on more. Let me attempt to explain that in English. There are pros and cons for each one of the two methods (jogging followed by weight lifting or weight lifting followed by jogging). To make it simple I’m going to break down each method and you decide which one is best for you.

If you decide to jog first, your heart is pumping when you get off that treadmill. You can then jump right into a weight lifting workout while keeping your heart rate high. So if you do 30 minutes on the treadmill and 30 minutes lifting weights, its almost as if you’ve done 60 minutes of cardiovascular training. I say almost because your heart rate will not be as high lifting weights as it was while you were jogging, but if you work out at a fast enough pace (resting roughly a minute between sets) it will definitely be up there. The longer you keep your heart rate high, the more calories and fat you’re going to burn. Unfortunately, when you jog first, you’re using up a lot of energy that could have been utilized for lifting weights. See, pros and cons.

Okay, here comes the second scenario. If you lift weights first and then jog, you may not burn as many calories and fat as in the first scenario, but you’ll have a better weight lifting workout because you’ve started out with more energy.

I left out a few of the pros and cons because I was beginning to drive myself insane with all the conflict and contradiction. Here’s my advice. Neither one is better. If you want to focus more on losing weight, you’re better off starting on the treadmill and hitting the weights afterwards. If you want to put more focus on toning your muscles, better to start with the weights, followed by the treadmill. Overall, when you jog first, you’re probably going to get a better cardio workout and when you hit the weights first you’re going to get a better strength-training workout.

Okay Jen, how was that. Confusing enough for you? I hope not, just read it again, especially the last paragraph -- its simple. A lot of information this week, I hope I didn’t say too much, or too little. The important lesson is to take in all that you can, feel great about what you’re doing, and I’ll see you at the gym.



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