All About Fitness

Exercise and Fitness: Questions & Answers

Gina Jackson - Fitness Trainer
Vital Health Zone is proud to announce Gina Jackson, who is our resident exercise and fitness expert and who is available to answer all your questions about exercising and fitness. Gina has a private practice and is available for consultation.

Gina answers all your exercise and fitness questions below:

Q: I am 25 years old and have always been lucky to be very slim, but have noticed recently I have gained a little more body fat and am getting wobbly. I would like to be as slim and toned as I was before.

I have started doing personal training once a fortnight (30 mins) and 2 group personal training sessions each week (one hour), but I have noticed that all it seems to be doing is building up my muscles - it seems like I am getting bigger from all the training which is definitely not what I want to be doing. My jeans are starting to feel tighter on me around the legs and are uncomfortable which is unusual for me.

I have a fast metabolism and I eat lots of small meals throughout the day. I generally eat pretty well. I am not concerned with getting heavier from the muscle, I am just concerned that my legs and bum in particular are actually wider and more prominent than they have ever been before. Just wondering if anyone can give me some ideas as to how I can tone up but still remain really lean. I just want to get rid of the fat and not really build much muscle.


A: Cardiovascular and strength training are crucial to the maintenance of a healthy body, toned form and physique.

Cardiovascular training (bike, elliptical, running, hiking, kick boxing, dancing) will assist you in building and toning your heart muscle while supporting your weight management efforts in balancing the calories you intake as food. You need to do this to use and burn excess body fat that surrounds the muscle you are building.

Strength training (weight machines, dumbbells, dyna-bands, resistance training) will tone and tighten the underlying muscle but body fat reduction is imperative to reduce and eliminate the "wobble" or "giggle" frequently found and hated by women in our hips, legs, arms and abdominals as we get older.

There is a balance you want to achieve with both. I would recommend that you incorporate 2-3X week of 30-40 minutes of cardiovascular training and 2X week of 45-50 minutes of strength training and perhaps 1-2X a week of a stretching and muscle lengthening program. Pilates and yoga are excellent disciplines to pursue for lengthening the muscle while you develop it.

Lunges are one of my favorite exercises for tightening and toning the legs and glutes. Everybody hates lunges but they are very effective for elongating the leg muscle. Ask your trainer to incorporate them into your program regularly and feel free to use an article for other support to create a "lean, long leg line".

Lastly, your dietary habits are key. Use this site to uncover the best models for eating to support lean muscle development. If you eat high-fat, high carb foods with regularity you will continue to spin like a mouse on a wheel to achieve the long, lean look you desire.

Cleaning up and washing away fat - by Gina Jackson


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