workout faq four


I'm 17 years old, 6'2" tall and have a medium-size build. I'm trying to build more muscle, but nothing seems to be working. I do 20 push-ups every night, and I keep increasing the number of crunches I'm doing. What else can I do?

Dear Jim,
Sounds like your muscles need a change of pace. The secret to building muscles is challenging them; muscles get stronger and bigger by adapting to a new challenge, such as doing a push-up or lifting a heavy weight. But once they get used to it, they stop changing until a new challenge arises.
The best way to build your muscles is with weights because it's easy to keep increasing the resistance. Currently, your muscles are only working against your body weight, which, as you know, isn't always easy to change. By using free weights or weight machines, you can lift weights many times heavier than your body. The result: bigger, stronger muscles.
Another important point is to make that sure you're working all the major muscle groups in your body. Although push-ups target several muscles, you're not getting them all this way.


I run three to five miles, three to four times a week. I'm not overweight, but I can't seem to lose my gut. What can I do to get nice abs?

Dear Russ,
You need a four-pronged approach to tackle your abs.
It sounds like you've got the aerobic component taken care of. Now you need to strengthen your abdominal muscles. Guess what? That means good ol' crunches. There are lots of variations, including some exercise machines to target your abs. But the key is to use good form and do them slowly. Ten well-executed crunches will do more for your abs than 50 or 100 body-flopping ones. If you do them too quickly or bounce off the floor, your abs aren't doing all the work -- momentum is helping out.
Next, check your diet, especially the liquid part of it. For some reason, extra calories from beer and other alcoholic beverages really like to hang out around our middles. Not to mention the fact that we often munch on high-fat, high-calorie snacks when we're drinking. And don't forget about the rest of your diet. Try to eat more fruits, veggies, and whole grains and cut back on high-fat meats and dairy products.

Finally, stand up straight. Mom really did know best -- good posture can actually make you look slimmer, instantly.