workout faq two



What is the story about drinking alcohol and trying to lose weight? I've heard that one glass of wine or one mixed drink will wipe out a whole week's worth of faithful dieting. Is this true?

Dear Pamela,
Relax and have a drink if you want. One drink is not going to pack on the pounds or keep those extra ones sticking around. In fact, drinking moderate amounts of alcohol -- about two drinks a day for men and one for most women -- probably won't affect your waistline, although it could lead to other health problems.
Still, you can't ignore the calories that most of us consume while drinking, especially the high-fat ones (from peanuts or potato chips, for instance). So if you are indulging, keep it to a minimum, munch on low-fat, low-cal snacks and adjust your food intake accordingly.
Here are some average calorie counts for popular drinks:
Beer 12 oz. can146 calories
Beer, light 12 oz. can99 calories
Gin & tonic 4 oz. drink91 calories
Pina colada 4.5 oz. drink262 calories
Wine 3.5 oz. glass72 calories

Aside from alcohol's effect on the bathroom scale, keep in mind that there are adverse effects that may result from drinking alcohol, including possibly increasing a woman's risk of breast cancer.


I've heard that it's important to warm up and cool down when you exercise. What is the best way to do this? I often just jump straight into the exercise because I have so little time.

Dear Doreen,
To be sure you don't skip your warm up and cool down, incorporate them right into your routine.
Start by doing your particular activity -- walking, aerobics, cycling -- at a lower intensity than normal. So if you normally jog at about a 10-minute per mile pace, start out by walking at a brisk 12- or 15-minute per mile pace. This gets your body ready for exercise and helps protect you from injury by increasing blood flow to your arms and legs, and literally warming up your muscles.

After about five minutes, you can pick up the pace to your regular intensity. When you're ready to call it quits, though, don't just stop. Instead, gradually bring your heart rate down by decreasing your intensity for another five minutes. After a cooldown is also the best time to stretch your muscles.