Look lean in 2013

SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald file photo

Cardiovascular exercise is imperative for good health, but many experts say weight lifting is the best way to increase metabolism and lose weight.

By Dale Rodebaugh Herald staff writer

This is the time of year when the overweight, obese and optimistic make a New Year’s resolution to become more physically fit.

It’s an admirable goal but easier said than done, Durango-area personal trainers, fitness coaches and physical therapists told The Durango Herald in interviews last week. Good intentions must be supported by exercise and wise nutritional choices, they said.

Weighing in with advice were:

Doug Houle, principal of Integrated Physical Therapy:

Nothing short of a lifestyle change will produce a lasting effect.

“Diets provide temporary change,” Houle said. “But after a few weeks, people go back to their old ways.

“Fitness requires a commitment,” Houle said. “Take a hard look at how you want to be and then set realistic goals.”

It’s demanding but attainable, he said.

Amy Wantulok, a personal trainer:

“Eat right,” Wantulok said. “Reduce consumption of grains and starches and eat more vegetables and local, organic meat.

“In the gym, get your heart rate up with jumping jacks, on the treadmill or by jumping rope,” Wantulok said. “Intensive training of a few minutes is better than 40 minutes on a bicycle.”

Body-weight exercises such as pull-ups or push-ups are great, she said.

“At the end of a workout when you’re tired, get your heart rate up again,” Wantulok said. “Challenge yourself, ramp it up and burn calories. You’ll get the benefits the next day and the next day.”

Kevin Dehlinger, a personal trainer at the Durango Sports Club and wellness coach at Mercy Regional Medical Center:

As part of a regimen, he recommends “functional” exercises to meet demands of a job. People who spend time at a desk would strengthen their back and work on posture; a construction worker would work on leg and back strength.

“Nutrition is, by far, the biggest component, the most critical part of fitness,” Dehlinger said. “Search for a balance, but minimize processed foods, high sodium and transfats. Get protein from a variety of plant and animal sources.

“New research is focusing on the benefits of rest,” Dehlinger said. “But if you work out every day, mix up exercises, doing cardio and flexibility one day and weights another.”

Don Roberts, owner of Fitness Solutions 24/7:

“In the gym, do cardio, but make it short and intense,” Roberts said. “Weight training, particularly multi-muscle exercises, will be more effective in increasing metabolism than cardio.”

Roberts has a message for women exercisers: “Weight training doesn’t bulk you up. Just the opposite, it makes you lean.”

Exercise and nutrition go hand in glove, he said. Both are extremely important.

“Many people don’t balance their diet,” he said. “I recommend equal part of the macronutrients: protein, fat and carbohydrates.

“Eat real food, not empty calories, and drink a lot of water and you’ll be satisfied,” Roberts said. “Pay more attention to the hormonal effects of food than the caloric effects.”

Len Lopez, a Texas-based natural-health advocate, chiropractor and host of a television show, says in a blog that hormones – cortisol, adrenaline, insulin and glucagon – regulate metabolism.

They can be stimulated by stress and diet and so may not produce the fat-burning results desired, Lopez said in the blog.

Frank Fristensky, the principal of FitWell Training & Consulting:

New Year’s resolutions and diets are fads. They don’t work, Fristensky says.

“I don’t put everyone in the same bucket, but most people who resolve to lose weight or get in shape are around for a few weeks, then you don’t see them until the next January.

Education about what is required to establish a discipline that can be maintained for life is the key, Fristensky said.

“My formula is the 80-20 plan,” he said. “You eat right 80 percent of the time – minimum bad fats, sodium, starches, empty calories and lots of healthy food – and you can eat what you want 20 percent of the time.”

Fristensky recommends eating five small meals a day.

Weightlifting is the best way to increase metabolism and lose weight, Fristensky said.

“A lot of people walk on the treadmill because it’s easy,” he said. “But the heart, which is the most important muscle, needs the stimulation of weight training.”


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