When it comes to nutrition and exercise, it's best to get the right advice.
Australian Filipina spoke with Personal Trainer, Christine Chua, for practical tips to assist anyone starting a healthier lifestyle.
AF: When it comes to exercise, how important is it to eat right?
C: Eating right is important because we need energy to fuel our body for exercise. The best source of energy comes from carbohydrates and protein. Low energy means we only give half our effort and half our potential to push out energy.
AF: What needs to be eaten before exercise?
C: You need to eat about 2-3 hours before exercise. Toast and cereal are great sources of carbohydrates - especially in the morning. If you wake up early like me, bananas, fruits and nuts are good 1- 2 hours beforehand. You can also have fruit smoothies or juice an hour or less beforehand. The body can absorb liquids quickly as a source of energy.
AF: Where can people find the right nutritional advice?
C: Besides experts in the fitness industry you can find advice on the the internet, library and health magazines. Finding health advice isn’t always expensive, but you need valid sources. For basic info I would recommend these as good starting points.
AF: How can you learn the right exercise techniques?
C: The best way is definitely through professional advice. It’s also helpful to approach friends and family, who have been training, for basic advice even if they’re not qualified. The internet may not always provide valid sources, so seeking professional advice from others is the best way.
AF: Are there common techniques people get wrong?
C: Yes. Often people see an exercise technique they wish to try, such as squats, but aren’t familiar with the right positioning or movement. With squats for instance, the first action should be from the hips not the knees. With sit-ups or crunches, people often don’t draw in their belly correctly or forget to keep space between their chin and chest, causing strain on the neck. Movements like these are not effective.
AF: How do you know if you are pushing yourself too hard?
C: Everyone should know their limits physically, so start slow and be mentally aware that you will feel a little uncomfortable at first. Exercise naturally increases our heart rate and will make our body sore, but be willing to push yourself as much as you can. Should something feel wrong (example you suddenly feel dizzy) don’t push yourself. Know your boundaries and be cautious if you have pre-existing health conditions.
AF: If you are inactive and obese, how much exercise should you start off with?
C: If you are extremely overweight and sedentary your first aim should be simple movements. Walking and jogging are great for burning calories, so you don’t need massive runs. The important step is to get your body moving. Second, strengthen your joints through weight-bearing exercises such as squats or lunges. This is important because overweight people may have weakened joints from carrying their extra weight.