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Getting in Shape for the Summer

Aired May 1, 2005 - 08:30   ET


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, and welcome to HOUSE CALL. We're about seven weeks away from the official start of summer. Less than that to Memorial Day. Do if you're worried about your body being beach ready this is a show you need to watch.
Our Holly Firfer takes us inside one women's struggle to get back in shape.


HOLLY FIRFER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We've heard it all before, burn more calories than you consume and you'll lose weight. But putting that simple principle into practice is where many of us fall short. Veranda Studevant knows that all too well. She's been on and the weight control bandwagon for years.

MIRHONDA STUDEVANT: Previously food was a strong emotional crutch for me. If I was worried I'd eat something. If I was angry, oh, I'd go make myself a sandwich. Oh, I'll go eat this or that.

FIRFER: But this time she said it was time to get serious.

STUDEVANT: I'm graduating from college in July. I'd like to be at least 30 ponds smaller by that time.

FIRFER: So she turned to personal trainer Kathy Murray.


STUDEVANT: Back to water. I'm drinking probably a couple of quarts at work. I keep my water bottle at my desk.

KATHY MURRAY, PERSONAL TRAINER: I always tell my clients fitness starts in your mind before it goes to the outside. So you have to say, OK, you know, I deserve to be healthy and fit and I'm going to have that mind set. I'm here ...

FIRFER: Mirhonda and Kathy meet twice a week at the gym for cardio and strength training and an up close and personal look at her food log.

MURRAY: You only put like what, two pieces of meat on that all at once?

STUDEVANT: Right. No grits, no biscuits, none of that stuff. FIRFER: Mirhonda says it's kept her honest with herself about the food choices she's making.

STUDEVANT: When you write down what you do you become a lot more cognizant of it. So there are times where there are things that I just won't eat because I know that I'm going to have to explain, and there really is no good excuse.

FIRFER (on camera): Losing weight doesn't require a gym membership or even hiring a personal trainer. Your local book store or library is a wealth of information. And if you're Internet savvy you probably could find everything you need to know online to get you moving in the right direction.

(voice-over): Mirhonda understands it's not about deprivation and making too many sacrifices. It's about doing anything she can to keep herself honest and to make the right choices. And it keeps her going one more day, and she knows it's going to take time.

MURRAY: If you do fall off the wagon don't just beat yourself up and throw in the towel. Tomorrow is a new day, so you just hit the ground running and start over again.

STUDEVANT: My ultimate goal is to be able to wear a belly chain on the beach.

FIRFER: Holly Firfer, CNN Atlanta.


GUPTA: Well, we're helping you to get summer ready in the next three months. Today we're focusing on simply getting started. Next month we're finding out the secret tips of celebrities from their very own trainers.

Our last installment gives you a summer survival guide, keys for lasting through the heat, plus some quick fixes. The first step of getting fit though is to actual begin.

"Consumer Reports" polled over 20,000 readers and came up with a list of strategies that help people get started and stay with working out. Number one, pick the same time of day to work out. Make it as important as brushing your teeth.

Next, exercise near your home or work and take it outside every now and then to change thins up, keep your interest.

Think of joining a gym to add some variety, and try working out with friends. They'll give you support and make working out more fun.

Here to help us look great in time for summer and stay committed is Leigh Cruz, personal trainer and spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise. Welcome.


CRUZ: Happy to be here.

GUPTA: Well, are you already starting to see clients wanting to get in shape for the summer?

CRUZ: Oh, yes. This started about three weeks, so yes definitely.

GUPTA: Yes, and Memorial Day is right around the corner as well.

CRUZ: That's right. Everybody is getting ready.

GUPTA: We've been seeing a lot of that here as well. We actually sent our roaming camera around to try and find people looking for answers on this week's topic. Let's take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is the best cardio workout to give you the fastest results for the summer?


GUPTA: So you just heard it. Everyone is looking for fast results and her as well. What sort of suggestions do you give them?

CRUZ: What I tell people is that the best cardio workout is the workout that is fun for you. It doesn't matter how intense a workout claims to be, it doesn't matter if it burns the most calories if you don't like to do it you won't do it and you'll lose steam and you'll drop out quickly. So find something really is something you have fun doing and then you'll stick with it.

GUPTA: I think that's really good advice. I'm going to dissect this down whether it's better to be doing more aerobics or an Arabic activity so we can give people the best advice possible.

Let's move to an e-mail question now. Diana in Florida wants to know is it beneficial to do cardio for 10 minutes three times a day or is 30 minutes of cardio the ideal cardio program? And this is a great question. Working out doesn't have to be a huge time commitment from what I understand. What about sort of breaking it up versus all at one time?

CRUZ: You're right, it's an excellent question because this has been news worthy in the past few months. There are studies that show that if your goal is for health benefits that taking a work out and breaking it into three 30 minute segments throughout the day can give you documented health benefits such as lowered blood lipids. This is very important for people who are just getting started because 30 minutes in one time can seem very intimidating to a new exerciser. That sounds like an awful lot of time.

GUPTA: And you know, besides the length, the intensity, I see people sometimes come to the gym and they get on the treadmill or stairmaster, they put it on 10, the highest level and they just work out really out for 12, 15 minutes. Is that a good idea if you have a short amount of time?

CRUZ: If you have a short amount of time and your body is adapted to working out at high intensity, that's a fine method to train. Where you have to be careful with that is when you have a beginner exerciser. They come in, they're not really sure what high intensity means, so once their heart starts beating a little more rapidly and they start sweating sometimes they think they're working out a lot harder than they are or they push themselves way too hard and then they're very sore the next day...

GUPTA: Right.

CRUZ: ...or they increase their risk of injury.

GUPTA: And then they don't go back.

CRUZ: And then they don't go back.

Here's a question. What moves give you the best results? Don't miss the answer. That's coming up when HOUSE CALL returns.


GUPTA: Feeling the burn. Well, that workout myth goes back a long time. Spring training is an important part of any work out program. It can reduce your body fat, increase your lean muscle mass, help you burn calories more efficiently. All good stuff.

Our guest certified trainer Lee Cruz know all about burning calories. But a lot of people want -- we go back to this everybody wants it fast. Is there one machine or one move that's going to be the most beneficial for you?

CRUZ: How about I give you one for lower body and one for upper body, OK?

GUPTA: OK, fair enough, yes.

CRUZ: Lower body I would pick the lunge, the lunge is a swift dance move. It works all the muscle groups of the leg and the core, which is very important.

GUPTA: True.

CRUZ: Upper body I would have to go with the push up. It's a compound exercise. It works the arms the shoulders and the chest.

GUPTA: How many lunges can you do?

CRUZ: I don't think I've ever counted.

GUPTA: Probably more than me that's my guess.

CRUZ: At least 100.

GUPTA: Wow, 100.

Our next question comes from Estella in Kansas. She writes is it too late to get my arms in shape for the summer. I want to get rid of the lose stuff she calls it that hangs under the arm. What exercises can I do? And the arms are one of the slower places to show results, right?

CRUZ: Right.

GUPTA: What kind of advice do you have for her?

CRUZ: That loose stuff on the back of your arm is called your triceps with maybe a little bit of fat on the top of it. The way to work the triceps is to extend the elbow against resistance. So you can use a dumbbell and extent -- if you took your arm straight up extend the elbow against the resistance of the dumb bell. You could use a rubber tubing, works just as good. You can also use no equipment at all and do a yoga style push up with the elbows in close and push up through your body weight. That's extending the elbow through resistance. You've got the job done.

GUPTA: Back to those push ups again.

CRUZ: Back to those push ups. It's a good exercise.

GUPTA: Good advise. Good advice. We've got to take a quick break here. But grab a pen, when we come back news you can use to get summer ready.


GUPTA: If you're looking to start working out at home, "Consumer Reports" magazine recently published its best buys on popular home workout machines. Treadmills are the most popular machines and the Landica L-7 received top marks, but it also cost nearly $3,000.

Rating number two was the true 400 HRC, costing $2,300.

Now if your wallet can't take that kind of hit the "Consumer Report" best buy was the Horizon Fitness Elite at just under $2,000.

A quick look at ellipticals as well found the Precor EFX coming in first place for nearly $2,500 and the Life Fitness X rating second costing about $2,600.

"Consumer Reports" best buy the Schwin 418 for just over $1,000. An important note though, the magazine noted a number of machines they purchased had problems. So they stress examine your purchase as soon as you bring it home.

I think you should just go out and buy used machines because use them like once or twice and they get rid of them don't they?

CRUZ: That's right. GUPTA: What's your best advice for starting a home program?

CRUZ: Buy a dog. Take it out for a walk. Stability ball, like I said, is very inexpensive, videos, DVD to help you get started, and get out doors in this beautiful weather.

GUPTA: Push ups and lunges because if you're...

CRUZ: Push ups and lunges absolutely.

GUPTA: We're out of time this morning, unfortunately. I want to thank you so much for joining us.

CRUZ: Thank you. I enjoyed it.

GUPTA: Really good show. Good advice. Thanks everyone at home as well for their e-mail helping us get summer ready. We thank everybody. Make sure to tune in one month from now as we keep you moving towards your fitness goals.

We'll be in Los Angeles talking with a celebrity trainer who will give you the secrets he uses to tone up his clients. Plus Jen Miller will be back with month two of your walking program to rev up for summer.

Thanks for watching. I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Stay tuned now for more news on CNN.


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