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Getting and Staying Fit

Aired April 22, 2007 - 08:30   ET


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN HOST: Thanks a lot, guys.
We are out here, we're doing a HOUSE CALL live here at Centennial Olympic Park. This is the site if the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, as you know.

Hundreds of athletes received their medals right here. They were committed to fitness. We're committed to your health, as well.

We talk about numbers a lot on the show. I want to share a couple with you: two out of every three adults in this country are overweight or obese. More than a third of children also in that category. That puts them at risk for variety of potentially very deadly conditions, including some cancers as well. I will be talking about statistics a lot. We struggle as well as what to do with all those numbers. So we are here launching the "Fit Nation Tour," trying to get people off the couch. That's the first step.

As our tour begins, another tour is ending, the Tour de Georgia, a seven-day cycling event that attracts top talent from all around the world. That's the reason one of my guests, Lance Armstrong, is here as well supporting our "Fit Nation Tour."

He probably needs no introduction. He is a seven-time Tour de France winner. He is a cancer survivor. He is an author. He is a marathoner. And he is a walking inspiration. Also with us is Jeff Galloway (ph). He is an Olympian. He is an author of the bestselling "Galloway's Book on Running." Still running marathons as well.

Welcome to you both.



GUPTA: Lance, you just ran the New York Marathon. Obviously everyone knows you as a cyclist. How hard was that for you to do?

ARMSTRONG: Very hard. A lot harder than I expected. You really can't compare -- I thought you could, but you can't compare three hours of running to three hours of riding a bike. And Jeff and I were just talking about it. It was -- it was very painful. I'm still -- I'm just now able to run again. I mean, it has been six or seven months. It was November.

GUPTA: And you have said that you are going to do it again, though. Right afterwards you said, you know what, not so sure. ARMSTRONG: Right, right, right. Afterwards I said I will never do this again. But I think I will try to go back.

GUPTA: Do it again. Jeff, what do you think about that?

GALLOWAY: Well, there are so many ways to get better in any event. And in terms of the marathon, I gave Lance a few suggestions. Now I don't know whether he will take them or not.

GUPTA: Like what? What did you tell him?

GALLOWAY: Well, the walk breaks, for example. Even at a three- hour pace, I have had now over 100 people who have broken three hours who couldn't break three hours without taking a walk break.

So through the water stops, you walk and take the water in. And so you...

GUPTA: It's not as -- tough enough, you actually have to stop running, though. People complain about that?

GALLOWAY: Well, what I tell folks is, do you want to be strong in the first six miles or the last six miles? And this helps you be strong in the last six miles.

GUPTA: That is a good point. All right. We have got some phone calls coming in. People watching the show all over the country. Scott, are you on the line with us?

CALLER: Yes, I am.

GUPTA: Scott, go ahead. What's your question?

CALLER: Yes. Basically just wondering what motivates Lance to stay fit and to stay in shape and what's the best way to develop a routine that would work for you?

GUPTA: You are a professional athlete. This is what you do for a living. But what do you tell someone like Scott?

ARMSTRONG: Well, I did it really for -- I mean, I have done endurance sports for more than 20 years now. So it is really -- for me it is a way of life. I didn't want to retire at 34 years old and then slip into this sort of -- this funk in the 40s. I wanted to stay fit. And it didn't mean riding five, six hours a date. It just meant working out an hour or two every day.

And I think that -- you know, people ask me all the time, what's the best thing to do? And I always say -- I don't know if it is the best advice, but for me it is just about consistency. So every day do something. It can be on the bike, it could be running, it could be in the gym. It can be swimming, kayaking, anything.

So I just -- for me, I'm personally happier if I work out every day. GUPTA: You -- we did "LARRY KING" together recently. And you said -- to Larry, you said you would be unbearable if you didn't get your exercise. And what does that mean? What happens to you if you physically -- if you don't exercise?

ARMSTRONG: Well, I would certainly be just a little grumpy, a little edgy. I mean, it's -- for me it is a way of life. And so if you have done something for 20 years and you took that out of somebody's life, you would be grumpy, too. So I had to keep it in there. Not on the extreme level that it was before, but on some level.

GUPTA: Right. All right. Let's do an e-mail question. Tamara in Tennessee writes this question. "I would like to start a jogging regimen. How do I begin?"

You know, Jeff, I think that this is one of the things that comes up a lot. People watch now and they are saying I want to do right by my body, I want to exercise, eat right and all of that. But how do they actually physically start this?

GALLOWAY: Well, most people can walk comfortably. And that's where you start. Once you can walk comfortably for 30 minutes, then insert a 10-second jog, followed by a minute of walking. And if you gradually introduce your body to the running motion, everything adapts.

We are designed to adapt. And the body becomes stronger and more effective.

GUPTA: Any age?

GALLOWAY: Any age. I just...

GUPTA: What's the oldest person you have trained?

GALLOWAY: Well, I just finished a book called "Running Until You Are 100." And in it is a guy named Don McNelly who is 86 years old. Last year he did 29 marathons at age 86. I asked him about his joints. He said, I don't have any problems. And people accuse me of choosing my parents well, but that wasn't the case. Both sedentary parents had to have hip replacements in their 70s.

And you know, it is a use or lose it situation.

GUPTA: All right. Well, that is good advice. Steve in Michigan I believe is on the line. Go ahead, Steve.

CALLER: Hey, Lance, a big fan. I have a question. I'm a father of two small children. Pretty avid cyclist but I have limited time in the number of hours I can put in a week. I'm just wondering what you suggest is a good proportion of cross-training for my workout regimen.

ARMSTRONG: The trick with cycling is that it takes longer than running. So number one, it is harder to do when you are traveling, which is my situation which has sort of led me back to running. And number two, I mean, the equivalent of a one-hour run is about a three-hour bike ride. So it takes up time, obviously the preparation time to get dressed to go cycling and, you know, find the right roads. It takes longer. So when you have a family and you a job and you are trying to juggle these things, it is not the most time-effective thing you could do.

But if you had an hour, then I guess I suppose you would have to select the hardest course and then get out there and make the best use of that time, meaning, go as hard as you can or use that time as effectively as possible.

GUPTA: So it is a question of trying to be as efficient as possible with your time.

ARMSTRONG: Yes. I mean, the bicycle is efficient. That's why we invented it. I mean, we invented the bike so people didn't have to walk from place to place, or run from place to place. And that's the reason that it came along. So with that, I mean, if you ran -- or when I run, I run at 160 or 170 heart rate, if I'm out riding, I'm cruising along at 110 or 120.

GUPTA: Do you use a heart rate monitor for all of your exercises?


GUPTA: And you follow that along. You kind of keep it within a certain range.


GUPTA: What about resistance training, do you add that as well?

ARMSTRONG: I do a little bit of stuff in the gym. I wouldn't say that I do it religiously. But enough.

GUPTA: And that helps your aerobic stuff as well. Do you recommend that as well, Jeff, the resistance training?

GALLOWAY: Well, posture and muscle strengthening is very, very important, both for sports and for longevity. And I actually just do two exercises. A series of crunches for the abdominals and an exercise called arm-running with handheld weights. And it really does a great job on the shoulders, neck and back.

GUPTA: And we found that the -- adding the upper body training seems to make a difference. We have got another e-mail I think coming in now. Christine in Atlanta writing this. "I would like to know if there is a proper way to breathe while running, especially when just starting a regimen."

You know, it is funny, people -- you know, she asked that, because I think a lot of people just starting off, they get wildly out of breath just after a few steps. What do you tell them? GALLOWAY: Well, there are two issues here. One is a lot of people are huffing and puffing because they went out too fast. They exerted themselves too much too soon. So slowing down at first is the key and a good warmup.

But the correct way to breathe is to belly breathe. It is to lower lung breathe or diaphragm breathe. And if you start that lower lung infusion of air from the very beginning, then you won't get side pain, you will maximize the absorption of the lungs, and you will just feel better all the way through the run.

GUPTA: How much are you still running?

GALLOWAY: I run about 30 to 40 miles a week. Just depending on the week and where I am.

GUPTA: That's great. That's fantastic.

ARMSTRONG: One hundred and thirty-three marathons.

GUPTA: One hundred and thirty-three marathons?


GUPTA: That is incredible.

GALLOWAY: Good memory, Lance.

GUPTA: Jeff Galloway, Lance Armstrong, we are doing HOUSE CALL live today. Tight calves, shin splints and the correct diet, we are talking about staying healthy, of course, as you stay fit.

Plus a popular supplement for arthritis and achy joints comes under fire. Got all the details.

Later, our "Fit Nation Tour" kicks off with some fit buddies. Our goal and their goal is to help get you off the couch.



SUNITA WILLIAMS, ASTRONAUT: My name is Suni Williams, and I'm living here as part of the Expedition 14 crew up on the International Space Station for about six months. A big part of our day is spent working out. About two hours every day to make sure that we can work on our bone and muscle mass.


GUPTA: She is in outer space exercising like that. Just a little inspiration. In addition to keeping fit while in space, Suni also completed her version of the Boston Marathon this week. So as people were running on Earth, she was actually running in space, 26.2 miles. She was actually harnessed to a treadmill. In case you are curious, her unofficial time, four hours, 23 minutes and 46 seconds. Not quite as fast as Lance Armstrong, who is sitting next to me, but some commitment nonetheless.

And we are asking you to commit to get moving as well. Today begins our "Fit Nation Tour" where we hope to inspire and motivate people to get moving or move more than they already are. We are becoming too overweight in this country at an alarming rate. And with your help we want to stop that now.

With me are some people that inspire me every single day. Lance Armstrong, seven-time Tour de France winner, cancer survivor. He is founder of LIVESSTRONG, the Lance Armstrong Foundation to Fight Cancer. We are going to be talking about cancer as well in this show today. Alongside him is Jeff Galloway. He is coach to thousands. He is a best-selling author and a man that has run more than 100 marathons-- 133 we just found out as well.

Lots of e-mails and calls coming in. Let's jump right back into things. Ben in California has this question for Lance. "How much, if any, did your diet differ in training for the New York Marathon versus training for the Tour de France?"

ARMSTRONG: Completely different.

GUPTA: Is that right?

ARMSTRONG: Well, when I retired, cycling was my job, so the tour was my job. And the diet was essentially my job as well. So it was mostly about math. I mean, there's a couple of things that don't lie. One of them -- the main one being the scale. So you have to pretty much determine how much you are doing in a week and that really determines how much you can eat. It's input and output. And then at the end of the day -- or actually in the morning, the scale is the one thing that has to stay consistent.

And for cycling, the body weight is probably one of most important components. A lot of people -- lot of riders forget that. They train hard, they train hard. They think about all these other things. And if you are five pounds overweight, forget it. The race is over.

So when I retired, I got a little bit sick of that. So I definitely let the diet slip. Ironically enough, I was less hungry. I'm less hungry today than I was when I was racing, thank goodness. But I definitely put on weight. Put on upper body weight because I was going to the gym more and swimming more and doing more upper body exercises, which again is not great for marathons.

But you know, I got, I should say, a little burned out on living that regime -- that strict monk lifestyle of a professional athlete.

GUPTA: I mean, now if you wanted to have tacos or a beer or something like that, is that...

ARMSTRONG: Oh, yeah, all the time. GUPTA: Back then, not at all, though.

ARMSTRONG: Well, certainly not beer. No alcohol during the season. That's the one thing -- people ask all the time, how do I lose five pounds or 10 pounds? I mean, the number one thing, if they had beer or wine regularly, I would say if you cut that out, that's one of the quickest ways to lose weight.

GUPTA: That is good advice for sure. Another e-mail coming in from Sarah in Massachusetts who writes this: "I recently started walking but after a day or two, my shins started to kill me." This is from walking. "How can I start running while avoiding the pain of shin splints? "

Jeff, I want to start with you. I want to ask Lance about this as well. But, Jeff, what about that? The shin splints can be awful.

GALLOWAY: It is very common among people that start either walking or running. Usually with walking, their stride is too long. They are kicking their leg out in front. And it causes the anterior tibial -- the front shin to kick in. And if you rein your stride and have a short stride, and don't try to power walk, just ease into walking, when I -- I found this out when I researched my book called "Walking," that if you start slowly, gradually increase, same principles apply to running and cycling.

But again, if the listener would just add five to 10 seconds of running followed by a minute of walking, you gradually introduce the body to running. Principles apply across the board.

GUPTA: Lance, your shins bothered you too -- as well.

ARMSTRONG: I got a cold sweat when she said "shin splints." It was -- ended up being a chronic problem. I couldn't get rid of them and then I ended up two weeks before the marathon just couldn't run because I had what I thought were shin splints.

I suppose at the time it was already a stress fracture, which I then went on and did the marathon and then after that found out I had a stress fracture.

GUPTA: You know, it is actually good to hear that, because people are going to hear that and say, if it can happen to Lance, it can happen to anybody. And you are still here and going to run it again.

ARMSTRONG: But you still have to train too. I left out one part, and that was the training part.

GUPTA: Yes, that's right. You have got to do the training part, exactly.

Jeff Galloway, thanks so much for being with us. You know, our viewers...

GALLOWAY: Thank you, Sanjay. GUPTA: ... love you and they learn a lot from you whenever you are with us. So I appreciate that, hopefully inspired some people today as well. Check out Jeff's Web site as well if you get chance, It has all kinds of information about training, including a free news letter. And before you click over, though, stay tuned for more HOUSE CALL.

Coming up, more of your questions for Lance.

Plus, if you have achy joints, a new study says don't bother taking this popular supplement.

And we put our own employees to the test. No one is immune from "Fit Nation," can three stressed-out CNNers set an example for "Fit Nation"? Stay tuned.


GUPTA: That, of course, is our "Fit Nation" map there. We are going to be traveling all over the country. Let's get to Judy Fortin now. She is here with this week's medical headlines -- Judy.


The FDA has approved the first vaccine to prevent H5N1 bird flu in humans. The vaccine would be used if this bird flu virus becomes easily transmitted from human to human. The shots will not be sold commercially, but instead stockpiled by the U.S. government. H5N1 is primarily found in birds with no reported human cases in the U.S. But 172 people have died worldwide from the virus.

Arthritis sufferers may be wasting their money on a popular dietary supplement according to European researchers. Chondroitin is widely used in the U.S. to relieve joint pain or osteoarthritis. A new report looked at results of 20 different studies and concluded chondroitin does not work any better than a placebo.

Ohio State doctors claim the benefits of treating children and teens with antidepressants outweigh the risks. The team reviewed more than two dozen trials and found kids with depression and anxiety treated with these types of drugs have less than a 1 percent rate of attempted suicide. The FDA mandated label warnings be added to pediatric antidepressant drugs in 2004.

Sanjay, back to you.

GUPTA: All right. Judy, thanks.

We are of course here live with Lance Armstrong. We are talking about fitness this morning. But, Lance, you and I have talked a lot about cancer specifically, and this is a big issue for you personally and professionally. As you have studied this, is there something that you think people at home should know about how they can best try and fight cancer?

Obviously they want to live good lives, but in terms of who they hold accountable or what we do with our lives to make it less likely we get it, what did you find out?

ARMSTRONG: Well, I mean, the best way to fight cancer is to never get it. As you just said. And that comes down to prevention so that -- I mean, if you look at your life and your lifestyle, it is all about the choices you make. So when you are 17 or 18 years old and you are thinking about -- or maybe even younger, 14 or 15, and a young person is thinking about picking up a cigarette for the first time, 100 cigarettes in, you are addicted forever. It is the hardest drug to kick.

So you know, we have to stop that culture in this country. It is a huge business, I understand. And I think that there should be some regulation there. I think that we should have -- I mean, I was here in Atlanta last night. I walked into the restaurant and I couldn't believe that the bar was open to smoking. I walked in.

You were just parting the smoke. I find that hard to believe, that you can do that in this country still. So eliminating that, you know, encouraging people to make good choices, prevent the disease. Obviously, if you slipped through that crack -- or those cracks and you ultimately are diagnosed, then we want to catch it early.

Early detection we know is key. And then if you slip through those cracks then we have to treat it aggressively and with the best medicine and the best research.

GUPTA: You know, we talk about this a lot. And you are probably one of best known voices in all of this. Would you ever consider running for office to try and combat this issue along with a lot of others?

ARMSTRONG: I think that I -- I think I'm more effective...

GUPTA: I'm not asking you to announce today.

ARMSTRONG: Yes, you are. You always do.


ARMSTRONG: I think I'm more effective out of office right now. I'm happy with the position that the foundation is in, that LIVESTRONG is in. I think that we have a bipartisan issue, something that both Republicans and Democrats should and ought to care about. And it comes down to a couple of things. I mean, the country has to care about it. It kills 600,000 Americans a year. If that fell on this city right here, right now, you wouldn't believe the shock that we would go through.

But we have become complacent and we have gotten used to it. So we have to sit back and say, OK, here is the problem. What do we need to fix that? We need solid leadership, both from the administration and from the NCI. And we need solid funding.

And both of those are questionable right now. So in the years upcoming we have to change that in this case. It is an epidemic. GUPTA: Well, I appreciate your leadership. And I have my yellow wristband on. You've got yours as well. Live strong, Lance. Really appreciate it. Thanks so much for being with us on the show today as well.

Advice from the experts, first hand. Also don't forget to go to Lance's cancer foundation's Web site as well,

Don't go anywhere thought right now. Coming up on our -- newest fight -- volunteers in the "Get Fit Fight." They are people right here at CNN, folks with busy schedules, we are thinking about you, high- stress jobs as well. We can help them get fit, we can help you as well. Stay tuned.


GUPTA: We are talking about getting fit this morning. Did you know that exercising for just an hour can add two hours to your life? Think about that for a second. Add an -- one hour of exercise, now two hours to your life later on. Wouldn't you want to do that for your family and your loved ones and everyone else?

On this year's "Fit Nation Tour," we are asking you to add millions of hours to the collective lives of Americans. Just pledge the amount of time you will exercise on our Web site, which is We are also going to be following three CNN employees who are challenging themselves to lead healthier lives. We call them our "fit buddies."


GUPTA (voice-over): Take a stressed-out medical producer, an overworked manager, and a busy reporter, and you have got a group of people who probably have some fitness issues.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I mean, I was, for two weeks in New Orleans, living in a tent. I was eating -- I can't even remember what I was eating. But it wasn't good.

GUPTA: Meet CNN correspondent Ed Lavandera; Matt Sloane, a CNN medical producer; and CNN domestic director of coverage, Stacia Deshishku. All with hectic lives. And all of them who admit they are out of shape.

MATT SLOANE, CNN MEDICAL PRODUCER: I'm like the master of excuses for why I can't exercise and why I can't eat well.

STACIA DESHISHKU, CNN DIRECTOR OF COVERAGE: The last time I worked out, father Bush was president. And I am not kidding.

GUPTA: They are our fit buddies. And over the next 12 weeks, we will be watching them as they hit the gym and count their calories and work on getting fit.

Exercise is the focus in this year's "Fit Nation," because working out is key to building a stronger body that helps you fight off all kinds of diseases, like type 2 diabetes, heart problems, even cancer.

ROBERT DOTHARD, FITNESS TRAINER: Nutrition, cardiovascular activity and strength training, that is really the magic bullet.

GUPTA: Fitness trainer Robert Dothard will oversee our fit buddies to make sure they are exercising correctly.

DOTHARD: Our population is very busy nowadays. If you cannot make a program easy to follow and time efficient, you are not going to find very many people are going to do it.

GUPTA: So what do our buddies think of the challenge ahead?

SLOANE: I have been making excuses for 20 years and I'm only 24. So it is time to just do something about it.

DESHISHKU: I have two little boys that are 3 and 5, and they are incredibly active. And I can keep up with them right now. But I'm thinking in the next year or two, five years, 10 years, I don't want to be left behind.

LAVANDERA: I think if I come away from here with a few more ideas to, number one, keep me motivated, and number two, how to be successful and make good decisions, I think -- you know, I will consider that a success.


GUPTA: So for the next 12 weeks, we hope our fit buddies challenge you to get fit as well, even during your busiest times. Can't fall off the map. Stay where you are. More HOUSE CALL after the break.


GUPTA: Hope to see you out on tour in the coming weeks, every Saturday and Sunday night on HOUSE CALL. You can see our set up here. This is the "Fit Nation" (INAUDIBLE). We'll be traveling all around the country trying to help you in your communities. I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Now back to Betty and T.J., the latest news on CNN.


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