Ask Scott: From 16-68, Scott answers fitness questions from blokes of ALL ages
Top fitness coach Scott Pearson answers your health and fitness questions.
I am 68 years old. My belly seems to be getting bigger. Not flabby fat. Hard and round. I've been dieting and exercising but nothing seems to help. My doctor laughs and says nothing except eat a lot of vegetables and fruit, which I do anyway. How do I get a flat stomach?
As you get older you will naturally get bigger as your metabolism slows down; men usually store excess fat around the middle. However, this does not seem to be the case with you as you say the area is firm and hard.
There could be two reasons given the information in your email:
- There is a chance that the fruit and vegetables are causing bloating due to the digestion process. When are you eating these? If it's quite late in the evening (this goes especially for the fruit) they could be bloating you up. Try to eat your evening meal no later than 7pm.
- More likely. if you feel that your mid section is permanently 'hard and round' then it is probably the way you do some of your exercises.
Doing crunches and sit ups does not necessarily lead to getting a flat toned stomach. These exercises build and tone the superficial muscles (like the 'Rectus Abdominis'), but if the deeper muscles of the core ('Transversus Abdominis') are not exercised it will cause the abdominal area to bulge outwards rather than being flat.
Learning to exercise the core is not easy and many of the movements can look quite simple. But to perform them correctly is difficult. I recommend seeing a professional trainer or going to a pilates class. If you cannot do that, here are a few basic tips:
- Lie flat on your back, place your hands on the creases between your body and your legs (this is so you can feel whether you are doing it properly or not).
- Draw in by pulling your belly button towards the floor. (This does not mean you suck in and hold your breath.)
- Draw your testicles towards your body. (Imagine you are stopping yourself urinating in mid flow - this contracts the pelvic floor).
- Push your lower back towards the floor so that there is no gap.
As I said, all this sounds easy enough but putting it into practice is quite difficult.
Another exercise is the 'Kneeling Overhead Draw In'. Kneel holding a light Medicine ball, Dumbbell or Weighted Plate over your head. From this position attempt to raise the weight as high as you can, try and push it right through the ceiling (without actually getting up, of course). You should feel your back and abs tighten as you do this. Hold for 10 seconds, relax and repeat x 10.
Hi Scott, great column. I've just taken up cricket (I'm 46). Any suggestions for fitness training? I cycle to/from work everyday (4 mile round trip)and do a routine of stretches, sit-ups and press-ups.
Some moderate aerobic exercise at least 20 minutes three times per week would be good (cycling to work is a good start). I would also recommend training the core (see above). This will make sure your hips are in a good neutral position and put less pressure through your spine, it will also vastly improve your batting/bowling strength. Do lots of flexibility, especially hips, glutes (basically, your butt) and hamstrings.
I'm 16 and play a lot of rugby. I train a lot in the gym and am considering using protein supplements. What is your opinion?
When the body exercises a lot the demand for nutrients increases. Protein (along with carbohydrates) are the most vital macronutrients the body needs (see my previous column on nutrition). It forms the building blocks of the body, helps it to grow and repair any damaged tissue.
Before embarking on any supplementation make sure that your diet is in order first (again see my previous column) and make sure that you chooses a supplement from a reputable company (we use EAS at the Sharks).
Take protein one hour before you train.
Hi Scott, I am a rugby winger but I need a bigger upper body. Should I try muscle supplements (eg. creatine or whey powder?) I also need to improve my nutrition.
Firstly make sure that you are training well; you need a good balance between Resistance training and Cardio vascular training; see my earlier columns for training tips and advice.
Secondly make sure that you are eating the correct types of foods at the correct times (again, see my earlier column on nutrition).
If these are in order then you could consider taking supplements. The answer to the above question gives some good information about using protein as a supplement. Creatine is also a good supplement to take. However make sure you drink plenty of water when using it as it can put extra demands on your kidneys. It can also cause water retention (this is why you gain weight so quickly) and lead to cramping.
I recommend buying a good quality creatine supplement with a transportation system (this means it's mixed with other things that enable the creatine to get in the blood stream faster and efficiently). Pure creatine is not easily digested and the majority of it is excreted.
Load by taking 5g five times per day for five days. This saturates the muscles with creatine. After this take 5g per day (with your lunch) for about three weeks. Rest for a month before taking it again. This is very important to reduce the strain on the kidneys.
Page created on July 9th, 2007
Page updated on January 18th, 2010