Ask the Wellesse Experts

Wellesse Expert FAQ’s

Q. Do I really need to take vitamins or supplements when I am already following a healthy diet?

It is a good idea to take a multivitamin and mineral supplement daily as recommended by the Institute of Medicine.  Even with a healthy, varied diet, it is difficult to get all of the vitamins and minerals we need to keep us healthy.  And, most of us don’t vary our diet very much but instead eat the same 15-20 foods each week.  Additionally, women are even less likely to meet their micronutrient needs through food because they take in less food overall (fewer calories) than men do.

Q. What is the best diet program for losing weight? 

Diets should be individually tailored to meet individual needs. It is also important to check with your doctor before beginning any diet program. However, I do recommend a few easy steps that anyone can incorporate into their diet to help them lose weight:
Eat 5-6 times a day and never go hungry
Add protein to every meal and snack
Add a fruit, vegetable or both to every single meal and snack.  Eat your fruit or vegetable before you begin your the main course
Choose whole grains over refined forms of carbohydrate
Eat unprocessed or minimally processed foods
Fill up on volume: eat soup (clear not creamy are best), whipped shakes (protein shakes made with whey and fruit are a great idea) or fruits and vegetables.  These are all lower calorie, bulky foods that fill you up.
Add whey.  Whey protein has been shown to stimulate weight loss in individuals who don’t change their calorie intake or exercise regimen.  And, it’s great for helping build muscle mass (we recommend you also partake in resistance training).  And, the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest.

Q. I know cardio, weights and stretching should be part of my exercise routine, but how often should I do each element and for how long?  How can I create a well-rounded exercise program?

A:   Follow the American College of Sports Medicine’s F.I.T. principle, where F stands for frequency, I represents intensity and T equals time or duration.  This is your recipe for training success… stay within these guidelines and you will be assured a program that is both safe and effective.

Here’s what F.I.T. means, for each exercise element:

Guidelines for Cardio Respiratory (Aerobic) Programming 
F – 3 to 5 days/week
I –  64% – 94% of maximum heart rate (220 – age = maximum heart rate)
T- 20 to 60 minutes of continuous or intermittent (10 minute bouts accumulated throughout the day) aerobic activity 

Guidelines for Muscular Strength and Endurance Programming: 
F-    Exercise each muscle group 2 to 3 nonconsecutive days per week.
I –   Perform 1-3 sets of each exercise, while maintaining good form.
T- The time it takes to complete 1-3 sets of 8 to 15 repetitions of exercises that condition the major muscle groups of the body (typically 8 to 10 different exercises) . Perform each exercise in a controlled manner (~3 sec moving in one direction, ~3 sec return).  

Guidelines for Flexibility Programming: 
F – Perform stretching a minimum of 2 to 3 days per week, and ideally 5 to 7 days per week
I –  Stretch to the end of the range of motion to the point of tightness, without inducing discomfort
T – The time it takes to complete two to four repetitions of stretches that address each of the major muscle groups of the body (holding each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds) 

Q. What are some good tips for starting an exercise program?

A:  To get your program off to a great start, try a few strategies recommended by personal trainers as well as behavior therapists.  These include self evaluation, goal setting and pre-program planning.  Here are some tips to get you started.

1.) Have a Dream.  Take a look at where you are and what you want out of your fitness program.  A healthier body? Weight loss?  More energy?  Get excited by the prospect of what exercise, if done regularly, can deliver.  

2.) Know Your Numbers.  Get a physical exam to learn your important health measurements such as blood pressure, cholesterol, bone density, and a body composition measurement (e.g., body fat, weight or inches).  Use these figures to track your progress and results. 

3.) Make Goals Meaningful.   Keep goals attainable and realistic, tracking progress every 4 to 6 weeks.  If you’re not sure what’s reasonable, ask your physician or personal trainer for recommendations.  For example, if weight loss is a primary goal, aim to lose no more than 1 to 2 pounds per week.  If lowering your blood pressure is of utmost concern, recognize that change will happen slowly – it may take months.  By breaking your overall goals into smaller ones, you’ll avoid disappointment and increase program adherence.  

4.) Got Gear? Make sure you have the tools to succeed.  For example, do you belong to a health club membership or have a home gym?  Need a personal trainer or do you have a workout plan in mind?   Do you need new sneakers? If you take the time to pre-plan, your first workout experience will be much more enjoyable, ultimately leading you right into step two, three and four. . . and more great training sessions.
Good luck and get movin’!