Expert Q&A: Your Questions About Diet and Exercise -- Answered

Posted 05/06/11 at 10:37AM by Audrey Fine

As summer rapidly approaches (yay) we've become more and more inundated with "shape up" questions for our resident exercise/nutrition guru, Ashley Borden. Here, Borden tackles four of your most pressing concerns.

Question: If I want to lose weight do I need to cut out all the fat from my diet?

Answer: "Absolutely not! Good fat is essential in your daily food plan. Healthy fats include avocados, olives, grape seed oil, raw almonds, cashews or peanuts and hemp seeds. Instead of worrying about fat, I would focus on eliminating all processed foods and soda and would try to both increase your water intake, and track your calorie intake. There are bunches of calorie tracking iPhone apps that give you a good sense of how many calories you are consuming throughout the day. Weight loss is not rocket science. It's [simply a matter of] calories consumed vs. calories burned." [Editor's note: Try the Calorie Counter & Diet Tracker by MyFitnessPal or Calorie Tracker - LIVESTRONG.COM: Achieve Your Diet and Fitness Goals apps.]

Question: How much cardio should I do daily? - Sandy M.

Answer: Because every body is different, giving a general answer of how much to do would be irresponsible. However, as a general rule of thumb, you need to be doing what I call 'smart cardio' which is cardio that's at an intensity level that's challenging but not impossible. Cardio has more to do with your exertion and heart rate than [how much time you spend doing it]. For instance, if you did a sprint workout on the treadmill for 20 minutes it would be a big calorie burn versus walking outside at a snail's pace for an hour. (Hint: wearing a heart rate monitor will give you immediate feedback on your target heart rate zone.)

Question: What is the perfect breakfast for someone who's trying to lose 10 lbs.? Should I load up on protein like egg whites? Or go for carbs? Jill B.

Answer "It's all about [the balanced meal]. The perfect breakfast includes a complex carbohydrate, protein, and good fat. I like slow cooked oatmeal with half a scoop of protein powder, a tablespoon of almond butter and a handful of berries."

Question: Help me with a workout that will blast my thunder thighs away. Danielle E.

Answer: Contrary to popular belief, you need to add weight to your leg workout. A lot of women with [bigger] thighs are afraid of adding weight because they think it will make their legs bigger. It won't.

'Step Ups,' holding 8 to 10 pounds in each hand are a great exercise. Find a stable surface about knee height, with your left leg step up onto it, squeeze the glute of the stepping leg at the top of the step and come back down. Repeat 10 times on each side. Make sure to hold weights at your side with your chest high and eyes on the horizon. When choosing your weight, try to use a weight in both hands that you can successfully complete 10 reps on each side with an exertion level of a 7 or 8.

For more of Ashley Borden's exercise and nutrition tips, pick up a copy of her book "Your Perfect Fit." And, for more advice from the My Beauty Life experts, click here.
And the survey says...
1-6 of 10 Comments

  • Posted by EricaF123 on 12/30/12 at 08:27am

    Nice info

    Report Abuse

  • Posted by hiddenexpose on 08/21/12 at 08:46pm

    Good advice, but of course they cannot provide the motivation to workout. Haha.

    Report Abuse

  • Posted by powerwoman033 on 03/12/12 at 10:14pm

    It all seems so easy, in theory! :)

    Report Abuse

  • Posted by taryn.romero on 10/06/11 at 11:50am

    I guess I know what I need to do, now I just have to get my lazy butt up and do it.

    Report Abuse

  • Posted by AmandaAmanda on 05/22/11 at 04:23pm

    i have alot of work to do

    Report Abuse

  • Posted by LipglossandSpandex on 05/17/11 at 08:15pm

    I have thunder thighs, and while they can be minimized, it's also just how my body is shaped. You'll need to eat healthy to minimize the fat, and do cardio to burn calories. Weightlifting is a great way to tone your legs (it doesn't necessarily mean adding bulk).

    Report Abuse

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