Home Q&A Wednesday Q&A Wednesday: Pear-Shaped Figures, Cardio, and Snacking!

Q&A Wednesday: Pear-Shaped Figures, Cardio, and Snacking!

by Erika Nicole Kendall

Many thanks to everyone who waited patiently during the server outage. My apologies to those who subscribe via e-mail, who’ll be receiving the Q&A a day late. 🙁

Got some questions today about exercise, snacking and, well… weight loss.

Moderation: You're Doin' It Wrong

Q: What’s the quickest and safest way to lose weight?

This one is probably a whole post in itself… but there is no quick way. No matter how many pills, programs, and ad campaigns tell you otherwise… there is no quick way. In fact, the quicker the method, the more likely it can kill you. The more likely you will gain it back. The more likely it won’t work at all, and when you complain about it? They’ll just tell you “Ur doin it rongz.”

Trust me on this one. Weight loss through a quick, easy and “effortless” method has something like a 90% chance of coming back. The quickest way to healthy, long-lasting health and weight loss is through addressing what brought you the problem in the first place: your eating habits and your activity levels.

Q: Can you give leg workout exercises for those of us who are considered “pear shaped”? In the past, my thighs became bigger when performing lower body workouts. I’ve been told to lift heavy weights in order to fatigued the muscles. Thanks!

Well, first, let’s talk about why your thighs became bigger with your lower body workouts. Weight lifting/strength training builds muscle. You put your body through stress (the actual exercise); your body, in return, responds by building muscle to help make that exercise easier. So, you develop muscle that will help make this regular rigorous exercise easier for your body to handle. (Your body is extremely efficient at making things easier… it likes easy. Note that this is sometimes a problem!)

So, yes. Your legs would grow larger with the workout. The problem with this is that for those of us who are trying to tone up and tighten up a figure, we don’t want things to get bigger. We want them smaller!

If you want to go smaller, conventional wisdom says to slow down on the strength training. Not stop, slow down. Use that time and energy and put it into a more rigorous cardio workout. If there are no other issues with your diet or your overall health, I think you’ll slowly, but surely, see the progress you’re looking for.

Q: Can you give us a few quick snacks for late night hungries?

Hmm… snacks, you say?

I keep grapes in the freezer. They’re harder/take longer to chew, light in calories and actually taste pretty good. I also keep peanut butter pretzels in the pantry (divided up by portion, mind you) so that I can give myself a little something after my workouts that won’t interfere with my sleep. I also make little sandwiches – a slice of bread folded in half with peanut butter, or my strawberry preserves that I’ve made. Those work well, also. Shoot, you could also give yourself a couple cuts of meat, some honey mustard and a slice of bread, too. My all time favorite, though, is a glass of water and a shower. That’s not sarcasm, either. Usually by the end of both, I’m no longer hungry. If I am, then I hit one of the options above. 🙂

Q: For weight loss-is more cardio better? How much cardio daily is recommended for weight loss?

Aerobic exercise – also known as cardio – is a great way to burn calories, but the best thing for weight loss is addressing your eating habits. If you don’t put “it” in your mouth, you don’t have to burn “it” off!

As for how much, go until you feel like you can’t go anymore. If that’s five minutes, that’s fine – because then you’ll know that next time… you need to try for six!

Keep those questions coming, and I’ll have ‘em ready for next week! Have thoughts? Let me hear ‘em in the comments!

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winnie April 20, 2010 - 8:38 AM

I have to respectfully disagree with your advice to the pear-shaped. Pear-shaped women should most definitely engage in significant weight training. The lower extremities are the largest muscle groups on your body. Building muscle there will result in a higher basal metabolic rate which will increase the amount of energy your body uses throughout the day, which will melt the fat right off your body including your legs. I’m pear shapped and for years people told me to just do light weights and tons of cardio. I followed this advice but never achieved the look I wanted. Once I started training hard, the fat disappeared. My legs are much smaller with great tone and definition. The key is to stick with it over time. Initially, your legs get bigger b/c the muscle is growing and but the fat hasn’t left. Stick with your regimen, train hard and eat clean and in a few months, your legs will look like new ones.

Erika April 20, 2010 - 8:48 AM

The person who asked the question actually said she was trying your suggestion and was seeing no results. It’s clear to me that a combination of things were blocking her path. We don’t disagree here – I didn’t tell her to stop. I told her to ensure that her diet was in order, and focus more on aerobic activity.

CHRISTY CLEVELAND June 30, 2010 - 12:44 PM


Gules September 25, 2010 - 8:45 AM

This is the first time I came across your site, through a RT from twitter. I like how there is so much information on just about anything to do with wellness and the exercise videos are helpful too. I’ve started running earlier this year and am trying to get it back into my usual routine. I will re-visiting this site often to keep me motivated. Thanks 🙂

Bianca November 24, 2010 - 1:07 PM

I am small…pear shaped..and ex-track runner and dancer. There are lots of ways to work out the lower body…and everyone’s body is different and will react differently. For me mixing weight training with Yoga is amazing. Also adding pilates with aqua jogging/water sprints also helpful. I also do my reps really SLOW. I don’t do high weights. I do twice as many reps at a painfully slow rate. My bum and thighs hate me while doing it, but it works for me.

Tijuana October 5, 2014 - 1:50 PM

I’ve supported a loved one with breast cancer by supporting them by joining her team and walking in the breast cancer awareness walk.

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