In this December 29, 2009 free audio episode: which exercises actually work for your abs, working out when you're sore, excessive sweating, hamstring injuries, fat burning enzymes, and whether swimming pools are actually healthy.
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Listener Christine asks: “I recently read that traditional abdominal exercises like crunches can put strain on the hip joint and lower back, and they aren't really good anyways since the abdominal muscles are really for stabilization, not for moving the sternum closer to the pelvis. Also a lot of those exercises seem to use the hip flexors instead of core muscles. I noticed in your core exercise video you don't do any crunches. Can I ditch the traditional crunches and ab machines at the gym and still get nice definition & core strength if I follow a routine like the one in your video?”
Listener Patrick asks: “I started the Tri Dominator program this week and kicked it off with Superset Series I. I tried to follow “pick a weight that puts you almost to failure by the last rep” advice, a dumb move when you haven't squatted in a year. Needless to say I've been very sore and stiff ever since. I could only grind out a 30 min TT compared to the prescribed 40 min TT for my bike LTHR test and didn't work out at all yesterday.
I was just wondering 3 things:
1) Was my LTHR test accurate?
2) What should I do workout-wise until my quads and glutes stop hating me?
3) What should I change, if anything, in the weight room to prevent this from happening again?
Become a big fan of the podcast. Thanks for everything you do.”
Listener Eric asks: “When I work out, I sweat – I mean I sweat a LOT…buckets if you will. After a long spin or a high intensity training effort, I am drenched to the point that it looks like I went for a dip in the pool in my tri top/bottoms. I have figured out my needs for hydration in ½ iron races, marathons, etc., however, I sure would like to be less sweaty while engaging in the sports I love and while training for them. I have heard of runners soaking their feet in Epsom salts the night before a race in order to keep their feet from sweating too much the next day – would a viable solution be for me to draw a bath mixed with Epsom (or magnesium) salts and soak my entire body?”
Listener Andy asks: “Do you have any recommendations for how to train around a nagging hamstring? Should I focus on just the swimming for a month or swimming and biking but long endurance workouts in the pool and long small chain ring rides on the bike? I'm in no rush as far as my first Ironman event although I would like to start your program soon and have Ironman Canada at the end of August as my goal. It pains me mentally to have this hammy problem because the run will be the difference for me in qualifying for Kona or not. Right now swimming 2.5 miles in about an hour is not a problem and I don't think a 5 hour bike will be a problem either…its really that sub 3:30 marathon that is my weak spot…thus the frustration in not being able to focus my training around the run. I guess I'm looking for what you think will be the best ways to improve fitness right now as I try and let this hammy heal. The hammy is not serious right now…just slight discomfort if I try and go hard…which is why I haven't…so I still haven't wrecked anything to where I need a couple months off or anything.”
Listener Arturu asks: “Hey Ben. I am a fitness professional and I recently came across your website about six weeks ago. I have been consuming as much of your info as possible. I pride myself on the never ending hunger for new ideas and theories on training and diet for my clients. I just got your video and I was wondering if you could go a little more in depth about not eating two hours before bed and then sleeping eight hours and then going another hour plus exercising without food. That is eleven hours. Would you not be at a catabolic state at that point?”
Listener David asks: “I briefly skimmed through some internet blogs and read one on dangers lurking in the swimming pools. Most triathletes visit these pools quite often. I didn’t have much time to read the entire blog thoroughly It said something about how organic material such as hair, skin, dried sweat and urine reacts with chlorine to produce some bad stuff, something called disinfection byproducts (DBPs). Can you look into this and see if this is something pool swimmers should take caution towards? Thanks.”
In my answer to David, I reference this article from the New York Times.
For the next 4 weeks, the podcasts from Ben Greenfield Fitness will primarily focus on “Listener Q&A's”, due to Ben's undertaking of a huge triathlon-focused side project that is going to bring you over 12 free live teleconferences with triathlon pros and coaches over the next 6 weeks! For more information on that project, and to stay in the loop on what's going on with that project (called the Rock Star Triathlete Academy) simply go to http://www.rockstartriathlete.com.