Ask Dr. Fitness & The Fat Guy

Dr. Fitness and the Fat Guy are Dr. Adam Shafran and Lee Kantor, two guys in Atlanta who talk fitness online and over the air. We asked them to answer a few reader questions and invite you to send in your questions to tips @ crunchgear dot com with the subject line “FITNESS.” Include your geographical location. We’ll run these Q&A sessions regularly.

How accurate are the calories burned on treadmills. Did I really burn 1000 calories? – Tom, Scranton

You probably didn’t burn 1000 calories the last time you worked out. Those calorie counters on exercise equipment are about as accurate as those stickers at the car dealer that says Estimated 28 MPG Highway, 21 MPG City.

The caloric expenditure that you see on your treadmill is an estimate based upon your gender, age and weight and also factoring in the speed you are going plus the incline of the treadmill. Obviously there are several other significant variables that a treadmill cannot program onto the screen – such as body composition, conditioning and resting metabolic rate. FYI holding onto the side rails lowers the amount of calories you’re burning dramatically.

It never fails, I am always working out after the “sweaty guy.” How do you get the oblivious guy with a glandular problem to clean off his sweat at the gym? – Marla, Toldeo

Two factors immediately come to mind. How big is he? And how big are you? I have found the best strategy for a successful outcome in this area is to deploy an attractive female with a small voice but very large pectorals to have this conversation for you.If that doesn’t work, let the gym manager deal with it. Dr Fitness makes it a point to bring a large towel to the gym which acts as a barrier between his sensitive skin and the musty machine pads. The Fat Guy, who is a bit of a germaphobe, has been known to work out in SCUBA gear.

What are some good choices at the salad bar and what should I avoid? – WARHAMMER, WoW

Salad bars can either be a blessing or a curse when it comes to healthy eating. On one hand, you have loads of wonderful fruits and exotic vegetables like jicama, avocado, artichokes, legumes as well as lots of low-cal vegetarian based soups. On the other hand, that same salad bar is going to tempt you with high calorie muffins, cream-based soups, pastas, rich sauces, ice cream and breads. So a good strategy when you hit the salad bar is to start off with a broth based soup. This will fill you up without fattening you up. Then after the soup make your way back to get a salad. Go heavy on the veggies and light on the dressing – Dr Fitness avoids salad dressing altogether. Remember to slow down and explore the variety of vegetables salad bars typically offer.

I’m thinking about running my first marathon. How long does it take to prepare? – Joel, Portland

The time it takes to prepare depends upon your current physical condition. Someone who is not conditioned and overweight will need far more time to prepare than a fit person. Most people set aside 6 months to a year to train for their first marathon. Your goal should be to complete the event without any injuries. Dr Fitness has run lots of marathons and he says that joining a running group is the way to go. Just contact your local running store to find a running group near you. The last marathon the Fat Guy finished was the Psych marathon on USA Network.