Posted by: Sam | 2009/09/10

How should I be exercising?

Hi. I would like to know how I should be exercising for my body. I am 1.64m tall and weigh between 50 and 51kg. I did go to gym for a while, but stopped going as the gym instructor was making me pick up weight. He said my body fat % was something like 11%, so I wasn’ t allowed to do any cardio. He wanted me to do weight training. By the time I left there I was at 53kg and my fat % was 13%. So I’ m exercising at home now. I do about 15 –  20 min of skipping / spinning / star jumps, and a few other things like leg lifts and sit ups.

The problem is, if I exercise or not, I never lose or pick up weight, and my body shape (that I am very unhappy with –  pear shape) never changes. My tummy just WON’ T firm up, and nor will my behind. It’ s like no muscle exists there, only fat cells. Please help. I would also like to know how I can calculate my body fat at home. I’ ve tried a few internet calculators, but I don’ t think they are right  when I fill in my details, it says that I have a body fat % of 60%? Thanks

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Our expert says:
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Hi Sam

11% is not bad at all, I'm not sure whether that was the source of the problem. Even the fact that it climbed to 13% - that's more a function of a mistake in measurement than any real change.

It's important to understand that measuring body fat is not an exact science, and there is an error, or about 2% (or higher) and so you can't overinterpret the value too much. SO certainly, I would not worry about that part of it.

To answer the second part of the question, I think you need to look at diet here, before exercise. Fact is, you're not overweight, and that means that losing weight is not as easy as it is for someone who weighs say 100 kg and wants to knock off 10kg.

So it's important to assess your diet, because once you start getting down to the 'limit', then diet becomes much more important than training.

Training is still vital, of course, and I do suggest you do it. My assessment of your current training is limited, I admit, but I do think you need more constant intensity training. Skipping and start jumps and other high intensity training is tough to do for a long time, and you need to be aiming for 45 minutes or so per day, not only 20. So that's the one change, allied to a change in diet.

Finally, with reagards to the measurement of body fat, don't bother. Seriously, the error is too large - any calculation is going to be inaccurate, so unless you can do it properly, using the state of the art method, you are better off not doing it at all. Rather focus on your fitness, and let the rest take care of itself.

Good luck

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

Our users say:
Posted by: Sam | 2009/09/14

Hi DW. I just don' t want to be muscular, just firm. My fiance also always tells everyone that his favorite part of my body, are my skinny arms, so I don' t want to change that. I just want to firm up my lower body! Nothing must wobble. I can' t seam to get that right.

Reply to Sam
Posted by: dw | 2009/09/14

Hi Sam. You mustnt worry about what the scale says, it is what the mirror reflects back to you. To change your body shape, you need to lift weights. If you only do cardio, you just become a thinner person of the shape you are in now. To change a pear shape, you need to lift really heavy weights for your upper body and lighter more reps for your lower body. I was a pear shape too, and now I am in proportion. My shoulders and hips are exactly the same measurement.

Reply to dw

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