Health

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Karl Henry: Which scales is telling the truth?

Karl Henry

My home scales is reading different to the one in the gym; have you any advice when it comes to home scales?

Karl says: ANY of us buy scales that won’t really work, cheap scales that may look somewhat cool in the bathroom but after a few weeks they cease weighing accurately, starting you into a cycle of inaccurate weigh-ins that increase the frustration you feel – despite what you eat and how much exercise you do, the weight just doesn’t budge.

Scales measure your body weight, in pounds or kilos. Many digital scales claim to measure body fat and body water but, to be honest, I have seen very few that actually do this accurately. The ones that do are very, very expensive.

So don’t worry yourself with measuring body fat or body water as they just aren’t accurate on most scales. If you want to measure body fat, which is important, get it measured by a trainer or get it done in a sports science lab. Measuring your weight is sufficient for most people. Remember that 1lb of fat is the same as1lb of muscle, 1lb is 1lb, muscle is denser and takes up less space than fat but they both weigh exactly the same.

Here is the simplest checklist to try to ensure that the scales you have is as accurate as possible.

FLOORING: Your scales needs to be on the firmest floor possible. No carpets or soft wood floors – either tiled or hardwood floors are the way to go.

This ensures that when you stand on it, the floor doesn’t move at all, giving no suspension to the scales at all, and giving you a more accurate reading.

TIME OF DAY: Ensure that you weigh yourself at the same time on every occasion. Ideally weigh yourself in the morning, as this will be when you are at your real weight.

As the day goes on, you will naturally gain weight and there can be as much as a 5lb difference towards the evening time. Don’t fall into the trap that many people do and forget this. Ideally 7am or 8am would be the best time to weigh in.

ONCE PER WEEK: Another mistake so many people make is weighing themselves every day. By doing this, you can yoyo so much it just frustrates you more and more.

Pick one day each week and nominate it as your weigh-in day. Make a note of your weight and then leave it for seven days until your next weigh-in.

 

I am looking for some new exercises to add to my gym routine, any ideas?

Karl says: Here are some of my favourites that you can add in:

Calves: Men need plenty of calf work, while women only need to do some every few weeks. Often neglected, calves look amazing when shapely and toned. By doing a simple calf raise you will develop the shape that will make a huge difference.

Stand with your feet on a step or a block, keeping the balls of your feet on the block, your heels over the edge.

Lower your heels towards the floor and then raise up on the balls of your feet towards the ceiling. If it's too easy then hold while you're up on your toes.

Chest: The simplest, best exercise for the chest in my opinion is dumbbell bench press. By using dumbbells, you allow each arm and pectoral muscle to work independently. Ensure to keep your legs up on the bench while you are doing it, this ensures that your back is safe.

Lower your dumbbells down to shoulder level and then press them back up, meeting them in the middle, being conscious to let the chest do all the work.

Shoulders: There are three parts to the shoulder muscle or deltoid. You want an exercise that will work all three parts. The simplest is called a side lateral raise. Start with your feet shoulder width apart, dumbbells by your side. Raise your dumbbells up to the side and return back down.

The important thing is to ensure your shoulders are pulled back, not forward like so many versions. This engages the real deltoid and helps to improve your posture as well, avoiding the rounded shoulder look.

Back: My favourite back exercise is the reverse grip lat pulldown. This is a machine that most gyms will have, you sit into the machine, turn your hands facing you, your grip shoulder width apart. Simply lower the bar to your chest and return to a locked out arm position, to get a full extension.

Biceps: Chin-ups are a certainly one of my favourites but they can be scary for so many people. Until you build up to them begin with bicep curls. You can do them standing or seated, the essential point is to keep your elbows by your side, this ensures that the biceps do all the work. Start with the hands fully extended, curl the dumbbells up and return them back down.

Triceps: Dips, dips and more dips! Got to love these. Start by sitting on a bench or a chair. Place your hands by your side and simply bend the elbows, lower your body towards the floor and then extend the arms out.

  • Email your questions to karlhenry@independent.ie

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