ASK JOE WEIDER
The fitness guru and "Master Blaster" answers your health questions
Creators News Service
Tip of the Week: Throw away your scale. Too many of us get caught up in the ritual of daily weighings, fretting over the gain or loss of a pound or two. Your bodyweight can fluctuate several pounds throughout a single day, however, depending on your level of hydration and food intake. Instead of relying on the scale, use your mirror as a barometer of your progress in your body transformation goals.
Q: I've heard that to burn fat you need to eat fat. It sounds like "The Riddle of the Sphinx" to me. Could you please explain what this means, Joe?
A: As paradoxical it may seem, you can and will lose fat by eating fats. You can't just eat any kind of fat, however, and even the helpful kind should be consumed in moderation.
Medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) are a group of dietary fats that can be found in palm oils and coconuts and are processed by your body differently than typical fats. Because their molecules are shorter, they're absorbed more quickly into the bloodstream, making them readily available as an energy source.
MCTs also burn fast because, unlike regular fat, they don't require the assistance of carnitine in order to be carried into the mitochondria, which is the cell's energy plant. This increases their ability to be burned for fuel while decreasing the chances they will be stored as body fat.
I recommend adding around 10 grams of MCTs to each of your three meals, while simultaneously removing the same amount of other fats from your diet. You definitely don't want to double up on your fat intake! After three or four weeks on this diet, I think you'll begin to see how your riddle can improve your middle.
Q: I'm concerned with my 13-year-old son. At 5 feet, 4 inches, he's over 150 pounds -- and he's not really a big-boned kid. Like all of his friends, he spends a lot of his free time playing video games, and it's gotten to the point where I have to actually turn his TV off and reprimand him to get him outside of the house. I'd love for him to start exercising, but it seems like there aren't extracurricular fitness programs for kids. What would you suggest?
A: Madam, I fully support your desire to get your son out of the house and help him become more physically active. It's a shame what's going on with today's youth. When I was 13, a team of wild horses couldn't keep me in the house all day. There was just too much trouble to get into outside!
While I think 13 is a fine age to begin an exercise program, gyms generally don't allow members so young. My advice to you, then, is to do one of several things.
First, you could buy your son a barbell set and some accessories, like a jump rope and a chinning bar. I began assembling my own home gym when I was about your son's age. Of course, if you'd rather he get out of the house, why not encourage him to enroll with his school's track or football teams?
Or, if his school doesn't offer a sport in which he's interested, how about contacting your local PAL (Police Athletic League) or enrolling him in a martial arts class? Just because an activity isn't labeled "fitness" doesn't mean it can't deliver the same kind of health benefits as traditional exercise.
What is most important, however, is that your son get active, lest he becomes one of the more than 60 million Americans who are obese.
Joe Wieder is the co-founder of the International Federation of BodyBuilders, creator of the Mr. Olympia and Ms. Olympia bodybuilding contests, and publisher of numerous fitness magazines. To find out more about Joe Wieder, write to him and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.