The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

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Answers to your burning fitness questions

When you think about working out what crosses your mind? What are you thinking of when you decide, “Hey I’m going to the gym today?”

Chances are you are visualizing your new bod, with lean, sexy, toned, firm features that would make everyone drool. The problem, though, is that you do not have a clue how to get it. You are probably thinking, before I did nothing and now that I am doing something, it should make a difference.

You are right about one thing: that doing something is always better than doing nothing at all. The issue, though, is that if you are going to workout, you should actually get results from the time you spend at the gym. Many people perform exercises that do not help them burn fat or improve their health.

Some other things I have noticed from watching people work out on campus include the following: workouts are too long, people are doing workouts that actually do more harm than good, and the gym is another social club instead of the place to build better health and a better body.

Gym 101

The gym is not the place to sit around and chat. It is actually a place to get into shape. If sitting down and talking is your opinion of a workout, then Marillac Hall is where you should be.

"I just worked out for two hours man!"

Sorry if this is you, but a workout where there is probably 30 minutes of actual lifting and the other 90 minutes are spent watching Sportscenter is NOT a two hour workout.


While crunches will target the rectus abdominis which is the muscle people refer to as the “six pack abs,” it can actually you do harm if you are not doing them correctly. Also, if you are carrying a car tire around your waist, then you should stop wasting your time doing countless crunches because it is not going to get rid of the flab that is covering the six pack that you are working so hard to get.

Even performing crunches all day long will do very little to help your six pack show if you do nothing to increase your metabolism and burn that fat. Exercises like pushups, shoulder presses, squats, and lunges done with little amounts of rest is the true key to burning fat. Believe me, your abs are there, you just cannot see them.

A few students decided to propose some questions for discussion. The answers are provided here so all students can benefit from them.

How can I put on weight without adding unwanted fat?

First off, you must take in more calories than your body actually burns in order to gain weight. For example, you are 150 lbs and you want to gain 1 lb of lean bodyweight.

What you would need to do is multiply your weight by 11. This will reveal what your body needs to survive, which is your break-even point. Then you will need to add 500 calories to the number you found with the previous equation. (For this example, it would be 150 X 11= 1650, plus 500 calories = 2150.)

So you can add half a pound to 1 lb. of lean bodyweight a week. The small increase in weight will help ensure you that you are gaining lean weight as opposed to just fat.

Also when increasing your calories, make sure that the foods you are consuming are protein rich, like grilled chicken, turkey, salmon, and fiber rich carbohydrates such as lettuce, broccoli, spinach, whole grain bread and cereals, brown rice, or whole wheat pasta.


What are the best exercises if my goal is to target my “love handles?”

This may come to some as bad news, but there is no particular exercise to target your love handles. Yes, you can do oblique crunches, and Russian twists until you turn blue or red, but unless you burn those inches of fat off, they will be forever with you like the nagging sibling or pet we all have and hate.

My suggestion is to perform compound movements like pushups, squats, lunges, pullups, dips, deadlifts and shoulder presses in succession with about 30 seconds of rest in between each exercise to really burn the fat off. I am not saying that working the sides of your abs is not important, but what I am saying is that it is not the most efficient way to use your time in the gym and not the fastest way to get results.

Getting into shape is not really as hard as you may think. There are a few secrets that are just revised and recycled to get results as quickly as possible.

Do not waste your time with exercises that do nothing for your shape besides giving you a bulging stomach or a bad back. Start performing fat blasting exercises like squats, lunges, pushups and shoulder presses with short rest in between and change your body in little time.

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