Fitness (6/01/05)

Dear Zelda,

I'm a 35-year-old fit and lean guy who is an avid weightlifter. The problem is, after pumping all that iron I'm nowhere near to having the great biceps and six-pack abs I really want. I'm not about to take steroids to get my ideal body. I'm writing to you because you're so buff, Zelda. Any ideas on how I can bring out my inner Hercules?


Dear Beanpole,

Thanks for noticing how buff I am. All that opening and closing of the refrigerator door apparently paid off. Phew!

Now, back to your bony body. (Oh what I'd give for a "bony body".) I assume you belong to a gym.  If not, join one now. Then hire one of the gym's personal trainers. Choose one who has a "cut" physique, to help you put together an effective weightlifting schedule. The general rule is to work one or two body parts one day (such as arms and back) and other areas (such as legs and shoulders) the next day, just to give the particular muscles a rest. Also, ask your personal trainer to take a good look at your diet and give you advice on the right ratio of protein, carbohydrates and fat needed for your muscle growth.  Incidentally, to fuel your body and build muscle, it's best to eat five or six meals a day instead of the traditional three squares.  Just think, you and your refrigerator could become best friends.

Next, check out Men's Health magazine.  There are great weightlifting routines in each issue that will give you some ideas.  Also, to understand how effective your workouts will be for each muscle, pick up a copy of Strength Training Anatomy by Frederic Delavier.  This is a MUST HAVE book for you.
In no time your inner Hercules will be running circles around your former "Beanpole"!  You'll be the ?after? not the ?before?.


Dear Zelda,

I'm a professional woman in my late 20s. I like to unwind after leaving the office each day by going to my gym. But even then, it's hard for me to really let my hair down. There's a great looking guy who works out at the same time I do. I want to approach him but I'm afraid I'll sound so uptight he'll think I'm trying to cut a business deal. I really just want to get to know him better. What would you do, Zelda?

Tongue-tied in Pinstripes

Dear Tongue-tied,

Use your strengths to your advantage. If cutting business deals are as natural for you as cutting an extra piece of cake is for me, try that approach on him. Here's the deal: First, wearing your foxiest Lycra (do they make Lycra in pinstripes?), approach Mr. Possibly Perfect and say that you've noticed that he spends as much time in the gym as you. Mention that he has great “guns” (biceps).  Now for the business part, if the conversation is going well and he hasn't told you about his "soul mate" girlfriend or wife, suggest that you might workout together next time. Slip in the fact that you've heard that working out with a partner helps ramp up your fitness routine and motivates you to try harder.

If, however, this seems too brazen, another approach is to smile and just ask, “Could you spot me?” If he's interested he'll say “yes” to one or the other of your proposals. Then, you can close the deal and put your pinstripes in the closet.


Dear Zelda,

How do you maintain that girlish figure? I spend MINUTES on the treadmill and can't lose the potbelly. What do you advise?

EZ the Bulldog

Dear EZ,

A potbelly may be fine for swine, but you've got to lighten and tighten, and that means measuring the amount of dog food you consume every day. Ask your veterinarian how much food you need to keep fit for a dog your size and stick firmly to that amount.  I go with 1 cup of lean, dry dog food in the morning and 1 cup in the evening. Believe me; I work hard for my 32-32-32 figure!  I like to say, “If you want to stay svelte, tighten your belt... or maybe in our case, our collar.” Don't make the mistake of buying a bigger collar because you are gaining weight. Cut back on your food consumption and keep the old collar. Look at it as a tape measure that keeps pounds off of hounds.

As for snacks, you may think that by begging for treats you will work up quite a sweat and burn calories, but don't over-do it.  Remember, it's calories, calories, calories and for most pups people-food just isn't what the doggy-doctor ordered.  If your owner can't resist giving you the occasional treat, suggest only healthy dog treats or veggies.  Now, I beg for broccoli.

The real secret for maintaining my girlish figure, however, is that my owner likes to parade me around the neighborhood. She thinks it keeps the fat off both of us and she's right. My suggestion is that you get your people to take you for more walks.  To give them the hint, jump up and down excitedly by the door.  That will burn off even more pounds!
Just follow my advice and dieting will be made “EZ”.