Q: How are muscle groups selected?   A: Specific muscles or groups are ordered specifically for several reasons. The first reason is to provide a balance of training throughout your body. For example, antagonistic actions (such as arm flexion and arm extension) are paired together on the same day; and, muscle group selection throughout the week is designed to work all of the muscle groups in your body. Also, plans are divided into muscle groups on various days to avoid overtraining, giving you at least one day of rest in-between training a given muscle group.  
  Q: How can I customize my exercises?   A: Go to "my Profile". Click on "Edit my Fitness Plan". When you see the listing of exercises set for your previous selections (schedule variables and goals), click on "edit", next to an exercise you want to change. Then, you will see the same schedule with a drop-down menu that gives you the ability to select a new exercise for a given muscle or muscle group.  
  Q:How can I customize my schedule?   A:Go to "my Profile". Click on "Edit my Fitness Plan". At the top of the page you are directed to, your schedule and goal option is listed. When you click on "Edit" in this section, you can choose new variables for days/week and time/day.  
  Q: Do heavy weights make me bulky?   A: It depends. The major factors are testosterone (naturally produced for males), genetics (fast-twitch fiber concentration) and eccentric cadence (the length of time in the phase of the contraction where you are lengthening a muscle). Aside from some rare exceptions, most females will not get a "bulky" appearance when lifting heavy (with the exception of the poor choice to take steroids or an extremely high percentage of fast-twitch fibers). If you are looking to increase mass and desire a "bulky" appearance, follow a "Muscle Building" or "Build and Lean" plan; and, be sure to have a 5-second eccentric phase when your plan specifies you to do so. Unfortunately, some people have a very high percentage of slow-twitch fibers and won't ever be able to get a "bulky" appearance (unfortunate if you desire to build a lot of mass, but fortunate for a higher disposition toward success in longer distance activities such as cross-country running and cycling). Be sure to also follow a weight-increasing nutritional plan (your FitSim nutritional plan) to consume enough nutrients to support a mass-increasing objective.  
  Q: Are Squats dangerous?   A: There are two factors related to safely performing squats. The first factor is individual differences (age, weight/strength ratio, previous injury, etc.); as with any new activity, you must verify with your physician that squats are an activity you can safely perform. The second factor for safely performing squats is technique: you will want your back straight, head up, don't let your knees go over your toes and don't go deeper than letting your thigh become parallel with the ground.  
  Q: How many sets/reps should I do?   A: The number of sets and reps you do depends on your goals and the length of time you've been participating in a weight training program. The Fitness Simplified program combines these factors with a periodized program (scheduled set and repetition variations targeting endurance, strength and tissue growth).  
  Q: How can I strengthen my rotator cuff?   A: Internal and external shoulder rotation exercises are a great way to strengthen the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff (infraspinatus, supraspinatus, subscapularis and teres minor) should be included as one of the regularly worked muscle groups in your exercise program.  
  Q: Can I lose 10 pounds in 10 days?   A: A healthy, sustainable weight loss for most people is 1 1/2 pounds per week. A loss of 1 pound per day, not including water weight, would include a calorie deficit of 3500. To reach this number, you would most likely need to do an extreme amount of cardio-vascular activity (such as at least 12 hours) and eat very little food (such as 500 calories, which is absolutely not recommended). Your body could go into a "self-preservation mode" and store most calories as fat long after your short ten day burst of exercise. The most intense recommendation is to select workout options of 90 minutes per workout, six days/week. Also, select the weight loss option for your FitSim.com meal plan.  
  Q: Will fat turn into muscle?   A: Fat will absolutely not turn into muscle. Everyone has a set number of fat (adipose) cells and muscle fibers in their bodies. When you lose total fat, the size of the fat cells in your body decreases. When you gain muscle mass, the size of the muscle fibers in your body increases. Fat cells decrease in an equal proportion throughout your body, while the size of muscle fibers of specific muscles increases in response to resistance training for a given muscle group/s.  
  Q: In what order should I work my muscles?   A: You should work your muscles in order of largest to smallest. If you are performing resistance training for all muscle groups within a given day, for example, you should begin with exercises that target your quads, glutes and hamstrings. If you are performing resistance training that only targets your upper-body, you should begin with working your pectoralis and latissimus dorsi groups.  
  Q: Will muscle turn into fat?   A: Muscle will absolutely not turn into fat. If you are performing resistance training and consuming "x" calories per day, then quit a workout program while still consuming "x" calories per day, muscle mass is likely to decrease while the amount of fat is likely to increase. However, it is a myth that muscle will actually turn into fat.  
  Q: What are the best diet foods to eat?   A: There are a couple of recommendations to look at. A "diet food" is a bit misleading, as the best solution for weight loss and maintenance is to follow your nutritional plan. However, snack foods that are high in water content and nutrition (such as fruits and vegetables) can be wise choices for weight management and possible weight loss.  
  Q: Can aerobics slow muscle growth?   A: If the cardiovascular intensity is great enough, it is possible to slow muscle growth (muscle mass). If your main objective is to gain muscle mass, you should perform your cardiovascular exercises at an intensity of 55-60% max HR and perform your cardiovascular exercise after you have completed your resistance training for the day.  
  Q: What cardio can I do with bad knees?   A: An exercise bike set at low resistance; or, a recumbant exercise bike if the standard exercise bike hurts your knees, are possible options. Also, an elliptical trainer is a relatively low impact cardio-vascular exercise. Be sure to consult your physician to verify clearance for these exercises.  
  Q: How fast should I run?   A: If you are using a treadmill, you can adjust your running speed and grade to try to get to your target heart rate. Your max. heart rate can be found with a simple formula of 220 - your age. Your recommended heart rate percentage will be listed on your FitnessSimplified training plan. Also, remember to begin with a warm-up period of 5 minutes, with a reduced heart (according to your plan). To find your active heart rate, find your pulse and count the beats for ten seconds (then, multiply by six).  
  Q: Why do some people have a "pear" shape?   A: Everyone has a set number of fat cells in various locations throughout their body. When fat percentage increases, the size of fat cells in all locations increase at a relatively equal rate. Some people (especially women) tend to have a higher proportion of fat cells in their hip and thigh region. When they increase body fat percentage, the increased size of the fat cells, combined with the proportionately higher number of fat cells in the hip and thigh region can lead to the "pear" shape distinction.  
  Q: How can you increase bone density?   A: Nutrition (such as a balanced diet with adequate calcium) can assist with maintaining bone health. However, resistance training may lead to significant increases in bone density. With a progressively increased activity load upon your muscles, a corresponding load about the bones can lead to an increase in osteoblastic (bone cell production) activity.  
  Q: How do I begin an exercise program?   A: The best advice is to start with a plan designed for a beginner. The Fitness Simplified program is designed to progress based on your current fitness experience level. Also, begin with a plan that fits your schedule; and, increase your schedule as you are willing to do.  
  Q: What is the best way to find body fat?   A: Hydrodensitometry (underwater weighing) is the most accurate way to find body fat percentage. However, using calipers to find your body fat percentage is a very cost-effective way to find your body fat. Most commercial gyms have calipers that trainers can use to measure your fat.  
  Q: Is a home gym as good as other gyms?   A: If you have use the proper exercises, a home gym can be as good as other (commercial) gyms. However, the complication is that many people tend to neglect their workouts when they are in the convenience of your home. If you are able to complete your workouts at your home and have a plan suited to exercise all of the muscle groups with the equipment available to you at your home, then a home gym solution could work well for you.  
  Q: Does metabolism slow after high school?   A: Research suggests that metabolism independent of activity doesn't slow significantly until after age 40. However, many people tend to be less active after high school.  
  Q: Is fat loss harder if you are obese?   A: No. In fact, the opposite is true. It becomes more difficult to lose fat to get to the elite level of body fat (5-9% for males) compared to losing fat when you have a high volume of fat. The psychological barriers, however, to initiate and follow a fitness plan can be quite difficult in the beginning. The suggestion is to start out with a moderate schedule if that is what's needed to follow a training plan.  
  Q: Is "BMI" a good fitness indicator?   A: BMI is a rough calculation that can give information related to groups of people. For example, if a group of fifty-thousand 25 year-olds in anytown, USA has a BMI twice as high as a group of fifty-thousand 25 year-olds in yourtown, USA, the first group would most likely be "obese" in BMI terms. However, when looking at a single individual, a body composition (body fat) assessment gives a much more descriptive fitness indicator.  
  Q: What is "BMI"?   A: BMI stands for Body Mass Index. Simply put, a numerical value is given to your body weight according to your height. If person A is 5'9" and weighs 180 pounds, there BMI will be higher than person B who is 5'9" and weighs 160 pounds.  
  Q: What are tendons?   A: Tendons are the connective tissues that connect muscles and bones (such as your achilles tendon connecting your soleus and gastrocnemius to your calcaneus [heel bone).  
  Q: What are ligaments?   A: Ligaments are the connective tissues that connect bones to other bones (such as your ulnar collateral ligament, a primary ligament connecting your larger lower-arm bone [ulna] to your upper-arm bone [humerus).  
  Q: What are aponeuroses?   A: Aponeuroses are the connective tissues that have a variety of functions (such as the tendon-like sheath around your wrist) other than connecting muscle to bone or bone to bone. A very common set of aponeuroses are those found between your abdominal muscles (the divits in a "six-pack").  
  Q: Why is water recommended with meals?   A: Water can aid in digestion. But, water can also assist to give you a feeling of "fullness" earlier than you may otherwise. If portion sizing is a focus of your fat (weight) loss, water consumption may assist you in eating the appropriate portion sizes.  
  Q: Will certain foods put fat on my thighs?   A: Similar to how it is impossilbe to "spot reduce" fat, certain foods do not lead to area-specific fat storage. Although individual differences account for a higher number of fat cells between individuals, fat cells will increase or decrease in size at a relatively equal percent throughout your body.  
  Q: What causes bad breath?   A: Bacteria in the mouth is a very common cause of bad breath. Indigestion leading to a possible increase in noxious stomach gasses can also lead to some of those gasses releasing from the mouth.  
  Q: Which foods contain insoluble fiber?   A: Flax and bran are two ingredients that contain a high amount of insoluble fiber.  
  Q: How do shoes affect your knees?   A: Shoes relate to the alignment of your foot which can influence the ideal alignment of your knees and your spine.  
  Q: How can I find my maximum heart rate?   A: The equation (220-Age) will help you find your approximate MAX heart rate. For example, a 40 year-old individual would have a max heart rate of 180.  
  Q: How can I shop more healthy?   A: A simple, quick solution for shopping healthy is to circle the perimeter of the store (bakery last) when you do your grocery shopping. The whole foods, especially fruits and vegetables, tend to be located around the perimeter. The idea is that you plan your snacks with healthy foods when you begin your shopping.  
  Q: Should I perform my lifts slowly?   A: When you are doing resistance training, you can use an "eccentric concentration" to a workout, which includes a slow (3-5 second) movement when you are lengthening the muscle. This technique is used when you are trying to increase the amount of muscle mass that you have (a size-increase technique). The speed when you are shortening the muscle (concentric contraction) is related to safety. If you are performing a lift involving compressive force (such as a back squat), it is not advisable to have a quick concentric contraction when you are using heavier weights due to the increased compressive force on your back and knees. However, if you are performing a lift such as an arm curl, a quick concentric contraction could assist with an increase in strength (although it does not target size increase). Be sure to consult your physician to determine how quick you may perform concentric contractions, with respect to what is safe for you.  
  Q: What exercises should I do first?   A: After a warm-up, you should perform your resistance training before your cardio-vascular activity (if you have both resistance training and cardio-vascular training as part of your workout program). When you perform your resistance training, it is recommended to perform the larger muscle groups and the multi-joint exercises first. For example, on a leg day, a possible order could be: leg press; leg extensions; calf raises.  
  Q: Can a red fiber become a white fiber?   A: Research has not supported a red fiber becoming a white fiber; or, a white fiber becoming a red fiber. However, there are intermediate fibers that can have a varrying level of mitochondria vs. anaerobic enzymes as a result of training. Research indicates that all individuals have a set number of red, white and intermediate fibers (and the proportion varies by individual).  
  Q: What is a "white" muscle fiber?   A: A "white", fast-twitch, muscle fiber can assist with high-intensity (high force) contractions that happen rapidly (too rapidly to maintained continued, oxidated contractions). Weight-training and power-based activities target these anaerobic fibers.  
  Q: What is a "red" muscle fiber?   A: A "red" muscle fiber is an fiber with characteristics that allow for low-intensity, lengthy activity. The red color of the fiber is due to the oxidated blood inside the tissue. A high percentage of slow-twitch (red) fibers may allow an increased ability for success in low-intensity, long-duration exercises (such as marathon running).  
  Q: Should I eat energy bars?   A: If it has been several hours since you have eaten, or directly following a workout, an energy could help restore some glycogen in your body. However, many energy bars are loaded with refined sugar and don't always provide the most nutritionally dense or cost-effective solution. A general (low refined-sugar) granola bar or some raw or dried fruit with water are suggested alternatives to energy bars that are often more nutritionally dense and more cost-effective.  
  Q: What should I eat after a workout?   A: After a workout, it is good to consume a snack with carbohydrates and some protein. Also, it is recommended to consume 8 oz of water per 30 minutes of physical activity; if you haven't done this during your workout, the post-workout snack is a good time to consume additional water to fill this need. Also, you will want to make sure that the carbohydrate consumption is low in refined sugar. An example of a post-workout snack for someone on a fat loss plan is: a piece of fruit and one serving of yogurt (low refined sugar). An example of a post-workout snack for someone on a muscle building plan is a bagel with one serving of tuna and a piece of fruit.  
  Q: What is a recommended diet to gain muscle mass?   A: One of the key components to gaining muscle mass is consuming enough calories. An increase in 500 calories/day could lead to an increase of 1 pound/week (if you are performing the appropriate resistance training program). The FS meal plan program accounts for an increase in calorie consumption for those looking to increase weight.  
  Q: Should I be sore after a workout?   A: A normal time to be sore after a resistance training workout is up to two days. The term for soreness that you don't immediately feel, but often feel beginning the day after a workout is "Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness" - DOMS. As it relates to your FS plan, you don't want to be sore longer than your interval between workout days (if your interval between working your chest is 48 hours, for example, you don't want to be sore longer than this period). If you are sore longer than your interval between workouts, make sure that you are following a nutritious meal plan and getting sufficient rest and hydration. If the soreness continues, consider temporarily reducing your weekend load and it is suggested to consult your physician.  
  Q: What is a "rotator cuff"?   A: The "rotator cuff" is a group of four muscles (infraspinatus, supraspinatus, subscapularis and teres minor) whose primary functions are the internal and external rotation of your shoulder. Rotator cuff injuries are most common in baseball (often due to the force of arm decelleration after a pitch). However, some individuals may have pre-existing rotator cuff injuries or a likelihood of injury. Visit the Exercise Instruction section to view internal and external rotation stretches. Similar to the advice for any change in activity, consult your physician to determine if adding weight to these movements would be healthy for you.  
  Q: How long does it take to see results?   A: A good general rule to look at is taking your measurements just before you begin your exercise program and again at 6-8 weeks. Weight is the easiest for of measurement, but does not always give a clear picture of the results. For example, someone may see a weight measurement that is essentially the same, although they may have lost 10-15% of their body fat. A recommended alternative to weight measurement is the physical measurement (using a sewing measuring tape) of your waist, hip, thighs, biceps, chest and shoulders. Measure each area at the widest points to stay consistent.  
  Q: What is visceral fat?   A: Visceral fat, generally speaking, is the fat in your abdomen surrounding your organs. Men typically store extra fat in the abdomen, compared to females who tend to carry fat in the thigh and hip region more than males. Often, if you notice the abdominal fat of male creating a "beer belly" semi-bloated look, it may be because of the visceral fat distribution, compared to a "rolling" look, where the fat is in the abdominal region, but outside of the organs and muscles (subcutaneous fat).  
  Q: Does body fat effect the heart?   A: Peripheral (as opposed to fat surrounding your organs) body fat can put a strain on your heart due to an increase in blood returning to the heart (the extra vessels in your fat tissue). For an individual who has excessive body fat, there are an additional anount of vessels in the fat tissue without the compensatory venous return pressure generated by your skeletal muscle (if, by comparison, the additional weight was from muscle weight)..  
  Q: Why is a low intensity better for fat loss?   A: A lower intensity will yield a higher percentage of fat loss for your workout time. It may be possible that the higher overall calories from fat is higher if you are using a moderate intensity, however, if you are well-trained. A good recommendation to follow, if you are looking to increase your intensity, is to monitor your heart rate and shoot for 70% of your HR max (if your physician has cleared you, and after a warm-up for each workout) . As your body adapts to your activity level, the intensity of your workout can increase as your body adapts and your heart rate is lower at the speed/incline (of a treadmill) that you began your workout program with.  
  Q: How can I increase my calf size?   A: If you are following a Muscle Building or Build and Lean program, the later phases of your program will include an "eccentric" component (in the later weeks of the phase). Research supports relatively heavy weight with an eccentric component as the best way to increase muscle mass. An eccentric component refers to lowering the weight slowly for each repetition.  
  Q: Is it best to do bench or dumbell chest press to increase chest size and strength?   A: It is actually best to do both. You will be able to lift more weight during a bench press exercise, compared to the combined weight of dumbells during a dumbell chest press, which is an advantage to overall strength increases. However, the dumbell chest press requires increased recruitment of motor units (in various muscle groups), due to the increased balance needs.  
  Q: Why won't my biceps grow?   A: There are a couple of possibilities. If you are using the Lean and Tone plan, and you are already a trained individual, your program is designed to not emphasize growth; if this is the case, switch to a Muscle Building or Build and Lean program. Also, if you are in an early phase of one of these latter phases, the emphasis is on conditioning your muscles, with some growth emphasis. As you progress, and your muscles have adapted, an increase is placed on size. Adequate nutrition is another possible variable; if you have increased your activity level since filling out the initial meal plan form, you should edit your fitness information. An additional, unfortunate, remaining possibility is a genetic limitation. It is possible that your biceps group has a relatively small proportion of white (fast-twitch/anaerobic) fibers.  
  Q: How can I speed-up my fat loss?   A: The good news is that your body will adapt (specifically if you are in the first six-weeks of a fitness plan) to increase the efficiency of fat loss. If you are past the first six-weeks of your program, you could increase the length of each cardio-vascular session (or increase 1/week) to 60-120 minutes (if approved by your physician).  
  Q: Will sweating more help me lose weight?   A: An increase in perspiration rate will lead to weight loss via water weight in the very short-term. However, it is definitely not recommended to wear extra clothing to increase your perspiration rate. In fact, if you tend to have a higher rate of perspiration, you should consume additional water during your workout. Water-weight loss is temporary, and dehydration can have serious negative effects on your health.  
  Q: How can I lose my "muffin top"?   A: Any fat loss in your body reduces at an equal rate. Unfortunately, your body doesn't "spot reduce" fat, removing fat more from one area compared to another. A program design focused on fat loss or that contains a "leanness" element, can assist with fat loss throughout your body. (Fat cells decrease in size at an equal rate throughout your body, rather than a decrease in number of fat cells at given spots in the body.  
  Q: Why don't you advertise drastic weight loss?   A: Drastic weight loss can happen, but to effectively achieve drastic weight loss that will be long-lasting, it takes time. Also, the idea that immediate weight loss is the best objective is misguided. When someone begins a fitness program, increases in intra-muscular enzymes and fluid and increases in muscle tissue can often lead to an increase in weight. However, if someone continues their fitness program, continuous increases in fat loss are likely to occur. An emphasis should be placed on fat loss rather than weight loss. There are several ways to measure body fat (such as calipers, bioimpedence, etc.), but an extremely easy way to check your progress is to measure (with a sewing measuring tape) your problem (high fat storage) areas.  
  Q: What is body composition?   A: Body composition refers to body fat, compared to lean mass. Lean mass can refer to muscle, bone, other organs, etc. The Muscle Building program is primarily designed to increase lean mass (by way of muscle mass and some related bone density increases). The Build and Lean program is targeted to increase lean mass and decrease body fat. The Fat Loss and Lean and Tone plans are targeted to decrese body fat (with a small increase in lean mass for the Lean and Tone plan).  
  Q: What does the "e" mean? (for example: "6e" for repetitions)   A: The "e" designates an eccentric-concentration for each repetition in that set. An eccentric concentration (for the FS programs) refers to lengthening the targeted muscles for a 5-count. For example, if you are performing a bench press, when you are lowering the bar, you are lengthening the pectoralis group. If you perform a 5-count as you are lowering the weight (lengthening the targeted muscles), using the eccentric concentration, you will be performing a recommended cadence for increased muscle tissue growth.  
  Q: Why do sets and reps vary every week?   A: In each phase, the workout weeks have various objectives. If you have a high number of repetitions with low weights, the objective is to increase muscular endurance by increasing the enzymes within the muscles. Also, the low weight weeks help progressively strengthen your connective tissues while working on your mechanics. The high weight weeks target maximum strength and increases in muscle mass.  
  Q: What is a "Phase-Based" plan?   A: A "Phase-Based" plan refers to a set organization of sets and reps over a specific time period. There are a variety of objectives (muscular endurance, "toning", strength, size increase, etc.) depending upon your program selection. All of these factors are taken into account to guide the construction of your program. Also, depending upon your previous fitness level, you will have a specific starting point for your sets and reps. As you progress to the next phase, the intensity of the workout is increased factoring in your progression and your goals.  
  Q: Are the plans computer-generated?   A: The plans have been used and modified over the last ten years in personal training settings. The program design is based on a balanced combination of exercises, with variables to meet your needs and goals. The plans have all been put together with and improved based on working with clients in a "hands-on" environment. The only thing the computer does is use a formula to select the appropriate plan; and, it's the same formula used in a training setting to select the same plan!!  
  Q: Can more muscle increase metabolism?   A: Yes. An increase in muscle mass may increase resting energy expenditure in various ways. An increase in lean mass can lead to a higher energy expenditure similar to a larger engine burning more gasoline. Also, recovery from resistance training may also lead to an increase in resting energy expenditure (specifically after a high-volume eccentric concentration workout).  
  Q: When should I do my stretching?   A: It is recommended to do your "active" stretching before your workout and "passive" stretching after your workout. Active stretching refers to moving your joints through their full range of motion (this should be done after a short - 5 minute cardio-vascular session); it is most important to do the active stretching for the muscles you will be exercising on a given day. Passive stretching refers to holding a stretch at the furthest pain-free point for at least 15 seconds (to the "point-of-pain" streching can increase range-of-motion, but always consult your physician to verify that it is within your health parameters to perform stretching to or past the "point of pain").  
  Q: Is it possible to increase strength without increasing muscle size?   A: Yes. If you are just starting a fitness plan, you may experience a small increase in muscle size. However, if you are just starting a fitness plan, you will most likely see a significant strength increase in the first six weeks without a parallel muscle size increase. The easiest way to explain the change is developing a "strength coordination" effect for the exercises targeted. And, if you target your plan to have quick (but safe) concentric contractions (the portion of a resistance training movement where you are shortening the muscle), you can continue to see the strength coordination effects even if you use light weights. If you perform an arm curl, for example, at 25% of your maximum output (20# if your max is 80#), but perform the concentric contraction (in this case curling the bar upward) at your maximum speed, you are training your nervous system to fire at the highest frequency possible without heavy weight that can lead to muscle size increase (a slow lowering of the heavy weight would also be a component of gaining musce size).  
  Q: Why does the muscle in one area seem to grow rapidly, while it doesn't in other areas.   A: If you are using the same program (including the number of repetitions, sets and repetition cadence) for the muscle groups in question, you may have a different muscle fiber composition for those muscles. Skeletal muscle has three types: aerobic, anaerobic and intermediate. If you have a high concentration of anaerobic fibers in one muscle group more than another, you will be able to experience an increase in cross-sectional area for that group (in terms of a percentage), compared to a muscle group with a higher composition of aerobic fibers. Unfortunately, although the "ingredients" of intermediate fibers (anaerobic enzymes vs. mitochondria) can be altered due to training, research does not support a transition from anaerobic fibers to aerobic fibers and vice-versa.  
  Q: Why can't the body lose fat in a specific area of the body?   A: Everyone has a set number of fat cells in various areas of their body. When you lose body fat, the size of the cells decrease at an equal rate throughout your body. To use a 2-dimensional analogy, think of your fat cells being the diameter of a nickel (although they are of course much smaller). When you lose fat, the diameter may reduce to the size of a penny or dime (with respect to this analogy). However, if you had 200 nickel-sized fat cells in front of your abdominal wall, you would have 200 penny- or dime-sized cells if body fat was reduced, rather than having 150 nickel-sized cells.  
  Q: What is the Adonis Complex?   A: The Adonis Complex is a body image disorder newly recognized for males. Similar to bulimia and anorexia nervosa in the sense that one views themselves in an unrealistically insufficient way, individuals who show signs of the Adonis Complex may obsessively train and eat to try to meet an "Adonis-like" build. Extreme measures, including possible steroid use, could be a component of this disorder. A distinguishing factor between someone who is very passionate about fitness and someone displaying the Adonis Complex is the separation from reality and the inability to see oneself as fit, even if an elite level of muscular fitness and body composition is reached.  
  Q: How much weight can I gain in a week?   A: A healthy guideline for adding lean body mass is one pound in a week. It will be easier to add lean body mass weight if you are beginning a resistance training program, as opposed to an individual who has been resistance training for years, as a lot of the weight gain will be due to fluids (intracellular and plasma). One pound is a general guideline, as this is twice as much weight by percentage for someone weighing 100 pounds compared to someone weighing 200 pounds. As with any change in weight or wellness routine, consult your physician to verify that this change fits your individual health needs.  
  Q: How much weight can I lose in a week?   A: One and one-half pounds is the commonly recommended limit for healthy weight loss. Of course, if you are looking for long-term, healthy weight loss, you will want to lose this weight in fat pounds. If you currently have a healthy diet, this would equal 5250 calories of moderate cardio-vascular activity, or 750 calories/day. The good news is: if you are adapting to a more nutritionally dense, healthy diet, you will most likely be able to make up some of the calorie deficit by losing "empty" calories from your previous diet. For example: cutting out 4 regular sodas from a daily diet would leave you with approximately 250 calories/day to burn in the form of moderate cardio-vascular exercise.  
  Q: How do I minimize lower-back strain?   A: Unless the lower-back pain is an injury issue, you can make two specific adjustments. The first adjustment is stretching the lower back using the lower-back stretch on the flexibility page in Exercise Instruction. Also, you can perform exercises that strengthen the abdominals and the hamstrings. For many people, there is a "more than optimal" sway of the spine toward your abdominal wall; this is called Lumbar Lordosis. Strengthening your abdominals and hamstrings helps pull the hips up in the front and down in the back, leading to more optimal spinal alignment.  
  Q: How do I strengthen my bones?   A: Bones grow in response to the force about your joints. If you do any physical activity beyoned a sedentary lifestyle, it can assist to increase your bone density. If you make resistance training a part of your workout, this may significantly increase your bone density and strength. Of course, a balanced diet with suffucient vitamins and minerals (such as calcium) is required in order for your bones to respond to the increase of force with osteoblastic (production of bone cells) activity.  
  Q: Should I consume more protein since I'm working out?   A: Most likely, the answer is "no". If you're eating a balanced diet, such as following the nutritional meal plan that is part of your program, you should be getting sufficient protein (unless there is a condition that has been or should be diagnosed by your physician). If you are sore for more than two days after each workout for a period of more than two weeks, it is possible that additional activity (such as athletics) could be contributing to a lack of full recovery signaled by the longer-than-normal DOMS (delayed-onset-muscle-soreness). For some athletes who participate in a muscle building program in a later phase, and are breaking down tissue at a high volume, an additional 20-30% more protein than normal may be recommended. Also, if the additional activity outside of the plan is leading to the aforementioned prolonged DOMS, a similar increase in protein may be beneficial. However, of course, it is always advised to seek the advice of your physician before adding a high level of protein to your diet, and to ensure there isn't another factor contributing to the prolonged soreness.  
  Q: Should I eat before my workout?   A: If it has been more than four hours since your last meal or snack, you should definitely have a light snack or some (real) fruit juice about 20 minutes before your workout. A light snack could consist of a granola bar and water, a container (such as 16 ounces) of fruit juice, one or two pieces of fruit, etc. If you start your workout when you're hungry, and haven't eaten for a significant period of time, the quality of your workout will most likely be reduced and you can even risk nausea or loss of consciousness.  
  Q: What is a hydrogenated fat?   A: To hydrogenate a fat means to add hydrogen atoms to (in all likelihood) change the physical property of the fat from a liquid to a thicker form. The amount of hydration, as it is used for a commercial purpose, varies. Some margarines may be close to liquid form, for example, while others are closer to the consistency of butter. Since 2006, nutritional guidelines have required hydrogenated fats to be listed as "trans-fats" since their effect on LDLs and cholesterol is similar to that of saturated fats that come from animal products. Before 2006, many products had listings advertising "no saturated fat" or, "100% vegetable oil", when in fact the hydrogenated fats used in place of saturated fats were leading to similar atherogenic (artery-clogging) effects.  
  Q: I have heard that steroids can lead to connective tissue problems. Is this true?   A: The problem with steroids as it relates to connective tissue (in this case: ligaments, tendons and bone), is that the connective tissue can be stimulated to grow as a result of the force applied to it. When you follow a well-designed resistance training program, you allow time for a natural growth cycle of your connective tissue in conjunction with your muscle tissue growth. If your connective tissue isn't developing as it supports increased force through a natural range of motion, and at the same rate as your muscle tissue, there could be possible "weak points" in your connective tissue, leading to an array of potential injuries. There are multiple negatives about steroid use, this is simply a possible complication as it relates to connective tissue injury.  
  Q: I have heard a lot about low carbohydrate diets. Are these healthy?   A: The amount of carbohydrate reduction is the key variable. The practical elimination of carbohydrates can lead to significant complications over time, as carbohydrates are the basic fuel for your body and nervous system. The type of carbohydrates you consume and the portion sizes of your foods are better areas to target. The glycemic index of carbohydrate dense foods can be a better area to target. In our meal plans, there is an emphasis on both portion size and moderation of glycemic index.