Monthly Archives for March 2012

Archives for March 2012

Started Exercise and Gaining Weight.

Dear Davey,

Five weeks ago I decided I need to change my life, and I started to do cardio and strength training.

I’m working out at least 6 days a week. I’m obese but I’m making progress and can lift much more weight than before. Every day I like to challenge myself physically and I’ve finally made it up to 25 minutes on the elliptical. My diet is not perfect, but I’ve been eating a lot healthier than before I started working out. Instead of eating one big meal a day, I now eat many small meals.

Everyone I speak to says I shouldn’t judge my progress by the number on the scale – however, it’s very discouraging to know that I have gained 3 lbs since starting 5 weeks ago. Because I’m so overweight, the number on the scale is such a huge issue for me. It has become an obsession! I think I’m starting to see a very slight change in the way my shirts fit – but I feel like I’m only going to be convinced that my hard work is paying off by seeing the number on the scale drop.

Is it normal to gain weight when exercising and how long you think it will be before I see the number on the scale start to drop?

Thank you,

Dear Christine,

Congratulations on being so motivated to transform your body and your life! It’s always an inspiration to hear stories like yours.

First of all, I’d recommend re-evaluating your gym commitment of “at least” six days a week. It’s not realistic – and more importantly, not sustainable – for an exercise beginner to commit to six days at the gym. And secretly, I’m sure you understand that this is true as I can already hear the frustration in your words. It’s been five weeks and you’re not satisfied with the results. This is the point at which many people experience burnout and ask themselves, “Why bother?”

By simply your workout routine down to three days a week, it will be much easier to make exercise a lasting part of your lifestyle. And that’s really what it’s all about. Three days a week is sustainable and it will yield fantastic results, especially for a beginner in your situation. And, over time, you can gradually increase that commitment.

Now let’s talk about the weight gain.

Don’t panic. Gaining weight when starting to exercise is very common. The first step is to determine if you’re gaining fat or muscle.

Since muscle is more dense than fat, it’s possible that you’re losing fat but gaining muscle. You said that you’re able to lift more weight than before, and so undoubtedly you’re adding muscle to your frame. To determine if your weight gain is fat or muscle, have a body fat test completed at your gym. In another 4 or 6 weeks, take another test and compare the results. If that’s not an option, you can always measure different parts of your body and record it in a journal. Every few weeks, repeat this process. If you notice that you’re losing inches but still gaining weight (or even staying at the same weight), you can know that your weight gain is muscle – and that you’re still losing fat.

You also may be gaining weight if you’re eating too many calories. I would encourage you to keep track of the calories that you consume. Use this formula to calculate your caloric requirement, and make sure that your meals are within that amount. As a person that has gone from one meal a day to several smaller meals (which is definitely smarter!), it may be that you’re overestimating your servings.

Certain medications or conditions also make losing weight more difficult – so it’s also worth touching base with your doctor.

And, at the end of the day, don’t give the scale more power than it deserves. It’s just one tool in a toolbox of many – and it’s far from the best way to measure your results. Congratulations again on your commitment, and I look forward to your progress! Keep us updated!


P.S. If you have a question for Davey, ask it! And for more information about losing weight, download The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program.

Are Energy Drinks Bad for You?

Energy drinks like Red Bull and Monster have become increasingly popular – especially among adolescents. You’ll see the high-adrenaline advertisements everywhere – and, since energy drinks are still new to the market, much of the marketing is ahead of the science.

It all begs the question: Are energy drinks bad for you?

The FDA limits the caffeine in a can of soda to 65 mg. The FDA does not, on the other hand, regulate caffeine levels in energy drinks – many of which have as many as 280 mg of caffeine per serving. It’s worth noting that healthy adults are advised to stay below 300 – 500 mg of caffeine per day.

Though caffeine isn’t extremely dangerous in-and-of-itself, it can increase anxiety, nervousness, insomnia, muscle tremors and stomach problems.

Energy drinks also contain generous amounts of sugar – which none of us need.

While the occasional energy drink isn’t terrible, experts warn that these drinks should not be combined with alcohol. The stimulating effects of caffeine combined with the intoxicating effects of alcohol is like driving a car and putting one foot on the gas and one foot on the brake.

Many experts also advise refraining from energy drinks prior to intensive workouts due to the strain they place on the body.

As energy drinks are still quite new to the market, they are still largely untested and unregulated. Exercise caution when including these drinks in your diet – and please do so in moderation.

How Does Your Food Make You Feel?

While packing for Thailand yesterday (my flight leaves in just a few hours!), I found some time to get lunch with a friend.

We ate at a lovely restaurant in downtown Toronto known for their fresh, healthy ingredients. I had a delicious, homemade veggie burger topped with lettuce, tomatoes and sprouts. It was sandwiched in a rich, whole grain bun and served with a side of kale salad. The meal was nourishing and the food’s energy livened me right up. I felt fantastic!

On our walk home, we took a detour through Chinatown. Along the way, we stopped at a bubble tea shop. I ordered a milk shake bubble tea and watched – in horror – as the barista added scoop after scoop of colored sugar to my drink. Despite my better judgement, I drank the sugary concoction – and, truth be told, it tasted very good going down.

But then, after about 20 minutes, I really started to feel it. I could sense the sudden spike in my body’s blood sugar – and the subsequent crash a half hour later. Afterwards, I felt sluggish and sleepy – as though I had poisoned my body. It was a stark contrast from the nourishing and energizing meal that I had consumed earlier in the day.

When we eat food, we need to think about more than just the flavor. We must take into consideration the effect of the food on our body. After you eat each meal or snack, examine how your body feels. Bring attention and awareness to it. What messages is your body giving you? Is your body thanking your for the nourishing food choices – or is it signaling otherwise? Lethargy, discomfort, nausea, diarrhea and bloating can be messages that your body doesn’t like what you’re feeding it.

Enjoying your food doesn’t end once you’ve finished chewing. The real trick is to find foods that taste good and that make you feel great!

New Study: Look Forward to Old Age.

Lots to be happy about. More than 25 years ago, John Jolliff and Des Smith were the first gay couple to legally tie the knot in a civil union in New Zealand.

A new study, led by Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick, analyzed lifestyle and health patterns in more than 10,000 people in the UK and United States.

The study had many interesting findings. For one, it found that people become happier as the move into older age – despite their deteriorating bodies and any weight gain. Researchers hypothesize that happiness levels follow something of a “U” curve, bottoming out in the mid-40s. After that, for whatever reasons, people tend to get much happier.

It’s unclear why this increase in happiness happens. Maybe older people have better coping mechanisms for dealing with hardship? Maybe older folks they put less pressure on themselves to perform in professional settings? Or maybe, with age, we learn not to sweat the small stuff. Whatever the reason, old populations have much higher happiness levels than their middle-aged counterparts.

The study also looked at exercise – and there was an interesting divide between American men and women. For women, low levels of physical exercise didn’t seem to affect mental well-being. For men, on the other hand, a lack of exercise had a large negative impact on their mental quality of life. But before women discount exercise entirely, it’s worth noting that the physical benefits of exercise – for both sexes – are substantial.

In addition, the study looked at the variable of sleep. Participants that slept, on average, between six and eight hours tended to have better physical and mental health scores than participants who slept less than six or more than eight.

Lastly, researchers found that wealthier US participants reported better mental and physical quality of life. This wasn’t true for UK participants. Researchers speculate that this may be due to universal health care in the UK – which could have a leveling factor.

What’s the takeaway? Look forward to old age, exercise and sleep well.

Were you surprised by any of the findings? Let me know in the comments below.

Healthy Peanut Butter Snack Recipes!

I love peanut butter. And I bet you do, too.

Because peanut butter is high in fat and calorie dense, it gets a bad rap. But calories and fat, as I’ve mentioned before, don’t tell the full story. Peanut butter has a similar overall fat to saturated fat ratio as heart-healthy olive oil. It’s also high in protein, fiber – and very filling. It’s even been linked to weight loss.

To share some of my favorite peanut butter recipes, I put together this video on my Davey Wavey Fitness YouTube channel. Check it out.

What Can I Do to Lose Weight Faster?

Dear Davey,

I’m 44 years old and weigh 327 pounds. In the last 20 months I have lost 214 pounds. Yes, I used to weigh 541 pounds… and I’ve been overweight since I was 3 years old.

I came out in July of 2010 and started losing weight after I fell in love with a man that broke my heart. It threw me into a deep depression and I lost my appetite for several months. After not eating for 4 months, I had lost a considerable amount of weight and, when my appetite returned, I limited my meals to just one per day and that is how I have continued to lose weight.

Even though I go to the gym, my weight has slowed down in the last couple of months and now I am struggling to lose weight. Is there anything more I can do activity wise to speed up my weight loss?


Dear Al,

I’m really touched by your story.

Congratulations, first and foremost, on coming out of the closet. I think you’ll agree that life is too short to spend it hiding who you are.

Though your weight loss journey didn’t start under the best circumstances, perhaps your situation is an opportunity-in-disguise to create a new, healthier lifestyle for yourself. But because of the underlying issues and depression, I would encourage you to reach out to a trained professional.

I’m not surprised that your weight loss has plateaued.

Our bodies are very smart. When you starve your body, your metabolism comes to a crawl; your body tries to burn as little calories as humanly possible to stay alive. Your body goes into survival mode.

When you do eventually start eating again, you’re stuck with this slower metabolism. Because you are consuming calories and burning very few, it’s very hard to lose weight. And continuing to starve your body with only 1 meal a day isn’t helping.

There are two things you need to do: Eat and exercise.

Your body needs food – and you need to feed it. Instead of eating one meal a day (and wrecking havoc on your body’s metabolism), opt for three well-balanced and nutritionally-sound meals. This government website provides guidance for building a healthy plate of food with appropriate portions. In short, it’s about selecting lots of veggies, some fruits, whole grains, protein and dairy.

Beyond three meals, give your body healthy snacks in between. A handful of unsalted nuts or an apple or carrot sticks and hummus will help curb hunger throughout the day. And be sure to drink lots of water; it nourishes your body and boosts your metabolism. Speaking of boosting your metabolism, here are 9 effective ways to do just that!

When it comes to exercise, it’s great that you’re hitting the gym. Exercise will get your heart pumping and it will incinerate calories – even after your workout is complete. Make sure your combining both cardiovascular exercise and strength training as both are needed to maximize your results. And if you’re feeling unsure or uncomfortable at the gym, it’s always a wise idea to hire a personal trainer (even if it’s just for a few sessions).

Again, I’m very touched by your story – and I wish you the best of luck as you transform your body and your life.


If you have a fitness question for Davey Wavey, ask him!

Turkey Bacon Vs. Pork Bacon: Pros & Cons.

This picture actually makes my mouth water.

No shocker here: Pork bacon isn’t particularly healthy.

Elsewhere in the world, pork bacon is usually cut from the back or sides of the pig. In the United States, it’s often cut from the belly as it contains less meat, but more fat and flavor. The meat is then cured using large quantities of salt. Needless to say, it’s far from a healthy choice.

Because of bacon’s bad reputation, many people opt for turkey bacon as a more nutritional alternative. Sure, it’s not as tasty – but it’s healthier. Right?

Not always. Turns out, the nutrition information in turkey bacon varies greatly from brand to brand. Some brands of turkey bacon have just as much fat – and even more sodium – than traditional pork bacon.

If you’re selecting pork bacon, opt for thin slices from a lean cut of the pig. Look for lots of red in the bacon (that’s the meat) and less white (that’s the fat). Most importantly, read the nutrition information. Thin and lean slices of bacon can have as little as 60 calories per slice and only 1.5 grams of fat.

If turkey bacon is your preference, compare the nutrition information to the pork alternatives. Some brands of turkey bacon can have as little as 20 calories per slice and zero grams of fat – but read carefully. And pay special attention to the sodium!

The verdict: Turkey bacon can be a healthier alternative to pork bacon, but it really varies from brand to brand! To make a wise choice for your health and body, you must compare the nutrition information.

Have a Tough Day?

class=”alignright size-full wp-image-2528″ title=”iworkoutbecauseilovemybody” src=”” alt=”” width=”278″ height=”402″ />Did you have a tough day?

Maybe you looked in the mirror and noticed something sagging that hadn’t sagged before. Maybe your jeans fit a little tighter than usual. Maybe someone made a comment about your body that wasn’t well received. Or maybe you’ve gained a few pounds since the last time you stepped on a scale.

These are the moments that can derail our day and send us into a tailspin. And it’s moments like these that make it easy to forget how glorious your body really is.

The truth is, your body is an amazing machine – and it’s the vehicle through which you experience the joys of life. Without your body, you’d never know what it’s like to kiss a lover, hug a family member or feel the summer sunshine against your skin. You body is a symphony of trillions and trillions of cells working tirelessly to support your life and all the experiences therein. So let’s not forget that you’re nothing short of a walking miracle.

Sure, all of us have our moments. And all of us have things that we’d like to change about our bodies. But let’s keep it all in perspective of how amazing we really are. And in doing so, let’s workout not because we hate our bodies. Let’s workout because we love our bodies.

New Study: Weight Loss Pills Don’t Work.

According to a recent study published in the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, weight loss supplements make up a $2.4 billion industry in the United States – and yet not a single one of those supplements has been proven effective.

A lot of people are looking for a magic pill that results in fat loss and muscle gain. And when you read the labels of weight loss supplements, they all sound very promising. Many of them even cite so-called research and data to back up their claims. But when this data is scrutinized by third-party researchers like Melinda Manore, who led the aforementioned study, it all falls apart.

According to Manore:

For most people, unless you alter your diet and get daily exercise, no supplement is going to have a big impact… What people want is to lose weight and maintain or increase lean tissue mass. There is no evidence that any one supplement does this. And some have side effects ranging from the unpleasant, such as bloating and gas, to very serious issues such as strokes and heart problems.

In other words, there’s no weight loss shortcut and some of these supplements do much more harm than good. Losing weight requires a combination of proper nutrition, exercise and personal growth – none of which you’ll get from a diet pill. It takes time, energy and effort.

If you want to transform your body with lasting weight loss, I recommend The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program. And if you’ve ever tried a diet pill, please share your thoughts in the comments below. Did it work? Would you recommend it to others?

Why Men Need Cardio – and Women Need Strength Training.

Gender segregation is running rampant in gyms across the country and around the world.

In the cardio section of the gym (with all the treadmills, bikes and ellipticals), you’ll find mostly women. And in the strength training area (with various machines and free weights), you’ll see mostly men. But this isn’t a segregation enforced by gym policies or rules – but rather, it’s a segregation enforced by our own fitness misconceptions.


Let’s face it: Men don’t like doing cardio. Lifting weights is one thing, but running or sprinting on a treadmill is a different beast entirely. But in actuality, men do need cardio.

The big myth is that you can’t build muscle and include cardio in your workout. I hear this all the time:

I want to get big. That’s why I don’t do any cardio. I don’t want to lose my muscle gains or strength.

The myth that all cardio cannibalizes muscle is pervasive – and untrue. The truth is, even professional bodybuilders do cardio.

Why? Because cardio has a number of benefits that all men can use. Cardio:

  • Strengthens your heart and improves overall heart health.
  • Decreases gym recovery time.
  • Can increase the body’s metabolism.
  • Improves endurance.
  • Increases bone density.
  • Results in better sleep and more energy.
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, high cholesterol and more.

It’s true that long, drawn-out cardio sessions can lead to muscle loss. Because of this, it’s recommended that cardio sessions don’t exceed 45 minutes. My cardio, for example, is limited to 15 – 25 minutes per day. I alternate between running at a steady pace on one day and then doing intervals on the next.

It’s important that all people – regardless of gender – incorporate cardiovascular exercise into their workouts.


While most women get plenty of cardio, they often shy away from the weight room. Beyond the intimidation factor of working with free weights, most women avoid strength training because they don’t want to become bulky or overly muscular.

Whatever your gender, there’s no reason to fear becoming too muscular. In actuality, it takes a tremendous amount of time, know-how, strategy and effort to develop the massive physiques that you see on bodybuilding magazines. It doesn’t just happen – and it definitely doesn’t happen overnight. I often remind clients that once they build a desired amount of muscle, they can simply stop progressing to heavier weights and the muscle gains will stop. Yes, it’s that simple.

But it’s not just about looking a certain way. Strength training:

  • Prevents, stops and reverses the muscle loss that we experience as we age.
  • Improves performance of everyday tasks (i.e., carrying the groceries) with increased strength.
  • Reduces the risk of injury.
  • Improves posture and balance.
  • Lowers the risk of diabetes, heart disease, breast cancer and more.
  • Burns calories and boosts your metabolism.

Strength training is a good thing for men and women. And if you’re not incorporating it into your workout, then you’re cutting your results short.


Break the glass wall that divides your gym. There’s cardio and strength training equipment in your gym for a reason: Any effective workout uses both.

What the Fat-Burning Zone Really Means?

Hey Davey!

I have a cardio conundrum. I’m 32 at 174 pounds, and I have a goal of losing weight. Because I can no longer run, it’s been suggested that I walk briskly on the treadmill at a high incline. I tried this today on the fat-burn setting, but the machine kept re-setting the incline and pace to get my heart rate in the “fat-burning zone” for my age and weight class. I continued the workout for 30 minutes, but I barely broke a sweat and didn’t feel like I worked out at all. I desperately wanted to return to the high incline and brisk pace, but I figured the machine knew what it was doing.

Should I stick with what the machine dictates?


Hey Will,

Machines often target two different zones: Fat-burning and cardio.

The cardio zone programs are higher in intensity while the fat-burning zone programs are lower in intensity. When in the fat-burning zone, you burn fewer calories – but the idea is that a higher percent of those calories come from fat. Hence the name. When in the cardio zone, you burn a greater total number of calories.

Sounds like you should continue to work in the fat-burning zone? No. Consider the chart below which represents a 130 pound woman:

Even with a smaller percentage of calories coming from fat, you still burn more fat in the cardio zone.

But really, there’s a fundamental issue with relying on the treadmill to determine your “zone.” Fitness machines use a very simple formula to calculate your target heart rate involving only your age and weight. It doesn’t take into consideration your individuality – and the host of other relevant variables. The result is an overly generalized heart rate which usually isn’t accurate.

If you’re comfortable working out, I’d encourage you to think outside the treadmill’s zones and develop your own cardio routine that leaves you hot and sweaty. And, if you have issues running, it need not involve the treadmill.

Intervals are a great way to burn fat and they can be performed on many different types of cardio machines. I’d recommend trying intervals on a rowing machine. Row at a moderate pace for 90 seconds – and then switch to a sprint pace for 60 seconds. Do this for 15 minutes and you’ll be soaked in sweat. And, you’ll have boosted your metabolism.

You can also incorporate gut-busting intervals into strength training by moving between various exercises at differing speeds.

The bottom line: The zones on cardio machines are misleading and often inaccurate. Don’t give them more credit than they deserve – and certainly don’t base your weight loss program on their calculations.


P.S. If you have a fitness question for Davey Wavey, send it on over!

10 Tips to Eat More Vegetables.

Did you know that March is national nutrition month? It’s a good reminder to take a critical look at what’s on our plate – and the changes we can all make to support a healthier lifestyle.

At, the government recommends dividing your plate into the following combination of diary, protein, fruits, vegetables and grains. Notice, there’s not a spot for bonbons or ring dings.

Of the five food groups, vegetables tend to get the least amount of love. But they’re also super important – and so to get more vegetables in your diet, nutritionists recommend the following 10 tips:

  1. Discover fast ways to cook. Making a quick lunch or fast dinner? Cooking fresh or frozen vegetables in the microwave makes a quick addition to any meal. Instead of opting for potato chips or French fries, steam up some veggies!
  2. Be ahead of the game. Cut or slice up vegetables in advance – and in bulk. Store them in your fridge, and add them to your salads and dishes as needed. It’s convenient and it saves time.
  3. Choose vegetables rich in color. I love brightening my plate with colorful, delicious vegetables. They’re not only beautiful and vibrant, but also full of vitamins and minerals. Try tomatoes, green peppers, yellow peppers, collard greens and more!
  4. Check the freezer aisle. It’s true: Frozen veggies are just as nutritious as fresh vegetables. And they’re flash frozen at the peak of freshness to maximize flavor. Since they’re frozen, you don’t have to worry about the vegetables spoiling – and it cuts down on waste. I love frozen peas, broccoli and cauliflower to name a few.
  5. Stock up on veggies. Canned vegetables, in addition to fresh or frozen options, can be another smart choice. Just pay attention to the labels for the sodium content.
  6. Make your garden salad glow with color. Salads can be exciting! Toss in some black beans, red peppers, radishes, watercress, avocados and more! They all make delicious and nutritious additions.
  7. Sip on some vegetable soup. You can also get your vegetables in soup form. Tomato, squash or vegetable soups are all wise choices. Look for “reduced sodium” or “low sodium” varieties.
  8. While you’re out. Instead of the usual fried side dish, ask for a salad or an order of steamed vegetables.
  9. Savor the flavor of seasonal veggies. To save money, buy vegetables that are in season from the grocery store or farmer’s market. Freeze any extras and steam up as needed!
  10. Try something new. There are tons of great vegetables out there that may be new to you. Don’t be afraid to expand your horizons. You can Google great recipes online.

If you have any other tips for increasing the vegetables in your diet, share them in the comments below! And happy national nutrition month to you!

Lose Weight: Love the Unlovable You.

Today’s guest post is by my good friend and spiritual weight release coach, Diane Petrella. Diane is also one of the contributors to The Davey Wavey Weight Loss Program.

Do you ever wish that you could love your body completely? Even if it seems difficult, you can learn to do this. Loving what already feels good about your body inspires you. But loving what seems unlovable transforms you.

Love Releases Hate

When you want to lose weight but “hate” yourself and your “fat” body, it’s difficult to focus on having the body you really want. This is because the energy of hate emotionally binds you to your excess weight with a power stronger than steel. The more you hold disrespectful thoughts of your body, the more you stay stuck. Any progress you do make is potentially short-lived.

For example, in any hate-filled relationship, hate actually binds people together. Have you ever known some divorced couples so filled with venom that they continue to harbor resentment and anger for years? They can’t move on because their hatred keeps them emotionally tied to their former partner. But love allows release. Leaving a relationship with love liberates you to let go and create a more loving relationship with someone else.

And so it is with your body. Releasing weight from a body that you love and accept inspires you to focus on the thinner you just waiting to emerge.

Free Yourself

Learning to love your body isn’t just a “nice” idea. It’s vital to your health and happiness. Loving eyes see beyond the superficial. With all its excess weight and loose muscle and belly fat, loving your body completely inspires you to do what your body needs to be healthy and fit. As you embrace your body as the amazing gift it is, despite carrying excess weight, you’re naturally drawn towards nutritious foods and invigorating movement that is good for your body.

A Loving Affirmation

If you’ve never loved your body it may seem impossible to think your feelings will ever change. But feelings do change. Simply having the desire to love your body, and a willingness to change your beliefs, is a first step.

Love inspired thoughts create love directed action. Commit to sending your body daily loving thoughts with this powerful affirmation:

Even though my body carries excess weight, I totally and completely love and accept myself.

To deepen your experience of using this affirmation, connect with your heart energy. Get yourself in a comfortable position in a quiet place. Close your eyes. Place your hand over your heart and feel it beating. Keeping your hand on your heart, repeat the above phrase to yourself or out loud several times.

Saying this affirmation may initially seem strange and the words may not feel true. That’s OK. I invite you to do this anyway because over time it will help you soften your attitude towards your body. When practiced daily and with earnest intent, what seems unlovable becomes loved. And what now seems impossible becomes possible.

Have you learned to love your body? Let us know in the comments below.

Diet Soda Linked to Heart Disease.

We know that diet soda isn’t as healthy as marketers would like us to believe.

Sure, diet soda doesn’t have the 10 (yes, 10!) spoonfuls of sugar found in traditional soft drinks. But diet soda consumption has been linked to weight gain (it causes you to crave other sugary foods), tooth decay (due to the acid), insomnia, headaches and depression. Now, according to a new study published in The Journal of General Internal Medicine, researchers have found an association between diet soda and heart disease.

The study, which lasted a decade, followed more than 2,500 individuals in New York, NY. Both regular soda and diet soda consumption were linked to a number of risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Even after controlling for other variables – such as diabetes, age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, smoking, physical activity, alcohol consumption, BMI, daily calories, hypertension, consumption of protein, carbohydrates, total fat, saturated fat, and sodium – the data still showed an association between daily soda consumption and stroke, heart attack and death.

The researchers aren’t sure why the association exists – and caution that the association could be by chance or due to some other unmeasured variable. Still, you don’t have anything to lose (except possibly some extra weight) by replacing soft drinks with water.

5 Reasons: Don’t Hold the Treadmill While Walking or Running.

The treadmill can be a hugely effective piece of exercise equipment – when used properly. The problem is, many gym-goers make one very big mistake when using it: They hold on to the machine for support while walking or running.

Unfortunately, holding onto the machine has some negative consequences:

  1. Fewer calories burned. Holding onto the machine makes the exercise easier and less intense. That means fewer calories burned. The treadmill may display one number for total calories burned – but the treadmill doesn’t know that you’re holding on. It’s estimated that holding onto the treadmill results in 20% to 25% fewer calories burned.
  2. Doesn’t translate to the real world. If you’re walking or running while holding onto the treadmill, it gives you a false sense of progress. In the real world, you can’t walk or run around while holding onto a machine. You’ll have a false sense of accomplishment and athletic ability.
  3. Negates the incline. Adding an incline to your walk or run increases the intensity. But when holding onto the treadmill, walkers and runners lean back. This makes the body perpendicular to the machine; the net effect is that there’s no incline at all! Holding onto the machine cancels out the incline – and all the benefits!
  4. More likely to result in injury. People think that holding onto the treadmill makes the machine safer. In fact, the opposite is true. By holding on, and aligning your body in an unnatural way, you increase the risk for longer-term injuries and pain – especially in the shoulders, knees, lower back and hips.
  5. Worsens balance. Running or walking on a treadmill helps improve your body’s balance – but all of that is thrown out the window when you hold on. When you hold on, you teach your body to rely on an external machine for balance. That’s not a good thing.

If you need to hold on to maintain your current speed, crank things down a bit and let go. You’ll get a better workout – and experience increased benefits – from going slower and letting go, than holding on at higher speeds and inclines.

Twink Wanting to be a Stud.

Hey Davey,

I am 6’1 and 140 pounds. I can’t gain weight.

I’ve been working out forever and have even worked with a trainer for a month. While doing that, I got to 145 pounds in about 2 to 3 weeks, but I couldn’t really afford it. I feel like if I were bigger, I would have a better chance at asking out the bigger guys that I like so much. I would even be able to wear shorts for once.

Maybe I just need to appreciate what God gave me. What do you think?


Hey Alfred,

I’m going to give you a healthy dose of tough love.

First of all, you can gain weight. In fact, you did. While working with a trainer, you gained five pounds in just 2 – 3 weeks. At that rate, you could be 190 pounds in six months. You do have the ability to put on extra pounds – and, if you consume more calories than you burn, you certainly will.

Continue to follow the routine prescribed by your trainer. It likely included lots of strength training exercises to build muscles – and a few short sessions of heart-healthy cardio. Moreover, it probably meant eating – a lot.

If you’re a very thin guy, you might not end up looking like the hulk – but you certainly can put some meat on your bones.

As for asking out the bigger guys to which you’re attracted, exercise does build confidence. But reality check; if a guy is only going to give you a chance because of your muscles, then he’s probably not the man for you. If you want a stronger, more muscular build, then do it for you – not for some potential suitor.

I will also say this: What’s very attractive to everyone – including those bigger guys you like – is confidence. Even as you work to transform your body, I’d recommend owning what you’ve got. Put on those short shorts and flaunt what the good Lord gave you. Few things are sexier than a man who is comfortable in his own skin. You’ll drive men wild.