Q: Is it beneficial to get my body fat percentage tested and, if so, by what method?
A: It depends on how meticulous you are when it comes to your health and wellness. Some people are content to just work out and watch what happens. Others want to track and analyze everything. As a result, they like to have a starting point of body fat, among other things. If you are in this group, then go ahead and get your body fat test done. There are numerous ways to test body fat. Some are very expensive, and others are quite inexpensive, and some are more accurate than others. When it comes to cost, accuracy and practicality, you can’t go wrong with a skinfold caliper test or bioimpedence analyzer. It takes fewer than five minutes, is inexpensive, (we provide it free to Anytime Fitness members) and is reasonably accurate. Find a personal trainer or health professional who has done numerous tests. And remember — the initial test is just a starting point to set good, realistic goals.
Q: A friend keeps telling me to do more compound movements. What does this mean?
A: Your friend is right. Isolated movements are really more appropriate for targeting weak areas or for rehabilitating after an injury. Today’s fitness trends typically involve more functional movements that mimic real-life activities. That’s why compound exercises are becoming so popular. They’re essentially multi-joint exercises that work several muscles at a time. Examples include pull-ups, push-ups, squats, lunges, deadlifts, kettlebell swings, dips or even jumping rope. This only scratches the surface when it comes to compound exercises. There are numerous reasons to incorporate more compound movements into your training. Some of them are:
• Provides a full body workout in a shorter period of time.
• Improves coordination, reaction time, and balance.
• Provides cardiovascular benefits by keeping heart rate elevated.
• Burns more calories.
• Allows for heavier lifts that will build strength faster.
I highly recommend adding compound moves to your routine. Have fun with them. Think of new ways to use medicine balls, stability balls, bosu balls, kettlebells and your own body weight to work multiple muscle groups at a time.
Shannon Jungman is the club manager and trainer at Anytime Fitness in Johnston. To submit a question for future articles, please contact the author at Johnston@anytimefitness.com.