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Ask the Anytime Guy

Posted September 12, 2012 in Advice Column, Norwalk

Q: My doctor told me that eating after 7 p.m. can lead to weight gain. Is this really true?

A: I was wondering when this question would come up. This is actually a very common myth that has been perpetuated by consumers and professionals alike for a very long time. Truth be told, there is no strong connection between eating at night and weight gain. Obviously, if your calorie intake exceeds your calorie expenditure, then you will certainly gain weight, but this is true no matter when those calories are consumed. So could the calories taken in at night contribute to weight gain? Sure. But it still comes down to a calories in vs. calories out issue. The idea of avoiding calories at night stems from the fact that most of us are pretty inactive in the evening hours, and if we’re not active, then filling up our gas tanks seems counter-productive. This is understandable, and I do think that too many people consume far too many calories during the evening hours. However, should you be overly concerned with weight gain if you had to miss a meal during the day or had to eat sporadically because of a busy schedule? That answer is no.

Q: My wife thinks she’ll get big and bulky if she starts lifting weights with me. How do I convince her otherwise?

A: This comes up all the time, and it’s one of the biggest myths out there. First of all, women simply don’t have the proper hormonal balance to put on large amounts of muscle tissue. Secondly, even if they did have the right physiology, it would take some serious training to do it. Getting bigger muscles requires high-volume workouts (lots of sets and reps) and a pretty high intensity as well. Picking up a few weights here and there isn’t a recipe for building mass — it’s what you do and how you do it that really makes the difference. Remind your wife that weight training programs can always be tailored to specific goals, so if she doesn’t want to put on large amounts of muscle, that’s just fine. Generally speaking, a full-body circuit with higher rep ranges a few days per week would work well if she’s just looking to tone up or maintain her current level of muscle tissue. If she wants to get an individualized program based on her goals, look for a qualified personal trainer in your area.

Joe Nguyen is the club owner at Anytime Fitness in Norwalk. To submit a question for future articles, please contact the author at

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