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Ask the Anytime Guy

Posted October 10, 2012 in Advice Column, Norwalk

Q: Is it beneficial to get my body fat percentage checked and, if so, what method provides the best result?

A: Whether or not you get your body fat checked depends on how meticulous you are when it comes to your own health and wellness. Some people are perfectly content to just work out and watch what happens. Others want to track and analyze everything and, as a result, like to have a starting point for body fat, amongst other things. If you’re in this latter group, then go ahead and get a test done. There are numerous ways to analyze your body fat percentage, from the very expensive to the ridiculously inexpensive, and the very accurate to the incredibly inaccurate. When it comes to cost, accuracy and practicality, you really can’t go wrong with a skinfold caliper test or bioimpedence analyzer. It takes less than give minutes, it might cost you $10 to $50 (we provide tests to Anytime Fitness members for free), and it’s reasonably accurate. You just need to find a personal trainer or health professional who has done hundreds or even thousands of tests. And remember, the initial number isn’t necessarily all that important anyway. You just need a starting point to set good, realistic goals.

Q: A friend of mine keeps telling me I should be doing 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 just multi-joint exercises that work several muscles at a time. Examples include pull-ups, push-ups, squats, lunges, deadlifts, kettlebell swings, dips  and even jumping rope. And this is only scratching the surface when it comes to compound exercises. There are numerous reasons to incorporate more compound movements into your training. Here are just a few of the benefits:
• Provides a full body workout in a shorter period of time
• Improves coordination, reaction time, and balance
• Provides cardiovascular benefits by keeping your heart rate elevated
• Burns more calories
• Allows for heavier lifts that will build strength faster

I highly recommend adding compound movements to your workout regimen, and have fun with them and get creative. Think of new ways to use stability balls, medicine balls, Bosu balls, bands, kettlebells, and, of course, your own body weight to work multiple muscle groups at a time

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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