Ask Shannan

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Ask Shannan

I’ve always wanted to get into running but every time I try I get discouraged at how little I can do and give up – how can I get started?

Dear Runner, I wish I had a dollar for every time I’d heard that one! The good news is most people CAN run. Provided you have no pre-existing conditions that have been diagnosed (by a real GP/physio, not Dr Google) you will be able to run. Every year on Biggest Loser I’m faced with 20 contestants “who don’t/can’t run” and by the end of the series they all can. Running is like a toothache: it’s not really that intensely painful, but over time it just BREAKS YOU DOWN!

The best place to start is with intervals, either on the treadmill or oval/track. At your own pace jog for 30 seconds then walk for 30 seconds. Start with just 10 minutes. From there increase your speed and reduce your rest as it becomes comfortable and aim to increase the duration to 20 minutes. Next move to 2 intervals of 5 minutes straight out, with 60 seconds rest between. Gradually, at your own pace increase the duration of your intervals.

Congratulations you are now a runner! Once you’ve started you’ll never look back. Check out my Get Fit For the City2Surf article to really crank things up on page 46 to take it to the next level.


I’m not getting anywhere with my weight loss goals even though I think I’m doing everything right. I eat perfectly al week and then have cheat weekends but I’ve heard that’s ok, please help!

Diet is the most important factor for long-term weight loss. The only true formula to predict and facilitate weight loss is calories in versus calories out. The lower the energy consumed and the greater the energy expended the better your weight loss will be. However, it takes a couple of days for your body to deplete excess energy stores and start burning fat primarily.

So say you eat 1200 calories/day and train hard Monday-Wednesday by Thursday you will be in an optimum fat burning state and you’ll burn heaps of body fat Thursday and Friday. Then you have a couple of cheeky chardonnays, nuts, chips and dips on Friday night, followed by a full big breakfast with friends on Saturday morning, a healthy lunch, and then a gloves-off-no-rules dinner seen as a reward for your efforts during the week. And BANG, your body is in hyper-storage mode!

Excess calories will be topping up depleted stores and stop your fat burning, all your hard work from the week WILL BE LOST! For effective, long term weight loss you must be consistent with your calorie intake, I advise 1200 calories/day…but I’m not totally heartless. If you stick to 1200 calories/day every day, no excuses, you can have one cheat meal/week. It will do some damage but is important for longevity.  


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