Health Q&A: Building Endurance And Curbing Carbs

Q: Do you have any tips for building endurance? I’d like to be able to run and swim longer distances. Is there any specific endurance-based training I can do?
Michael P. via

A: Good news—there are a ton of endurance programs you can undertake! It’s all about progressing properly. You can’t just up and decide to run five miles one day and hope to run six miles the next. Your body will hate you! You have to progress gradually to allow your body the chance to adapt and allow for recovery, which in turn will lead to endurance gains. I’ve got a great 12-week guide that will get you running five miles a day, five days a week below. It’s a beginner’s guide that ramps up pretty quickly, so just adjust accordingly depending on your fitness level and how your body feels. Expect there to be some slight soreness though. The mileage increases every week, but every fourth week you get an active recovery. The miles per day are cut by half a mile—but an extra day is added into the mix. It should be noted that with this plan you should also keep up with your resistance training, too. The stronger you are, the more powerful you are, and the more muscular endurance you have, the easier every stride will be.

Q: I’m in need of a bit more assistance taking off the last of my holiday weight. I’m doing cardio and spending time in the gym, but it’s still a slow go. Are there any fat burner supplements that are worth the money and show actual results?
Craig via

A: There’s actually a lot more to your question than just the question itself; but let me start with fat-burn supplements. Personally, I’m not a fan. Frankly, I think you end up literally pissing your money away. Most fat-burn supplements just contain high doses of caffeine. The good news: High doses of caffeine will boost energy, increase focus and help decrease appetite (to a certain extent). The bad news: It can also make you extremely jittery and anxious. Another problem I have with weight loss supplements is that they’re not approved by the Food & Drug Administration; we don’t really know what goes into them (or how much) and supplement companies can get away with making claims that are exaggerated or outright false. With all that being said, I am a fan of caffeine! I’d just personally stick with coffee over fat burners. You’ll still get a boost in energy and focus, your appetite will still decrease, you can better monitor how sensitive you are to it, and coffee is natural while fat burners are made in a lab. Now, to get down to the fitness side of things: I’m glad you’re back in the gym! Just a few things to remember: Add resistance training to your routine if you aren’t already doing so! Cardio has a slew of health benefits and burns more calories per minute than resistance training; but resistance training builds lean muscle, which will help shape your body and increase your basal metabolic rate. Cardio and resistance training go hand in hand, they’re both extremely important to overall health and wellness. It’s all about efficient programming. Lastly, you can be working as hard as possible in the gym, but if your diet isn’t on point, you won’t be seeing results quickly, if at all. As a colleague of mine says, “What you eat in private shows in public.” Abs start in the kitchen, so in order to really see the weight come off, you need to pay special attention to what you’re eating and clean it up!

Q: I saw a headline online that said something to the effect that chia seeds are the new miracle health craze of the moment. But when I looked at the article itself, it didn’t give much of an explanation as to why! Are chia seeds this year’s quinoa and they’ll be here and gone by summer? Or should I invest now?
“FityPhil” via

A: Ch-ch-chia! Chia seeds are great—I hope they continue to grow in popularity and gain more traction. Chia seeds are a superfood and come packed with a number of health benefits. They contain fiber, omega fatty acids, protein, calcium and antioxidants—it’s hard to beat! Here’s the nutritional breakdown: Two tablespoons of these seeds contain roughly 10 grams of fiber, 4 grams of protein, 7 grams of (good) fat and 205 milligrams of calcium. It sounds like 7 grams of fat is a lot for 2 tablespoons of seeds, but that comes from omega-3 fatty acids. Chia has the most concentrated level of omega-3s in any plant form. You can get chia seeds online or from Whole Foods and other high-end markets. (My favorite brand of chia is aptly titled, the Chia Co.) Lastly, the easiest way you can add chia to your diet is to sprinkle it into foods that you already like. It doesn’t really alter the taste, but it can change the texture. You can add it to your protein shakes or oatmeal, mix it into your turkey/chicken/burger patty, sprinkle it onto a salad; you can even use it as a fat substitute or emulsifier in your cooking. Check out my favorite way to incorporate chia into my diet: by making it into a dessert!

Blueberry Chia Pudding
2-4 tablespoons of chia seeds
1 cup of almond or coconut milk
Handful of blueberries

Combine all ingredients, mix well, let refrigerate overnight

What do you think?