<b>Fitness & Diet Expert</b> Nick Sortal
Lucy: Well, Vivian, I hit twice as many balls as you did.

Vivian: Yes, Lucy. But that means you hit two and I hit one.

But in this case I give the AP reporter credit. She points out the numbers are still low, and provides practical advice, like don't race without getting a doctor's checkup.

And if you're like me, yes, when you first hit the water, your heart speeds up. (Sometimes I tell myself to swim as slow as I can, just to get the heart rate down.)

So I'd add one more tip: Go practice the swim in an ocean with a couple of friends beforehand, or better yet, make your first race a relay, so you do only one of the three disciplines.

Any thoughts?

March 26, 2009

Q: What workout routine can I use to strengthen my legs so I can get back on the basketball court, and at the same time build size to them? I also want strength to be able to play basketball and have some explosion and agility because I had a possible hyperextension some years back. -- Orlando Fernandez

A: Focus on on barbell squats and lunges, says Doug Jackson, who runs Personal Fitness Advantage studio in Plantation, Florida, and has an e-mail signup for fitness tips.

"The squats will develop the power and the lunges will help with functional strength and agility," he says.

To develop strength and muscle size, he suggests two workouts: Five sets of 5- 8 reps of squats, increasing weight on each set. Workout one is: Two sets of eight to 10 lunges at a challening weight; three sets of eight to 10 leg curls on a weight machine A few days later: Three sets of 12 to 15 squats, increasing weight on each set; two sets of 12-15 lunges at a challenging weight; three sets of Stability ball leg curls, as many reps as possible

Focuses on these basic movements and getting stronger.

"I'd also discourage him from adding in too many other exercises for the legs," Jackson says. "More is not always better.

"Also, since he seems to have had some knee issues, it's important that he listens to his body, starts slowly, and doesn't ignore and work through any sharp pains."

March 17, 2009

Q: I've been going to the gym for eight months now, and this past four weeks I have been going every day. My question is, is it bad to do abs every day? I've been doing buns too, will the muscle grow if I do it every day?

A: They need rest and recovery just like all of our other muscles, says Tori C. Plyler, a personal trainer with Life Time Athletic in Boca Raton, Florida.

"Abdominals are muscles too!" she says.

The more detailed answer, from Plyler:

A common misperception about sore muscles is that the tissue itself is actually sore. The pain you feel in your muscles when you are sore is actually localized edema, or swelling, around the nerve endings corresponding with the muscle.