1. What are some exercises best for strengthening abs?

Your abs extend beyond your midsection, and include interconnected muscles in your thighs, back, and buttocks. Other than the basic—if boring—crunch, once known as the situp, you can work your abs with any number of moves that target your core. These include seemingly endless variations on that crunch, along with a wide range of exercises performed with your core supporting and balancing the weight of the rest of your body.

  1. How often should you exercise?

urlExercise scientists have found that working out three days a week can offer a considerable improvement over a routine that you only perform twice a week. Schedule resistance training for two to five sessions per week to build strength, although fewer weekly workouts can maintain conditioning once you build strength. Some studies also suggest that how frequently you work out matters less than the number of minutes of exercise you get per week, which means that two or three longer workouts may equal more-frequent but shorter sessions.

  1. Does biking or running burn more calories?

To burn 614 calories, a 155-pound individual must run for 30 minutes at 10 miles per hour, or ride a bike at 20 miles per hour for the same amount of time. The running pace exceeds most people’s comfortably sustainable stride, however. If your foot speed or pedaling rate drops, your calorie burn level drops with it.

  1. How should I train for a marathon?

Only half of one percent of the American public has run a marathon. Considering the distance—26.2 miles—and the training required for the endeavor, that low figure may not surprise you. Most trainers recommend a 16-to-20-week readiness regimen to prepare. If you can run six miles comfortably and complete some 5K events, you also should be running four times a week for a quarter to half a year before you try a marathon. Your training plan actually will step you up to more miles per week than the total required for marathon completion. Start with 15-20 miles per week at a pace at which you can keep up a conversation and build up to 35-40 miles, additionally including runs at specified tempos, especially at marathon speed. For a month or two before the big event, use a few long stints as dry runs.

  1. How much water should I drink while I’m working out?

Lose the equivalent of two percent of your body weight to dehydration and you may lose 25 percent of your workout performance. Breathing and sweating both expend water. Too much fluid loss can leave you tired, dizzy, prone to cramps, and less than fully alert. Most people, even experienced athletes, dramatically underestimate the extent to which they get dehydrated. As a result, they drink too little fluid and never reach the point of rehydration. To keep yourself in good shape, consume 15-20 ounces of water about an hour or two before you exercise, another 8-10 ounces in the quarter hour before you start, and 8 more ounces per 15 minutes you work out. Exceed these recommendations in hot weather and if you sweat profusely.

  1. Should you be eating more carbs when fitness training?

nutritious-food-285x160Carbs give you quick energy because their nutrients break down into glucose. Carbs also provide critical nutrition and help boost your mood. Fuel your workout with fast-digesting carbs in the 45 minutes to an hour before you work out, unless you ate a meal within the last few hours and haven’t reached the point of hunger again yet. Adding more carbs—up to 100 grams per day—before a big event such as a marathon can aid your muscles in hanging on to valuable energy and fluids.