Some sandwiches may have less fat than fast-food salads

Fitness Q & A

Health & Fitness

November 23, 2003|By Gailor Large | Gailor Large,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Are fast food salads healthy, or is it true that they aren't all that much healthier than burgers and fries?

That depends. Not all salads-to-go are created equal. For instance, Burger King's Santa Fe Grilled Chicken Baguette has a whopping 100 fewer calories and 165 fewer calories from fat (350/45) than its Chicken Caesar Salad with dressing and croutons (450/210).

When it comes to salads, the biggest calorie boosters are thick dressings and extras such as bacon bits and croutons. If you're counting calories, check nutritional information (they are required to provide it).

Make a choice like Wendy's Fat Free French dressing (80 calories per packet and no calories from fat) over its Thousand Island (which has 270 calories and 260 calories from fat). You'll have a handful of calories left over for dessert.

What is BMR?

Basal metabolic rate, or BMR, is the amount of energy your body burns at rest per day. Surprisingly, roughly 60 percent to 70 percent of the calories we use go toward activities like pumping blood, breathing and regulating body temperature. While some BMR determining factors are fixed (like age, gender and heredity), you can improve your BMR by eating right and exercising.

What is the difference between "delts" and "traps?" And how do I work these muscles outside of the gym?

The deltoid and trapezius muscles are the major muscles that allow you to lift and rotate your arms and shoulders. The deltoids wrap around the tops of your shoulders, while the trapezius muscles run across your upper back (stretching between the shoulder blades, spine and collarbone).

The traps also reach in a triangle shape up into the back of the neck and down to the center of the back. Swimming and rowing are natural ways to strengthen your delts, while backpacking and shoulder shrugs work your traps.

I've recently moved to Baltimore and would like to join a gym, but I'm not familiar with the city. Can you recommend one?

Without knowing more about your workout habits, it's impossible to pinpoint a gym that would be a good fit. To find the best club for you, consider these factors, the visit local gyms until you find one that complements you:

* Location: The gym you choose should be within 10 minutes of home or work (ideally, find one in between).

* Cost: Make sure the membership fee is within your budget.

* Atmosphere: Find a club tht fits your style. If you love exercising in bright light, cross all basement-level health clubs off your list.

* The Crowd: Visit to make sure you feel comfortable with the people, members and staff.

* Equipment: If you are a runner, be sure your club of choice has plenty of treadmills. If you do heavy lifting, choose one that caters to serious body-builders.

* Classes: Research what group classes are offered and their cost (some clubs in the city offer them free with membership).

Do you have a fitness question? Write to Fitness, The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278. You can also fax questions to 410-783-2519 or e-mail

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