The shopping fitness regimen

Fitness Q & A

Health & Fitness

December 21, 2003|By Gailor Large | Gailor Large,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

How many calories does an afternoon -- three to four hours -- of Christmas shopping burn?

Ruth Lahmayer, a fitness instructor and founder of www. stepchallenge.com, says 30 minutes of shopping translates to about 1 mile, 2,000 steps or 100 calories. At this rate, you'd burn 600-800 calories in three to four hours. Of course, after deducting time spent gawking at store windows and standing in line, you are burning only a portion of these 600-800 calories.

And remember, overall this is just an estimate. Body weight, genetics and a handful of other variables affect how many calories you'll burn. The advantage of all this walking? Says Lahmayer: "Then you can work in a few of your favorite holiday foods."

I've started working out with a trainer once a week. He has me doing high repetitions of heavy weights (two sets of 20, to exhaustion). He swears I won't get too muscular, but I still worry that I will. Is it possible to lift heavy weights and still look slender?

Yours is a common concern, especially among women. But rest easy. You won't wake up tomorrow morning looking like The Rock. Personal trainer and national fitness expert Tony Little tells us, "If you are in the 20 repetition range, it's not considered heavy weight."

In fact, says Little, to build significant muscle mass you need to be reaching exhaustion in eight to 10 repetitions. Also, without the testosterone, it's difficult for women to develop huge muscles. The strength training you are doing will only tighten and enhance your frame.

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