Balanced breakfast -- with fiber, protein and carbs -- is the best way to start the day

Fitness Q & A

Health & Fitness

October 24, 2004|By Gailor Large | By Gailor Large,Special to the Sun

How many calories should I consume at breakfast? Should it be my biggest meal of the day, or my smallest?

The most important meal of the day should not be taken lightly. While you shouldn't gorge yourself on Belgian waffles, maple syrup, butter and bacon each morning, you should always begin your day with a solid breakfast.

Make sure to include fiber (such as fruit), protein (eggs or milk) and carbohydrates in each morning meal.

Many experts recommend taking in at least 25 percent of your daily calories at breakfast, but listen to your body and act accordingly.

Even a banana or yogurt is better than nothing. If you just aren't hungry in the mornings, cut out the late-night munchies or start the day with a brisk walk to rev up your appetite.

I've been warned that lifting free weights can be dangerous because you aren't using as controlled a movement as you do with machines. Should I stick to weight machines only?

Probably not. Forgo the free weights and you'll be passing up a handful of benefits. Not only are they easier for at-home workouts, they allow you to target muscle groups that might not ordinarily be worked in a circuit of weight machines.

That said, it's true that dumbbells are harder to control than machines, so you should be cautious.

To guard against injury, make sure you have stable footing before lifting a weight, don't lift weights that are too heavy and put unnecessary strain on the body, and use your legs, not back, when moving weights. Most importantly, never start a free weights program without the supervision of a trainer.

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 fitness@baltsun.com.

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