If I drink VitaWater, do I still need to take a daily vitamin?
Yes, you do, says Angela Ginn-Meadow, registered dietitian and nutritionist at St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson.
"A multivitamin provides 100 percent of B-complex and other essential vitamins and minerals, whereas a VitaWater only provides a small percentage of your RDA [recommended daily allowance]," says Ginn-Meadow.
Vitamin-infused water can't hurt, but you'll get more bang for your buck with a multivitamin. According to Ginn-Meadow, VitaWater provides only 25 percent to 50 percent of your recommended daily allowance of B-complex vitamins (the presence of vitamins and minerals such as zinc, folic acid and magnesium varies depending on the water's flavoring).
Lately I've been trying to mix up my workouts. I ride the stationary bike, then hop on the stair climber, then do some exercises on the stability ball. The thing is, I don't feel like I'm getting a good workout. I sweat a little, but don't really lose my breath or get sore afterward. Am I doing something wrong?
You don't need to be breathless or in pain to prove that you've had a good workout. In fact, if you can't catch your breath when exercising, or are painfully sore a day or two later, you are probably overdoing it.
That said, it sounds like you may need to intensify your routine. It's great that you are cross-training. If you let your body acclimate to one exercise, your muscles may become too efficient over time and your workout will be less challenging.
But be sure you are spending your gym time on the machines and not between them. A 45-minute workout that consists of 15 minutes on the bike, five minutes waiting for the stair climber, 10 minutes on the stair climber, 10 minutes getting water, then five minutes on the stability ball is actually a 30-minute routine.
You'd do better spending the full 45 minutes on the bike and pushing your other exercises to another day.
My weight varies by up to seven or eight pounds depending on the scale I'm using (mine, my doctor's or my gym's). How can I tell which is right?
If you're looking for the Greenwich Atomic Clock of scales, you're out of luck. Yes, it can be difficult to get matching readings on different scales.
But instead of searching for that magic number, concentrate on how you feel. And besides, numbers can be deceiving -- muscle weighs more than fat, for instance.
If you need to quantitatively track your progress, use a measuring tape to measure your waist, chest, upper arms and thighs. You can also test your heart rate daily. Both are good ways to help monitor changes in your body.
As for weight, to get the most accurate reading on your home scale, weigh yourself in the morning without clothes and make sure the scale is resting on a flat surface, not carpet.
Do you have a fitness question? You can submit questions via e-mail to fitness@baltsun. com, or online at baltimore sun.com / healthscience, or in writing to The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278.