Coconut water holds sway at some gyms

Fitness Q & A

Q&a

December 02, 2005|By GAILOR LARGE | GAILOR LARGE,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

During a New York visit, I noticed coconut water was really popular at the gym where I was a guest. What does it do for the body, or is it just a gimmick?

You don't have to be stranded on a desert island to have access to coconut water these days. While this drink hasn't yet reached every corner of the country, coconut sipping is becoming increasingly hot among gymgoers. You'll often see it under the brand name Zico or CocoWater.

Manufacturers say it is an all-natural, potassium-rich alternative to traditional sports drinks. So what is it, exactly? It's juice directly from the nut, sometimes enhanced with flavors like mango or passion fruit. As for whether it is a good alternative to drinks like Gatorade and Power Ade, the jury is still out.

Truth be told, we still favor old-fashioned water.

Twice I've had the strange problem of temporarily losing my hearing when lifting heavy weights. What is causing this? Do I need to stop lifting? Should I see a doctor?

Your problem sounds scarier than it is, and you aren't the first to have complained of this condition.

Increased pressure in the inner ear, caused by not breathing properly while strength training, is probably the culprit. This is a relatively common problem and doesn't require medical attention, unless an episode lasts for an extended period or the condition is recurrent.

The solution? Exhale deeply as you lift, and inhale when releasing the weight. Never hold your breath while lifting. If this simple fix doesn't eliminate the problem, contact your doctor.

I'm starting my New Year's resolution early this year by investing in a gym membership. What's the best way to know I'm choosing a good one?

Ask around. Word of mouth is always the most unfiltered way to determine which health clubs are all hype and which will live up to expectations.

Less tangible factors such as crowds at peak hours, helpful (or snooty) staff, and locker room cleanliness are areas where current members can shed light.

As for which variables to consider when deciding between Gym A and Gym B, here are a handful of factors to weigh. It's up to you to decide which are most important:

Location.

Membership fee: initiation, monthly cost, seasonal specials.

Clientele: fitness level, personality type.

Group classes: type, instructors, hours.

Equipment: quality and quantity.

Do you have a fitness question? You can submit questions via e-mail to fitness@baltsun.com, or online at baltimoresun.com/healthscience, or in writing to The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278.

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