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Ask Bill Begg!

Skating's top coach answers your questions

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World renowned speed coach Bill Begg shares his vast knowledge of skating every week in his "Ask Bill Begg!" column on the Inline Planet.

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Dec. 23, 2009

Why Isn't My Waistline Shrinking?

QHi, Coach: I skated all summer in an attempt to lose some extra pounds. But my waistline keeps growing even though the fat around my midsection has decreased. I play ice hockey in the winter and inline skate in the summer. My skating style is that of a hockey player: knees bent, slightly bent at the waist, back straight. I maintain a minimum of 14 mph over a 6-mile course, take a water break and do two half-mile sprints. I have done this every day for the past three months. My endurance is good. My legs and back are strong. I am wondering why my waistline is not shrinking as expected. I'm 48 years old, 6 foot and weigh in at 235 lbs. Thanks for your time. - Geoff

Hi, Geoff: First off, start keeping track of the following variables:

  1. Your weight: best checked each morning after toilet stop.
  2. Your muscle size: use a measuring tape around major muscle groups.
  3. Your body fat: use a skinfold caliper to monitor body fat.
  4. Your diet: keep track of what's going in.

The No. 1 fat-storage area for men is around the stomach. So it will often register small changes in your weight.

It sounds like you are not skating in the low speed position. As a result, instead of developing your glutes and hamstring muscles, you are probably building the muscles around your stomach, including the abdominals. This can happen when you skate in a more upright position because you rotate your hip more as your arms move across your body from side to side. Building your stomach muscles often has an unintended consequence, causing your stomach flab to bulge, at least temporarily.

Another thing to watch out for is the tendency to eat and drink more as you train more. This is natural. You're body needs extra fuel when you are burning more calories. But don't go overboard. Especially watch out for sugary drinks, which can quickly push you into the pear-shape zone.

Finally, don't get discouraged. When you find the right balance of exercise and diet, the weight will come off.

Cheers, Bill

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