Ask Ade Rai: Advice on using home fitness equipment, spinal injuries
Ade Rai is Indonesia’s most famous bodybuilder and a passionate advocate of good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. As a big man with a lot to say, he enjoys going against stereotypes.
Every second week, he will be offering professional advice through his column.
Hi Ade Rai,
I have been thinking about buying the kind of home fitness equipment advertised on TV. Some of these products — the electrical muscle contraption and the heat belt for waist — can tone muscles and help us lose fat quite convincingly. I figured if I just buy two or three of them and use them together, I will have the body I want in no time! It may sound silly, but I think I am one of the few people honest enough to talk about it. I’ve been quite chubby all my life, and would like an instant fix because I am afraid I will have health problems down the line . Thank you.
Masni W – Jakarta
Thank you for being so candid about your intentions. I can understand your desperation. But I have to disagree strongly with your plan to purchase these goods. I hope you take the time to read my answer.
Those products have been designed as a quick fix for consumers wanting a certain outcome (losing fat /reducing waistline) in a certain way (only on certain body parts and fast). They are not entirely based on what we know and understand about the human body. Even if these products work, they are only passive measures we can use to supplement a proper weight loss program consisting of smart dieting and regular exercise.
Your current lifestyle is the main reason you are chubby. To change this, you MUST address the cause. By taking active measures, you essentially change your lifestyle, hence create a set of new causes for fat-loss and a healthier body.
You are right in stating that if you do not address this problem, there will be bad consequences on your health.
The electrical muscular contraction you mentioned was developed for patients with motoric and neural problems. Studies on healthy people have shown it to be safe but not as effective as real exercise.
Although it may show miniscule strength improvement, this will wear off after a while. A temporary increase in strength that may soon stagnate may have little to do with improvements in physical composition most buyers seek anyway. That is why I strongly recommend you not to rely on this product alone.
The same thing goes for the belt that causes topical sweating around the waist. It may cause temporary water loss in the body, but as soon as we drink to replenish the body, our waistline will increase again.
I really hope you redirect your focus on addressing the problem with active measures. While it may be tempting to take the easier road, remember that the easier it is, the less we can rely on it.
Good day Ade,
I am in my 50s. I used to be very fit, but I injured my spine a few years ago. I want to get in shape but doctors keep telling me I shouldn’t train with weights.
Am I doomed? Or is there a way for me to train with weights and get back in shape? I am still able to walk and get on with my daily activities without pain, and only feel a slight discomfort when I am in certain positions or do certain movements. Thank you for your answers.
Ucok - Bandung
Good day to you too Pak Ucok,
Thank you for your question. A spine injury is something we must all take seriously. Doctors believe it is virtually impossible to heal an injured spine, and that the damage is permanent. It may be true.
However, I believe, and this is my personal opinion, you can take a middle path. Although some part of your spine is permanently (and lightly) injured, you still have connective tissues surrounding and attached to the spine that needs to be strengthened and stabilized in order to prevent further injuries.
In order to take this middle path, you must assess your physical limitations thoroughly with an experienced and certified personal trainer. It is also strongly recommended you get your physician and personal trainer to work together and come up with joint recommendations, continuous monitoring and evaluation.
Thank you for all your questions. Please keep your questions coming at firstname.lastname@example.org. I personally address all emails.
Note: This article is for fitness information purpose only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent diseases. Please consult your physician before beginning any exercise or nutritional program. Views and suggestions provided are strictly individual and may not be suitable for individuals with similar conditions or profiles. Ade Rai and The Jakarta Post have exercised good faith in presenting the safest measures known at the time of writing. The writer and/or the Post do not assume responsibility for any injury or loss from applying the information presented in the column