Stair climbing is good

Innocent Choga Fitness
This week I would like to answer some of the questions that I have been asked by some friends, with my answers based on my own experiences.

I also had two interesting interviews; one with the chairman of Dynamos Football Club and the other with the chairman of the Body-building and Fitness Association.


Question: I have been climbing the stairs for weight loss but I am not getting good results?

Answer: Stair climbing is good exercise there is no doubt about that, but if you want to lose weight you should not make it a core exercise. This is because pain will usually affect you, causing you to stop and you will not be able to train for a long time. If you want to lose weight you should walk or run on flat ground.

That way you will be able to burn more calories as you will cover much distance and walk/run for a longer time thus burning more calories before leg fatigue creeps in.

Besides if you are heavy, running up the stairs as a core activity might end up giving you knee problems because of the impact caused by the weight, the hard surface and the long range of motion the knees go through.

Habitual stair climbing going up to the offices or residential flats is a good additional activity to your core exercises. Stair climbing is usually done to acquire leg muscular endurance by fit athletes.


Q: I have just been blessed with a new baby. This is my third child. I have always been exercising. After the birth of my first two children I did not have any problems getting my weight back to normal but this time around it is difficult. I am working out six times a week for one hour in each session?

A: As we grow older our metabolism systems become sluggish, because we are gradual losing our hormones. It is therefore, necessary to stimulate our metabolism into a higher gear. I would suggest that you increase your exercise frequency and reduce your training days.

Try to work out five days a week and rest for two days, but train twice a day. The workouts can be only for thirty minutes for each workout. Just split whatever you were doing into two. The increase in frequency (training twice a day) will stimulate your metabolism system.

To avoid burning out you should only do that for a certain period of time, say four or six weeks then you revert to the one session per day workouts cycle. You should work out a maximum of five days per week. You need to give your body a chance to recover. Training more is not necessarily better, it can be counterproductive.


Q: What distance does one need to run to in order to start losing fat?

A: One needs to run at least thirty two kilometres to tap into the fat reserves. It does not necessarily have to be a single run but it can be a cumulative of thirty two kilometres run within say a week or two. This happens on the condition that one’s eating is healthy and remains so during that period.

The idea of having guests on this column is to get an insight on how Zimbabweans from all walks of life are keeping fit. We can also get an insight into what retired athletes used to do their in their fitness programs in order to achieve athletic feats in the disciplines they excelled in. From their way of doing things we might learn a thing or two.

My guests on the column this week are two men with a lot in common. Kennny Mubaiwa the chairman of Dynamos Football Club, who is also vying for the Premier Soccer League’s chairmanship and Kenny Murungweni the chairman of the Zimbabwe Body-building Association. Besides being both tall, the two KMs are successful entrepreneurs. They have good friends for a while, and I have known both of them to be consistent in their workouts. They train separately though.

I spoke with these gentlemen separately but they both talked of vision as being a determining factor for success in whatever we do.

Kenny Mubaiwa said he benefits a lot from exercise in the sense that it keeps him healthy.

He said it helps him deal with stress associated with his daily activities. He said during exercise his mind is clear and he uses that opportunity to think of strategies that will help him get close to his vision as a football administrator.

Kenny Murungweni said his vision is to help expand the Zimbabwean fitness industry to international level and by sharing ideas with friends like Kenny Mubaiwa he expects to achieve his dreams within a short period of time.

Mubaiwa said exercising is a lifestyle, and it is like food to him; he cannot do without it. Training gives him muscular endurance to stay on his feet. Even though he is a busy man he just has to find time for exercise. He says whenever he travels he first finds a place to exercise. If the place where he is staying does not have a gym he has to find the nearest gym.

He says he has been training for twenty six years now. He starts his session at six thirty in the morning and for one hour he will do cardio workouts; aerobics, zumba or spinning with the last one of his favourite activities in the gym. Spinning is an intense aerobic activity cycling class done on stationery bikes with the instructor controlling the pace and tension. It works on the legs’ muscular endurance and tone.

After that at seven thirty he does a weights session for another hour. For weights sessions Mubaiwa uses the services of a personal trainer.

“I used to train in partnerships with friends but I found out that training partners are not reliable when it comes to consistency in attendance and we tend to talk too much during sessions. My personal trainer pushes me and he gives me direction when I lose focus. So I maximise on my workouts, he said.”

Mubaiwa has a fully equipped gym at home but he hardly trains there.

“I am a football man so I like to interact and network with others at the gym. Other members of my family use the gym at home.”

He trains legs on day one, chest and back day two, shoulders and calves on day three and triceps and biceps on day four. Day five, he starts the routine over again. He promotes the Dynamos team players fitness by subscribing them to a gym in town. He believes in total fitness.

Murungweni started training 30 years ago in Mufakose. He is motivated by the fact that training keeps him looking and feeling young. He says he feels the same way he felt twenty years ago. He was a model in the eighties and nineties. He used cosmetic fitness to his advantage and he was involved in a lot of commercial advertisements in the eighties and nineties.

His 30-year-old son Bunny also caught the fitness bug he works out and he is a gym instructor as well.

Murungweni works out four days a week. He does chest and back on day one, day two he works on his legs only, day three is for shoulders and calves and day four he works on his biceps and triceps. He also does cardio sessions twice in the week.

Analysing these gentlemen’s workouts shows that they both have a two day rest period to recover from workouts. I also note that they do opposite body parts routine routines.

That is they train opposing muscle groups in the same workout, thus gorging blood in the same direction.

Another thing to note is that they work quadriceps and hamstrings on their own and nothing else. This is because legs are a big body part. Leg exercises are very challenging in particular the free weight squats.

Most people shun leg workouts altogether because of this reason. But the balanced workouts I have mentioned above show these gentlemen’s professionalism.

The one hour of cardiovascular workouts before the weights session also serves as warm up before the heavy weights session. It warms up the body by circulating blood throughout the body in readiness for the weights workouts. This helps to avoid injuries. Now if these extremely busy individuals make time for such activities it just shows the importance of exercising and making excuses for not exercising does not hold water at all. Their passion has motivated me to go back to the gym.

  • Feedback;[email protected] Innocent Choga is a six time National Bodybuilding Champion with international experience. He is studying for a science degree in Physical Education and Sport.
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