The Official Blog of Tara Marie Segundo, M.A.

"To be successful, you must have the three C's: Conviction, Creativity, and Courage." ~Tara Marie Segundo, M.A.
August 29, 2012

Are Cables and Free Weights More Effective Than Machines for Resistance Training?

Dear Tara Marie,

Should I use free weights and cables or machines at the gym?  I always end up using the machines because I don’t know what to do with free weights.  I get really intimidated and don’t even try!

Thank you,


Boston, MA

Dear Anne,

From a professional standpoint, I prefer free weights and cables.  Machines lock you into a movement pattern that is not necessarily right for your body.  When you use a machine, you just grab the handles and press or pull or whatever the movement may be, but it does not allow you to adjust the movement pattern to your specific needs.  For example, perhaps one of your shoulders needs a slightly different angle to function safely and effectively.  A machine does not allow for this variation in your movement pattern.

The other thing that makes me err away from machines is that they require less on the part of the participant.  When you use a machine, your body does not have to stabilize itself as you would if you were using cables and free weights.  This stabilization comes from using muscles in your torso, arms, legs, etc., that keep your body properly positioned while you are working other muscles as primary movers.  All these muscles working concomitantly require more effort and you get more bang for your buck, so to speak.  Machines require only that you sit on a gadget, grab the handles, and go!

August 25, 2012

Can Diet Alone Help Me Lose Weight?

Dear Tara Marie,

I hate exercise.  Can’t I just diet and get the same effect?

Thanks, Joanne

Dear Joanne,

Oh honey, absolutely not!  Dieting slows the metabolism, and this is the last thing that you want to do when you are trying to transform your body.  The only way to maintain lasting weight loss is to cut your caloric intake in addition to adding movement to your life.  You ask if dieting alone will give you the same effect…just what effect are you going for?  I am assuming that you want to be toned, healthy and vibrant.  Excessive dieting will not yield these results.  Rather, you will end up flabby, unhealthy, and have low energy.

Dieting alone will not only slow your metabolic rate, but you will lose the beautiful muscle that you currently have, resulting in an even lower metabolic rate.  You will also systematically degrade your shape, considering all the muscle you will be losing.

Conversely, exercise revs the metabolic rate, and high intensity exercise keeps the metabolic rate higher for a longer period of time than lower intensity exercise.  You see, there is a period following a bout of exercise during which the metabolic rate remains elevated, and the degree to which it remains elevated and the length of time that it remains elevated are both determined by exercise intensity.

August 25, 2012

Quick Tip: The 168 Hours Rule®

People always say they have an “active” lifestyle—but do they?  I use my 168 Hours Rule® to help gauge just how active they really are!

Here’s how it goes: there are 168 hours in one week.  Let’s say you average 8 hours of sleep per night.  If you’re “really active,” maybe you hit the gym four times per week for one hour.

Do the math: 168 hours minus 56 to sleep and another 4 to exercise leaves you with 108 hours to be either “really active” or sit at a desk, sit on the couch; sit in your car, etc.

You MUST move as much as possible during these remaining 108 hours in the week.  This is critical time during which you can either burn calories doing what I call, “incidental exercise,” or store calories by being sedentary.

So, STAND when you could sit; WALK when you could ride; take the STAIRS when you have the option of the escalator or elevator.  At the grocery store, don’t use a push cart—CARRY two baskets and fill ‘em up for a great workout.  Use a cordless phone and PACE around the room during conference calls at work; GET UP to talk to your office mate rather than emailing a colleague that is 20 feet away!  It’s math, not magic!

Use my168 Hours Rule® and GET MOVING!

Live with Simplicity,