Bob Harper takes people from morbidly obese to fit and trim on NBC's "The Biggest Loser," and has helped countless others battle their weight as well. The trainer, author of "Are You Ready!: Take Charge, Lose Weight, Get in Shape, and Change Your Life Forever" and the host of numerous fitness DVDs, was the guest in a live Web chat this week about how to drop pounds, keep them off, and get into shape.
Here's part of the chat, which is archived in its entirety (portions of this transcript have been edited for clarity):
Q: Many people are frustrated because they can't seem to start an exercise program. Although it seems simple enough to start walking or join a gym, what advice would you give them?
A: When it comes to getting started I highly recommend that you start off small and build from there. If you start by changing your diet and then gradually incorporate fitness, it's the best way. Don't change everything all at once.
Q: After an intense strength training workout, what should your post workout meal consist of?
A: When it comes to that meal, it is very important to get it in right after you are done training. Make sure you get some protein, some carbs and a little fat. A lot of trainers I know that are on the go will have some egg whites, brown rice and a little olive oil. The main thing is to eat soon after so your body can start its building process.
Q: Does it really matter what time of day a person works out? Is it better to do it in the morning, or in the evening before a person goes to bed?
A: I always get people asking me when is the best time to workout. My answer is: whenever you can fit it in your schedule! Is it better to workout in the morning? Yes, but If your schedule doesn't permit, just fit it in when you can. I prefer morning workouts because I can get it off my to-do list. I understand busy schedules and I know that if you put it off until the end of the day, something could happen. I also like getting my metabolism in overdrive in the morning so I'm a fat burning machine during the day.
Q: What I can do to lose that last bit of weight, like 10 to15 pounds?
A: The last 10 to 15 pounds are the hardest to lose! You have to bump up your workout intensity. You also might not be eating enough and have to get more food in, which sounds counter productive but it's not. You have to mix things up. Those last pounds are considered "vanity pounds" and they want to stick around!
Q: I usually last a week or two tops on a diet. What can I do to keep motivated?
A: You have got to keep your head in the game. What I mean by that is, having a workout friend or reading fitness related books and magazines. Anything that keeps your mind on this new lifestyle is a great motivator, but ultimately it is you that has to really want it and want to change.
Join our next live Web chat on Monday at 11 a.m. Pacific time (1 p.m. Central, 2 p.m. Eastern), when we'll be talking with fitness expert and author Tracey Mallett about staying fit through pregnancy and beyond. Check out all the health-related chats from the L.A. Times and our sister Tribune papers.