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Launching "Fit Nation Tour" at Centennial Olympic Park; Athletes Lance Armstrong and Jeff Galloway Answer Fitness Questions

Aired June 16, 2007 - 08:30   ET


NGUYEN: ...The baby Redwing blackbird making its way out of the nest for the first time. And that has the proud parents, well, acting a little overprotective, you think? Your next check of the headlines is coming up at the top of the hour.
But first, though, HOUSECALL with Dr. Sanjay Gupta starts right now.

SANJAY GUPTA, HOST: Hey, thanks a lot, guys.

We are out here at Centennial Olympic Park. This is site of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. As you know, hundreds of athletes received their medals right here. They were committed to fitness or committed to your health as well.

We talk about numbers a lot on this show. I want to share a couple with you. 2 out of every 3 adults in this country are overweight or obese. More than a third of children also in that category. That puts them at risk for a variety of potentially very deadly conditions, including some cancers as well.

And we talk about statistics a lot, we struggle as well with what to do with all those numbers. We're here launching the "Fit Nation Tour", trying to get people off the couch. That's our first step. As our tour begins, another tour is ending, the Tour de Georgia, a seven day cycling event that attracts top talent from all around the world. That's the reason one of my guests, Lance Armstrong is here as well, supporting our "Fit Nation Tour.". The seven-time Tour de France winner, he's a cancer survivor, he's an author, he's a marathoner, and he's a walking inspiration. Also with us is Jeff Galloway. He's an Olympian. He's an author of the best-selling "Galloway's Book on Running." Still running marathons as well. Welcome to you both.


GUPTA: Lance, you just ran the New York Marathon. Obviously, everyone knows you as a cyclist. How hard was that for you to do?

LANCE ARMSTRONG, FOUNDER, LANCE ARMSTRONG FOUNDATION: Very hard. A lot harder than I expected. You really can't compare -- I thought you could, but you can't compare three hours of running to three hours of riding a bike. Jeff and I were just talking about it. It was very painful. I'm still - I'm just now able to run again. I mean, it's been six or seven months.

GUPTA: Right. It was November. ARMSTRONG: Yes.

GUPTA: And you've said that you're going to do it again, though. Right afterwards, you said, you know, not so sure.

ARMSTRONG: Right, right, right. Afterwards, I said, I'll never do this again. But I think I'll try to go back, yes.

GUPTA: Do it again. Jeff, what do you think about that?

GALLOWAY: Well, there are so many ways to get better in any event. And in terms of the marathon, I gave Lance a few suggestions. Now I don't know whether he will take them or not.

GUPTA: Like what? What did you tell him?

GALLOWAY: Well, the walk breaks, for example. Even at a three- hour pace, I've had now over 100 people who have broken three hours, who couldn't break three hours without taking the walk break. So through the water stops, you walk and take the water in. And so you...

GUPTA: It's always tough, though, if you actually have to stop running, though. People complain about that?

GALLOWAY: Well, what I tell folks is, do you want to be strong in the first six miles or the last six miles? And this helps you be strong in the last six miles.

GUPTA: That's a good point. All right, we've got phone calls coming in, people watching the show all over the country. Scott, are you on the line with us?

SCOTT: Yes, I am.

GUPTA: Scott, go ahead. What's your question?

SCOTT: Yes. Basically just wondering what motivates Lance to stay fit and to stay in shape? And what's the best way to develop a routine that would work for you?

GUPTA: You're a professional athlete. This is what you do for a living. But what do you tell someone like Scott?

ARMSTRONG: Well, I did it really for -- I mean, I've done endurance sports for more than 20 years now. So it's really -- for me, it's a way of life. I didn't want to retire at 34 years old and then slip into this sort of this funk in the 40s. I wanted to stay fit.

It didn't mean riding five or six hours a day. It just meant working out an hour or two every day. And I think that, you know, people ask me all the time. What's the best thing to do? And I always say -- I don't know if it's the best advice, but for me, it's just about consistency. So every day, do something. It could be on the bike. It could be running. It could be in the gym. It could be swimming, kayaking, anything. So you know, I just -- for me, I'm personally happier if I work out every day.

GUPTA: You -- we did "Larry King" together recently. And you said to Larry, you said you'd be unbearable if you didn't get your exercise in. What does that mean? And what happens to you if you feel like you don't exercise?

ARMSTRONG: Well, I would certainly be -- I mean, just a little grumpy, a little edgy, or whatever. I mean, it's -- for me, it's a way of life. And so, if you've done something for 20 years and you took that out of somebody's life, then you'd be grumpy, too. So I had to keep it in there. Not on the extreme level that it was before, but on some level.

GUPTA: All right, let's do the e-mail question. Tamara in Tennessee writes this question. "I would like to start a jogging regimen. How do I begin?"

You know, Jeff, I think that this is one of the things that comes up a lot. People watch now, and I want to do right by my body, I want to exercise, eat right, and all that, but how do they actually physically start this?

GALLOWAY: Well, most people can walk comfortably. And that is where you start. Once you can walk comfortably for 30 minutes, then insert a ten-second jog, followed by a minute of walking. And if you gradually introduce your body to the running motion, everything adapts. We're designed to adapt. And the body becomes stronger and more effective.

GUPTA: Any age?

GALLOWAY: Any age. I just...

GUPTA: What's the oldest person you've trained?

GALLOWAY: Well, I just finished a book called, "Running Until You're 100." And in it is a guy named Don Mcnelly, who's 86 years old. Last year, he did 29 marathons at age 86. I asked him about his joints. He said, "I don't have any problems, and people accuse me of choosing my parents well," but that wasn't the case. Most sedentary parents had to have hip replacements in their 70s.

GUPTA: Right, right.

GALLOWAY: And you know, it's a use it or lose it situation.

GUPTA: All right, well, that's good advice. Steve in Michigan, I believe, is on the line. Go ahead, Steve.

STEVE: Hey, Lance, big fan. I have a question. I'm a father of two small children, pretty avid cyclist, but I have limited time in the number of hours I can put in a week. I was just wondering what you suggest is a good proportion of cross-training for my workout regimen?

ARMSTRONG: Yes, the trick with cycling is that it takes longer than running. So number one, it's harder to do when you're traveling, which is my situation, which has sort of led me back to running. And number two, I mean, the equivalent of a one-hour run is about a three- hour bike ride. So it takes up time. Obviously, the preparation time to get dressed to go cycling and you know, find the right roads. It takes longer.

So when you have a family, and you have a job, and you're trying to juggle these things, it's not the most time effective thing you can do. But if you had an hour, then I guess, I suppose you have to select the hardest course and then get out there and make the best use of that time, meaning go as hard as you can or use that time as effectively as possible.

GUPTA: So it's just a question of trying to be as efficient as possible with your time?

ARMSTRONG: Yes. I mean, the bicycle is efficient. That's why we invented it. I mean, we invented the bike so people didn't have to walk from place to place or run from place to place.

GUPTA: Right.

ARMSTRONG: That's the reason that it came along. So with that, I mean, if you ran -- when I run, I run at a 160 or 170 heart rate. If I'm out riding, I'm cruising along at 110 or 120.

GUPTA: Do you use a heart rate monitor for all your exercises?


GUPTA: And you follow that along.


GUPTA: You kind of keep it within a certain range. What about resistance training? Do you add that as well?

ARMSTRONG: I do a little bit of stuff in the gym. It's - I wouldn't say that I do it religiously, but enough.

GUPTA: And that helps your aerobics stuff as well.


GUPTA: Would you recommend that as well, Jeff, the resistance training?

GALLOWAY: Well, posture and muscle strengthening is very, very important both for sports and for longevity. And I actually just do two exercises, a series of crunches for the abdominals, and an exercise called arm running with handheld weights.


GALLOWAY: And it really does a great job on the shoulders, neck, and back. GUPTA: We found that adding the upper body training really seems to make a difference. We've got another e-mail, I think, coming in now.

Christine in Atlanta writing this. "I'd like to know if there is a proper way to breathe while running, especially when just starting a regimen." You know, it's funny people -- she asks that, because I think a lot of people just starting off, they get wildly out of breath just after a few steps. What do you tell them?

GALLOWAY: Well, there are two issues there. One is a lot of people are huffing and puffing because they went out too fast. They actually exerted themselves too much too soon.

So slowing down at first is the key and a good warm-up. But the correct way to breathe is to belly breathe, is to lower lung breathe or diaphragm breathe. And if you start that lower lung infusion of air from the very beginning, then you won't get side pains. You will maximize the absorption of the lungs. And you'll just feel better all the way through the run.

GUPTA: How much are you still running?

GALLOWAY: I run about 30 to 40 miles a week, just depending on the week and where I am.

GUPTA: That's great. That's fantastic.

ARMSTRONG: 133 marathons.

GUPTA: 133 marathons?


GUPTA: That is incredible.

GALLOWAY: Good memory, Lance.

GUPTA: That's good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Coming up later in the show, we'll talk about shin splints and the correct diet for athletes. You'll want to hear this.

And later, we'll check in with our fit buddies. Our goal and theirs is to get you off the couch.


GUPTA: Today begins our "Fit Nation Tour," where we hope to inspire and motivate people to get moving or move more than they already are. We are becoming too overweight in this country at an alarming rate. And with your help, we want to stop that now.

With me are some people who inspire me every single day. Lance Armstrong, seven time Tour de France winner, cancer survivor. He's a founder of Live Strong, the Lance Armstrong Foundation to fight cancer.

We are going to be talking about cancer as well in this show today. Alongside him is Jeff Galloway. He's coach to thousands. He's a best-selling author and a man who has run more than 100 marathons, 133 we just found out as well.

Lots of e-mails and calls coming in. Let's jump right back into things. Ben in California has this question for Lance. "How much, if any, did your diet differ in training for the New York Marathon versus training for the Tour de France?"

ARMSTRONG: Completely different.

GUPTA: Is that right?

ARMSTRONG: Well, when I retired, cycling was my job. So the Tour was my job. And the diet was essentially my job as well. So it was mostly about mass. I mean, there's a couple of things that don't lie. One of them, the main one being the scale.

GUPTA: Right.

ARMSTRONG: So you have to just pretty much determine how much you're doing in a week. And that really determines how much you can eat. It's input and output. And then at the end of the day - or actually in the morning, the scale is the one thing that has to stay consistent.

And for cycling, the body weight is probably one of the most important components. And a lot of people - a lot of riders forget that. They train hard, they train hard, and think about these other things. And if you're five pounds overweight, forget it. The race is over.

So when I retired, I got a little bit sick of that. I mean, I definitely let the diet slip. Ironically enough, I was less hungry. I'm less hungry today than I was when I was racing, thank goodness. But I definitely put on weight, put on upper body weight because I was going to the gym more, and swimming more...

GUPTA: Right.

ARMSTRONG: ...and doing more upper body exercise, which again, is not great for marathons. But you know, I got, I should say, a little burned out on living that strict monk lifestyle of a professional athlete.

GUPTA: I mean, now if you wanted to have tacos or a beer or something like that.

ARMSTRONG: Oh, yes, all the time.

GUPTA: Back then, not at all, though?

ARMSTRONG: Well, certainly not beer.

GUPTA: Not beer.

ARMSTRONG: No alcohol during the season. And that's the one thing - I mean, people ask all the time, how do I lose five pounds or ten pounds? I mean, the number one thing, if they had beer or wine regularly, I would say, if you cut that out, that's one of the quickest ways to lose weight.

GUPTA: That's good advice for sure. Another e-mail coming in from Sarah in Massachusetts, who writes this. "I recently started walking, but after a day or two my shins start killing me." This is from walking. "How can I start running while avoiding the pain of shin splints?" Jeff, I want to start with you. I'm going to Lance about this as well, but Jeff, what about that? The shin splints can be awful.

GALLOWAY: It's very common among people that start either running or walking. Usually with walking, their stride is too long. They're kicking their leg out in front. And it causes the anterior tibia, the front shin, to kick in.

And if you reign in your stride, have a short stride, and don't try to power walk, just ease into walking. When I -- I found this out when I researched my book called "Walking," that if you start slowly, gradually increase, same principles apply to running and cycling. But again, if the listener would just add five to ten seconds of running, followed by a minute of walking, you gradually introduce the body to running. Principles apply across the board.

GUPTA: Lance, your shins bothered you too as well.

ARMSTRONG: I got a cold sweat when she said shin splints. It was -- it ended up being a chronic problem. I couldn't get rid of them. And then I ended up, two weeks before the marathon, just couldn't run because I had what I thought were shin splints. I suppose at the time was already a stress fracture, which I then went on and did the marathon, and after that found out I had a stress fracture.

GUPTA: You know, it's actually good to hear that because people are going to say, if it can happen to Lance, it can happen to anybody. And you're still here and going to run it again.

ARMSTRONG: Start the train too. I left out one part. And that was the training part.

GUPTA: Yes, you got to do the training part. Exactly. Jeff Galloway, thanks so much for being with us.

GALLOWAY: Thank you.

GUPTA: You know, our viewers love you. And they learn a lot from you whenever you're with us. I appreciate that. Hopefully, you inspired some people today as well. Check out Jeff's Web site as well if you get a chance. It has all kinds of information about training, including a free newsletter. Before you click over, though, stay tuned for more HOUSECALL. Coming up, more of your questions for Lance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Plus, as summer heats up, we'll have some tips for you about keeping your skin healthy.

And we check in as we put our own employees to the test. Can three stressed out CNN'ers set an example for Fit Nation? We'll update you. Stay tuned.


GUPTA: Let's get to Judy Fortin now. She's here with this week's medical headlines. Judy?


A new study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine suggests regular exercise may boost a person's HDLC levels, or good cholesterol. The study looked at aerobic activity and found that the exercise duration, not the frequency or intensity, was associated with the positive increase.

Well, it's the unofficial start of summer. And that means more time spent outdoors exposing your skin to dangerous UVA and UVB rays. Here are some quick tips to stay safe. Dermatologists say to use an SPF 30 or higher and buy a sunscreen that covers UVA and UVB rays. Also, apply a thick coat, one ounce. That's about a shot glass full for the average adult. And don't forget to reapply every two to four hours.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than a million Americans will develop a form of skin cancer this year alone. Sanjay, back to you.

GUPTA: All right, Judy, thanks.

We are, of course, here with Lance Armstrong. We're talking about fitness this morning, but Lance, you and I have talked a lot about cancer specifically. And this is a big issue for you personally and professionally.

As you study this, is there something that you think people at home should know about how they can best try and fight cancer? Obviously, they want to live good lives. But in terms of who they hold accountable or what we do with our lives to make it less likely to get it, what have you found out?

ARMSTRONG: Well, I mean, the best way to fight cancer is to never get it, as you said. And that comes down to prevention. So I mean, if you look at your life and your lifestyle, it's all about the choices you make.

So when you're 17 or 18 years old, and you're thinking about -- or maybe even younger, 14 or 15, and a young person is thinking about picking up a cigarette for the first time. 100 cigarettes in, you're addicted forever. And it's the hardest drug to kick. So you know, we have to stop that culture in this country. It's a huge business, I understand. And I think that there should be some regulation there. I think that we should have - I mean, I was here in Atlanta last night. I walked into the restaurant. And I couldn't believe that the bar was open to smoking. I walked in, you were just parting the smoke.

I find that hard to believe that you can do that in this country still. So eliminating that. You know, encouraging people to make good choices. Prevent the disease.

And obviously, if you slip through that crack or those cracks, and you ultimately are diagnosed, then we want to catch it early. Early detection, we know is key. And then if you slip through those cracks, then we have to treat it aggressively and with the best medicine and the best research.

GUPTA: You know, we talk about this a lot. And you're probably one of the best known voices in all this. Would you ever consider running for office to try and combat this issue along with a lot of others?

ARMSTRONG: I think that I'm more effective...

GUPTA: I'm not asking you to announce today.

ARMSTRONG: Yes, you are. You always do. I think I'm more effective out of office right now. I'm happy with the position that the foundation is in, that Live Strong is in. I think that we have a bipartisan issue, something that both Republicans and Democrats should and ought to care about. And it comes down to a couple things.

I mean, the country has to care about it. It kills 600,000 Americans a year. And if that fell on this city right here, right now, you wouldn't believe the shock that we would go through.

But we've become complacent. I mean, we've gotten used to it. So we have to sit back and say, OK, here's the problem. What do we need to fix that? We need solid leadership, both from the administration and from the NTI. And we need solid funding. And both of those are questionable right now. So you know, in the years upcoming, we have to change that. It's an epidemic.

GUPTA: Well, I appreciate your leadership. And I have my yellow wristband on. You got yours as well. Live strong, Lance. Really appreciate it. Thanks so much for being with us on the show today as well. Advice from the experts firsthand. Also, don't forget to go to Lance's cancer foundation Web site as well.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Coming up, our newest volunteers in the fight to get fit. Folks with busy schedules and high stress jobs, we're helping them get in shape. And we'll see how they're doing now after a few weeks. That's next. Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) GUPTA: We're talking about getting fit this morning. Did you know that exercising for just an hour can add two hours to your life? Think about that for a second. Add an hour -- one hour of exercise now, two hours to your life later on. Wouldn't you want to do that for your family and your loved ones and everyone else?

On this year's Fit Nation Tour, we're asking you to add millions of hours to the collective lives of Americans. Just pledge the amount of time you'll exercise on our Web site, which is We're also going to be following three CNN employees, who are challenging themselves to lead healthier lives. We call them our fit buddies.


GUPTA: It's been seven weeks, and we're checking in with our CNN fit buddies. For nearly two months, we've been following CNN Dallas correspondent Ed Lavandera, CNN's domestic director of coverage, Stacia Deshishku, and medical producer Matt Sloan. These three CNN employees are taking the Fit Nation challenge, hitting the gym and cutting calories. And each one of them has made some progress.

STACIA DESHISHKU, CNN DIRECTOR OF COVERAGE: I've gone down a pant size. It doesn't get better than that.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I've dropped about 25 pounds.

MATT SLOANE, CNN MEDICAL PRODUCER: I've lost about 6 pounds.

GUPTA: Just to make sure, we followed our fit buddies to lunch with their trainer Robert Dothard. They all got pretty healthy options, well, except for Robert.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's how much cheese came with my food. That's got to be about six ounces of cheese.

GUPTA: But their biggest successes came from relying on each other.

DESHISHKU: The food diary has been the best thing we have done. It has really kept us honest. And you really all of a sudden start paying attention to everything that goes into your mouth. And you're surprised and shocked.

MATT SLOANE, CNN MEDICAL PRODUCER: The response I got from Robert is kind of hit or miss. You know, sometimes he's - you know, he congratulates us on a successful day. And a lot of times he, you know, follows up with a nice e-mail, but it's a little bit harshly worded. You know, try and do better tomorrow.

LAVANDERA: It takes a lot of mental energy to kind of get yourself psyched up to keep this going.

GUPTA: So some take-home tips for you. Write a food diary. That way you can be accountable for every bite you put in your mouth. Make sure you exercise. You don't have to work out with a trainer or even at a gym, but get up and get moving. Any 60 minutes of exercise may add two hours to your life later on. You have a month left, guys. Keep up the good work.


GUPTA: We hope our fit buddies challenge you to get fit as well, even during your busiest times. Can't fall off the map. Stay where you are. More HOUSECALL after the break.


GUPTA: Hope to see you out on tour in the coming weeks. Every Saturday and Sunday on HOUSECALL. You can see our set-up here. This is the Fit Nation Tour traveling all around the country trying to help you in your communities. I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Now back to Betty and T.J. with the latest news on CNN.


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