Wellness 12 Most Frequently Asked Fitness Questions

A personal trainer gets tons of fitness questions about exercises, diets, fat loss and so on.

12 Most Frequently Asked Fitness Questions

In case you ever wondered, here are my top 12 most frequently asked fitness questions:

1. How come the scale shows me as being heavier, yet my body fat is less?

Well, your muscles use glycogen to perform resistance training. So are you start to weight train, your muscles will use store more and more glycogen. This in turn can make you heavier. Also, keep in mind, while a piece of muscle and fat both might weigh 5IBS, fat takes up 3 times as much space as muscle! Would you care if you were 5 IBS heavier , yet dropped two dress sizes? Also keep in mind your hydration status can greatly effect your weight! A better gauge of your fitness level is body fat!

2. What is the deal with heart rate monitoring?

Well, your heart works when you work out. There are many theories to this concept, but the truth is this: low intensity cardio or exercise burns more calories from fat and higher intensity exercise burns more calories from carbs. Problem is, when you burn more calories from carbs, if you are low on glycogen storage, or are on a low carb diet, and your glycogen runs out, guess what, your body goes into what is called gluconeogensis. This means the formulation of sugar from a non carbohydrate source, your muscles!  We are all here to burn body fat, not carbs! The carbs we have eaten have turned to fat since we never used them. To burn body fat, keep your intensity at most 65% of your max heart rate! Any higher than, you are burning carbs!  Your fat burning zone is determined by your resting heart rate using the Karvonen Equation.

*According to Lucho Crisalle, RD Exercise and Nutrition Works, if you can talk while performing cardio you are burning fat. If you are working too hard and are unable to talk while doing cardio, you are burning sugar!

3. Working out with an empty stomach?

Avoid this! Can you get away with it? Sure, but it is not recommended. What your body will end up using muscle for fuel if your stomach is empty is stored glycogen, if there isn’t enough of that, it will use up protein, which means, essentially, your muscles! I’ve seen it too often where someone tries to workout on an empty stomach and shortly after being fatigued, they become dizzy or feel sick!

4. Can I workout every day?

You can, however your body needs rest. Remember, when you strength train, your muscles grow when you are at home, resting. It is recommended, if you are new to exercise to start twice a week at 20 minutes at a time, gradually increasing the time to 3 times a week at no more than 45 minutes. Generally, 4 times a week is sufficient to gain muscle strength.

5. How long does it take to see results?

You may be able to see results in the first 4-8 weeks. This depends in large part to your nutrition. You can work out as hard as you’d like. If you do not eat right, you will not get far.

6. Why is it, after I eat a fruit I get hungry again within an hour?

Well it goes back to what nutritionists call “gastric emptying time.” This is basically how long it takes for a food to leave your stomach. Carbohydrates take 1 hour to leave your stomach, leaving you hungry again in an hour. This is why it is recommended to eat a protein with a carbohydrate. To keep your blood sugar levels even at 80-120, avoid crashing and keeping you full for 3 hours, until your next meal. If you are going to eat fruit, eat it with a carbohydrate. Also keep in mind, you are better off eating a whole fruit as opposed to fruit juice. Sugar is sugar and there is nothing worse than fruit juice. You get all the sugar with no added benefit of the fiber!

7. Should I eat late at night or before bed?

Some people say yes, some other say no. This goes back to your individual caloric requirements! If you are very active, a light, protein filled snack would not be a bad idea. One thing I recommend to many clients that many had success with is a light, protein snack, like cottage cheese. The low fat cottage cheese has 19 grams of protein service and very little fat. While you are sleeping, your body is still performing metabolic activities and still needs to maintain its key objective: survival. So if you go to bed hungry, you are basically eating away at your own muscle! Yes, even as you sleep if you sleep hungry! We determine how much protein you need based on your exercise program and body type.

8. I’m on a very low carb diet, is that good?

Well, first of all, your body is designed to survive. Plain and simple. Your body will store anything that it does not have enough of. If you deprive your body of carbohydrates for a while, your body will store them because it doesn’t have any, you are not feeding it any! So you end up with more than you wanted!!

9. I only eat when I have time, and I’m not seeing good results, even though I eat clean?

Your body’s metabolism increases each time you eat! Your metabolic rate will increase with each meal. When you don’t eat, your metabolism slows down because it has nothing to do! You are not feeding your body. If you eat every 3-4 hours, not only are you keeping your blood sugar even, avoiding crashing, you are constantly spiking your metabolism!

10. I love carbs, how can I eat them and still loose fat?

Well, for starters, what kind of carbs? Most people love breads, pasta, pizza..etc.. The saying is, “if you can burn it, you can eat it.” Problem is, most of us eat more carbs than we can burn! Try this on for size, after 4 or 5, replace your breads and pasta with vegetables! They are high in fiber, low in calories are count as carbs! Try to avoid too much rice, pasta or any starchy carbs later in the day. Why? Because you are likely not going to burn them and they will get stored as, you guess it, fat! Also make use of exchanges! For instance, if you are going to have a cup of rice, don’t eat the roll!  Which would you rather have? You’ll have to choose one other another! Cutting out is not the answer, moderation is! If you have been disciplined all week with your diet, have that cheat meal, whether it be a piece of pizza, a piece of cheese cake, or whatever you want! Remember, your diet needs to be shocked too like your workout. You can’t do a workout the same and you can’t always eat the same exact way. Your body will get used to anything! Having a cheat meal once a week, on the weekend is a treat to yourself. You deserve it, if you have been good.

11. Will I get big like Arnold?!

This is a common question I face with many women clients that I have worked with. The answer is no. In professional bodybuilding, aesthetics are number 1 priority. It is impossible for women to make gains like Arnold. Women are not able to get that big unless they do something artificial. If you look at women who are “muscular” or are professional bodybuilders, 99% of the time they have taken, sometimes an illegal substance or some sort of hormone manipulating supplement to boost their efforts in gaining that muscularity! It is not natural. Women can get defined and really toned, but as far as gaining bulk, it is simply not possible. In short, it comes down to levels of testosterone in both males and females.

12. Can’t I just do cardio and lose fat?

This is dangerous because too much cardio can eat away at muscle tissue, not good! Cardio is great for your heart and overall well being. However, to maximize your calorie burning, you need muscle! Muscle is the furnace that burns body fat, continuously! So if you enjoy cardio, that’s fine, just don’t overdo it, and for that matter, don’t over do anything! If you are looking to burn fat while doing cardio, remember to keep the intensity level low, with going as high as 65% of your max. Find your max heart rate by using this formula, 220-your age=… this will give you your max, then take that number and multiply it by 65% to get your fat burning zone. This also has to do with your resting heart rate, contact us for more details

Phil Nicolaou is a Personal Trainer in the Philadelphia area. You can contact Phil through his Personal Training Webpage for more information on his services.

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