As personal trainers and group fitness instructors, we get asked a lot of questions about nutrition and exercise. Although the topics come in a wide range, there are a few that seem to be more commonly asked, and since the health and fitness world has so much information available, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed! Here are five commonly asked questions:
How often should I workout?
According to Canada’s Physical Activity Guide to Healthy Active Living, you should accumulate 60 minutes of physical activity a day to stay healthy or improve health, but it doesn’t have to be continuous. Endurance training (activities for your circulatory system, i.e. your heart and lungs) and flexibility training can be performed four to seven days per week. Strength training (exercises that strengthen bones and muscles) can be two to four days per week, but should be done on alternating days to allow your muscles time to recover.
I have been working out for a while now and have stopped seeing changes in my body composition. Why is this happening?
More than likely, you have hit a plateau. This means that your body has become used to the activities you have been doing and is no longer being challenged. Our bodies are designed to be efficient and are therefore able to adapt when we do the same workout or exercises over and over again. To avoid this, challenge yourself by switching up your routine. Try increasing the load and decreasing the repetitions, try doing the workout backwards, try adding one extra set or better yet switch up your program completely.
Are abdominal exercises effective if I want to lose extra fat around my stomach?
Research does not support spot reducing as an effective tool for decreasing body fat in a certain area. If you want to lose belly fat, your best option is to exercise the larger muscle groups with compound exercises, add cardiovascular intervals and low-intensity cardio workouts, and ensure that you are eating properly. Focusing on sit-ups will only improve the muscular endurance of your abdominals; it won’t get rid of the fat sitting on top of them.
Will I get big bulky muscles if I strength train?
It depends on if you are male or female. Males have a significant advantage over females when it comes to building muscle because they have much higher testosterone levels. Typically, men will develop larger muscles and women will get more toned and defined rather than bulk up.
I have no time to exercise, what can I do?
Although Health Canada recommends 60 minutes a day, you can see results in only 12 minutes a day; however, if you reduce the length of your workout, you must increase the intensity. Short, high-intensity workouts will create an oxygen deficit, thereby increasing your metabolism for the rest of the day, which means you’ll be burning more calories!
Not sure where to start? Check out our Facebook page by searching Fitness 4 Life Invermere for daily 12-minute workouts that you can do from home. Make sure to “Like Us” and receive workouts, tips, and recipes posted on your timeline. If you have any unanswered questions, please feel free to contact one of Fitness 4 Life’s Professional Fitness Consultants. Our contact information can be found at www.fitness4life.tv.