Monday, January 2, 2012

Your Top Fitness Questions Answered

Your Top Fitness Questions Answered
by: Lynn Bode

As a certified personal trainer part of my commitment to clients is consulting with them. This includes answering their many fitness and diet questions. Needless to say, I get asked a lot of questions. And, there are several questions that seem to be on almost everyone's minds.
The answers to these top 8 inquiries can help most anyone get a jump start on reaching their weight loss and fitness goals. So, here are some of the top fitness questions and their answers.
1. I want to tone and tighten my legs (or stomach, or arms, etc). What exercises can I do to lose fat there and get them toned? Answer: You can't spot reduce. It is necessary for you to reduce the fat in your trouble area before you will see big results from your strength training exercises. You must burn calories and fat through cardiovascular activities. This includes such things as walking, jogging, step aerobics, jumping rope, swimming etc. But, while cardio is critical you should also include strength training exercises to help build muscles and tone your trouble area simultaneously.
2. I really want to workout and get in-shape, but I just don't have the time. What should I do? Answer: You are not alone. One of the top reasons people give for not working out is lack of time. The first step is to realize that it's not that you don't have the time, but that you are not making it a priority in your schedule. What people don't realize is that it doesn't take a huge time commitment to reap the many rewards of regular exercise. Many people think that if they can't workout several hours a week, then they might as well not workout at all. But, exercising even just a couple of days a week is far better than not exercising at all. The key is finding a truly effective and efficient workout plan.
3. What is the best fitness program for losing weight? Answer: The key to a successful program is that it is comprehensive and includes the necessary pieces. There are three major components of a good weight loss program: cardio, strength training and stretching. It's equally important to include all three components. For example, you could do cardio 3 times per week, strength training twice per week and stretch before and after every workout.
4. I have hit a plateau and can't seem to get the scale to budge (or can't get any stronger). Can you help me? Answer: The key to breaking through a plateau is change. One of the best techniques for overcoming a plateau is Interval training. This is a type of training that includes bursts of high intensity periods followed by lower intensity recovery times. You'll also want to change your workout routine at least every 4-6 weeks.
5. What size weights should I train with and how many reps should I complete? Answer: There's no one size fits all weight size that is best. The size of weight you use depends on your goals, skills, past fitness experience, etc. A good rule of thumb is to start with about 70% maximum resistance with 8-12 reps and 1-3 sets. To determine your specific 70% maximum size, you must first determine the maximum amount of weight you can lift. However, it's typically not recommended that beginners attempt to lift their maximum amount of weight, for safety reasons. So, another simpler option is to choose a weight size that provides fatigue after the 8th - 12th rep is completed.
6. Is it bad for your body to workout some of the same muscle groups daily? Answer: Typically you should allow your muscle to rest about 48 hours before working it again. This is the safest approach and also the most efficient approach for improving strength. It will help you increase hypertrophy more effectively.
7. How often should I stretch and should I stretch before or after working out? Answer: Actually, it's best to stretch both times. If you have the time, your body will really benefit from stretching both before you start exercising and again after your workout. At the very least, be sure to stretch after you have completed your workout. As far as frequency, even if you don't workout every day it is very beneficial to include a stretching routine daily.
8. How can I workout at home because I don't belong to a gym? Answer: There are many, many options for strength training and cardio workouts that don't require a trip to the gym. If you have dumbbells, a resistance band, or an exercise stability ball, there are literally hundreds of exercises that you can do at home. With these exercises you can increase your muscular strength, muscular endurance plus of course get a more defined look in your physical appearance. For cardio workouts you can simply walk outside or at an indoor location, stair climb, jumping jacks, etc.

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