Frequently Asked Questions about exercise, fitness, weight loss and health
WHAT IS CIRCUIT TRAINING?
A circuit is designed so you can move through your workout quickly. Each exercise targets a different muscle or group of muscles. This way, as you are focused on working one muscle, the others are resting, eliminating the need to rest between sets and allowing you to work quickly through a full body exercise routine.
WHAT IS INTERVAL TRAINING?
Interval training is the process of alternating short bursts of intense activity with active recovery. For example run for two minutes then walk briskly for 1 minute, and do this for a total of twenty minutes. With this method you can effectively burn more calories in a shorter period of time than if you were just walking briskly. Also this is an avenue that a novice exerciser is able to reach higher intensities. It can be encouraging and motivating and is a great training method to assist you in reaching your next level of fitness by steadily conditioning your body to the greater intensity. This is a good way to train yourself to become a runner. A really great tool to use when setting up your interval training is to use a top quality heart rate monitor with timers and self programmed zones.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ANAEROBIC AND AEROBIC EXERCISE?
Aerobic means your body is using oxygen in its metabolic process during an activity. You know you are in an aerobic state when you can comfortably breathe while you are working. Oxygen is a very important part of the fat burning process.
Anaerobic is when your body is working in a state of low oxygen. This happens at the beginning of an exercise like when you head out on a run, but very quickly your body reverts to an aerobic state. If you are running too hard and cannot catch your breath, you go into an anaerobic state and your body will slow you down – one way or another. During short bursts of exercises like weightlifting is when you will also be in an anaerobic state. Your muscles burn from lactic acid when energy is converted on the cellular level without oxygen. The lactic acid is quickly removed from the muscles as soon as you get adequate oxygen into your body.
WHAT’S A WARM-UP AND COOL-DOWN?
A warm-up is an activity that gets your muscles “warmed up”. Usually to the point where you break into a light sweat. About 5 or 10 minutes of moderate movement.
A cool-down is a light activity you do to gradually slow the body down after your more intense workout.
SHOULD I TRAIN IF I AM SICK?
Please don’t. At least don’t go to the gym with a runny nose and a contagious cough. Understandably when you are sick you want to sweat it out and feel the air in your lungs. But please be mindful that you are contagious and do your activities at home. On the other hand if you feel too sick to work out – don’t push it, listen to your body and get rest and seek medical assistance if you feel you need to.
SHOULD I USED FREE-WEIGHTS OR MACHINES?
Free-weights require your body to recruit muscles to assist in the movements. So if you are doing a chest press with dumbbells you are also using shoulder and neck muscles, abdominals and back. More so with the free-weight than the machine.
With a machine you ‘target’ the particular muscle, allowing you a greater concentration on that muscle for development and allowing your recruiting muscles to rest more so they will be fresher to target later.
Each has its benefits, free-weights are great benefit for a more functional training for everyday activities and targeting your muscles help to ensure development and strength.
DOES FAT TURN INTO MUSCLE?
No! They are two different things. When you develop your muscles you are developing a fat burning machine. More muscle requires your body to burn more calories to function and therefore your fat will be used for energy. So fat doesn’t turn into muscle it is converted into muscle fuel.
I DON’T WANT TO LOOK LIKE A BODYBUILDER. SHOULD I STILL LIFT WEIGHTS?
Yes! Developing muscle to the size of a body builder takes dedication, hard work, proper nutrition geared toward the development of mass and it takes two to four hours of working out each day over a very long period of time.
Developing muscle mass also requires specific types of weight lifting techniques and regime. Various forms of ‘muscle confusion’ and lower reps, progressive resistance, as well as negative reps and on and on it goes to diligently coax your muscles into extreme growth. If you do find that your routine is developing muscle mass larger than you want for your physique, have a trainer analyze what you are doing and adjust your routines to reflect the type of body you desire to sculpt.
I FINALLY GOT THE WEIGHT OFF – NOW WHAT DO I DO TO KEEP IT OFF?
Keep up your fitness and nutrition regime. Meeting your goals weight does not mean you are finished. Health is a life long commitment. So start with a new goal now that you met your first one and go from here. Maybe you would like to be able to run, or start riding a bicycle. All the fit people in the world didn’t stop moving on the day they reached their goal.
WHAT ARE THE BEST WAYS TO LOSE WEIGHT?
The most effective means to reaching your proper weight is through the trifecta of health. Exercise, nutrition and visualization.
To get you started here are 7 Steps to Weight Loss.
DO I NEED TO STRETCH WHEN I EXERCISE?
Yes. Stretching before and after exercise is very important . There are several types of stretches and the muscles should be stretched when they are warm.
WHEN I START TO EXERCISE MY LOWER LEG HURTS, WHY?
Tibial stress syndrome or “shin splints” is caused by the tightening and relaxation of the muscles. In athletes this can be indicative of repetitive strain but in beginners or the novice exercisers it’s most likely from unfamiliar movement, or poorly designed shoes. There are stretches and treatment and as you move so shall your body happily adapt.
WHAT ARE SHIN SPLINTS?
Shin splints is a common term used to describe a pain in the front of the lower leg. The cause quite often is a muscle imbalance where the calf muscles are used and developed faster than the shin muscles.
It is a good idea to strengthen the shin muscles as wall as stretch the calves and shins as part of your fitness regime
IS THERE SUCH A THING AS SPOT REDUCTION?
Yes & No. It is probably better explained in this article on spot training.
HOW DO I START A FITNESS PROGRAM?
Every fitness program starts very simply with your decision. Just stop what you are dong right now and just make a decision to start. Then choose your program. It’s that easy.
CAN I BE TOO OLD TO START A NEW HEALTH PROGRAM?
No, it is never too late. Improving your health is always a good thing. Check with your physician so you are well aware of any current restriction or limitations.
I HAVE ALWAYS FAILED BEFORE, WHY WON’T I FAIL AGAIN?
You will not fail because there are no failures. Sometimes you will go backward and sometimes you will go sideways. But if you always try to keep your focus forward, this is where you can win. If in the event something arises that puts you off track, instead of thinking of it as a failure, just take the break and try again. Perhaps it is feedback from your body so you will need to make an adjustment. It may be a temporary setback.