Friday, August 20, 2010

Kendra's Fitness Corner - Top Ten Personal Trainer FAQs

Hello there! I hope you have had an active summer and are working on your exercise program. If not, now is a great time to start!!!

Over the years I have received many questions on exercise and weight loss. Since I am sure there are some of you who have one or two of these same questions, here are my Top Ten most asked questions – and the answers!

10) Q: It’s 9pm by the time I get the kids in bed and have a chance to exercise….is it ok to exercise at this time? What is the best time to exercise?
A: The best time to exercise is when you will do it consistently! There is no magic time of the day that is best for exercise. Pick a time of day you can commit to exercising regularly. Working out before bedtime has the potential to make it harder for you to fall asleep (with your heart rate still elevated and your endorphins activated). However, for most people if you have a good half hour to unwind after your evening workout this shouldn’t be a concern.

9) Q: Is the Wii Fit a sufficient workout by itself?
A: If you are currently sedentary or only do low impact cardio (solely do walking for example) then you will definitely benefit from the Wii Fit. It’s a great tool, has a variety of exercises, and is a good motivator. However, in my opinion, if you are already a moderate exerciser (or have been doing the Wii for a couple months) and are looking to loose weight you will need to supplement with more intense strength training and cardio sessions.

8) Q: Can I lose weight / get in shape with cardio only or do I have to do strength training?
A: Pick up some dumbbells! Your fat loss will be faster with strength training included. Doing cardio alone (and watching your diet) will still help you loose weight, but increasing your muscle mass will increase your metabolism and help your body burn more calories all day long.

7) Q: Do I have to stretch? How do you stretch?
A: Yes! Stretching is very important. Not only does stretching provide a way to de-stress, improve circulation, and release tension, but it increases your range of motion, flexibility. Tight muscles can also lead to pain (i.e. desk jockey syndrome). It’s best to WARM-UP for 3 to 5 minutes (like walking / jogging / jump rope) before stretching. I recommend stretching at the END of your workout. So you would warm-up, workout, and then stretch out those muscles that were shortened during exercise (a muscle shortens during contraction). Make sure to hold your stretch for at least 15 seconds.

6) Q: How many days a week should I do strength training?
A: For a beginner, even just 1 day/week of strength training can be beneficial. You will see more results with 2-3 days of quality strength training per week. By “quality” I mean you are working at an intensity that overloads your muscle (and thus builds muscle). If you do 5 push-ups but could really do more…do them! Maximize your exercises. If you are going to spend time doing it then get the most out of your time. Remember not to work the same muscle group 2 days in row.

5) Q: How much time should I spend doing cardio?
A: Cardio ideally should be done 20-30 minutes 5 to 6 days a week. HOWEVER, some is better than none! Start small and work your way up. You may do cardio on consecutive days. If you don’t have 20 minutes in a row then break up your cardio into 2-10 minute sessions. However you will have the “warm-up” and “cool-down” phase of each session. So for best results, count only the meat (higher intensity) of each 10 min workout to go toward your total.

4) Q: Should I drink a sports drink during my workout?
A: Are you doing high intensity exercise for 45 minutes or longer? Then you might need 4 oz of a sports drink every 15 to 20 minutes after the 45 minute mark. For the rest of us…NO you don’t need it! Besides increasing your calorie intake with a bunch of simple sugars, these drinks also have preservatives, dyes and just aren’t something I would put in my body (or my kid’s body). If you sweat so much that you are loosing electrolytes during your long, intense exercise session then yes you need something (sports drink, fruit juice, even 2 or 3 jelly beans work great). For most regular exercisers, just stick with water!

3) Q: Is running better than walking?
A: No neither is better or worse. Running more efficient (burns more calories per minute), but it is also harder on the joints. Walking is the most natural form of exercise and is least likely to cause injury, especially for the novice exerciser. Do I make all my clients run who are able? Yes. Like I said, it’s more efficient. Depending on your body composition you will burn approximately 100 calories a mile. It takes less time to run a mile than walk a mile. If time is short…there’s your answer.

2) Q: Will I get huge muscles if I start weight training?
A: Lifting weights or doing body weight exercises are going to develop (build) your muscles. You want to build muscle. You want to be toned, strong, burn fat at a higher rate, and reduce your risk of osteoporosis, right? These are all good reasons to do weight training. Unless you are planning on taking steroids or the like, you will not look like the Hulk. It’s just not possible.

And my most frequently asked question of all time….

1) Q: If I do a TON of crunches every day will that make my stomach flat?
A: No. To reduce fat around your waistline you need to watch your calories in and burn calories with exercise. When you do crunches and other ab exercises you are building muscle in your abdominal area. “Flat” isn’t the right word anyway…I would use the word “firm”. You will see a little tone and definition (think the 6-pack look of Stacy Keibler from Dancing with the Stars!) from doing these exercises…but ONLY if you have reduced adipose (fat) tissue covering up your abdominal muscles. You could have the strongest, most toned abs in the world but no one will ever see them if have fat hiding them. So combine ab exercises, reduced calorie intake, and strength/cardio routines for best results!

Feel free to comment below or contact me at with any questions you might have for me. Whether the questions are about the summer challenge, burning the most calories in 30 minutes, fitness techniques or anything fitness related for you or your children (and husband too!), I am here to help you!

Get moving!


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