Your Top 5 Fitness Questions Answered by a Personal Trainer
Welcome to 2018 – Coach Mia here! I’m counting down the top 5 questions I typically get about starting a new fitness journey. And giving advise on how to achieve your goals!
Question #5: “Which is better – weight training or cardio?”
The short answer is that they each have different but important roles. Factors like body type, age, goals and fitness experience will determine which ones should take precedence in an individual’s program. So don’t be too quick to write either off!
Question #4: “If I don’t like going to the gym, what’s the best class to do?”
The best class is the one you’ll keep going to! If you want to see changes, you’ve got to commit to something for enough time to see a result. If you try one class, and dread going, you won’t commit. Lots of gyms offer free trials so try one and see what you like. Or try a ClassPass membership to get a bunch of options monthly and see which you enjoyed the most!
Question #3 “How do I tone without gaining muscle? I don’t want to get “bulky.”
I hate to break it to you guys, but toning was a term made up by ad-agency honchos in the ‘80s to sell weights to women. In reality, tone = muscle. The reason you won’t get bulky is because natural female testosterone levels don’t support excessive rates of growth (i.e., bulk) without chemical assistance or surplus eating. If you maintain a small caloric deficit (aka: stick to a healthy diet), you’ll get the reduced fat, tighter look you’re going for by building muscle with weight training!
Question #2: “My routine used to work, but now I’m stuck at ___ weight/size (or going backwards). What gives?”
It’s very likely that you’re hitting a plateau because your body is no longer being challenged by your training program. Either you’re mentally bored and not putting in the same intensity and effort, or you’re too strong and fit for the level you started at (in which case, GO YOU! That’s progress!) Try upping the weights, or treadmill speed, or level of intensity by increasing your pace, or reducing your rest period. Or try something new! Throwing in a new challenge even once per week can revamp your routine and spark change.
And the most commonly asked question…#1: “What’s the one thing – that secret sauce – that’s most important in helping to change my body?”
The big secret? The 3 P’s: Patience, Persistence, and Positive Mindset. You’ve got to give yourself time to see results. Some changes (e.g., reducing junk calories, increasing water consumption, walking 10 mins per day) may show results quickly – days or weeks – but for lasting changes, you need to give yourself a couple months. That’s why most great programs are set up to be 60-90 days, 6-12 weeks, etc. – you need to keep up the work with a good intensity for enough time to see what you want to see. If something doesn’t work week 1, you can’t dump it and move onto something else. You’ll never see results that way. Choose something and stick with it!
Why NOT to make a fitness “resolution” (or if you already have, how to stick with your fitness resolution beyond January)
Although making “formal” resolutions tends to be trendy, I find that setting your mind to several big habit changes all at once can be overwhelming, and typically ends in quitting by Valentine’s Day. Instead, I recommend that my clients aim to stick to a new habit (or remove an old habit) for at least a week before adding something else.
Set smaller goals: For example, you want to change your body composition – namely, gain some muscle and lose some weight. Start by (1) determining what needs to be done, and then (2) figure out which is the most efficient order to implement those new habits (or remove negative habits). In this case:
- What needs to be done to gain muscle and lose weight?
- Exercise more (which might mean more than never!)
- Improve eating habits and reduce junk food
- Drink more water and fewer liquid calories (e.g., pop, alcohol, sweetened juices)
- Sleep more (and better)
- Quit smoking (where applicable)
- What is the priority?
Consider: Which will take the most effort and require the most support? Which will be most impactful on your body, spirit and those around you? This will be different for everyone, but could look like this:
- If applicable, quitting smoking will likely require the most effort, and the most help
- Drinking more water will help you achieve everything else, and is a pretty easy adjustment
- Sleeping more is so important as it makes other goals easier to accomplish and will be better for people around you, but may require more time or a better sleeping environment
- Exercising more requires you to consider how many days and hours you can commit to, your current fitness level, and what you’d like to do
- Improving eating habits may be helped by some other changes here, since you’re less likely to crave junk with better sleep and more water; however, you’ll also need to plan and prep ahead of time to avoid junk temptations
Once you’ve broken down each of the pieces of your big resolution, it becomes less overwhelming and instead gives you smaller, more achievable goals that you’re more likely to stick to. In the end, you’ll be more likely to achieve the big goal as well!
And don’t forget to check out my How to HIIT It At Home workout video, linked here!
Mia is a Strength & Conditioning Coach & weight-loss specialist with 4 Ontario records in powerlifting. Her passion lies in women’s empowerment and strength training – helping people become more confident and discover their best self from within, as well as creating comfortable spaces for dialogue and self-expression. Her mission (via Body Morph Fitness) is to shift how you see, feel, & think about your fitness, your nutrition, your health, your body and yourself!