Ever wonder how a personal trainer would answer your questions about training and nutrition? Here are the 7 most frequently asked questions according to our friend and personal trainer, Graham Breitenstein.
1. How do I know what workout plan/routine is best for me?
The best routine will be one that you follow through on 100% and can commit to doing consistently. Workouts aren't always going to be fun, but it's important to find a mode of fitness that you enjoy and that makes you feel good. You also need to be honest about how often you can commit to working out, your level of fitness (beginner, intermediate, advanced) and what you want to achieve in a given timeframe. If you only have 30 days to achieve a goal, you will have to double down on your effort to see results. But if you're striving for a lifestyle change or a long term transformation, you can take a more balanced approach.
2. Do I need to be a member at a gym to have an effective workout?
No! Especially if you're just starting out. What is most important is that you have a goal and a plan for achieving it. There are plenty of programs for all levels that don't require a gym. A good plan should include:
- # of workout days per week for at-home workouts
- Length of each workout
- Goal of each workout
- Structure of each workout ( Circuit, HIIT, etc)
- List of exercises per workout
- # of exercise sets, reps and rest times
3. What is the best way to break through a plateau?
First, establish the problem.
- Are you going through a workout half-heartedly? Add time, intensity or weight to your workout.
- Have you been doing the same routine for a year straight? Vary your exercises, rep ranges, rest periods, tempo, # of sets.
- Are you eating too much or too little for your goals? Track your calories, protein, carbohydrate and fat intake using a calculator or food scale.
- Are you getting enough recovery time? If you've been at it non stop, it might be time to take a few days off from the gym to allow your body time to readjust.
- Are you supplementing? Whether you need more energy or better recovery, proper supplements can enhance the effort you are putting in already.
All of these factors can contribute to experiencing a plateau. Find the root of the problem, fix that problem and you will break through your plateau.
4. How do you balance everyday life while still maintaining your fitness goals?
Self-control and moderation. Everyone goes through ups and downs during their fitness journey. But having control and a positive mentality will get you through those moments. One meal or "off-day" is not the end of the world or your progress if you are committed to your goals.
5. What is the best way to lose fat?
The secret is that there is no secret! To lose fat you MUST be in a caloric deficit (i.e. you must burn more calories than you consume). The mistake most people make is prioritizing workouts over nutrition. They justify eating more or splurging on unhealthy food because they "worked it off." Nutrition comes first!
6. Should I do cardio before my strength/weight training or after?
This depends on your goals.
- If want to lose weight, perform strength training first. The anaerobic system burns up most glycogen stores and can help you get to the fat burning zone faster
- If want to improve strength, perform strength training first. Cardio beforehand can cause exhaustion and fatigue thus hindering performance during strength training.
- If want to improve endurance/performance (i.e. improving run time) do cardio first.
7. How often should I workout/lift weights?
Ultimately, this depends on your personal goals and training level. But a general guideline would be:
- Beginners: 2-3 days/week
- Moderate: 3-4 days/week
- Advanced: 4-6 days/week
I am an NASM certified personal trainer. I was born and raised in North Carolina but currently, I live and work in St. Augustine, FL. I am passionate about health and fitness and love to spread my knowledge to help others achieve their goals!