Here is Part 2 of the Fitness FAQs. I am answering these questions from my own knowledge and personal experience. Enjoy! If you missed Part 1, then you can check it out here: https://allaboutaud.home.blog/2019/03/18/fitness-faqs-part-1/
How do I know what workout plan to follow? The workout plan that you follow depends you your fitness goals. There are different workouts to follow for weight loss, weight gain, endurance, and strength building. Do some research for yourself to see what works for you. Start simple. Anything is better than nothing! I also want to talk about consistency. Consistency is key to achieving your goals. I like to make a routine. For instance, plan your meals and plan your exercises. Also, plan when to snack and when to hit the gym. The only thing that you do not have to be consistent about, is your exercises. Mix it up! Alternate what day you do leg day. Alternate the exercises you do each week. You will see more results if you do not continuously do the same thing in the gym.
Do I need to warm-up and cool-down before and after my workout? YES, YES, YES!!! There is so much controversy about when you should start stretching. Just remember this statement: NEVER stretch a cold muscle. If you can remember this statement, then you will be fine. I learned this in college, and is something that has stuck with me. Take 5 minutes before you leg workout to do the bike or elliptical for 3-5 minutes. Heck, you could even just do some jumping jacks before you start to stretch. I could write a whole post about the importance of stretching (in fact, I think I will!). Also check out my previous blog post about muscle activation with resistance bands here: https://allaboutaud.home.blog/?p=230. This is a great way to stretch out your muscles and prepare them for the exercise session. Your cool-down is just as important as your warm-up. Stretching after your workout can aid in preventing muscle soreness (not completely though). You will thank yourself for having a cool-down routine in your exercise session.
What do I do if my muscles are sore? Never work a sore muscle. If you hit leg day and your legs are in intense pain and you can barely walk, then take a rest day. If you can barely stand up, then how are you going to do a proper squat? You’re not. According to WebMD, “when you exercise, your body uses oxygen to break down glucose for energy. During intense exercise, there may not be enough oxygen available to complete the process, so a substance called lactate is made.” When you feel the muscle soreness, that is lactic acid buildup in your muscles. Therefore, sore muscles are not always a good sign. However, there a few things that you can do to heal those sore muscles. Instead of doing the same workout that caused your muscles to be sore, you can do a light workout of the same muscles. In doing so, you are circulating the lactic acid build up and speeding up the healing process. Hydration also plays a role in overcoming muscle soreness, as well as stretching or “rolling out.” Rolling out your muscles is beyond painful, but so worth it. You can even use a tennis ball or any round cylinder object that you can find. I bought myself a roller off of Amazon for like $12. I 10/10 recommend.
I hate running. What other ways can I do cardio? I HATE running and I hate the treadmill. The only time you will see my on a treadmill is for my walking warm-up or cool-down. HIIT or circuit training is a GREAT alternative to cardio machines. For instance, you can do a circuit of jumping jacks, burpees, step-ups, pulsing squats, jumping squats, or pulsing lunges. The list goes on! If you’re into cardio machines, then you can try interval training on the treadmill, stair stepper, elliptical, or bike. You can also do cardio on the row machine. Do not forget about hiking, swimming, and biking outdoors! The cardio possibilities are endless.
Are there modification exercises I can do? Of course! If you are starting out for the first time with a HIIT workout, then do not overwork yourself. These workouts are not a joke. For example, if you want to do high knees as an interval, then there are modifications to high knees. Instead of jumping with the exercise, you can march in place and lift your knees to you elbows. As long as you are moving, then you are going in the right direction! If you cannot do a shoulder tap plank, then remain in a plank until you can work up to the shoulder taps. If you cannot do a jumping squat, then do pulsing squats. You got this! Do not give up just because your body has not gotten to that level.
When will I start to see results? I am just going to tell you straight up, that you will not see results immediately. It varies from person to person, but it ultimately depends on your starting weight, diet, and fitness routine. It will usually take your muscles 3 to 4 weeks for your muscles to get used to working out. It will usually take your body 3-7 months to start seeing visible results. But do not get discouraged. Your body is working extra hard on the inside to achieve this goal with you. 🙂
Do I need to get a weigh scale to track my progress? My answer to this question will always be no. You will only get discouraged if you track your goals through a scale. A weigh scale may come in handy for tracking weight management, but not weight loss. If you are relying on a scale for weight loss purposes, then I encourage you to try a different method. Here is why: When you are tracking your progress through a scale, you are only looking at one factor. You might have a fancy scale that tracks body fat percentages, but those calculations are still inaccurate. I’m sorry, but it is true. Your scale cannot track what is happening on the inside. When you first start lifting weights, you are growing your muscles and losing fat. Muscle takes up less space than fat, so you will ultimately look slimmer. However, these results WILL NOT show up on that scale. If you are relying on the scale, then you are missing out on what your body has been working so hard on, on the inside. I encourage you to use measurements or before progression pictures. Take a picture from the same angle every other month to track your progress (take these pictures right when you wake up in the morning). This is a very common and encouraging approach to tracking weight loss! Do not get discouraged. Everyone has to start somewhere.
What is the Proper BMI (Body Mass Index) that my body should be at? BMI is very important, but it can also be inaccurate. Unless you have the tools to track it yourself or use measurements, then you are probably relying on a computer system or app. BMI is determined by using your height and weight. According to the online calculator, I am almost considered overweight. What that BMI number does not tell you, is that muscle weighs more than fat. Muscle is much more denser than fat, therefore you will weigh more on the scale (again, why you should NOT use the scale as a fitness tracker), yet you will look slimmer than before. BMI can be a great factor to make sure that you are maintaining a healthy lifestyle. However, I wouldn’t even focus on BMI from the start.
What is a healthy weight for my age? As I have mentioned above, do not use weight as your sole tracking process. I am not syaing that weight is not important, but make sure it is not your only indicator for tracking your health. A healthy weight is determined by your gender, age, and height. You will have to use a BMI tracker to track what weight category you should fall into. If you are interested in finding out your BMI, then I would recommend using the CDC’s (Center for Disease and Control and Prevention) calculator that can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/assessing/bmi/adult_bmi/english_bmi_calculator/bmi_calculator.html
Why is fitness important? Being physically active can greatly improve your health. I have always been interested in learning about physical activity, so I chose to write almost all of my graduate school papers on the importance of physical activity in adults and children. The health benefits of being physically active greatly outweigh the disadvantages. There are very few disadvantages when it comes to working out. Instead, there are excuses. If you do not have time to work out every day, then do it everyday. If you do not have time for an hour workout, then workout for 15 minutes. If you do not have a gym, then workout at home! I can think of plenty of excuses that I have heard. The only disadvantage of working out could be sore muscles. I promise that when your body gets used to working out, then you will rarely feel the pain of sore muscles. It. Is. Worth. It!!! By being physically active, you are benefitting yourself physically and mentally. Some benefits of being physically active include:
- You feel better, have more energy, better mood, and better sleep
- You are able to maintain your weight better
- Lowered risk of Type 2 Diabetes and some cancers
- Reduce your risk of a heart attack
- Lowered blood cholesterol levels
- You have stronger bones and muscles, which lowers your risk of Osteoporosis
- It can actually be fun. Exercising can be an incredible distraction from negative thoughts and daily worries. You can participate in group exercise programs and socialize while you do it.
- This list can go on and on!
Do I need to be taking supplements? You do not NEED to, but they can greatly benefit your fitness goals. I will make my next fitness post all about supplements! I will share my favorite supplements, protein powders, pre-workout powders, & more! Stay tuned.
I hope you enjoyed Part 2 of the Fitness FAQs. If you still have more questions, then comment or reach out to me and I will help answer them the best that I can. Happy Saturday!
Contact: Audrey H |email@example.com | Instagram: allaboutaud