FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
frequently asked questions
How many meals per day should I be eating?
While eating many meals may not rev up your metabolism or make you burn more fat, experts say it could help you in other ways. The longer you wait between meals, the hungrier you get, and then you’re more likely to overeat as well as slow your metabolism down. After about 3 hours without food, blood sugar begins to fall. And after 4 hours, your body has already digested whatever you sent down earlier. Once you’ve crossed the 5-hour mark, your blood sugar begins to plummet, and you grab whatever you can to refuel - those are bad habits to develop. That’s why breakfast is so important. After 7-8 hours of sleep without food, you need energy to get moving.
What does "eating clean" mean?
Eating clean means avoiding foods that are not conducive to burning fat and adding lean muscle, such as fried foods, butter and refined foods, including snack foods and fast foods. By "clean", fitness pros and bodybuilders often mean "natural/unprocessed" and "low-carb/good fats." Clean foods include fish, fowl, lean red meat, eggs, low-fat dairy products, sweet potatoes, brown rice, whole-wheat bread, oatmeal and fresh/frozen fruit. Clean foods are generally more nutrient-dense and digest easier. They have lots of vitamins, minerals and/or fiber and they're prepared with little or no added fat.
Can I eat fast food and still lose weight?
Fast food doesn't usually fit the bill as "clean" food, but you don't have to completely rule it out if you're careful. If you have a fast metabolism, you could eat there daily as long as it's just one of your six meals and you make decent choices. Choose restaurants that have a better reputation for using quality ingredients. Stick with burgers without the mayonnaise or choose chicken sandwiches that are neither breaded nor fried. Skip the fries and all the "extras". Hell, a double cheeseburger from McDonald's provide 25 grams of protein and 33 grams of carbs, 17 if you take off the top bun! Wendy's offers great fresh salads and Chic-fil-a has grilled nuggets. So, yes it's possible but BE CAREFUL!
What is good fat?
Olive oil, avocados and walnuts are examples of "good" fat. They contain monounsaturated fatty acids, which not only promote good heart health but also support the immune system – and a strong immune system helps muscle grow and a healthy metabolism. The good fat in salmon and sardines, known as omega-3 fatty acids, offers major health benefits such as heart and immune-system benefits, improves muscle growth and helps offset muscle breakdown associated with training. While saturated fat (found in whole-milk dairy products, beef and tropical oils) is sometimes deemed not so beneficial, it plays its own unique role. Saturated fats help the body manufacture testosterone, the muscle-building hormone, but it's still a good idea to keep your saturated fat consumption fairly low.
Can I have a cheat day and still see results?
Your ability to go off your diet and still see results depends on your body type and short-term goals. You can get away with a cheat day once a week if you have a fast metabolism, but if it's slower, cheating one whole day a week will set you back and you'll gain body fat (you could pack on up to 4-5 lbs). If you gain fat rather easily, limit yourself to one cheat meal per week. Or you can schedule a cheat day once every 2-3 weeks. If you have a cheat meal, be sure to have it replace one "clean" meal. That is, eat whatever you want, but not so much that you're so stuffed you can't get in your other five healthy meals for the day.
Are squats and lunges bad for knees?
No, squats and lunges aren't inherently bad for your knees or joints. In fact, they are highly beneficial to your entire body, and every joint, provided you are demonstrating excellent technique at all times. If you already have severely damages knees and joints than I advise you to seek professional assistance with implementing low impact exercises that will methodically develop the muscles around the weakened or damaged joint. In my experience, I have found that the reason people have knee aches and pains is not because they are squatting, but because they are not regularly developing and strengthening the muscles around their knees . A healthy body that is appropriately strengthened from top to bottom will be able to perform and demonstrate a proper squat, deadlift or lunge in any variation. When you fail to stay mobile and pliable you risk the development of arthritis and other degenerative conditions that affect the joints.
I just started exercising - why am I gaining weight?
When you start an exercise program, your body naturally goes through several changes in the first couple months so be patient with yourself. A new exercise regimen puts stress on your muscle fibers. This causes small micro tears, also known as micro trauma, and some inflammation. Those two conditions in your muscle fibers are the reason you may gain some weight. Your body responds to the micro tears and inflammation in two ways that cause temporary water weight gain. The first is a healing response. That stress and micro-tearing damage to the muscle fibers induces water retention in the body. There may be a small amount of inflammation around the micro tear, and your body retains fluid there to try to heal it. These are short lived changes in the muscle. You will also most likely experience delayed onset muscle soreness in the 24 to 36 hours after exercising. That is your body’s natural response to those micro muscle tears and the breakdown in muscle tissue. Also, the way your body provides energy to the muscles also can add weight at first. Glycogen or sugar that your muscle cells convert to glucose is the energy source for your muscles. When you exercise regularly, your body stores more glycogen to fuel that exercise. Stored in water, glycogen has to bind with water as part of the process to fuel the muscle. That water adds a small amount of weight, too. As your muscles become more accustomed to the exercise and more efficient, however, they begin to need less glycogen to maintain the same level of energy output. Thus, your water retention becomes less, so your weight will start to go down.
What are the main benefits of working with a Personal Trainer?
Just as with any realm of expertise (such as a Doctor, Dentist, Carpenter or Financial Adviser), working with a professional trainer gives you access to their knowledge base and years of experience dealing with the exact issues you're trying to overcome. A good trainer will be able to tell you exactly what your ideal program should look like; which exercises you need to do, how much you need to rest, and what you need to eat. Whilst you could discover this information yourself through comprehensive research, getting into something as vast as diet and exercise comes with too many inherent unknowns to make self study a time effective pursuit. Many people also find the accountability a personal trainer provides to be a huge factor. Just knowing that there is someone you’ll have to answer to if you don't show up is a great motivating factor.
How much weight should I use when strength training?
Think about your rate of perceived exertion (how hard is it to move the weight) — 1 being “I feel like I can do this forever” and 10 being “I seriously can’t do one more rep” — to help determine the right weight. Overall, you should be between a 7 and 9 when strength training (12-15 reps for muscular endurance and increased fat burning) with your last set (4-5 sets total) feeling substantially harder than your first. If a given exercise starts to feel easier than that, it’s time to increase weights until you’re back in that range. Tracking each workout and writing down the amount of weight you use is critical to getting stronger or gaining more muscular endurance. I prefer to target both strength as well as endurance.
What's the best exercise to lose weight: Cardio or Strength Training?
It’s simple math, minute per minute, cardio burns more calories, so it works best for reducing fat mass and body mass. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t lift weights, especially as you get older and start losing muscle mass. Resistance training is important for building and maintaining lean body mass, strength and function, and being functionally fit is important for daily living no matter what your size. For the biggest fitness gain/weight loss bang for your exercise buck, combine the two, doing your strength training first and finishing off with your cardio. An American Council on Exercise study on exercise sequencing found that your heart rate is higher—by about 12 beats per minute—during your cardio bout when you’ve lifted weights beforehand. That means more calories burned. It’s also important to remember one essential fact about exercise and weight loss, exercise by itself will not lead to big weight loss. What and how much you eat has a far greater impact on how much weight you lose! That’s because it’s far easier to take in less energy (calories) than it is to burn significant amounts and it’s very easy to cancel out the few hundred calories you’ve burned working out with just one snack. Where exercise appears to matter most is for preventing weight gain, or for keeping off pounds once you’ve lost weight. Exercise seems to work best for body weight control. The National Weight Control Registry, which since 1994 has tracked more than 10,000 people who shed an average of 66 pounds and kept it off for at least five years, would agree. Ninety percent of successful weight loss maintainers exercise for about an hour a day and their activity of choice is cardio and light weight training.