As a fitness professional, I am asked dozens of fitness questions daily. Clients have many questions regarding their own fitness level, fitness program and regarding the validity of the mountain of information that exists out in the general media and social media. However, there are several questions that are frequently asked and ten of those will be addressed this week. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.
Question 1 — Can I spot reduce? This question refers to the body’s ability to reduce fat from a specific location on the body by performing exercises that target that specific location (i.e. performing lateral flexion to reduce love handles). The answer to this question is no, you cannot spot reduce.
Question 2 — Can I convert fat to muscle? No! Fat is fat and muscle is muscle. Muscle lies beneath the fat and in this case we are referring to subcutaneous fat, which lies beneath the surface of the skin. You may, however, train a specific muscle or muscle group strengthening the muscle that lies underneath the fat.
Question 3 — Why am I experiencing a fitness or body weight loss plateau? In general, fitness and body weight loss plateaus are created by the body adapting to your current exercise or nutrition regimen. So, it is time to shake it up.
Question 4 — How often should I measure my body weight? Weighing once a week on the same day, on the same scale, without clothing, before you have inputted water and food, preferably after voiding and prior to or following your workout, provides meaningful data that may be tracked.
Question 5 — What is body composition? Body composition is the lean to fat ratio composition of your body. Lean mass is bone, blood and muscle and fat is, well fat. A healthy body composition, which is determined by performing a body composition measurement, is based upon age and gender, and generally provides the best data to ensure desired weight loss and body weight/muscle increase/maintenance. Note: the gold standard is measuring body composition in a hydrostatic weighing tank.
Question 6 — How often should I workout? This depends upon your specific physical fitness limitations, goals and objectives. However, in general, working out more days of the week than not (i.e. four days plus), for the correct duration, intensity and type of exercise, is a good rule of thumb.
Question 7 — How long should it take to lose 10 pounds? While there are exceptions to this rule, a safe 10 pound weight loss usually takes approximately 10 weeks.
Question 8 — What is the best core exercise? The most effective approach to integrating effective core exercises into your program is to remember that your core is everything between your nose/toes, that you have an inner/outer core unit and have three planes of the body. Therefore, you need to perform isolation exercises, multi-muscled and multi-plane exercises and compound functional exercises.
Question 9 — Do I have to work out for the rest of my life? Yes!
Question 10 — What determines how many calories I burn? There are three general criteria that determine caloric expenditure: the intensity of the exercise bout, your gender (men tend to carry more muscle mass which expends more calories) and body weight (the more you weigh, the more you expend).