These come from a collection of fitness and weight loss-related questions that have been submitted to me through email. Submit your questions to us through email or leave them as a comment and you may find them in the next article!
Q: I recently joined a gym as part of my New Year’s resolution. How long until I can see results?
A: There is a three part process when it comes to the overall improvement that a fitness program brings. The first thing that takes place is that during and outside of workouts, you will start to feel better or fit. This means making it through your workout more easily (leading to you increasing the resistance of various exercises) and not getting out of breath as easily. You will start to notice this after the first week of a continuous program.
As you progress through your routine from week to week, others will start to notice a change in your appearance. It can be your face becoming slimmer or your friend noticing that your arms and neck look leaner. This can take place between 3-6 weeks after the start of a regular exercise program with healthy eating. Lastly, you will start to notice a difference in your physical appearance. This is the one that takes the longest. In weight loss programs, after 5-7 weeks, you’ll notice your clothes fitting loosely. For general fitness training, you may start to see some new lines that signify muscle development. One day, you will look in the mirror and it will hit you that you look and feel amazing. For most, this will take 6-12 weeks.
Q: What is the best stomach workout for weight loss?
A: An abdominal workout does not necessarily equate to weight loss. You can do 1,000 sit-ups a day and never lose a pound. The best routine for weight loss in general, however, is to combine resistance training with a healthy diet and cardio training. Abdominal work should be included, as well as the lower back and oblique areas since the core area is responsible for maintaining a healthy spine and helps keep you free of injuries. To strengthen the abs, equipment is not needed; you can do ground exercises like crunches, leg raises, and sit-ups. For more advanced exercisers, take advantage of the plank, bicycle crunches and hanging leg raises. A goal of abdominal training should be to start with basic exercises like crunches and gradually incorporate more advanced exercises like a plank and v-ups. All of these exercises can be made harder by adding resistance.
Q: Will one day of binge eating hurt me?
A: I call them cheat days. One cheat day will not hurt, but there is a difference between having a cheat day and binge eating. In a cheat day, you will pick one or two meals and indulge a little bit or have a few drinks. If you jump right back into the routine the next day, this should not be a problem. However, when people start binge eating, they just throw anything into their mouth and that becomes an issue as the calories will continuously add up. If one day becomes two days and then three days, then we are running into some problems as you can add 2-3 pounds onto the scale if you’re consuming enough calories. After enough days of binge eating or getting away from the exercise, your progress will quickly become undone.
Q: I’m a woman and don’t want to get bulky from working out. How can I incorporate weights into my routine?
A: Your fear of getting “bulky” just happens to be the number one concern of female gym goers across the country. Fortunately though, it is also a misconception. The muscular appearance that comes from training is impacted by three variables: 1.High volume resistance training; 2.The proper calorie intake; and 3.The right genetic make-up. When these three variables are put together, you have the perfect formula for muscle building.
Addressing the high volume resistance training, this is a training program that specifically focuses on getting bigger and stronger, for lack of better terms. When it comes to proper calorie intake, a calorie surplus is needed every week in addition to high volume training to continuously build muscle. If you are eating a normalthat keeps you in your recommended calorie range for weight loss or general fitness, then this will not be a concern.
Lastly, and the most important, is genetic make-up. Men and women do not have the same levels of hormones; there is a big difference when it comes to testosterone, estrogen and growth hormone levels. In exercise, this means that the woman’s body will not respond to an exercise program in the same way that a male body does. So, even if you decide to do an abundance of weight training and eat an abundance of calories, your body will still have a hard time getting “bulky.”