Seven FAQs from new gym rats

1. Should I work out every day?

Yes, with a properly constructed plan. However, working the same muscle groups every day for a long period of time can be problematic, and can lead to overtraining. This can cause injury or exhaustion. The body does need rest; taking a weekend or a week off once in a while is beneficial for proper recovery. Working out every day is a good option if a person is specifically training a different muscle group, or if there is a change in loads (amount of weight carried) every few weeks.


2. What’s the difference between

losing body fat and losing body weight?

Body weight includes fat, muscle, bones, waste and fluids. Fat loss is about maintaining muscle mass while cutting down on fat. Many people know fat loss as “leaning out.” This usually requires careful meal planning that coordinates with your training regimen.


3. Should I eat before working out?

Eating a balanced meal two to three hours before your workout is important to fuel. However, some people do require an extra boost before their workouts. Foods such as almonds, rice cakes with peanut butter, string cheese, a protein shake, or a small serving of chicken with veggies or sweet potatoes can give one the boost needed to train. It’s important to keep this meal light unless the training regimen requires more calories.


4. How long until I see results?

For a person who has been sedentary most of their life, with an exercise and diet plan, a person can start seeing results by as soon as week four and as late as week six. Someone who is changing their regimen might start seeing results immediately or within two months. This only works if a person is 100 percent committed.


5. How should I eat? Are carbs really bad?

This is the most common question that people ask. Food intake varies per person. Generally, it is important to include a balanced variety of carbs, fats and proteins. For most people, 40 percent protein, 30 percent carbs, and 30 percent fats is a good breakdown. Remember, many carbs, such as beans and peas, have protein and fats in them. Limit foods with flour and white sugar and try not to eat too late at night.

Carbs are not inherently bad. The carbs that get the bad rap are anything with grains and processed sugar. Choose complex and dense foods such as lean meats, good fats like avocados and coconut oil and olive oils, and good carbs such as quinoa and leafy greens. Choose wisely, season appropriately, and have fun with your food options.


6. Can I get away with just doing


It depends on your goals. If your goal is to run a race, then yes. However, it is important to strengthen the muscles that stabilize your joints and core. If your goal is to build muscle, no. Cardio will not promote muscle growth because different muscle fibers are used. Adding cardio into your regimen can be beneficial to stay lean, improve cardiovascular health, and provide variety to your workout. Sprinting, sled pushing or power rowing, on the other hand, are great forms of cardio that incorporate power and do promote muscle growth.


7. Will doing crunches give me a six-pack?

Fat loss is not specific; it’s general. Therefore, doing a million crunches will not cut fat in your abdominal area. Just like any other strength training exercise, doing ab work will generally build your abdominal muscles. However those muscles won’t be seen without proper dieting, activating your core during every workout and a variety of specific core exercises. 


Megan Niño is a kinesiologist and personal trainer through her business Vigor Vida Fitness & Wellness. She is an energetic and positive person who prides herself on teaching others to find empowerment in their lives through fitness. She offers in-home training in Philadelphia and on the Main Line.