Common Questions and Answers Regarding Fitness

Author: Grace Soongfitness5

Numerous misconceptions and general questions revolve around fitness and training. Below are a five of the most common questions my clients ask of me and the answers I give them:

1. Can I spot train certain parts of my body?  If you are talking about spot training to get rid of the fat (reducing the size of that body part), that will never happen.  No exercise can do that.  When you spot train, you are working the muscle underneath the fat.  To  reduce fat  in certain areas of the body, you must do two things: first, reduce overall body fat through a change in your diet, and second, increase muscle tone through strength training.  Without a doubt, you can spot train to INCREASE the size of a certain area…but never the other way around.

2. Will I bulk-up if I workout?  A lot depends on the type of workout that you do and the principles behind your workout. Genetics, gender, age, diet and the quantity of testosterone your body naturally produces will determine if you’ll have a propensity to bulk up.  Generally, if you are female over 30 years old, it would be difficult to bulk up without the aid of testosterone supplements no matter how heavy you lift.

3. How often and for how long should I workout?  Suggestions by fitness organizations such ACSM, AHA and ACE keep changing as new studies and research are provided. The general agreement, however, is 3-5 days a week for about 20-60 minutes each session. A lot also depends on your goal:  lose weight , maintain your current level of fitness, gain weight or train for a competition or sport. Check with your  personal trainer  for his/her recommendation before you start because too little or too much could hinder your development.

4. What causes muscle soreness after exercise?  Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness is caused by a larger than normal burden on a muscle. Originally, it was believed that a build up of lactic acid caused the soreness.  However, research confirms that the soreness is caused by micro tears in the muscle. A release of enzymes from the muscle fibers and the muscle’s response to the larger than normal burden (placed on it) causes the irritation. As the muscles adjust to the weights, the soreness will diminish.

5. What are the best equipment to use?  In general, machines are better for the beginner. They provide more stability than free weights (dumbbells and barbells). They help you maintain form until you can master the moves.  However, machines are two-dimensional exercises (movements are limited to forward and back, or up and down) whereas your muscles are multi-dimensional (they move forward, back, diagonally and sideways). With free-weights and cable pulley machines you activate several muscle fibers at once.  However, they require more skill and control on your part.