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13 Most Common Fitness Questions Answered

If you struggle with information overload or confusion when it comes to fitness, listen up.

This article will help clear up the confusion and get you moving on the right path to getting fit and healthy!

There's currently more information about fitness, exercise, what to eat, building muscle, and so on than you could possibly want. Anything you want to know can be found online these days. The problem is that some of that information is not very good, and some is just flat-out wrong.

No worries, though. In the next five minutes, I am going to clear some things up for you. Answer some of the most common questions around fitness and exercise.

Let's dispel some of the common myths that hold so many people back.

Lastly, I will provide you with a 4-week strength program completely free! Giving you everything you need to get you started. By the time you finish this article, you will know what you need to do, how to do it, and have the confidence to get started.

So let's get into it!

1. Do you need to work out every day?

No! A common myth around fitness is that you need to work out every day to see the benefits. In reality, working out just 2-3 times a week can have tremendous benefits. A big mistake a lot of people make is taking on too much too soon. They take the approach that if I can't do it every day, I won't do it at all.

No good! The all-or-nothing approach prevents so many people from making legitimate progress. Remember this when it comes to working out; "long-term consistency will always trump short-term intensity."

For most beginners or people who don't exactly love exercising but still want the health benefits, 2-3 days of exercise a week is perfect. For more experienced people or people who enjoy getting in the gym, 4-5 times a week may be a better option.

All-out fitness lovers and enthusiasts might train up to six times a week. However, this will not be the majority of people, so don't feel like you need to be in the gym that often. It's important to remember that more is not always better when it comes to training. Figure out what makes sense for you.

Too much of anything can be a bad thing, and exercise is no different. Over-train and you will slow down progress, and it will have adverse effects on your health and fitness.

2. How long should you work out?

This one will vary based on your time available, personal goals, and personal preferences. For most people, they will find between 30-60 minutes will be sufficient. That's not to say that if you don't have 30 minutes to dedicate to training that you shouldn't do it at all.

Something is going to be better than nothing. Even if you only have 15-20 minutes a few times a week, do it! The cool thing about exercise is you can receive a ton of benefits for small investments.

Some people may spend a little longer than 60 minutes in the gym. Somewhere in that 60-90 minute range, which is just perfectly fine. If you get up over that 90-minute range, you may want to look at your training and ensure you are being efficient and getting the most out of your time.

Remember, more does not equal better!

3. How can I build muscle?

One of the most common reasons people first get into exercising is to improve their appearance. They want to look in the mirror and be happy about what they see. Build some muscle and lose some fat.

If that is your goal, then strength training is going to be a great option. There's not a more efficient method to build muscle than strength training. Strength training will include lifting free weights (barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, etc.), machine weights, and bodyweight training.

To build muscle, you must understand the importance of sending a muscle-building signal to your body. This is where strength training comes in.

Which makes common sense, right?

If your body has no reason to put on muscle, it's not going to do it magically on its own. Your body tends to stay the same unless given a reason to change.

While strength training is a big part of the equation when it comes to muscle building, eating plenty of the proper nutrients to build up the muscle is going to be essential too. This means you need to eat the proper diet to facilitate muscle growth.

Protein to build the muscle tissue and carbs to help fuel your strength training workouts. Think of strength training as the floor plan and the food as the building materials. Without either one of those things, you are going to struggle to build a quality product.

4. How should you work out to lose weight?

If I asked you this question, you would probably assume high-intensity workouts would be best for losing weight. People have this idea that if they sweat a lot, breathe hard, are exhausted after workouts, and have burned a ton of calories; they got a great workout in.

These types of workouts do have their place. High-intensity exercise can indeed burn high amounts of calories and help you lose weight, but it's probably not the best route to rely on for weight loss for a few reasons.

The first reason is that your body adapts pretty quickly. Something like jogging or HIIT workouts will burn fewer and fewer calories as your body becomes more efficient over time. The second reason you may not want to use the high-intensity, cardio style approach as your primary weight-loss method is that while that may lead to weight loss, it doesn't guarantee fat loss.

So what's the difference?

Weight loss can mean losing water, muscle, and fat. Fat loss, on the other hand, is more targeted to losing primarily fat tissue. Targeting fat leads to a more toned, leaner look.

So if your goal is to look more toned, athletic, and lean, the best way to achieve that is by lifting weights and eating a proper diet.

5. What should I eat now that I'm working out?

This one will be vary based on your goals and personal preferences. There are a few staple guidelines that can be helpful to almost everyone, though.

Eat plenty of protein. High protein diets help build muscle and keep you full and satisfied.

Eat a moderate amount of carbs to help you with a balanced diet. Carbs will help fuel your workouts, enhance recovery, and can even help manage stress. The number of carbs will vary from person to person based on their activity levels and lifestyle. Some people will find they do and feel better with fewer carbs, and others will perform better on higher-carb diets.

The last guideline would be to make whole minimally processed foods a good portion of your diet—things like fruits, vegetables, and proteins.

And that's it. Three simple guidelines that will help you get the most out of your workouts.

  • Eat protein (.6 to 1 g per/lb of bodyweight)

  • Eat some carbs

  • Eat more whole minimally processed foods

There are hundreds of diets, "rules around eating," do's and don'ts of nutrition, and it can just be flat-out overwhelming, so let's keep it simple. If you do those three things consistently, you will be well on your way to increasing your health markers, improving in the gym, and living a better life.

6. Do you have to do cardio?

The dreaded cardio question… Well, the answer is it depends.

Let me explain real quick.

Cardio is not necessary to lose weight or build muscle. However, it is definitely beneficial to your general health. Cardio can improve heart health, increase endurance, boost your mood, and even has some pretty impressive brain benefits too.

If you decide to add cardio to the routine to enhance your general health, understand you don't have to spend hours on the treadmill to see benefits.

There are tons of great options to get some cardio activity in, such as biking, swimming, jogging, and probably the most underrated of all walking. That's right. Just taking a 10-20 minute brisk walk can do the trick.

So don't fear cardio. It doesn't have to be a miserable experience you constantly dread doing.

7. Do I need to stretch?

Again the answer here is going to be it depends. You don't have to stretch if you don't want to. You also don't have to brush your teeth every day, but it's probably a good idea if you do.

A vast majority of people could use a few minutes of stretching and mobility each day. Just like with cardio, it doesn't have to take a bunch of your time.

As a nation, we are more sedentary than ever, leading to mobility issues, back pain, neck pain, joint pain, and more. Not ideal.

Even just five minutes a day can go a long way! You'll notice your body will start to feel and move better over time when you incorporate some daily mobility and stretching. Some of the creaky joints may begin to feel a little less creaky. Some of those aches and pains may start to finally dissolve.

A good option for people who don't want to add another thing to their to-do list is to add mobility work before, after, or during their workout. Kill two birds with one stone and save yourself some time.

You could do this by adding some mobility work between exercises while you're resting. You could also add just a few minutes at the beginning of a warm-up or maybe some light stretching as a cool down after your workout. Again, remember you don't need a ton of time to get some positive benefits from it!

8. How long will it take to see results?

A general rule of thumb is the longer you have been consistently into fitness, the longer it takes to see results. Those new to fitness will often see progress pretty earlier on. Sometimes, even from one workout to the next. Improvement in weight lifted, increased repetitions and better technique are all things that will start to improve pretty quickly.

As you become more advanced in training, it takes longer to see progress.

To give you some reference, Olympic weightlifters might only see a 5-10lb increase in their competition lifts in an entire year! They are so advanced in their training that adaptations and improvements are much slower to happen.

Luckily anyone reading this article is probably nowhere near that. So for people like you and me, we will see progress on a much quicker scale. As you get more advanced, it's reasonable that you can expect to see progress on more of a weekly or, at the longest, a monthly basis.

9. Why do you get sore, and what to do about it?

So let's say you've just got a nice workout in. You ate a solid meal. You're feeling good, and you're excited about your next training session tomorrow.

You wake up the next day excited to workout again and realize you are so sore you can barely walk…

Welcome to DOMS. Delayed onset muscle soreness. Likely this has happened to everyone at one point or another. Whether from working out or just some random activity. When you exercise, you are using your muscles in a way that causes minor damages to the muscles.

This is a good thing because, after the muscle damage, the body will repair the muscles and build them back up to be bigger and stronger!

The good news for you is that muscle soreness typically gets less and less intense as exercise becomes part of your routine. Usually, you will notice your first workout or two make you the most sore. As your body adapts and gets more used to it, you will experience reduced soreness.

Remember, anytime you add in new exercises, take some time off, or have an intense training session, you can probably expect some soreness, so plan accordingly!

When it comes to soreness, things like rest, active recovery (walking, stretching, etc.), and sleep will be the most helpful to get rid of soreness. If you are so sore, it impairs your movement; that's probably a sign to take it a bit easier on those days. If you have some slight soreness, that shouldn't be an issue, and you should have no problem training through that.

10. Will I get big and bulky from lifting weights?

No! Absolutely not!

You will build some muscle. You will look leaner. You will gain strength. And you will probably even gain some self-confidence, but you will not get big and bulky.

This is one of the biggest myths about lifting weights that has hung around for far too long. People have this weird illusion that they are going to turn into a bodybuilder overnight.

Trust me when I say you have nothing to worry about. Thinking you will become a bodybuilder by lifting weights a few times a week would be like thinking you are going to become a NASCAR driver because you spend a few minutes driving every day. It's not going to happen.

Suppose you are consistent in the gym and work hard. You can certainly expect that you will build some muscle, but this process takes time. You don't have to worry about getting too muscular too quickly.

These big bulky, muscular people dedicate years of their life to get that way.

Building too much muscle is extremely rare for most people. If you ever feel like you are getting to that point, then you can change your training style to focus on something other than building muscle. Problem solved.

So rest assured you will not become the next Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson because you lift weights a few times a week, but you will look more fit and athletic.

11. What if exercise or training is painful?

You have probably heard the old saying "no pain, no gain," right?

Well, forget that. When it comes to exercise it shouldn't be painful.

Of course, throughout exercise, you may get a little uncomfortable from pushing limits and challenging yourself. You will also have some aches and soreness from time to time.

That is quite a bit different than persisting through pain. Pushing through pain leads to injuries. The human body is strong and resilient, but training through pain will not do you any favors in the long run. The goal of exercise is to make us feel and look better, not worse!

There are so many different movements, exercises, and training modalities out there. There will always be something for everyone to do comfortably and safely. If you ever have pain with specific movements or training styles, simply find ones that don't cause you pain and go with those.

12. How do I know how much weight to use when strength training?

At first, this will take some trial and error. How much weight you use will also be dependant on your goals. However, for most of your sets, your goal should be to pick a challenging weight, but not an impossible weight.

Think of a scale of 1 to 10, with one being least difficult and ten being I couldn't do another repetition. Most of your sets should be a seven, eight, or nine to make the best progress in building strength and muscle. Remember that technique and execution should still be top priorities. As the weights get, heavier this is especially true!

13. Where do I even start if I am a beginner?

As a beginner, you should focus on training some of the basic human movements. There are five main movements you should find in any good strength program. These include pushing, pulling, squatting, hinging, and core or ab exercises. So when looking for a quality program, make sure it has these five components.

As a beginner getting familiar with these types of movements is a great start. As you get more experience and more advanced in your training, you can take your training in so many different directions.

You could focus on building maximal strength, building muscle and sculpting your body, training to increase your endurance and stamina, or even just exercising to help you move pain-free in your everyday life.

Lastly, make sure that whatever you choose to have fun with it. Find ways to enjoy it because that will give you the highest likelihood of sticking with it long term.

What's Next

As promised at the beginning of the article, you should now have a good understanding of what's true and what's not true when it comes to fitness. You know what you need to focus on, and you even have a strength training program to get you started!

While you may still have some questions and probably don't have every little thing figured out, you should have more confidence in your fitness knowledge.

You will learn even more by actually getting out there and getting some real-world experience. You can only read about fitness for so long. The actual benefit comes from doing it, as I'm sure you know. So get out there and start getting your reps in!


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