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February 1, 2014

Unfortunately, not all fitness answers are cut and dry

— Today’s topic is a continuation from last week where I addressed some of the most common questions I’ve been asked by my clients participating in this year’s X-Factor Fitness Challenge. I might add that this is a goal-based challenge tailored to the individual and not just a general weight-loss challenge. As such, not all questions and answers are geared toward the quickest weight-loss possible, but rather the approach that will yield the best and healthiest overall results.  

As fitness generally goes, not all of the answers can be cut and dry but, hopefully, this will help to clear up some of the confusion about a few of the more elusive topics.

Question: Should I do my cardio and weight training on the same day?

Answer: It depends on your schedule more than anything. As a general rule, as long as you are getting in your recommended amounts of cardio and weight-training throughout the week, it doesn’t matter if you are doing them on the same days or separate. This is one of those topics that it makes little sense to overcomplicate. Whether you choose to do cardio with your weight training or not is not going to make or break your results. Just get it in whenever you can.

Question: Will protein powder make me gain weight?

Answer: Not unless you are already eating in a caloric surplus. Although protein is beneficial for weight gain, it’s even more important for weight-loss. The difference lies in how many calories are consuming throughout the day in addition to your protein powder.

I usually recommend a good high-quality protein for anyone wanting to lose weight. Why? Because weight loss requires eating fewer calories; and as calories go down, protein requirements actually go up. It’s difficult to get in the somewhat high protein amounts that your body requires to lose body fat and maintain muscle mass at the same time, especially when you are trying to limit the amount of calories you are taking in throughout the day. This is where protein supplements come in handy. Protein powder is typically low in calories and a very convenient method for getting in enough protein while still keeping your calories low.

Question: How many times a week should I exercise?

Answer: As with many things, the answer will depend on several factors. For those new to exercise entirely, I might recommend 2-3 days of lower intensity weight training coupled with few 20- to 30-minute cardio sessions throughout the week. From there, you might increase your frequency, intensity, time or a combination of the three. Your program should be based largely on what your body is used to doing. Exercise is about moving out of your comfort zones in order to adapt in whatever ways may be most appropriate for you as an individual. 

Also, it’s good to remember that your progress isn’t generally made when you are breaking your body down in the gym but rather when you are recovering from it, so make sure you always take off at least one day a week from the gym, eat a healthy diet and always get plenty of sleep for this reason.

Amanda May is a Factor X Fitness personal trainer. Reach her at AmandaMayFit@Gmail.com and Instagram.com/AmandaMayFit.

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