Exercise Q&A


by Lori Heck

Over the years I have received many great fitness questions. I thought I would share some of the questions and give you my personal professional answer to each one. If you have that ‘burning’ fitness question, I would love to hear it!  Email me at lori@goldsgym-ec.com or send me a message on Facebook at ASPIRE Personal Training.

Q:  (From female clients) Am I going to bulk up if I start lifting weights?

A:  No. What you will do is add some lean mass (muscle tissue) which will help you to burn more calories, increase bone mass, become stronger, and change the shape of your figure. It is quite difficult for women to become ‘bulky’ simply because females do not produce a sufficient amount of testosterone, which is one of the primary hormones responsible for increasing muscle size. Men, who of course, biologically have more testosterone, can find it hard to put on muscle size. Of course, the next question I get is, why, then, are some women very muscular? Keep in mind the perception of ‘muscular’ is relative. When one thinks of a professional female bodybuilder that has very manly features, she is more than likely using anabolic steroids or synthetic testosterone. I want to be clear that not all female bodybuilders use this method of increasing muscle size. There are plenty of female bodybuilders that have amazing muscular physiques that compete as a ‘natural’ bodybuilder. For the female who is not a bodybuilder, but has a muscular physique, it is a combination of genetics, a specific resistance training program, appropriate amounts of cardio or interval training, and a proper clean nutrition program along with supplements.

Q:  What is better for fat loss, a steady state or higher intensity workout?

A:  In respect to fat loss and maximizing one’s time, a high intensity workout, often times known as High Intensity Interval Training (HITT), is going to get results faster.  For example, if two people workout for 30 minutes, person A performing steady state cardio and person B performing a combination of resistance training circuits along with high intensity, short duration cardio intervals, person B is not only going to burn more calories in 30 minutes, but will also burn more calories for hours after their workout. The reason for this is called EPOC! EPOC stands for Excess Post Oxygen Consumption. After a high intensity workout, your metabolism is elevated. This means that your body is burning more calories after the workout than compared to before exercise was initiated. The body utilizes an increased amount of oxygen to replenish energy stores, lower tissue temperature and to get it back to a resting state. This takes energy, or calories! At the end of the day, when it comes to fat loss, it is all about calories in, calories out. When more calories are expended than consumed you are going to see results! Therefore, it is also very important that a clean and proper nutrition program is part of the overall fat loss plan. I also want to stress that high intensity training does place high amounts of stress on the body. It is important for each individual to speak with a Certified Personal Trainer to make sure the high intensity training is appropriate and if so, what level of intensity is right and how often it should be performed.

*There are several reasons for individuals to perform steady-state, longer duration cardio bouts and I am not against those types of workouts. In fact, I LOVE my Saturday morning long runs because it clears my head and makes me feel good. So, I am in no way discounting the value of the type of workout person A did in this example. I’m merely using it as an example for comparison when it comes to seeing fat loss in shorter amount of time.

Lori is certifi ed through the National Association of Sports Medicine (NASM) and trains out of Gold’s Gym in Eau Claire. Contact Lori at lori@goldsgym-ec.com or call 715-271-9678 if interested in free small group training session!

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