By Kristy Semonella. CPT, LMT.
You signed up for a gym membership, you bought new workout clothes, you have a fresh pair of kicks and you even downloaded your favorite playlist to get you going! You’re all set and ready to go but now what? For many who are starting their health and fitness journey, the question becomes “what do I do now?” We want to make sure that lacing up your sneakers isn’t where your journey ends so below we listed Eight of the most frequently asked questions to help you along!
1. Should I do cardio or weights first?
Save cardio for after you have finished your strength training. Doing cardio before will deplete the glycogen stores that are needed for your strength training. You will have less energy and the muscles will already be fatigued increasing the risk of injury.
2. How often should I do cardio?
According to the American College of sports Medicine as well as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services the guideline recommends AT LEAST 150 minutes of moderate intensity cardiorespiratory or AT LEAST 75 minutes of vigorous intensity per week. You would break this down in to smaller intervals such as 30 minutes per day 5 days a week for a moderate level or 20 minutes 4 days a week for the higher intensity.
3. How often should I lift weights?
According to the same reports the weekly recommendation for resistance training is AT LEAST 2 times per week with exercises targeting each of the major muscle groups. It is worth mentioning the key words here is AT LEAST!!!!!
P.S – We strongly recommend at least a 50/50 split of cardio and strength training for women in the initial phases of training if the primary is body composition change. As they approach 75% of their goal the ratio is switched to a 70/30 split of weight training to cardiovascular work.
4. How much weight should I be using when strength training?
While a very good question it is not an easy one to answer. There are many different variables that play in to answering this question. For the sake of this article we will try and keep it simple. Most people are going to be training for increase in muscle size which means you should be keeping your rep range anywhere from 8-12. With that being said your set should be a “true” set of 8-12 reps. A true set meaning that you are near muscle failure at the point you can’t do another rep on your own with good form. If you can do a 13th rep the weight was too light and similarly if you can only do 4-5 reps the weight is too heavy.
When you first start out you will have to play around with different weight to find that weight where you can do just 8-12 reps on your own. Make sure to log your workouts each time so next time you are in the gym you know what weights you used.
5. How much recovery I need between workouts?
The main factors that affect recovery are sleep, nutrition, workout intensity and frequency and stress levels. A general rule you should have at least 1 to 2 days of rest before training the same muscle group.
6. How often should I be switching up my routine?
A general rule is to change up your workout routine every 4 weeks.
7. How long before I workout should I eat?
Gastric emptying varies from person to person. The size and type of meal will also affect gastric emptying. You want to wait at least 1 hour after eating to workout. With that being said if you are consuming a full size meal you should wait at least 2-3 hours. If you are going to eat 30-45 minutes before then keep it to something small and simple to digest like a protein shake and a piece of fruit.
8. How long does it take to see results?
The time it takes for you to see (and others to notice) varies from person to person. Many factors, including your starting size, the intensity of your workouts, training frequency and MOST of all your nutrition will be the determining factor in how long it will take to see results. Transforming your body will take time, discipline, consistency and most of all patience. Give yourself at least 3 months to complete the first phase of your transformation.
Got questions? Shoot us an email and we’ll gladly answer them.
Committed to your success,
Team Body Image Fitness.