Structuring and Planning
1. When is the best time to workout?
Find time that works best for you and your schedule. There is little evidence and research suggesting an overarching time that works best for everyone. If you are a morning person and that’s when you feel at your best, schedule your workouts in the morning. If you are an individual that has to drag yourself out of bed every morning. Schedule your workout at lunch or in the evening after work. Don’t get caught up in what time works best for your friend or bro science from your favourite celebrity. Focus on a time you will be able to commit to within your schedule.
2. Do I need to plan out my workouts?
100% yes! I’m sure you have heard the saying “failure to plan is a plan to fail” If you want to get the most out of your workouts it is best to have a plan based on your goals. There are helpful resources if you are unsure how to do so. Get help from a coach that can create you a custom workout plan. Or learn the basics on how to create your own workout plan. Planing will help you to stay focused and give you direction. Lastly, it will eliminate wasted time pandering around thinking of what to do next.
3. Do I need to work out every day?
Your frequency and schedule depends on your goals. For the average individual 3-4 times a week should be adequate. But you should still try and get some sort of activity on the other days especially if you live a sedentary lifestyle. Other activities you can do when you are not going to the gym include going for a walk/hike, playing a sport, swimming, paddling etc. Get creative and stay active.
If you are a competitive athlete likely training will be more regular. As with most questions the correct answer depends on your situation and finding what works best for you.
4. How long do I need to work out for?
You are probably getting sick of hearing this answer but it depends! For the average individual I would say an hour is a good time frame. Workouts can be shorter or longer. For example you can get a great HIIT or circuit workout done in less than 20 minutes. For a lot of my competitive strength athletes and powerlifters their workouts can extend over 2 hours to account for longer rest times between sets.
Side note make sure you are always getting a good warm up and cool down after.
5. Do I need to vary my workout to see results?
Your body is smart and will adapt to stress placed on it. In order to continue seeing results it is important to utilize periodization when structuring your workout plan. If you do the exact same workout all year round you will quickly plateau as your body will require new stimulus.
That being said you don’t need to do a new workout every single time you step into the gym. But you can set up training blocks that span between 4-8 weeks. These block will focus on a goal or target then switch up the routine when the block is complete.
6. What should I do to get a 6pack?
Abs are made in the kitchen is a very true statement.
You can do thousands of sit-ups, but it will not guarantee you a set of abs. Yes you can do abdominal muscle exercises to help strengthen and build your abs. Your overall body fat percentage will play a huge role on if your abs show or not.
Maintaining a balanced workout schedule is important. I would also recommend tracking your calories with an app like My Fitness Pal . This will help you manage your calorie intake to ensure you are not overeating. Additionally, help you maintain a caloric deficit in order to lose weight.
7. What type of training do I need to do to increase muscle mass?
Building muscle requires resistance training with a focus on creating hypertrophy. Resistance training is essentially working your muscles against force. Examples include weight training, cables and machines.
When you workout, you break down muscle and when your body rests and recovers the muscle fibers repair stronger.
A combination of strength training and volume around 8-12 reps per set will help you to increase muscle mass.
Proper nutrition is also important you need to make sure you are getting essential macronutrients. Protein is going to be vital for building muscles. Recommendations will be around 1.8g of protein per kg of body weight.
8. What type of training do I need to do to lose weight?
In order to lose weight you need be in a caloric deficit meaning you are burning more calories than you are consuming. Cardio exercises like running, swimming and biking will burn more calories during the activity. Weight training exercises will help you burn more calories throughout the day. As with resistance training mor calories are burned as your muscles recover. Additionally, muscle burns more calories at rest than other tissues.
Studies at the University of Colorado have shown that HIIT training burns 25%-30% more calories than a steady-state exercise session such as a run. So combining multiple training methods like cardio, resistance training and HIIT can be an effective combination to lose help you lose weight.
Learn the best way to lose weight
9. What type of training do I need to get stronger?
Strength training can come in various forms. For example, powerlifters compete in a sport where they are measured on how much they can squat, bench and deadlift. A great strength coach can help you with this.
For others strength goals might be as simple as being able to bench their bodyweight of do a single pullup. Strength goals can be subjective. But it comes down moving more weight or becoming capable of mastering a movement.
For beginners I would recommend a form of linear periodization to help improve strength.
Finishing off your workouts
10. Do I need to take rest days?
Giving your body time to recover is important. If you don’t rest and recover you will eventually burnout. I would recommend at least 1 day off completely from the gym a week. Rest days will depend on your workout structure and goals.
11. Do I need to stretch?
Dynamic stretching is great before your workout sessions as a warmup. Static stretching should be used at the end of your workout for the cool down.
Should you stretch before a workout?
12. What’s the best to recover adequately after a workout?
Proper rest and nutrition are going to be the best modes to aid your recovery.
Learn more Recovery best practices.
A lot of people are always looking for the magic formula when it comes to recovery. But it’s most important to stick to the basics. Make sure you are getting enough sleep and eating well.
14. Does exercise help with mental health?
Exercise releases endorphins in the brain often helping you to feel good! Who doesn’t love that accomplished feeling after a great workout!
Research has also shown that exercise can help to reduce stress, improve your self-confidence, alleviate anxiety and improve concentration. Try to make sure you are not overtraining.