Fitness Frequently Asked Questions
Disclaimer

The information in the following Fitness FAQs are intended to be a general guideline. Individual people have different requirements and abilities. It is best to consult a doctor before beginning any lifestyle change involving exercise, particularly if you have been sedentary, are overweight, or you have any sort of medical condition which might be aggravated by exercise.

How often should I train? How hard? How long?
What factors affect aerobic training?
How much should I weigh?
What is aerobic exercise?
I have never exercised before. Where do I begin?
What's the best way to determine Body Fat Percentage?
Is it better to break up my exercise sessions?
What should I eat as my meal before an aerobic workout?
How soon and how much should I eat after an aerobic workout?
How high should my step be?
Should I use a sauna or hot tub right after a workout?
How do I know when I'm burning fat?
How good are those gadgets advertised on TV?
How do I determine my target heartrate?
What other methods are used for judging workout intensity?
Do Crunches and Bun work slim those areas down?
What is proper stepping technique?
How can I increase intensity?
What is the best time of day to exercise?
Why is cool-down an important part of aerobic activity?
Why is warm-up an important part of aerobic activity?
What is the correct spelling of "Flye"?
Can you recommend a client appointment scheduler?

How often should I train? How hard? How long?

Most experts agree that 3-5 times per week is sufficient. Exercise for a duration of 20-60 minutes at 60-90% of age-specific maximal heartrate or 50-85% of VO2max (heart rate reserve).

What factors affect aerobic training?

Frequency, duration and intensity. Frequency refers to how often you perform aerobic activity, duration refers to the time consumed during each session, and intensity refers to the percentage of your maximum heartrate or heartrate reserve at which the activity is performed.

How much should I weigh?

Since muscle weighs more per volume than fat, and you want to have firm muscles throughout your body, you may weigh more than you thought was average for your height and build. There is no ideal bodyweight. While some body fat is essential to sustain life, it is generally thought that a healthy bodyfat percentage for males is 8-20% and for females is 13-25%.

What is aerobic exercise?

The word aerobic literally means "with oxygen" or "in the presence of oxygen." Aerobic exercise is any activity that rhythmically uses large muscle groups. Aerobic activity increases the heart, lungs and cardiovascular system's ability to deliver oxygen more quickly and efficiently to the body. As the heart muscle becomes stronger and more efficient, a larger amount of blood can be pumped with each stroke thereby decreasing the number of strokes required for oxygen transport. An aerobically fit individual can produce more work for a longer period of time and recover faster.

I have never exercised before. Where do I begin?

Start slow. Walking is the best way to begin a program. Start with a stroll for a mile or so and gradually increase the distance. when you acheived a comfotable distance then increase the speed to a comfortable stride. Eventually, you might want to try another activity such as jogging, running or even aerobic or step classes. The best aerobic program is the one you enjoy the most because that's the one that you'll do the most.

What's the best way to determine Body Fat Percentage?

The Hydrostatic method (weighing in water) is the most accurate. This is not always convenient. The skin-fold calipers is the next best for in-home and gym measurements.

Is it better to break up my exercise sessions?

For aerobic exercise, it would be better to do a single workout and give you body the rest it needs to repair. For weight training, two sessions might be better providing different muscle groups are worked during each session. In either case, the question is whether too many workout sessions are being scheduled. The body doesn't build until after the exercise is over, during the rest periods. No rest periods, no rebuilding.

What should I eat as my meal before an aerobic workout?

A light carbohydrate snack about an hour before. A banana, fruit or a bagel with low fat cream cheese. A glass of water should not be forgotten. You'll probably lose that and more in perspiration.

How soon and how much should I eat after an aerobic workout?

Eat light after a workout. Remember, the blood supply is concentrated in the muscles at this point and may not be fully available for the digestive system for about an hour.

How high should my step be?

Step height depends on fitness level, current stepping skill, and the degree of knee flexion when the knee is fully loaded while stepping up. At no time should the flexed knee joint exceed 90%. Deconditioned individuals or beginners should begin on a 4" platform. As you improve, you may add risers to increase the step height making sure not to exceed the 90 degrees of knee flexion.

Should I use a sauna or hot tub right after a workout?

Not recommended since the blood tends to pool in your extremities after a vigorous workout, and steams, saunas, hot tubs and even hot showers tend to dilate your blood vessels making it more difficult for the blood to reach the heart and brain. Wait until your completely cooled down.

How do I know when I'm burning fat?

The most fat is burned when your body is exercising in its aerobic range. A good rule of thumb is that after 20 minutes in your aerobic zone, you will be burning more fat than carbs. Your muscles will continue to burn fat after both aerobic and anaerobic (muscle training) exercise.

Based on recent studies, in terms of absolute fat burning, a moderate intensity workout burns the most fat. At a heart rate equal to about 75% of max, fat burning will be between 0.5 grams - 1.0 grams of fat per minute for a 100 to 200 pound person respectively. Fat buring increases by roughly another 10% after one hour of continuous exercise.This is true for aerobic fit people. Less fit people will burn more sugar and less fat.

How good are those gadgets advertised on TV?

Many of those gadgets wind up in the closet and in some cases, that's where they belong. There is no subsitute for weight training and aerobic exercise. In some cases these gadgets may target a specific muscle completely ignoring the supporting muscles leading to increased incidence of supporting muscle injury.

How do I determine my target heartrate?

The general formula for the average person is 220 - Age times the percentage intensity level. For example, a 20-year old would calculate their target zone using the above formula: 220-20=200. 200 x .60 = 120 and 200 x .80 = 160. Therefore, this person would keep their heartrate between 120 (low end) and 160 (high end) beats per minute.

What other methods are used for judging workout intensity?

The talk test is another measure of intensity. You should be able to talk without gasping for air while working at optimal intensity. If you cannot, you should reduce your intensity.

Do Crunches and Bun work slim those areas down?

There is no such thing as "spot reducing". Fat generally is used up in pretty much the reverse order it was first put on, (LIFO - Last In First Out). Aerobic exercise reduces body fat deposits as they are used for energy. Weight training increases the overall resting metabolism by 50 calories for each 1 pound of muscle added.

What is proper stepping technique?

Proper alignment includes head up, shoulders down and back, chest up, abdominals and buttocks tight. When stepping up, lean from the ankles and not the waist to avoid placing excessive stress on the lumbar spine. Contact the platform with the entire foot flat. When stepping down, step close to the platform and roll the foot toe to heel.

When doing lunges or repeater steps, however, the heel should not come in contact with the floor, and the weight should be on the opposite leg. Step Aerobics may aggrevate existing knee problems even if done correctly.

How can I increase intensity?

There are several ways to increase intensity. Increase your step height, use longer lever arms or add power moves (where both feet are in the air at the same time). If you are going to add power, don't exceed one minute at a time. All power moves should be done up onto the platform never down off the step. Power moves are considered advanced, and should not be attempted by beginners.

What is the best time of day to exercise?

The best time to work out is when you want to, so pick a time of day that feels comfortable. The morning (before you eat breakfast) is the best time for cardio work because your glycogen stores within the muscles and liver are at their lowest. This causes the body to look for other sources of energy, i.e., fat stores.

Why is cool-down an important part of aerobic activity?

After any aerobic activity, the blood is pooled in the extremities, and the heartrate is elevated. The purpose of the cool-down is to bring the heartrate down to near-resting level and to facilitate blood circulation back to the heart. Stopping abruptly could result in fainting or place undue stress on the heart. The cool-down should also include stretching to help relax the muscles and increase flexibility.

Why is warm-up an important part of aerobic activity?

A warm-up helps your body prepare itself for exercise and reduces the chance of injury. The warm-up should be a combination of rhythmic exercise to raise the heartrate, core body and muscle temperature, and static stretching through a full range of motion. The stretches in the warm-up should be non-ballistic and include all of the major muscle groups. A lower back stretch should be performed before doing any lateral movement of the upper torso such as side bends.

What is the correct spelling of "Flye"?

This spelling is not found in the dictionary and you will find both spellings abundantly distributed. For the record, Arnold Schwarzenegger uses flys in the older Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding while the newer Muscle & Fitness magazine uses flye as the singular of flyes. We prefer the newer spelling of Flye in singular form and Flyes to refer to the plural.

Can you recommend a client appointment scheduler?

Yes, we can recommend these two free calendars on signup: Yahoo Calendar or Google Calendar.