To get the answers to the 10 most frequently asked questions at the gym, we've turned to Olivier, a trainer at Domyos. Check out the list: you're sure to find the answer to your questions!
1) "How often should I work out to see results?"
Getting in shape means working out on a regular basis. It's better to work out two to three times a week rather than just once in a while. Working out regularly is more fun and gives you results. If you only hit the gym once in a while, you'll end up tired, sore and demotivated, which leads to quitting!
2) "What's the biggest mistake people make at the gym?"
Most people who start a fitness routine don't know how to use the equipment at the gym. They do exercises that are inappropriate and can end up getting hurt. Our advice: don't be afraid to ask a pro for help! Trainers are available at the gym and can help you get your programme off on the right foot, no matter what your goal is. Also, don't forget to warm up before your workout and to take the time to stretch afterwards. Finally, stay hydrated during your workout - your body needs water!
3) "What do you do if you're not a morning person but have a hard time getting motivated to go to the gym after a hard day at work?"
Sport makes you tired, but "good tired" ! While it might be tough at first, the more you work out, the less tired you'll be. Don't give up after a few mornings of sore muscles - you just need to push through. Working out regularly will improve your fitness levels, energy, well-being and even your sleep.
4) "What ab exercises should I do to get rid of my tummy?"
The only way to reduce tummy flab is to work the entire body - especially big muscle groups. Ab muscles are very small and working them alone won't give you a flat stomach. They are, however, very important in helping keep back problems at bay and improving posture and balance.
5) "Can you turn fat into muscle?"
No! Muscles burn fat for energy. Building muscle boosts your metabolism. When you increase your metabolism, you burn more energy, calories and fat. That's why a cardio programme that incorporates weight training will help you slim down even faster.
6) "I went down a trouser size but the scales haven't changed. What's going on?"
You've gone down a trouser size because you've slimmed down. You've lost volume (from fat) but have gained weight (from muscle). Muscle weighs more than fat, which is why the scales haven't changed. This reflects the difference between volume and weight. Remember that what's important is how you feel and look - and not the number on the scales!
Tip: Rather than weighing yourself, use a tape measure to check your waist and hip circumference - or better yet, try on your summer trousers from time to time to keep you in check all winter long! NB: This tip is for those who have just a couple kilos to lose. For anyone who is very overweight, using scales to keep tabs on your weight is very important.
7) "When I'm on a diet but not doing sport, I lose weight very fast, but I gain it back - and then some - very quickly. Why is that?"
Diets are often very restrictive and will mainly cause you to lose muscle mass, without affecting your body's fat stores (or very little). When you start eating normally again, you put back on the kilos because you never actually got rid of the fat! This is why you need to do sport and maintain a balanced, low-calorie diet to get the body of your dreams.
8) "Since I started weight training, my thighs have gotten bigger and I can't fit into my trousers any more! What should I do?"
Muscle training will give you stronger muscles. But you can slim and lengthen them by stretching! Never use heavy weights during your fitness sessions. Instead, do more reps to draw from your energy stores followed by a stretching routine to lengthen and slim your muscles.
9) "Does spinning slim down your legs?"
Yes, if you use a moderate resistance! If the pedalling resistance is too high or slows you down, your muscles will get bigger! Too high a resistance has a similar effect as using heavy weights during weight training, which increases muscle size.
You should remember that muscle training will help you slim down if you use a light load and do more reps.
10) "What is the proper way to breathe during sport?"
You should never hold your breath when doing sport. Often, you breathe in during the prep phase, and breathe out during effort. For example, when doing squats, breathe in as you bend your knees and go down, and breathe out when you straighten your legs to come back up. There is one exception to this rule: for exercises that require effort as you expand your chest (such as horizontal pulls), you should breathe in during the effort.
These tips should give you a leg up in your fitness practice. Happy training!