10 Frequently Asked Questions About Health & Fitness

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It’s a new year! Happy 2022! If you wrote down a fitness or nutrition goal on your New Year resolution list, you are not alone. It is one of the most common resolutions.

Whether you’re new to working out or a seasoned pro, here are 10 common questions about health and fitness to help you get started. 

Let’s get right to it!

1. Why should I workout?

I think the real question is, why should you not workout?! The reasons to workout are endless! It fends off heart attacks, reduces blood pressure, reduces risk of arthritis, helps prevent diabetes and cancer, and boosts your brain and immune system! Exercise also improves muscle strength and increases your endurance. It delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues which helps your heart and lungs work better which in turn gives you more energy! 

It’s as Gene Tunney said, “Exercise should be regarded as a tribute to the heart.”

2. How often should I workout? 

The general guideline is 150-300 minutes a month which is about 2.5-6 hours a week. That could look like 30 minutes a day or working out for 60 minutes every other day. 

However, you must take into account your fitness level. If you are new to working out, hover at that lower range and build up to more workouts. You could start with 30 minutes every other day for 1-3 weeks then start doing 60 minute workouts. 

If you have a strong background and years of working out, experiment at that higher range. You might feel great doing 60 minute workouts a few times a week. Trust your body and do what feels right. Starting slow and safe is always a good idea!

3. How long should I workout?

The amount of time you should spend working out depends on your own personal fitness goals. If your goal is to lose weight quickly and you are short on time, an efficient way is to do HIIT workouts. (High Intensity Interval Training) If your goal is to gain muscle mass, then longer lifting sessions might be most effective for you. 

As a general guideline, 30-60 minutes is a good range. However, like most things in life, it’s about quality versus quantity. A few quality workout sessions where you have a plan is much more effective than working out everyday without a good workout program.  

4. How do I lose body fat and gain muscle?

Losing fat and gaining muscle is a delicate balance between eating enough to maintain a healthy body weight and providing energy to fuel exercise while creating a healthy deficit in calories to help you lose fat. Focusing on a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds will kickstart your metabolism and help you reach your goals. The focus is always on nourishment not restriction. Knowing how many calories you need in a day, your BMR (basil metabolic rate) will help you create a healthy and safe deficit in calories. 

Here is a common equation used to determine your BMR — Harris-Benedict Equation:

  • Men: BMR = 88.362 + (13.397 x weight in kg) + (4.799 x height in cm) – (5.677 x age in years)
  • Women: BMR = 447.593 + (9.247 x weight in kg) + (3.098 x height in cm) – (4.330 x age in years)

You also need sufficient amounts of protein to gain muscle mass.

Here is a simple equation to help you determine your protein needs in grams:

Step 1. Take your weight in pounds and divide that number by 2.2 which will give you your weight in kilograms. 

Step 2. Decide how many grams of protein per kilogram of body weight is right for you. 

  • Mildly Active = 0.8
  • Regularly Active = 1.5
  • Heavily Active = 1.8 

Step 3. Take your weight in kg and multiply it by the number you decided on in Step 2. 

Now you have an idea of how many grams of protein you need, as well as how many calories you need to eat in a day. This will get you on the right track to losing fat and gaining muscle. 

For more details on what to eat and how much, click the link below:

Demystifying Nutrition: Straight Talk about Food and Portions

5. How often should I rest?

It feels like a cop out to say “listen to your body,” but it’s true. You know your body best — if you feel like you need to rest, do it! 

There is a time to push your body to its limit, and there is a time to take a break and rest. If you are working out hard 3-5 days a week, a general recommendation is to take a rest day every 2-3 days. However, if your workout program is not as intense, you could take a rest day every 3-5 days or take some active rest days. If you feel like you need a break from your workout program but want to keep moving, an active rest day might be perfect for you! This could look like some yoga, taking a walk, maybe even swimming. Something that is light on your joints and feels restorative.

6. When and how often should I stretch?

Stretching on a regular basis has shown to improve your circulation which helps increase blood flow to your muscles which can help shorten your recovery time and reduce soreness. Basically, stretching is magic for your body! 

Stretching or doing yoga a few minutes each day helps relieve pain, and increases joint mobility and range of motion which help improve your overall fitness performance and recovery. A great goal is 5-10 minutes a day of stretching either after exercising, in the morning to wake up your muscles, or at the end of the day to help you unwind and ease any aches and pains you might feel from your day. 

Jim Rohn said, “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.” 

I love that — it’s simple but true. Giving our body some TLC by slowing down, taking a moment and stretching, is the least we can do since it really is the only place we have to live!

7. How do I get a six pack?

We have all heard the saying, “abs are made in the kitchen.” This is absolutely true. What you eat has a greater impact on your ability to gain a six pack of abs than exercise. Exercise and focusing on core movements do play a huge role, but what you eat will make or break it for you. 

You need to eat a sufficient amount of protein to build muscle, healthy carbs to aid in recovery, fiber to keep you healthy, and healthy fats to keep you satiated and energized. 

Now let’s talk fitness. Total body workouts will help you lean out and supplementing with core exercises will be key to gaining a six pack. HIIT workouts will become your best fitness friend!

8. What are the best foods for weight loss?

Eating nutrient dense foods will not only help you lose weight but they will boost your metabolism, increase your energy levels, mental clarity, and productivity! Eating a balanced diet rich in fiber, protein, and healthy fats will help you lose body fat. Foods like chicken, beef, coconut oil, cruciferous vegetables, beans, chia seeds and eggs! 

Food is really important and so is water when it comes to losing weight. Drinking water plays a huge role in getting rid of excess body fat because water acts as a filtering system and helps our bodies get rid of waste. A great starting place is drinking 80 ounces of water or half your body weight in ounces. Also, drinking things like green tea, bone broth, and apple cider vinegar help your body burn fat and feel great! 

9. Will lifting weights make me “bulky?”

In short, no. Lifting weights will not make you bulky. Getting huge muscles depends strongly on your nutrition and how many calories you are eating. You would need to eat A LOT to truly “bulk” up. The combination of heavy weight lifting and an excess of calories will help you bulk up. By excess I mean eating more calories than you expend during the day.  If you are eating a nutrient rich diet, getting the calories you need, and lifting weights, you will get stronger, not “bulky”. 

For more information on lifting weights check out this post!

Raising the Bar: Four Reasons Women Should Be Weight Lifting

10. How does exercise help with mental health?

Exercise is a great de-stressor — it decreases stress hormones like cortisol. It also increases serotonin which helps your brain regulate your mood, sleep, and appetite. 

Exercise increases your endorphins too which gives you a natural mood boost! It eases symptoms of depression, increases self-confidence and creativity, sharpens your memory, and helps you sleep better — all of which affect your mental health. 

I love what Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “Training gives us an outlet for suppressed energies created by stress and thus tones the spirit just as exercise conditions the body.” 

Wrapping it up  

2022 is your year — you can do this! It will take patience and persistence but it’s worth it, YOU are worth it. 

Germany Kent said, “Never underestimate the power you have to take your life in a new direction.” 

So, cheers to a new direction and a new year, may it be filled with lots of love, health and fitness! 

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Hannah is originally from Texas but she grew up here in Colorado. She was raised on the magic of Disney, the value of reading, the whimsy of imagination and the power of community.  She is passionate about empowering people, especially moms to have confidence in who they are and who they are created to be. She has loved utilizing the CrossFit gym her husband and her own as a vessel to enable people to pursue health in all facets of life.  They have two kids, Lucy who is almost 3 and Lincoln who is 7 months old. Hannah loves writing and has always used that avenue to relax and discover. She is so excited for this opportunity to write and be a part of this incredible community!

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