It’s another guest blog – I’m not always this lazy, honest…😬
Last year I was lucky enough to be given some free training sessions with Hall Personal Training in Oxford. The training sessions absolutely destroyed me, and demonstrated how much of a difference it can make to use a good PT.
This post is from Chris, the owner of Hall Personal Training who has answered the top ten questions that PT’s are asked by clients. This post will cover five of them, with another post on the way!
1️⃣ WILL WEIGHT TRAINING MAKE ME BULKY?
This is the most common question we hear as personal trainers. The short answer is ‘no’! When you see bodybuilders or even just very fit, muscular people on Instagram it’s very likely it’s taken them years to build that physique. Putting on a significant amount of muscle mass takes considerable time and effort, as well as a proper nutrition programme. Unless you eat and train with the purpose gaining muscle mass, it’s highly unlikely you’ll get bulky. It’s a little like saying going out for a casual 5k run will turn you into a sprinter.
It’s far more likely that weight training will help you to burn some body fat and “tone up” the muscles that you’ve already got, leading to a leaner and more toned physique.
2️⃣ HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO GET A SIX PACK?
All the fitness models and diet plans on social media lead us to believe that getting a six pack is as simple as eating with moderation for a few weeks and performing a few abdominal exercises in the gym a couple of times per week. This simply isn’t true. Building enough muscle mass and getting lean enough for a defined six pack can be incredibly difficult for the general population. Although it’s certainly possible,it requires significant preparation and dedication for a prolonged period of time – in fact, most people decide it’s simply not worth it – as their love of cake or alcohol far outweighs their love of washboard abs! But if you’re serious and starting from a slim physique, expect to spend 12-16 weeks working hard to achieve that Spartan six-pack.
3️⃣ WHY CAN’T I JUST DO CARDIO/LOSE WEIGHT BY RUNNING?
This depends on your goal; if you’re aiming to run a marathon then running training will certainly be a core part of your programme. However, for most people, who are looking to lose some weight and build a lean muscular physique, weight training would be more favourable for achieving your end goal. There are so many benefits of weight training that it’s difficult to know where to start… It will help you to increase your lean muscle mass and burn more calories in the hours after you train. It improves sleep quality and heart health, as well as bone density and relieves stress. While running and cardio certainly have lots of their own health benefits, they don’t have the same benefits for muscle tissue and calorie expenditure as strength training. Steady state cardio is a useful tool for burning body fat when you’re looking to boost your daily calorie expenditure, but for the majority of people this should be a bolt-on to weight training and not your main focus.
4️⃣ WHY DO I NEED REST DAYS?
On a roll with your training? Loving the gym and want to keep going? Think rest is for weaklings… well unfortunately, rest is a crucial tool when it comes to improving your health, fitness and strength. When we go to the gym (or hit the pavements), we are actually causing tiny tears in our muscle fibres. Contrary to popular belief, muscles aren’t grown in the gym, but when we rest. Our muscles grow when we allow these tears to heal – hitting the gym over and over again prevents this recovery and growth, and long-term can lead to over-training syndrome, which is definitely best avoided as it affects sleep, hormones, mood and can cause significant injury. If your body is telling you to rest, it may be worth listening.
5️⃣ WHAT’S THE BEST DIET?
The answer to this is far simpler than you may expect – low-carb, low-calorie, low-fat… As long as you can stick to it, it really doesn’t matter! We start the vast majority of our clients off on a low carb diet, but as long as you’re using more energy than you’re taking in then you’ll lose weight. If for you, that means trying intermittent fasting, or dropping carbs, and you find it relatively easy to stick to, then that will be your most successful option. Don’t get dragged into thinking there’s one rule for everyone, because there’s really not.