Friday, February 14, 2014

Ask a trainer anything! -- Part 1

First of all ... Happy Valentine's Day!!  Whether you have a significant other or not, I hope you find a way to enjoy this day. 

Now ... down to business.

Remember when I asked for your fitness questions a few weeks ago?  Well thanks to a few comments on this blog as well as conversations on Twitter, Facebook, and in real life, I gathered a few great questions for one of my favorite bloggers/trainers.

A Balancing ActHi y'all! I'm Amy and I blog about health, fitness and life over at A Balancing Act! I'm currently a NASM certified personal trainer, fitness specialist and group exercise instructor, but only made the career switch in August 2013. My love of fitness started at a young age. I was always involved in athletics; primarily dance, gymnastics and competitive cheerleading. This kept me in shape through my first two years of college when I cheered competitively for Texas A&M. During my junior year, I needed to find a new way to stay in shape. I started attending group exercise classes with one of my friends and fell in love. I wanted to become an instructor, so I signed up for instructor training January 2008. By the summer, I was teaching my own classes and constantly learning how to teach new formats: step, weights, cycle, Pilates and even water aerobics! I realized that I found my calling a little late in my college career. Upon graduation in December 2009, I went to work in Corporate America and continued teaching group exercise on the side. Just last year, I decided to make the big switch. After working at a desk for 4 years, I knew it wasn't for me. I can honestly say that changing careers has been on of the best decisions I've ever made. I love helping people become the best version of themselves and constantly learning new things. I'd love to help y'all as well. Any questions? Just ask!

Now, read how she answered some of the questions:

How much should I exercise each week if I want to lose weight?
The main key to losing weight is calories out vs. calories in. You need to make sure that you are working out enough to counteract the food you are consuming! If you’re just getting started working out two to three times a week for at least 30 minutes will be ideal. The first step is getting into a routine that keeps you going. Find something you enjoy at the gym or at home and keep it up!

Do you have any advice for finding motivation to work out when it’s cold?
Just do it! The hardest part is getting started. Just think, once you get started, you won’t be nearly as cold. In fact, you probably won’t be cold! If leaving the house is what’s discouraging you, do something at home. There are tons of exercises that can be done with nothing but your body weight!
I want to work out more, but feel like I don’t have time – how do I make time?
This is everyone’s main excuse for not getting started with a fitness regimen. Time. I understand that time is so very precious, but there are little things you can do to fit in a workout. Here are a few of my suggestions:
  • Set your alarm for an hour earlier! It’ll be rough at first, but once you get in the routine, you’ll thank yourself later!
  • Do little things throughout the day on busy days. It adds up! For example, do some squats in your office (or the bathroom) to get your blood flowing, take walking breaks throughout the day, take the stairs, sit on a stability ball while working at your desk! I worked in a Corporate office for several years and did all of these. Don’t be embarrassed, you’re doing this to benefit you! Soon, people may follow your example.
  • Have kids? Take them with you. Go on a walk to a park. While the kids are playing, use the park as your own playground. Tricep dips on the benches, overhead lifts with the kids, pull ups on the monkey bars. Heck, try to cross the monkey bars…it’s tough!
  • Skip happy hour and dinner dates every so often and set up a workout date with your friends or significant other. They can help you on this journey and it’s great to have someone to hold you accountable.
  • Workout while watching tv!
  • Check out some other options on my blog!

Going into a gym for the first time can be intimidating. What’s the best way to get started?
It can be intimidating with so many people there that seem to know what they’re doing! We’ve all been there at some point. My number one tip, don’t be afraid to ask questions. The staff and personal trainers are there to help you! As a personal trainer, I love when members ask for my help. It makes me feel helpful and I switched to this career to help people! Many gyms give you a free personal training session or two. Take advantage of these and tell the trainer what you’re looking to learn. If they’re a good trainer, they’ll listen to you and help you learn what the gym has to offer. Another great way to get more involved at the gym is group exercise classes. You have an instructor telling you exactly what to do and you’ll get a great workout. Don’t worry about people thinking you look silly, trust me, they’re focused on themselves and not you!

What should I eat before a workout?
When eating a snack before you workout, make sure you don’t overdo it. You don’t want to eat more calories than you’re about to burn. But also consider the opposite effect; you need to be sure to eat enough to sustain the energy you need for your workout. Carbs are actually your friend before a workout. A mix of simple and complex carbs is ideal. Try to eat natural, unprocessed food. These are best for your body. You’ll be getting all the nutrients you need without all the fillers! Here are some great pre-workout snacks:
  •  Fruit and toast (My personal favorite snack is peanut butter toast and sliced banana!)
  • Yogurt, Greek or regular, as long as you’re not sensitive to dairy in any way
  • Smoothies
  • Oatmeal
  • Apple and almond butter
  • Trail mix, stick to fruit and nut mixes without the chocolately fillers!
  • Make sure you give yourself 30-60 minutes before you workout for your food to digest. Figure out what works best for you. You don’t want to be full and uncomfortable when you’re trying to push yourself!

Good stuff in here!!  Be sure to come back next week for part 2!


And before I forget, here's a look at my workouts ...

Last week's workouts
Friday: Off.
Saturday: Off.
Sunday: Off.
Monday: Zumba at home (20 mins.) + 40 squats, 20 lunges (on each leg), 40 crunches, 40 reverse curls, 25 bicep curls (with 5 lb. hand weights), 25 dead lifts (with 5 lb. hand weights), 20 push-ups, 15 pec decs (with 5 lb. hand weights), and a 30-second plank. <--- not bad for having a head cold!!
Tuesday: BodyPump (60 mins.) + Zumba (30 mins.)
Wednesday: Kickboxing (45 mins.)
Thursday: BodyPump (60 mins.) + Zumba (30 mins.)

Yeah, I kicked my own butt this week. I was feeling gross after last week's slack-off.  Plus, I'm going to a cupcake, beer, and wine event tomorrow morning, so ... ya know ... I had to balance it out. Ha ha!


  1. Yay! I'm so glad we were able to do this together! I hope your readers get some good info from this! I told my readers to stop by today too!

  2. Hi Amy, I feel like you probably were at A&M the same time I was! I wish now I would have gone to the rec more. I loved it, but it always seemed like such a chore, and now the gyms I can get to aren't nearly as nice. Great blog post.

  3. I really want to try a bodypump class. I keep seeing it all over the bloggy fitness world. I wonder if I could convince my local gym to offer it?

  4. Great job!! And those are some great tips for beginners. Good post!

  5. Great post..I always struggle finding the right food before my workouts..I am not a big breakfast/lunch eater, so smoothies work well for me you have any great suggestions for protein powder?

  6. Your rocked it this week! Great work! How do you like Zumba? I have heard such great things about it but have never tried it.

  7. LOVED this thank you for sharing!! You are doing so great. Thanks for linking up!


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