Friday, February 21, 2014

Ask a trainer anything! -- Part 2

In the first installment, Amy answered a handful of questions about getting started with workouts.  Here are a few more tips for while you're in the gym and after.

A Balancing Act
Hi 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!


How do I venture beyond the cardio machines (elliptical, treadmill, bike, etc.) and make good use of the gym?
Don’t be afraid to take your time and look at the machines. The machines that you see all around the gym have instructions on them. It tells you how to sit, what to push and even which muscle groups you’ll be working. Don’t hesitate to take a little bit of time to figure out what you’re doing. After a few times, you’ll know exactly what to do and not be intimidated by the machines.
Again, don’t be afraid to ask as well. That’s what trainers are there for! We want to help you!

Should I do cardio first or lift weights?
The order of exercise all depends on the individual’s personal goals! Both cardio and weight training are essential to a well rounded fitness regimen.

For those whose goal is to lose weight, cardio should come first. Cardio generally burns more fat by depleting your glycogen stores and then burning excess fat. Another great option for weight loss is interval cardio training before hitting the weights. Try doing walk/run or jog/sprint intervals on the treadmill to get your heart rate and metabolism going before switching to weights. And don’t forget the weights! You need strength training to lose weight as well. By incorporating a weight program your body will burn more calories throughout the day.

If your goal is to increase muscle mass (and I’m not talking about being bulky), weights should be done before cardio. Doing cardio before will increase muscle fatigue. This will cause your performance to slack by compromising form and technique.  

What’s the best way to use those resistance bands I always see hanging everywhere?
Resistance bands are a great strength training tool to use that doesn’t actually require weights! There are usually a few different levels of resistance bands. Be sure to give them each a tug to see which you want to use, light, medium or heavy. I would suggest looking at a few workouts online to take to the gym. That way, you can look up how to do different exercises before performing them at the gym. Here’s a workout that I created last October:
It’s a total body workout that will be sure to make you sweat!

What is interval training? And what are the benefits?
Interval training is a series of alternating low and high intensity exercises done for a period of time with a period of rest to follow. The goal is to use maximum effort to achieve muscle and cardio fatigue in quick bursts. This form of training helps to maximize fat burning and muscle burning potential. You also burn more calories in less time doing interval training. Here’s a great infographic if you’re looking for more information!

What should I eat after a workout?
Eating after a workout is an important aid to recovery. Protein and carbs should be key staples about 30-60 minutes after your workout. This is extra important after long cardio sessions (60+ minutes) or strength training events. Your muscles are fatigued and need the protein to aid in muscle recovery and growth. Here are some post workout meal options:
  • Veggie omelet (Morning)
  • Sandwich on wheat bread (Afternoon, Evening)
  • Tuna
  • Turkey and hummus
  • Stick with lean meats and add on veggies!
  • Lean meat paired with veggies (Afternoon, Evening)
  • Chicken, tuna, salmon, tilapia, swai, etc.
  • Green beans, broccoli, mixed veggies, sweet potatoes
  • Chocolate Milk, Muscle Milk, Recovery Protein Drink -- Great for those that may not be able to stomach food for a while after working out! Still have the protein and carbs needed for recovery!
How do I help prevent/deal with soreness after a workout?
The best way to help speed recovery is nutrition and rest. Make sure you’re eating appropriately before and after your workout. If you’re sore, embrace it! You rocked your workout and remember this is your muscles’ way of rebuilding. Some other common soreness relief methods are:
  • Warm bath with Epsom salts (you can get these for cheap from the drug store)
  • Heating pad – good for lower body soreness, hips, back, legs
  • Ice – good for shoulders or joint swelling
  • Rest! Remember that resting is almost as important as working out! If a specific body part is sore, work out something else that day.
How can I prevent breakouts in my sports bra strap area?
Put some deodorant on your skin where your straps are irritating you. This will help soak up the extra moisture that is causing your sports bra to irritate your skin. If that doesn’t work, use a more heavy duty type product like Aquafor or Body Glide!

Is there any way to lose weight without losing my boobs?
It depends, unfortunately, we can choose where we want to lose weight. Our body usually first loses the weight we last put on. Last in, first out. While you can choose spots to tone by focusing on weight lifting for that body part, fat doesn’t work the same. If you’ve always had boobs, it’s likely your boobs will stick around. If you recently acquired boobs when you put on weight, it’s likely they’ll be the first to go. Don’t fret, having small boobs isn’t so bad! I can speak from personal experience. When you do lose the rest of the weight, they’ll be proportional! 


Many thanks to Amy for sharing her thoughts and workout wisdom! I know if I lived closer to where she does, I'd be seeking her out in the gym for some pointers. In the meantime, I'll be glued to her blog, and you should be too!!


Last week's workouts
Friday: Off.
Saturday: Off.
Sunday: BodyPump (60 mins.) + AMT Machine (15 mins.) + StairMill (5 mins.)
Monday: "The Bachelor" workout from Pinterest (45 mins.)
Tuesday: BodyPump (60 mins.) + Zumba (30 mins.)
Wednesday: AMT Machine (20 mins.) + Kickboxing (45 mins.)
Thursday: Off.

Not too shabby. We got a blizzard yesterday so I didn't get to the gym, and I couldn't convince myself to get up and do a workout.  Ah well. I still followed all the rules in that graphic. I'm still winning.

By the way, I'm still doing pretty well with my clean eating.  And I can definitely feel a difference.  More about that in a few more weeks!!

1 comment:

  1. Love this!! THanks again for linking up! I am gonna checkout this Bachelor workout on Pinterest! :)


Pin It button on image hover