As a personal trainer and obsessive ‘selfie’ taker, I get asked A LOT of questions about diet, training, supplements and body transformation.
Listed below are some of my most commonly asked questions, and the answers that I personally find to be true and the most effective…
- How much cardio should I do?
This is totally dependant on your goal. If your goal is to gain muscle, 1-2 sessions a week is enough. If you’re trying to shed fat, 4-5 sessions a week. For both goals, try and do your cardio for 20-30 minutes. Also, try and do fasted in the morning (before breakfast) so you can separate it wholly from any weight training you might have. And lastly, HIIT is going to be much more effective for both goals than steady state cardio (long runs, jogs etc).
- I do lots of cardio but still don’t look toned?
That’s because cardio will burn calories and keep you fit, but it will not grow muscle or even encourage muscle maintenance. If you want that ‘toned’ look, YOU HAVE TO LIFT WEIGHTS!
- If I lift weights, I’ll get bulky…
NO YOU WON’T! It takes YEARS of HEAVY WEIGHT LIFTING to gain muscle mass! Again, if you want to get ‘toned’, YOU HAVE TO LIFT WEIGHTS!
NO! You need to assess WHAT carbs you eat and WHEN you eat them. So, first rule, STICK TO CLEAN CARBS! I’m talking fruit, veg, sweet potato and wholegrains like oats and brown rice. If your goal is fat loss, have your starchy carbs in the morning so you have a good energy release throughout the day / during training, and again post workout so you can feed muscle. If your goal is muscle gain, you need to be very liberal and generous with your carb intake!
- I’m addicted to chocolate and bread so I can’t stick to a diet! What do I do?
Erm…we are all addicted to bread and chocolate. Everyone wants to eat a mountain of chocolate, cake, bread and pasta when they’ve gone a day without it. It’s normal. HOWEVER, if you want the body, you HAVE to sacrifice for it. It really is that simple. There’s no magic trick, no way around it, you have to eat on point to get aesthetic results. Remember, 1 cheat night a week is going to give you a window for chocolate / bread, so use it. Also remember that after week 3, the diet becomes second nature, you just have to get to that point. DO NOT GIVE UP – IT WILL GET EASIER!
- I eat clean and train hard during the week and I still don’t see results!
The ‘weekend off’ is going to take away all the progress you made in the week. Think about it, you eat spotlessly Monday-Friday, train every day and feel great, you feel like you’re a week or 2 away from actually SEEING changes. Then Friday night rolls around and you drink a bottle of wine, order a takeaway, and eat that chocolate bar that’s been in the cupboard all week. Saturday morning comes and you go for a fry up before hitting the pub for a few beers. You go for dinner with friends and on Sunday you feel pants so you eat toast and biscuits in your pyjamas all day…now tell me, do you think you will get results by doing this every week? No.
- How many days a week should I train?
If your diet is spotless, you can get away with training 3 days a week, hitting 2 body parts a session and doing some cardio after. However, it goes without saying that the more exercise you do, the quicker your results will come. Always ensure you have AT LEAST 1 full rest day a week though, and try to get AS MUCH SLEEP AS POSSIBLE!
- How much is ‘too much’ on a cheat night?
Too much is too much! You already know what the answer is. Have 1 carbohydrate based meal and add A dessert and A drink if you feel the need to. That’s it. Any more and you are going overboard.
- How long until I see results?
This depends on SO many factors. Your starting point, how committed you are to your diet and training…In my experience, clients who are 100% on point with their diet and training see results in week 4-5, clients who struggle to stick to either take longer. I personally jumped in 100% and I saw my body change in 3 weeks, but when I mess around my results come and go like the wind!
- I’m happy with my body but I have pockets of fat on my arms / legs / stomach, how do I get rid of these?
The fitness world is somewhat divided on this topic…I personally am of the experience and opinion that it is IMPOSSIBLE to spot reduce fat. When we lose fat, we lose it evenly from all over our body, the more stubborn areas being the last to go. This is why CONSISTENCY IS KEY!
- What supplements should I take?
If you lift weights and do resistance training, you should look into protein powders, yes. They do NOT make you bulky, they simply HELP your body to REPAIR torn muscle. Standard whey protein will do, or casein for before bed. If you don’t lift you don’t really need protein powders to be honest. Some people like pre workouts for energy, others don’t react so well to it. To be honest, a cup of coffee or a banana will do the trick just as well. Fat burners are for the VERY advanced and tend to be used for a few weeks pre competition / photo shoot, the idea that fat burners are for everybody’s everyday fat loss use is beyond misinformed and 100% WRONG. Omega oils are great for general health, fitness and well being.
THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS, IF YOU WANT AESTHETIC RESULTS, CONSISTENCY WITH DIET AND TRAINING IS THE ONLY WAY!