Every day as a Personal Trainer I hear more or less the same questions just asked in different ways. I have the same conversations about fat loss, getting stronger about sets and reps and of course getting abs.
Here are the three most common questions I get as a personal trainer:
Will I get bulky?
This question is 100% from females, so guys read on.
For female’s, it is very hard to grow muscle naturally through exercise and nutrition as we have different hormones to men. If you’re just starting out to strength training and are absolutely going all out it in your training the top end of muscle gain over 1 year would be 4-5 kgs.
Most of us would be looking at about 2kgs in the first year if you are training regularly and consistently.
With your training is likely to be some body composition changes as in losing fat, and so your weight may actually be the same but you will have more muscle and less fat.
Getting bulky muscles will take a matter of years and dedicated training The bodybuilders you see looking swole have put years of dedication into their training, nutrition and lifestyle to achieve that look. Certainly, some of us are genetically blessed to put on muscle more readily or to have a body shape where muscle mass can appear unevenly distributed. If this is the case then have a look at your programming and individualise it to suit your needs.
How much Cardio should I do?
The second part of this question, spoken or unspoken is How much cardio should I do to burn fat?
The majority of people prioritize vast amounts of cardio and conditioning while starving themselves to see fat loss results.
Whilst this may work in the short run, to continue seeing results more cardio is needed and calories are reduced further. There becomes a point where there is nowhere left to reduce and progress stalls and then often weight returns.
This training can often lead an undesirable physique., where a person can be quite lean looking but still carry fit in trouble spots and have little muscle tone.
Proper amounts of cardio and conditioning work are healthy and fine to do. But they do not build shape and tone as strength training does. The majority of us are in the gym to tone up, create shape and sculpt some muscle which is where the weights come in.
While cardio burns calories and fat when you’re performing it, strength training has what is known as high EPOC or This is a fancy term for saying how long your metabolism is elevated after exercise.
Lifting weights also burn calories during the workout, whilst maybe not at quite the same rate as cardio, however, weights also have the benefit of EPOC ( Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption). Lifting weight burns calories after exercise due to muscle break down and repairing and EPOC. Lifting weights can burn calories for up to 38 hours after exercise due to muscle break down and repair.
Any movement will burn calories, walking, swimming, bike riding, however, some will burn at a higher rate than others.
What’s the best exercise to get abs
I am yet to meet someone in the gym who doesn’t list one of their goals to get abs. Unfortunately, most gym goers are not going to achieve this, due to misinformation and a lack of a clear goal as to how to get there. Getting abs is 99% nutrition, what you are eating outside of the gym is going to have a far greater impact than the exercises you are doing on the gym floor.
To get abs you need to be visibly lean enough to see the abdominal muscles underneath. To get lean enough you need to be consistently in a calorie deficit for long enough for your body fat to drop to around 6 – 9% for guys and 12 – 15% for females. To get this result it is likely you will need to sacrifice some socializing, cut out alcohol and prep your food in advance to ensure you are getting the correct calorie intake. This requires dedication, commitment and proper planning.
When people tell me they are in the gym to do “ab day” or “core finisher” I always ask why? Core and structural abdominal exercises are great, they help with your posture, your balance and all sorts of daily life functions like walking, lifting and twisting.
Doing 100 crunches is probably going to hurt your back more than anything else.
If you have asked your trainer this question, googled it, or dreamt about it. Don’t worry you are not alone.
I have no doubt I will keep getting asked and keep answering these three questions for many years to come.