Friday, September 19, 2014


Working with a coach for my triathlon training, being a coach coupled with being in the learning and training profession, I am constantly aware of the need to ask numerous open ended questions in order to help others learn through thinking and research. Asking questions also helps me better understand how much knowledge those being coached have regarding a subject.

Below are some answers to often asked fitness questions.

Q. Should you do cardio and weights on different days?

If you are working out at a high intensity, keep your workouts separate as your first workout will always be the better one.  If you can only work out a few days a week and want to max out your calorie burn, you can do two works together but make sure you do cardio first. If time allows, doing cardio in the morning and strength training in the evening is a better choice as the time difference allows for recovery.

Q. What is better, working out in the morning or the evening?

Studies differ on what is best. Some studies show those that workout in the am in a fasting state lose more pounds while others show that later day workouts are more effective when the muscles are warmed up. Common sense comes into play.  Workout when you KNOW you will do it. Personally I recommend a morning routine and it is a great way to start your day and there are fewer things, including fatigue, that often get in the way of working out near the end of the day.

Q.  I work out regularly so why am I having trouble getting rid of my belly?

Those that have trouble with belly fat results from a poor diet and if exercising, not doing the correct exercises. Toning alone (lack of cardio) will not burn that belly fat.   When trying to lose the belly fat, turn up the intensity with your workouts to include intervals with built in rest periods. This will help spike metabolism and burn more calories.

Completing Atomic Pushups with a TRX system is also a great way to increase intensity, provide some cardio, tone the mid-section and get an intense workout in a very short period of time.  Other core engaging activities like crunches, Bosu ball twists and front and side planks are great core strengthening exercises.

Reducing the amount of refined sugar and simple carbs such as bread, pasta and cereals reduces the body’s insulin response that leads to fat storage. Opt for more fresh vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and lean dairy.

Q.  Do I need to stretch?

While there are many opinions on the need to stretch and the validity of stretching, my preference and personal opinion is that stretching and foam rolling are two of the best things you can do when participating in an exercise program. Not only will stretching improve your flexibility, it will help prevent injuries, increase range of motion (which can lead to performance improvements) and is a great recovery tool.  Stretching is best done when the muscles are warm but I find some easy, dynamic and static stretching before a workout improves performance.  This is true for both strength training and cardio workouts.

Chris is a Certified Personal Trainer, USA Triathlon Level 1 Coach, Group Exercise Instructor, exercise and endurance enthusiast.  He competes yearly in numerous running races, marathons, ultra marathons, triathlons and other endurance events.