When ACE Certified Personal Trainer posted last month about Fitness Myths it was a huge hit. So much that I decided we needed to have her come back and post for more. I love Sarah’s honesty and appreciate how much she reads and researches to gain knowledge. She is the best in the business and if you are local, you need to schedule a session with her or take a class from her (email me to get her info).
I’m excited to be able to share with you all again. My focus for this post is to answer questions that some of Hollie’s readers have as well as elaborate on the topics in which you all have an interest. I hope it is helpful! I have listed each question as it was asked on the blog and my answer is below. Beware, I am excited to elaborate on some of these topics. Enjoy.
Q: How do you schedule workouts during the week? Do you alternate intensity levels and types of exercises? (like low impact a couple of days, and higher intensity/activity or weight training on the other days)
A: First I will say that I am always changing things up. I find that the key to maintaining my fitness is to confuse my body and try new things…plus it’s more fun that way. For example, earlier this year I was training for a Triathlon and did more swim, bike, and running that I am used to doing. After completing the Triathlon, I changed things up again and now my focus is getting more HIIT training into my schedule as well as several full body lifting sessions. Some weeks I focus on bodyweight and some weeks I use weight for my full body lifting sessions. I usually write my own workouts but love to go to classes and be pushed! I enjoy spinning and usually get a bike or a run in each week. One thing that never changes is my tracking. I keep a small notebook and track my minutes of fitness with a small description of what I’ve done so that I can go back to get new ideas and remember what I’ve done. My goal each week is to get at least 200 minutes of fitness. I’ve had a good routine going lately so I’ve been getting closer to 300 minutes but only because that is enjoyable to me. Hitting a minutes/week goal takes the pressure off if I have a day where I can’t get a workout so the next day I’ll just do more minutes. A typical week lately has looked like this:
Sunday: Full Body lift at Home
Tuesday: PiYo at home plus a HIIT run (intervals)
Wednesday: TRX at home
Thursday: Full bodyweight workout at home
Friday: OFF (this is my longer work day and almost always my rest day)
Saturday: Bike with the kids and maybe a quick bodyweight Crossfit WOD with my husband
Q: What are your best recommendations for ab workouts? I feel like I do a lot of everything but abs and need to figure out how to add that in (even if it’s something I do at home).
A: Honestly, I don’t focus on getting on the ground and doing 10 minutes of ab focus. I am much more inclined to work abs functionally as I am strength training (as well as prescribe this to my clients). We can be so effective in working abs if we have body awareness as we do each exercise and remember to engage core the entire workout. PiYo has helped not only my flexibility but also body awareness (Pilates or Yoga could do the same). When I do focus on abs the basics are my go-to. Planks are super effective, Russian twists are good, and don’t neglect the low back…supermans are my favorite.
Q: Do you take “off” days? If so, how often and tell me the benefits so I don’t feel guilty on days I don’t “workout.
A: Even though I greatly enjoy fitness, I ABSOLUTELY take off days. There are so many reasons! First, I don’t think of fitness as a weight loss/gain/control thing but instead as a general health thing. I think if my focus were weight loss I would become obsessive. I actually read a really great quote by an obesity doctor when doing some research recently. I credit Yoni Freedhoff and his blog weightymatters.ca for this one…”We need to consciously stop tying exercise to weight as its lack of affect therein and/or the incredibly large amounts required to affect it, might well lead a person to give up, or never start exercising, yet exercise, at any weight, might as well be MAGIC when it comes to health”. YES! This DOCTOR is saying that food intake means so much more to weight loss than exercise! So, back to the question, I take rest days so that my body can heal from the small tears created in my muscle while exercising, so that I can be stronger instead of weaker, so that results will happen, so that I don’t burnout or fatigue, so the my energy stores can be replenished and I can go hard for the rest of my workouts, and so that I avoid injury. I even allow myself a 1 week break a few times a year for the above reasons. We don’t begin to see strength loss until 3 sedentary weeks in a row have occurred.
Q: If I only have 20 minutes to get a workout in, what is you “go to” for calorie burn?
A: I recently read a book called HIIT IT by Gina Harney (a blog author whom I love). She spends many chapters writing about the research behind High Intensity Interval Training. This is my go to for a quick and effective workout! Let me give some examples:
-Tabata- 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest repeated 8 times. This is a burner!
-Treadmill intervals of 1 minute HARD push and 1 minute of recovery repeated for 15-20 minutes
-EMOM- every minute on the minute for a set amount of minutes and different exercises (see crossfit.com for some good ones)
-Pyramids like this: minute 1=10 Kettlebell swings, minute 2=15 swings, minute 3=20 swings, minute 4=25 swings, minute 5=30 swings, minute 6=30 swings, minute 7=25 swings, minute 8=20 swings, minute 9=15 swings, minute 10=10 swings (with a heavy Kettlebell).
Q: How much protein does a woman need daily and is it best to get it right before or after a workout?
A: Let me start with a quote I read recently and agree with…”Yes, protein is shown to help with satiety, but expert sources have told me that the claims in this regard are overblown. Eat it, but don’t worship it.” (bodyforwife.com) I don’t count macros or eat the perfect ratio of protein/carbs when I’m finished with a workout. I just refuel my body with healthy satisfying foods. I also don’t take a protein supplement of any kind because I prefer to eat my calories. That being said, protein is a necessary macronutrient and is one that happens to provide greater amounts of satiety. For the general population, the RDA recommendation is 0.4 grams of protein per pound of body weight but more is needed if you are trying to build muscle. If we want to speed the process of rebuilding and repairing muscle tissue then post workout (within 2 hours) is best.
Q: What’s your favorite tip to share with people who are ready to take their fitness training to the next level?
A: Such a great question! First off, YAY for you! And secondly, I would say that you need to find something that you love! If working with a trainer is enjoyable and helps you stay accountable then try and find a way to make that happen. If not, then find classes, groups, or videos that you enjoy. The best type of fitness is fitness that actually happens consistently! Once you get into a routine then you will probably find that you are intrinsically motivated and won’t even want to go without fitness in your life!
Q: What’s your fav secretive strength move? (No just a basic move most people would know.)
A: I LOVE putting 2 difficult movements together. Think burpees and pull-ups…now add them together to get a burpee pull-up for example. I also love to use the row machine and secondary movement to create a quick beginner or finisher for a workout. Like a 500 meter FAST row followed immediately by a wall ball (or a burpee wall ballJ) movement. Add a clock to this and you’ve got a burner for sure!
Q: How do I get back to a normal belly after two c-sections?
A: Recovery after babies can be tricky, especially if diastasis recti has occurred (abdominal separation). If this is the case then I would honestly recommend working with a trainer who can show you some great exercises. Other than that, a good mix of cardio and strength plus clean eats are your best bets. Also, give yourself time. Good things do not happen overnight!
Thank you, Sara for your honesty. I don’t know about you, but I always learn something from Sara. I am going to try and stop worshiping my protein in-take and focus on listening to my body even more than I already do. I love that idea of taking a whole week off too, maybe I will try that as well!
Your turn- tell me!
What did you learn from Sara?
Anymore questions you have for her?
What do you want to try and implement?