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8 Frequently Asked Workout Questions Answered by Lisa Peranzo

8 Frequently Asked Workout

Workout image - (Image Credit: Shutterstock); Author picture - (Image Credit: Author)

Overview

We all know the benefits of exercising and having a healthy lifestyle. Those lessons are taught early on in life, that moving your body has a tremendous amount of positive benefit. On a very basic level, consistent exercise helps to:

  • Keep your weight under control
  • Improve your sleep
  • Strengthen your bones and muscles
  • Reduce your risk of certain health issues like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, Type II diabetes, and heart disease
  • Improve your sex life
  • Increase your longevity

On a deeper level, exercise not only can decrease the likelihood of depression, but can also be a huge confidence booster. Working out is like stepping into a lab and testing your strength and resiliency.

When you prove to yourself how strong you are, how capable you are, those lessons are easily translated into the rest of your life. Without even knowing it is happening, you are becoming a more confident and secure person.

But when someone says “I want to get healthy”, the easiest and most obvious answer is “then start working out.”

They know that those benefits from exercising are a necessity, either intrinsically or because someone is telling them they need to make a lifestyle change, however, getting into an exercise routine can be extremely intimidating especially for someone who is newly embarking on a fitness journey.

Oftentimes, that intimidation will outweigh the necessity of creating a workout routine, and the embarrassment around not knowing How to start will prevent someone from trying to start at all.

1. How Do You Begin a Workout Routine?

Begin a workout routine

First, stop thinking about the end result. We can get so focused on what the end of our journey will look like, that we neglect the steps it will take to get there. Remember: Rome was not built in a day, and neither will your exercise routine.

If your goal is to get a healthy lifestyle as a result of incorporating exercise into your daily routine, start with incremental changes. That does not always mean going out and getting the fancy gym equipment for your house or paying to go to the bougie gym down the street.

PRO TIP: When you start working out, especially if you are starting from scratch, make sure everything is good in your body with your doctor first. If there are aspects of your health you need to be mindful about when you start working out, it is better to know that from the beginning as opposed to AFTER you start.

Once you get that clearance, start by taking daily activities and making them more active.

Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Wash your own car. Go for a bike ride with the kiddos or go for a walk after dinner. Incremental changes over time will create a lasting lifestyle that you enjoy because those habits are going to be engrained into your routine.

2. When Can I Start Doing Other Exercises?

Exercise can be a very subjective thing, so if you feel like you are ready for a new challenge, then go for it! If you are hesitant to take on a new challenge, give yourself a deadline for when you are going to start with a more formal workout routine.

PRO TIP: Tell someone you love and trust, who you know supports you on your journey about your deadline. Have them help hold you accountable.

3. What Should I Do?

Start with some at home workouts. Gyms can be intimidating, for novices and even for professionals. The worst thing to do is to get yourself stuck in the comparison game at the gym and it is something that happens to the best of us.

We get so caught up with what the person next to us is doing, that we forget about our own goals and instead we focus on what they are doing and why we are NOT doing the same thing. That cycle of negativity is only going to hinder your progress.

Your body, your life, your schedule, your journey is NOT the same as the person who is on the treadmill next to you, so comparing yourself to them is like comparing a dog and a cat.

At home workouts can be kept super simple with minimal space or equipment required and can get you moving quickly and without the temptation to look at what the person next to you is doing.

Want an easy at home workout?

Woman doing squat
  • 5 Rounds
  • 5 Push ups
  • 10 Crunches
  • 15 Squats
PRO TIP: Go at your own pace, focusing more on form and less on how fast you can complete the workout. Do the workout every week to see how your strength progresses over time.
TRAINER TIP: Working out at home does NOT mean the workout will be easy but it does mean you need to be more mindful of where your body is at and what accommodations you need to give to your body. Hire a coach, get in on virtual workouts, consider having a trainer come to your house so you know you are doing the exercises correctly, and progressing the difficulty of your workouts appropriately as well. This will also help you avoid injury.

4. Should I Lift Weights Or Do Cardio?

Do what sounds more appealing to you. When you first start working out, you need to focus on exercising as a means of building a foundation of a healthy lifestyle. Everything you do will compound on one another until eventually, the exercise routine is a part of your daily routine.

That being said, if the exercise is not appealing to you, you will be less likely to do it, so start with something that sounds intriguing or excites you. Maybe you start with some weight lifting, maybe yoga is your thing, maybe you work your walks into jogs and then runs, maybe your cardio is a dance class, regardless of what you do, what matters is that you are doing something.

While there is a tremendous amount of power behind cross-training, do not stress about what you are doing when you start, just start. Over time you will expand what you are currently doing into other modalities of fitness.

5. Do I Need A Plan? How Often Am I Going To Do This?

Person filling work out plan

Yes you need a plan. Please do not try to wing it. When you first start working out, the biggest thing is to figure out what you want to do, and then how it will fit into your day.

TRAINER TIP: I recommend to beginners to exercise for at least 30 minutes up to an hour per session, 3 to 5 times a week. Once you know what you want to start with, grab your calendar and figure out what days would be able to accommodate your workouts.
PRO TIP: Block out that time on your calendar, like a doctor’s appointment so you know it is open and available for working out.

6. When I Lift Weights, How Much Should I Lift?

Before you even consider grabbing weights, take into account previous injury or body limitation that could impact the exercise. Because regardless of what you do, using weights will challenge you and will help you gain muscle.
Since every BODY is different, and everyone is at a different place on their fitness journey, here are some general rules of thumb when lifting:

Light weights and high repetitions challenge muscular endurance while heavy weights with lower repetitions challenge strength.

Both will make you stronger, both will have you seeing results, and both are beneficial to any lifting routine. Focus on the type of exercise you are doing, the number of reps you are going for, and then choose your weight accordingly.

PRO TIP: If you are able to get through your set quickly, easily and think “this is a breeze”, you are going TOO light. This does not mean you need to be working to muscle fatigue or failure every time, but you should not be able to easily get through sets either. Challenge yourself and kick it up a notch.
TRAINER TIP: Form is KEY when you move weights. If you increase your weight capacity, and your form fails, that is an indication that you increased your weights too much. Form trumps everything because high-quality form means you are less likely to get injured.

7. How Many Calories Do I Burn When I Run?

Running on stair and burning calories

When you start working out, I do not want you to be worried about the calories you are burning. I know it sounds crazy, especially if your intention behind working is to lose weight but I do not want it to be your main focus.

Because even while I could give you a general number of what the average person burns in terms of calories when they run, everyone is different. The way your body burns calories can be impacted by any number of things, and without more information, you would not be able to get an accurate idea.

Challenge yourself to let go of the focus of caloric burn, and instead be proud of yourself for making time in your busy schedule to take care of you and know that you have already done more in your workout than most people will do all month.

8. How Do I Avoid Getting Bored With My Workouts?

This is the number 1 reason why people stop working out. It is not because they cannot make the time or that they do not want to, it is because they are not being challenged. Working out is a mental game.

Working out is a science experiment in your strength, your resiliency and your ability to show up for yourself. Unfortunately, we are less likely to show up for the necessary aspects of lift, even if they are good for us, if they do not challenge us mentally.

When you start getting bored with a workout that is a huge indicator that the workout is too easy, your muscles are used to what you are doing, and that you need to switch something up.

PRO TIP: This is a great time to start cross-training which can be easily done at home. If you were running, maybe you start lifting weights or doing yoga or Pilates. Maybe you start swimming or taking a Zumba class. Switching things up keeps things interesting and will give you the motivation to keep going.
TRAINER TIP: If you bring in another modality of fitness that you are not accustomed to, again considering hiring a coach or a trainer to ensure you are doing the exercises properly to help avoid injury.

Conclusion

Just like with anything new, there is a learning curve. Fitness is no different. Be patient with yourself, be kind to yourself, and above everything else remember to applaud your efforts.

No one else is going to get you healthy, no one else is going to take the time to work out for you, but you showing up for yourself and creating this healthy lifestyle is a radical demonstration of self-kindness and love.

When it gets hard, and when you want to quit or do not know where to go next, be sure to remind yourself that all of this hard work and all of the effort will pay off as long as you do not quit.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. The content on our website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or therapy. You should NEVER disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking treatment due to something you have read on our website and we will not be held responsible for any adverse health condition or injury that occurs as a result of doing so.
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Lisa Peranzo

Founder and CEO, A Healthful Life

Highlights In addition to being the founder and CEO of A Healthful Life, Lisa has been featured in various ma...

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