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The Top Questions I am Asked as a Fitness Coach

As a fitness coach, I get a lot of questions from my coaching clients, family, and friends. Fitness is a multi-faceted field, and there are a lot of aspects to consider when you are trying to achieve your goals. Along with that, the internet can provide a variety of contradicting information, which makes finding your answers challenging. This blog post dives into those often-asked questions and provides insight into how I would respond to them.

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🔥 Weight Loss

Q: “No matter how much I work out, I can’t seem to lose weight. What am I doing wrong?”

A: This is a question I most often get asked when someone new comes to my studio for the first time. They explain that they have been through all the different bootcamps and exercise regimens before, but nothing seems to work regarding weight loss.

If this sounds like you, remember that weight loss requires more than simply exercising. In my article “Road to a Health You”, I touch on 3 important pillars to remember when building a healthy lifestyle. Those pillars are fitness, nutrition, and mindset. I explain that regardless of how hard you exercise, you leave results on the table if you ignore the foods you eat. Thinking of your food as fuel can be a great visual. What food is going to better fuel your body? Tasty treats can be okay in moderation, but when unhealthy options outweigh your more effective, healthy fuel source, the problem can occur.

If you are eating a lot of processed or sugary foods, then that could be the reason for your lack of weight loss. Similarly, your body won't effectively burn fat if you are not consuming enough calories daily. Ensure you eat a balanced diet and get enough protein, fiber, and healthy fats. All of these factors can affect your weight loss goals.

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🤔 How to Gain Strength

Q. “So to build my pushup strength, should I do the regular ones and struggle a bit since I know I’m not good at them yet, or do the modified ones with better form because I know I can probably do those better?”

A: This is a message I received from one of my members just last week. Building strength is a foundational part of any fitness journey. Strength training helps you build muscle, which supports your joints and bones and helps you move more efficiently throughout everyday activities. Strength training also helps you use body fat more efficiently, improving overall health and wellbeing.

The body needs to be challenged to gain muscle and build strength effectively. This should, however, be done in a safe and progressive manner. When my member asked this question, I assured her that pushing herself to do “regular” pushups was an incredible idea. I had seen her form before, and she was making great progress on them. I mentioned that if she felt her form with the regular pushups was starting to deteriorate, however, due to muscle fatigue, revert back to the modified form. This is a great way to push your body safely.

Instead of asking, “Should I do exercise one, or exercise two?”, do what you can with the more challenging movement, and scale back when you need to. Be honest with yourself when trying a new exercise or adding weight. It is smarter to start slow and progress intermittently, than to go above and beyond on your first go, only to injure yourself and delay further progress.

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💪 Cardio and Getting “Toned”

Q: “How can I tone up my body?”

A: Throughout the late 90s and early 2000s, high-intensity cardio training programs were touted and marketed as the hands-down best way to lose weight and get shredded. At the time, if you hadn’t heard of STEP or INSANITY, you were among the minority. And while those propped-up programs may have been an enjoyable ride, most didn’t provide a sense of reality regarding the other necessary aspects of your fitness journey that are crucial to seeing the results you are after.

“Burn Stubborn Belly Fat with this 15-Minute Core Workout!” Heard of a title like that before? If so, that’s because hundreds of online workouts are designed to get your attention from the title alone. But the unfortunate truth is that no amount of crunches, situps, or core work will help you lose stubborn belly fat. This concept is called “spot reduction”. Simply put, spot reduction is the belief that you can target an area of the body for weight loss through your workout routine. This claim is not true. And even with this being common knowledge among fitness professionals, titles like the one I mentioned above are still commonplace and give fitness newcomers false ideas about approaching their goals.

Getting “toned”, is yet another term that has been marketed in the industry. And just like spot reduction, getting toned has no scientific foundation. When someone asks how they can get toned, they are most likely looking for a set of exercises or a specific weight to use for the movements they are performing. However, most don’t realize that tightening muscles or getting rid of that underarm “flab” is not considered toning. “Toning” is not a thing. There is weight loss and muscle building. These, in conjunction, will give those looking for a “toned” look, what they are after. To look toned, you need to have a low enough body fat percentage, and built muscles.

Strength training is an incredible way to achieve that “toned” look and lose fat. Previously, I mentioned a key aspect that INSANITY and other high-intensity programs may have missed out on. Strength training was that key aspect. From improving bone and joint health to promoting an efficient calorie burn with a boost in your metabolism, strength training is a crucial part to a successful fitness journey. Cardio is important in keeping your heart health in check, and great for those who may live otherwise sedentary lifestyles. But if you are looking to up your game and results, strength training is one great way to do just that!

This post was originally written for Nivati, the employee mental health platform. You can read the blog post on the Nivati blog here.


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