“IT DEPENDS.” -Said every trainer, ever.
Being a personal trainer or simply someone who knows their stuff about fitness, you get asked a LOT of questions about how to go about doing things fitness and nutrition-wise.
“How many calories should I eat?”
“What type of exercise should I do?”
“How long should I work out?”
“How often should I work out?”
“Do I have to do cardio?”
“What should my macros be?”
“Should I follow x diet?”
“So and so does this, do I have to do that?”
And the list goes on and on and on and on. The problem with getting all of these questions, is I can never give anyone a straight forward answer. The answer is always initially “IT DEPENDS”.
There are SO many factors that go into what type of exercise someone should do, how many calories they should be eating, what their macros should be. The very first thing I always ask to get a better idea is “What are your goals?”
Most of it depends on what your goals are. The types of exercises you should be doing for fat loss are extremely different than what you should be doing for building muscle, or even better, building strength. Yes, there is a difference in those two – check out Lindsay’s great post on that!
The rep ranges, the type and amount of cardio all differ depending on your goals. As does how many calories you should be eating, your macros, etc.
Often times, I get this response – “I want to lose fat and build muscle”. Well guess what people, you really cannot do those simultaneously. This is an entirely other blog post in itself! I’ll touch on that later.
The other factor that plays a huge role in answering these questions efficiently is the person. Yup, you guessed it. Every. Person. Is. Different. I feel like a broken record, and probably as annoying as Pharrell’s happy song saying that over and over again. But it’s true!
How much experience with exercise you have, how many calories you are eating now, what type of exercises and how long you have been doing, your height, your weight, what body type you are, what kind of shape your metabolism is in, and SO much more.
Two people with similar body-types can even respond completely differently from each other. This is why everything just depends.
My tips for all of this:
- Determine your goals. Write down short-term goals, and long-term goals. Make sure they are attainable, and not something out of your reach. For example, don’t make your goal “I want a six-pack in 4 weeks.” Sure, maybe some people can achieve that, but you have to look closely at where you stand right now, and where you want to be.
- Do some research. A LOT of the knowledge I have about health and fitness believe it or not comes from researching. When I am interested in something, I google the crap out of it. I had a question? Google. There is a lot of information out there. Get books. Read articles that are BACKED UP by science. Just be careful, since there is a lot of contradicting information out there.
- Get in tune with your body. You could ask any fitness professional to make you a plan, give you set nutrition, but nobody knows your body BETTER THAN YOU. No one. You know how you feel on a low-carb diet vs. a high carb diet. You know what has or hasn’t worked for you in the past. Yes, guidance can be VERY helpful, but ultimately it’s up to you to be in tune with your body.
- EXPERIMENT. This one goes with the bullet point above. You never know how you or your body will react to something if you don’t try it. I am constantly switching up my workouts, my diet, my macros, etc. to see how my body reacts to it. But make sure you give it enough time to see if it is working or not, don’t change every week!
- Be consistent. I know, sounds contradicting to the bullet above, but hear me out. When you DO try something knew, stick with it for a while. You won’t see changes right away, it doesn’t work like that. You need to stick with it until you do see some change or until you figure out how your body is responding.
- Be. Patient. This one is probably the most important part. SO many people are not patient, and then they give up. They compare themselves to how others look, yet they are on completely different chapters in their fitness journey. Things do NOT happen overnight. You must be patient, change takes time but it WILL COME. I promise. Trust the process.
Do you make short and long term goals for yourself?
Do you like to try new types of workouts?
Any tips you can add?!