My Top 5 Questions

Lisa BodyShotAs a fitness professional I get asked a lot of questions about health and appearance.  Yes, I even get asked, “Does my butt look fat?” Below is a compilation of the most asked questions and my answers.  Enjoy.

How long will it take to see results?

It all depends on how hard you work and how your DNA is programmed but, in general, you’ll start to see results within 2 weeks of starting a fitness routine if you’ve previously been sedentary (i.e. couch potato).  If you’ve been active and are already fairly fit you’ll notice subtle changes in your body within a month, often less.

What part of my body will change first?

Again, it depends on your DNA and your specific training regimen, but you should first see your waist whittle in, beginning at the rib cage and then working down towards your hips.  Next, your thighs will start to slim down.  Usually, the third area is the arms.  Arms can be stubborn.  Those Hollywood arms that actresses have are hard-earned.

How much cardio do I need?

There is a lot of research and a lot of guidelines out there.  Personally I prefer the research from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).  Generally though, it’s best to do cardio 3 to 4 times per week and as often as 6 times per week.  Realistically if you’re not a cardio fan, just try to hit 3 to 4 weekly sessions and you’ll be fine.  Minimum time for cardio is 30 minutes.  If you’re not conditioned start with 10 or 20 minutes and work your way up.

How much weight training do I need?

Weight training keeps your joints strong and fluid and your skeletal system nicely balanced.  If you do one total-body weight training session per week, you’ll see gradual improvements over time.  Increase it to twice per week and you’ll see results happen twice as fast (noticing changes within two weeks).  If you do three sessions per week, you’ll get to where you want to be about 20% faster than with twice a week weight training.  A nice boost, but not a huge one.  I recommend most people do weights two times per week unless they have a specific training reason to do otherwise.

What do you do to stay in shape?

I am not the cardio queen I used to be.  Those 10Ks seem a distant memory.  After I had my child my priorities shifted and I’m not the hard body I once was.  In general I walk everywhere, and I mean everywhere!  I average about 5 miles a day on most days when I’m training clients and about 3 miles on the days that I’m not. I try to do Pilates twice per week but I shoot for three.  I do a combination of equipment work and mat work.  I also train with a friend of mine who is a personal trainer every couple of weeks and she kicks my butt with lunges, squats and little pieces of tubing.  I do NOT workout with my clients, I consider that incredibly unprofessional.  The workout is about the client’s butt ~ not mine!

I would like to give credit to @HeleneDesr, thanks very much Helene for the topic suggestion.

If this post sparked any other questions you’d like to ask, fire away …

About Lisa Johnson

Lisa Johnson here. I've been a personal trainer since 1997, a Pilates instructor since 1998 and the owner of Modern Pilates since 1999. I'm hoping to give you some good ideas to get or stay in shape with a healthy dose of humor and reality. Thanks for joining me.

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9 Responses to My Top 5 Questions

  1. Jenifer July 29, 2009 at 12:28 pm #

    This is a great motivator and reminder to get off my butt! Thank you!

  2. Amber July 29, 2009 at 12:35 pm #

    That was a great post. It was very helpful!

  3. Kate July 30, 2009 at 11:06 am #

    Good post – easy to follow and a great motivator. Did a hill (1000m ascent) 10K yesterday – very good for the butt!

  4. Joe Williams August 1, 2009 at 3:37 pm #

    Thanks for sharing the list, Lisa. With age, I find that I gravitate more towards cardio and less towards weights. I’ve also added yoga which was not in my repertoire before.

  5. Anali August 2, 2009 at 2:21 pm #

    I really appreciate the list! And because of another post that you wrote, I’m really trying to diversify my exercising. Thanks for the motivation! ; )

  6. Lisa Johnson August 3, 2009 at 5:56 pm #

    Thanks Anali, that’s so nice to hear. The reason why I do the blog really …

  7. Health Votes September 28, 2010 at 11:58 am #

    nice article, those are truly some of those questions i wanted to ask. i like to walk to keep in shape as well, since i do not have any other goals right now, weight loss and muscle building is not an issue, just want to maintain my skinny outlook :P so am just focusing on walking,

  8. Karen May 18, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

    Love the list, Lisa! Great information. Tells me I’m pretty much doing all of the “right” things to stay in shape without feeling guilty if I’m not at the gym doing cardio & weights every day!

  9. Lisa Johnson May 18, 2011 at 9:40 pm #

    Karen, glad it was helpful :-)

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