Exercise FAQs

Learn about commonly asked exercise-related questions. If you don’t see your question here, please submit it on the Contact Us page.

Everyone is different. It depends on various factors including the number of calories you require on a daily basis, the calories you are consuming and the rate of weight loss. In general, losing ½ – 1 lb. a week is a healthy rate. Anything more than that might require such drastic changes in diet and exercise, they are less likely to become permanent lifetime changes. If one pound is equivalent to 3,500 calories, then you would have to reduce your calorie requirements by 500 calories per day (for seven days) in order to lose 1 lb. a week. This can be done through a combination of diet and exercise. Several diet apps are available to help you estimate and keep track of kcals consumed vs. burned such as MyfitnessPal. A Registered Dietitian can also help you achieve your weight loss goals or make changes toward a healthier lifestyle. 
Any exercise is better than none. However, to maximize the benefits of physical activity, you should aim for one (or several) that pushes your heart rate up to your target heart rate range. You can calculate your target heart rate range here. You should have the ability to speak without gasping for air, but should work hard enough that you do not really want to have to talk much.

Cardiovascular (cardio) activity can be used to reach your target heart rate and has the most benefits for your heart because it improves the body’s ability to use oxygen. Interval training and circuit training are forms of cardio activity that increase your heart rate and maximize benefits in a short duration of time.  A different exercise is done every 30-60 seconds combining the use of free weights, resistance bands or body weight and targeting various muscle groups at the same time.  Weight training can be low or high intensity, depending on the amount of weights used and the speed of your workout.

It will take longer to burn an allotted number of calories with a low-intensity activity (like walking) but they can still be burned without reaching your target heart rate. Although this can help to produce weight loss, the benefits might not extend beyond this. 

For health benefits and weight management, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. This can be met through 30-60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise (five days per week) or 20-60 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise (three days per week).

For weight loss, the duration of your workout will depend on your weight loss or fitness goals. Although most experts agree that it is better to increase the intensity of your workout rather than increasing the length of time that you spend exercising. In other words, you will burn the same amount of kcals in less time if you increase the intensity of the workout.

One continuous session or multiple shorter sessions (of at least 10 minutes) are both acceptable to accumulate desired amount of daily exercise. Ultimately, both will confer desirable health benefits and may help to manage weight. 

Workouts involving the larger muscle groups (glutes, quadriceps, back, chest and hamstrings) will typically burn more calories than those involving smaller muscle groups (shoulders, triceps, biceps and calves).

Circuit training is a great method for blasting more kcals in less time. It involves quick bursts of training a specific muscle group then moving on to a different exercise targeting a different muscle group. The purpose is to maintain your target heart rate by continuously activating different muscle groups, with little to no resting period in between.

The higher the intensity of your workout, the more kcals you can burn in less time. You can judge the intensity of a workout by its effect on your heart rate. 

There is no specific exercise that will only burn fat.

Glucose is the main fuel your body uses for low-intensity everyday activities, while fat is the main source of fuel during rest or sleep. Depending on the intensity and duration of your exercise or physical activity, the body will use a combination of glucose, protein AND fat to fuel the workout. In general, very high intensity exercises that set your heart rate at or near your MAX heart rate—above your target heart rate range—will use mostly glucose (carbs) for energy. On the other hand, exercises producing a heart rate in your target zone will use a combination of fuels, including fat.

Some research has indicated that intermittent periods of very intense exercise using the large muscle groups coupled with active recovery is especially beneficial for weight loss. 

Losing weight takes time! Weight is not likely to change within a few days. In fact, it is not recommended to weigh yourself every day since there are normal weight fluctuations from day to day, thus making daily measurements not reflective of an accurate weight. Instead weigh yourself every 2 weeks to check progress.

Your “weigh-ins” should be at the same time of day as the previous weigh in. Usually it is recommended to weigh yourself first thing in the morning after voiding.

You might be gaining muscle mass. Muscle mass is denser than fat mass. This means that 1 pound of muscle takes up less space than 1 pound of fat even though they have equal weight. A better way to assess your progress in this case is to measure the way your clothes fit—are they fitting looser?



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