1. I haven't exercised in 10 years. I don't know where to start?
Many clients are in this position. Many people have let exercise slip over the years and want to get back into a regular routine. I start at the beginning with clients and after the first meeting I will know what the client is able for and how much they can do. It is very individual so I start at the level the client is capable of and work from there. I concentrate on building up the cardio on a weekly basis. I introduce weights and strengthening exercises and progress this also. After 3-4 of weeks, the client will feel the difference physically and mentally.
2. I heard weights are great for toning and weight loss but I'm afraid that I'll get too bulky. What should I do?
This is one of the most common questions that I get asked. Weights are fantastic for toning and weight loss. A weights programme will help burn calories for 48 hours. It will also increase the amount of muscle in the body and this in turn will help to burn fat.
Sometimes, women are unsure of the advantages of weight training as they do not want to develop large muscles. If you use light to medium weights for 8-12 reps, you will strengthen and tone the muscles but they will not get too big. It takes years of lifting heavy weights to build very large muscles.
3. I exercise and I eat well. The weight is not falling off in the way it did at the start. What should I do?
We need to challenge the body all the time. The body gets used to doing the same routine so after some time, the improvements are not as great. The best way is to examine what you are currently doing and increase the intensity of some of the cardio or increase the length of time you exercise for. Another option is to include weights in your programme. All of these options will spark the metabolism and help to lose weight.
4. My lower back gives me trouble from time to time. I'm nervous about starting exercise. What should I do?
Exercise will help alleviate back trouble. Blood will flow to the area and keep it supple and increase flexibility. When clients have lower back trouble, I can adapt the programme so that it can include exercises that will help strengthen the lower back but not aggravate the problem. Also, I can include a stretching routine that the client can do and this will also help with lower back trouble.
5. I started running last year. I run 30-60 minutes 3-4 times a week. I run at the same pace all the time. I've ran some road races this year and really enjoy them. I'd really like to improve my times for these races. What should I do?
There are plenty of options for you to improve your times. You need to get stronger so you will probably have to run 5 days a week. 2 of the days can be easy, 2 more intense and the 5 th day, you can run for 60-90 minutes. This will increase the mileage and make you stronger. To get faster, you need to do some tempo or fartlek type training. This involves running fast for 1-3 minutes and eventually after time you will be able to sustain this pace for longer. Also, some weight training and leg strengthening will also help the legs to adapt to the increased level of training.
6. I am 62 and am very active. I'd like to lose some weight for health reasons. I think I eat well but I'm finding it hard to shift the weight.
When people get older, it is harder to lose weight and also you are slightly restricted as you can't manage to be as physically active as you once were. However, there are many options to help you to lose weight. I would examine what you are presently doing and see if we can increase the amount of walking you are doing at present. Once a week it is advisable to go for a long walk. I would introduce a light weights programme that would help with toning and also keep the muscles strong to protect the joints. Finally, I would look at the types and amounts of food you take in during the week and see if any changes can be made.
7. I am getting married in 10 months. I'd like to lose a stone. When should I start a fitness regime to help me lose the weight?
To ensure that results are achieved, it is advisable that you start 4- 6 months before the wedding. By starting then, you will be able to get into a good routine and keep it going until the wedding day. Also, it will give sufficient time to make any alterations to the dress that you have chosen. The programme for brides to be focuses on weight loss and also toning especially for the upper body. Target areas include the arms, shoulders and upper back as these are the areas on display with most dresses. There is also nutrition advice and this will help with weight loss and keeping your energy going for the busy months ahead. An added advantage with exercise is that it can be a great stress relief and this can also help busy brides to be.
8. I have rheumatoid arthritis and am limited in what I can do. Is there any way you can help?
I have had some clients with this condition. The main advice is to keep as active as possible as not moving will only make the joints stiffen up even more. You can achieve the balance between doing some exercise but not overdoing it so that you are caused even more pain. The main focus is on keeping as supple as possible and this involves gentle movement exercises. Also, if you can strengthen the muscles around the joints and take as much pressure off them, that will also help. Anything that causes pain will be avoided. But by doing some exercise you will certainly help the condition.
9. I've just had a baby 10 weeks ago. Is it safe to start exercise and is there anything that I should avoid?
Once you are feeling well and mentally ready to start, it is a great idea to get back into a routine. Much of the exercise routine depends on how active you were previous to having the baby. I can take that into account when outlining a routine. I focus on the cardio to shift the extra weight. I focus on light weights for toning. Also, to strengthen the shoulders and upper back which will be used for lifting the new arrival. For the tummy, we can focus on core work to get the abdominal muscles back into shape again. A specific area that needs work is all around the pelvis and lower back. This needs gentle but constant exercise so that your body can get back to normal after the baby.
10. I ran ½ the marathon in Cork last year. I'd really like to run the full one next year. I suffer from injuries and sometimes my training is not consistent. Is there any way you can help?
I would look at the current training plan that you have. Sometimes there is not enough rest between training days or you might have increased the mileage too quickly. Small changes to the programme can help here. The marathon is very achievable but there has to be consistent training done so you have to avoid getting injury. To prevent injury, you might need to strengthen the quadriceps, hamstrings and glut muscles. There are specific exercises that can be incorporated into your programme. Also, stretching is essential and a stretching routine can also be included. These extra parts don't take long but they can make all the difference.
11. I have a very busy life. I work full time and I have 3 children. I would really like to include some exercise in my weekly routine but at the moment I'm finding it impossible. Are there any options?
Absolutely. I get asked this question many times by clients. The best thing is to look at what your daily routine is like and see where there are windows for 30-40 minutes 3-4 times a week. The weekend is usually a good time for people who are busy during the week. That leaves 2 other days to find a time slot. I help clients organise their time so that they can do an efficient work out both in terms of time and benefit. The programme that I organise means that it can be done from the home. You can walk/run from the house and do the weights and toning exercise from the home also. It does require focus and determination when you are very busy but it is possible.
12. My son plays soccer at an underage level. He is very talented and great potential. He has been told by some coaches that he might have a real chance of making it at a professional level. He has also been told that the key to longevity in soccer in injury prevention and core work. Can you help?
Most definitely, I can help. For any sport, core strength and conditioning are essential. To develop into adult level in any sport means that you have to remain injury free. Many promising sports players have been tremendously talented but have never quite made it at a senior level. There are many exercises that can be done so that he will develop his strength. This will add to his advantage to his soccer playing. A programme can be outlined so that he can manage it in addition to his soccer practice.
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