Friday, 3 April 2015

Your Top 5 Frequently Asked Health and Fitness Questions Answered

We all have certain tricky fitness questions we always wanted a professional to answer. Instead of making your way through the Google archives have a read of the most frequently asked fitness questions and their answers below from a professionals point of view. 


I talked to Claire Kane of Volta Fitness about fasted cardio, how to drop body fat, the best way to tone and how to run a 5K. 

Q. Claire, what is your opinion on fasted cardio? 

Fasted cardio is good for bursts of cardio as opposed to distance running because in order to reach your target you need the fuel. Fasted cardio burns HARD but I would recommend more HIIT (high intensity interval training) fasted than steady state like jogging.

*What is HIIT? High intensity interval training is a selection of exercises designed to get your heart rate up such as burpees, mountain climbers, and squat jumps. There is a short rest period between each set of exercises.*

Q. What are the biggest health and fitness mistakes women make?

A. There are two big mistakes women make when it comes to health and fitness and I was once guilty of both! 

1. "Going on a diet"- this makes steam come out of my ears. Diets don't work for so many reasons, one being that depriving yourself of goodies for a set period of time makes you miserable so once you're finished and you've lost the pounds you'll put them back on because you "deserve" to eat all the cake! Another reason they don't work is because typically they are not nutritious. You are counting calories in favour of nutrients, you're juicing instead of chewing. Good, clean food is the way forward with the odd treat or cheat meal. 


2. Refusing to weight train or only using light weights. I've said 100 times and I'll say it 100 more: Weight training is what gets you a firm, lean body. You can run and run on that treadmill for hours but you will never get shapely arms or defined abs unless you lift! LIFT!! A woman is not going to get man arms because of a bicep curl- it takes a lot of hard work and testosterone for a man to get the arms you think you'll get from lifting weights. *deep breaths* (You can tell Claire is very passionate about weight training.) 

Q. How can I lose my flabby stomach/ mammy pouch after giving birth? 

Sadly there is no way to pin point exactly where you lose body fat from. You'll see a lot of products like waist trainers and body wraps that claim to remove body fat from specific areas but this just isn't true! These are scams and they are potentially damaging to your health. The best thing to do is clean up your daily nutrition. Fat stored around the tummy area is generally cause by insulin and women of are more susceptible as we get older because our hormones change so much. This means we have to watch our sugar intake! Cut out fizzy drinks, sugar sweets, ban juices and eat whole fruit, ideally ones lower in fructose like berries. Don't over load on starchy carbs like bread and potatoes and drink lots of water. 

Further more, don't be afraid of weight training! Lifting weights helps burn fat more efficiently and when combined with good nutrition you are sure to see a difference.

Q. How can I tone my arms and get rid of those dreaded bingo wings? 

A. "Toning" is essentially building lean muscle and lose body fat. I recommend getting a set of dumbbells, ideally one with changeable plates, or a couple of reasonably heavy kettle bells (no lower than 8kg). With these you can perform several shoulder and arm exercises and combined with bigger movements like squats to burn body fat all over. A lot of girls are aftaid of weight training but there is no need- chances are you are not eating enough for building huge muscles nor do you have the hormones for it! Lifting weights is honestly the best thing you can do for your muscle tone and strength. 

I'd combine this weight training with a form of cardio called High Intensity Interval Training or HIIT which burns body fat much more effectively and quicker than going on jogs or runs. Get a HIIT timer on your phone and set it for 40 seconds, 30 seconds, 20 seconds and 20 second rest ans perform three fast, intense exercises such as squat jumps, burpees and Jumping lunges and repeat the set 4 times. Do this once or twice a week combined with your weight training 4 - 5 times and you will be looking at some more shapely arms in no time. 


Q. I want to start running, and am aiming at doing a 5K first. Any tips? 

A. If running 5 km is your aim and you have poor cardio fitness the first thing you need to do is cast out any doubt you might have of yourself. Don't say you are going to TRY for 5km say you ARE going to do it. Running has a lot to do with mindset. 

Second of all you need to pace yourself. Don't go out on your first run and expect to be able to run 5k. Start off with intervals: walk for 2 minutes, run for 1, next time walk for 2 minutes run for 2, next time walk for 1 minute, run for 2. Then you can build yourself up to a 2 km walk/run and work your way up. I recommend getting the run keeper app and registering for a 5km course. It breaks it down simply and within weeks if you follow it you will be running 5km. 

Finally, make sure you are eating enough. One big mistake people make is running on a totally empty stomach and they burn out after a couple of minutes of running. Eat well, time your food around your runs; food is fuel! 

You can visit Claire's blog and website at

Search Volta Fitness on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and follow our journey via the hashtag #BeTheBestYou 

Head on over to Claire's Facebook page Volta Fitness and give it a like as she is giving away a personalised fitness plan to one lucky winner soon! 

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