Ask the fitness expert: your frequently asked questions

There are pros and cons to putting yourself out there and writing for a website, but I'm blessed to get so many positive comments from my weekly readers. Thank you! I have been receiving more and more questions from you lately and have decided to answer some of them for you today. Questions are always welcome, so don't be afraid to ask below.

Food and fitness can be tricky; there's so much to consider. There are conflicting nutritional tips, weight lifting techniques and mental health aspects to think about, too. I've picked out a few of the more common questions here.

  • What's more important, regular exercise or a good diet?

You can't out-train a bad diet. The truth is, in my experience, those who focus more on their nutrition and train a couple times a week get better results than those who train multiple times a week but don’t pay enough attention to what they eat.

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  • Why do some people lose fat quicker than others?

There are a number of factors which contribute to how quickly or slowly a person loses fat so let’s not start hating on your work colleague. The obvious ones are genetics, how good the person's food intake is and the type of exercise they are involved in. But, apart from these, a couple of lesser-known elements also make a big difference. Stress and lack of sleep can have a massive impact on one's ability to lose fat efficiently. In many cases, even if a person's food and training routine are spot on, if they are going through a period of stress or if their sleep is out of whack it can totally halt or even reverse progress.

  • Is it better to train alone or get a friend involved?

I just love training with a buddy. It is definitely better in most cases as it can help to keep you accountable if you have regular appointments to meet up and exercise. It is also great to have someone to motivate and encourage you towards your goals while having the craic. Just be careful the person you choose as a workout buddy is on the same path as you. The last thing you want is someone who is going to chat non-stop while you're trying to get an intense session in or someone who wants to go for coffee and doughnuts afterwards.

  • Should I have a "cheat day" where I can eat whatever I want?

This really depends on where you’re at in relation to your goals. I typically never advise a cheat day as this can tend to spiral out of control. There are, however, numerous benefits to giving yourself a designated cheat meal while trying to drop body fat. A cheat meal allows you to satisfy cravings, but it also has a positive effect on hormones, almost acting like a reset while going through a period of eating decreased calories.

What a cheat meal should contain is an increase in carbohydrates and calories but make sure also to add a protein source (but not a massive dose of refined sugar and processed fats, which is just going to make you feel pretty crappy). I normally accompany my cheat with a big glass of red wine.

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  • What are the biggest mistakes women who want to improve their health and shape make?

Pretty much everyone, in my opinion, is guilty of these three mistakes at some time or other.

  1. Dieting: I've said it time and time again, what most women need is an increase of nutrient dense food, not less food. In most cases, going on a “diet” and restricting food intake is the last thing women need. It's far more important to make sure you are actually eating enough nutrient-rich foods which will make your body and metabolism work efficiently.
  2. Choosing cardio over weight training out of a fear that they don’t want to get bulky: Weight training will not make you bulky; a diet that is too high in sugar and processed food will. Weight training is what will give shape and firmness to your body and is far more efficient for fat loss. Women generally don’t have enough testosterone to become “bulky”.
  3. Doing the same workout routine over and over again: Nowadays, there are numerous free resources to tap into online and on social media to find ideas that will help vary your workouts. Or invest in getting some professional advice to give you some guidance. Maintaining the same routine with the same intensity is not only boring but will also result in plateaus and lack of progress.

There you have it; I hope that's helped a little. If you have any other questions, just let me know.

Until next week,

Fi x


Metabolic Fitness Trainer

Follow Fiona’s fitness adventure on Instagram!

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