Fitness Trail: Answers to 10 frequently asked fitness questions |

Fitness Trail: Answers to 10 frequently asked fitness questions

By Jackie Wright
The Fitness Trail

As a fitness professional, I am asked dozens of fitness questions daily. Clients have questions regarding their own fitness level, fitness program and regarding the validity of the mountain of information that exists in the general media and social media. However, there are several questions that are frequently asked and 10 of those will be addressed this week. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.

1. Can I spot reduce? This question refers to the body’s ability to reduce fat from a specific location on the body by performing exercises that target that specific location (i.e. performing lateral flexion to reduce love handles). The answer to this question is no, you cannot spot reduce. 

2. Can I convert fat to muscle? No. Fat is fat and muscle is muscle. Muscle lies beneath the fat and in this case we are referring to subcutaneous fat which lies beneath the surface of the skin. You may, however, train a specific muscle or muscle group strengthening the muscle that lies underneath the fat.  

3. Why am I experiencing a fitness or body loss plateau? In general, fitness and body loss plateaus are created by the body adapting to your current exercise/nutrition regimen. So, it is time to shake it up.

4. How often should I measure my body weight? Weighing once a week on the same day, on the same scale, without clothing, before you have inputted water/food, preferably after voiding and prior to or following your workout, provides meaningful data which may be tracked. 

5. What is body composition? Body composition is the lean to fat ratio composition of your body. Lean mass is bone, blood and muscle and fat is, well fat. A healthy body composition, which is determined by performing a body composition measurement, is based upon age and gender, and generally provides the best data to ensure desired weight loss and body weight/muscle increase/maintenance.

6. How often should I workout? This depends upon your specific physical fitness limitations, goals and objectives. However, in general, working out more days of the week than not — four days plus — for the correct duration, intensity and type of exercise, is a good rule of thumb.

7. How long should it take to lose 10 pounds? While there are exceptions to this rule, a safe 10-pound weight loss usually takes approximately 10 weeks.

8. What is the best core exercise? The most effective approach to integrating effective core exercises into your program is to remember that your core is everything between your nose and toes, that you have an inner/outer core unit and have three planes of the body. Therefore, you need to perform isolation exercises, multi-muscled and multi-plane exercises and compound functional exercises.

9. Do I have to work out for the rest of my life?  Yes.

10. What determines how many calories I burn? There are three general criteria that determine caloric expenditure:  the intensity of the exercise bout, your gender (men tend to carry more muscle mass which expends more calories) and body weight (the more you weigh, the more you expend).

Jackie Wright is the owner and manager of Mountain Life Fitness in Granby.  Reach at her website at, email at and her Facebook page at Mountain Life Fitness.

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