Your 6 Most Pressing Fitness Questions Answered

Article posted in: Fitness
fitness questions

One of the most common fitness questions asks if your workout routine is effective. The South Beach Diet recommends you partake in at least 30 minutes of activity each day during weight loss and 60 minutes each day during weight maintenance, but what does “activity” really mean and how do you know if you’re exercising effectively?

We asked Robert Dugan, a NSCA Certified Personal Trainer and Co-Owner of The Work House Training Ground in Malvern, Pennsylvania to cover the basics.

Here’s how he answered some of your most frequently asked fitness questions:

1. I have no time to exercise. What can I do?

Robert Dugan: There’s really no magic bullet to this question—simply, you just make the time. The clock is against all of us, but with 24 hours in a day, it’s important to take at least 30 minutes to do something good for yourself. Set that time aside as a non-negotiable and realize it doesn’t have to be all at once either.

Break up three 10-minute blocks to go for a brisk walk or a run. You could also set your alarm an hour earlier to get your workout in first thing. (Morning tip: leave your gym clothes out, so it’s one less thing to think about.) Even little things throughout the day can add up to burning extra calories, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking further from work or the store.

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2. If I’m not drenched in sweat, does that mean I didn’t burn any calories?

Robert Dugan: No. Calories are burned in a variety of ways, from walking through the grocery store to performing high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Even while sleeping, we’re burning calories. So excessive sweating isn’t the only sign of caloric expenditure. However, sweating is a good sign that you’re increasing your heart rate to a level that’s working the cardiovascular system.

Using your heart rate as a guide while exercising is the best way to know how hard you’re working. In simple terms, fat is burned when your heart rate is at about 60% of your max heart rate (MHR). Cardiovascular endurance is achieved when you’re exercising close to 80 percent of your MHR. Depending on your fitness level, overall health and personal goals, keeping your heart rate between 60‒80% will give you the best results. Click here to read more about HIIT and how it can give you real results >

3. If I want the best results, should I be exercising hard every day?

Robert Dugan: This really depends on your personal goals, but, in general, you don’t need to exercise at max intensity every day. Varying your program, including switching up your weights and repetitions, keeps your body challenged. Getting proper rest is also key, as even the most experienced athletes take days off from training. This is one thing people often overlook—rest days are super important in any successful routine, as your body actually doesn’t change at the gym while performing exercises. Most of those physiological changes happen when our bodies are at rest to recover, heal, and, thus, grow.

4. If I lift heavy weights, will I bulk up instead of tone up?

Robert Dugan: This is one of the most common fitness questions when it comes to strength training. The short answer is no. The muscle needs to be overloaded and challenged in order to grow and develop. So to get that “toned” look, you have to first build the muscle, which takes a certain amount of resistance to do.

The connection between “bulking up” and lifting heavy comes with the increased calories needed to build muscle. That’s why proper diet is key with any resistance program. Taking in the correct portions of protein, carbohydrates and fats will enable muscle growth, instead of increasing fat, lending to a toned physique.

5. How much water should I be drinking?

Robert Dugan: Every system in your body needs water to function and many factors determine how much water one needs, like gender, age, activity level, overall health and climate. According to The Institute of Medicine (IOM), in general, men should drink at least 104 ounces of water daily (13 cups) and women, at least 72 ounces (nine cups). For those living in warmer climates and who exercise more regularly, an additional 2.5 cups should be added to those base amounts. I advise clients to consume water at a rate of at least half their body weight in ounces. It’s important to follow proper hydration, as it maintains body temperature, lubricates joints, protects the spine and other tissues and helps eliminate waste.

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6. I’m exercising, but I’m not (or I stopped) losing weight. Why?

Robert Dugan: It’s common to stop seeing the same level of changes months after you first start training. This is known as a plateau. The human body is a master at adaption and adapting to a fitness routine is no different. When this happens, it’s time to change things up, which doesn’t have to be difficult. Vary the types of exercises you’re doing, the number of repetitions or limit rest between sets. Perform “circuits,” where you do three exercises back-to-back to elevate that heart rate. Most programs, either cardio or strength, should be changed every six weeks to keep plateauing at bay.

Looking for a fun and easy workout plan? Check out the informative articles below!:

Have more fitness questions? For more information about Work House Training Ground, visit or email Robert Dugan at