Frequently Asked Questions Fitness Questions & Answers

Have a fitness, nutrition, or general wellness question? Send them to us, each week we will answer your questions!  Send your fitness questions to [email protected]

I cannot get the nutrition down. What do you think makes it just finally click with people?

-Sharlene H.

Personally, I think it finally clicks when you realize you have to eat if you want to lose weight sustainably. When you realize eating all the wonderful vegetables we have as much as you possibly want (along with quality proteins, fruits…etc) instead of processed foods and instead of starving yourself you will see results. It will give you more energy and keep your metabolism from being screwed up.

“So I bit the bullet and joined a gym… To my shocking surprise… I LOVE IT!!! So much so that I did 3 consecutive days of hardcore workouts in different areas… Legs, arms/chest, and a 1 hr cycling class that is NO JOKE! I made myself rest on the 4 & 5 days and plan to get into a steady routine of one day in, one day off… While still working my runs in per my training schedule. Am I doing too much?

-Larina M.

So that equates to roughly 4 workouts a week in which you are hitting different areas of the body in each workout while still running? I would say as long as you have the drive, the mental focus, and the time then go for it!

Of course, don’t burn yourself out or make yourself susceptible to injury but there seems to be nothing wrong with this. This is about my schedule: 4 high-intensity lifts throughout the week with 2-3 run/walks spread out on rest days. Keep up the intensity and good luck with the marathon. Come back later and tell us how it went!


Having quality, nutritious food readily available without worrying about spoilage can be a hassle, any tips?

One way is to simply buy frozen chicken, fish, and vegetables. Frozen vegetables can be steamed in the microwave quickly (3-5 min) and fish and chicken can be made in the oven just like their fresh counterparts. By having plenty of frozen veggies available you don’t have an excuse for not eating healthy, especially when studies have shown that the nutrient content of frozen vegetables are not significantly different than fresh vegetables (Favell 1998). Or you could just hit up the grocery store every 3-4 days, but who has time for that!

Favell DJ (1998) A comparison of the vitamin C content of fresh and frozen vegetables. Food Chem 62:59-64.

Got any tips for working out while dealing with arthritis?

Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States, keeping many people inactive. While resting seems to be a natural way to relieve symptoms, it’s been shown that exercise is one of the best treatments. First and foremost, you should stop doing any exercise that causes pain (being careful with swollen joints) or decrease the intensity until the movement is pain-free. Because arthritis tends to flare up in painful episodes, perform exercises on days when the pain is minimal.

One simple tactic is to become more active which therefore decreases your bodyweight, decreasing pressure on your load-bearing joints. When beginning, make sure to stretch every day to increase your full range of motion and perform periods of low-intensity, low-impact exercises like walking and lightweight resistance machines. For resistance training of unaffected joints, begin by lifting twice a week and progressing from there slowly over time.

Lastly, for chronically painful joints try isometric exercises for these joints (holding a weight at a specific joint angle for a period of time).  Working out with arthritis can be very helpful, just take it slow and light.

Personal fitness training: theory and practice, Second Edition (2010) Editors Yoke M, Gladwin LA. California, USA.

Can I perform resistance training with osteoporosis?

Yes, you can, and actually, weight-bearing exercises can actually decrease some of the risks involved with osteoporosis. There are several exercises that can be used. Exercises that emphasize balance and movements that are required during the daily activities of life should be performed along with resistance training twice a week.

Make sure to perform back extensions or supermans (Superman example) which can be helpful in reducing the risk of vertebrate fractures. On the contrary, there are several things to avoid during weight training with osteoporosis: spinal flexion (toe touches and crunches), any high-impact movements (jumping), and movements that could increase the risk of falling (skating).

Personal fitness training: theory and practice, Second Edition (2010) Editors Yoke M, Gladwin LA. California, USA.

What does it mean when a trainer says we are going to do a superset?

A superset is commonly used by weight lifters and bodybuilders to produce muscle growth by combining two different exercises, alternating sets one right after another.

This can be two exercises that work for the same muscle group, opposing muscle groups, or upper and lower body. For instance, if you were going to do opposing muscle groups you could alternate leg extensions (quadriceps) and leg curls (hamstrings), alternating with each set.

My lower back is very weak, what are some easy ways to strengthen it?

One way to strengthen the lower back is to strengthen the core in general, this would involve strengthening the abdominals (crunches, sit-ups) and obliques (crunch with a twist).

Strengthening these will take pressure off your lower back by helping to support your body (make sure to stretch the glutes and hips as well). To specifically train your lower back you can perform seated lower back extensions on a machine, supermans, or back extensions on a Roman chair (Roman chair back extension example).

A combination of exercises for the entire core will strengthen the lower back and provide you with better posture.

Photos by Hannah Marie Photography

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Josh is the founder of DIY Active - your at home fitness source! He enjoys blending the latest science and expert advice with health practices to help you exercise smarter at home!
Josh Anderson
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