Frequently Asked Questions about Exercise

1. If I exercise longer at a lower intensity, will I burn more fats?

Answer: First of all, there is no such thing called “fat burn”. When you exercise, you burn calories. The most important focus in exercise and fat weight control is not the percentage of exercise energy coming from fat but the total energy expenditure, or how many calories are burned during the activity. The faster you walk, step or run, for example, the more calories you use per minute. However, high-intensity exercise is difficult to sustain if you are just beginning or returning to exercise, so you may not exercise very long at this level. It is safer, and more practical, to start out at a lower intensity and work your way up gradually.

2. Can I lose fat from specific parts of my body by exercising those fatty spots?

Answer: When you lose fat, you lose it in all parts of your body - not just around the muscles that are doing most of the work. In fact, your genes may dictate that fat disappears from, say, your face or arms before your belly, even if you do endless abdominal exercises. If spot reduction works, then those who chew gums would have skinny jaw. However, working a specific region like the belly can have one site-specific benefit: Strengthening the muscles can make you look thinner by helping you hold in your gut.

3. Isn’t it true that strength training won’t help you get thinner since it burns few calories and adds pounds of muscle?

Answer: Strength training can substantially increase the number of calories you burn. A typical session, in which you rest briefly after each muscle-building maneuver, uses up calories at least as fast as walking does. Circuit training, in which you move quickly from one strengthening maneuver to the next, burns calories faster than walking does. And your body continues to burn calories for hours after either type of strength training. More importantly, the muscle you build consumes calories more rapidly, even when you're not exercising.

Regular strength training can boost the average calorie-burning rate by an average of 7 percent, burn off 4 pounds of fat, and can add nearly that much muscle. Since muscle is denser than fat, the individuals presumably become thinner.

4.  Is it right that all I need is aerobics to lose weight (fat)?

  • Weight training plus aerobics can give 3 times the fat loss of aerobics alone and adds shape to your body.
  • Aerobics alone causes dramatic muscle loss and no increase in upper body bone density. Thus you are more likely to develop osteoporosis.
  • 4 pounds of muscle consumes as many calories as running one mile every day.
  • After age 35, inactive people lose about 2% of muscles and bone mass each year and gain 1.5 pounds of fat.
  • Weight training slows down the aging process.

5. Does Strength-training make women too muscular?

Answer: Women naturally have less bone and muscle than men, so women are the ones that need to do more weight training than men do. It is recommended that they need to take care of what they've got. Unfortunately, a very low percentage of women do weight training, and if they do, they do not lift enough weight. That's why women are at greater risk of osteoporosis than men. And lost muscle puts women at greater risk of disability as they age. And don't worry about looking like a bodybuilder. Women don't have enough testosterone to create big, bulky muscles. To become a bodybuilder, women have to do a lot of weird things that most strength-training programs don't do.

6. Is Exercise One Sure Way to Lose All the Weight You Desire?

Answer: As with all responses to exercise, weight gain or loss is impacted by many factors, including dietary intake and genetics. All individuals will not lose the same amount of weight on the same exercise program. It is possible to be active and overweight. However, although exercise alone cannot guarantee your ideal weight, regular physical activity is one of the most important factors for successful long-term weight management.

7. If a 30 minutes of cardio workout per day is good, a lot more must be greater?

Answer: Wrong again. Many women hit their workouts with gusto hoping to fight fat thighs. Most of the time, this results in an increase in thigh size. The key here is to exercise your entire body, maintain a steady schedule, and develop healthy eating habits. Adding resistance training into your workout routine to tone up your total body can help you losing body fat. Muscles burn more calories at rest and during exercise than fat does. Exercising the entire body gives your body a proportional look. That is, not a single part of your part is not big or too small.

8. Should men and women need to train differently?

Answer: Muscle is muscle. The main difference lies in the fact that men produce 50 to 100 times more of the muscle-building hormone testosterone than women. This allows men to reach greater levels of muscle size and strength. Although women use less weight, they should perform the same routines as men to build a lean, sexy body.

9. Can Sports drinks help you exercise more safely and effectively?

Answer: Sports drinks contain two main ingredients that are theoretically beneficial for exercisers: sodium, which helps the body retain water, and sugar, which the body burns for energy. But very few people exercise hard enough to sweat away much sodium or to use up their carbohydrate reserves, which the body converts to sugar. You'd have to jog for at least two hours, for example, before your carbohydrate stores would start to run low. So unless you're doing a marathon or other exhaustive exercise, plain water is all you need.

10. How much protein intake do I need when I start an exercise program?

Answer: Let’s put it this way. Does putting more fuel in your gas tank cause your car to move faster or make your car engine more powerful? Of course it does not work this way. The added fuel is there when the car's engine needs it. Same with the human body, more protein does not cause muscle growth, but it does provide the muscles with "fuel" when needed. Don't get this confused with fuel during exercise, which is provided primarily by fat and carbohydrates (depending on intensity and duration).

Keep in mind that when you exercise your body will burn off calories from carbohydrates and fat. Proteins are your last resources. The bad news is. If your body is using proteins to help you exercising, you are actually on the verse of death. Most people in Canada have more proteins in their regular meals than their body ever needs. Besides, unlike the extra fuel in your gas tank, the extra proteins and calories in your body can turn to fat.

Needless to say, you will not need any kind of supplements, either banned or not banned, with or without short or long term side effects. All you have to need to do is to maintain a regular healthy diet by following national food guideline.

11. I have been working out hard and regularly for 6 months. Why haven't  I lost the weight that I wanted?

Answer: As with all responses to exercise, weight gain or loss is impacted by many factors, including dietary intake and genetics. All individuals will not lose the same amount of weight on the same exercise program. It is possible to be active and overweight. However, although exercise alone cannot guarantee your ideal weight, regular physical activity is one of the most important factors for successful long-term weight management.

Secondly, it is also possible that you've been doing the same exercise routine. As a result, your body does not find it challenging enough. Therefore, your body does not have to burn a lot of calories to perform that same exercise routine. This is called training adaptation.

Thirdly, working out "hard" is a very subjective matter.  Some people think that they are working hard, but in fact, when being measured, the level of the intensity of their training is too low. If being pushed, they can exert a lot more than they once perceived.

Medical conditions (and birth control pills are not excluded) may play a huge role in regulating and/or altering your fat oxidation.

Also please keep in mind that overweight does not mean over fat. Some people have more muscles or bone mass in their bodies. Muscles and bones obviously weight more than fat, with the same volume. It is better to go by how you feel after a workout rather than how much you weigh. Do you sleep better, eat healthier, feel good about yourself? Now that is vitality!

12. If you don't lose weight, what's point in exercising?

Answer: It's very unfortunate that what gets most people off the couch and into their walking shoes is the unwanted flab that motivates most of us. Many people don't see immediate weight loss and say it's all for naught and stop.

In fact, the benefits of exercise go further than and beyond the weight loss. Exercise improves the ability of insulin to enter cells, so it lowers the risk of diabetes. It also lowers the risk of heart disease by improving blood clotting mechanisms, lowering triglycerides, and raising HDL [‘good’] cholesterol. Exercise alters not only your risk of disease, but your quality of life. Exercise improves sleep in people with modest sleep dysfunction. That is, people who take a long time to fall asleep or who wake up frequently at night.

In addition, exercise can have a profound positive psychological benefits such as self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-efficacy.

13. If fat is bad then can I eat all the fat-free food I want?

Answer: What makes us fat isn't fat - it's total calories. Did you know that a fat-free fig cookie contains 20 more calories than the full-fat version? It is also easy to overeat the fat-free foods because it is primarily fat that satisfies our appetite. Although the total fat content is lower, you'll actually be consuming more total calories.

14. Are all calories the same?

Answer: Fat becomes bodyfat 3 times as easily as carbohydrates. Fat becomes bodyfat 5 times as easily as protein. And did you know that alcohol is the only form of calorie your muscles cannot burn for fuel, and it slows metabolism. Normally, these calories are called empty calories which are absolutely useless.

15. If I didn't exercise when you were younger, could it be dangerous to start when I'm older?

Answer: You're never too old to exercise. Many people think they're too old to start an exercise program. They think it's unsafe because they have heart disease or diabetes or because they're too out of shape to start. In many studies, the participants were frail nursing-home residents whose ages ranged from 72 to 98. After just ten weeks, strength-training improved their muscle strength, ability to climb stairs, and walking speed. When they see what a difference it makes, they're thrilled. The same goes for people with chronic diseases. People say they can't exercise because they have arthritis, but we see some of the greatest benefits in people with arthritis. Exercise reduces pain and increases range of motion, strength, and mobility.

That doesn't mean that anyone can plunge into a bout of vigorous exercise, regardless of health history. In a recent study, ordinarily inactive people—especially men who had high cholesterol or angina or were smokers or obese—were ten times more likely to have a heart attack within an hour of exerting themselves (usually by jogging or heavy lifting) than at other times.

16. Is weight gain inevitable as you age?

Answer: Most people get fatter as they get older…but they don't have to. It is a matter of reduced physical activity levels and lower metabolic rate caused by a loss of lean body mass [muscle].

The lifelong loss of lean body mass reduces our basal metabolic rate as we age. It's a very subtle change that begins between ages 20 and 30. The percentage of body fat gradually increases, and it produces an ever-decreasing calorie requirement. That's because fat cells burn fewer calories than muscle cells. And a lower metabolic rate means that unless you eat less, you'll gain weight over the decades.

But exercise can mount a two-pronged attack on middle-age spread and muscle loss. Any activity makes you burn more calories (so you're less likely to wind up with an excess). And strength-training can offset the loss of muscle mass.

17. How does the body increase fat storage?

Answer: Fat cells can expand to two to three times their normal size, but they cannot enlarge endlessly. So in order to have more fat, the body will increase the number of fat cells in response to the body’s need to store more excess energy.

18. How about liposuction?

Answer: The capability to increase cell numbers when a maximum cell size is reached depends upon the age, and sex of the person as well as on the size of the fat tissue. Unfortunately, once a fat cell has been created, it exists for life. Fat cells do not seem to be destructible.

Therefore, fat reduction in adults is a result of decreasing the size of the fat cells, shrinking them using the energy stored in them, or not filling them at all. However, fat removal is only a quick fix. The body will eventually reproduce more fat cells to compensate the ones that were removed. Fat cells are immortal!

19. Why Am I gaining weight as I started working out regularly about a month ago?


1. Gaining weight is Not necessary gaining fat

2. Increase of Blood volume (0.5 L– 1.0 L)

3. Increase of muscle mass

4. Increase of bone mass

5. Increase of body fat due to increase of dietary intakes. That is: Energy Intake exceeds Energy Expenditure

20. If I am working out in the morning before I eat breakfast and I am working out at my max heart rate, will I be burning fat or am I only burning glucose or carbs?

Answer: There are several misconceptions in this question.

  • First of all, when we you are doing exercise, you only burn calories (energy expenditure).
  • Secondly, there is no such thing is called “fat burn”. Many cardio machines keep labeling a. Manual, b. Fat burn, c. Cardio and so on  just to get people’s money. Regardless of how you are working out by choosing a., b., or c., ect, you burn only calories.
  • Exercising before or after breakfast is personal choice. It has absolutely nothing to do with burning fat, glucose or carbs. However, if you are hungry and go to workout for a long period of time, your blood sugar will get too low, you may faint over, especially if you are diabetic.  On the other hand, if you have a large meal or if you have some greasy food such as pizza prior (let’s say 30mins) exercise, your body release a lot of enzymes, trying to digest the food, you will feel sluggish and no energy. Hint: sleepy!

21. Is it true that the more I sweat during exercise, the more fat I lose?

Answer:  Not at all!  The harder you work out, the more calories you'll burn within a given period and thus the more fat you stand to lose. But how much you sweat does not necessarily reflect how hard you're working. Some people tend to sweat profusely due to heavy body weight, poor conditioning, or heredity. And everyone sweats more in hot, dry weather or dense clothing than in cool, humid weather or porous clothing. (You may feel as if you're sweating more in humid weather; but that's because moist air slows the evaporation of sweat.)
Exercising in extremely hot weather or in a plastic "weight loss" suit will indeed make you sweat heavily and lose weight immediately. But that lost weight is almost entirely water; the pounds will return when you replenish your fluids by drinking after the workout. Further, you could develop heat exhaustion if you push yourself too hard in extreme heat or in plastic clothes. which prevent sweat from evaporating and, in turn, cooling you off.

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