Answering Your Fitness Questions

Your fitness questions answered! Everything from beginner workouts to finding time for the gym.

Happy Tuesday! I am so excited to be bringing you a fitness Q&A today because I love talking fitness and people actually submitted questions this time around. The questions are amazing, and they’ve definitely inspired some future posts coming your way in the next few months.

Keep in mind that I’m no expert. I’m just a girl who loves health and fitness and these are my opinions. I hope you find this helpful, and if you have any questions that aren’t answered here, don’t hesitate to reach out to me! I get back to everyone, and I’d love to chat with you.

Y’all trust me, I know how terrifying and overwhelming it is to try and find workouts when you’re a beginner. All the ones on bodybuilding.com seem super intense, most of the ones on Pinterest are just crazy, and you end up feeling defeated.

First things first, for beginners I’d start with a full body routine 3x a week. Then once you start gaining some strength and confidence in the gym, you can switch up to a push/pull/legs or push/pull/full body split.

You’re probably going to want to do some form of circuit if you are able to, but doing these exercises one by one is also an option. If you do that, just keep your rest times around 30-45 seconds. I talk about some example circuits in a prior post, but here’s another version that I vividly remember my trainer making me do last summer:

I’m going to be doing a post, hopefully soon, about creating your workouts and going into more detail about how to pick exercises, etc. But for now, since this is a full body workout, we’re picking exercises for different muscle groups. So for the first circuit we have shoulders, legs, the triceps. For the second circuit we have legs, full body, then chest.

As for resources, here are some of my faves:

RELATED: Beginner’s Guide to Fitness: Where to Start


1. Do your research.

Almost all machines will have instructions on how to use it, and do not be afraid to read that. No one is going to judge you for reading the instructions, and I’d much rather have you take 30 seconds to read the instructions and use the equipment properly than look like a fool and injure yourself because you’re doing it wrong.

Also don’t be afraid to google how to do a specific exercise. I do it all the time, especially if it’s something new. Form and proper technique are so important for weight training. Don’t care about the weight your lifting or trying to lift more than the person next to you. Doing 10 lb. bicep curls with proper form is going to be much more effective and efficient than trying to curl 20 lbs with improper form.

2. Go in to the gym with a plan.

Know what you’re going to be hitting that day, and have your workout planned. You’ll be able to research the movements prior to lifting, and you’re going to feel much more confident going in to the gym having some sort of idea of what you’re doing.

3. Make sure to hit all muscle groups and not just your legs.

As women, it’s easy to get into the mindset of only doing legs because it’s easier for us, and society puts a lot of pressure on us to have nice lower bodies. But, shocker, upper body is just as important.

Ahh good ‘ole macros. I have a love hate relationship with them because they tell me I can’t eat doughnuts every day but they also keep me accountable for my fitness goals.

I’m going to be doing a whole post on this in the near future, but I’ll give you the simplified version.

The first thing you want to do is find out your daily caloric needs. You can do this by using online calculators. And be honest with yourself about your activity level.

For the FreeDieting Calorie Calculator, I set the activity level to ‘Daily (intense) or Twice Daily’ whenever I’m in school. I’m walking 20,000 steps a day plus working out on top of that. That’s a lot of activity.

I’m assuming that your goal is to gain muscle, so that’s where protein intake comes in. Try to aim for around 1 gram per pound of body weight. So for me, I weigh 120 pounds and I aim to eat 120-130 grams of protein a day.

Once I get that daily calorie number, I usually round it up or down to the nearest 100 and plug that in as my goal calories in MyFitnessPal. From there I’ll move around the macro percentages to hit the protein number that I need and then manipulate the others until it reaches 100%.

No matter what your goals are (lose fat or gain muscle) you want to keep that protein number the same. So let’s say the calculator tells me I need to eat 2,000 calories a day, here’s what my breakdown would look like:

  • Protein: 125 grams
  • Carbs: 250 grams
  • Fat: 56 grams

If you don’t have MyFitnessPal and still want to know your macro breakdown, IIFYM does a great job of figuring out what your numbers should be.

Just like anything in life, if you want it enough, you’ll make time for it. I know how it feels to finish up a day of class and work and be exhausted and not want to do anything else but eat dinner and go to bed.

My first suggestion is to put on your workout clothes and just go. The hardest part about working out is just getting to the gym. If you make it that far, you’re golden.

Maybe working out after school and after work just isn’t in the cards for you, and I totally get that! Try going to the gym in the mornings. Yes it’s hard to get up at 5 AM to go to the gym, but you’ll feel so much better throughout the day. It’s nice to get it out of the way first thing and not have to worry about it for the remainder of the day. Granted you’re probably going to have to go to bed a little earlier, but it’s all worth it.

Or maybe going to the gym in the AM is not your thing and you’re too tired after a long day, but do you have an hour or so in between your classes? Oh you do?

BINGO that’s when you should hit the gym.

You don’t need 2 hours for the gym. Get in and out in 45 minutes. Keep your rest times short, keep that heart rate high, and you’ll have an epic workout.

RELATED: How to Actually Get to the Gym This Semester

THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO SUBMITTED A QUESTION! IF YOU STILL HAVE QUESTIONS, LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS OR EMAIL ME. I LOVE TALKING FITNESS, AND I’D LOVE TO HELP YOU REACH YOUR GOALS 🙂

~abigail gray

  • Isabelle

    This was a really helpful post!! I’m starting to get back into weight training and I couldn’t agree more with everything you’ve stated! Can’t wait for more posts like these!

    Isabelle
    Trulyindulgent.com

    • Thank you!! You have to keep me updated on your weight training journey!

  • Thank you so much for answering my question! As a total beginner to the gym, this whole post was extremely helpful!

    Lauren // http://laurensjourney.com

    • Thank you for submitting a question! Let me know if you have any more questions or want help trying to figure out a split that works well for you! I’d be glad to help 🙂

  • I love posts like this! I would love if you did a post about workouts for people who always just to the elliptical (AKA me every time i’m in the gym haha). My gym at school has limited machines and I never know which ones to use, how many reps or how much I should be lifting and whatnot!

    paige / eyeliner wings & pretty things

    • Okay awesome idea! But what kinds of things would you want to see in that? Like a beginner workout routine, an explanation of how to create a workout , a dumbbell only workout?

      • Definitely a beginner routine and tips on creating a workout! I always have trouble with knowing where to begin, it’d be cool to have a workout that incorporates the familiar (ie: elliptical and floor moves) while introducing some unfamiliar moves and machines 🙂