For all of our fans who send us questions on our Twitter and Facebook page, this one is for you. Each week we draw on our pool of editors and experts to help you with any questions or challenges you have with your fitness regimen. This week, Dan Trink, CSCS, Director of Personal Training Operations at Peak Performance NYC and Founder of TrinkFitness, answers your questions about building your own workout programs.
1) Fat Loss Exercise - Asked by Tom Klein: What is the best type of exercise program if I want to lose fat?
"Typically, you want a program that focuses on exercises that engage large muscles (which burn more calories, boost metabolism, and preserve muscle mass) and use short periods of rest (to increase cardiac output). Our Get Lean in 4 Weeks plan is a great example of this type of programming. However, your nutrition program is just as important, if not more important, than your exercise program, especially during a fat loss phase. So say goodbye to those processed foods if you want to say hello to your abs.”
2) CrossFit for Life - Asked by Jon Ferron: I've heard that CrossFit workouts get you in sick shape. I also heard that they are a bit risky. What is CrossFit all about?
“CrossFit workouts have certainly become hugely popular in recent years. And when a training trend explodes, you can be sure everyone will have something to say. I think CrossFit does a lot of things well, including prioritizing big, valuable lifts like cleans, deadlifts, presses, and squats. The workouts also push you out of your comfort zone by forcing you to exercise at a much higher intensity than you're probably used to. They've also done a great job of developing a tight-knit exercise community of loyal followers who support each other in and out of the gym (which I think might be their best attribute). However, if you combine high-intensity exertion with challenging exercise , you certainly increase the risk of injury. And with so many CrossFit boxes opening up so quickly, it's not safe to get a quality trainer to really push you based on your ability. So, as with anything, be smart and understand your own abilities. Remember that if you're always crazy, you'll never be in top form. So find a workout that will help you stay healthy and injury-free."
3) Split routines for size - asked by Larry Cosgrove: What are the best body part splits to help me get some size?
“Body part splits are great for building mass because they address the key factors required to build muscle, which are volume, variety, and recovery. Since you typically train each body part once a week, you can blast each muscle group with lots of force from work and various movements while giving yourself plenty of rest before wrecking that muscle group again. There's no shortage of splits for body parts that work. My two favorites are either a 3-day leg, arm/shoulder, chest/back split or a 4-day back/tricep, chest/bicep, quads/hamstring, shoulder/calf/abs split.”
4) Rest vs. Weight - Question from Nicolas Jergen: I follow a circuit training program with short rest periods. The problem is that the short break doesn't allow me to use as much weight as I normally do. So which is more important, observing rest periods or weight?
“As with everything in the world of strength training, it all depends on your goals. I am assuming that since you are following a circuit program you are aiming for fat loss. If this is the case, stick to the rest. Time is more important than the weight used. However, if you want to gain weight or get stronger, ditch the super-short rest intervals and prioritize the weight. If strength or size is your primary goal, get past the circles all together. There are clever ways to achieve these goals.”
5) Changing routines - asked by Graham McMilhern: I've been following a body part breakdown (back/bis, chest/tris, etc.) for a while and think I'm ready for something new. What would you recommend?
"I think a good and often underutilized training regimen is an upper-lower-body split. Training this way allows you to do more large, compound lifts with each workout, gives you a solid amount of volume, and can be a great transition program if you're ultimately looking to tackle a full-body program down the line. I like to go with two upper body days and two lower body days each week."