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COMMON QUESTIONS ANSWERED

We get asked questions a lot about fitness. Often times they’re repeats. So let’s take a moment to answer some common fitness questions. If you don’t find your specific question answered, please message us and I promise I’ll answer it.  Or book an appointment to chat here:

http://www.elliottbaycommunityfitness.com

Let’s get into it:

1. Do you guys train for core strength?  What’s the best movements/routine for our core?

Everyone I know says they have to get their core stronger.  Guess what?  We train our core at EBCF every day.  How?  Because any movement we do that doesn’t include a machine hits our core (and we don’t use machines here).  When set up in a machine, it does a majority of the work involved with stabilization.  When using free weights as we do, i.e. barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, etc your core has to take on that work.  For example, in a deadlift, your abs and erectors are bracing your spine to stabilize and support the load while lifting it.  That packs quite the punch for your core.  At EBCF this type of work is done every day.  And of course, we do add in specific movements like toe to bar, high knees, and planks to hit them specifically.  So we promise, when you train with us, your core will get stronger.

2. Can weightlifting be detrimental to our knees and back?

Easy answer, when done properly, NO!!  A common misconception, weightlifting is dangerous.  Correction, weight lifting improperly is dangerous.  The good news, every class or PT session at EBCF is Coach led with proper emphasis on good mechanics and safety. 

For example, we often hear squatting hip crease below parallel is bad for our knees.  When done properly, it’s not.  Don’t believe me?  Lay on the floor on your back.  Then stand up and let me know if you can do this without one of your legs passing through a full-depth squat.  So why would we not want to strengthen this everyday functional movement?  When done properly our knees can remain pain-free and in fact, over time the muscles around your knees will get stronger improving long-term knee health.

And finally, yes a good chunk of our training does involve intensity, but please note we operate with the credence of mechanics and consistency first, then intensity.  What that means is until you show us you can do the movement well and do so repeatedly we don’t turn up the dial on intensity.  That way you stay safe from the start. 

3. Can I get stronger/fitter with just bodyweight workouts at home?

To a small degree yes.  Now 2020 brought us all-new challenges, for us that loved going to the gym, this was an area we needed to improvise and so many of us did maintain a level of fitness by working out on our own at home or at the park with no equipment.  But as you may have realized the gains definitely have or will begin to taper.  

Why?  There is this concept of “progressive overload.”  To create changes within our bodies we need to work with an appropriate level of stress.  For example, let’s say you bench press 3 sets of 10 at 100# every week.  You’ll get stronger and that weight will become lighter.  But at some point, the gains will begin to plateau as it gets easier and easier and your body adapts to that pattern.  So to keep the gains coming, you may need to jump to 3 sets of 12 at 100#, 4 sets of 10 at 100#, or 3 sets of 8 at 110# (your Coach will know how to advise here).

Now apply this logic to bodyweight movements.  You can’t really change the loading as your own weight won’t be increasing dramatically, so you’d have to add reps.  Theoretically, you can add an infinite number of reps over time, but I’m willing to bet at some point you’re going to get tired of doing that with push-ups, air squats, burpees, etc.

And yes there is one exception, gymnasts.  As we all saw in the recent Olympics, these athletes are shredded and primarily only use bodyweight movements.  The difference is these guys are doing insanely advanced movements and I don’t know many people with regular jobs and lives that can or have the time to work towards an iron cross.  So for the rest of us, we’re probably better off working with some load under the guidance of a Coach.

4. I need to get in better shape before I start.

Ok yes, this isn’t a question, but one of the most common hesitations we get for someone who’s interested in getting started.  And for a number of reasons, it’s incorrect,

First, the goal is to choose a fitness routine you enjoy that will make a change in your fitness for the better.  We hope you come to us because you have trust in our expertise in doing just that.  So why do you believe you’ll get increase your fitness to some “acceptable level” when it hasn’t happened yet versus us building you up from the start?  The goal of our program is to get you in the best shape of your life NO MATTER WHERE YOU START. If this is your goal, why would you start with anything else?

Second, most of our members started where you were.  It’s hard to believe when you watch them now, but so many of our best athletes had never touched a barbell, couldn’t do a push-up, and had 20-50 pounds to lose when they started. Ask any of them where they were when they started and many of them will say, “Right where you are.”

Lastly, you start slow.  You learn to move BEFORE adding too much weight or intensity.  Our goal is to teach you the mechanics, you build a level of consistency with them, and then we layer in the intensity or load appropriately.

What other questions do you have?  Ask away, I’m ready to answer.

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