Personally Speaking

Martin Petrie of MP Personal Training answers your health and fitness questions. Email with yours. Congratulations to Stevie Knight who this issue takes home some sports supplements courtesy of Optimum Nutrition.

Q: I’m not at a gym but I do work out three times a week at home. I usually do a circuit of press ups, sit ups, squats... the bodyweight stuff. I want to gain muscle though and am not sure if this is really working. Is there then a way to work out at home and gain muscle? Or am I going to have to give in a join a gym? Stevie K

A: There will be a point where body weight will stop being enough. Now gyms won’t like me for suggesting this but, have you thought of using a simple backpack filled with anything you could use and vary for resistance? I’m also hoping you have a chin up bar or solid door frame for doing back work... Also don’t forget that results are 70% diet based! once that is in place gains will be achieved.

Q: How many times and how long should I exercise each week? Is three one hour sessions better than six half hour sessions a week? Michael W

A: Well it all depends on what you’re trying to achieve. 3x one hour sessions are good if your able to sustain the right intensity for that period of time. 6x half hour sessions is a little over kill, especially if you’re really pushing it during all sessions. I would recommend no more than two days back to back followed by a rest day. For ways of splitting your current workout to suit this structure ask your gym as reviews with an instructor are usually free with your membership.

Q: I train twice a week and really enjoy it, especially being an older person at 65. I take a protein powder after training but wonder if you could suggest a supplement that could give more energy prior to training? There are so many items on the market all offering wonderful results it’s hard to know how true they are. Malcolm B

A: I agree there are so many options on the market, but one has to be careful of any confliction with any medication you may be taking, for example blood pressure. Try to Limit your sugar intake and avoid candy and junk foods. These foods release quick energy which goes straight to your fat stores. Complex carbohydrates such as oats, sweet potatoes and other whole grains provide sustained energy for your daily activities, and for a boost a good few of my older clientèle swear by having a cup of coffee 20 minutes prior to training.

Q: I’m thinking of becoming a Personal Trainer so I’m going to head along to the YMCAfit open day. What do you find then are the best and worst things about being a PT? Nick

A: On the negative front there is a lot of competition out there so staying on top (or close to it) does make it hard. Plus If your not really good at time management you will also suffer. There are though many positives: having the independence to go freelance and the potential for high earning just a couple of them. Being a qualified PT is all good but the course doesn’t give you experience, so take your time and get in some gym instruction first. A final tip to being a good PT: find what’s unique about you and roll with it.

Reproduced with kind permission of Brighton Active.

Back issues

Before I started my 28 day challenge I had been trying to lose weight and had been doing long walks and eating well. I was getting to the point when…

Read Renee’s quote in full and what others have to say about us.