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How to read a workout
When you see a number next to the same letter, the exercises are to be performed one after another. For example:
- A1) Goblet squat, 3 sets, 4-6 reps, rest 30 seconds
- A2) Dumbbell bench press, 3 sets, 4-6 reps, rest 60 seconds
This means perform 4 to 6 repetitions of the goblet squat. Rest 30 seconds and complete 4 to 6 repetitions of the dumbbell bench press. Rest 60 seconds. This is one set of each exercise. You then start again with the goblet squat
How much weight should I use?
If you’re not sure how much weight to start a set with it’s ok. We can guess and perform 1 to 3 light warm-up sets to help us get an idea. After the warm-up sets rank how difficult it was on a scale from 1 to 10. We want a weight that feels like an 8. Example:
- A1) Goblet squat, 3 sets, 4-6 reps
Grab a 15# dumbbell and you easily do 6 reps. It feels like a 5. So you do another warm-up set with 20# and it feels like a 7. You then try 25# and it feels like an 8. Count this is your first set.
Keep in mind that you’ll be logging all workouts in the app. After a few weeks, you’ll have a database of weights for multiple exercises that you can view for each exercise. You’ll see this on called “history” under each exercise
Simple exercise substitutions
- Barbell squats/Leg press → Goblet squat → Bodyweight squat
- Barbell lunge → dumbbell lunge → Bodyweight lunge
- Deadlift → Dumbbell deadlift
- Pull-up → Band assisted pull-up → Machine assisted pull-up → Lat pull down → Inverted rows
- Bench press → Dumbbell bench press → push-up
- Box jumps → Broad jumps
- Kettlebell swing → Dumbbell swing
- Jump rope → Jumping jacks
- Running → rowing → elliptical → bike → jump rope → any cardiovascular exercise
- Any squat movement for another squat movement
- Any lunge movement for another lunge movement
- Any upper body pressing movement for another upper body pressing movement
- Any upper body pulling movement for another upper body pull movement
Warm-up and cooldowns
There typically will not be any warm-ups or cooldowns. The reason being, most people skip them or do their own thing. So with that in mind if you’re looking for a general warm-up
- 2-5 minutes of light cardio
- 10 bodyweight squats or reverse lunges
- 5-10 push-ups
- 5-10 inverted rows
- 1 to 3 light warm-up sets of your first 2 exercises.
- How hard should I be working out?
Unless it says “all out,” “as fast as possible with good form,” or something that suggests working really hard. Work at 85% of maximal effort. You don’t need to sweat, get super sore, or crush yourself for it to be a good workout. At the end of your training session, you should feel like you could do a little more.
Should I workout while sick?
This is up to you. I recommend going to the gym (or wherever you workout) and starting your warm-up. If you feel like shit, go home. If you feel good, keep going. Most importantly you kept up the workout habit by showing up and that’s half the battle.
Should I work out with an injury?
Communicate this with your coach so we can talk about alternative exercises.
What if I don’t have enough time for the entire workout?
You’ve got a few things you can do.
- Decrease the sets. Instead of 5 do 3. Instead of 3 do 2.
- You could also remove the last exercise or two. The most important lifts are at the beginning of the workout.
How many days per week do I need to workout?
This will depend on the individual, their program, schedule, and personal preferences. For most people 2-4 days of strength training, each week is sufficient.
What’s better for fat loss weight training, cardio, or something else?
Creating a calorie deficit through nutrition is the best thing for weight and fat loss. If we eat too many calories we’ll gain weight. If we eat slightly below our body’s calorie needs we’ll lose weight.
Next, meaningful movement. Moving your body in ways you enjoy as often as possible. The less sitting we can do the better. Walk, dance class, rock climbing, surfing, tennis. However, you like to move your body – do it. It won’t take motivation because you already love it.
Then comes to weight training. We need lean muscle mass to keep our metabolisms running fast and avoiding that “skinny fat” look.
Finally cardio. We won’t be doing a ton of this. If you enjoy it, go for it. But I encourage you to use it as a tool to help bust plateau’s. Stick with walking and meaningful movement for your cardio.
How long should I rest between exercises or sets?
If you do not see a recommended rest period after each exercise use your own discretion. Generally speaking, 30-120 seconds will be about right. More rest for exercises that work bigger muscle groud (i.e. Barbell squats, deadlifts, bench press, pull-ups). And less rest for exercises that work smaller muscle groups or bodyweight exercises (bicep curls, push-ups, bodyweight squats).
Keep in mind that this will vary from person to person and their conditioning level.
Bonus reading: Reps, sets, rest, and tempo
Where do I start?
If for some reason you have not received your custom quick start guide or calorie control guide please let me know. We’re going to work on establishing optimal eating habits one step at a time. Below is a shortlist (not all) of some of the things we’ll be working on.
- Eating more mindfully
- Increasing protein and veggies with each meal
- Choosing smart carbohydrates
- Learning about healthy fats and when to include them
- Drinking more water and less calorie-containing beverages
- Eating meals and eliminating snacks
- Building grocery shopping and meal prepping routines so we can eat out less
- Weighing and measuring food or tracking calories for short periods of time
What’s the best diet to follow?
There isn’t one. They all have their pros and cons. Instead, we’ll be working on finding the best approach to eating that works best for you now. Whether it’s Paleo, Keto, Vegan, high or low carb, or some other diet that’s out there.
Will we be counting calories (do we need to)?
Weight management is a simple equation. Eat more than you burn and gain weight. Eat less than you burn and lose weight. However, the physiology behind “calories in versus calories out” is a bit more complicated than that.
You’ll notice that in your quick start guide or calorie control guide we give you hand-sized portions as well as calories and weighted measurements you can use. We’ll determine together whether using your hand or if tracking is the best option for you.
Should I avoid carbs?
Yes and no. But mostly no. Carbs are not fattening. More calories than your body needs are. Regardless of where they come from.
For most people, completely cutting out carbs doesn’t work. Instead, we’ll learn how to make smarter carb choices and improve the portion sizes so that you can reach your goals.
But it’s up to you. Again, we’re going to work together to find the best nutrition approach for you. If you prefer a lower carb diet we’ll work with that. If you prefer eating more carbs, we’ll work with that too.
What should I eat before (or after) a workout?
This will depend on your goals. But unless your a hard training athlete there does not need to eat or drink anything specific before or after a workout (i.e. it’s not necessary to drink a protein shake unless we decide it will help you with your goals).
One general rule is to give yourself some time to digest your food before training. 60 minutes is usually enough but some might need more or less.
Do I get a meal plan?
Meal plans and diets aren’t useful or sustainable for the vast majority of clients.
Clients often feel like they’re either “on” them or “off” them. The black and white nature of a meal plan suggests that people have to eat perfectly at each meal (to match what’s listed in the plan) — or they’ve failed. It’s psychologically unpalatable and unsustainable.
Even more, meal plans are too inflexible.
Instead of meal plans, we use something called habit-based (or practice-based) coaching.
Habit-based coaching is rooted in the best practices of change psychology. In other words, it’s built on the latest science of what actually helps people develop new skills and make a change in their lives.
However, you will receive some meal templates, recipes, and other guides.
TRUECOACH APP (If we’re using this)
How to use TrueCoach (important)
Profile – When you get your invitation to use TrueCoach, please set up your password and add some info about yourself. We’d love to see your photo!as we’re working together. If you want to save your data you may want to copy it elsewhere. You can hang onto the daily emails if you want to refer back to the workouts.
Demo Videos – Your workout will be emailed to you each day, but be sure to click the “Open in TrueCoach” button to go to the TrueCoach website (it works on mobile too). Here you will see more details such as videos for each movement.
Notes – Under each exercise is a place for notes, photos, or videos for your reference – use this space to record the weights you used or anything else you’d like to remember about the exercises.
Important – You can also submit a form check video here or in the chatbox.
History – Once you’ve built up a history, you can click the clock icon next to each exercise to see it – so you can check your past weights or other notes you’ve made.
Comments & Questions – At the bottom of each workout page is a place for comments – this is where you can ask questions that the coaches will see, or post any comments about how it went for you.
PROCOACH NUTRITION APP (If this is what we’re using)
What to expect as we work through nutrition coaching
- Log in to a personal home page.
(This is called a “Today” page, because it tells them what to do today.)
- You get a lesson to read.
- You get a habit – a small task to do.
- You measure and record your progress.
(This can be body measurements or other indicators that they want to track such as energy levels or adherence to an exercise routine.)
Every 2 weeks:
- You get a new habit to try and practice.
- You upload a photo as part of their progress tracking.
How often can I reach out to my coach?
As often as you’d like. Feel free to send a message or email at any time. I respond within 24 hours to any message that I get, often much sooner. When you do reach out please keep your messages short and to the point. Bullet point is preferred. This helps me focus on the most important parts of your messages and is much easier to read
What if I screw up?
We focus on two mindsets over here. Always something and never two in a row. Can’t do your full workout? Cool, do whatever you can. Even if it’s just 10 push-ups. Ate a shitty meal? Cool, wipe the slate clean and make the next meal a good one. Never two in a row.
I don’t have time.
We make time for things that are important to us. If you’re struggling with time please reach out to your coach. But also read these articles.
Bonus reading: The busy professionals guide to fitness, nutrition, and life
I’m just not motivated
I have a rule that we don’t use this phrase. The reason being, motivation is entirely overrated. We’re not motivated to do a lot of things but we do them anyway. The key is to do something, anything.
We also don’t understand motivation and how it works. We think we get motivated and then we do something. But in fact, action breeds motivation. The more you do something the more motivated you will be to continue doing it.
And keep in mind that lack of motivation is often rooted in stress, anxiety, and frustration. Are we working on things that are too hard, too easy, not the right fit?
If you’re struggling with motivation ask yourself these 4 core motivation questions
- What are the benefits of changing?
- What are the disadvantages of changing?
- What are the benefits of staying the status quo?
- What are the disadvantages of staying the status quo?
Bonus reading: Maybe it’s not about motivation, maybe it’s about you.