How do I get rid of belly fat/cellulite?
Unfortunately, spot targeting is not really a possibility. You can't pick which areas you lose fat from. In order to lose belly fat, you need to lose overall body fat. And the best way to do that is a focused plan for diet and exercise. That's going to be different for every person, but here are some general tips that work for most:
- Be mindful of your starchy carb intake. You need some to have energy, but you don't need to eat pasta every day.
- Same thing with healthy fats. You need healthy fats in your diet (nuts, avocado, etc.), but you don't need to eat a whole avocado's worth of guac. Fat carries more calories per gram than carbs or protein, so the calories add up really fast.
- Cut out fried foods/bad fats. No nutritional value here.
- Be mindful of the calories you drink. In my opinion, drinking calories is not worth it. I'd much rather splurge on ice cream than have a beer, when I'm trying to cut calories.
- Try incorporating HIIT (high intensity interval training) into your workout routine. These workouts are great for fat loss because they build muscle (which burns fat all day) and provide a cardio workout at the same time. Very efficient.
Should I take supplements?
- Multivitamin - yes!
- Protein powder - This is the primary supplement I take. I'm not a big meat fan, so I could use some extra help getting protein into my diet to support my workouts. I typically take one scoop with just water after each lifting/strength workout.
- BCAAs - Not safe for pregnancy, but if you're not pregnant, there is research to support that BCAAs are a good complement for your strength routine.
- Pre-workouts - Also not safe for pregnancy. I actually quite like pre-workouts when I'm trying to build muscle. I feel like it gives me an extra boost to really push myself to lift heavier. I do not take them before cardio workouts.
- Skratch/electrolyte drinks - If you're marathon training, yes. If I'm running for more than an hour, I usually fill my handheld bottle with Skratch. When I race, I alternate between taking water and electrolytes along the course.
- Fat burners - Honestly, these kind of freak me out. I'm not confident that they're effective or safe to take. I'd have to look at the specific supplement's ingredients.
What's the best way to gain muscle/strength?
The best way to gain muscle/strength is by lifting heavy things. If you already workout and you're just wanting to gain more muscle, I'd recommend lifting heavy enough that doing 3 sets of 8 reps or so is very hard. I also like implementing drop sets into my lifting workouts when I'm trying to pack on muscle. Drop sets are when you lift at a heavy weight until you can't do anymore reps, and then you drop down in weight, do that to fail, drop down in weight, do that to fail, etc.
If you're trying to pack on muscle, I'd cut back on LISS (low intensity steady state) cardio, such as long distance running or biking. You could do a little bit of HIIT cardio or just go for walks for cardiovascular health.
What do you need to change in your workout routine if you're pregnant?
- The primary thing is not overheating, because baby can't regulate their temperature like we can. So your level of effort should be pretty conversational. If you can't talk, you're going too hard. Also, don't go out for a run if it's too hot outside.
- No twisting movements.
- No exercises that require you to lay on your back.
- Be extra mindful of proper form. Take things slow. Your body is making relaxin to prepare for birth. That relaxin also loosens your other joints and makes you more prone to injury.
How soon should I start training for a marathon/half marathon?
- For both the half and the full, I would recommend not starting completely from scratch. Before you start your regimented training program, spend a few months just building some base miles with short, easy runs.
- Half Marathon: 10-12 weeks before your race
- Full Marathon: 18-20 weeks before your race
How do I improve my speed?
The best way to improve your speed in running is by doing speed workouts. It's good to work with a coach to figure out what your speed work should look like, but here are some examples:
- Mile repeats -- 2mi warm up | 4x 1mi fast, 30 sec rest between | 1mi cool down
- Track workouts -- 2mi warm up | 6x 200m sprints on 200m recovery jog | 2mi cool down
- Tempo runs -- 2mi warm up | 5 miles @ marathon race pace | 1mi cool down
Hope these were helpful! Let me know if you have other questions you want me to answer.