More and more of you are asking me questions by email or through my contact page, and I'm very happy about that.
It proves that this blog is useful to you and that you like it. Only, as I only have 2 arms and half a brain, I tell myself that the questions you ask me can be useful to others, which will prevent me from answering the same question several times.
This section will therefore grow little by little, especially thanks to you (and a little thanks to me 😉 )!
After answering many questions from Cyrielle, whom I thank very much, I thought it was time for your questions and my answers to have their place in a Frequently Asked Questions Sport Chez Soi.
But above all, let this not prevent you from continuing to ask me your questions!
On the contrary, it will help others again and again. And that's what I'm here for, after all.
Let's go for the Frequently Asked Questions:
Can your Weight Loss method be used anywhere?
Yes, you can apply it, regardless of the country where you live. It is one of its strengths this method to lose weight quickly and permanently. The dietary rules it proposes are valid everywhere. I apply them both when I am in France and in Benin, and you can do the same in Mauritius.
Question from Audrey (Mauritius)
How do you maintain unfailing motivation?
To stay motivated, try not to expect too much of yourself each day. By this I mean that you have to accept to have less desire sometimes and that it does not matter. My advice to you is to do what you can on the days when you're less motivated, but do something anyway.
For example, if there's an exercise that you like and that gives you a little more energy with motivating music, keep it on hand for the days when you don't feel like it. The important thing is to move every day. Tell yourself that you are going to do only 5 minutes before the shower and you will often be surprised not to want to stop after the 5 minutes.
I'm going to let you in on a secret. Sometimes it's the days when I have the least potato that I do the best sessions because I start with something that is easy for me and that I like. So, once I'm warm, I continue easily and I end up in much better shape than before the session.
Question from Constance
My weight has stagnated for 1 month. What to do ?
Be sure to follow the fitness program you received, and don't focus too much on your weight. Don't forget that when you take up sport seriously, you also gain weight related to muscle building because muscle is heavier than fat at equal volume. It is therefore possible to lose weight while not seeing any change on the scale. So be patient and you will see the changes happen.
Asked by Laura
By following your fitness program, do you still need to run?
I have scoliosis, do you know any exercises to help me correct it?
Did you read the article 3 rules to follow to correct scoliosis ? You will find exercises perfectly adapted to the problems of scoliosis. This article on the best abs exercises to protect the back can also be very useful to you.
You also have this excellent book by doctor Kevin Lau, specialist in the natural treatment of scoliosis, which will help you greatly.
Question from Amina
Can you exercise with scoliosis?
If you look closely on this blog, you will find an article titled (Scoliosis exercise) 3 rules to follow to correct scoliosis. Read it first, but know that scoliosis, unless it is to the point where surgery is needed, does not prevent sports at all. Just look at the example of Ussain Bolt!
Read and also apply the article The TOP 12 abs exercises (without breaking your back). This should be more than enough to get you started in good conditions.
Question from Desire
I am ectomorph. Does your mass gain program correspond to my morphology?
Yes, This program totally suits you.
I recommend that you read the article on the 4 rules of the best diet. You are going to focus on the aspect of “gaining muscle volume” in this article and on increasing your calories, that is to say the caloric surplus, in particular through the consumption of proteins.
Question from Bruno
Instead of losing weight, I gain muscle volume. What do you recommend ?
If you are mainly looking to lose weight, you must burn calories with endurance exercises. That is to say long sets with moderate loads rather than short sets with heavy loads.
The Insanity method can be right up your alley for rapid fat loss, especially if you have the right diet.
I therefore recommend these 2 articles to start:
– Insanity, the sports program to lose weight quickly… or to die
– The 4 rules of the best diet to lose weight and build muscle
Question from Aude
I have TRX straps but I don't know the exercises and my goal is to lose weight. What to do ?
If you don't know what exercises to do with your straps and with bodyweight, I recommend that you read these articles carefully:
5 complete programs to lose fat quickly
Your first fitness program over 3 months
7 Super Effective TRX Exercises
You will find many other articles on the blog concerning fat loss or exercises for a flat stomach.
Question from Aurelie
I would very much like to lose 9 to 10 kilos. Do you think this is possible with your 3 month program?
Yes, I'm sure you can lose 9 or 10 pounds in 3 months if that's overweight. Be careful though, because if you're gaining muscle at the same time, that means you're also gaining weight. This is normal, since muscle is heavier than fat at equal volume.
I invite you to discover the method I learn to eat to lose weight to lose 2 pounds a week.
Question from Brams
How to gain muscle in the arms when they are thin?
It's quite normal to have thin arms at your age, especially if you're quite naturally thin. We then speak of an enduring or ectomorphic morphological type. To develop yourself, you already have all the necessary advice on my blog in the “Building muscle” section.
You can start with these articles:
Weightlifting Intensity – How Many Reps Should You Do?
Program to gain volume with resistance bands
But do not forget that it is useless to strengthen the arms alone. It's your whole body that you have to build to gain volume in your arms at the same time.
Question from Romain, 14 years old
Where to fix the TRX straps to do an exercise when the door height is not sufficient?
For my part, I have always done the “superman” by fixing the straps at the top of the door. I am 1.87m tall. I place my heels resting on the bottom of the door and I lengthen the straps enough to have the body leaning forward enough.
If you want to fix them higher, you need a wall or ceiling mounting (click the link to see the model). But these supports must be hard (not Placoplatre).
Question from Stephen
How to strengthen the leg muscles and regain patella stability after a knee injury?
For your knee, I recommend trying wall squats. I asked my wife to do this often after her synovial effusion because her knee was not recovering. And it really helped him.
The advantage is that this position strengthens the quadriceps without putting pressure on the knees. To try with the agreement of his doctor, of course.
Asked by Sarah
Can I keep my muscle volume if I have to reduce my training to 3 sessions per week?
If you reduce your training to 3 sessions, the problem remains that you still have to work each muscle group twice a week. At worst, if this was not possible, at least try not to have more than 5 days of rest between each session for a muscle group.
MONDAY: Chest, Back, Arms
WEDNESDAY: Legs, Shoulders, Abs
FRIDAY: Chest, Back, Arms
MONDAY: Legs, Shoulders, Abs
WEDNESDAY: Chest, Back, Arms
FRIDAY: Legs, Shoulders, Abs
Question from Cyrielle
Should I do longer sessions when using lighter loads?
Not necessarily. When you work on endurance, you need to do more reps. But since you can reduce the rest times at the same time since you take lighter loads or resistances, your session will not exceed 30 minutes.
You know, my workouts rarely exceed 30 minutes even though I work 3 muscle groups. My rest times are very short. It's when I want to develop my strength that I shorten the sets and increase the rest times a little (but rarely beyond 30 seconds).
Here is an example with a classic pectoral session:
On a day of endurance work, I can do:
3 X 20 flyes per arm with bands at a fast pace. No rest time since I change arms every time
4 X 20 repetitions of standing press with bands at a fast pace. Rest time: 10 seconds
4 X 20 standing splits with bands at a fast pace. Rest time: 10 seconds
One day of work for the volume, I will do:
3 X 12 flyes per arm with bands at a moderate pace, but higher tension. No rest time since I change arms every time
4 X 12 push-ups with a band to increase the difficulty. Rest time: 15 to 20 seconds
4 X 12 standing straddles with bands at a moderate pace. Rest time: 15 seconds
A day of work for the force, it will be rather:
3 X 8 flyes per arm with bands at a moderate pace, but strong tension. No rest time since I change arms every time
4 X 8 push-ups (maxi) with the strongest possible resistance to increase the difficulty. Rest time: 30 seconds
4 X 8 standing straddles with bands at a moderate or slow pace. Rest time: 30 seconds
Regardless of the number of reps, the tension in the bands should be enough to make my last rep difficult (almost impossible). When looking for strength, you can even reduce to 5 reps per set.
But in the end, all of my series will not exceed 10 minutes or 12 minutes, since the rest times vary according to the desired goal. Refer to the article on number of repetitions for your weight training sessions.
Question from Cyrielle
Can I end my sessions with some abdominal exercises?
To work the abs, it's actually always better at the end of the session, since these muscles are involved in almost all the exercises. Work them out 3-4 times a week, since they have great recuperative power and are so important in all other activities.
I recommend that you prioritize using the plank exercises from the article on exercises that do not damage the back. If you want to have fun, try these 14 core training exercises. Be careful, it's not easy.
Question from Cyrielle
How can I avoid stagnating in my results?
To help you understand how to avoid stagnation, I advise you to read the article on the intensity of the sessions. Logically, following these recommendations will force your body to adapt.
For example, you can choose a number of repetitions favoring volume gain for 2 or 3 weeks, trying to progress in the resistances. Then, you can decide to devote a week to strength training by doing more intense and shorter series (the rest times are then sometimes longer).
Or on the contrary, you can do longer sets for your endurance. So your body does not stagnate and you force it to adapt. Then you can vary the exercises too, as long as you keep the amount of work needed for each muscle group.
When you have already made good progress, it is unwise to do full body, except in a week when you are forced to reduce the number of workouts. For example, if you can only train twice a week.
Otherwise, drop it. The full body is good for a beginner or someone who mainly wants to lose weight, because the intensity will necessarily be lower for each muscle.
See also the article on best bodybuilding workout routines.
Question from Cyrielle
I do 4 sessions per week alternating upper and lower body but sometimes I choose a full body or cardio program instead. Can I sacrifice an upper or lower body session without jeopardizing my results?
You say cardio is important to you. But what do you call cardio? We put a bit of everything in this word. Do a bodybuilding session in the form of HIIT Tabata which I regularly talk about is a high-intensity cardio session. Do 30 seconds of movement for 10 seconds of rest and you will suffer.
Your heart will work well above the pace of a treadmill session, for example. It will most likely be 85 % of your max capacity. Even 100 % if you do burpees. Basically what I mean is that you don't have to do the same thing for 45 minutes to do cardio.
That being the case, if you are naturally thin, as you tell me, high intensity cardio or not is not your priority. If I were you, I would focus on real strength training. I know that word scares women, because they have the image of bodybuilders on steroids. A toned woman's body is however the most aesthetic. This is what you see with girl models doing fitness.
The type of program you need is the one I describe in this article with a session of resistance bands. You should strive for muscle building, without fear of getting huge, unless you are taking illicit substances 😉
This program respects your possibility of 4 sessions per week with alternating upper and lower body. Except for the shoulders which come in addition to the legs so as not to overload the upper body session.
Question from Cyrielle
I practice pole dancing once a week. Can I consider this counts as one session?
Indeed, a pole dance session works the upper body a lot. Think of it as an upper body session and do the legs next time. That way you don't mess with your schedule. This rule is valid for all other sports. This must be taken into account if you do not want to exhaust your muscles.
Question from Cyrielle
Do you have any advice on the McKenzie method for herniated discs?
As you read in my about page, I suffered (the word is weak) from an L5 S1 hernia at the beginning of the year, even to the point that I could no longer walk. And as I live most of the year in Africa, I experienced a real hassle… But I actually cured myself completely thanks to the McKenzie method in just a few days. I just had to follow the book's recommendations one by one.
I got the book of the method in English on the Amazon site and I ordered 1 lumbar support for the times when I'm sitting in front of the computer. If you have some notions in English, you will do very well, because the most important thing is to read the explanations associated with the images. Start the poses in the correct order, and you'll be amazed at how quickly your back heals.
In any case, for your back, limit the Lafay method to favor training with hanging straps where the elastic bands. The links refer to the presentation of the models that I recommend.
When I was unable to move my legs, what helped me the most was having a drawbar. It seems that stretching the spine promotes resorption of the hernia thanks to blood circulation. This is why some people use inversion tables to heal their backs.
What I learned from all of this is that back problems are rarely a fatality. There are simple and effective ways to manage them. And the sport well practiced can greatly contribute to improving the condition of our back. Read these few articles if you haven't:
(Back muscle) 20 exercises for a reinforced concrete back
The TOP 12 abs exercises (without breaking your back)
Question from Frederic
How to fix the resistance bands (elastic bodybuilding) on a door?
The rubber band kits I recommend come with door anchors. These are kind of canvas strips that end in a compact foam pad that stays on the other side of the door. Don't worry, it's very strong while preventing damage to the door, even if it is painted.
Make sure that the force exerted is in the closing direction of the door. Otherwise, lock it during your session. If you want something more complete, there is also this system of super door anchor (click on the link to see). It's fine if you leave it in place all the time. If you don't have a door on which to leave the anchor permanently, it's best to stick with the anchors that come with the bands.
Question from Alain
Should you make fast movements with the elastic bands or keep the muscles in tension before executing a slow negative phase?
It depends ! Some movements require a certain speed of execution to reach congestion. This is the case of reverse fly or spread for the back of the shoulders. It is very difficult to retain the bands when you are at the end of the movement with significant tension. However, one can also reduce the voltage to achieve this.
On the other hand, I like to keep the biceps in tension during curls, especially on the strongest tensions to increase congestion. I also do it for chest exercises, triceps and some shoulder movements. When I work the quadriceps, I rather look for the explosiveness, so I do not keep the muscle in tension at the bottom during the squats. Except when I'm wall squatting.
It's up to you to see what allows you to obtain the best results for the congestion of your muscles.
Question from Christopher
My biggest difficulty in exercising at home is the lack of space. How to do ?
There are equipment today that take up really little space during and after training. This is the case of TRX straps or some resistance bands. A space of 3 m² in front of a door is more than enough.
Likewise, most of body weight exercises do not require any equipment. However, you will be more limited in the muscle groups to work. In general, 2 to 3m² is enough to do great sessions.
Question from Solenn
One of my biggest difficulties is the presence of my 8 month old son. What to do ?
It is true that taking care of a young child requires a lot of attention and time.
Try to find 3 to 4 20-minute slots per week to do a HIIT Tabata session. For example, choose when your baby takes a nap. Follow one of these bodyweight circuit which are quite short.
Question from Lovely
The hardest part of doing sports at home is motivation! What to do ?
That is the question that keeps coming back. How do you find motivation to exercise? Remember that motivation is conditioned by habit. If you stick with it for 3-5 weeks, your workouts will eventually become a habit. Consider reading the article 12 secrets for super motivation in sport.
The book The power of habits contains all the tips you need to succeed. It puts things in the right order, because your main problem is not your motivation, but the strength of your habits. Read it to understand everything.
Also remember that going from nothing to a lot is not good. Start with 3 workouts of 20 minutes per week, no more. Follow for example this free fitness program. Your motivation will grow when the results come. So be brave!
Question from Camille, Jamila, Frédéric, Morgane and many others…
How to know the weight lifted to estimate its progress with elastic bands?
When it comes to evaluating loads with bands, it's very different from dumbbells.
In reality, the weight, we don't care if we have muscle congestion. This is what makes muscles grow with the right diet. I promise you, I've never achieved congestion better than with the bands.
The important thing is that the band is in slight tension at the beginning of the movement, because at the end of the movement, it will have reached the desired resistance when the muscle is the most contracted. This is what makes the superiority of bands over dumbbells. Whatever tension you choose, your last rep should be hard and your muscle congested.
Gradually, you will add resistance because your muscles will be harder to tire. Read these 2 articles to help you:
How many reps for a weight training session
What exercises to give volume to the biceps
Question from Christopher
When I do standing presses with elastic bands, I feel like I'm working the deltoids more than the pecs. Why ?
Feeling especially the deltoids on a movement for the pectorals, it is possible if your pectorals are not strong enough yet. I advise you to take a look at this video to see the right movement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEy0X8UmfCk
I recommend that you place the door anchor a little higher than in the video, at hip level. Try, at first, to take a resistance that allows you to do sets of 20 to focus on the pecs without cheating on the shoulders. If that's really not enough to focus on pecs, try doing push-ups first.
You can even add strips to spice up the session like in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFb56ej3kH0
This is what I do for my sessions:
1 arm fly: 2 sets per arm for warming up
Push-ups with bands: 3 series
Standing press: 3 sets
Standing spreads: 3 sets
I increase the resistance with each set. For example, I start at 30 lbs for the press, 43 lbs in 2nd and 60 lbs in 3rd. Same for the discards.
Question from Christopher
I'm 17 and my goal would be to build muscle. I would like to know if despite my age, your fitness program can help me build muscle?
Yes, you can safely follow the program at your age. When you have progressed a little, follow the program phases 2 and 3.
A question from Émelyne
I don't have dumbbells at home, can you recommend an object to take instead of dumbbells?
If you don't have dumbbells, the best and most practical is to buy elastic bands. But, if you don't want to buy anything, you can try buckets or detergent cans filled with sand. I did that when I was your age.
Question from Lorenzo, 15 years old
I have trouble keeping my balance when doing the plank with the opposite leg and hand up. How to progress?
I understand you, this exercise is more difficult than it seems at first sight. But that's normal. The easiest way is to start by raising your arm, then your leg a second or two later. You can rest the leg as soon as you start to lose your balance and raise it as soon as possible.
Question from Guy-André
You have not found your answer ?
Or maybe you have other burning questions 😉
No problem. You can ask your questions here: firstname.lastname@example.org
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