It never hurts to have a little support when you're trying to reach a goal! To help you make 2013 your healthiest year yet, we've tapped the best diet and fitness experts to provide their advice and answer your questions. All month long, we are chatting with them on Facebook and Twitter and sharing the results on SHAPE.com. Below, you can find all the great tips from our recent Twitterview with celebrity trainer Jay Cardiello. For more motivation, tune in to the other chats we have planned later this month. See the schedule here!
@Shape_Magazine: Sometimes we head to the gym with good intentions but just don't know what to do. What do you suggest to get focused?
@JCOREbody: Put on a red shirt to get excited & focused. Here's more on how colors affect motivation.
@JCOREbody: Also, take a class. This will allow you to focus on having fun without worrying about what to do!
@Shape_Magazine: For weight room newbies, how do you determine the right amount of weight to use for various types of exercise?
@JCOREbody: First, aim for a simple number of reps: 10. Then relate the weight to things that you are familiar with.
@Shape_Magazine: How many reps should we be performing? Does it vary based on the type of exercise? If so, how do we know?
@JCOREbody: Depends on your goal/how much weight you use. Aim for 12-15 reps making your last 3 hard to do—But remember form is key.
@Shape_Magazine: How tough should a move feel? It can be difficult to gauge how hard to push during self-guided workouts.
@JCOREbody: When doing cardio do the talk test. If you can complete a sentence without difficultly pick up the pace.
@JCOREbody: You can also try my workout video and see how you do. Good luck!
@Shape_Magazine: How do you properly grip a weight?
@JCOREbody: Rule #1: ALWAYS WRAP YOUR THUB AROUND THE BAR OR HAND WEIGHT!
@Shape_Magazine: What's more effective high rep/low weight or low rep/heavy weight? Are they used for different results? What?
@JCOREbody: They do focus on different results. It's a good idea to use both & vary your program every few weeks to avoid a plateau.
Related: Not sure if you should go heavy or light? Here are 8 compelling reasons to lift heavier!
@Shape_Magazine: When we're working out on our own, how many moves should we do during each session? Is there a goal time to aim for?
@JCOREbody: It all depends on INTENSITY. You can get the same results working out for 20 mins as you will in 60 if you work harder.
@JCOREbody: Try my 20 minutes to thinner thighs and leaner legs workout and see what I mean—intense!
@Shape_Magazine: And should we alternate the body parts we work each day?
@JCOREbody: Variety keeps it fun & you focused. You can also mix up your routine with a full-body workout or dance class.
@JCOREbody: On days when you’re working arms, try my 20-minute gun show routine. Do this on alternate days.
@Shape_Magazine: Can you breakdown what a week of workouts might look like?
@JCOREbody: Spilt your routine into "push" & "pull" days. Do weights you "push" like triceps & chest with cardio on days 1 & 3.
@JCOREbody: Do "pull" days on days 2 & 4 with lat pull downs & bicep curls. Mix in legs on days 2 & 4 as well.
@JCOREbody: Here are a few great leg exercises you can incorporate on days 2 & 4.
@Shape_Magazine: If we don't feel sore the next day, does it mean we are not working hard enough?
@JCOREbody: No, your body adapts. It just means it's time to change the intensity, weight, or more challenging exercises.
@Shape_Magazine: How often should we take a rest day and should we do ANYTHING on those days?
@JCOREbody: REST everyday: Sleep 6-8 hrs & hydrate with 1/2 your bodyweight in ounces of H20. Take 1-2 days off & STRETCH.
Related: When we're too sore to exercise we'll do this easy active recovery routine. Does the trick every time!
@Shape_Magazine: How much is too much? Where do you draw the line on pushing through a workout & resting your body?
@JCOREbody: Stay out of the gym when you are sick, dehydrated, or completely exhausted (when injury can occur).
@Shape_Magazine: Is there a telltale sign we're doing too much? How do we know when to rest and recover?
@Shape_Magazine: What are the best foods to eat right after a workout to build muscle?
@JCOREbody: You have 30 mins to take in a 2:1 carb to protein liquid. I always have JCORE Recovery Lite.
Related: Mix things up with these perfect post-workout snacks from 12 of our favorite trainers.
@Shape_Magazine: Is it even necessary to eat after a workout or can we skip it sometimes? Say if we’re not hungry or we have a meal coming up in an hour or so?
@JCOREbody: To get the most out of a workout a simple low cal liquid should be taken within 30 mins post-workout.
@Shape_Magazine: How many calories do you recommend?
@Shape_Magazine: What are the best foods to eat right after a morning workout when we are heading straight to work?
@JCOREbody: In the morning, steel cut oatmeal with fruit and skim milk with berries is a good choice.Related: Not a fan of oatmeal? Here are a few more options you can eat before AND after an a.m. sweat session.
@Shape_Magazine: If we workout in the evening what are the best foods to eat? And how long should we wait if we exercise before dinner?
@JCOREbody: You still have that 30-min window. Simply decrease the calories knowing you will be eating dinner later.
@Shape_Magazine: If we workout late night, what are the best foods to eat? Should we eat if we're heading straight to bed?
@Shape_Magazine: Now that we've grilled you on post-workout, @JCOREbody, what are the best foods to eat before a workout?
@JCOREbody: WATER, banana, a serving of low-fat yogurt, handful of almonds, and yes, even a small piece of dark chocolate!!
Related: Now we know what to eat, but it's important to avoid these 20 foods that can actually ruin your workout.
@Shape_Magazine: How many calories should we aim for and how much time before our workout should we fuel up?
@JCOREbody: Water can be taken up too & during your workout. Otherwise 100+ calories is perfect 20 minutes prior.
@Shape_Magazine: If we workout first thing in the morning do we HAVE to eat? Even if we're not hungry or it upsets our stomach?
@JCOREbody: I always like to have something in my body to provide energy. I have at least 16 ounces H20 & a banana or almonds.
@Shape_Magazine: Nobody pushes it harder than @JillianMichaels, that's why we found out what she eats before workout
@Shape_Magazine: If we're a little hungry before an evening workout & are headed to dinner after, should we have a snack before or skip it?
@JCOREbody: Don't skip it. Fuel in the system means increased intensity!
@Shape_Magazine: For women who are just starting out, do you recommend free weights or machines? Why?
@JCOREbody: Get comfortable with your body first. Stretch, jumping jacks, walk, & ask your gym for a FREE elevation from a trainer.
Related: Don't want to use weights at all? Try this no-equipment workout. You'll be able to tone your entire body!
@Shape_Magazine: And for the more experienced gym-goer, free weights or machines?
@JCOREbody: Free weights allow for multi-joint functional moves. Machines can be used if fatigued & want to keep proper form.
@Shape_Magazine: Are there any machines you see habitually misused or any that you think women should avoid? Why?
@JCOREbody: Smith machine: may misalign the spine/cause lower back pain. With leg extensions it puts too much force on knees.
Related: Not sure what a Smith machine is? Check it out here and see 6 other machines you should probably skip.
@Shape_Magazine: What are your three favorite machines for women and why? @JCOREbody #Shape2013
@JCOREbody: I am not a fan of machines because I prefer multi-joint functional exercises. But, if I had to choose 3...
@JCOREbody: Leg press for single legged presses to balance your hips, assisted chinups & the water cooler to stay hydrated.
@Shape_Magazine: No water cooler where you workout? Try one of these awesome water bottles made for active women.
@Shape_Magazine: Is it detrimental to sign up for too many different classes? What's the ideal balance of consistency/mixing it up?
@Shape_Magazine: Are there any group classes you would recommend to improve balance and core strength?@JCOREbody: Dance, stretch, yoga, & Pilates. But push your muscles with something tough too like a sports-specific class.
@Shape_Magazine: Can you suggest a few moves we can do on our own that focus on balance and core strength?
@JCOREbody: Stand on one leg while brushing your teeth or stand on a pillow with one leg & hold as long as possible, then switch.
@JCOREbody: A lot of my routines, like this one, focus on core stability with every move. Give it a try!
@Shape_Magazine: If we only have time for a short abs routine, what are the top exercises we should be doing?
@JCOREbody: Proper diet and PLANKS. Abs are made in the kitchen and PLANKS recruit and work more muscles than a crunch!
@Shape_Magazine: What are a few moves we can do with kettlebells to tone the core?
@JCOREbody: Walking with a kettlebell in one hand with a tight back & core will work your abs. Walk 25 paces, switch hands, & return.
@Shape_Magazine: Once your feeling comfortable with these types of weights, give this killer kettlebell workout a try.
@Shape_Magazine: No matter how much we train, we've never mastered the pushup. What can we do differently to reach that goal?
@JCOREbody: Hold pushup posit on your bed 2 dev core strength & shoulder stability. As you get stronger do 10-12 reps on knees.
@JCOREbody: Try this workout I've created that you perform entirely on your bed. It's a core-killer!
Related: Here's a handy video tutorial that walks you through how to do pushups. Get it right, get results!
@Shape_Magazine: What are the top pushup mistakes you see women make?
@JCOREbody: Not enough posterior strength & leading with the chin. Always keep your chin in a natural position.
@Shape_Magazine: The squat is a key move, what are the most common mistakes you see with women & how can we do it right?
@JCOREbody: The 3 H's. Keep your head, heart, & hips in line. Sit back on your heels 2 keep knees from rolling over your toes.
@Shape_Magazine:How far back should we really be sitting in a proper squat?@JCOREbody: First stretch your hamstring & hip flexor! Next squat until your quads are parallel to the floor.
Related: In case you can't visualize it, here's a video breakdown of how to perform the perfect squat.