Ask a Trainer: Mixing it up

Different routes to the same destination

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  • | 6:42 a.m. June 18, 2015
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
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Q. Sometimes I know I won’t get to the gym enough days during the week to single out each muscle group – like leg day, arm day, or back day. Are there exercises I can do that mix different muscles groups at once? Will I still see the same results or should I wait until I know I can get to the gym enough? – Carlos P.

A. When striving for any goal in mind, it’s important to realize that there are always many different routes to get to the destination that is your achievement. In this case, realizing that you can attain the muscle and strength gain, fat loss, and health goals you aim for is possible through various different workout splits. Having a day for each muscle group definitely isn’t the only way to see results, which is why I say do not wait! You can absolutely get where you want to be by incorporating full-body strength training and the perfect time to start is now!

Motivational cheerleading aside, there are plenty of exercises you can do that combine numerous muscle groups at once. A great example is lunges with curls. After lunging with one leg, you can use dumbbells to curl and then press upwards in order to strengthen legs, biceps, shoulders, and even core; all in one multi-faceted exercise. Simply do the curl-press movement each time you bring your legs together after each lunge.

An example of a full-body gym workout could be three sets of the described lunge/curl/press combos, doing 20 lunges each set; followed by three supersets of seated cable rows done back-to-back with triceps-dips; and finishing with a plank hold to engage the core, followed by a wall-sit to encourage realignment and posture.

Additionally, certain compound movements are ideal when it comes to total body conditioning and strengthening. Functional exercises that are popular in CrossFit-style workouts and powerlifting, like deadlifts, squats, and sled-drags (to name a few), are incredibly effective for increased muscle mass and fat loss. Incorporating such exercises two- to-three times a week is plenty; just make sure you seek out experienced coaching to ensure proper form and prevent injury.

Q. I have been working out consistently for a couple of months now. I wasn’t really heavy but I just felt soft and “skinny fat.” I kept hearing that weightlifting would help me lose weight, but when I weighed myself the other day I was exactly the same as before I started! I am so confused because my clothes have actually been getting looser and people have been noticing my progress, but why haven’t I actually lost any weight? – Carly M.

A. Hi, Carly! This is perfect timing, because I recently shared a thorough blog post explaining exactly what is happening with your body and the scale! Here is an excerpt from the post, which you can read in its entirety (as well as see client progress photos) on

“In non-overweight clients, we gauge progress by waist size, overall inches lost (or gained, if muscle), clothing sizes, photos and body fat calculations. I solely obtain someone’s scale weight in order to calculate their body fat percentage.

Speaking of body fat, you may have heard that popular fitness phrase that “muscle weighs more than fat.” Well, I’m here to tell you muscle does not actually weigh more than fat does. Think about it: a pound is a pound regardless to what you’re weighing. Saying muscle weighs more than fat is like saying a pound of baseballs weighs more than a pound of feathers… when, really, they both weigh the same: a pound.

What the popular fitness quote is really trying relay is that muscle tissue is more compact – or denser – than fatty tissue; meaning it just takes up less space. So, for example, my client lost 3 pounds of pure body fat while gaining 3 pounds of muscle. That is why although her scale weight remained the same, she lost inches and now fits into a smaller dress size. Simply, her body composition is much leaner and more compact thanks to less fat and more muscle.

I hope that more clearly explains how even if your body weight may not change, you are still potentially making progress in the right direction (especially if you’re incorporating any strength training on your fitness journey).”

Jasmin Bedria, Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Specialist, is an experienced health and fitness expert at Anytime Fitness, Winter Park. Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, Anytime Fitness, Winter Park prides itself on providing a friendly, well-maintained facility featuring top-quality exercise equipment. Members enjoy the benefit of being able to use any of more than 2,400 Anytime Fitness clubs now open in all 50 states and 19 countries. Email your questions to [email protected] and get a free personal training session!