9 Things You’ve Always Wanted to Know About Working Out (But Never Asked)

Ever wanted to eavesdrop on other people’s workout conversations to get the scoop on how to burn more calories, avoid injury or boost your results? Us too! So we asked top trainers about the most common questions people ask them after class is over. Their answers may change the way you get you exercise.


1 of 9

I have this pain in my back/ankle/neck/shoulder. Should I push through it or stop coming?

Michele Pernetta founder of Fierce Grace

Photo courtesy of Michele Pernetta

Photo courtesy of Michele Pernetta

Actually neither! Sharp pain is your body’s signal to not go there. It should be listened to. Back off. Never go into pain. Ask your instructor how to modify the pose so you can perform it with no pain. There’s always a way to modify the pose respecting your body’s signals. On the other hand, stopping coming altogether can further reduce circulation or irrigation of the muscles or discs and can delay healing. After an injury, one needs to get moving. Exercising the rest of the body while steering clear of sharp pain can speed up the healing process. 

—Michele Pernetta, founder of

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2 of 9

What should I eat post-workout if I don't have time to go home and make something?

Nelly Lindsay, master trainer for Burn 60

Photo courtesy of Burn 60

Photo courtesy of Burn 60

A. We are always on the go, but you should still try to get protein and carbs within 30 minutes of working out. Something that you can easily pack in your bag could be overnight oats with protein powder added, a hardboiled egg with fruit, chocolate milk, half an almond butter sandwich with banana slices, or Greek yogurt.

—Nelly Lindsay, master trainer for

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3 of 9

How long will it take me to see results?

Rachel Nicks NYC fitness instructor

Photo courtesy of Rachel Nicks

Photo courtesy of Rachel Nicks

If you feel like it is taking longer than you'd like to see results, it's time to assess if there are other factors holding you back. Diet is usually the biggest factor. My students and I often discuss eating habits including your adult liquid diet. The beverage piece is a big one— especially alcohol, juices, and soda. It might be time to cut back. Many people don't take into account what all of those extra calories are doing. Some of us are also not eating enough or eating well. When your diet is more in balance, your workouts are also more effective. 

, a HIIT, Pilates, and barre instructor based in New York City. 

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4 of 9

I found this Bikram yoga class very challenging. Should I start with a different type of yoga class first?

Donna Rubin co-founder of bodē nyc

Photo courtesy of Dona Rubin

Photo courtesy of Dona Rubin

The first class is challenging for everyone, but Bikram method yoga IS a beginning level class. When you begin your yoga practice, set up in the cooler spots (near doors or windows) as your body acclimates. We always recommend that you do the class AT LEAST 3 times before making any decisions. Once you know the sequence of 26 postures, which takes about 3 classes, you can begin to focus more on your breath which naturally makes the class more enjoyable.

—Donna Rubin, co-founder of

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5 of 9

Could these squats and lunges be bad for my knees?

Idalis Velazquez Beachbody Trainer

Photo courtesy of Idalis Velazquez

Photo courtesy of Idalis Velazquez

No, squats and lunges are definitely not bad for your knees. In fact, these are highly beneficial to your entire body and strengthen your joints as long as you perform the exercises with excellent technique at all times.

—Idalis Velazquez, Trainer and creator of the “Mes de Más” four-week workout and nutrition program.

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6 of 9

Why is jumping rope so hard for me and how long will it take me to be good at it?

Kira Stokes

Photo courtesy of Kira Stokes

Photo courtesy of Kira Stokes

I’m often asked this question because jumping rope plays a big role in my Stoked 360 high intensity training class. It burns mega calories, tones, works on coordination and keeps your heartrate up. I remind participants that you can’t expect to be amazing at something if the last time you did it was when you were a child. Practice makes (nearly) perfect. Patience and persistence are also key. One tip: typically people jump too high. You only need to clear the rope.  You will save energy and your joints if you keep your jumps low. Also, nothing needs to move above your elbow—it’s all in your wrists.

, celebrity trainer and Creator of "The Stoked Method"

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7 of 9

How do I know I’m at my maximum output physically during class?

Katia Pryce founder of DanceBody

Photo courtesy of Katia Pryce

Photo courtesy of Katia Pryce

Look at your face during a high point in class. If you are a good shade of red, out of breath, and sweating, that is an easy way to tell you are at maximum heart rate and therefore putting out the most you can physically. 

Katia Pryce, founder of

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8 of 9

Which is more important: cardio or strength training?

Norma Lavecchia

Photo courtesy of Norma Lavecchia

Photo courtesy of Norma Lavecchia

Weight loss is the goal of most of my clients. You will burn more calories while doing cardio but once you stop, your calorie burning stops. Lifting weights will continue its caloric burn effect well after your workout. So the most efficient and effective workout routine is a combination of cardio and strength-training to get the max caloric burning benefit of both. Keep in mind these workouts have other payoffs as well. Cardio will make your heart and lungs stronger. As a result your endurance increases. It reduces stress, depression and anxiety. Strength training increases strength, burns fat, decreases bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol.

—Norma Lavecchia,  personal trainer specializing in small group training and running.

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9 of 9

How many calories will I burn?

Jo Gomez, director of training at solidcore

Photo courtesy of solidcore

Photo courtesy of solidcore

It depends on a few factors such as height, weight, metabolic rate and how hard you work.  You can expect to burn anywhere from 400 to 600 calories in a solidcore class. However, you will continue to burn calories for the next 24 hours. Also, for every pound of muscle you gain, you burn up to 50 more calories a day.

—Jo Gomez, director of training at

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