Ask a Fitness Instructor

Want to know how to build a stable core? Unsure of how to use free weights? Worried you’re not getting enough out of your workouts? Ask one of our Fitness Instructors!

Workout frequency

How many times should I work out?

This depends on objectives and goals, normally we say two to three times a week. You can split the days up throughout the week, so you don’t get bored. Also, rest and recovery days are vital for your body to grow and repair the muscle tissues after a workout. If you start to enjoy it more then add an extra day to your schedule. However, even once a week is great if you find it hard to come at all.


How long should I be in the gym for?

How long do you have? A session in the gym can be anything from 15 minutes to an hour. More than an hour is not usually advisable. Time spent in the gym can vary on different types of training and goals, but on average we like to say try to devote at least 30 – 45 minutes to moderate intensity exercise


Are longer workouts more effective?

In general, your workouts do not need to be long to be effective. Many people who are new to fitness imagine that they need long workouts to achieve results, but this is not the case. The length of your workout will largely depend on your fitness level, as well as the type of training and intensity you’re working out at. 


How long is the recommended workout?

We recommend that members workout for at least 30 mins at a moderate intensity 3-5 times a week.  Where progression is made, we will gradually increase these workouts to around an hour.


When is the best time to work out: morning, afternoon or evening?

There isn’t one. Try all of them and see what works best for you. Factors that help: sleep, work and energy.


How often do I need to come to the gym?

That varies from person to person but a good baseline to start with is 3 days.


How often should I rest?

Participating in regular rest days and practicing a well-balanced recovery routine can help you reduce your risk of injury and promote the longevity of your fitness routine.




How much should I be eating?

Your calorie requirements depend on so many factors – height, weight, age, and how active your lifestyle is. Your goals also play a major factor. Your calories will be different whether you want to lose weight, maintain, or gain muscle. You can book in for a Boditrax scan with a fitness instructor to get a better idea of how much you should be aiming to eat.


I was told to eat 1200 calories a day, is this right?

No! For 99% of the population, unless you are very small or a child, this is not enough. You can experience severe metabolism damage and other issues by eating this low level of calories for a long time. It’s recommended to not eat less than your BMR (basal metabolic rate) - this is the base amount your body needs to function and how many calories you will burn just sitting still all day.


How important is diet for seeing results?

When it comes to changing your body shape, it is 80% diet and 20% exercise. We recommend starting by writing a food diary so you can see where you could make some healthier choices.


How to lose weight

What's the best way to lose weight?

When it comes to losing weight, there are various training methods that help the process, but it also comes down to nutrition and what we do in the kitchen. Losing weight requires us to eat in a calorie deficit from our maintenance calories. By changing your diet and incorporating different types of healthy foods, removing junk food and combining this with the average training routine, you’ll see fast results.


What exercise can I do to reduce my belly fat?

You can’t necessarily target fat loss, usually you’ll see a reduction in various places on your body.  The key is to be patient, stick at it and eat a clean, nutritious diet, then it will happen! Genetics are the main factor in where fat is deposited and lost.




Gaining muscle

How can I tone up quick?

Get a personal trainer and a nutrition plan. If you can afford it, request a personal plan at your gym with a fitness instructor. If you want quick results prepare yourself for hard work and commitment.


What are the benefits of lifting weights?

Lifting weights has so many benefits for any age group and gender. Resistance training helps improve bone density, which will reduce the risk of conditions such as osteoporosis later in life. It will help grow lean muscle, which will in turn make you stronger.


If I left weights, will I look like a body builder?

Bodybuilders are at the extreme end of lifting weights; they eat huge amounts of food and protein, they train to an intense degree that is often unsustainable in the long term and finally, some physiques may not have been fully achieved naturally. So, we can assure you that just because you lift weights a few times a week, you will not be looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger anytime soon!


How do I get toned without being bulky?

Lifting weights doesn’t mean you’ll be ‘bulky’ – females do not have the same amount of testosterone as males, so it is difficult to gain as much muscle without trying very hard and eating a lot of calories. Becoming toned is about gaining muscle and losing fat, so including resistance training is key.


Core strength

What is the best way for me to increase my core strength?

The most effective way to build up core strength is through compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, and pullups. Performing these exercises correctly can help strengthen your core along with the rest of your body. Focusing on isolated core exercises is more important later in your training.



How much cardio should I do?

This completely depends on your goal. If you want to lose weight, cardio is one way to make your calorie deficit bigger but isn’t the only way to lose weight. Cardio is a great way to keep your heart healthy too and can naturally boost your energy.


Do I need to do cardio to lose weight?

Losing weight is all about creating a caloric deficit. However, weight training also burns calories, and building muscle increases your metabolism leading to more calories burnt. If cardio is something you enjoy, then great! If not, you can still lose weight without it.


Is HIIT or steady state cardio better?

Both types of cardio have their advantages. While steady state cardio (like the treadmill or cross trainer) can be more time consuming, it’s great for beginners, and increases endurance. HIIT is a more intense, high impact way of training that burns calories in less time and continues to burn calories even after the workout is finished. However, HIIT has a greater impact on the body so shouldn’t be done more than twice a week.


Muscle soreness

What can I do about muscle soreness?

Nutrition is key, as eating good food will give your muscles the nutrients they need for recovery. Rest and plenty of sleep also play into your recovery as well, as when you’re at a full rest you’re giving your muscles that time they need to repair.  If you are sore, a good stretch eases soreness, as well as cold showers or baths.



How to get started

What is the best way to get started?

Book in for a personal plan with a Wave Leisure instructor to give you some guidance when first starting out in the gym. We can tailor this to your goals and preferences to make sure you’re enjoying your time with us.


Do I need to start everything at once?

Make small changes and don’t force yourself to do something you don’t like. If you hate using cardio machines but you force yourself to use them, you will end up resenting the gym and stop going.


What’s some advice for people starting out?

Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water and eating enough to fuel yourself.


How can I hold myself accountable to come?

Come with a friend or family member – you’re less likely to skip your gym sessions if you’ve made plans to come with a friend. Hold each other accountable!


What’s the best way to create a lasting fitness habit?

You need to make healthy mental habits and associate the gym with how good it makes you feel, rather than using it as a punishment. Find out what makes you tick: whether it’s a class, weights, or a HIIT circuit.





I’m nervous that people will judge me: what can I do?

If you’re nervous, focus on yourself and phase everyone out. Headphones help at first, but we promise that people really aren’t looking at you. We often ask our clients: have you ever judged someone negatively in the gym? The answer is always no!


How do I feel more confident in the gym?


Get to know your instructors! That way there’ll always be a friendly, recognisable face, whenever you visit. We love talking to our members, whether it’s advice about how to use equipment in the gym properly, or just a good chat! We want the gym to be a happy place, rather than seeing your gym sessions as a chore. There really isn’t a stupid question in the gym – we can promise you we’ve asked or been asked the same thing before!


Progress & plateauing

When am I likely to see results?

It can take anywhere from 6-8 weeks plus to see results from your programme.


How do I know if I am progressing?

Most people will use a scale to track their weight, but you can go by the fit of your clothing, being able to complete workouts with ease, or completing longer workouts or heavier weights as well. You might benefit from taking progress photos as you go. You can also try a Boditrax Precision body composition measurement to work out how things are progressing in terms of muscle gain.


How can I challenge myself more?

It is very common for people to come to the gym and do the same routine each time, sticking to the exercises they know and never really challenging themselves. If you’re coasting through your gym sessions, you might need to increase the intensity to see results. This could be increasing your weights, resting less between sets, or increasing your speed in your cardio.


I’m getting a bit bored of my workouts, what can I do?

As part of your membership at Wave Leisure, we offer the option of having a gym programme card written by an instructor, tailored to your goals, needs and any preferences. Feel free to come and chat to us so we can find out more about you and create a plan that’s challenging, but enjoyable!


I have been training for a while now and have not seen many changes in my body. What can I do?

When training for a long period of time and performing the same routine over and over without increasing the intensity, your body gets used to it and is less prone to change. To see more results, it’s sometimes as simple as changing this process up with a new training programme that your body is not used to. You can also modify changes to the reps, sets, intensity and tempo of your workout.   


I don’t think I am getting fitter, what can I do?

If you’re feeling like you’ve plateaued, you’re not able to run any further than you’re currently doing, you can’t increase your bench press or you just feel a bit drained during your sessions – don’t panic, these things happen! Are you eating enough? Without enough food, your energy will decrease, which will negatively affect your workouts. A lack of sleep will also impact your energy levels. Finally, your body adapts to your workouts the longer you do them, so the amount it is challenged by them will also drop over time. Change your routines every few weeks, to give your progress a boost.


Advice to those who aren’t seeing progress:

  • Keep a workout log of your sets, reps, and weights - you should be trying to progress as often as you can, either an extra set, extra few reps or increasing the weight.
  • Switch up your exercises – if you’ve been doing the same workout try adding some different exercises in.
  • Book in for a personal plan review with an instructor - we can assess what’s working and what’s not and give you new exercises to add to your workouts.
  • Get an instructor to check your form - ensure you’re performing exercises correctly to get the benefits.
  • Check your diet –you may be eating outside of your calorie requirements to achieve your goals. You can’t out train a bad diet!
  • Push yourself during your workouts - increasing the weight in lifts or doing that little bit extra on the treadmill can really make a difference.



Why book with an instructor

What are the benefits of booking a fitness appointment with an instructor?

We will talk about your needs and create a workout to help you achieve your goals. We will also answer any fitness or nutritional questions you have and can help dispel any myths! Even if you’ve been coming to the gym for a while, we can help you get back on track, or to try that new piece of equipment you’ve been eyeing for a while but are too nervous to use.


What can I expect from a fitness appointment with an instructor?

This is dedicated time where you can ask any questions, learn new exercises, check your form, and plan new programmes. We can put together a personal plan, so you know exactly what you’re doing when you step foot in the gym. We always try our very best to make you feel as comfortable as possible, and we’ll take our time to  create the best gym experience you can get, especially for you!


How do I book a one-on-one fitness appointment?

Ask in centre or get in contact via, to set up an appointment. Our appointments are free to Wave Leisure members.


Book an Appointment

Did you know, if you're a Wave member you can have a review session with one of our Fitness Instructors for FREE? You'll work together to incorporate your goals into a new workout to shake up your routine and make sure you get the most from your training sessions! Ask in centre or get in contact via

Say Hello

Our gyms are manned by our Friendly Fitness Instructor team and they're always happy to answer your questions. Say hello the next time you're in! You can get to know some of them here or read their answers to their most commonly asked fitness questions, including 'Which cardio machine burns the most calories?' and 'How do people in fitness magazines do it?'.

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Ask us your questions on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram by commenting, tagging us and using #AskAFitnessInstructor and we'll pass them on to our Fitness team to get you an answer.