HEALTHY LIVING: Local personal trainers answer commonly asked questions about fitness

WALLINGFORD – National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer Kolbe Laing and I met up recently at the East Side YMCA in Wallingford to discuss some of the questions that we get asked most as personal trainers. 

Laing, a Hamden native, works as a trainer at the east side branch while studying Allied Health Sciences at UConn.

How do I make time to work out?

It’s a myth that you need to spend hours at the gym in order to get an adequate workout in.

“I know a lot of people don’t have time to get to the gym. But, with the resistance bands you can get the whole gym in just one band” said Laing. “About 15 minutes of a full body circuit using the resistance band is all you need.”

With resistance bands, or body weight exercises, at-home workouts can be very simple and effective. 

Planks, push-ups, and crunches are some examples of equipment-free exercises that can be done at home.


What can I do to tone?

Toning is a common term associated with fitness, and it refers to developing the muscles and leaning out the body. 

Cardiovascular exercise is an essential component to reducing body fat and revealing musculature. 

“Work a lot of compound movements in” said Laing.

Compound exercises target multiple muscle groups at the same time. 

These movements can be single exercises such as lunges, deadlifts, and shoulder presses which. Or, multiple combined motions such as a squat to press. 

For those who are looking to enhance muscle definition Laing said that they should also focus on improving their posture.

How long should I hold a repetition for? 

Laing said that using tempos when strength training helps to maximize muscle growth.

He used a bicep curl to explain how this is done.

Laing said, “I would take 7 seconds on the way down in the eccentric phase, pause for 2 seconds on the bottom, and then I’d take 1 second to go back up to the top.”

General recommendations for static holding of a weight during a repetition are typically around 10-20 seconds.

Can you make me a meal plan?

The answer to this commonly asked trainer question is two-fold.

A certification in personal training is designed to be used to develop exercise programs for clients.

However, trainers who also have nutrition certifications are qualified to give clients nutritional guidelines. But, they should still recommend medical professionals to clients who want individualized medical meal plans.

Those who are seeking advise regarding nutrition should consult their doctor or a register dietician.

How much weight should I be lifting?

A person’s fitness goals and physical capabilities help trainers to determine how heavy the weights that they use will be.

For those looking to build muscle and lose fat, lower weights and higher repetitions are ideal. 

Laing said that using lower weight should not be seen as a bad thing because it is most important to focus on form.

“Emphasize the muscles and not the joints” said Laing.

For more information about CPT Kolbe Laing visit:

Kristen Dearborn is a Wallingford native, NASM certified personal trainer and author of the blog dearfitkris–

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