Chicago Personal Training


Want to ask our Personal Training Staff a question? We'll answer any question for free. Call us at (312) 498-7738 or email us at:

Here are some recent questions people have asked, along with our answers. We've left them exactly as asked, grammatical errors and all:

Q: My body is predisposed to the curvy hourglass figure, but I want to become more fit and toned. What is the best exercise and strength training regimen to create/maintain an hourglass waist?  I read that I should avoid training my obliques too much because it makes the waist thicker.

A: I wouldn't neglect the obliques, they are very important. Look at the biggest steroid-monkey-body-builder you ever saw - their obliques never stick out very far at all. So yours never will either. In fact their obliques will be ripped and they will still have a tiny waist.  Another way to maintain the hourglass shape is to build the shoulders, lats, and butt. Do a lot of squats, lunges, step ups, overhead presses, lateral raises, pulldowns, and bent-over rows. That should help.

Q: Hello! I'm a 21 year old female, 5'8, 128 lbs. I exercise 5-6x a week, alternating between weight training and cardio. I don't' follow any particular diet, but I eat well. But, like any girl, I just have a little pudge on my belly. I know there isn't anything I can really do, besides eat less calories, and burn more, to shed the fat from my body (I realize you cant spot reduce) I bought a slimmer belt the other day, just to help lose some water weight around my stomach. I definitely sweat a lot when I use it, but I haven't noticed any big change (although I have only used it 4 times) So I guess my question is how long do you need to use one, before you see some results???
Thank you so much for your input and time!

A: I wouldn't waste time with a "slimmimg belt." Yes, it can make you sweat, but the sweat doesn't remove water selectively from that area; it comes from the total body water - it's all connected. Dehydration is no way to lose fat, which is what you really want.

Q: Dear Personal Trainer, I am a 20 year old female, who up until last year when I lost weight, and suffered much muscle deteriation had a reputable 6-8 pack. Yes, unusual for a female, but something I prided none the less.  Back to my routine of obsessive crunches and sit-ups, and other ab exercises, and no results. The muslce tone will not return no matter how much I do. What is happening, and what is the remedy? Also, right below my navel I seem to occasionally have a
small pooch, I don't know if it's water retention or what. Can  you please tell me what I should do exercise wise etc. to help me regain the same
muscle tone I once had. Thank you so much.

A: Everyone has a six pack. It's just that on most people, it's invisible because it's covered up by a layer of subcutaneous FAT. That's what is
starting to happen to you. It isn't water retention. Crunches and other ab exercises will help, but you also need to start eating clean, doing cardio (treadmill, bike, etc) and strengthening and toning exercises (weights, pushups, squats, etc).

Q: I am a 6'5" ex-basketball player. I recently got on a scale and I was amazed when I saw 245. I am 37 and have been retired from playing in Europe for about 3 years and when I stopped playing I was about 220. I am caring all my weight in the belly area, I want to reduce my weight and bodyfat but keep my muscular build I have read so many magazines but they seem to either tell you how to lose weight or gain mas but never lose the fat around the stomach but still keep the big arms chest etc....

I will be the first to admit my eating habits are bad, I usually eat a bowl of cereal like Capt N' Crunch and then go all day until about 2 or 3 and eat like 2 double cheese burgers and fries or chicken wings and then because I have eaten so much that I won't eat again until 8 or 9 and then stay up till 1 or 2 in the morning. I play basketball recreationally 3 to 4 times a week and then about twice a week I will lift weights. I know I must increase my workouts so I plan on along with the ball also doing cardio more but I need some direction please HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!

Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

A: First things first - you want help, but LOOK at your diet! I'm not saying that to yell at you, but you KNOW that's a recipe for disaster. Captain Crunch, burgers, and chicken wings is a SURE way to pack on the pounds in record time. You can work out three hours a day, but if you're eating like that, you'll never get anywhere but cardiac rehab if you survive the inevitable heart attack. So let's start with your diet.

I want you to begin eating five or six snacks per day rather than three meals. Captain Crunch is OUT! That's not a good breakfast; it's much high in sugar. Try egg beaters or egg whites, a protein shake, or if you really like cereal, at least use oatmeal, cheerios, shredded wheat (with Splenda) or something with less sugar.

For lunch try a salad with grilled chicken, a low fat wrap from Subway, or a grilled chicken sandwich on whole wheat bread (no mayonnaise).

Snack on apples, oranges, roasted soybeans or almonds.

For dinner, try grilled fish or chicken and some steamed vegetables (NOT potatoes).

Lay off the white bread, white rice, potatoes and pasta.

Keep playing ball, add some more cardio (try to keep your heart rate up to 145-155 for 30-40 minutes five times per week). Start adding three weight workouts per week, never on consecutive days. Do about three or four sets for each muscle group, 8-12 reps per set. The last rep or two should be VERY hard to lift or it's not heavy enough.

That's enough to get you started. Call or write if anything isn't clear.

Q: Hiya, I'm emailing you because I need help and advice about getting into shape. Im a 16 year old boy, weigh 135 and about 5'11. Im fairly skinny, but my body is built quite odd.I've got skinny neck, skinny arms and skinny legs, but my tummy isnt flat or skinny....its rather chubby and its got some flab to it haha. And the sides of my stomache, I guess you could call it the oblique curved inwards so that I look like I have the curves of a girl. So my new years resolution and goal is to get a better body, more lean and muscular at least by the summertime. And who better to ask than you! I need to get some confidence in myself and not be ashamed of taking my shirt off anymore. If you could help then that would really really be apreaciated. Thanks again

A: You sound like a classic ectomorph. Most ectos have a small frame and small muscles; it's usually hard for them to gain weight, especially muscles. What usually works for these hardgainers is lifting VERY heavy (you should be failing after 4-6 reps). Take a long break between sets (about four minutes) but do something active during this break (crunches, walk on trreadmill, etc). Do about six of this type of sets for a given muscle group, then DON'T work those muscles again for about four days. Try not to eat much sugar, white bread, white rice, potatoes or pasta. Eat lean meats (broiled chicken and fish), eggs, and low fat cottage cheese. Try to get about 20 -30 grams of protein every four hours or so. that should help.

Q: i am 31 year old male. i put on alot of weight recently. most of the weight stays in my upper body. im mostly disgusted with my pecks and under my armpits. lets face it i got man tummy area needs attention too. i'm 6' 5" and weigh in at 255lbs. i recently joined a local gym and i'm looking for a workout to target my problem areas.

A: It's not easy to design a whole program for you in an email.  You need to start eating better, and doing cardio and resistance exercise. In a nutshell, cut out most fats, sugars, empty carbs (potatoes, white bread, pasta, white rice), get your heart rate up to 150-160 and keep it there for 30-40 minutes, five times per week, and start doing strengthening and toning exercises three times per week (never two days in a row).


Do you have another question that hasn't been answered here? We'll answer any question for free. Call us at (312) 498-7738 or email us at

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