Ask the Expert: Fitness Trainer Tara Ravenscroft Answers Your Most Asked Fitness Questions

We got the scoop on all things health and fitness from Health House fitness trainer Tara Ravenscroft. Tara answers all your fitness questions, like the truth behind strength training and the best ways to burn fat. Get ready to get motivated!

Tara lives and breathes fitness and health – something she started at age 14 when she picked up her first weight and realized she could change her body and enjoyed the feeling of building strength.  She is a soldier and was in the Army and Air Force which gave her the discipline to exceed her physical limitations. Starting her  fitness journey at such a young age and through the military is the reason why she pursued my passion to become a fitness trainer.  What it did for her that moment she picked up that weight was the feeling she wanted to bring to as many people as possible.

Outdoors are Tara’s favorite place to be when she gets a chance and love to challenge herself against nature, whether it’s hiking, biking, running, or in a canoe on the river.  It’s a great balance of reconnection and cross-training.  Music is her other passion, whether it’s listening, singing or playing guitar.  

Tell me about the goals/mission of Health House

From the very beginning, our goal has always been to provide the best experience above and beyond fitness.  We make it a point to make sure we have the most up-to-date education since it is always changing.  We also make sure we make a connection with everyone that walks through our doors.  It’s not just a fitness facility, we treat you like this is your home and strive to bring a camaraderie for everyone to belong.

Specifically for women…Will strength training make me look bulky?

That is a myth.. When you see the women out there that are body builders, they have to train extremely hard to get that way and have a specific regimen that they follow.  Women just don’t have enough testosterone in their bodies to get big and bulky.  The average woman or man coming into our classes will gain muscle and change their bodies but it won’t be in a bulky way, more like a strong and lean look.

Can I, as a woman, build curves with strength training? If so, what’s the best way?

Absolutely!  But maybe not the kind you are thinking – you can’t change the structure of your body but you can change the way it looks as far as lean muscle mass.  For example, you can lose weight and tone most areas of your body, giving you the appearance of more curves. 

Is it safe for women to workout while pregnant?

Working out while pregnant is a great way to continue to keep your fitness and can reduce some of the side effects during and helps you get back to fitness sooner.  That being said, you should always consult your physician first and get clearance to continue your workout regimen during and after pregnancy.  It really depends on the situation and under normal circumstances, one can expect their routine to change a little as you get closer to the due date and upon returning.

Is aerobic exercise the most efficient way to burn fat?

The best exercise is to combine strength training – which builds lean muscle and burns more fat at rest – and aerobic exercise.  There isn’t a one size fits all approach to burning fat but doing both of these along with a clean diet will help you burn the most fat.

When do I use high reps/light weight versus low reps/heavy weight?

It’s a great idea to change it up and cycle through both.  It really depends on the exercise you are doing and your goals.  If you are doing a lot of dynamic, multi-move exercises that require several muscle groups or jumping, it’s a great idea to go little lighter than you normally lift with your heavy weights.  If you are doing more stationary work, you can really focus on going heavier and lower reps with the weights.

Are supplements really necessary to achieve my exercise goals?

The best advice I can give on this is that sometimes supplements can be beneficial, especially protein intake, if you’re not eating a well rounded diet.  The best thing you can do for your body is to get everything you need from food.  Supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA and what they put on labels may not be the truth.  I personally take some supplements but it’s best to ask a registered dietician or your physician to see what is safe as some supplements can interact with medications.

What other health benefits come from strength training specific to women?

One of the best health benefits comes from not just physical but often overlooked, mental health.  People that workout have a more positive outlook and less stress.  No matter what your age, it will help you keep your flexibility and stability as well.  As we age, it also helps to maintain your independence and best of all, it improves your quality of life on every level! Fitness is the only true fountain of youth!


Want to know more about Tara and Health House? Find out more here!

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