Ask the experts at Argos

Ask the expert

Got a burning fitness question? Or confused about which workout works best for you? Our expert trainer puts your worries to rest.

Katie Bulmer-Cooke is a leading personal trainer who specialises in helping real women get their busy lives, and their figures, back on track. She was voted FitPro UK Fitness Professional of the Year 2013, IFS Personal Trainer of the Year 2012 and is rapidly gaining global recognition as one to watch: katiebulmer.com

I don't have hours to spend in the gym. How can I get fit?

You don't need to spend hours working out if you use your time effectively, but exercise isn't just about keeping fit. If you exercise every day, you'll feel more invigorated, you have more energy and sleep better. The less exercise you do, the worse you feel! If you're busy, setting your alarm half an hour earlier means you can easily fit in a workout before work. Make time to exercise and the rewards are so much greater than just getting fit.

How much exercise do I really need to do to lose weight?

If you want to see a real difference, you need to exercise for at least 30 minutes five times a week, but this doesn't mean spending hours in the gym. When you find something you love, it doesn't feel like exercise but a part of your daily life. If you prefer being outside, try a running club or circuits instead. I had a client who'd tried everything without success, until she discovered interval training and using weights. She's lost six stone in the past year! So there really is something for everyone.

Will I look like a body builder if I use weights?

Women cannot bulk up, as we don't have the same testosterone levels as men. Weight training will help you get longer and leaner, not bigger and bulkier. Using weights is really important for women as it boosts bone density, helping protect against osteoporosis. To reduce body fat and improve muscle tone, aim for three weight training sessions a week. Weight training can also be using resistance bands, or your own body weight.

Should I cut out carbs if I want to be healthy?

You don't need to cut out all carbs, but you do need to choose the right sort - and when to eat them. Stick to unrefined carbohydrates, like root vegetables such as sweet potato and parsnips, and rice. But try to avoid bread, pasta and pastries. Eating carbs at the right time is crucial. Your metabolic rate is higher after exercise, so your body is much better able to deal with an increase in blood sugar levels. Eating carbs two to three hours after a workout also helps replenish stored energy in your muscles, so they recover much more quickly.

What's the best exercise for toning my bum?!

My top exercise is a squat. Add in some lunges and side lunges to target two different areas of the bottom, and you double the effect. If you use the dumbbells as you squat, you can add more weight as you get fitter, making it even more of a challenge.

What's the easiest way to flatten my stomach?

A flat stomach starts with nutrition. Many processed foods can leave us feeling bloated, so cutting out refined carbohydrates, like white bread and biscuits, is a great place to begin. And when it comes to exercise, forget about doing hundreds of sit-ups.

How can I get rid of my bingo wings?

Try a tri-set of press-ups, triceps dips and triceps overhead extensions. All you need is yourself, a dining room chair and a dumbbell. It's a great toning routine if you're short on time too.

What are the healthiest snacks to fit into my busy lifestyle?

Here are my three key tips to make sure resolutions get kept. One - be specific. Saying you want to lose weight is fine, but how much? And how long should it take? You need to set out smaller steps, for example two pounds a week. Two - be realistic; you can't lose two stone in a month When we don't reach that goal, we can become disheartened and give up. Three - choose something you're passionate about. Pick something that puts a fire in your belly!

Every year I fail to stick to my New Year's Resolutions. How can I achieve them this year?

Here are my three key tips to make sure resolutions get kept. One - be specific. Saying you want to lose weight is fine, but how much? And how long should it take? You need to set out smaller steps, for example two pounds a week. Two - be realistic; you can't lose two stone in a month. When we don't reach that goal, we can become disheartened and give up. Three - choose something you're passionate about. Pick something that puts a fire in your belly!

Photography by Matt Lollar

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