The 10 most Googled fitness questions, with expert answers

Ever wondered what the best way to maintain a healthy weight is, or how to craft an exercise plan? We’re about to cure your curiosity. 

Using the SEO software suite Ahrefs, we uncovered the most Googled fitness questions in the UK. We then asked Frank Oshodi, qualified PT and fitness specialist, to answer them from an expert’s perspective. 

So, read on to find the answers to the most burning fitness questions and take away some expert advice to inspire your journey. 


1. How can I build an exercise plan? (500 monthly searches)

Are you a beginner looking to create a sustainable exercise programme? Here’s what Oshodi says: 

“Before building an exercise programme, you need an understanding of the form, technique, fundamentals, and keywords when it comes to exercising. 

“ Asking a beginner to create an exercise plan without prior knowledge would be like asking a chef to pilot an aeroplane.”

Oshodi makes a great point. This takes time, patience, and some adjustment once you put it into practice. If you rush in, you risk overwhelming yourself.

Familiarising yourself with the different components of fitness is a great place to start, alongside establishing your overall fitness goals. 

For example, do you want to improve your body composition, or is muscular strength and power more of a priority? Or perhaps you’re interested in sports, and you’re looking to train multiple areas of fitness. 

Once you’ve done this, read our guide on creating a workout plan for beginners to plan your next steps.


2. What should I eat before and after a workout? (1,000 monthly searches)

There’s no straight answer to this fitness question, as everyone is different. Try various foods and listen to your body to determine what works best for you. Oshodi explains:

“Mostly anything before a workout is beneficial. Ideally, you want a light carb-based meal to give you a slow energy release. You don’t want a heavy meal, as this can make you vomit—food timing is key when eating beforehand.

“After your workout, you should opt for a protein-dense meal from chicken, meat, or tofu, etc., to allow the body to absorb this nutrient and rebuild damaged muscle cells.”


3. What happens if your heart rate is too high during exercise? (1,200 monthly searches)

“From my experience of dealing with clients, they either feel light-headed, dizzy, or nauseous, and sometimes even vomit in the worst-case scenario. This usually happens with newcomers as their heart rate is typically higher during physical activity,” says Oshodi. 

“To avoid reaching this point, you should take it slow and avoid rushing the process because it is a marathon, not a sprint.”

Performing some warmup exercises to gradually prepare your body before a workout can help keep your heart rate at a healthy level, alongside reducing the intensity if you notice it is rising too rapidly. 

Related: The importance of warming up


4. What exercises are best for building muscle? (1,500 monthly searches)

You may already know that muscular hypertrophy, also known as ‘muscle mass’, is achieved through progressive overload. But many sources don’t mention the best exercises to pair with this method—Oshodi explains:

“To encourage muscle growth and build an aesthetic physique, I would suggest heavy barbell back squats because they are a compound exercise, and target multiple muscle groups at once, namely the lower back, glutes, quads, and hamstrings. 

Performing assisted or weighted pull-ups (depending on your current ability) will strengthen and define your back, arms, and core. The incline bench press will complement this movement by building the chest, triceps, and shoulders, so you’re heavily targeting the upper body. 

“Lastly, I’d recommend lateral raises to get those star-looking deltoids and weighted dips to build your arms and target the lower chest.”

Want to have a go at creating a muscle-building workout based on Oshodi’s advice? Here are some demonstrations to get you started:

You should perform three sets of 10-12 reps to encourage muscle growth. 


5. How much exercise do I need per week? (1,700 monthly searches)

“I feel most professional adults need at least three one-hour sessions of exercise per week, consisting of weight training, cardiovascular endurance training, and stretching. They should aim to progress to five one-hour sessions per week, if possible,” Oshodi says. 

The NHS recommends completing 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise. 


6. Can I lose weight without exercise? (2,300 monthly searches)

“You can lose weight without exercising if you consume fewer calories—try eating smaller portions, tracking your calorie intake, and choosing healthier alternatives. 

“To optimise your weight loss and see more efficient results, try implementing each technique in a sustainable way for you,” Oshodi says. 

Here’s a guide to creating a meal plan on a budget if you’d like help to change your nutrition habits. 


7. How do I get a six-pack? (3,600 monthly searches)

As you can see, we’re getting to the most Googled fitness questions on our list—this one has over 3,000 monthly searches alone. 

While genetics certainly play a part in their appearance, and the process involved requires a lot of dedication, it’s possible to achieve six-pack abs with the right method. Oshodi explains:

“To get a six-pack, you need to make sure your diet is clean and that you’re eating in a calorie deficit to reduce fat around your waist and stomach area. 

“Exercises like crunches, planks, Russian twists, and sit-ups are great for targeting the abs, alongside the muscle-building exercises we discussed earlier.”


8. What are the best foods for weight loss? (4,300 monthly searches)

“The truth is, you can eat anything you want—losing weight through nutrition is all about the numbers, aka the calories,” Oshodi explains. 

Nutrition accounts for at least 80% of weight loss compared to exercise, which only contributes towards around 10-20% of the process. So, it’s important to optimise this carefully alongside your training. 

According to Oshodi, some healthier food options you should look to include:

  • egg whites
  • popcorn
  • rice cakes
  • cucumber
  • berries 
  • watermelon
  • leafy greens 
  • avocado
  • black coffee
  • unsweetened almond milk 
  • yoghurt
  • low-fat cottage cheese 
  • lean meats
  • salmon

He also says, “when it comes to building a nutritional plan, you need to ensure you are still getting your dietary macro and micronutrients despite being in a calorie deficit. 

“You should have a protein, carbohydrate, and healthy fat source with every meal and plenty of unprocessed foods containing the essential micronutrients.”


9. What exercise burns the most belly fat? (6,400 monthly searches)

“You have two options—the first is L.I.S.S (light-intensity steady state), which can be done on a treadmill or Stairmaster using a slow speed and maximum incline for 30-60 mins daily. 

“The second exercise method involves interval sprints. However, few people can sustain short bursts of maximum speed as it’s an extreme form of exercise, but the results are worth it if you can do so,” Oshodi says. 

Healthline has a full guide to L.I.S.S. cardio if this method suits you better. Or, if you feel up to it, you can also check out their tips for sprint interval training


10. What is the best way to lose weight? (13,000 monthly searches)

Now for the most Googled fitness question in the UK, with a whopping 13,000 people looking for an answer on this topic per month. 

So, what is the best way to lose weight? Here’s Oshodi’s advice:

“The best way to lose weight is to be in a calorie deficit whilst exercising regularly. But being in a calorie deficit is essential.

“This involves eating fewer calories than your body needs to maintain its current weight, which causes it to utilise stored fat for energy, eventually resulting in weight loss.”


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