Charlotte NC Personal Training FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions with Taylor Carpenter Personal Training in Ballantyne, Charlotte, NC


What is working out like at your studio?

I have a 1250 square foot facility, top of the line equipment, and I keep it cleaner than any gym you’ll find.

I only provide 1 on 1 training so this means the client I’m training as everything all to themselves, no sharing, full 100% access. Can also listen to whatever music you prefer.

Most of the training for people is progressive overloading. Whether you’re trying to get stronger or improve body composition my intent is to simply make things slowly and gradually more and more difficult. Small increases in weight used and amount of work done but steady increases nonetheless.

For most people I prefer utilizing the main lifts for efficiency (deadlifts, squats, rows, presses, etc) and if people prefer a massive amount of variety in their training I try to compromise some.

My focus is on strength training, I do not perform a lot of cardio with any type of client unless I find there to be a strength performance benefit to it. Strength training IS cardio (and vice versa)!

Do you ever run any promotions?

I do not run any promotions for new clients. However, I do on occasion run different promotions for existing clients to earn a free session or possibly discounted sessions.

My ideal client is a long term client that has long term goals. I’m not a business trying to compete with Groupon specials. I’m not a big believer in attempting to drop 20lbs in 3 weeks to get ready for a wedding.

In reality, the first month of personal training is usually learning new exercises, fixing mechanics, identifying diet flaws, implementing new “lifestyle changes”, etc. You’ve barely even crossed the starting line at that point. 

I do not attempt to bribe people towards quick, short term unsustainable results.


Will I get "bulky" working out with weights?

I get this question of concern a lot. Most of the time its from women but occasionally from men as well.

In short, NO, you won’t get “bulky” from working out with weights unless you have the intent of getting bulky by eating in a caloric surplus and really pushing your training volume. 

If you’re concerned about looking like a bodybuilder, you will need to accidentally have 4-6 pretty intense high volume training sessions weekly and you will need to eat a massive amount of food to recover from that type of exercise. 

Many people aspire to get bigger, stronger, and more “bulky” and those individuals don’t accidentally become that way. Muscle isn’t built by accident. 

Many people may overeat, lay on the couch and in turn find themselves significantly fatter than they once were. Others may under eat, stop resistance training and find themselves significantly skinnier than they once were. NOBODY, just happens to accidentally get massive in muscle, so that shouldn’t be a concern!



How often should I work out?

It really depends on an infinite amount of factors.

You need to train enough to see results, but at some point too much will yield less than stellar improvements. Overshooting what you’re capable of may lead to fatigue, decreased motivation, and/or even injuries. 

Proper diet and sleep are commonly overlooked but play a pivotal role in recovery and overall fatigue management. When food, training, and rest are all aligned efficiently it should allow the individual to trainer longer, hard, and yield better results. 

Other factors in determining exercise frequency may include training history, age, recent lifting history, and desire. If you don’t want to train 5 days per week, you likely won’t. There is a most efficient way to do things but it ultimately circles back to adherence and what you’re willing to put into it.


How often should I mix things up?

If results and efficiency are two of your primary goals then the answer would be…not very often. Maybe ever 4-8 weeks or so. 

If you don’t really like working out and you need to do something new every day to get your foot in the door then by all means mix things up. It won’t yield as great a return as a well structured training program but if you manage to skip all your training sessions because they’re redundant, that too will not deliver.

Progressive overload is a term to describe slow and steady progress. Depending on ones goal a tried and true method to consistent improvements is either adding weight and/or volume (sets+reps) to your movements. One way to really improve on both is to get efficient at doing specific movements. If you squat three times per week but each time you squat to a different depth, use significantly different weights, use different bars, different stances, etc…You’re never going to get very good at any specific lift or get yourself in a mechanical groove. 

Progressive overload for maximum results, mixture for adherence.

What accessories do I need? (gloves, belts, lifting shoes, etc)

You probably don’t need much to start. Your hands will get calloused and your grip will get stronger, I wouldn’t recommend gloves unless you’re a palm model. You should probably invest in a decent cross training type shoe with solid support.

Once you have a few years of experience underneath you, you may graduate to a lifting belt, lifting straps, wrist wraps, and lifting shoes (if you have poor ankle mobility).

I’m also a fan of knee and elbow sleeves to keep your joints warm. SBD and Rehband are the “Nike” brands. They’ll provide a little minor extra support but in my experience I feel like warm joints move better than cold ones. 

If interested, contact me and I can give you my recommendations on the above products. I’ve tested many.


What is the best diet for "x,y,z"?

The best answer I can give any individual would be the one that they adhere to. 

I’m very high on the Renaissance Periodization Diet Templates, they’re the best that I’ve ever used. I’ve been saying this for 4-5 years now (as of 2018). I’m very structured/organized, I meal prep, and I make zero excuses when it comes to food. If you’re none of those things, then those templates probably wouldn’t be for you and that’s okay.

If you want to lose weight you need to create a deficit somehow. Whether that is cutting out a food group, eating less meals per day, only eating between a certain window of time, removing liquid calories entirely, switching from sugar filled condiments to sugar free condiments, eliminate or reduce eating out, etc. These are all methods of eating less calories which is ultimately the only thing that matters. If losing weight is your primary goal, everything above works. If you’re hoping to build/maintain muscle and increasingly improve performance while losing weight then you I’ll need to be more particular with your diet. Is what it is. The effort you put into it will determine the result.

If you want to build muscle or gain size, then you need to find methods to eat more. That can be adding high calorie shakes (protein/pb/whole milk), switching from fat free foods/drinks to whole fat foods/drinks, consuming more fat (easing to get high calorie intake with fats), adding a big meal before bed, adding 1 or 2 full meals to your day, cooking everything with olive oil, switching from lean meats to higher fat meats, switching from egg whites to whole eggs, etc. These are all ways to create a surplus in calorie intake.

Ultimately, if you do not stick to a diet then it’s pretty much worthless. If you don’t follow the diet as it is written and prescribed then it’s pretty much worthless. You must find what works for you, but you may have to adjust your expectations accordingly if you’re not willing to make many changes.


How many calories should I eat?

First you need to prioritize what your goal is. Do you want to lose, maintain, or gain weight? Is body composition a higher priority than your strength gains? Those are the initial questions you need to ask yourself.

I HIGHLY recommend the Renaissance Periodization diet templates. It involves meal prepping, it involves reading an extensive FAQ pdf file, it involves using a food scale but it tells you exactly what to eat, when to eat, and when to adjust your calories. If you’re willing to put a little effort into learning the process I don’t think anything really works better. Really does all the thinking for you.

Alternatively, you can estimate your caloric goal with the Mifflin St. Jeor formula and use a free program like MyFitnessPal to track your calories. Even with this option there is a little learning curve and you’ll definitely need to take the time to study like you did in school to get a grip on it.

These are the only two options I recommend if you want to see results. You can “portion control” or “watch what you eat”, have no data to refer to and just hope for the best….but that’s not something I would recommend if you have set out specific goals for yourself.

Should I eat before working out? If so, what should it be?

The short answer would be, yes.

When you are about to expend energy, it would be ideal to have fuel for that process. I would also prefer to have fuel during the process (protein, high glycemic carb) assuming there are no dietary restrictions. Perfect world, your highest percentage of carb intake (energy resource) would be taken around your workout window.

Your own adherence will ultimately dictate what is good for you and what is not. If eating something before hand makes you sick then try eating a little bit earlier than normal or maybe get your calories/meal from a drink. I like having a full stomach when working out but I’ve never had issues with feeling nauseous. 

Along with protein (steady supply throughout the day), I like to have oats before working out. I feel a level amount of energy from the time I eat it that lasts through the duration of my workout. I’m afraid apples/bananas may give you a little sugar spike and crash. I have determined pasta for me, usually makes me want to take a nap instantly but my energy levels kick back up about 45-60 minutes after. With oatmeal, I never get that fluctuation or crash and thats why I would say that works best for me.

Most would probably have better workouts if they had some type of food. You may have to try a variety of different combinations to see what makes you feel 100% consistently.


How long should I mass for?

Clients are usually timid about massing (gaining weight) but eating in a surplus is the best way to go about building and growing muscle tissue. Not only do you typically have improved energy and recovery but the only way to gain is to be in a surplus.

With massing phases the pro is you build muscle but the con is you add on fat. You typically can’t gain one without the other but ideally you would gain slowly, pair it with resistance training and hope to minimize fat gains. 

I’ve always found massing (building muscle) to be more challenging than cutting (losing fat). You may have to continue to eat when your stuffed full which is physically challenging, food no longer is appealing at that point. Mentally, you may have just worked extremely hard to get lean and reduce your body fat percentage substantially and now you’re intentionally bulking right back up. 

When massing I would recommend trying to increase your body weight at about 0.5%-1% weekly for 6 to 12 weeks. If very skinny maybe beyond that. Those who find it very mentally tough to add love handles temporarily will opt for the slower gains, and smaller durations. Those that can handle some extra thickness, can shoot to gain a little bit quicker and longer. Either scenario, you have to understand that you will be adding on quality muscle tissue and once you go through another cutting phase you will look better and have improved body composition. 

It really helps to have a long term mentality over the short term. If you go through a quality muscle gaining phase, you will look better by the time you cut back down. You may be looking at a 6-9 month transitional period though. When determining duration you just need to be honest with yourself and what you think you’ll mentally be able to handle.


Which supplements should I be taking?

Your personal doctor is probably the person you should be asking this question to before your personal trainer. With that being said, most people probably don’t need too many supplements, they simply need to fix their diet.

If you choose to eliminate a food group (meat, carbs, etc) you’re likely starting out with a greater deficiency somewhere versus someone with a well rounded diet. Most any diet can be “healthy” or result in weight loss/weight gain as long as general rules of calorie consumption and macro intake are acknowledged and adhered to. is a great resource for finding the effectiveness of most any supplement you desire. If you comb through the site, you will find that majority of the products advertised to us haven’t been scientifically proven to provide a very meaningful impact.

Whey and casein protein powders are a great tool for people that have a hard time consuming enough protein on their own. Creatine, caffeine, beta alanine, all have significant research to back the benefits of their supplementation. I would also say sugar has a great benefit towards energy and performance when used strategically. 

I use the supplements above, they work for me where I am in my life and how my current diet is constructed. Personal health and diet will ultimately play a pivotal role in which supplements should be recommended or not.