For the past 20 years, rarely has a day gone by when someone hasn’t asked me what is the best way to … you fill in the blank. The answer always starts with ‘”it depends.”

Here are straight answers that will meet the needs of most people who read this column. There are always exceptions, but in my experience, the answers are fairly universal.

What machine is best for weight loss? Most people are referring to cardio equipment (treadmills, bikes, cross trainers, rowing machines, etc.) when they ask this question. The answer depends entirely on the amount of calories that are burned.

Calories burned is dependent on the heart of the exerciser and duration of the exercise. The longer and harder you exercise the more calories you will burn.

What foods will best help you lose weight? You would be looking at cruciferous vegetables, legumes and just about anything that is high in fibre.

What are the best exercises to trim the stomach? A few great exercises would be planks, stability ball roll-outs, standing band rotations and mountain climbers. These exercises are best for strengthening the muscles around the waist.

Total body exercises like squats, lunges, push-ups and pull-ups are even better. These exercise not only burn more calories they also require a great amount of core strength to complete them.

What is the best time to exercise? The best time to exercise will depend on your schedule. There is no science to support the theory that people see better results in the morning or evening. This is purely an individual decision.

What is the best strength training program to follow, total body or a split program, working specific body parts on specific days? For most people the answer is a total body program. It is time-efficient and well-balanced.

Split programs result in each body part being worked once a week and they are normally too intense for most people.

Spending an entire workout focusing on one or two body parts requires too much energy and it may not be as effective at calorie burning, which is an added benefit of strength training for most people.

What is the best overall program to follow to lose weight and get healthy? In general, the more exercise the better. It is rare for someone to do too much exercise. I normally suggest three days of strength training that lasts no more than 25 minutes, along with three to five days of cardiovascular exercise. Each exercise session is always followed by 10 to 15 minutes of stretching.

While everything I do as a trainer is individualized to the needs of the client, these answers should be a great starting point for most people.