Snap Fitness Health & Fitness Blog

Success Story: Jason R. from TN

By: Snap Fitness

In December 2009, Jason R. turned 39 years old. At 305 pounds, he vowed to get in better shape before his 40th birthday. His mother was diagnosed with diabetes at age 36 and had her first heart attack a few years after, so he knew he needed to make a drastic change to avoid following in her footsteps.


Jason joined Snap Fitness in Tullahoma, Tenn., and took full advantage of all the tools his club provided. Once it got a little warmer outdoors, he discovered a passion for cycling and took his exercise outside for the rest of the year. By his 40th birthday, Jason dropped down to 172 pounds.


"This weight loss was purely the product of understanding the difference between what my body needed versus what my stomach wanted and lots and lots of hours of disciplined exercise and training,” Jason said. "No pills, no shots, no fancy shakes. Just hard work and discipline.”


Fast forward to 2013. Jason had maintained his healthy weight for three years. About halfway through 2012, his mother's health condition worsened and she lost her mobility. 


"Given her loss of mobility, combined with her diminished mental acuity, I was put in a position where I managed every aspect of her medical care and finances. After several tough months in a nursing home, she passed away at the end of February,” Jason said.


The death hit Jason hard, and old habits began to kick back in. 


"Grief set in and I coped the only way I had learned for 39 of my 43 years: I ate. And then I ate some more,” Jason said. "I ate like I did when I was 300 pounds."


By the end of 2013, Jason gained 60 pounds and knew he had to take action. He decided to enter a 10-week weight loss competition at a local pharmacy. 


"I was asked by my wife and her friends to join the Winter 2014 contest and lead their team. It didn't take too much deliberation to decide to join the group,” Jason said.


His goal was a 20 percent loss (47 pounds). No one had ever hit the 20 percent mark in prior competitions, which motivated Jason to be the first. 


During the competition, Jason's part of the country experienced a very rough winter. It became very evident that his workouts and trainings would have to be conducted inside. So, that’s what he did.


"Morning, lunch, evening, middle of the night — whenever I could squeeze in a trip to Snap Fitness, I was there,” Jason said."On average, I spent two hours a day at the gym five times a week. Every single machine in that gym, along with a lot of the free weights, had the unfortunate pleasure of being doused in my sweat."  


Jason refused to give up. He was dedicated to his goal every single time he walked into the gym — even when a stress fracture set him back.


"When I experienced a stress fracture in week 2 of the competition and the treadmill and elliptical became unbearable to use, I found a way to adapt using the stationary bikes and Life Strider machines,” Jason said. "Never once, did I walk out of Snap thinking I could have done more than I did."


Jason was proud to report he hit his 20 percent goal during the final competition weigh-in. To be exact, he lost 20.3 percent and 47.6 pounds in 10 weeks! Jason has attained a BMI in the "normal" range and that his resting heart rate is down to 52 beats per minute. Jason fully anticipates being able to maintain his recaptured healthy lifestyle.  


"2013 was a rough year for me, but I fought back and am looking forward to a lifetime of great years going forward,” Jason said. Thank you, Snap Fitness, for helping me get back to me!"


You are more than welcome, Jason! You deserve nothing but the best with your hard work and passionate attitude.

Quinoa Tabouli Salad

By: Snap Fitness

Spring is here! Time to break out the lighter food fare including salads, fruit, and tabouli. If you haven’t tried tabouli, you’re missing out! It’s a major salad in Middle Eastern cuisine. The main components of tabouli are always the same: fresh parsley, mint, tomato, scallions, lemon juice, and oil. Traditionally, tabouli is made with bulgur, but we substituted it with quinoa for a gluten-free option. 


1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 1/2 cups minced fresh flat-leaf parsley (about 2 large bunches)
3/4 cup minced fresh mint (1 small bunch)
2 fresh tomatoes
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions or onions
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (or more to taste)


1. Rinse uncooked quinoa in cold water using a fine mesh strainer until the water runs clear. Drain.

2. Spread quinoa in the bottom of a skillet in an even layer. Turn heat to medium and let the quinoa heat up, stirring occasionally until the moisture is gone. Continue to cook the quinoa over medium heat.

3. Heat, stirring frequently, for 10-15 minutes until it begins to turn toasty and fragrant. The quinoa is ready when the seeds start to pop and turn golden brown. Remove from heat.

4. Pour quinoa into saucepan along with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a
simmer and cover the pan. Cook quinoa for 10-15 minutes until tender. Stir and let cool to room temperature.

5. Place minced fresh parsley and mint in a medium sized bowl.

6. Gently stir the cooked, cooled quinoa into the parsley and mint so they’re well combined. Add tomatoes.

7. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add lemon juice, if desired. Serve at room temperature, or chill in the refrigerator. Flavors will improve in the fridge overnight.




4-Step Cooldown

By: Snap Fitness

Just because you’ve finished the “hard part” of your workout doesn’t mean you can pack up and drive home quite yet! A cool-down is a must-do during your post-workout routine. Cool-downs gradually reduce your heart rate and help your body return to a resting state. They also reduce muscle stiffness and soreness. Don’t let sore muscles keep you from getting to the gym! Follow these cool-down steps.


Here are four things your cool-down should consist of:


Cardio: This doesn’t mean run! Slow your speed to a light pace for five to 10 minutes. This flushes out lactic acid from your muscles, prevents soreness, and aids muscle recovery.


Stretch: Spend 30 seconds stretching each major muscle group. If a muscle is especially sore, spend more time on that area. The major muscles include quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, chest, arms, and core.


Hydrate: You should be drinking water before, during, and after your workout, but it’s especially important to drink up after you exercise. You need to replenish the water supply you lost during your workout. We recommend you drink 16 ounces per hour of exercise.


Replenish: In addition to water, we recommend a recovery shake combination of protein and carbohydrates. Protein rebuilds muscle tissue, while carbohydrates deliver proteins to your cells. Sip down your recovery shake within 30 minutes of your workout to ensure your muscles absorb the nutrients they need.


Stick to this cool-down routine and the results will come!

5 Rules for Eating Lean

By: Snap Fitness

You’ve heard the saying “abs are made in the kitchen.” It’s true! When it comes to losing weight, eating right is the hardest part. You can work out regularly, but you won’t get the results unless you have a healthy diet. It’s all about balance, which isn’t something that's easily learned.


If you’re looking to get lean, start following these five rules:


-Hello, Fresh Produce: Start adding more color to your plate during mealtime! No supplement provides you with as many vitamins and minerals as fruits and vegetables. They are naturally low in calories, reduce the risk of disease and heath problems, and have the essential nutrients your body needs. Because vegetables are a nutrient-dense food, you can eat until you’re full without the guilt.


-Grocery Shopping 101: Stick to shopping the outside aisles. Think about it, all the healthy food is strategically placed there: produce, dairy, and meat! They’re the most natural, unprocessed items – meaning they’re the best for your body and overall health. The items that are stocked in the middle aisles are processed foods filled with GMOS, pesticides, and phosphates. Yuck!


-H2O is the Way to Go: Sixty percent of your body is water and regulates key body functions like digestion and absorption. Hydrated muscles grow and perform at a higher level during workouts because water keeps them energized. Water’s benefits aren’t only internal; your skin contains plenty of water, too. Dehydration makes your skin dry and wrinkled. We recommend drinking water every time you have a snack or meal and keeping a bottle of water with you at work. Often times, you may think you’re hungry but you’re actually just thirsty!


-No More Added Sugars: Clean out all the candy and sweets from your kitchen, car, office, etc. They aren’t doing you any favors! Some foods have natural sugar (like fructose in fruit or lactose in milk), but you should steer clear from anything with added sugar or sweeteners — we’re looking at you, coffee fans.


-Take a Seat: Sit down during meal time. It may seem like a small detail, but it helps. You’re more likely to scarf down a bunch of food if you’re standing around your kitchen! Invite friends over for a meal. You’ll find that you’re more mindful of your bites and chew your food more. Talking with friends will make you slow down and not finish your meal so fast.


Got any eating lean tips for us? Share them on our Facebook and Twitter.

Success Story: Jack R.

By: Snap Fitness

After years of selling medical devices, Jack Riekhof needed a change. He decided he wanted to control his own destiny and be his own boss. He moved home to Starkville, MS, and was instantly drawn to Snap Fitness.


“I loved everything about Snap Fitness, “ Jack said. “From the 24/7 access to the idea of having no contracts, just the entire business plan (drew me in).”


Within a few months, he opened a Snap Fitness in his hometown. The excited new members expelled any reservation Jack had as a new business owner.


“It was very easy for us to open the club. Corporate helped us along the way, and we just followed their guide,” Jack said. “I was nervous, but we had over 200 members sign up in the first month and the nerves instantly disappeared.”


The success has continued for Jack. Each year, he’s made significant upgrades to his club; whether it be adding new equipment or expanding his club from 3,000 sq. ft. to over 6,000 sq. ft. Jack said he couldn’t have done it without having the Snap Fitness corporate team behind him.


“I love being a part of the Snap Fitness family,” he said. “Over the years, I’ve seen it grow and I’ve always been able to get support from Corporate.”


Even as other fitness facilities have opened up in Jack’s hometown, his club has remained strong. His advice for other owners is to be persistent and dedicated.


“You’ve got to be there,” Jack said. “It’s important for your members to see that you care and that you’re putting effort into it.”


Jack couldn’t be happier with his decision to change careers. As a father of three, he loves the flexibility that owning his own club gives him.


“There’s nothing like being your own boss,” Jack said. “There’s definitely a sense of pride you get owning your own business and creating something from nothing.”


The ultimate reward for Jack has been seeing the impact that his club’s had on his community.


“We’ve had more than 10 members lose 100 pounds or more,” he said. “To see that drastic of a change, that’s everything.”


If you’re interested in discovering the pride that comes with owning your own business and want to have a positive impact on your community, click here.

Member Success Story: Krystal P. from Portales, NM

By: Snap Fitness

When Krystal P. joined the Snap Fitness in Portales, New Mexico this past January, she never thought she’d be on her way to becoming a personal trainer. This August, she’ll be certified! This has been a long, rewarding journey for Krystal, but she isn’t done yet.


After the holiday season, Krystal’s nutrition was in a rough state.


“I realized that I couldn’t just eat what I want and workout excessively. I was being counteractive to my results that I was expecting,” Krystal said. It wasn’t until she learned the proper way to fuel her body that her breaking point became her turning point.


When it came to choosing a gym, Snap Fitness was the clear winner.


“The 24-hour access, the appearance of the facility, and the convenience of the location to where I live is what gave me that initial spark of interest,” Krystal said.


Losing weight has changed Krystal’s life in more ways than she ever imagined. She started out at 175 pounds and dropped to 155 in the past couple months. Since losing 20 pounds, Krystal has her confidence back and feels strong, happy, and above all, healthy. 


Her daily routine consists a mixture of cardio (such as the elliptical or stationary bike) as well as weight training. She owes it all to her desire to lead a healthy lifestyle. 


“I have struggled with exercise-induced asthma, along with several allergies and lack of proper nutrition,” Krystal said. “I was just tired of being confined and restricted.”


She is now running races on the weekends, riding her road bike in crazy 10 mile-per-hour winds, cutting loose in Zumba and belly dancing classes, practicing yoga, and doing HIIT training. Her energy is the best it’s been in years. With this newfound confidence, Krystal has big plans for the rest of 2014.


“I would like to raise more awareness of several metabolic diseases by volunteering through several organizations by running and fundraising,” Krystal said. “I am also working towards my CPR/AED certification, basic yoga instructor, ACE certified personal trainer, and belay certified for rock climbing all by the end of September 2014.”


Krystal owes her success to her sister, but also the Snap Fitness family. “I am there five or six times a week and almost twice a day,” she said.


She hopes to help others find their health and fitness goals in the future and give back what she has gained through living a healthier lifestyle.


Way to go, Krystal! We wish you the best of luck in your personal training endeavors.

5 Ways to “Spring Clean” Your Kitchen

By: Snap Fitness

Spring is here! It’s the perfect time to get rid all the things that weigh you down – literally. Clean the slate and start new … so, why not start in the kitchen? It’s important to toss out the unhealthy foods, but how do we keep moving forward without being thrown back into the trenches of old patterns? The answer is simple, but doing is the hard part.


Believe it or not, the kitchen contains secrets; not only secrets about how we eat, but the secret to long-term nutrition success. If you’re looking to tone it up this spring, it starts in the kitchen. Keep in mind, in order to follow through with change, you have to be willing to let go of old behaviors and take on a new way of looking at food and cooking.


Here are five tips to “spring cleaning” your kitchen:


Prep produce in advance: One of the most cumbersome parts of cooking is all that chopping and mincing! Prep produce in advance and chop everything early in the week. Even if you don't have specific recipes in mind, wash, chop, and peel your favorite veggies. From there, you're just 10 minutes away from a healthy stir-fry, soup, or pasta dish.


Toss out the preservatives: Stock up on fresh fruits, veggies, meats, and spices. Try to limit the amount of canned food you purchase; they usually contain large amounts of sodium.


Keep it fresh: Swap out salt, soy sauce, and other marinades for fresh spices and herbs. Get creative and make your own spice mixes. Look to ready-made spice mixtures at the grocery store to inspire your personal creations. You'll be able to season your meat, pastas, or even snacks at a fraction of the cost and amount of salt.


Refrigerator overhaul: Try placing all of the healthy foods towards the front and center and keeping more indulgent foods out of sight. You'll find that by keeping the healthy food accessible, you are more likely to reach for it in a hurry. Simplifying and constantly cleaning your fridge out will help you on you eat healthier, too.


Go Greek: Swap out oil, butter, and heavy cream, and amp up your calcium, protein, and probiotics by using Greek yogurt. It can easily sub in for mayo, sour cream, or heavy milk in your favorite recipes.


These are just a few secrets to a healthy kitchen. Buying fresh fruits and vegetables are also great for easy, nutrient-dense meals. Get into the routine of making healthy choices, and we promise the results will come!

Setting SMART Goals

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training

When it comes to setting goals, most of us fail because we are thinking long-term. Setting realistic goals is the key to achieving them. It doesn’t matter whether you’re starting out on a new journey or trying to accomplish a higher plateau than where you are.


The key to success is getting SMART. If you haven’t heard to term before, SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. By following these themes, you will find that the goals you set for yourself will be much more effective and successful.


Specific: It is easy to set goals that are vague or unrealistic. How many times have you set the goal of “trying harder,” really? These types of goals are unattainable because they give you no specific plan to reach your target goal. Try being more specific about what it is you want to do to get there. For example, if your goal is to hit the gym more often, set yourself a target to an exact amount of days. If your goal is to eat less candy, craft a weekly meal plan to stay on track.


Measurable: Now that you have a specific goal, take it one step further and give yourself a measurable target. By setting goals that are measurable and breaking it down on a daily basis, the task becomes immediate or short-term, not something that will only be reviewed in 12 months when it's too late. They give you not only a specific goal to reach but serve as a regular reminder to work on your goal.


Achievable: This is hard to do, but try not to set the bar too high when targeting your goals. Unrealistic goals are ambitious but can seem intimidating and unachievable. However, if you break down a big goal into realistic sub-goals, almost any objective you set will eventually be achieved. Plan each step of the goal and make sure that each sub-goal is attainable for you. Give yourself a realistic time frame to achieve each step, and you will eventually get there.


Relevant: Goals that relate to your daily life are more motivating to work on. If you want to lose weight and someone says you should join a boot camp or running club but you despise running, choose something else that will help you to reach your specific goal. If it is not something you are interested in, it will be harder to stay motivated. Keep in mind; you are the only one who can decide what a good goal is right for you.


Timely: This is the most important aspect of goal setting. Setting a realistic time frame is the golden rule. A realistic time frame is one which pushes you, but not so much that the goal becomes impossible to achieve. Without a specific time frame, your goal has no sense of urgency to achieve it – allowing it to fall to the bottom of your priority list.


What’s your first SMART goal? Share it with us on our Facebook and Twitter!

Quick n' Fit Circuit

By: Snap Fitness

Sick of your standard cardio routine? If so, try this! The Quick n’ Fit circuit takes less than 20 minutes and works your entire body. 


If you're looking to tone up this summer, this type of workout is perfect for you. Circuit training is great because it incorporates high-intensity work in a short period of time. It keeps your heart rate elevated for the entire workout. Its benefits include weight loss, muscle gain, and added strength.


The only equipment you need today is a medicine ball.


Ready to get your sweat on?


Here’s your circuit:


Medicine ball burpees (one minute): Place medicine ball on the ground between your feet. Hold the ball while you jump back into a push-up position, then jump forward so your feet are on either side of the ball. Lift the ball into the air as you stand up, then jump!


Russian twists (one minute): Sit on the floor with your knees bent. Keep your torso upright and hold the medicine ball center. Move the ball while twisting left to right for one minute. Keep your back at a 45-degree angle!


Jump squats (one minute): Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Drop down to a regular squat, and jump up! When you come down, lower back down into a squat position.


Medicine ball plank (one minute): Hold a plank position with your hands placed on top of the medicine ball. Keep your back flat and don’t forget to breathe!


Toe tap soccer drill (one minute): Set the medicine ball in front of you and switch off tapping your left and right foot on top of it.


Rest (one minute)


Repeat exercises two more times.


What did you think of this workout? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter.

Cardiovascular Intensity Levels Explained

By: Snap Fitness

You never know when that cardio training will come in handy. Don’t get stuck in a running rut! There’s so much more to cardiovascular training than following the “running as fast as you can for as long as your can” mentality.In fact, more isn’t always better. By switching up your intensity level, it prevents both injuries and boredom. Train smarter rather than harder!


Here are the three main cardio training categories:


Long Slow Distance: Working at a heart rate intensity of 60-70 percent of your max heart rate has long been called the “fat burning zone.” While true, it’s not the most effective way to burn fat and boost cardiovascular fitness. The goal in completing Long Slow Distance cardio is to increase your ability to burn fat while you sleep. You’ll know you’re working aerobically and at a heart rate range of 60-70 percent of your max heart rate if you can easily carry on a conversation. 


Do Long Slow Distance training one to three times a week – depending on your weekly total, it should account for 25 percent.


Interval Training: What makes Interval Training so great? Not only does it boost your cardio fitness and heart rate, it has a lingering effect on your caloric burn – upwards of 30 percent! That means you can burn 30 percent more calories than you would normally burn throughout the day.


Interval Training consists of working at or above 85 percent of your max heart rate for a period of time, followed by a recovery period at 60-70 percent of max your max heart rate.


Sounds awesome, right? If you only do this type of training, you also burn more sugars rather than fat during your workout. Do too much interval training and you run the risk of burning that hard earned muscle. 


For Interval Training, stick to one to three times a week or 50 percent of your overall cardio training.


Steady State Training: The toughest of the three! For this, you wantto work just at or slightly below anaerobic threshold  — roughly 75-85 percent of your maximum heart rate. 


This training category is the toughest because you have to stay at a relatively high intensity for five to 20 minutes. In comparison, Long Slow Distance training  is easier to maintain and generally feels good, where Interval Training is far tougher but only last a short while. Challenge yourself to work Steady State Training one to three times a week or 25 percent of your overall training.