Snap Fitness Health & Fitness Blog

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Announcing the 2013 Lose Weight Challenge winners!

By: Snap Fitness

For six weeks this spring, Snap Fitness members from all across the U.S. and Canada were dropping pounds, building muscle, and competing to win big cash and prizes as part of the $25,000 Lose Weight Challenge!

Nearly 15,000 members participated in the challenge, losing roughly 30,000 pounds in the process! But in the end, one “loser” stood apart from the pack.

George F. from Barrie, ON dropped 81.1 pounds, resulting in a loss of 32.3 percent body fat! 

“Competing in the Snap Fitness Lose Weight Challenge was one of the most difficult, and rewarding things I've done,” said George, who made the choice to join the Challenge after facing a number of obstacles.

“For the last decade or so I've been struggling with weight, this past year being the worst. In early 2012 my father needed major heart surgery opening my eyes to the changes I need to make, but with a serious leg injury early spring all my hard work and training had been halted. Not only that, being in a cast for several months and many more of rehab, I hit an all time high for weight; and low for health. I needed a change, but was having trouble finding the right motivation. That was until I found out about the Lose Weight Challenge.”

Over the next six weeks, George began to find his rhythm. His new routine would start with a morning cardio session, followed by some weights after work, and finally a second cardio session in the evening. In addition, he took advantage of the Truestar nutrition and vitamin program in order to get started on a plan to help him get better results.

Thanks to his hard work, George is not only healthier and happier, but also receives $5,000 cash, $1,000 in Truestar vitamins and supplements, plus a trip to a sunny destination (see the complete list of winners below)!

While he says the prizes were motivation, the real reward comes from the long-term benefits of losing the weight. “I could never thank Snap Fitness and Truestar enough for giving me my life back!”


Lose Weight Challenge Top 10 Winners (*winners based on total body fat percentage lost):

1) George F. – Barrie, ON: 81.1 lbs., 32.3% loss
2) Michael J. – Cranberry Township, PA: 53.4 lbs., 28.08% loss
3) Aleksandar J. – Hubbard, OH: 58.8 lbs., 25.48% loss
4) Tyler H. – Mount Joy, PA: 38.7 lbs., 22.74% loss
5) Alex W. – Toronto High Park, ON: 74 lbs., 22.43% loss
6) Trevor G. – New Richmond, WI: 47 lbs., 22.38% loss
7) Steve C. – Grand Forks, ND: 49.8 lbs., 22.29% loss
8) Matthew P. – New Bern, NC: 54.6 lbs., 22.14% loss
9) Michael B. – Grandville, MI: 62.6 lbs., 21.93% loss
10) Matt H. – Courtice, ON: 53.4 lbs., 21.85% loss

Congratulations to all of our winners, and thank you to everyone who participated in the Lose Weight Challenge!

Finding the Perfect Workout Partner

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training

There’s no question that working out with a buddy has its benefits.  Do a Google search of working out with a partner and you’ll see what I mean.  But, what if that workout buddy is sabotaging your efforts?  What’s better than a workout partner – but, the RIGHT workout partner. 

 

While finding a partner can be difficult, your time is worth it.  So is your commitment to your goals and your ability to achieve them – the right workout partner is invaluable!   I am a triathlete who does the bulk of training on my own.  Recently, a friend with a mutual drive for winning and I did a bike/swim workout together.  Our strengths, weaknesses, and mutual focus were so in-tuned that it inspired me to take another look at training with a partner.  It also forced me to question what I would really look for in a quality training partner.  After all, finding a great workout partner is like finding a great personal trainer – here’s how:

 

Choose a workout partner that has the same goals that you do

This might seem obvious but, you’ve got to really get down to the details on this.  It has to be more specific than, “you both want to lose weight”.  For example, if you are competitive in a sport, do you want to place in your age group or simply complete the event?

 

Choose a workout partner that is at the same fitness level

I’ve trained clients that are at completely different fitness levels and no matter how creative I get with their workouts, someone is always left either not getting enough or being pushed too hard.  The end result, someone is either left in the dust or left frustrated.  You don’t want a workout partnership to turn a friendship into a fight. 

 

Choose a partner with the same focus

This is different from having the same goal.  Often, a partner might have the same goal but, their level of commitment and focus to that goal are very different from yours.  Do they spend half the workout time dawdling or talking between sets?  This dips into your precious, focused time…move on!

 

Choose someone you can compete against (a little)

By choosing a workout partner that compliments your strengths and weaknesses, you will ultimately be helping each other more.   This partner pulls you where you are weak (for me in the triathlon, that would be the run – for my partner, I push her harder on the bike).  A little healthy competition can only make you better.  Maintain the balance or adjust to someone new.

 

Choose someone that you can count on and holds you accountable

They show up for training sessions, on time and ready to go – ensuring and motivating you to get yourself there as well.  If your training partner is a consistent canceller, don’t waste your time.

 

Now you are ready to hit the ground running and find the RIGHT workout partner for you! 

Ask the Trainer: Motivation to Stick With It

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: When I first started going to the gym, I went every day and really did well, and then the gym burned down. Now they've rebuilt it and I have no desire to go. What can get me motivated?

 

Answer: I have found over that years that the best way to get going is to just to force yourself to go for a couple days in a row. Once you get in the habit of not going it is easy to continue to not go. However, once you get your body used to going again and your endorphins kick in, you will feel better when you actually go. Commit yourself to the next week and you should see your motivation come back again!

Ask The Trainer: Developing a Routine

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I just gave up a 20-year smoking, being lazy, drinking pop lifestyle three months ago. I'm 35 years old, 6'4" and 300 pounds. I've been working out and getting active, but have no real "core" or cardio yet. How do I gradually build both from nothing?

 

Answer: The best advice I can give you is to hire a personal trainer who can do an initial assessment with you and get you on the right track. In general however, you can begin with three days a week of cardiovascular exercise for 20 minutes and follow that up with a full body circuit where you are hitting every body part, also three days a week. Start slow and work your way up but be sure to get some help if you want to see results in the fastest way possible.

Ask the Trainer: Workout Intensity

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I work out with a trainer once a week and he wipes me out. A couple times a week I try to do that same workout on my own, but I’m not nearly as tired when I do it on my own. Why is this? How can I make sure I’m pushing myself as hard as my trainer does?

 

Answer: This is a tough one. I don’t think it is possible to push yourself as hard without your trainer unless you have a workout partner as well. Think about what the trainer does for you. First, you get the knowledge you need to do the exercises correctly. Second, you have someone that holds you accountable for showing up and not missing workouts. Finally, you have someone who can push you through that pain and burn on your final repetitions that you won’t do on your own. If you can find a workout partner who can be on your routine and who will push you past your comfort zone on exercises, you will be ahead of the game. This is the main reason that many people use personal trainers and why many professional athletes are where they are today!

Ask the Trainer: Dehydration

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: How can I walk further and a little faster without getting so dehydrated?

Answer: You can’t really walk further and faster and stay hydrated because you are going to sweat more with the intensity and lose more water. You have two different options. One option is to ensure that you are properly hydrated prior to exercise. Make sure you drink a few glasses of water before your workout. The other option you have is to consider what a lot of cyclist and hikers do and get a Camelback water backpack. This backpack holds enough water to keep you hydrated on long rides, walks, or hikes. You have to have access to water during prolonged exercise especially in the heat to avoid dehydration.

 

Tips for the Final Week of the Lose Weight Challenge!

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Hello weight loss challenge participants. Congratulations on making it to the final week of the Lose Weight Challenge! It has been a long road so I want to give you some final tips on how to lower the scale in the final days:

Tip #1 - Limit your simple sugars. Try to stay away from candy or anything that is high in sugar. Sugar is a carbohydrate and excess carbohydrates tend to make you retain extra water weight. Limit your candy, fruit juice, regular soda, or anything that is full of empty sugar calories.


Tip #2 - Avoid heavy carbohydrates. Stay away from heavy morning cereals, pancakes, waffles, pasta, white bread, and potatoes. Think more green vegetables like broccoli, green beans, asparagus, and spinach. Try to focus on keeping your carbohydrates lower this week and adding higher protein foods.  If you do this you may see some additional water come off of your body.


Tip #3 - Don’t miss a workout day. You have made it this far in the challenge. Do not allow yourself to miss a single workout at this crucial time. You are almost there and the finish line is in sight. Focus, Focus, Focus!!!

 

Tip #4 - Get in a good workout prior to weigh-ins the final day of the challenge. Make sure not to eat a huge meal prior to weigh-ins and instead get a nice intense workout in. This may account for 1 – 3 pounds of water weight on the scale. Time it right so that you are on top of your game.

Try implementing one or all of these tips and you should see some minor changes in body weight before you do your final weigh-in this week!  


Best of luck and let’s see who is going to make the top 10!!!

Sincerely,

Chad

Road Map to Stay Motivated

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Hello Lose Weight Challenge participants. With only two weeks left in the challenge I wanted to give you some advice for a strong finish. In order to win the challenge you will need to finish with a lot of consistency. The main driver here is motivation. Here are some ways to create a “road map” or plan for your final two weeks:

Tip #1 - Get out your calendar again and map out your next two weeks of workouts.  Write down the times you are going, what body part you are working, and what type and duration of cardiovascular exercise you will complete. This is your written commitment to complete these workouts each day. After you complete each day make sure you cross out that day and begin counting down the days till the end of the challenge.  

Example:
Monday- (8:00 a.m. -9:00 a.m.) Upper body on the machines and 45 minutes of cardiovascular exercise on the Stairmaster. 3 sets of 15 on all exercises and keep heart rate at 145 beats per minutes on cardio.  

Tip #2 - Write out your commitment on the nutrition side. Make a statement of how you will behave over the last two weeks.

Example:
“I will follow my nutrition plan over the final two weeks. I will not eat any fast food (even on the weekend) and I will be dedicated to making better eating choices. I will commit to being perfect over the next two weeks until this contest is over!”

Tip #3 - Write out a prize for yourself at the end of the challenge. Hopefully you win 1st place, but think of something you can do for yourself once you finish successfully. This can be something like taking yourself for a mini vacation, buying something you have wanted a long time, or maybe a nice dinner at your favorite restaurant. Print a picture of whatever it is and tape it up on your refrigerator or on your work computer so you can visualize it each day. Use this as motivation as you go through these final two weeks.

Once again, these are only some tips to help you finish strong. It is up to you to put them into place, take action, and get the results you want. Commit yourself to the finish and I promise you won’t be disappointed in yourself!

Sincerely,

Chad

3 Ways to Kick-Start Your Weight Loss Program

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Hello Weight Loss Challenge participants! Congratulations on getting started with the challenge and I wish you the best of luck in getting the best results. To get you started I wanted to give you some tips on how to get out of the gates.  Here are 3 ways to kick start your weight loss program:

Setting goals

Goal setting serves two purposes. The first is that it provides motivation, and the second is that gives you a specific end-point to shoot for. Get out a sheet of paper and write down exactly what your weight loss goals are at the top of the sheet. Once your goal is determined, write out three different ways you are committing yourself to achieve this goal. For example, if your goal is to lose 20 pounds, you should have some specifics written down. You might write that you're going to get to the gym four times per week, eat 300 less calories per day, or eliminate high-calorie desserts or alcohol. Once you have carefully put this together, sign the bottom of the goal sheet and make three copies. I would post one copy on your refrigerator, one on your work computer or office, and one on your home computer.  Make sure you post it where you have to look at it each day to remind yourself of what you are committed to.
 
Nutrition

Write down what you eat for three days. In order for you to lose weight, you are going to have to burn more calories than you take in. It’s the law of thermodynamics. If you consume 2000 calories and you burn 2000 calories, your weight will remain the same. If you burn anything over 2000 calories you will begin to lose weight. Therefore I would recommend writing down exactly what you eat and drink for a three day period.  Use Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and log everything you eat from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed. Once you have all of this recorded I would go to mysnapfitness.com and click on the "my nutrition" link.  Once you register here you can go to the calorie counter and enter all of the meals for each of the three days.  This will tell you how many calories you are consuming. Knowing this total will be a good guideline to let you know how many calories you'll need to burn to lose weight.  


Gym Routine

Get to the gym more! Now that you have determined the amount of calories that you are taking in, you need to start burning more calories through exercise. Although three days a week is a good start, I would recommend five days per week if you truly want to start moving the needle. This doesn’t mean you have to lift weights all 5 days but I would definitely get in to burn some calories on the cardiovascular machines.  An example would be a Monday, Wednesday, Friday full-body workout on the selectorized machines. Try a 30 minute circuit hitting all body parts and end with 20–30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise on a cross-trainer or treadmill.  On Tuesday and Thursday I would come in and just do cardio for 30 – 40 minutes.  This will allow your muscles to rest on these days and repair.  My best advice would be to get with a Personal Trainer at the gym and get your Fitness Score session completed so you have a starting point. Working with a Personal Trainer will give you an advantage on a customized workout, nutritional advice, and Truestar supplements that can give you much faster results with your weight-loss efforts.


Best of luck during week one and be looking for my week two tips on “Eating to Increase and Speed Up Your Metabolism."


Reminder: At 12:00 p.m. CST on March 21st I will be hosting a live Facebook chat on the weight loss challenge. "Like" the Snap Fitness page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/snapfitness247 for weight loss challenge tips, motivation, and to get in on our live chat!

Ask the Trainer: Early Bird Workouts or Night Owls?

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: When is the best time to work out? Morning or evening?

Answer: There is really no best time to work out. Some people come in early before work, some after work, and some come in early for their cardio and then again later in the day for weights. It really depends on what your goals are and what you have time for. The best rule to follow is to work out when is best for you. I have seen too many people try to become morning people and they end up missing too many workouts and don’t see results. If you are a morning person, work out before work. If you are not a morning person try to fit it in during your lunch break or after hours. Either way, it is up to you to be consistent. Whatever time you’re more likely to stick to a routine for is the best time for you.

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