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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!!!



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.  

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.

“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!



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.

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 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 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.

Ask the Trainer: Importance of Water

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I hear that drinking a lot of water is important.  How much should I drink and why is it important?


Answer: People often ask this question and here is the answer.  The easiest way to calculate how much water you should drink is to take half your body weight and that number is the number of ounces you should be drinking a day. For example, if you weigh 120 pounds you should drink about 60 ounces of water per day. Drinking enough water is important so you can increase your ability for your body to lose excess body fat. A well-hydrated body is more effective at mobilizing body fat to be used for energy. Another benefit of drinking enough water is in the elimination of toxins. If you drink enough water you will “flush” the toxins right out of your body.


•    Make it a habit to drink two large glasses each morning when you wake up.
•    Keep a container of cold water at your desk each day so it becomes natural to drink.
•    Break the habit of soda with meals and go for water instead.
•    Limit large amounts of water right before bed as sleep is necessary for muscle repair and health.

Ask the Trainer: Chronic Back Pain & Working Out

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: Any advice for someone that suffers from chronic lower back pain? I need to do cardio & weights, but not strain myself further.

Answer: Many people suffer from back pain and have to work around it in the gym.  For cardiovascular exercise you want to do something that has low impact.  The worst thing you can do is run or walk on a treadmill as every time you take a step you are putting the weight of your body on the joints and lower back.  The best alternatives to this are using a stationary bike, elliptical machine, or swimming.  The goal is to put your body in motion so you can burn calories but not have pressure on the joints.  For weight training you want to keep your body as stable as possible so you aren’t bending at the waist with resistance.  I would recommend doing your workout on the selectorized machines (circuit on the floor) where you can sit down and adjust your seat and control the motion of each exercise.  I would have a Personal Trainer take you though the exercises (Basic 8 - see the exercises at and help with seat adjustments and form.  It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Posts 61 - 70 of 71