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Ask the Trainer: Changing Workout Order

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I've been working out M-F for about one hour. I do 20-25 minutes of cardio, then hit the weights. Should I change my workout?

Answer: I would switch it up like this: 5 minute warm-up, 25 minutes of weight training, and finish with 30 minutes of cardio. You need to warm up your muscles before you train them, and then need to burn off all of that blood sugar during your weight training which is your energy source. By the end of your weight training you will be more depleted of energy and your heart rate will already be elevated, therefore, when you begin your cardio your heart rate is already elevated and you get a full 30 minutes more of intense cardio.

Ask the Trainer: Cardio and Abs

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: Can cardio help with getting abs?


Answer: Having and showing abdominal muscles is a combination of good nutrition with smart exercise. For example, we all have a six pack underneath all of the skin and fat. If you just remove the fat layer, the muscles are there. Therefore, doing cardiovascular exercise, which helps you burn stored body fat, is a very effective way to get you to your goal. The best advice would be to continue to do cardio to burn stored fat, eat healthy to not add any more fat, and work your abs three days a week to help the muscle become more defined. Keep everything in balance and you will see results much faster!

Ask the Trainer: Workout Order

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: Which is better for working out: running 30 minutes first, then 1.5 hours of lifting weights - or 1.5 hours of lifting weights first, then running for 30 minutes?

Answer: There are different opinions on this but my personal preference is to do your cardio after you lift weights. Use the energy (food) you have in your system to lift weights first after a 5 minute warm-up. After you body has burned off some of that blood sugar your body will be more equipped to burn fat. Plus you will have your heart rate elevated from lifting weights so you will be more efficient at doing your cardio workout. Warm-up, weights, and finish with cardio.

Ask the Trainer: 6-Pack Abs

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: What is the best way to get a 6-pack? I know that one must get his/her body fat percentage way down but I'm a fairly athletic, skinny guy and I cannot get a 6-pack for the life of me. Help!


Answer: As long as your body fat gets below 10%, you will begin to see your abs. We all have a 6-pack under there but it can be accentuated by doing crunches and possibly weighted sit-ups. I would recommend doing abs every other day so they have time to repair and thus grow. Getting a 6-pack is a combination of building muscle, doing cardiovascular exercise and eating correctly. Genetics help too.

Ask the Trainer: Leg Definition

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I want more definition in my legs. I've been working out "like a man" for about 3 years now, drinking protein with no noticeable improvement. What can I do?


Answer: If you have been working out very hard for about three years I am sure you have put on some muscle mass in your legs. You should be showing strength gains and increase in muscle size. However, definition comes down to diet and cardio. If you are not doing so, I would make sure you are keeping your repetitions in the 15 to 20 range on legs. You need to incorporate lunges and leg extensions to give you more definition in the quadriceps area. I would also look at the amount of cardiovascular exercise you are doing - make sure you are getting in 4 – 5 days a week over 30 minute sessions. Best of luck!

Ask the Trainer: Lower Ab Workouts

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: Any good workouts for the lower abs? Needing help with that. Thanks!


Answer: There is not a specific exercise for this as you cannot spot reduce. You actually end up working the whole area even if you are trying to emphasize just the upper or lower piece. One thing that will help emphasize and make you feel this area is a hanging knee tuck. Hang from a bar and bring your legs up in front of you with your knees at a 90 degree angle. Lift your knees half-way up to your torso and return in a slow motion. This will make you feel the lower portion more but you are working every muscle.


Check out our YouTube video for a Hanging Knee Tuck Demonstration.

Ask the Trainer: AM vs. PM Workouts

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I do a lot of body weight training and high-intensity-interval-training in the mornings - what are the best exercises for the AM compared to when I am in the gym at night for resistance? Is there a balance? We try to do a lot of plyo in the morning to jump-start metabolism.

Answer: It seems that you have the right idea. I assume you are doing your resistance training in the evening because you have more energy for your weight training workout after several meals? Is sounds like you are doing body weight training with the goal of increasing your heart rate in the AM on an empty stomach to burn more fat. I guess the most important thing to consider is not the type of exercise you are doing, but how elevated your heart rate is during exercise. I would focus on exercises in the morning that do not interfere with the exercises you are doing later in the day. In other words, I wouldn’t do a lot of push-ups in the AM if you are working your chest, for example. Just try breaking up the body parts and keeping your heart rate elevated and you should continue to see results.

Ask the Trainer: Recovering from Injuries

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: In your opinion, what are the top 5 worst exercises for a bad rotator cuff?

Answer: I would say that your biggest enemy here is not properly stretching and warming up before exercise. If I did have to pick a couple exercises that would not be great they would be the overhead barbell or dumbbell press and the flat bench press. All of these exercises put pressure on the rotator cuff especially if you break the 90 degree angle with the elbow.

Question: I had gall bladder surgery 2 months ago. What's the best exercise for me?

Answer: Dorothy, although many experts say it is important to begin walking around soon after surgery, I would be very conscious as you could re-injure your incision sites. I wouldn’t begin an exercise program until you have an examination and are released by the doctor to do so. He or she will give you any restrictions you have to work with and I recommend you get with a personal trainer to have them help customize a program around them. Take it slow and get your advice from the doctor.

Ask the Trainer: Pulling Muscles in Back

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I am constantly pulling muscles in my lower back when I do deadlifts - even after taking 2 weeks off, and starting with almost no weight. I've tried super-slow, low-weight-high repetitions, stretching, etc. Of course, I'm also lifting with my glutes, not my back. Any ideas?


Answer: There are a couple things you can do to help with this. One issue many have with the lower back is a weak core. Try strengthening your core with leg lifts, crunches, and sit-ups on a stability ball. You can also try wearing a power belt to hold your core tight and help support your lower back. The best way to handle this would be to eliminate dead lifts from your workout unless you need to do them for testing or a sport specific exercise.

Ask the Trainer: Facebook Fitness Questions

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: Is doing a long period of cardio good enough to lose weight?


Answer: Doing cardio will help you lose weight as long as you are burning more calories than you are taking in. It is a great way to start but you will get better results by adding in some weight training exercise with your cardio. I would do 30 minutes of weight training with 30 minutes of cardio. 


Question: I'm looking for a good core exercise that will also strengthen the back - any suggestions?


Answer: Working the core in general will strengthen your back. I would recommend doing your sit-ups on a stability ball. It will help you work your mid section, including your obliques, and will help you strengthen your back as well.  You can also do planks for your mid-section, which will strengthen your core.

Posts 91 - 100 of 133