Snap Fitness Health & Fitness Blog

You are currently browsing all 133 posts in the Strength Training category.

Posts 101 - 110 of 133

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.


Ask the Trainer: Limited Workout Time

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: If I only have 30 minutes to spend exercising, what’s the best use of my time?

Answer: The best thing you can do to be effective is a combination of cardiovascular exercise mixed with weight resistance training. Adding muscle increases your metabolism and helps you burn more calories over a longer period of time while cardiovascular exercise helps you burn stored fat from your body. Running is always an effective way to burn calories fast because you have the impact of your body weight in motion. If you have a little more time try mixing in 15 minutes of weight training with 20 – 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise. You will see results much faster this way. Check out our Basic 8 routine to do a full circuit of weight resistance training, all in just 30 minutes!

Are You Overtraining?

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Many Americans get stuck in the rut of overtraining when trying to see results in the gym and outdoors. How do you know when you have done too much? How do you know when it is time to switch up the routine and/or what you are doing that's moving you in the wrong direction?  Here are some signs that you may potentially be overtraining.



  1. You have been losing weight and body fat for some time but now you are going in the wrong direction. Your body’s hormones are out of whack and you are starting to store body fat and lose lean muscle. 
  2. Your workouts are getting worse and not better. Remember when you started and your workouts would continue to get better as time went on? Now you cannot finish the original workout you did a month ago and you can’t seem to get your heart rate up like you used to.
  3. You are working out 7 days a week without rest. You are training too often. Your body needs rest between workout days to recover and repair torn muscle tissue. Try taking at least two days off a week to get the needed recovery time you need to build lean muscle mass.
  4. Your joints, limbs, and bones ache and hurt. The overuse of your muscles during these multiple workouts has caused pain in the joints and auxiliary muscles where you have more motion and use. Your body cannot repair fast enough in these areas as you are using them in multiple exercises. Don’t ignore that pain in your knee cap and that throbbing pain in your hip joint. You may be overtraining.
  5. You are getting sick or catching colds more often. You notice you have been sick a lot more this year. You are exercising a lot but you are wearing down your body’s immune system and it can’t repair itself fast enough to keep you healthy.


Pay attention to these potential symptoms of overtraining and you may have a better and more enjoyable fitness journey in your future!

Ask the Trainer: Knees Stressed During Exercise

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I am obese and knees sound like they're cracking when I try walking lunges...any suggestions until some weight comes off?

Answer: The cracking sound in your knees sounds scarier than it is. Here is a recommendation until you feel comfortable with doing walking lunges. I would start with a 5 minute walk on the treadmill to make sure your muscles are warm. Then stretch your legs out to get your quadriceps and hamstrings loosened up. Try doing stationary lunges until you build up enough strength for walking lunges. Standing straight step one leg backwards (reverse lunge) and then push up with your front leg. This will be safer until you build up more strength to support your knee joint.

Ask the Trainer: "Pushing Through the Soreness"

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I am 34 and have always been fairly thin with periodic gains/losses. This past year, I have put on more than ever and have been extremely inactive for the past year as well. On Friday of this past week, I completed a 4 week session of boot camp. I rested on Saturday, and then started the a 30 day shred on Sunday.

After the intense boot camp workouts, I am surprised to find how difficult this 20 minute(!) workout is!  I know that you've addressed this, but I’m just curious why so many people seem to have no issue with working straight through, and claim that “pushing through the soreness” makes it “easier”? I feel like it won’t be as effective if I don’t take a break, but I don’t want to fall into the trap of not pushing myself enough. What is your opinion?

Answer: The reason you felt so good on the one day you worked out was because of the rest you gave your body. Think about when you hurt yourself and you go to the doctor. The doctor usually gives you something for the pain and tells you to lay off everything so you can heal. This is no different than working out but on a smaller scale. When you lift weights and you feel the soreness the next day you are experiencing micro-tears in the muscle fibers. This is a good thing as long as you allow the muscle to repair itself and grow. More muscle equals a faster metabolism. If you continue to train sore muscles over and over again they will not repair or grow and you will burn out and lose your motivation. I recommend keeping up the good program but with a day's rest during the week and one day's rest on the weekend. Also, make sure you are getting enough protein in your diet to repair your muscle and cut your calories a bit on your off-days as you are not burning as much.

Ask the Trainer: Targeting Pectoral Muscles

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I've been working on toning my muscles the past three months, and the only thing I am unhappy with is the bottom of my pecs. What can I do to tone them and get that nice rolled/ripped look?

Answer: There are a few different ways to hit the chest. Flat bench press is typically used as a strength move to build a foundation. Incline press builds the upper pectorals and give you the muscle you can see from a “side shot” as it focuses on the upper portion. To focus on your lower “pecs” I would recommend doing a decline chest press with a straight bar or decline dumbbell presses. You can follow that up with some low cable rows that emphasize the lower pectorals. Make sure you continue to hit it from three different angles for the best results and shape! For demonstrations on these different exercises, visit our YouTube channel at

Ask the Trainer: Leg Press Machine vs. Squats

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: Does the leg press machine work your muscles just as well as standing squats? I can never tell.


Answer: The leg press machine isolates your quadriceps, giving you a more targeted workout for those muscles. Squats will hit your quads and the auxiliary muscles - giving you a more efficient workout if you're trying to hit multiple muscles!

Ask the Trainer: Warm-Up, Cool-Down, and Pace

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I read your article on Target Heart Rate, but it did not state how long you should exercise at that target rate. Is there a formula for that? Also, is there a typical amount of time one should spend on warm-up and cool-down? I am a 60-year old woman who is trying to live a healthier lifestyle and this weight loss challenge I'm involved in was just the “push” I needed.  I have lost 14 pounds so far, but would like to maximize my efforts for the greatest personal benefit.

Answer: Congratulations on losing 14 pounds! That is great work so far and it sounds like you have the right attitude that will get you the results you want. In terms of warm-up and cool-down I would recommend about 5 minutes. The five minutes before is to warm your muscles up and to gradually get your heart rate up to your target heart rate zone. The cool-down is to bring your heart rate down slowly and safely to a lower level. There really isn’t a formula for the duration of cardiovascular exercise. This would depend on your goal and time frame. It really comes down to the amount of calories you want to burn in a day. You will burn a lot more calories in 30 minutes at your target heart rate zone than you will in 20 minutes. If you are continuing to lose weight and see results I would keep doing what you are doing. If you hit a plateau I would recommend adding an additional 10 minutes to your current cardiovascular program per day, and I would recommend trying different machines to shock your body into getting results. Keep up the good work!

Ask the Trainer: Zumba vs. Circuit Training

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: Is Zumba better for toning than circuit training?


Answer: Zumba is a great dance class, much like a group fitness class, which keeps your body moving and calories burning. It is great for motivation as you are in a group setting and keeps you coming back because it is fun. I do believe that you can burn more calories long-term with circuit training as you are still burning calories with an elevated heart rate but you are incorporating weight resistance exercise as well. Weight training allows you to burn calories for up to 24 hours afterwards as your body is repairing damaged muscle. This increases your metabolism long-term. If you do want to continue Zumba I would recommend adding some basic weight training to go along with it for long-term results.

Posts 101 - 110 of 133