Snap Fitness Health & Fitness Blog

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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.

Ask the Trainer: Working Out With an Injured Foot

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I am in a wheelchair with no weight-bearing on my right foot. I can walk with no problem as long as I put no more than 1 or 2 steps on my right foot. My left foot is fine, but I'm overweight and out of shape. Can Snap help?


Answer: There is a great machine at many local Snap Fitness locations called the Octane Xr6000 X Ride. This is a seated elliptical that you can utilize which will focus mostly on your upper body. It also has a stepping motion with your legs that is very low impact.  This will limit the pressure on your lower body and allow you to burn calories utilizing your upper body - focusing most of your effort using a pulling/pushing motion with your arms. You could also do a seated stationary bike that will have low impact on your foot.  Another option you have is to utilize the selectorized machines and burn calories with upper body machines such as a chest press, seated row, or any other upper body-focused machines. My best advice would be to hire a personal trainer to help customize a program for you that is safe and effective and has a nutrition component as well.

Ask the Trainer: Abdominal Muscles

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I’m wondering why it’s so hard for women to get abs? I try working on them everyday but I see no results.

Answer: I get this question a lot from men and women. The fact of the matter is that we all have a “six pack” if you take the fat layer off between the abdominal muscles and the skin. Being able to see your abdominal muscles has more to do with losing body fat around your waist with cardiovascular exercise versus crunches. Although doing crunches or abdominal work is great for strengthening the core and lower back strength, good nutrition and cardiovascular exercise is the key. For abs try working them three days on and one day off. They need some rest to repair like the other muscles on your body.

Ask the Trainer: Things to Keep in Mind

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I'm about to get started on a regular workout plan, but I was wondering if there are things I should keep in mind to keep my workouts efficient and effective?


Answer: There are three big things to keep in mind regarding a workout regimen:


Goal setting

You have to develop a plan for success.  You must set specific, measurable goals and create a safe and effective program.  Think about the following questions when establishing your goals:

  1. Why do you want to exercise?
  2. What are some specific goals you want to achieve? Lose weight? Tone and firm?
  3. What types of activities do you enjoy that will keep you motivated? Weight training? Running? Classes?
  4. How much time will you commit to exercise?
  5. How will you stay on track if you miss a workout or two?


Before any exercise is completed it is essential to warm-up your muscles to avoid injury and get the best out of your workout. A general rule of thumb for this is to begin each workout with 5 – 10 minutes of light aerobic activity such as walking on a treadmill, riding a bike, or using an elliptical. This should be followed by some light stretching of the muscles that will be utilized during your workout. There are several reasons for warming-up prior to exercise:

  1. Increased muscle and core body temperature
  2. Increased metabolic reactions
  3. Increased blood flow and oxygen availability
  4. Reduced risk of muscle injury
  5. Enhanced muscle performance


Proper hydration is essential for energy production. Water accounts for 60% of body weight and is the medium in which all metabolic reaction take place. Most adults need about 10 (8 ounce) glasses of water per day. For those who are exercising you will need an additional 2 cups of water for every pound lost during exercise. The more you exercise the more water you need to intake for performance.

Posts 101 - 110 of 130