Snap Fitness Health & Fitness Blog

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Posts 101 - 110 of 128

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 http://www.youtube.com/snapfitness247

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?


Warm-up

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


Water

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.

Ask the Trainer: Working Out With Time Constraints

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: What's the best full body workout for those under severe time constraints?

Answer: There is no one best workout for someone under time constraints but there are some good options. One option is to join a 30 minute boot camp where you have an instructor pushing you through various exercises and keeping your heart rate elevated the whole time. You will be working muscles and burning fat at the same time. Another option is to complete a full circuit in the gym. Try moving down the selectorized circuit and doing 30 seconds per machine with 30 seconds between exercises. This will take about 30 minutes and then finish with 20 minutes of intense cardio. Overall, the key is to keep your heart rate elevated by keeping you body moving through the exercises while working every muscle in your body.

We have a comprehensive "Basic 8" circuit that a personal trainer can go through with you for free, just being a member. http://www.snapfitness.com/basic8 This will work your entire body so you can get into the gym, get out, and get on with your day.

Ask the Trainer: Cardio Intervals

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: When walking outside or on a treadmill, does speeding up in short bursts increase the effectiveness? How? And is it all about switching up the pace, or are there other ways to get bursts in?

Answer: It doesn’t matter if you are walking or jogging or if you are indoors or outdoors. What really matters is the amount of calories you burn in a 24 hour period. If you take in less calories than you burn you will lose weight. The benefit of these short bursts is that your heart rate is increasing during the time you are walking faster and you are ultimately burning more calories. If you want to burn more calories I would include more bursts and do more interval training. Try doing 2 minutes of walking and rotate with 1 minute of jogging. You will burn more calories by doing this.

Posts 101 - 110 of 128