Snap Fitness Health & Fitness Blog

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Posts 111 - 120 of 136

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.

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. 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.

Ask the Trainer: Goal Weight and Target Heart Rate

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: You’ve talked about heart rate training in the past for losing weight. What if I’ve reached my goal weight? Does it make any sense to try pushing myself into higher zones?

Answer: This really depends on if you have truly reached your goal or not. I would not push myself into higher zones unless you have hit a plateau and need the extra push. Once you have hit your goal you may be able to scale back your workouts a bit to hit a happy medium. For example, you could take your cardio workout from 30 minutes to 20 minutes. A good friend of mine once told me “20 minutes to maintain and 30 minutes to lose.” This isn’t an exact number but gives you an idea of what to do to make a small adjustment.

Another thing to consider if you have been losing weight and are at your goal now is what you did to get there. Make some minor adjustments to find what you need to do to maintain your current fitness level. If you go back to your old habits and how you have always done things, you are likely to go back to how you looked as well. Focus on maintaining the good habits you have created so you don’t become a “yo-yo dieter” who loses 30 pounds and gains 30 pounds year after year. Make it easier on yourself and commit to a better way of life!

Ask the Trainer: Workout Efficiency and Soreness

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: If I’ve been working out for a while - doing strength training, etc. should I still be getting sore after every workout? If I don’t get sore, does that mean I’m not working out hard enough?

Answer: The answer to this question really lies in the goals at hand. If you are happy with the way you look and you are just trying to maintain yourself and lose a little fat, you could probably get by with light weightlifting and cardiovascular exercise. However, if you are trying to add muscle and increase your long-term metabolism you may want to be a little bit sore for a day or two after exercise. When you get sore you are actually getting small “micro tears” in your muscles. You are sore because you are tearing your muscle down on a small scale. The muscles grow or increase in size as a defense mechanism by your body to avoid future damage.


When you do eat calories (specifically protein) your body will use them to repair your muscle. Proteins break down into amino acids to repair muscle. You don’t want to get sore to where you are in severe pain for a week, but it is okay to be a little sore for a day or two after training a body part. Also, make sure not to keep training a muscle after it is sore as it has had no time to repair itself for the next workout. This may seem a little technical but it really is a science.

Posts 111 - 120 of 136