Snap Fitness Health & Fitness Blog

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Posts 121 - 130 of 133

Ask the Trainer: Training for Long-Distance Running

By: Jessica Vanderlinde, Personal Trainer at Snap Fitness Chanhassen

Today we have a guest personal trainer to answer your question - Jessica at our Snap Fitness Chanhassen location!


Question: How many miles should I be increasing weekly to train for a half-marathon?


Answer: It depends on your training schedule and how many weeks you have to train.  If you have adequate time to train you should ideally increase your long run day mileage by 1 mile each week until you reach 12-13 miles.  I typically start with 3 miles and add 1 mile each week until I reach 13 miles.

Ask the Trainer: Strength Training Routine

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: When I’m working on strength training, does it matter what order I do the exercises?  Should I do all upper body at once? Or alternate with lower body?

Answer: This really depends on what your goals are and how advanced you are at working out. I like to see beginners doing a full body workout three days a week. For example, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday completing one set for chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, abdominals, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. This way you are only hitting each muscle very little and still have a day to rest in between. The next phase would be upper body on Tuesday and Friday and Lower body on Monday and Wednesday. You would increase your sets to 2 or 3 per exercise, knowing you will get a two day rest in-between body parts. A more advanced routine may be to do chest on Monday, back on Tuesday, biceps on Wednesday, triceps on Thursday, legs on Friday, and shoulders on Saturday.  Each day you would pick three exercises per body part and would complete two sets of 15 per exercise. This would hit the muscle for much more repetitions and allow for a whole week to recover.  his information is just an example of things you can do to break up body parts but I would recommend seeing a personal trainer for some personal advice and consulting. There are likely some great ones at your Snap gym!

Ask the Trainer: Cardio Workouts

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: Is one form of cardio better than another?  For example, is the elliptical better than the treadmill or bike, as far as burning fat and calories?

Answer: There is not really one form of cardio that is better for you than another. It really comes down to personal preference, boredom, and injuries. For example, I don’t personally do the treadmill that much because of a back injury and knee problems from college athletics. I prefer the elliptical because there is no impact on my joints. My body glides and no weight is put on the joints that are causing me problems and I am still able to get my heart rate up to the optimal level. I do believe that running on the treadmill will allow you to get your heart rate up to a higher level faster as you are putting more weight and pressure on your body. The bike seems like the hardest way to get your heart rate up as you are only using your legs and you have to push yourself to get your heart rate elevated. What it really comes down to is the amount of calories you burn in a day. You can burn anywhere from 200 – 400 calories in 30 minutes on any of these machines depending on how hard you push yourself and how intense you train. Also, your body may plateau after doing the same machine for a few weeks and I would recommend switching it up from time to time between the various types of exercise. Keep your body guessing, make it fun, and work out with a partner to ensure your long-term success in the gym.

Ask the Trainer: Toning Inner Thighs

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I am wondering if you could give me an idea on how to get my inner thighs more toned. This is a problem with all the gals in my family. We are all in fairly good shape, however, we all have extra fat between the legs. How can I tone the inner parts of my thighs?

Answer: I get this question a lot and it is very similar to someone who is trying to “spot reduce” an area of their body such as their stomach. The good news is that most people lose fat a little bit faster in their extremities and it works its way to the center of your body. In your case if you are eating a better diet and doing the correct amount of cardiovascular exercise, you will begin to lose inches and body fat in your arms and legs first. If you are really serious about this I would do cardiovascular exercise 4 – 5 times a week for 30 minutes. 

A generic heart rate zone would be 220 – your age (70%).  For example 220 – 30 = 190(70%) = 133 beats per minute. 

In this case I would do either a treadmill, cross-trainer, Stairmaster, etc. for 30 minutes 4 -5 times per week. By doing this you will start to mobilize fat as an energy source and the fat will start burning off. The other part of the equation is the nutritional piece. With all the hard work you do in the gym, your body may stay the same by eating too many calories. I would recommend on top of the exercise to cut about 300 calories out of your meal plan on a daily basis. It is as simple as burning more calories though exercise than you are taking in with food. Make some minor adjustments and you should start seeing results in a couple weeks!

Ask the Trainer: Muscle Soreness & Rest

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I started at Snap Fitness a few days ago and have been walking on the treadmill. I have been noticing pain in my thighs and lower legs & then also have been feeling pain on my right side. Should I stop for a while?

Answer: The pain you are probably feeling is because you are just starting exercise. This muscle soreness is expected whenever someone starts a workout program. If you are walking on the treadmill you are using your thighs and calves a lot and they will be sore at first. The pain in your side is probably a cramp that most people get when they first start working out as well. The cramp in your side will go away with time but you need to rest your muscles a day or two until the soreness goes away. If you take a couple days off and the pain increases or does not get better in your legs you should go see a doctor.  Congratulations on your fitness journey!

Ask the Trainer: Rest and Recovery

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: My husband and I always eat our regular breakfast before going to Snap and then have a protein drink before leaving the gym. I have heard that one's muscles need time to recover so you shouldn't work out daily. Do you have some tips on whether that's true, or what I should be doing?

Answer: You are hitting the two most important meals of the day. Make sure your breakfast is at least 30 minutes before your workout and continue to get your protein drink in right after your workout to help repair the muscles you just worked. As far as the recovery goes, you should not work the muscle again if it is still sore. If you continue to work a sore muscle you are training “micro-torn” muscle tissue and it will never repair itself and thus never grow. If you are training your whole body in one day I would take the next day off and work out every other day. Otherwise  you can work your upper body on Monday and Thursday and lower body on Tuesday and Friday. This would give your body more time to recover if you are sore for two or three days. It really depends on your workout preferences, but yes, make sure you take time to rest and recover your body.

Ask the Trainer: What is Target Heart Rate?

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: Can you explain “Target Heart Rate” and what specific “range” you should work out in to maximize your workout and fat burning potential? I'm working towards weight loss but want to make sure I'm in the optimal zone.

Answer: A target heart rate is the heart rate than many individuals want to train in to maximize their time in the gym. It is the amount of beats per minute that your heart rate is going during exercise. One more specific way to calculate this would be to use the Karvonen formula. It looks like this:

220 – age – RP (resting pulse)= Z
For example- 220 – 40 – 80 = 100

You then take Z times 60% and 75%, which is the recommended fat burning zone
So 100(60%)= 60 and 100(75%)= 75

You then add the resting pulse back into the two numbers
So 60+80= 140 and 75+80= 155

Therefore an average 40-year-old’s individual target heart rate for fat burning would be to stay within 140 – 155 beats per minute.

Ask the Trainer: Switching It Up

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I’m a 68 year old male who has been using my treadmill now for around five years. I try to put in 60 minutes five days out of the week. I usually do this Monday thru Friday mornings and take off Saturday and Sunday. My typical routine consists of a combination of different speeds and inclines, as well as some stretching and strength training. In summary I feel good about my daily routine but wonder if I should be mixing it up a bit? I also wonder if I should add some elliptical machine to my workout to compliment the treadmill.

Answer: It appears that you are very committed to exercise and already have a great routine. Many people find it hard to fit in three days a week of exercise and you have it down to five days for one hour. I also see that you are incorporating weights, flexibility, and cardiovascular exercise into your complete workout. I guess the question is: are you at a plateau and are you getting the results you want? If you are happy with your results then I would keep doing what you are doing. If not, you need to change things up a bit. I would recommend adding the elliptical to your treadmill program as it will give you some variety to shock your body a bit, and it will take some impact off of your back and knees. Keep up the good work and good luck in your future fitness endeavors!

Ask the Trainer: Chronic Back Pain & Working Out

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: Any advice for someone that suffers from chronic lower back pain? I need to do cardio & weights, but not strain myself further.

Answer: Many people suffer from back pain and have to work around it in the gym.  For cardiovascular exercise you want to do something that has low impact.  The worst thing you can do is run or walk on a treadmill as every time you take a step you are putting the weight of your body on the joints and lower back.  The best alternatives to this are using a stationary bike, elliptical machine, or swimming.  The goal is to put your body in motion so you can burn calories but not have pressure on the joints.  For weight training you want to keep your body as stable as possible so you aren’t bending at the waist with resistance.  I would recommend doing your workout on the selectorized machines (circuit on the floor) where you can sit down and adjust your seat and control the motion of each exercise.  I would have a Personal Trainer take you though the exercises (Basic 8 - see the exercises at and help with seat adjustments and form.  It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Ask the Trainer: Workout Routine

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I'm 49, relatively new to working out and have been heading to Snap 5 mornings a week, doing an hour of cardio on one of the bikes, on an empty stomach, followed by weights. I rotate different muscle groups. I have lost a good amount of inches in 3 months, but can't seem to whittle my upper thighs nor tighten up my butt. Any thoughts on what I can do better?

Answer: Sounds like you are doing well but it is time to change things up.  There are a couple different things you can do to mix up your workout and break through your plateaus.  First, your body needs carbohydrates as an energy source to use as fuel.  Think of it as gas for a car.  I would recommend getting some simple carbohydrates in your system about 30 minutes prior to your workout.  You could eat some type of fruit or drink some juice.  If you keep the portion small such as one small glass of juice, it will give you the energy needed for exercise and allow your body to burn calories more efficiently.  The second thing I would recommend is doing your weight training before your cardiovascular exercise.  Here is the order of operations- Small glass of juice (about 150 calories) 30 minutes prior to workout, 5 minute warm-up on the bike, complete your 30 minute weight training workout, and finish with your hour of cardio at the end.  Your body will use up the energy from the juice during the weight training and elevate your heart rate prior to your cardio workout.  Since your heart rate is elevated when you begin cardio you can probably get away with 45 minutes at the end instead of an hour.  It is all about efficiency! 

To answer your question about the legs and glutes you have to look at two different things.  First, you are going to continue to burn fat through cardiovascular exercise and that will eventually begin taking off the inches in these areas.  More importantly, there are a few different exercises that target these areas.  I would recommend squats on the smith machine, leg extensions, leg curls, and lunges.  If you are limited on time I would focus more on the squats as they tend to hit all of the muscles in the glutes and quadriceps.  Overall, it is going to take a combination of weight training and cardiovascular exercise to see results.

Posts 121 - 130 of 133