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Jodi The Trainer's October 16th Facebook Live Chat

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training

Charles - Organic or GMO?


Charles – Personally, I choose organic whenever possible.  I made the switch a few years ago after reading “Wheat Belly”.  I would highly recommend the book and the motivation for moving to organic.


Traci - What exercises are best to lose my belly?


Traci – Losing belly fat is a combination of strength training (ab and core work), cardio for fat loss, great nutrition, and hydration.  Unfortunately, there  isn’t a particular exercise that will change your shape and decrease fat – go for an all-around approach!


Michael - How do you measure servings of fruits and vegetables? I'm more into weight gain than weight loss, specifically muscle toning and strength. I target upper body one day and lower the next. So I don't get sore. Should I do light work on the area that I'm not working on that day?


Michael - A serving of fruit is equivalent to one medium piece of fruit (like an apple or banana), 1/2cup of chopped fruit (like berries or grapes).   A serving of dried fruit is 1/4 cup and a serving of fruit juice is 6ounces. 


One cup of leafy greens is considered a serving of vegetables while ½ cup of raw or cooked root vegetables is a serving.  A 6ounce glass of vegetable juice is also considered 1 serving of vegetables.


As for strength training, especially when you are looking to build, I would give a muscle group at least one day in between to repair and recover.


Marwa -  I walk on treadmill almost every day between 30-40 min. but not noticing much benefit.  What is the best way to benefit from using the treadmill?


Marwa – Great job on being consistent but, it’s time to bring some variety to your workouts to prevent plateau.  I would encourage you to try treadmill intervals with either incline or speed.  The Treadmill interval workout from my blog noted here, is a great way to get started!


John - Im working with a trainer trying to bulk up my upper body. How many reps do you recommend per exercise and how many body parts per hour of training?


When looking to increase mass, you need to consider overall volume.  I would recommend 8-10 reps of at least 3-5 sets for each muscle group.  I would also choose at least 2 exercises for each muscle group.  When I am in muscle building mode (typically my triathlon off-season), I do the following split:  Day 1: Legs, Day 2: Chest, Shoulders, Triceps,  Day 3: Back, Biceps, Abs.  I do cardio mixed in there as well, I then take a rest day and repeat.  That might be a great option for you!


Melanie - I'm 20 years old,  5 '3, and currently weigh 123 lbs. I recently lost 25 lbs and am working to lose 8 more. I'm stuck and can’t seem to get anywhere at the moment. I eat a clean diet,  low fat,  lots of protein and veggies, and fruits. I exercise 4 times week. Any reasons I could be stuck?


Melanie – It’s always toughest to lose those last few pounds.  But ask yourself, do you really have more to lose or have you gained hard-earned muscle?  As you increase your exercise and boost your nutrition, your body composition has likely changed.  If you still have more bodyfat that you would like to lose, then make sure that you include high intensity interval strength training or cardio.  See my Treadmill interval blog to get yourself started with an example here.  Finally, mix things up with yoga or pilates as an additional day or two thereby increasing your workouts to 4-6x/week.  Good luck!

Jodi The Trainer's August 7th Facebook Live-Chat!

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training

Jason – How much time do you need to recover from cardio before you do strength train with weights?


It depends on your training goal and the intensity of your cardio.  For example, if you are looking to add muscle/keep muscle, I would recommend doing cardio on separate days or separate time of day from your strength training.  When doing cardio, your muscle glycogen is depleted making it easier to lose hard-earned muscle. 


However, if you are looking to burn calories, increase endurance, stamina and overall cardiovascular fitness, you can do strength training with or immediately following your cardio.


Nicole - I got out of my hardcore spinning and lifting routine due to a severe anemia diagnosis. Now I need to start over. What's my best plan for quick fat loss to get back to where I was?


Your anemia can be related to your high intensity training so, first make sure that you check with your doctor and find out what the parameters of your training are.  That said, it’s next to impossible to combine “quick and fat loss.”  For your weight loss to come from fat, it is a slower process.  Focus on building muscle, having awesome nutrition, and doing enough cardio to burn fat and avoid burning muscle (with too much cardio). 


To get back where you were, focus on starting and staying consistent. “Small daily steps always look to the greater big picture of overall success, not quick fixes.”  Good luck!


Julie - What are the best sets of exercises to strengthen full body?


I love to work total body exercises – seems like the most functional use of strength, calorie burn, and the ability to work our bodies as nature intended.  That said, the following exercises seem to cover that nicely:


Plank Row – Hold a plank, place one dumbbell on the floor in between your hands, Take the DB with one hand (while you balance on the other and work to keep core strong and hips level), Pull the DB back, repeat on the opposite side.


Squat-Curl-Press – Keep 2 dumbbells on either side (on the floor), squat down and hold each DB, as you stand from the squat, curl the DB, once standing press the DB overhead.  Lower the DB to the floor with control and repeat.  Works the legs, biceps, shoulders, and core.


Spiderman Pushups – Hold a plank position, as you lower to a pushup, pull one knee up and out to the side until your knee meets the same side elbow, pause to hold, then press up from the pushup while pulling the knee back, foot down, ending in the plank position before repeating on the opposite side.  You can modify this by eliminating the pushup and just doing the lower body portion.


Ashlee - Have you heard of Adrenal Fatigue and do you recommend supplements for this?


Yes!  In fact, I have worked with many clients that have suffered through it.  It is extremely common in women, post childbirth, that also have a strong work-ethic, and drive.  This burning the candle at both ends negatively affects your hormones (adrenal glands being part of that).  When you exhaust your system, somethings gotta give.  I can’t recommend a specific supplement, but I can give you 2 options.  1.) Go to a doctor or naturopath that believes in this condition so that they can set you up on the appropriate course of action.  2.)  Do the free online supplement consultation with Truestar.  Click on the link to get started: . Within the consultation, you will notice questions that are specific to any condition, disease, or interest.  Check it out!


Carol - How can you tell if you've gained muscle weight? My weight has stayed pretty steady this summer but I've definitely toned and strengthened my muscles. I've also improved my cardiac health.


You can always have your body fat checked by a personal trainer in your club.  But ultimately, if you have noticed a difference in your clothing (fitting better), and your muscle definition, etc….you probably already know the answer to your question.  Congratulations on improving your cardiovascular fitness too.  Remember, the weight on the scale doesn’t paint the full picture.  Finding a balance between strength, cardio, muscle definition, and overall health indicates success – so, congratulations!


Melissa - What is the most effective way to lose fat in the abdominal area and hips and tone the glutes?


Focus on working the entire body by way of strength training, interval and intermittent cardio, plus proper nutrition.  Though you can’t “spot reduce” and lose weight in specific areas, while keeping weight in others, you can spot strengthen.  Focus on strength in the hips and core by choosing funcational and total body exercises.  I noted a few in the question above but, I think they would be great exercises for you as well:  


Plank Row – Hold a plank, place one dumbbell on the floor in between your hands, Take the DB with one hand (while you balance on the other and work to keep core strong and hips level), Pull the DB back, repeat on the opposite side.


Squat-Curl-Press – Keep 2 dumbbells on either side (on the floor), squat down and hold each DB, as you stand from the squat, curl the DB, once standing press the DB overhead.  Lower the DB to the floor with control and repeat.  Works the legs, biceps, shoulders, and core.


Spiderman Pushups – Hold a plank position, as you lower to a pushup, pull one knee up and out to the side until your knee meets the same side elbow, pause to hold, then press up from the pushup while pulling the knee back, foot down, ending in the plank position before repeating on the opposite side.  You can modify this by eliminating the pushup and just doing the lower body portion.


I would also add – deadlifts to work your glutes and challenge the stability of your core.


Khan - I just started working out. I’ve never been a work out person,  but have started doing cardio and planning to do a small amount of weights in the future. My goal is to gain weight, I am too skinny, I  weigh about 60 kg on a height of 6"3. What do you suggest I eat to gain muscle mass?


Good for you for choosing to add strength training to your routine.    Make sure that you are eating ENOUGH calories.  In a world of eat less, lose weight (calories in, calories out) it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that you actually need calories to grow muscle.  Without enough calories, even the best diet falls short.  Include at least 1gram of protein per pound of body weight, (or .035 ounces per kg of body weight), to ensure that you get enough protein.   Also, check with a personal trainer in your area as they can help you calculate how many total calories you should take in each day.  There is a minimum number called your ‘basal metabolic rate’ that you should not go under - good luck!


Lauren - I have been working out and eating healthy for about year and half.  I’ve lost about 80 pounds. I am hitting a plateau. I run a lot! I work out 6 days a week. I do weights. I am just trying to push through. Suggestions?


First off, congratulations on your successful weight loss thus far.  Now it’s time to focus in on body composition – is the weight on the scale the most important at this point, or are you looking to see muscle definition and strength?  If so, then consider having a body composition test done with a personal trainer.  They can show you how much of your weight is body fat and how much is lean mass (muscle, bone, etc). 


Since you run a lot, you may be losing muscle making it harder to maintain your metabolism and see ongoing weight loss as result.  Consider decreasing your running slightly, adjusting your calories, and focusing on strength training to see if this adjusts and changes your overall body composition.  More muscles, means a better ability to burn fat, and enjoy a healthier metabolism as a result.


Will - My son is 14, turning 15 in mid November. He is 5-10 at least 190 pounds. His coaches are having him lift weights and from the sound of it they are having lift one weight until he is fatigued, lower the weight do it again. Is this ok, I mean he is bigger than I am and hopefully will get taller


Hi Will –It sounds like your sons’ coaches are doing something called “drop sets” – where you work a set to failure, and continue an exercise with a lower weight to induce muscle failure again.  Doing this is shown to increase muscle size (hypertrophy)…IF that is the goal.  This type of training can also cause overuse injuries if it’s the only type of training done – just some pros and cons.  My question to the coaches would be, are you looking to increase overall size or function?  In sport, the challenge by many athletes and coaches is balancing the two.  In football for example, I can increase size but, can I move my newfound build with efficiency, power and speed and still have agility and injury prevention.  All dependent on their goal, his sport and/or position. 


Becky -  How long should I be doing cardio every day? HIIT 3X week and low intensity w/weights 2X/week. I want to do an adequate amount but not waste my time. 


I like the variety of intensity that you are looking to do – great work!  I would start with a lower time frame for your HIIT work – 20min and work up to 45min.  Beyond that, people tend to decrease intensity overall (thereby defeating the purpose of the High intensity intervals in the first place!).  So, 20-45min of HIIT, and 30-60min of your weights plus cardio.  Keep me posted on how it goes!


Carol - I've been nursing a shoulder injury that my Dr. said is probably an overuse injury. I hardly ever have pain from it anymore, but would love recommendations for what muscles to work to help finish up the healing.


Most injuries (especially due to overuse) are caused by muscle imbalances – your best bet is to work the shoulders and the stabilizing muscles around it.  For example, work your back (upper and mid) as much if not more than you work your chest.  Work your rotator cuff muscles as a way of balancing any work that you do with your shoulders.  I love:


Cable External Rotations – for the rotator cuff


Bentover lateral Raise – for the rear deltoids


Bentover Y lift – Again for the rotator cuff, and the lower trapezius.  Bend at the waist, keep spine long, holding light dumbbells (2-5lbs), lift your arms out to the side at about a 45degree angle, thumbs toward the ceiling.  You will look like you are making a letter “Y”.  Lower with control and repeat.  Do this while keeping core strong and shoulder blades down.


Toni - My 16 yr old daughter was in a weight training class last year and really bulked up and gained 40 lbs. Now she hates her body and weight. What can she do now to lose that bulk and weight?


I am sorry to hear that she hates her body and weight – teenage girls should feel empowered, strong, and confident after completing a course like that.  And honestly, she should be proud that she was able to strengthen and put on muscle.  That said, it is really tough for a teenage girl to put on 40lbs of solid muscle.   As a teen, she is likely growing, dealing with changing hormones and likely needs to balance her nutrition as well as cardio.  I would like to work with you both directly – private message me at Jodi the Trainer FB page please.  This way,I can give you more detail – thanks!


Christopher - Can you give me an idea of what would be good exercises for a heart patient?


Not knowing the details of the patient and level of cardiovascular health they are in, I wouldn’t want to give you advice.  Most heart patients are placed in a cardiac rehab program.  Have you inquired to a medical professional about this?   They can guide you and suggest the next steps far better than I could.   They will give you specific heart rate intensities to work at, how often, what type, and additional strength training recommendations as well.


Amanda - How can you tone flabby arms?


It’s all about strength training Amanda!  Strength training builds muscle, muscle boost metabolism, which then supports fat loss.  Work your arms by choosing 2-3 different exercises for each major muscle group (Chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps).  Do 2-3 sets of 10-12 repetitions.  Repeat this at least 2 times per week to get started.  Good luck!

Jodi The Trainer's July 10th Facebook Live-Chat!

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training

Brandie: Whats the best way to lose weight i feel like im running my heart out and weights. Whats the best food to cut out for weightloss


Jodi the Trainer: Sugar! By far, the most important thing that we can cut out of our diets and see huge success as a result.  Since it seems to be added to everything lately (from ketchup to cereals, to beverages).  By eating simple, unprocessed foods, you will decrease a lot of your sugar intake.  Stick with Lean proteins, vegetables and some fruits each day.


Daniel: Hey Jodi I'm a snap fitness member but I'm kinda new to working out. Could you give me a good workout for a beginner?


Jodi the Trainer: Your best bet is to start with a balanced approach of both Cardiovascular and strength training.  2 days per week, do a total body strength program.  This will include 1 exercise for each muscle group, 2 sets of 10-15 reps each.  2 days per week, do cardiovascular work.  This will include 1 day that is higher intensity but, steady pace the entire time.  The other day should be interval based – high intensity for 1min followed by recover or low intensity for 1min.  This doesn’t mean that this is the only program but, it is a great program for a beginner where you can gauge your progress and increase strength or cardio depending on what you enjoy most or what is giving you the best result for your efforts.  Good luck!


Cassie: Side aches just kill my runs! Suggestions? Seems like I've tried everything!


Jodi the Trainer: I wish I had the perfect answer for you.  There is some research that shows that stretching is not helpful for most people because it has more to do with your breathing and diaphragm.  To prevent this, start with a very easy, very slow warmup.  It’s better to avoid side stitches all together!  Then, develop your core strength (as it supports the diaphragm and the oblique muscles).  To do this, incorporate planks, planks with a opposite knee to elbow twist, and mountain climbers.  Keep me posted on my facebook page on how this works for you!


Jillian: I need advice on how to prevent shin splints! The best stretches or whatever may help. I get them even just from brisk walking and I would like to be more active. Thanks!


Jodi the Trainer: Shin splints are best avoided rather than trying to fix them once you have them.  You can probably relate!  To avoid them, make sure that your shoes not only fit well but, are shoes specific to your sport.  I have done something as simple as switching brands and I felt better.   Also, make sure that your shoes are big enough.  Many people make the mistake of buying the same size as their dress shoes.  Running shoes should be slightly larger.


You can also try to improve core strength so that you are running “lighter” on your feet.  The more core strength, the better your pelvis and knees are aligned (preventing the problem in the first place). Build up your mileage slowly.  Start with whatever distance you can do without shin splints and add 10% per week from there.


Finally, ice cup and massage your shins after you run.  Fill a Dixie cup ½ full of water and freeze.  Massage the ice onto your shins.  As the ice melts, peel the Dixie paper away and continue until the cup is empty (or torn and goneJ)


Donna:  Have lost 37 lbs since December on a 1200 calorie diet, but the last two months I am stay at the same weight lose a couple than gain back, I have alot of problem with my lower back and knees. Any suggestion


Jodi the Trainer: Congratulations on your recent weight loss Donna!  I don’t know your current weight and height but, given your exercise program, you may need to increase your calories a bit, and increase your strength training in an effort to reboot your metabolism.  You can add 200 calories per day and increase strength training (either intensity, total volume of sets/reps, or total number of days).  Do this for 4 weeks and then go back to your 1200 calories and you will be pleasantly surprised.  It can help to boost you past those last few pounds.


Shannon: I do cardio & weights. I'm basically lean, but struggle with a little flab around stomach. How do I get rid of it?


Jodi the Trainer: If you are lean (low bodyfat) from your cardio and weights, it may be a combination of loose skin, genetics, or bodyfat.  You can’t do much about genetics or loose skin but, you can work that area little harder for the next 4-8 weeks (both from a diet and exercise standpoint). 


Focus on core 4 days per week and make sure that 2 of those days include added resistance to your ab routine (ab machine, using dumbbell, etc).


As for diet, be strict for the next 4-8 weeks with an increase in water consumption, a decrease in alcohol, and a focus on lean proteins, lots of cruciferous vegetables, and very low sugar.  This should help tighten up your skin and eliminate any bloat in your core as well.


Vickie: I need to lose my stomach Wat is best way to do that?


Jodi the Trainer: I am going to refer to the question above and ask that you do the same thing:  nutrition and a focus on abwork over the course of 4-8 weeks:  PLUS, include at least 2 days per week of high intensity intervals:  1min hard all-out effort and 1min recovery, easy effort.


“Focus on core 4 days per week and make sure that 2 of those days include added resistance to your ab routine (ab machine, using dumbbell, etc).


As for diet, be strict for the next 4-8 weeks with an increase in water consumption, a decrease in alcohol, and a focus on lean proteins, lots of cruciferous vegetables, and very low sugar.  This should help tighten up your skin and eliminate any bloat in your core as well.”


Scott: What muscle groups can you train every day?


Jodi the Trainer: You can basically work muscle groups that are suited to endurance and stability everyday.  Those being stabilizers of the shoulders (rotator cuff exercises), hip stabilizers: inner thigh, outer high, and pelvic floor, and spinal stabilizers: transverse abdominus amongst others….I am starting to sound like an anatomy textbookJ

Mainly, doing exercises that support your body with very little weight or intensity can be done everyday.  I like pilates and yoga for daily activity plus core specific work without added weight.  Examples include, planks, breathing exercises, quadruped balance (on hands and knees, pick up one arm and opposite leg to work balance.).

Overall though Scott, all muscles repair and recovery through proper rest, hydration, and nutrition.  Every body (including professional athletes and supermanJ), need a break each week. 


Lex: How do I make my biceps bigger and what kind of crunches to get a six pack?


Jodi the Trainer: Work your biceps at least 3-times/week and choose a variety of exercises.  Each workout should include 3 different exercises for biceps.  Plus, ensure that you are choosing a heavy enough weight to make the last few reps challenging and nearly impossible to complete.   For muscle growth and size, I would do 6-8 reps as heavy as possible.


As for a six-pack...There are a few factors  - one being genetics.  Though many can have a flat stomach and some muscle tone, it can take others years to develop a six-pack (or 2-pack, 4-pack, etc).

 -I would encourage you to do a combination of abdominal strength days (with weight machines and dumbells) followed by core work that target stabilizing muscles (like planks, low back extensions, and pilates-style exercises.

-Drink at least ½ of your body weight in ounces of water each day

-Setup a nutrition plan with a professional trainer that can give you a diet that both helps you increase muscle and then burn bodyfat.  This process takes a minimum of 8weeks to get started.  The first 4-6 weeks is a building plan that would include a lot of brown rice, oats, lean protein, and vegetables – where the “cutting phase’ of your diet would cut back on the carbs and increase the lean protein and veggies.  Ultimately, you need the time, calories, and training load to increase muscle first.


Mommymonte: I need help with my bat wing arms. They are a totally disgusting!


Jodi the Trainer: You will need to strengthen those arms to make that happen – but, it is possible!   First, make a commitment to doing 2-3 days of strength training for your upper body.  Do a combination of shoulder, bicep and tricep exercises.  Do at least 2-3 exercises for each muscle group, 10-15 reps at a weight that makes is extremely challenging to complete the last few repetitions.  Good luck!


Tina: How much cardio per week to lose weight? Also what's a good routine in the other days of workout?


Jodi the Trainer: How much cardio you do depends on how many calories you are currently taking in and how much muscle you have.  Cardio does burn fat but, it also burns some amount of muscle along with it.  I love High intensity intervals that include cardio (1-3min of high intensity), followed by a strengthening exercise like squats or pushups, followed by 1min of cooldown cardio.  Repeat this for 30-45minutes 2-3x/week.   On the other days, do 1 day of easy/moderate longer cardio and 1 day of total body strength training.  This strength day would include 1-2 exercises per muscle group, 10-12 reps and 2-3 sets of each exercise.


Felicia: Jodi, I have been working out 7 days a week, 3 hours a day for the past 2 weeks as part of MMA training. I usually have a light breakfast consisting of egg whites, wheat toast and some sort of fruit. Usually, when I am finished with my workouts, my appetite is ridiculously high and I sometimes get a burger, what are some good healthy foods that can fill me up so I won't go for the unhealthy choice??


Jodi the Trainer: Sometimes people are ravishing post-workout because your workout was very anaerobic (which is great but, tends to burn more muscle glycogen for fuel then fat “during” the workout).  I would recommend bringing a workout drink along with you to consume immediately after the workout.  This should consist of 10grams carbs and 20grams of protein (a half of a banana, protein powder and water will do nicely too).  Then, have your breakfast or meal when you get home.  You will keep muscle, lose fat, plus have the “willpower” (ie, blood sugar balance!) to make great food choices during those meal times as a result.


Stephen: Hey jodi, I need some ways to lose pup fat around my chest and get abs could you please help me?


Jodi the Trainer: I don’t know that I have ever heard of pup fat around the chest – LOL.  But, Ultimately working the chest area needs to focus on variety.  Work the chest and abs from all angles, using a variety of types of equipment .  Try incline dumbbell chest press, cable flys, medicine ball pushups and mix things up.  Chest my above responses on getting abs to show up in the comments above.  Remember it’s all about keeping muscle, burning fat, and keeping the metabolism fire burning.  That is, more muscle, enough calories from quality sources like lean protein, vegetables and lots of water!


Jacey: Jodi- sweets are my weak spot. I can usually do great but when I have a craving I almost always snap. Can you suggest ways to control the cravings? Work outs aren't a problem for me. I can out work most people I know but I fail in the kitchen.


Jodi the Trainer: Often our sweet tooth or cravings are a direct reflection of unbalanced blood sugar.  Make sure that you are enjoying a combination of 10grams carbohydrate and 20grams protein immediately after a touch workout.  If you are working out hard, it is easy to use muscle glycogen as fuel and spend much of your workout time burning sugar.  You end up famished when you are done but, not wanting to undo all the good you did in the gym, right?  Do the post-workout protein/carb combo and by the time you get home, you will be ready to make the best choice for nutrition (minus the cravings!)


Vickie: Knee replacement patients, it's been a full year since the surgery, what do you recommend as far as exercise.


Jodi the Trainer: First off, make sure you get clearance from your doctor.  Then, focus on low-impact exercises.  I love Octane Ellipiticals are great or stationary bikes.  Finally, make sure you strengthen the muscles surrounding your knee.  Leg presses are perfect – also, hamstring curls are great (as most people tend to have overly strong/dominant quads). 


Crystal: I need to know the best way to work my core while rollerbading?


Jodi the Trainer: Rollerblading in general is great for the core – especially, if you are swinging your arms.  The movement requires balance and stability while pushing back and outside with your legs while pumping your arms with the opposite arm/leg movement.  Keep those arms swing and try to find some uphills to work on while blading so that you can increase the demand from your obliques and arm swing.  To supplement your rollerblading, try core exercises in the gym that include plank, plank twist (one knee to opposite elbow and alternate sides).  These will help with stability and strength of hips, core, and shoulders to balance your workout.


Molly: I have tendonitis in my right elbow, but I really want to build arm strength. Is there some things I can do now, or should I wait until my elbow heals fully.


Jodi the Trainer: Personally, I would wait for clearance from your doctor first.  If you have tendonitis, then that area is still inflammed and needs rest to recover.  You can also work your arms without flexing/extending your elbow joint.   I love straight arm pulldowns with a straight bar to work the back, chest flys, planks, lower body, and abdominal work can make up the most of your workouts until your elbow is fully healed.


Allen: Jodi, is Crossfit enough for a full body workout. I crossfit 5 days a week. I am following paleo by the way. Do I need to lift as well?


Jodi the Trainer: I love Crossfit but, think that the WOD’s you are doing include enough strength training that you shouldn’t need additional strength training.  Depending on the weekly plan for workouts, you might step into the gym to target train any areas that you feel didn’t get worked as much during your cross fit workouts.  Also consider that you are doing total body workouts and using big muscle groups to complete a WOD.  I think you hit those hard, maybe add in some low impact cardio intervals and any core work in the gym and you are good to go!


Tracy: I recently bought a protein powder to take after I workout and its 100 calories per servung. Is there any difference in the protein powder women should use vs men?


Jodi the Trainer: No real difference in the protein needs of men and women – it has more to do with height and weight.  In general, look to get 1 gram of protein for every 1lb of body weight.   For example, if you weight 150 lbs, then try to get 150 grams of protein each day.


Chris: When there is no other option, what are the best fast food choices when on the go? I've seen people load up a Subway sandwich thinking it's healthy, but they would have been better off with a hamburger and fries! Just curious what your thoughts are on this, with 3 kids it can be hard to make perfect choices 100% of the time, so I guess I'm looking at decent alternatives to keep in the back of my head.


Jodi the Trainer: I love this question!  This is just real life isn’t it? Ideally, you plan ahead and pack food for the day, the trip, or for your family but, sometimes you just need the convenience.  I just did a blog on nutrition, "The Difference Between a Treat & Snack."  Here, I point out some great options for on the go snacking. 


Personally, I try to avoid fast food.  But, if I have to make a choice for myself and my family, I really like Chipotle because of the vegetables and quality protein options.  Even though they have received some bad press lately with regard to their GMO included ingredients (it’s almost impossible to avoid as a restaurant).  They STILL source their ingredients from local, organic farmers.  I can tell the difference.


Also, you might think I am crazy, but I have been known to stop at a grocery store for bananas, a loaf of bread and a pound of turkey to feed my family on the go.  The only difference between that and fast food is there is not drive-thru.  So, it makes us get up and move more too!


Cindy: What is the best way to get rid of a muffin top?


Jodi the Trainer: Consistent diet and exercise will slowly melt that stubborn abdominal and waistline away.  I know it’s frustrating but, you can’t out exercise a bad diet and you can’t spot reduce.  So, stick with a balance of cardio, strength training, and eating healthy 90% of the time and you will start to see results!


David: When I work out on a machine, I start by doing 4 sets of 15 reps and slowly work my way up to 5 sets of 25 reps before I add any weight and start over. I make sure I can do the 25 reps comfortably for a week before I move on. Does this sound like a good system?


Jodi the Trainer: If your goal is muscle endurance than 25 reps works.  For the most part, people I work with are looking to gain strength or additional muscle.  Personally, I would shoot for being able to complete 3 sets of 10-12 reps and then look to adding weight.  Even if you can only complete 8 repetitions of the new weight, you will stimulate your muscle from the change and the intensity.  Plus, you will avoid any overuse injuries that can result from doing too many sets of high repetition exercises.  Hope this helps!

Jodi The Trainer's June 5th Facebook Live-Chat!

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training

I have injured my foot and can't do any cardio. What other exercises do you recommend as I have gained 5 lbs in 4 weeks?


Jodi the Trainer: Are you able to do any biking?  I would also take this time to focus on increasing your strength training.  Building muscle is a great way to boost metabolism and ultimately burn fat.  Just slightly decrease your overall calories and increase your protein intake.  You might be pleasantly surprised!


Is it bad to take a pre-workout supplement every time I work out? I'm really good shape currently.


Jodi the Trainer: I don’t think it’s a bad idea – many products recommend daily use – check the manufacturers’ recommendations to be sure.  That said, use products for a specific training goal but, don’t be afraid to cycle them – that is, use for a specific timeframe, stop using to give your body a break and then reintroduce.


I started back up at again at the gym after a 10 year break (since High School) and I was wondering, is it better to start off with cardio or lifting weights after a long break from going to the gym?


Jodi the Trainer: Great question.  It ultimately depends on your training goals.  If you are looking to generally get back into shape, I think it’s important to focus on both ideally!  If I had to choose one, it would be strength training more to boost your metabolism and then sprinkle in cardio to improve heart health. 


Is there a danger in over training?


Jodi the Trainer: There is always a danger in overtraining.   If you introduce exercise frequency or intensity too quickly, you are at risk of overtraining.  Symptoms of overtraining include:  overall body sluggishness, difficulty sleeping, pain in muscles or joints, loss of appetite..just to name a few.  Unfortunately, some of these symptoms are also normal post-workout reactions.  So, if you increase your frequency or intensity of training, pay attention to how your body feels before and after.  If you need a day off, take it.  If you “symptoms” worsen…take an additional day off.  Your training will suffer if you try to push through – remember, the body repairs itself during rest!


What us the best exercise to get rid of lower belly fat?


Jodi the Trainer: I wish I could give you the magic exercise – but, ultimately it comes down to a great diet, cardio, and strength.  Read my upcoming blog, “Flatten your Abs” for detailed information and exercises – being posted Thursday, July 20th!  I think that will give you the most thorough answer!


What exercises are the best to lose weight off of upper arms?


Jodi the Trainer: Unfortunately, you can’t “spot-reduce” certain areas of the body or be able to pick and choose what is more toned on your body.  That said, you can spot strengthen – for upper arms, I love a combination of 2 different exercises: One for rear deltoids…use dumbbells and sit on a bench, bend forward at the waist, pull the dumbbells out to the sides and squeeze the backs of your shoulders.  And, I love the standing overhead tricep extension:  Hold a dumbbell in your hands over your head, bend at your elbows to pull the dumbbell behind your head, the press your arms back up toward the ceiling – you will feel this in the upper part of the back of your arms (triceps).  Good luck!


Do you need to eat back the calories burned through exercise? Will your body go into starvation mode if you don't?


Jodi the Trainer: You need to put nutrients and calories back into your system before and after a workout, but this needs to come from high-quality vegetables, fruits, beans, legumes and protein.  The concept of “starvation mode” is really your body requiring calories and taking from muscle to get it.  If you take in too few of calories, you will lose muscle.  If you are trying to lose weight, I would recommend eating your normal calories (but again, from high quality foods) and adding exercise.  The calories lost through exercise (especially if eating better) will ultimately allow you to lose weight and keep hard-earned muscle.


I was previously a large bulky weight lifter that focused on strength and size and did not pay much attention to cardio. I have recently made a pretty dramatic life change and dropped 55lbs of mostly fat and some muscle (all at snap by the way!) I stopped doing heavy low rep movements and changed to 15 - 20 rep sets and started running long distances. My diet was previously heavily focused on building muscle with high protein and moderate healthy fats and carbs. I am really enjoying running and want to build up my endurance and speed and move away from weight lifting. I will still be doing high rep muscle focused workouts in between cardio but not much hardcore strength training. 
My question is how should I adjust my diet to accommodate my long distance running goals (5 - 10 mile runs) while maintaining my muscle mass?


Jodi the Trainer: You are more likely to keep some hard-earned muscle if you are careful to eat within a 30-45min window post exercise (especially high intensity cardiovascular workouts).  For longer endurance workouts, you should also consider a calorie/energy replacement drink like UCAN (it’s a powder that is added to water and includes a balance of easily digested calories, protein,  fat and electrolytes.  Your diet should still consist of the above mentioned “High quality protein, fats and carbs” – you just need to increase your calories enough to avoid drastic weight (and muscle) loss.  No need to increase the amount of a particular nutrient.  Good luck!


What is the best exercise to do at home for decreasing fat over the upper rib cage just below your breasts?


Jodi the Trainer: Your timing is great with this question as I am just completing a blog post titled:  “How to Flatten your Abs.”  Check it out – it will be posted next week Thursday!  Your best bet is to include a combination of planks, crunches, torso twisting exercises like bicycles.  We are also posting a Core specific workout that you will love – again, next week!


What workouts can my daughter find a good workout as a softball player. 17 yrs old


Jodi the Trainer: Softball requires good endurance, power (for hitting and getting to the base quickly) – lots of stopping and starting, and corework.  I would recommend that she does a combination of strength training, followed by days of interval based cardio (high intensity for 30-90seconds, followed by equal recovery at an easy pace).  Finally, she should do an interval workout that includes high intensity cardio, quick/powerful strength training, followed by an easy recovery – repeat for 5-10sets.  This interval workout can be done using a combination of cardio equipment and weights, or bodyweight cardio and bodyweight strength movements. 


What do you think about Herbalife ? And compared to other products?


Jodi the Trainer: I don’t know a lot about Herbalife as I don’t use the product personally.  I do know that it includes soy protein isolates which has some controversial research and reports on the unhealthful effects of too much processed soy.  Personally, for a protein-based meal replacement or workout recovery, I stick with whey protein.  The Truestar products are available via our website – simply click “mynutrition” and follow the link.   Hope that helps!


How do u prevent shin splints?


Jodi the Trainer: There are some people that are just prone to shin splints – and it usually is a result of biomechanics (posture, genetics, and gait).  You can minimize the likelihood of getting them by doing a few things:

1.)   Ease into your running program slowly – only adding 10% of time and intensity to your program each week.  Allow for plenty of rest days.

2.)   Follow up your running with ice cup massage on your shins.  Simply fill a paper Dixie cup ½ full of water, freeze and massage onto shin, peeling the paper away as it melts.  Use the entire cup.  Do this after every run until you have built a solid base.

3.)   Replace your shoes frequently – many running stores and coaches recommend replacing them once they have reached 300miles.  Some runners will write the month/year of their shoes and track mileage with a marker right on the sides of their shoes!


What would be a good work out for someone who has lupus, fibromyalgia, and RA?


Jodi the Trainer: Working with clients that have autoimmune diseases like lupus, fibro, and RA is near and dear to my heart.  I spent my first 7 years of personal training working with that specialty group and I can tell you…it’s all about managing inflammation.  From the foods you eat, to proper rest, minimizing stress, and proper workouts – it’s important to listen to your body.  To answer your question, you will have days where you feel great and want to push yourself – try to refrain from overdoing it!  You will pay for it the next day (far more than other people).  Instead, keep workouts light but, more important…consistent!  Low impact exercises like elliptical trainers, stationary bikes, and strength training – followed by a light stretch and corework for cooldown would be perfect.  Good luck!


I need to lose weight and I want to run a 5k. I've signed up for couch to 5k on a phone app. But I can't seem to run on the treadmill at the gym. I feel like I'm doing it wrong and my shins hurt soon after starting. I can do the elliptical. Is that going to be good enough? Are there any days you're at Snap Fitness in oxford for help?


Jodi the Trainer: There is such a huge difference between running on a treadmill to running on land.  Most people can handle it without any biomechanical problems but, consider the fact that you are essentially “keeping up with the tread” rather than pushing off and propelling from the ground.  This will affect how your body responds.  You can ease into treadmill work with a combination of walking, working with incline, and increasing your speed slowly (no more than 10% each week). 

                  The elliptical will be fine for improving cardiovascular fitness but, it’s important to practice the “specificity”, that is, doing the specific movement that you are training to complete.  In the case of a 5k, the best way to prepare for it, is to run.  So, start slowly, stay consistent, take the time for an easy warmup to get blood flow into the area, and finish your workouts with an ice massage (filling a Dixie cup ½ full of ice, freeze, and massage onto your shins when you are done with a run!)

                  I WISH I could work with you in oxford, but I am in MN.  I am happy to work with any of the Personal Trainers in that location.  Please connect with the manager there and they can contact me directly!  Best of luck.


I'm 55 and need to get going again.. Lost 65 pounds the first year at Snap Fitness now in at a stand still... Can't seem to get up n go again I need to lose another 80 lbs....  but I can't lift weights but I can do bike n treadmill and arch ...any suggestions?? Thanks


Jodi the Trainer: Congratulations on losing that first 65lbs, wow!  Finding your motivation can be tough but, the first step is really the toughest.   Take the first step to get back in the door and focus on consistency.  I am wondering though, why can’t you lift weights?  I ask because strength training would be a great way to build muscle, boost metabolism, give you strength, stamina, and improve posture with age.  Try starting with machines, keeping things light.  The bike, treadmill and arc trainer are great too – just shoot for variety, doing the things that are fun for you and will keep you coming back for more!


Is water better for you cold or at room temperature?


Jodi the Trainer: Though warm water isn’t bad for you, it often depends on your goal.  If your goal is hydration and cooling the body during and after exercise, cold water may actually be best.  Here is why…Cold water actually leaves your stomach faster (allowing you to absorb it more quickly into the rest of the body.)   According to a study by the American College of Sports Medicine, consuming water that is lower than body temperature (specifically 50-72 degrees F), hydrates better and cools the body from the inside out. 


I have lost 135 lbs in the last 18 months.. With eating right and working out. Lately, I seem to be at a standstill. I want to get it going again, and I seem to be going up and down with the same 5- 10 lbs.  I am wondering... what you would recommend is the best worked out for me. I have done straight cardio and I have recently started to do Jamie Eason’s fat burn. What do you think is best cardio cardio or weight training and cardio combo?


Jodi the Trainer: First off, congratulations on losing 135# - wow!! I would look at your strength training in addition to cardio. Having lost a significant amount of weight, you likely lost muscle as well. This will affect your metabolism for the long run. Start with strength training total body 3/week along with interval cardio. I also love the Octane Fitness cross fit programs because they balance both cardio and strength in a quick, efficient workout!


I am 51 and have an illness that has left me with a weak right leg and very poor balance. I take medication that limits the reaction of my heart and BP to accommodate for any type of aerobic exercise. I need something that will gently keep my joints mobile. Any suggestions?


Jodi the Trainer: I love arc trainers and ellipticals for this purpose!  I think you would enjoy the low-impact, cardiovascular improving benefits of machines like this.  Plus, they focus on movement for the entire body with the gentle movements of arms and legs – good luck!


What is the best way to get rid of belly fat? I eat healthy and workout hard but the six pack never seems to come through


Jodi the Trainer: I mentioned to another member that I have a blog coming up – so, great timing!  This should answer your question best.  You know its going to be all about diet, hydration…but, sometimes it’s about eating enough to build muscle.   Check out my blogpost schedule for Thursday, June 20th!


What is a healthy amount of carbs per day per meal?


Jodi the Trainer: It is typically recommend that you take in 1gram of Carbohydrate per pound of body weight.  If you weigh for example, 150lbs you would enjoy approx. 150grams of carbohydrates.  This could be broken down into Meal 1: 30grams, Snack 1: 20grams, Meal 2: 30grams, Snack 2: 20grams, Meal 3: 30grams, Snack 3: 20grams.  Just make sure that you are including quality carbs like: veggies, fruits, beans, legumes, and rice.


How do I lose my stomach without having to put pressure on my tailbone (broke it the end of December)


Jodi the Trainer: Thankfully Ab exercises don’t have to be done on the floor, or with a weight machine – so spare your tailbone and focus on what you can do:  Planks, standing torso twists, plenty of interval based cardio exercises and of course, improved diet!


I'm frustrated! I'm 53, female and overweight. I was working out until 3 months ago then went on vacation. When I came back I quit doing everything. I have undone all the good things I had accomplished. I need help finding my motivation again. Any suggestions? Also where can I learn what I need to do or how to do weights? I'm clueless!


Jodi the Trainer: It sounds like you just need to make that first step and get started again, right?  Grab a workout buddy that needs the same push that you do and push each other!    You had that motivation to workout when you were prepping for vacation.  So, maybe set another deadline and another goal to help get you started.  There are plenty of fun runs/walks to register for, plus might give you the push you need to get started and the deadline you need to stick with it!


I am over 50 and would like to tone my triceps---do a lot of reps with weights and machines--is it possible to develop this area at my age?


Jodi the Trainer: It is definitely possible to build muscle at any age.  My mom is 63 recently got back on track with weight lifting at her local Snap.  She impresses all of us with her rockin’ armsJ  The key to building muscle and strength is to constantly challenge yourself.  Don’t settle for the little 5# guys if you can do more.  Choose a weight that will make you work hard (to the point that you can’t even lift another rep)  Then, play around with the reps you do and the weights you choose.  For example, some days might be heavier with 6-8reps while other days might be moderate weight with 10-12 reps.  Always challenging yourself – good luck!


I've been working out almost two years 5-6 days a week. I was doing HIIT only and just started doing weights for about a month now. I also eat healthy fruits vegetables whole grains lean meats .rarely any prepackaged foods. I'm already at a healthy weight according to my BMI body fat is around 20% it seems I cannot get my body far to drop no matter how hard I workout or eat healthy. Advice? I work out about 1 - 1.5 hours 5-6 days a week. 30-40 minutes cardio and the, rest weights.


Jodi the Trainer: First off, as a female 20% bodyfat is excellent and actually considered to be in the fit/athletic range.  Though I know what you mean as you can safely decrease your bodyfat even more.  You could probably go to 18% with a change in diet.  This might surprise you but, sometimes taking in more calories and taking some time to build up some muscle (metabolism), then cutting down to the lower calories and higher intensity workouts again.  This is what bodybuilders/figure competitors do in their off-season – add calories and build back up.  They lower their body fat just prior to competition (women can range within 10-18%).  But, keep in mind, they are losing muscle in the process.  Doing this over time puts you in an eventual standstill – hence, the need to add calories back in and build back the lost muscle.  I hope this makes sense.  Message me if you need clarification (Jodi the Trainer on Facebook)


The "suggested heart rate" chart on all the cardio machines has 2 levels, fat burning and cardio. For my age my heart rate is always closer to/over the 80% cardio levels, even when I don't feel like I'm exerting myself. Would slowing down even more improve weight loss? That doesn't seem right to me.


Jodi the Trainer: Everyone’s % heart rate and max heart rate is different – you might not fall exactly as the chart shows.  The best way to know what % heart rate you are in:

60-70%- you can easily breathe through your nose and/or carry on a conversation. 

70-85% - You will not be able to breathe through your nose (try it, it’s crazy!) But, if you are exerting yourself within anaerobic metabolism, you will have to breathe through your mouth, plus you will not be able to carry on a conversation. 

You might use the above descriptions to know what exercise intensity you are in instead of the age/effort charts on some cardiovascular equipment.

Jodi The Trainer's April 24th Facebook Live-Chat!

By: Jodi Sussner, Director of Personal Training

On Wednesday, April 24th, our very own Jodi The Trainer- answered our members' health & fitness questions on our Facebook Page! Jodi's answers to all unanswered questions are below. Watch the Snap Fitness Facebook Page at for announcements of upcoming Facebook Live Chats!


I fell off the wagon. It’s hard and I need to get back in shape again. I need to do low impact cardio d/t medical issues. What would be the best game plan? I can do at least one hour per day. I need to lose around thirty pounds of fat for a female age 56?


Jodi the Trainer: I hope that you are back on the wagon?! Good for you - consistency and variety are key. Low impact cardio is great and we have the tools for it: recumbent and stationary bikes, elliptical and my favorite: octane! Do a combination of 1 day easy and longer, 1 day intervals and higher intensity, 1 day strength training and 20-30min cardio, 1 day rest and repeat. 


I took supplements a few years back to gain weight for rugby, but now I’m way too big! Any tips to lose the belly and tone lower body? Does eating one meal a day help?


Jodi the Trainer: Increasing your cardio will help lose fat as well as muscle (what many people try to avoid but, in your case, more cardio = more muscle loss).  The cardio will also help you lose belly fat and work the muscles of your lower body.  I particularly like the stepmill and inclined treadmill for Lower body work.  I wouldn’t recommend 1 meal per day – this will only slow your metabolism and make weight loss harder in the long-term. 


I've been consistently weight lifting for 5 or so months now. I'm seeing awesome progress in my arms, shoulders and inner back. I've always had very thick, muscular legs. I would prefer to see them a little leaner, however, instead of doing weighted squats and trying to increase the weight on leg machines, is the age old idea of lessening weight and adding more reps true to achieve this? (Shredding, I believe it the term). I've kind of rotated doing weighted squats (about 50 pounds plus the bar) and doing 100 body weight squats every week. Anyway, I'd like to hear your opinion?


Jodi the Trainer: I can relate as I was a gymnast and have always had larger/more muscular legs.  That said, adding weight/sets/reps is added volume which by textbook means, growth.  But, you are also working with the shape/genetics you were born with.  To maximize what you’ve got and get leaner (shreddedJ), then I would do a combination of cardio intervals followed by weights (ie, 1min interval followed immediately by 12-15 reps strength – repeat for 30-45min)  Also, diet is crucial here as leaning out can only be achieved by losing fat and keeping muscle.  Bodies are often built in the kitchen so, take a good look at your diet:  Lean protein, lots of veggies, some fruit, beans, nuts, nothing processed, and lots of water!  Finally, don’t be afraid to add weight if the 95# has gotten easy – it will only enhance your shape, not make you larger. 


I am 24 years old, 5"4 and weight right at 120 pounds. I'm in good shape and all but I'm having difficulty getting uhhh of the excess lower outer "back fat" and "muffin top. It's not too bad but it's the last bit of vanity weight I want gone. Is creating a calorie deficient the best and only way to go? I don't feel like I need to lose weight by any means, just body fat. How is that best accomplished? 


Jodi the Trainer: I can relate – often a trouble spot for women and that last bit of vanity weight is important to you so, I get it.  I don’t like counting calories as many women get this mentality of mind of matter, and end up eating too little, losing muscle and keeping fat.  While it’s true that calories count, you must focus on the quality of your calories, the balance of your nutrients (I like 40/30/30 carb/protein/fat), and eating enough to sustain muscle.  Fine tune your diet, fine tune your body!


How do u treat shin splints?


Jodi the Trainer: Shin splints can be treated through rest and ice.  Rest – shin splints often occur because of poor mechanics (Shoes or running form) but, they also occur from increasing intensity or frequency too quickly.  Add distance or speed slowly, take additional rest days if necessary.  Ice- fill a Dixie-cup ¾ full of water and freeze.  Use this to massage the area.  As it melts, peel away the paper.  Use until ice is completely melted (approx. 5min).


Why do I get bruising on my shoulder blades from 15 kg squats I was doing 10 kg but it became too light?


Jodi the Trainer: I agree that you should increase the weight in order to challenge your muscles – but, not sure if you are using Dumbbells on your shoulders or Barbells?   I am going to assume a barbell.  Make sure the barbell is placed on the “meaty” part of your back/neck (that is, on your upper traps).  It should end up above your shoulder blades, rather than on.  You can also use the barbell pad that is provided in your gym.  If it’s not there, check with the store manager to see if one can be ordered.


Jodi I am walking 3 miles four days a week and have been doing it for 3 months. At the same time when I started walking I cut the portions of my food in half. I still haven't lost any weight!! Any suggestions?


Jodi the Trainer: Boost your metabolism by adding resistance training.  I work with many women that exercise more, and eat less – only to get frustrated by zero weight loss.  So, they eat less and less…and pretty soon, they have a sluggish metabolism.  The body then requires less to sustain the same weight.  Keep up with your walking but, add 2 days of totally body strength training to start with.


What is the best workout for the butt and thighs?


Jodi the Trainer: Some of my personal favorites are squats and lunges.  Strength training will add definition and shape to your legs.  To add some fat-burning intensity, mix up your strength training with cardio intervals:  1min treadmill run/walk, incline of 3-5% - followed by lower body strength exercise (lunges, squats, calf raises, jump lunges, etc)


My son has hyperthyroid and is really finding he's packing on weight. Would the workout you suggest for hypothyroid work the same?


Jodi the Trainer: Hyperthyroidism typically means that it’s difficult to PUT weight on – I would first have him check with his doctor to be sure that medication is balanced.  Doing this type of cardio could cause him to lose too much too soon.  Stick with light-moderate cardio (30-45min) and strength training.


How do you cope with fitness boredom? I've been working out for 16 months and it seems like now that I'm near to my final goals I am bored. Give me ideas to keep my routine from getting too dull! 


Jodi the Trainer: My favorite ways to beat boredom:  1.) Create a new playlist – the right music can be a huge motivator! 2.) Try a new class – no matter what it is, kickboxing, boot camp, yoga – there is so much out there to try!  Grab a workout buddy and go.


Why do my knees ache after a run? Thought it would go away over time?


Jodi the Trainer: If your knees ache your body is telling you something so, listen to it.  I would suggest giving your knees some additional rest in between runs.  Also, building a strong core is the key for supporting the rest of your body. Have you checked with your doctor or physical therapist(PT)?  A PT can determine if you have muscle imbalances that might be causing knee pain.

Chad the Trainer's 4/3/13 Live Chat: Lose Weight Challenge Special!

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Chad the Trainer's 4/3/13 Live Chat: Lose Weight Challenge Special!

Thank you to everyone who participated in our live-chat on our Facebook Page! Here are the questions and answers from our last "Lose Weight Challenge" live-chat. Watch the Snap Fitness Facebook Page at for announcements of upcoming Facebook Live Chats!


What is a routine for exercise to lose weight?


Chad the Trainer: Weight loss is only successful when nutrition and exercise are consistent.  Get your nutrition in check with your free profile ( and exercise consistently to include both cardiovascular and strength exercises.  To save time and improve effectiveness, do a combination of cardio days (at least 3) that include low-moderate intensity longer workouts and interval workouts of high intensity.  Include at least 3 total body strength training sessions each week.


How do you lose the pooch? Lower belly fat?


Chad the Trainer: Unfortunately, we can’t spot reduce – I know you have probably heard it before but, it is true.  Your abdominal fat will tighten and tone with changes in nutrition, cardio, and strength.  Strengthen the abs as a whole – avoid trying to target the “lower belly”.  The external layer of the abs are one long muscle – work to perform slow, controlled and focused movements during your ab exercises. 


I have 200lbs to lose. Where do I start with exercise and eating?


Chad the Trainer: Start by making gradual but consistent changes – avoid lowering your caloric intake too extremely.  It’s a common mistake when people first get started.  Determine your minimum caloric needs and then couple that with exercise, making sure that you are at a total deficit of 3500 calories each week.  This will provide gradual (But long-term!) weight loss of 1-2lbs per week.  Good luck!


How do I tighten my triceps n have less loose skin and bat wings?


Chad the Trainer: Even though we can’t spot reduce, we can certainly spot strengthen – adding muscle to various parts of the body will always fill the space between skin and bone and make for a more dense, less flabby form.  I love overhead tricep extensions, lying tricep press (skull crushers), and tricep dips.  Give yourself at least a day in between to recover – so you can train triceps 2-3x/week.


I can lift, but never seem to gain muscle. What’s up with that?


Chad the Trainer: Make sure that you are getting enough calories.  It sounds counter-intuitive but, muscle growth and repair can only occur with enough Calories to make that happen.  Make sure you are getting at least 1 gram of protein per lb or body weight as well.  Increased protein, consistent eating and avoiding too much cardio will help to maintain and increase muscle.


Will running help burn fat off my stomach?


Chad the Trainer: Yes, any cardiovascular exercise that gets your heart rate up into a fat burning zone (60-80% of max heart rate), will decrease bodyfat.  Unfortunately, it will not be specific to your stomach only – where bodyfat is decreased is often based on genetic factors first.  Stay consistent, maintain great nutrition, cardio and strength exercises for your core and you should be good to go!


How come when I started lifting and the treadmill I was really sore but now I push myself until I have muscle fatigue the next day I really am not that sore. I do take protein powder and ripped vitamin packs from gnc but I do push myself until I can’t lift anymore. Is this normal?


Chad the Trainer: Yes, it’s normal with long-term training.  Unless you are changing the actual movements, you will likely not experience the same kind of soreness you did initially.  For example, you will not be sore if you simply go a little longer on the treadmill – you have to make bigger changes.  Instead, change the incline or speed drastically for shorter bursts, or change the actual type and weight of the strength exercises you do rather than just changing the number of reps.


I want to lose weight everywhere!!! What is best for total weight loss, and fast. What kind of exercise and diet.


Chad the Trainer: Fast weight loss isn’t necessarily long-term weight loss –BUT, if you are looking for fast weight loss, then consider lots of moderate-intensity, longer duration cardio.  You will lose some muscle, along with water retention and ultimately…weight!  As for diet, drink a ton of water avoid all sugar, and anything processed – good luck!


What are some signs of over training? How much soreness is normal vs. a sign to take a break from a particular muscle group?


Chad the Trainer: There is overtraining and then there is overreaching – overreaching is often the first stage of overtraining (where painful soreness and fatigue set in).  Once you hit signs of overreaching, you should back-off as it is much harder to fully recover from true over-training.  Soreness isn’t a sign of overtraining – overall body fatigue, sluggishness, a higher resting heart rate, and weakness are all signs.  One day of this should tell you to take a day off from training. I always take at least 1-2 days off of training.  These days can include easy walks or light yoga but, always benefit me in the end.  It allows you to come back stronger and make greater strides in your training rather than pushing hard ALL the time. 


For chest work outs I have heard a couple different people talk about incline decline and flat press are not good to do all during the same work! My question is do I need to stop doing all three and kind of spread them out week to week or keep doing all three every week?


Chad the Trainer: I would disagree that doing all 3 types in one workout as being “bad” – I think it’s good to hit the muscle groups from different angles.  But, more important – vary your exercises each workout.  If you did incline dumbbell press, chest flys, and decline DB press every workout, that would be slow progress.  Instead mix things up by using cables, bands, bodyweight, and dumbbells, varying intensity and reps to promote constant progress.


Chad, I've lost 65 lbs since last June (Weight Watchers and lots of exercise). I have about 35 more to go to get to goal. My trouble is I seem to be losing it from everywhere except my lower abdomen and thighs. Any suggestions?


Chad the Trainer: First, congratulations!  Unfortunately, nature/genetics control  - but, there are things you can do to create your best self.  First, change up your intensity and type of exercise.  Try hitting the treadmill with extreme incline walk/jog, followed by a sprint (1-2minutes of each) – continue this for 20-40minutes.  Try a combo of cardio machine interval (1-2minutes of high intensity) followed by a lower body strength exercise, repeat for 20-40minutes.  Good luck!


I have an abs related question ( I know you get a ton of them) I've been working out solidly for the past 4 months & have been working on my Abs both core & oblique but can't seem to lose the "jiggle" fat.. My BMI is 24.1 my fat % is 13 but I've tried med carb & low carb but my body feels so run down on the low carb, any suggestions?


Chad the Trainer: Your BMI and body composition are very healthy – so likely adding some weight to your core work and making sure you are getting enough calories will help you put on some muscle in your abdominal region (limiting the jiggle).  Also, consider extra water – which many people avoid thinking that it will make them “retain” water.  It has the opposite effect, water helps you flush extra water from your body – making your skin appear firmer and tighter.  Finally, extra skin from weight loss is just that, extra skin.  It can take longer for this skin to bounce back into it’s ideal shape – time, intensity and consistency, good luck!

Chad the Trainer's 3/5/13 Live Chat: Lose Weight Challenge Special!

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Thank you to everyone who participated in our February live-chat on our Facebook Page! Here are the questions and answers from our first "Lose Weight Challenge" live-chat. These chats will be conducted every other week on the Snap Fitness Facebook Page at!

Chad, what do you think of the protein diet? I was doing weight watchers. I have lost 100 lbs. on my own still have 15-20 lbs. to go that I just cant get rid of! I joined the Challenge, and I'm hoping that will help. HELP!

Chad the Trainer: I don’t believe in a protein only diet as we need carbohydrates for energy and fat for satiety (feeling full).  I think you need to have a balanced approach with the correct combination based on your goals.  Although I believe in a lower carbohydrate diet I think you should have your menu provided to you based on your hormonal balance and goals.  Log into your website,  click on mynutrition, register for your free nutrition plan.  You can then plug in your goals and it will provide the amount of calories and protein, fat, and carbohydrate percentages for your goals.  Try this menu plan for a couple weeks and let us know what you think?  Make sure to go in and adjust it to the foods you want by making substitutions.  Keep up on your consistent cardiovascular program, weigh training program and get your menu dialed in.

Hi, I have been exercising and eating correctly for 7 months, I have lost 60 lbs. However, I have reached a plateau, any advice on how to break through it? I havent lost a pound in 3 weeks...

Chad the Trainer: 
You have just hit a plateau.  Your body has hit maintenance as the amount of calories you are consuming has equaled the amount you are taking in.  One thing you might want to look at is if you are changing your body composition.  Are you gaining muscle and losing fat?   If so, this is not a bad thing if you are seeing a change in how you look.  If this isn’t the case you are going to need to adjust your caloric input or increase your caloric output.  .  Log into your website,  click on mynutrition and register for your free nutrition plan.  You can then plug in your goals and it will provide the amount of calories and protein, fat, and carbohydrate percentages for your goals.  You will need to create a 1000 calorie deficit per day to lose 2 pounds per week.  If you are taking in 2500 calories you will need to figure out how to burn 3500 calories per day.  I would start by making sure you are burning over 500 calories per day during your workout.  Try a 5 minute warm-up, 30 minutes of weight training followed by 30 – 40 minutes of cardiovascular exercise.

I get side aches when I run. What can I do to help prevent them? I've tried eating 4 hours In advanced, 1 hour in advanced, drinking water, not drinking water, etc. I can usually run for about 5 minutes the. It gets so bad and I have to walk. And them can only run about 2 minutes before it starts again. Ive also worked on my breathing which sometimes helps. Suggestions?

Chad the Trainer: Scientists aren’t 100% sure why side stitches occur – for years, the diaphragm was the culprit and proper breathing techniques were encouraged. But, a study in the Journal of Sports Medicine found that poor posture is actually more likely. Forward, rounded, and elevated shoulders, along with tension in the ribcage, can all contribute to side stitches. You can do a few things to prevent: 

1. Learn diaphragm breathing – breathe into the lowest and side portions of your ribcage/lungs so that you can prevent further tension in your shoulders
2. Slow down your pace to get your breathing under control if necessary
3. Sip water throughout the day, rather than gulping before your run (sounds like you are doing this in a way - but, try to start slower overall).
4. Stop to drink while you are running, rather than trying to drink and breathe and run with efficiency
5. Stretch your upper back, ribcage and sides before your run or a few minutes into your warmup – these are often “forgotten” muscles needed for running since most people focus solely on the legs in preparation for their run.

I do HIIT for my cardio, and I do 60 seconds at 3.0, 30 seconds at 6.0. I'll be changing to 45 seconds at 3.0, then 45 seconds at 6.0 within the next few days. What is this equivalent to if I was doing regular cardio for 60 minutes?

Chad the Trainer: 
Interval Training is awesome for improving cardiovascular fitness and burning fat - but, longer (and usually lower intense workouts), are great for stretching your ability to burn fat during your workout and actually make your HIIT training more efficient. Without knowing how long you do your HIIT training, 60min sounds like it will just be a lower intensity or pace. Start with 4.0 (miles per hour)...or 0% incline if you were referring to that. See if you can sustain it for the duration of your cardio. Slow down if you need to but, keep it going, you'll do great. Good luck!

I'm trying to gain weight for football season but I'm also in track season at the moment. What can I do to keep gaining weight/muscle in a short period of time at the gym (track goes until 6 so i have to not have much time to spare). 

Chad the Trainer: This is a tough one.  It is tough to gain muscle when you are burning so many calories throughout the day. I would make sure you are lifting lower body a couple times a week and upper a couple times a week to maintain your muscle mass. Make sure to keep your protein at about 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight to ensure you are not burning muscle for energy.  I would also make sure you are taking time to consume a lot of calories and rest on the weekends when you can.  Overall, I would focus on maintenance for now and work on the bulking when season is over.

I'm 22, 5'2", and over the last year and a half I've lost 95 pounds and still counting. I've done this by walking and now running along with a healthy diet. I still have about 20-25 pounds until I get to a healthy BMI but I'd like to begin incorporating weight training to tone and build muscle. What's the best way I can do this? I have no idea where to begin.

Chad the Trainer: I would start by incorporating a three day a week full body exercise program.  Try doing a full body workout 2 sets of 15 for each of the selectorized machines.  Begin with 5 minute warm-up.  You will then work each body part including chest, back, biceps, triceps, shoulders, and legs.  Once you run though these sets I would finish with 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise.  Take Tuesday, Thursday, and weekends off to rest and repair your body.  Try this for the next 60 days and get back with us.   Make sure you get your nutrition in check as this is the largest piece of the puzzle when losing weight.

I have lost about 100 pounds down from 432, should I start adding in strength training or just keep working on cardio?

Chad the Trainer: Assuming you have lost your weight with cardio alone I would begin adding weight training to increase your metabolism.  The more muscle you add the higher your metabolism will be.  Try starting with three days a week and slowly work your way to a four day split with Wednesday and weekends off.  Also, if you haven’t done so I would log into your account and click on mynutrition.  Register for your free nutrition profile when they will set you up on a custom nutrition plan to make sure you are on the right track with calories and macronutrients. Get your nutrition in check, keep up the cardio and weight training and you should begin breaking through your barrier.  Best of luck!

Just wondering if it is good to go to the gym every day? Also should you mix up doing cardio somedays and weight machines other days? Right now I am combining everything together and going to the gym 4 days a week.

Chad the Trainer: I prefer to lift weights and do cardio on the same day. Try doing your cardio after your weight routine if you aren’t doing so now. Try adding one more day to your routine or split. Back one day, chest one day, biceps and triceps one day, Legs one day, and shoulders one day.  Take Wednesday and Sunday off as rest.  Just make sure you have a day off in the middle for recovery.   Give this a try and see what happens.

I drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, cut down caffeine and sugar intake and carb intake. Upped the protein and finally having success. I am 5'5" and started out weighing 185. I have lost 5 pounds so far and am walking and doing some lean/tone exercises from home. Do I need to ramp up my program?

Chad the Trainer: It really depends on your goal if you want to “amp” up your program.  I’m assuming if you are trying to lose weight you want to increase the intensity of your workouts. Try increasing the intensity of your cardiovascular exercise.  Take 180 – age to get your heart rate to train.  For example: 180 – 30= 150.  In this case you would want to keep your heart rate at 150 beats per minute while doing cardiovascular exercise.  Continue doing your toning exercises but speed up your walk to a fast walk and try to increase your heart rate some more.  At the end of the day you either need to burn more calories though your exercise or make minor cuts in your nutrition to cut additional calories.

To build muscle is it better for lower weight, but high reps or big weight and fewer reps? Does it really matter?

Chad the Trainer: To build muscle most people stay in the 8 to 12 repetition range for exercises focusing on taking the muscle to complete failure.  For strength you stay in the 4 – 8 range and for endurance 12- 18 repetitions depending on who you talk to.  For you I would keep your repetition range in the 8 – 12 range and I recommend you have a spotter so you can get a couple forced repetitions at the end of each set.  I would start each exercise with a light warm-up an finish with two set to complete failure where you can barely get the 10th to 12th repetition.  Week over week I would just try to add 5 to 10 additional pounds to your exercises to increase muscle size.  It is also crucial that you are getting a high protein (30 grams) shake within 30 minutes after your workout to get the best possible muscle recovery.  Try this out for a few weeks and you should see a difference.

How do you determine the number of calories to eat for losing weight?

Chad the Trainer: This is simple.  Log into your site.  Click on mynutrition and register for your free nutrition profile through Plug in your weight and your weight goal and it will take you through a series of questions to determine exactly how many calories you should be taking in based on your goal.  It will have you taking in less than you are burning which is what you need to do to lose weight.

Ask the Trainer: Seeing Ab Progress

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: Abs - need some exercises to really build them, and not just burn them out. I'm already doing many forms of sit-ups and other ab machines at the max weight - so why am I not seeing progress?


Answer: It sounds like you are already doing everything needed to build your abs! I am curious as to what your body fat percent is. I bet you already have good abs from what you have said - however, you need to be 10% body fat or lower to really start seeing them. Another thing you may be doing is over-training them. If you are doing them every day it is too much. Try taking a day off between workouts and you will notice a new soreness and better pump.  Hope this helps!

Ask the Trainer: Workout Routine

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I have been looking to develop my own workout program and am very familiar with weights and working out, but not so much with putting together a program. What is the best way to work out as far as weights go? Doing each muscle group 1 day per week? Pairing back/biceps, chest/triceps and legs for a 3 day a week workout? Or just splitting upper body versus lower body and alternating daily? Or is there a better way?


Answer: There really isn’t a better way to go about it. It depends on your goal. I would recommend alternating the different routines every few weeks. Do upper/lower for a month and then switch to two body parts per day with a day of rest in-between. If you're a new member, be sure to set up your free Basic 8 or Fitness Score session with a personal trainer to get you started with a workout program that fits your needs. You can also go to and click on "My Workouts." You can register and build a custom workout through the website.  Either way make sure you are mixing it up to shock your body into results.

Chad the Trainer's 2/7/13 Live-Chat: Lower Body Exercises

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Thank you to everyone who participated in our February live-chat on our Facebook Page! Here are the questions and answers from our "lower body exercises" live-chat. These chats are conducted monthly on the Snap Fitness Facebook Page at!


Cheryl Westendorf Rasmussen Advice for regaining stomach muscles after 2 emergency C-sections.... a little rush was required and they were not careful...sit-ups and crunches are out due to a past neck injury.

Chad TheTrainer Cheryl, this is tough due to the fact that they actually cut through the muscles. To work slowly back with your neck injury you may want to try to do some leg lifts where your neck will be stationary. Hanging, bring your knees up to a 90 degree angle with your body. You can have your feet hanging down or straight out for more pressure. Try three sets of 15 to 20 or as much as possible without pain. Make sure to keep your nutrition in check as that is about 70% of you having a good looking mid-section. Best of luck!

Nicholas Gurto How do I lose inches on legs and stomach?

Chad TheTrainer Nickolas- Losing inches is a combination of nutrition, cardio, and strength training. I would try doing an upper body workout twice per week and a lower body workout three times per week. Try doing 5 days a week of cardiovascular exercise for 20 - 30 minutes to help burn stored fat which will reduce inches. Log into your account under “My Nutrition.” You can create a custom Nutrition and Vitamin plan that will help you figure out what to eat. This is the most important part of losing inches.

Sandy Beltrani How many times a week should you train your lower body - for a female age 42 who is at snap 6x a week? Cardio everyday for 40 and then weights, how would you divide it up?

Chad TheTrainer Sandy- Try doing a light warm-up, doing your weights first and finishing with 40 minutes of cardio. I would do your legs two days per week on Tuesdays and Fridays to add for adequate rest in-between sets. Try keeping your repetitions high in the 15- 20 range. Otherwise your plan looks pretty solid. Keep it up!

Tracy Beck I need some new lower ab exercises. Got any advice on some great ones?

Chad TheTrainer Tracy- Two things you can do. One is to pull your knees back towards your body when you are doing crunches to hit the lower part simultaneous with the upper part. The bigger the angle the more pressure, so hanging from a bar and pulling your knees back toward your body to 90 degrees is the best. If you straighten out your legs you will get more pressure on the muscle for more efficiency.

Melanie Kordis-Pate I have a question about lunges. I have bad knees (past surgery and instability). I like what lunges do for my legs and tush...any hints/tips/ideas for me?

Chad TheTrainer Melanie- Instead of doing walking lunges where you have more risk of balance injuries I would try something that keeps your body somewhat stationary. Try using the smith machine for your lunges. With your body vertical to the ground place one foot in front of you and one behind you. Make sure when you move the weight downward that the bend at both knees is at 90 degrees. If you break that 90 degree plane your will put most of the pressure on your knee cap and have a great risk of injury. Once you build up your strength you can progress to walking lunges. Best of luck!

Jennifer Thesing I get bored with calf raises... any other recommended exercises for calf work?

Chad TheTrainer Jennifer- There are really only two ways to work your calves. You have standing calf raises and seated calf raises. When you are standing you are working your gastrocnemius which is the upper part of your calf. When you are bent at the knee completing a seated calf raise you hit the tibialis (front) and soleus (underneath he gastrocnemius). The StairMaster and running will also work the muscle (toning) but not build it too much.

Josh Harris I've been trying to increase my distance running. Once I get to about a mile or so my calves and feet seem to get numb and the front of my calves cramp and it goes down into my feet. Is there a lift to possibly strengthen my specific problem?

Chad TheTrainer Josh- You can strengthen the muscles in your legs including calves but the main issue you have is flexibility and hydration. Make sure after a short warm-up run you stop to stretch your calves, thighs, and hamstrings. Also make sure you have a good balance of potassium and vitamins and are drinking water throughout the day especially after exercise.

Cindy Rogers-Sell When using the weight machine for crunches at 30lbs how many reps do you suggest for a beginner?

Chad TheTrainer Cindy- I wouldn't focus so much on how many reps to do at 30 pounds. I would focus on how much weight you need to keep your repetitions around 20 to 25. I like to do lighter high repetition crunches every other day so my abdominals can recover. Try doing three sets to failure every other day you work out.

Kathi Ann Brown My time on the cycling machines at SNAP doesn't seem to translate to my road bike, even when I'm pushing hard and sweating like mad doing the hilly or varied terrain programs. Why don't I feel stronger on my real bike after a winter of effort indoors?

Chad TheTrainer Kathi- Do you feel like you maintain from the summer or that you just aren't getting better? You may see more similar results by using a "spin bike" versus a regular stationary bike. Remember that you are dealing with the elements such as the weather and it isn't the same. I would try more strength training on the lower body for your thighs to help with your regular season racing:)

Julie Poyer-Maki I’m having trouble losing "the jiggle" on my inner thighs-ideas??
Sean Greaves What's the best way to tone and lose fat on the inner thigh??
Bridget Nicholas What are ways to tone my inner thighs??
Julie Davis Pearce Hi, Chad - need to firm up inner thighs - I'm a marathoner and otherwise thin/ in good shape. . . But hate my thighs! Have tried goblet squats, clam shells, etc. to no avail. . .

Chad TheTrainer Julie, Sean, Bridget, and Julie- Toning the inner thighs or thighs in general is a combination of working your quadriceps and hamstrings to add more muscle mass and hence tighten the skin around the area. By doing consistent cardiovascular exercise you will burn more stored body fat and help reduce fat in that area. Try doing squats, leg extensions and leg curls to work the muscles needed to help this area.

Cindy 'Rootes' Hoffman I have lost 76lbs, and I am now trying to tighten up loose/sagging skin (tummy) & tone up my mid-section. What can I do to accomplish this?

Chad TheTrainer Cindy-  Congratulations on losing 76 pounds.  That is a huge deal!  Although you can increase your muscle mass to stretch out the skin a bit it will probably take some medical action to get what I think you are trying to achieve.  You can definitely trim down your mid-section more with proper diet and exercise but the skin that has been stretched out so much will probably need to be removed.  Before speaking with a doctor about this I would try to drop your body fat down a few percentages to see if the skin is just formed around excess fat.  If you lose this body fat you may see the skin start to disappear as well.  Make sure you are getting 4 – 5 days of cardiovascular exercise in with at least 3 days of weight training.  Best of luck!

Viri Islas I never seem to have the time to even think about making it to the gym and with a new baby it’s not as easy. Is there anything I can do to get rid of the belly from home?

Chad TheTrainer Viri- The main thing you can do to get rid of the belly and body weight from home is to change your eating habits and try some "home" exercises. Log into your account. Click on “My Nutrition” and you can register to get a free custom nutrition plan and vitamin plan. Then click on “My Workouts” and try building a custom yoga plan you can use from home. Try this as nutrition is about 70% of the battle.

Peter Cheng Moua I am trying to go up in weight; what are the best exercises for leg workouts and also would it be ok to run every day still, or just once a week to avoid losing too many calories?

Chad TheTrainer Peter- First, if you are trying to gain size and strength in your legs I would keep your cardio to a minimum but keep it to an elliptical so you don't lose muscle mass on your legs. I would also try to avoid all cardio on leg day. For legs keep your staple exercises such as squats and leg presses for mass. After that, finish your quads with leg extensions and lunges. After you are done with quads, finish with leg curls and straight-legged dead lifts. Add calves to the mix and you have will hit every muscle in your lower body.

Billi-Jean King I lost my glutes in my divorce! What happened is that I lost over 15 pounds in a couple of weeks due to stress (from 132 lbs to 117 lbs), and most of that was in my buns. (This was 7 years ago.) Now my butt is still flat, though I try to do squats and lunges regularly...I just can't seem to get the shape back. I have competed in bodybuilding, but my glutes and hams are my weak areas.

Chad TheTrainer Billi-Jean- The glutes are tough because there aren't a whole lot of different exercises to work them. The best thing possible is squats. I think with squats you need to ensure that you are coming very low so your leg is hitting a 90 degree angle at the knee. After squats I would try completing walking lunges again, making sure your legs come out so you are bent at a 90 degree angle at the knee. You may also want to hit the hip abductor and glute machine if they have one. If you want to try and hit it from the cardio angle try switching from the treadmill or cross-trainer to the step mill. Try double-steps to focus on the glute area. Hope this helps:)

Ellen Ridings What are some good exercises when you are having a hard time positioning for squats? What muscle do we work on to straighten the squat form properly?

Chad TheTrainer Ellen-  First I would make sure you are doing a 5 minute warm-up to get the blood flowing in the muscles.  I would then make sure you do about 5 minutes of stretching your quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors, and calves. Being flexible is a big part of proper form and the ability to generate more strength. If possible I would start doing your squats with a smith machine. This will keep the range of motion correct and will be safer. Make sure to have your feet shoulder width apart with your toes pointed slightly outward.  ou want to come down so that your knees hit 90 degrees. Keep your head up, your chest out and your back arched with your arms holding the bar with your elbows at 90 degrees. Once you can perform the smith machine squats with ease you can move to free weight squats and try to copy the same form you have learned on the smith machine. Once again, start out light, warm-up, work on your flexibility, and keep your form no matter how much weight you are lifting. Best of luck!

Mandy Angellotti-Dunskis I've had two C-sections and need to tighten my stomach muscles. Is there a certain exercise other than crunches that will help? Thank you!

Chad TheTrainerThis is tough due to the fact that they actually cut through the muscles. To work slowly back you may want to try to do some leg lifts. Hanging from a bar, bring your knees up to a 90 degree angle with your body. You can have your feet hanging down or straight out for more pressure. Try three sets of 15 to 20 or as much as possible without pain. Make sure to keep your nutrition in check as that is about 70% of you having a good looking mid-section. Best of luck!

Lee Gifford I just signed up for Snap Fitness but I’m confused how to use a gym with no locker room and showers. Any advice from Minnesota, a cold weather state? What is the gym etiquette with bringing in stuff like gym sweat towels and a change of clothes (I like to work out in shorts?)

Chad TheTrainer Lee,  I would just wear your sweats over your shorts so you can pull them off when you finish your warm-up.  Just bring a bag to put your stuff in such as your workout towel and your pants.  Your Snap should have cubbies that you can store your bag in.  It should be visible from everywhere you could be in the gym.

Shanna Abatti How do you know if you need an ankle or knee brace?

Chad TheTrainerShanna-  I would consult your doctor for this one.  If you are feeling severe pain in your knee or ankles and it has just begun happening I would get to the doctor right away.  They will write you a restrictions list for exercises and make recommendations for a brace if needed.  I can’t think of any standard brace that you would wear on those areas.  

Gagan Gagi I need to know the best protein to gain some weight?

Chad TheTrainer Gagan-  The best protein source in my opinion is Whey Protein.  Truestar health has an organic protein called True STRENGTH that you can purchase through your site.  Log into and click on “My Nutrition.”  I would actually log in and create a custom nutrition program and put your goal in for weight gain.  It will tell you how many calories you need to be eating a day to gain weight and the proper amount of protein needed to maintain lean muscle mass without gaining excess body fat.

Tristin Spicer I never have the energy to exercise and can't afford to buy super healthy food because I have a family of 6 – how can I still lose weight?

Chad TheTrainer Tristin-  The good news for you is it doesn’t really matter what type of food you eat for weight loss.  It is about calories-in versus calories-out.  If you take in less calories than you burn you will lose weight.  The problem is that the type of food you eat determines your energy levels and how you store muscle and fat.  It is hard to build muscle without adequate protein and you need fat and carbohydrates for energy.  If you are the same weight you have been for a long time you should log into and enter in all the foods you eat.  You will be able to see just how many calories you are taking in.  If money is an issue I would just cut back a few things you are currently eating and add a multivitamin to make sure you are getting the nutrients you need that you may be missing in the healthier foods.

Serena Tabor Stewart I'm trying to lose 15-20 lbs. Would you suggest losing to desired weight with diet and cardio before using weights/machines in the gym? Suggestions on quickest and safest way to drop the weight?

Chad TheTrainerSerena-  The quickest and safest method is to do all of the above at the same time.  Cardiovascular exercise will help you burn stored fat as long as you are doing it at the proper heart rate.  Weight training will increase your muscle mass and you will burn 60 – 80 more calories at rest for every pound of muscle you put on.  When you lift weights your body burns calories for 24 hours versus 1 – 2 hours after a cardio workout. Eating the correct amount of calories is the most important as you have to take in less calories than you burn to lose weight.  Eat a little bit less and make sure to do cardio and weight training and you will see the best results possible.

Lee Rodriguez Johnson What are good exercises for the stomach?

Chad TheTrainer The best exercise for your mid-section is a combination of cardiovascular exercise to burn stored body fat, weight training (crunches, leg lifts, ab machines) to add muscle and increase your metabolism, and nutrition. That being said, nutrition is about 70% - 80% of the battle. Until you eliminate the fat layer over your abdominal area you will never be able to see the muscle. I would focus on working out your full body 3 times per week and get 5 days of cardiovascular exercise in for 30 minutes. Try cutting your calories back a little bit too and you will start seeing results!

Shanna Abatti What is a good work out on the cardio machines - stairs or treadmill? I always steer clear because i do not know how to approach them.

Chad TheTrainer Shanna- This really depends on your goal. It’s not really the type of cardio you do as much as it is the duration and intensity.  I would start with a 20 minute workout and would keep your heart at a moderate rate.  Try taking 180 minus your age to get a generic heart rate.    If you were 40 years old it would be 180 – 40=  140 beats per minute.  Just increase the intensity of the machine and keep watching your heart rate on the screen until it hits the desired level.  Try keeping this level consistent for 20 minutes and slowly work yourself up to 30 minutes over time.  Try doing one type of cardio for two weeks and switch it up for variety and fun.  Best of luck!

Jennifer Elgin-Gelinskey What is a good protein supplement for women!? I'm 30 and there are so many different types! And what dosage – before workout, after workout, daily?

Chad TheTrainer Jennifer- I really like the Truestar health products.  You can access them through your site.  Click under “My Nutrition” and register for a free custom nutrition plan and vitamin profile.  On this site I want you to check out TrueSTRENGTH protein.  I would take 1 to 1 ½ scoops 18 – 27 grams of organic whey protein within 30 minutes after your workout.  This will help with muscle recovery and endurance.  When you do your profile you will also get many other recommendations that will help.

Kevin Riley I attempted to do the 'Insanity' workout and have since noticed a small bulge near my belly button. I was checked for a hernia and told I do not have one. Doctor said I seem to have injured my stomach muscles (awesome, I have stomach muscles in there somewhere lol). Can you pull a stomach muscle and if so, what are symptoms? I know you're not a doctor just didn't know if you have heard of this. Thanks.

Chad TheTrainer Kevin- I have never heard of this and my guess would be a hernia.  You may want to get another opinion from another doctor.  I guess you could have possibly tore your abdominal muscles as the insanity workouts are pretty intense.  Let me know what you find out!

Lisa Evans Sanders What are some good exercises for "love handles" on a 44 year old woman's body?

Chad TheTrainerThe best exercise for your love handles is a combination of cardiovascular exercise to burn stored body fat, weight training to add muscle and increase your metabolism, and nutrition. That being said, nutrition is about 70% - 80% of the battle. Until you eliminate the fat layer over the area you will never be able to see the muscle. I would focus on working out your full body 3 times per week and get 5 days of cardiovascular exercise in for 30 minutes. Try cutting your calories back a little bit too and you will start seeing results!

Julie Parkes What do you suggest to boost fat loss when reaching a plateau?

Chad TheTrainer Julie-  You can approach this from a few different angles.  You can either add more caloric burn to your routine or you can cut your calories a bit.  Try adding an additional 10 minutes to your cardio so you can burn another 100 calories or so.  You can also cut one thing out of your regular diet to drop your calories a bit.  Either way your body is at maintenance and you only need to make a minor change to see a difference.  You may also want to try TrueDETOX from Truestar health.  Log into your account and under “My Nutrition” you can find this product on their website.

Kim BJ Hi I'm from Korea - I have a question about when you get in a super slump, what would you do ? Please give me a little advice - I love Snap gym!

Chad TheTrainer Kim-  This sounds like a motivational slump.  If you are not motivated anymore try getting a work-out partner or get with a personal trainer to help spice up your workout a bit.  If you don’t have music I suggest wearing headphones and playing upbeat music that is motivating to you.  You can also watch your favorite television show while you work-out to pass the time a bit faster.  You can also try switching your work-out up.  Do you cardio at the end of your workout if you are doing it before now.  You can also try doing your weight training in reverse order.  Either way you need to do something to break up the normal routine and get you fired up again.  Best of luck!

Jackie Ross Best exercises to rid cellulite?

Chad TheTrainerJackie-  There are not best exercises to get rid of “cellulite.”  This has to do with the muscle tone and fat layer between your muscle and skin.  You can help alleviate this a bit my adding resistance exercise to increase the muscle volume.  If you do consistent cardiovascular exercise you will be able to burn your stored body fat.  The tighter the skin gets to the toned muscle the less you will notice the “cellulite.”    It’s going to take a combination or a great diet, consistent cardiovascular exercise, and weight training at least 3 days per week.

Kris Nicholson I know what to eat after a great workout - protein. What is best to eat before my 40-60 minute workout? Been getting light headed...

Chad TheTrainer Kris,  I would do some type of fruit or fruit juice.  If you eat an apple or orange about 30 minutes before your workout you will get glycogen released for energy slowly though your workout.  If you need something quick before you work out like within 10 minutes I would try drinking a glass or orange juice (2 cups).  This will give you a quicker boost of energy.  Try to avoid heavy meals within 30 minutes of your workout or eating too early like 2 hours before your workout as the food will be worn off by then.  Hope this helps!

Marvin Colón I’m trying out deadlifts for the first time, and I usually do them on the smith machine, but the bar does not touch the ground. Should I stay away from the smith machine and go with dumbells?

Chad TheTrainer Marvin-  For that exercise you are going to have a hard time performing it with a smith machine.  You will want to use a straight bar for the best motions but dumbbells would be good too.  You need to be able to keep your back fairly straight and vertical and you could do the exercise with your hand between your legs or you could hold the dumbbells on the outside of your knees.  Best of luck!

Walter Moore Hi Chad, can I do cardio everyday and not hurt anything? I have heard mixed reviews. I want to overall lose weight and tone. I don't want to look like a bodybuilder just fit and in shape.

Chad TheTrainerWalter-  Doing cardio every day would be over-training.  Your body needs time to recover from exercise.  You could probably get away with doing 6 days a week but at least take Sunday off to help recover the muscles and joints. I prefer to take one day off during the week like Wednesday and another on one weekend day. You can get your resistance training in 4 days a week and your cardio in 5 – 6 days a week for best results. Alternate upper and lower body exercise days and try to do your cardiovascular routine after your weight training.

Diana Lewis Jacobs I have a sore lower back. What would you suggest? I am looking for a small gym close by and I live right behind your gym.

Chad TheTrainerDiana-  I would need to know what your sore lower back is from.  Is it muscle soreness or does it have to do with your lower back and spine.  Either way one of the best ways to help alleviate lower back pain is to strengthen your core.  Work the abdominal muscles and make sure you are incorporating crunches, leg lifts, and exercise balls.  Also, make sure you are doing adequate stretches to loosen up the muscles in your lower back.  I would go get checked by a doctor or go see a chiropractor before starting anything to make sure there isn’t something else going on.

Sue Jones McCullough Exercises specifically designed for lower belly fat ?

Chad TheTrainer The best exercise for your mid-section is a combination of cardiovascular exercise to burn stored body fat, weight training (crunches, leg lifts, ab machines) to add muscle and increase your metabolism, and nutrition. That being said, nutrition is about 70% - 80% of the battle. Until you eliminate the fat layer over your abdominal area you will never be able to see the muscle. I would focus on working out your full body 3 times per week and get 5 days of cardiovascular exercise in for 30 minutes. Try cutting your calories back a little bit too and you will start seeing results!

Tom Granville I tore the Achilles' tendon in my right leg in 2010 and noticed I've lost some mobility and strength in it. Are there any exercises I can do to regain it?

Chad theTrainer Tom-  Try doing a few of these things but also go see a doctor and make sure there are no more underlying issues.  You should be doing active ankle strengthening with resistance bands.  You can sit down on a bench with one let in front of you with the band wrapped around the top of your foot.  This will allow you to start working your gastrocnemius and soleus with plantar flexion.  You should also be doing active ankle range of motion exercises.  This would involve rotating your foot around in circles and from front to back.  I would work on these basic things first and make sure you have full range of motion and basic strength built before moving on to a seated or standing calf raise.

James Vacca I was wondering if there are any exercises to help reduce the "fat pad" that some guys have right above their groin? I'd really like mine to go away.

Chad TheTrainer Since you can’t really spot-reduce, the best exercise is a combination of cardiovascular exercise to burn stored body fat, weight training to add muscle and increase your metabolism, and nutrition. That being said, nutrition is about 70% - 80% of the battle. Until you eliminate the fat layer over this area you will never be able to see the muscle. I would focus on working out your full body 3 times per week and get 5 days of cardiovascular exercise in for 30 minutes. Try cutting your calories back a little bit too and you will start seeing results!

Jeremy S. Lee I am training for a marathon in April. I run 4 days a week, with time for 30 minutes of strength training on one run day. I do about 20 minutes on the elliptical and 40 minutes of strength training on 2 other days and rest one day ( after my long run). How much lower body and what types of exercises should I do?

Chad TheTrainerJeremy, since you are doing so much running I can only see one day a week you should be doing legs. You will need more time to recover than most people due to the intensity of cardio.  I would start with a core exercise such as leg press or squat.  I would follow this with leg extensions and leg curls.  You can probably skip calves because you are working them so much on running days.  I would do one light warm-up on each exercise followed by 2 sets of 15 repetitions.  You should be having a very difficult time with the 12th – 15th repetitions.  I would also try to keep your leg day as far away as possible from your hard running day.  Best of luck!

Jason E Maitner My left quad is bigger than my right (8years of driving semi-trucks doesn't help.) Should I focus a little more on the right leg or just keep working both together? And will they even out? Thanks

Chad TheTrainer Jason-  I had a similar situation coming off a knee surgery in college.  I lost about half my size on the left knee.  When I returned I would do leg presses and I would do my normal 2 or 3 sets with both legs.  I would then do 2 additional sets with my smaller leg.  I would only do my leg extensions with my weaker leg.  Over time they will even out.  Just make sure that you work on both sides.  You don’t want to get weaker in your strong leg.

Kathleen Marie Gilette I would love to know the most effective toning exercise for my lower body:) I've been over blessed with The Italian cooking lower body fluff:) thank you!!!

Chad TheTrainer Kathleen-  Toning you lower body is a combination of diet, weight training and cardiovascular exercise.  For exercises I would start with your core exercises like the squat and leg press.  I would finish with leg extensions, leg curls, and lunges.  You might also want to top it off with calf raises.   This will focus on every muscle in the lower body and help you build muscle mass which you need to look toned.  Cardiovascular exercise when done properly will burn the stored fat on top of the muscle and give you that “toned” look you want.  Make sure you are doing 20 – 30 minutes a day of cardio to be effective.  The biggest issue where most people fail is diet.  If you don’t start eating properly you are working against yourself as you will continue to gain weight if your calories in are larger than your calories out.  Watch your diet, do cardio at least 4 days per week, and make sure to train your lower body at least twice per week.  If you can be consistent with this you will start seeing results very soon.

Dawn Lynema I have had a knee replacement and am limited with regard to squats, knee bends, etc. What can I do to replace those for core?

Chad TheTrainer Dawn-  Try doing as many exercises as possible on a Versa ball.  Here are some ideas:  You can lay back on it and do crunches.  You can sit on it and or lean back on it when doing dumbbell presses for shoulders and chest.  Any exercises you do while on the Versa ball are going to make you use your core muscles to complete the exercise.  You can also try standing on one leg when you do exercises.  Do alternating biceps curls or shoulder presses.  Make sure to switch feet from time to time to ensure balance.   If you have access to TRX bands you can do tons of things for core with your feet stationary.  One other idea is to log into and use the yoga builder.  You can build a custom yoga program that is for core training.  Hope these ideas help.


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