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Ask the Trainer: Cardio and Weights Routine

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I do about 30 minutes weight training, and 25 mintues running. If I do both workouts a day is it too much? I want to lose weight - like 30 pounds. I do this 6 days a week.


Answer: This is perfect for what you are trying to accomplish. The only advice I can give is that you might want to look at doing them at the same time. If you begin running immediately after your weight training your heart rate will already be elevated and you will burn more calories in less time. If you are working out all you can and you are still stuck in a rut you will need to look at your nutrition.  If you continue what you are doing right now and just lower your caloric intake a bit you will also see more weight loss. Best of luck!

Ask the Trainer: Chad The Trainer's 11/20/12 Live-Chat: Building Muscle

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

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


Glenn "What's the best thing besides steroids to build a lot of muscle? I already eat lots of protein 6 times a day."


Chad TheTrainer Glenn- Continue eating a lot of protein. You should be eating 1.5 grams per pound of body weight to gain. I would also recommend trying Creatine Monohydrate. It will increase the amount of repetitions you can do and allow you to push the envelope a bit. This should shock your system into new growth. Also you may want to drink a 30 gram protein shake immediately after your workout for best recovery. Good luck!


Lou Mahon How many times a day do you normally work out and what would you recommend my schedule to be if I wanted to build muscle?


Chad TheTrainer Lou- I think for optimal growth you should work out only once a day. Your body needs time to recover from workouts. A lot of people end up over-training and their muscles can never grow and never repair. I would try upper body on Monday Thursday and lower body on Tuesday & Friday. Rest and recover on Wednesday and the weekends.


Kimberly Kay Sherbert Marckel As a female, how do you gain muscle but lose unwanted fat?


Chad TheTrainer Kimberly- This is the trickiest thing to do because you have to balance your caloric intake with your output. Log into your site, click on my nutrition, and register on the Truestar site. You can get a free nutrition plan based on your goals. Enter all of your information including goals and it will tell you how many calories to eat each day to get there. If you then want to gain muscle you will need to burn about the same amount to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time. I would also make sure you are lifting weights at least three times per week. Best of luck!


Shannon Powell What is the best exercise to build muscle around the knee? My daughter has had to sprains in the past year and we would like to prevent this from happening again with stronger muscles


Chad TheTrainer Shannon- First I would recommend seeing the doctor and making sure she has no restrictions on range of motion. Your quadriceps are the muscles that help support the knee. You need to strengthen those muscles with exercises such as leg press and leg extensions (light) with restricted range of motion. I would also recommend leg curls to build the hamstrings up to keep balance and avoid sprains. You can message me offline for specifics if you want. Thanks


Cheryl McDowell Hello Chad, what's the best equipment to use for your abs and how many reps do I need to do? I'm 22o ilb I escalated because I was doing chemo and radiation I'm trying to drop back to 17o but at the same time flatten my stomach


Chad TheTrainer Cheryl- There are various machines out there as far as ab machines that can work that area. I prefer to use the fitness balls and do crunches on them. You would sit back on the fitness ball with your legs at 90 degrees in the sit-up motion. With your hands together I would point them to the ceiling. Crunch up as high as you can and complete repetitions until failure (meaning you can't do any more). Some advice on the midsection would be that to burn stored fat in that area you will need to be doing cardiovascular exercise at least 3 times per week. Working your abs without other exercise will just build the muscle under the fat. Eat less calories and exercise 3 - 5 days per week and you will be well on your way.


Vikki Miller I used to be into body building. I eat pretty well and work out at least 5 days a week. I am 20 years older than the good ole days, okay, I'm 43 now. Can't seem to kick the tummy and shape the legs as well as back then. What can I do to BURN the FAT better?


Chad TheTrainer Vikki- I am in the same boat you are in. Let me tell you what I had to do. I used to work out on weights five days a week and finish with 20 minutes of cardio. I now workout 6 days a week and I had to increase my cardio to 30 minutes to get similar results. Another thing I have done is cut out heavy carbs such as pasta, white bread and white rice. Try to keep your carbs in check and move to vegetables and leaner protein such as chicken breast. At the end of the day we have to burn more calories than we take in to see the same results. Best of luck!


Jericka Christensen Is it better to just do cardio to lose weight and reach your goal and do strength after to tone up? Or do cardio and strength together?


Chad TheTrainerJericka- I prefer to start with a 5 minute warm-up. This gets the blood flowing to prevent injury. Use your weight training first to burn off all of the glycogen and get your heart rate elevated. When you do cardio after weight training you already have an elevated heart rate so you begin burning calories much faster and you become more efficient. Simply put, cardio after weights.


Angel McDonald After significant weight loss (45#) and arriving at goal, how should I approach muscle building to develop and tone? I got into strength training towards the end of my weight loss, so my body has some "sunken in" areas.


Chad TheTrainer Angel- Since you are just beginning in your weight training I would recommend starting with circuit training. This entails working out 3 days a week and working every body part that day. I would work through the full circuit at your Snap Fitness. Try 2 sets of 15 per machine with 30 seconds of rest in between. After you circuit you will have hit every muscle in your body and you will burn a lot of calories doing this. Immediately after your circuit I would jump on a cross trainer or treadmill and finish with 20 - 30 minutes of cardio. Make sure you are taking a day off in-between with weights but you can come in and do 30 - 45 minutes of cardio in-between. Hope this helps.


Ryan Hill I've lost 30 lbs and still having trouble with a little belly fat and my posture. I guess I need to do more ab exercises and work my lower back?


Chad TheTrainer Ryan- You are on the right path with posture and working your core. That's all of the muscles around your mid-section. Strong abs play the biggest piece in having a strong lower back. As far as your belly goes, I would check your caloric intake and add an additional 10 minutes of cardio to your normal routine.


Roger Inboden Hey Chad, I was wondering if you could recommend any full-body exercises (besides the commonly known variety) that will improve my overall functional fitness.


Chad TheTrainer Roger- Without going into detail, because it would be a whole book, I would look into two things. Check out full-body functional workouts with TRX bands and/or Kettlebells. There are tons of workouts you can do to work all body parts, keep your heart rate elevated, and focus on your core. If you don't have access to these items just message me and we can look at some other ideas.


Julie Hughes North I have lost 70 pounds and my arms are really saggy and ugly. What can I do to get rid of the flab? (I am handicapped.)


Chad TheTrainerJulie - To start with you can begin working on your triceps and biceps. If you focus on these two areas you will begin expanding the muscle so the skin becomes tighter in that area. This will begin filling in the gap where the fat was that you have lost. I would also recommend talking with your doctor about other options for your concern. Best of luck and congratulations on losing 70 pounds! That is good work:)


Seth Smith Chad, I'm 18, weigh 270 pounds and I'm six foot four inches tall. I once weighed 335 and I've lost weight down to this and I'm wondering why I'm not losing anything else? I get 30 minutes of cardio before every workout and it seems all I'm doing is bulking up more. I want to bulk up AND lose weight at the same time.


Chad TheTrainer Seth- It's really hard to bulk up and lose weight at the same time. I would like to know your overall goal? You can add lean muscle and lose weight at the same time but to bulk up you would need to eat more calories than you burn in a 24 hour period. Log into your account, click “my nutrition” and register. Once you are in the site you can enter all of the food you eat on a normal day and figure out how many calories you are consuming. You can plug in your goals in the system and it will build you a custom meal plan based on your goal. If you are trying to lose weight you are going to have to take in less calories than you are burning. To ensure you’re maintaining your muscle make sure to get 1 gram of protein for every pound of body weight.


Frank R Twain I work out with a treadmill and bike and I diet. How do I burn fat?


Chad TheTrainer Frank- If you are only doing cardio and eating better you are missing a big part of the equation. When you lift weights and you get sore, your metabolism increases and you burn fat for 24 to 72 hours. With cardio alone you only elevate your calorie burning for about an additional hour. If you just add 3 - 4 days of weight training to your routing you should see results pretty fast. You may also want to try upping your cardiovascular time an additional 10 minutes per day. Hope this helps.


Keith Rudolph How many days a week should an average person work out to build strength?


Chad TheTrainer Keith- To build strength you have to work on increasing the amount of weight you lift over time. You also want to keep your repetition range in the 6 - 10 range. The most important piece to this is the recovery time. If you work chest on Monday and it is still sore on Wednesday it is not ready to be worked again. Try doing a split with Chest and Biceps on Monday, Back and Triceps on Tuesday, Wednesday off, Shoulders on Thursday, and Legs on Friday. You may have to adjust the days based on soreness and recovery. You may also want to make sure you ingest 30 grams of whey protein within 20 minutes of your workout for quicker recovery.


Freddie Wallace I have lost 20lbs and 20 more is my goal. I am trying to tone up but I have a problem with burning fat from my obliques and lower abs. What do you suggested as a good workout for my problem areas?


Chad TheTrainer Freddie- This is the problem area for most guys and this is usually the last place that the fat comes off. You can't really spot-reduce that area, you can only strengthen the muscle beneath the fat. You are going to need to increase your caloric deficit. Try cutting your calories back by 300 per day and increasing your calories burnt by 200 per day. Try adding an additional set to your weight training routing per exercise or bumping up your cardio a bit.


Margaret Towers What is the best way to to up triceps?


Chad TheTrainerMargaret- There are many different exercises for the triceps area. I would warm-up on the triceps selectorized machine at your Snap. I would then move to a cable triceps push down. One thing that is important is that you are getting a full range of motion. Your starting motion is a 90 degree angle bend at the elbow. Make sure you then extend it all the way down so you can feel your triceps flex at the end. You can then move to more advanced move like dumbbell extensions over your head and TRX band triceps extensions. I would also make sure you are working your triceps twice a week. Message me if you would like some photos of the exercises.


Ashley Foreman If trying to lose weight should I work on just cardio until I lose the amount of weight I want, then do strength training or do both every time I work out?  


Chad TheTrainer Ashley, I would recommend working both every time.  It’s all about burning more calories than you take in over a 24 hour period.  If you are only doing cardio you may only burn 200 – 400 calories.  If you add in a great weight training workout you will burn an additional 200 – 300 calories.  Therefore you would have burned up to 700 calories in your workout.  3500 calories equals one pound of body weight.  The more calories burned, the faster you will see results.

Jose Alas Jr When building lean muscle , is it better to do cardio before or after weight training Chad?


Chad TheTrainer Thanks  Jose- I like to do cardiovascular exercise after my weight training workout.  Use your energy on the weights so you have more strength to add additional lean muscle.  Once your body is depleted of glycogen you can jump on cardio to burn more stored fat efficiently.


Tana Helsham Hi mate, is doing low reps of heavy weights with long rest periods the best way to get the bulk muscle gains? And what does that kind of training do for strength? Should I mix it with training that contains more reps but less weight? I'm looking to bulk but increase strength too.  


Chad TheTrainer Tana-  If you are trying to bulk you want to continue with higher weight and less reps.  Your rest time between sets needs to be about 90 seconds to get most of your recovery back.  You want to have the most energy available so you can continue to lift heavier weight over time and grow.  The main thing is that you get enough rest between workouts so you can fully recover.  I would throw in a lighter week once out of every four weeks for added recovery.


Davin Turner How do I get rid of love handles and lower belly fat and lose 15lbs by Christmas?


Chad TheTrainer Davin-  You can’t spot reduce your mid-section.  Fat loss generally works from the outside-in so you will see inches lost in your extremities before your mid-section.  In terms of losing weight before Christmas you should be shooting for a goal of about 8 – 10 pounds.  You can only really lose 2 pounds of body fat per week.  You are going to have to ingest 1000 calories less per day than you burn. Try dropping your calories by about 300 per day and increase your cardio by 10 – 15 minutes per day.  You can also log into your site under "my nutrition" and get a custom nutrition and workout plan done for you.  Just enter in all of your statistics and your goal and it will give you a workout plan and a custom menu plan.  Best of luck!


Sean Greaves For biceps is it better to do light weights with a lot of reps or heavy weights and fewer reps??  


Chad TheTrainer Sean-  The best thing to do is shock your body.  This means mix it up a bit.  Go heavy for a week followed by light weight high repetitions for a week.  I would also recommend doing heavy weight with the straight bar for 8 – 10 repetitions followed by sets of 15 with the dumbbells.  Make sure you are standing with the dumbbells hanging by your side with palms facing you.  Keep your elbow stationary and bring them all the way up to your shoulder.  This combination will allow you to emphasize the upper portion and lower portion of your biceps as well as your forearm.


Christopher Mason If I'm not sore the next day am I doing something wrong? I'm increasing weight and keeping reps the same. And how do I lose chest fat – got to get away from the moob look?  


Chad TheTrainer Christopher-  If you are trying to build strength and size on any part of your body I believe it is important to feel soreness the next day.  You are breaking down your muscle and your metabolism is increasing as you are recovering from the workout.   Try keeping your weight the same or lowering it and increase the repetition.  You can try either increasing the repetition range or you can add one additional set per exercise.   To work on your chest I would make sure you are working it from all angles.  Make sure you are incorporating a flat chest press, incline chest press, and some type of pectoral fly. You need to hit it from all angles if you are trying to add mass at every point.   One thing to remember is that diet and cardio have more to do with your chest definition than the weight training does.  Make sure you are doing cardiovascular exercise about three days a week for at least 30 minutes at a high intensity.  You will also have to look hard at your caloric input so you are not adding additional fat which may be adding to your chest size.  Really, the best advice I can give is balancing your weight training, cardiovascular exercise, and nutrition.  Best of luck!


Donna Reed What is the best exercise for belly fat?


Chad TheTrainer Donna- The unfortunate thing about belly fat is that you cannot spot-reduce any one particular part of your body.  Fat tends to come off first on your extremities and last on your mid-section.  You are going to have to take in less calories that you burn each day to lose weight and will need to focus on training in your fat burning zone to burn stored body fat.  Try keeping your heart rate in the 70% to 80% range of your max heart rate three to four times per week.  Also make sure you are doing weight resistance exercise at least three days a week to increase your long term metabolism.  Log into your site and click on “my nutrition.”  From here you can register for a customized nutrition plan and custom vitamin plan that can help you get to your goal in the least amount of time.  It takes balance to get there; don’t try what everyone else does and do sit-ups alone.  Keep it balanced and see results faster!


Laina Dunn My upper abs are in great shape but I can't seem to get my lower ones firmed up. Any suggestions?  


Chad TheTrainer Laina-  Great work on your upper abdominals.  It’s great that you are seeing results on the upper extremity but what you might not know is that you can’t spot reduce.  You are working your lower abs but you just can’t feel the isolation.  Try hanging from the bar and doing knee tucks.  Simply pull your knees up with your legs bent to your chest and let them down slowly.  Do this two or three times until you feel the burn.  You will begin feeling and maybe seeing more definition in this part of your abdominal area but the only way to really see all of your abs is by getting your body fat percentage to a very low level.  Congratulations on the work so far.


Samantha R Bailey If trying to lose a lot of weight, say 40 to 50 lbs, is it best to cut carbs?


Chad TheTrainer Samantha-  It’s not really about cutting carbohydrates, it is more about cutting overall total calories.  If you can burn 1000 calories more than you take in over a given 24 hour period you will be able to lose about 2 lbs. of body fat per week.  If you do cut your carbohydrates a large amount you may drop more pounds early due to water loss. Carbohydrates hold a lot of water so when you cut them out you lose that weight. What will happen in the long run is that when you go back to eating carbohydrates you will gain the body water back again. Try writing down what you eat over a three day period.  You can use a calorie counter to see exactly what you are taking in per day.  Once you know that you can make a small cut in your calories such as 300 per day.  On top of this you can add additional minutes to your cardio routine and add extra sets and reps to your weight training routine.  Try adding an additional 10 minutes to your cardio routine and try adding one extra set to each of your exercises during your workout.  Eating less and working out more is a simple equation.  Make sure to not focus on the latest fads but focus on the basics for long term success.  Best of luck!  


Ashley Lucas What’s the best kind of diet for a girl who is building muscle?


Chad TheTrainerAshley-  This is tricky when you are trying to build lean body mass and keep your body fat percentage low.  I really have to recommend the nutrition program we have available in your account.  Log in and click on “my nutrition.”  Register and begin your Truestar custom menu and vitamin program.  Make sure to be honest when answering the questions and type in very specific goals.  It will tell you exactly how many calories to take in, your perfect protein, carbohydrate, and fat percentages, and will create shopping lists for you.  After this it will look at your health conditions and create a custom vitamin program based on your goals.  People don’t like to hear this but losing weight is easy – work out more and eat less!  What’s hard is lowering body fat and gaining lean muscle.  Stick with this and you will see success.  


Christina Stavrou Bachman My belly fat I attribute to age and stress. I am 54 and the belly fat is sudden. Please recommend exercise for the older group.  

Chad TheTrainer Christina-  As we get older unfortunately we genetically lose muscle mass and our metabolism slows down.  Because of this when we continue to eat like we did even 10 years earlier many of us begin putting on additional pounds. Because of wear and tear on our bodies we are not able to continue to work out at a harder pace each year so we are left with modifying our diets.  It is much easier to eat 300 calories less per day to see results than it is to work out on a piece of cardio for an additional 30 minutes per day.  Make sure you are still exercising at least 3 days per week and start making minor cuts in your daily eating habits to see results.   Also make sure to do a thorough warm-up and stretching to avoid injury and set-backs.


Glenn Salas Jr. When is the best time to eat carbs when trying to build muscle?


Chad TheTrainerGlenn-  The best time to eat carbohydrates is with each meal.  You want to make sure to get the proper percentages of protein, carbohydrates, and fat with each meal.  The most important time to get carbohydrates in with your workouts is about 30 minutes prior to lifting.  You need to build up your glycogen levels so you have the proper amount of blood sugar and energy during your workout.  More important is getting in 1 to 1.5 grams of protein for each pound of body weight after your workout.  I recommend a protein shake within 30 minutes of each workout.  Check out your site under “my nutrition.”  You can register and get a free custom menu program that will tell you the exact calories needed and exactly how many carbohydrates you need per day and per meal.  Use this technology and get the best program for possible based on your goal.  Best of luck in your future fitness goals!


Dana Sartin I have type 2 diabetes. I need to lose all over but my mid section is the worst. What can I do in the gym to get results in this area.


Chad TheTrainer Hi Dana – I get this question most often. Unfortunately you cannot spot-reduce, and because we tend to lose from our extremities first, the midsection tends to be the hardest for most people. Doing traditional ab exercises, along with lots of cardio and lessening your caloric intake will all help slim you down. With your special dietary needs, as I keep mentioning – log into your site, free for all Snap Fitness members, and click on “my nutrition.” Fill out your profile on Truestar, mentioning your health condition, and it will customize a meal plan to fit your specific goals and needs. Best of luck with your fitness journey!


Be sure to join us for our December live-chat on Facebook on Monday, December 10th at 12:00 PM CST! The theme will be "Workout Equipment."

Ask the Trainer: Working Out Too Much?

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: How do I know if I'm working out too much? I do strength and conditioning M/W/F and cardio boot camps Tu/Th.


Answer: I think this is a great workout routine as you are switching up weights with cardio on opposite days. Assuming you are taking the weekends off, you are right on track. If you are not taking the weekends off, try taking Wednesday off and working out on Saturday. You would essentially be mixing your days up a bit and getting a break in the middle of the week. You will know you are working out too hard when you are no longer seeing results.

Ask the Trainer: Chad The Trainer's 10/18/12 Live-Chat: Weight Training (Part 2)

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Thanks again for your participation in our October live-chat on our Facebook Page! Here is Part 2 of this month's "weight training" live-chat. These chats are conducted monthly on the Snap Fitness Facebook Page at!


Chris Nauman I’m 6’2” with long arms. Should I be going to my chest or stopping when my arms are at a 90 degree angle when benching?

Chad TheTrainer Chris-  I would be stopping at the 90 degree angle when doing any chest press. Once you break 90 degrees the pressure moves from your pectorals to your rotator cuffs. This is one main reason for rotator cuff injuries in the gym. I would also make sure you keep your motion slow on the way down and on the way up. The great thing about stopping at 90 degrees is that is keeps you from bouncing the weight off your chest.  

Michael Morgan I use weight training for strength and weight gain. No, I’m not into body building. What would you recommend to strengthen the lower back and core? There isn’t a back machine at the Snap Fitness I work out at.

Chad TheTrainer Michael-  For your lower back I would focus more on your core and strengthening your abdominal area. Usually when you strengthen this area it alleviates all of the pain you may be having in your lower back. For strengthening your back you could do two different things: I would do pull-ups if you can, and for your mid-back/rhomboids I would do bend-over dumbbell rows. Put your left knee and left hand on the bench. Right foot is planted at 45 degrees. You begin with dumbbell on ground with right hand and pull it back by driving your right elbow to the ceiling. Bring the dumbbell up so that it is even with your body and then let it slowly down to the floor. Complete 10 – 15 repetitions and then work the other side of your body. Best of luck on your workouts!

Jennifer Martin I started running about 2 years ago – my question is: How do you build up your endurance to go faster and further? I seem to be stuck. I run 60-80 miles/month and usually 3-4 miles per run. I’m almost 40. Is it possible that some people’s bodies won’t go faster or a longer distance?

Chad TheTrainer Jennifer-  Everyone’s genetics are different but I truly believe that with the proper training you can break these barriers. I’m sure you could start working on interval training with short sprints followed by slow long distance running. My recommendation would be to find a personal trainer who has an extensive running background. There are also running clubs you can find on the internet where you can begin training with some more advanced runners who will push you.  Keep plugging away and you will break these barriers.

Elina J.Perkins What’s the best way to lose belly fat? When I go to the gym, I work on my arms and then go to the treadmill or the elliptical…is this a good routine?

Chad TheTrainer Elina-  Losing belly fat is no different than losing fat on any other part of your body.  The tough thing is that you tend to lose it from the outside-in. You will lose fat on your arms and legs before you will see much improvement in the mid-section. I can say that you will need to eat better so as to not gain any more body fat, lift weights to gain muscle and increase your metabolism, and do cardiovascular exercise to burn the stored body fat. In terms of your workout I think you are on the right track. You should be warming up on the treadmill for 5 minutes, working out on the weights, and finishing with cardiovascular exercise. I would just make sure you add a chest and back day and a lower body day. You have lots of muscle on your body you can be working on to increase your strength and metabolism.  The more muscle the faster your metabolism.

Kelly Demayo I work out with a trainer 3 times a week and I run on the elliptical 6 days. I take in 1,500 calories or less. I’ve been doing this for 4 weeks and haven’t lost any weight. Why?


Chad TheTrainer Kelly- There could be two things that are happening.  You are either burning the same amount of calories as you are taking in or you have gained a lot of muscle which weighs more than fat. I would bet that if you had your body fat tested and your waist and arms measured, you'll see that you are losing body fat % and inches. Don’t go by the scale. If that is not the case then make sure you are writing down everything you eat so you can be 100% sure of your caloric input. Best of luck!

Susan Moore I work out on the elliptical at Snap 3 times per week. I set the resistance to 0 otherwise I get knee pain. Am I building muscle in my legs with the resistance so low? Seems to be a good workout for me as I get my heart rate and sweating is way up.
Chad TheTrainer Susan-  I’m sure you are building up muscle but at a fairly slow pace. It appears that you are burning good calories with your elevated heart rate. I would continue with what you are doing and only increase the resistance once you have built up enough strength to do so without pain. I also would recommend working on your lower body a couple times a week. Start with light leg presses and leg extensions to build strength in your quadriceps. Once you build up everything around your knee you should start  having less pain. Best of luck!

Sarah Ryan I work on my abs about twice a week but still am not seeing the results I want to see. I go to yoga about once a week and core training at the gym. I also cut out grains and starches from my diet. What am I doing wrong?

Chad TheTrainer Sarah-  As I mentioned to Elina above, The tough thing about belly fat is that you tend to lose it from the outside-in. You will lose fat on your arms and legs before you will see much improvement in the mid-section. Eating better will help you to not gain any more body fat, and lifting weights will help gain muscle and increase your metabolism. Doing cardiovascular exercise will burn the stored body fat. Your workout is on the right track, but adding more cardio and full-body weight exercising should help as well. You have lots of muscle on your body you can be working on to increase your strength and metabolism.  The more muscle the faster your metabolism.

Anju Merlin Mathew I have an elliptical at home. How much time should I spend on it daily to lose weight?

Chad TheTrainer Anju-  It really depends on how many calories you are consuming.  If you are eating 2000 calories a day and burning 2000 calories a day through activity you wouldn’t lose or gain any weight.  If you have been at the same weight for a long time then you should start losing weight with cardio alone. I would do at least 30 minutes per day on your elliptical.  You will probably burn between 300 and 400 calories. If you do this 5 days a week at 300 calories you will  burn 3000 calories over a two-week period. Since 3500 calories = 1 pound, you would lose about 1 pound every two weeks. If you want to speed up the process you will want to add in some weight training and take a hard look at your diet.  If you cut back your calories, have a good weight training program and do your cardio correctly, you can lose up to 2 pounds in a week. Best of luck!

Arbaz Rasheed Khan If we do exercise and we are sweating, what are we losing?

Chad TheTrainer Arbaz-  You are just losing body water. Losing or gaining weight has more to do with how many total calories you burn a day versus how many you consume.  Any weight you see come off fast, like in one day, is just your body getting rid of excess water.

Tammy Reeder What can you have to eat before/after a workout?

Chad TheTrainer Tammy-  I like to eat something light about 30 minutes prior to my workout. You could do a small protein shake or eat a piece of fruit. It is important to have something in your system so you have the energy to lift weight. I prefer about 2 cups of juice before I go to the gym. This gets my blood sugar up but doesn’t make me too full where I get sick during my workout. After I work out I like to get a protein shake in (30 grams). You would want to drink this protein shake within 30 minutes to have the greatest benefit on muscle recovery. The post workout drink is probably the most important for recovery.

Tess Boudreaux-Realtor Best Cardio – Elliptical or treadmill?

Chad TheTrainer Tess-  The best cardio is the one that you will do the most. Make it fun. It’s all about burning calories over a 24 hour period. If you get bored of one you may alternate from one to the other each day.  I would steer away from the treadmill if you have any back or hip injuries. I prefer the Octane elliptical machines.  

Brandon Eldridge Is protein most important before or after a workout? Or both?

Chad TheTrainer Brandon-  You would do both but it is most important after your workout as your body is trying to repair torn muscle tissue. Your body converts the protein into amino acids which go to repair whatever sore muscles you have. Make sure you are getting in at least 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of your workout.

Heather May Do you have any remedies for super sore muscles after lifting? I worked with a trainer 4 days ago (upper body/biceps) and I’m having a hard time fully extending my arms. That, and I’m wondering about supplementation: what’s good, when to take them, what’s a waste of time/money?

Chad TheTrainer Heather-  The soreness will get better over time as your body is just adjusting. The good news is that when you are sore your metabolism is increased as your body is trying to repair itself.  Lots of protein is important within 30 minutes of your workout for muscle recovery. I use the Truestar line of products. TrueSTRENGTH is an organic whey protein. You can log into your site, click on my nutrition, and register for a free meal and vitamin program. It will recommend foods for you and supplements based on your custom needs. You will create a profile and the system will recommend things based on your goals, health history, and likes. Best of luck and keep at it!

Be sure to join us for our November live-chat on Facebook on Tuesday, November 20th at 12:00 PM CST! The theme will be "Building Muscle."

Ask the Trainer: Chad The Trainer's 10/18/12 Live-Chat: Weight Training (Part 1)

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Thanks for your participation in this live-chat on our Facebook Page this month everyone! Because there were so many questions, we're going to post in 2 parts. This month's chat theme was "weight training." These chats are conducted monthly on the Snap Fitness Facebook Page at!


MissMerricka Seabrooks What’s the best way to get in cardio on a busy schedule?? Best exercises?

Chad TheTrainer MissMerricka- I personally find it best to get up first thing in the morning on an empty stomach and get it out of the way. You will make too many excuses later in the day. If you’re not a morning person try sneaking it in over the lunch hour. 30 minutes of cardio. Best exercises on a busy schedule would be circuit training. Try doing M/W/F full body workouts. Try doing one set of 15 repetitions per body part and finish with 30 minutes of cardio. Make sure you are resting on T/TH though.

Shaye Marie Lusk How can I lose weight with two kids, a job and a house to keep up with – how can I fit in exercise?

Chad TheTrainer Shaye- That's a tough one but I have many friends who do it every day with similar schedules. With the club being open 24 hours you need to find 1 hour or 4% of your time to commit three days a week. If you are still having problems take a look at your nutrition. Log into my nutrition- register and get a custom nutrition program for free.

Chelle Renee Should I do cardio only to drop weight first, then work in weight training or is it fine to begin them both at the same time?

Chad TheTrainer Chelle- Adding muscle while you are doing cardio is the best way to go. You may not see the scale go as fast but the more muscle you add the higher your metabolism will be in the long run. It's more about losing inches than it is weight.

Amanda Meyer-Ostler What is the best way to start after having kids and not being very active?

Chad TheTrainer Amanda- I would try to commit yourself to three days a week for one hour. Get in the gym and do a 5 minute warm-up, do a full body circuit on the selectorized machines, and finish with some light cardio. Log into> my workouts> register for a free workout routine online. Keep it simple to start and work your way up. Best of luck!

Carli Ann What is the most effective exercise to tone arms and legs?

Chad TheTrainer Carli- Stick to the basic bicep curls and tricep extensions for the arms. For legs I prefer squats, lunges, leg extensions and leg curls. Keep in mind that proper nutrition is key and you have to do cardiovascular exercise to burn the stored fat off as well. Good luck!

Melissa Fitzwilliams What are best exercises for women on the machines, best results. looking to firm up everywhere.

Chad TheTrainer Melissa- If you are looking to firm up everywhere you will need to work your entire body. Make sure you are getting every body part done. You could use the whole Matrix or Cybex circuit to hit your whole body. Try upper body on Monday and Thursday and Lower body on Tuesday and Friday. Remember that toning has a lot to do with nutrition and cardiovascular exercise as well.

Kathy Robinson More weight, less reps or less weight and more reps? Sore shoulders and joints. What do you recommend?

Chad TheTrainer Kathy- if you have sore joints you need to lighten the load. I would go with a lighter weight and stay in the 15 to 20 rep range for toning. Make sure you are doing a 5 minute warm-up before you start and I would recommend taking some fish oil to help with your joints.

Melissa Fitzwilliams What’s the best cardio to do and to what intensity? I personally like the elliptical machines you have at Snap. I usually do that at a 5 incline and 20 resistance.

Chad TheTrainer Melissa- It’s more about your heart rate than intensity. I would try to keep your heart rate at a consistently elevated level. Take 220 - your age (70%) for fat burning. Try staying in this zone for 20 - 30 minutes.

Carin Chuvala Any ideas for some strength training with the IT band? My knee doesn't hurt too bad when running but afterward, whoa pretty sore. I've been doing stretches and icing.

Chad TheTrainer Carin- I'm not sure if your Snap has this but they make a "foam roller" that you lay on with your body weight. It will allow you to deep tissue massage your IT band. If your club doesn't have one, check them out online. I have used these a lot for IT issues.

Melissa Breen I'm looking to lose weight, about 20 pounds. I've changed my diet and I'm down 6 pounds; now I need to work the gym back into my life. What is the best schedule for losing weight/inches? Cardio vs weights etc. I have no problem with heading into Snap 5-6 days a week! Ideally I'd like it to happen in 8 weeks, but I know that's pushing it.

Chad TheTrainer Melissa- I like your determination. Just make sure you take at least one day off for repair :) I would try doing a 5 minute warm-up followed by an alternating upper/lower body split. This will allow for your body to rest in-between days. 5 minute warm-up, 30 minutes of weight training first and then finish with 30 minutes of cardio. Best of luck!

Emily Hansen What's the best way to lose tummy fat? That's my weakness!

Chad TheTrainer Emily- Losing tummy fat comes down to good ole nutrition and exercise. It is possible to lose weight but not tummy fat because you are losing muscle. A great way to burn stored fat is by increasing your cardiovascular routine. Try increasing your cardio by 10 - 15 minutes. Go from 20 - 30 minutes per day. Also remember that weight training will increase your metabolism and help you burn fat much faster. Hope this helps.

Katie Case Mihalak Any tips on training for a half marathon - what should I be doing on my off days?

Chad TheTrainer Katie-  I would be resting for the most part.  You need to let your body repair itself for continued training.  I have some personal friends that do 3 hours of yoga a week and they say it really helps with flexibility and recovery.  Another bit of advice would be to look up another marathoner in the area you can train and learn with.  You will have more fun if you get more and more people involved.

Jake Lee Smith Can one night of drinking really destroy a whole month’s worth of weights?

Chad TheTrainer Jake- one night of drinking won’t ruin an entire month of training. It does have toxic effects on the liver so you are not able to process protein as efficiently. It also makes you crave too much food and probably too many calories. You are probably fine picking one cheat day a week for your alcoholic consumption and high calorie meals. Your body just can’t store it all at once. Cheers!

Nickolas Glowaczewski I’m not seeing the results I would like from trying to bulk. I have been training very hard in the gym and have had maybe 1 day off a week. I’m eating 4-5 meals a day but not gaining any size...any advice?

Chad TheTrainer Nickolas-  Couple of different things to consider.  One is that you may simply not be taking in enough calories.  I would need to know what you are eating in these 5 meals a day.  Are you eating three small meals and two shakes or just snacking all day?  Without knowing this I would recommend two protein shakes a day at 30 grams of protein.  This will help with recovery and extra calories.  My final thought is that you aren’t resting enough.  I would train Monday and Tuesday.  Take Wednesday off of weight training but do some light cardio.  Thursday, Friday, and Saturday heavy training.  Sunday is just rest and eat day.

Ron Mohan For trying to add mass, is higher reps at lower weight better? OR higher weight with less reps better in your opinion?

Chad TheTrainer Ron- I believe that strength and mass come more with training in the 8 - 12 repetition range. Lower reps with heavy weight will help increase strength but I like to train in the 12 rep range to ensure total muscle failure. The most important thing is getting in enough calories to add mass. Make sure you are getting in protein within 30 minutes of your workout. You need to make sure you are getting all the benefits of muscle recovery. Good luck!

Michelle Murphy Any recommendations on training for barefoot running for an event next summer? I just got my Vibram five fingers but haven't run yet

Chad TheTrainer Michelle-  My initial response to anyone who is trying a new weight training or running program is to start slow.  If you overdo it in the beginning you may get injured and frustrated. Start with the basics and work your way into a slow progression.  Follow these tips by
   •    Run no more than 10% of your typical running distance for the first 2–3 weeks
   •    After 2–3 weeks, gradually increase mileage by 10%–20% every couple of weeks
   •    If you ever start to feel pain during a run, stop! You can always try again in a couple of days
   •    Never run 2 days in a row for the first month
   •    Stretch before and after each run, focusing on calves and feet, because Vibram FiveFingers running will stimulate these muscles

Sarah Werdier I'm doing a “biggest loser” competition. What's the best/quickest way to lose the most weight?

Chad TheTrainer Sarah- The simple answer is: eat less and work out more, but be careful with the health risks. If you are losing more than 2 lbs a week after the initial week you are losing muscle and not fat. Week one you may lose up to 5 pounds of excess water from high sodium foods. I would make sure you are eating 3 - 5 small meals a day and eating 1000 less than you are burning. Log into your account and click my nutrition> register and you can get a custom nutrition program for free based on your goal.

Mila-Rae Sprintz Hi Chad! I am on two soccer teams. I play an average of 2 games a week. How many times a week should I hit the gym to build muscle and lose fat? Should I concentrate more on weight training since I am getting my cardio in at soccer? Also, my quads are hurting a lot. Any recommendations to strengthen them and what can I do to make them feel better when they are sore?

Chad TheTrainer Mila- Since you are doing soccer two times a week with high cardio I would just get in the gym 2 - 3 more days and add weight training and light cardio. I would do squats, lunges and leg extensions twice a week to strengthen your quadriceps. Make sure you are getting enough protein in your diet to fully recover from your workouts. Drink a protein shake immediately after your training.

Cindy Hill Springs I've been on Weight Watchers since March and have lost 82 lbs. I've been walking the entire time and added Zumba to my routine in July. This past September my company added a Snap Membership to their benefits package and now I'm able to add weights to my routine. For losing weight, should I be adding reps or weight to my workouts?

Chad TheTrainer Cindy- for toning I would try to keep your repetitions in the 15 - 20 range. Adding weight will make you stronger but your goal is to tone. Keep increasing your weight so that you stay in this rep range. You don't want to be doing 25 reps for example. Keep up the good work and congrats on your results so far!!!

Steven Heller What can I do to increase the number of wide grip pull-ups I can do? My max is 6, and can't seem to get any more.


Chad TheTrainer Steven- a few things you can do. 1. Your biceps have a lot to do with this so focus on increasing your strength there. 2. If they have an assisted machine you can add a counter balance that will push you in to higher reps like a spotter would. 3. Have someone hold your feet when you are hanging there. You can push off their hands for extra reps – this will help you push through the barrier.

Donna Reed What do you recomend for the belly? Need to lose it

Chad TheTrainer Hi Donna – I get this question a lot. Losing tummy fat comes down to good ole nutrition and exercise. It is possible to lose weight, but not tummy fat because you are losing muscle. A great way to burn stored fat is by increasing your cardiovascular routine. Try increasing your cardio by 10 - 15 minutes. Go from 20 - 30 minutes per day. Also remember that weight training will increase your metabolism and help you burn fat much faster.

Chera-Mae Rossignol Hey Chad I work at the snap fitness in Vernon, BC and I'm curious what type of exercises you'd recommend to help tone and gain definition in the legs, as well as a good way to get rid of body fat.

Chad TheTrainer Chera- The first thing with legs is that you have to prepare to push yourself a little bit harder. These are huge muscles and pushing the envelope can be a little bit more challenging. Try smith machine squats followed by leg extensions. I like to tax my quads with these two first and finish with lunges for definition. For hamstrings you can just do standard leg curls.

Charlene MacPherson What guidelines do you suggest for diet to help build muscle yet lose weight?

Chad TheTrainer Charlene- Log into the web site.  Once logged in click on my nutrition.  You will be able to go in and register for a free nutrition program from Truestar Health.  You will enter in all of your statistics and select a weight loss goal.  Put what your goal is and it will customize a menu plan for you to lose weight and maintain your muscle with exercise.  This is crucial because of the amount of specific calories you should be consuming.  One thing I recommend for sure is taking a protein shake immediately after your weight training workout so you can repair muscle.  This will allow you to grow muscle and still lose weight.  You will probably gain muscle and lose body fat in the process.  Best of luck

Angela Fortheloveof Gault Chad, I have a membership and need to know what weight training could help strengthen my lower back? I have sciatica every now and then and want it to stop! I know exercise will help. What can I do?

Chad TheTrainerAngela-  Most of strengthening your lower back has to do with your abdominal area.  If you strengthen your abs you will alleviate some of the pressure on your back and become more functional.  If you do decide to do light back exercises I would recommend getting with a Personal Trainer to customize the plan for you.  You have to be pretty careful with the way you work your back during weight lifting.  For cardio I would steer clear of the treadmill as it will put the most impact on your lower back.  Try doing a seated bike or elliptical to limit impact on the joints.

Snap Fitness-Buena Vista, VA Hey Chad! I would love to know some new exercises for biceps. Currently, I am doing curls. How often should you work your biceps?

Chad TheTrainer I like to stick to the basics for biceps.  I prefer one motion where my palms are facing forward with a straight bar.  This is called a straight bar bicep curl.  This exercise is responsible for most of the strength in your biceps and it targets the upper part (peak) of your biceps.  The second motion is holding dumbbells with my palms towards my body.  This motion hits the lower part of the bicep and the forearms.  See examples below:   I would do them twice a week with two days’ rest in between.


Jessica Harkness Chad – my daughter turns 12 in two weeks and will be allowed to go to Snap with me. I would never have her doing anything but cardio at this age so do you think 30 minutes of walking or biking would be a good for her age? I feel like more would be too much.

Chad TheTrainer Jessica- I think 30 minutes is fine. It's all about being more active and creating a lifestyle. You would be fine with basics like sit-ups and push-ups. Give it another year or so before adding in weight training :)

Armindie Hoffacker What would cause a 5 pound weight gain the days after a 5k?

Chad TheTrainer Armindie- Hydration. You were probably completely dehydrated from the event and your body is just putting its needed fluids back.

Frankie Garripoli Holliday When needing to lose a lot of weight would it be best to do cardio until you get to a lower weight and then focus on toning arms? Or just combine?

Chad TheTrainer Frankie- It is better to combine them. It’s all about calories in versus calories out. The more you exercise the more calories you will burn. The cleaner you eat the less calories you will take in. Best of luck!


Bruce Hollis Chad: I would like to start to build up my shoulders, arms, biceps, triceps – are the free weights the best way to go? Or can you recommend any of the weight machines u have? I have not lifted weights for several years I just run! And now I've met my weight goal! Thanks to Snap Fitness! I weigh 129lbs where is a good starting point on weight limits for lifting either free weights or the machines

Chad TheTrainer: Bruce-  Since you are just getting back into it I would recommend that you start with the machines.  I would do shoulders and biceps together one day and back and triceps the following day.  Do Monday, Tuesday, rest on Wednesday and complete again Thursday and Friday.  I would start light working maybe three sets of ten on the machines for about 30 days and then start incorporating some of the free weights.  This will allow your joints and tendons to stabilize prior to lifting heavier down the road.  Congratulations on the success so far!

Mandy Dail How many calories do you burn doing sit-ups?

Chad TheTrainer: Mandy-  If you do one set of 20 sit-ups you will only burn about 5-10 calories.  If you could do sit-ups continuously for 30 minutes you may burn about 300 calories.  People do sit-ups to work their core and strengthen their abdominals and lower back.  If you’re trying to burn a lot of calories I would focus on the treadmill, bike, or elliptical for 20 – 30 minutes.

Sonya Maddox Meranto I had surgery 4 yrs ago but now have to take pain meds for bulging disks. So what would be a good way to begin to shed my weight?

Chad TheTrainer Sonya-  First thing I would do is check with your doctor and make sure you don’t have any restrictions.  Once you are clear you need to stick to the basics which is eat less and exercise more.  I would first log into your site and click on my nutrition.  You can register with Truestar and it will walk you through a custom nutrition plan and will recommend very good supplements.  This will take care of the nutrition piece which can be up to 70% of the battle.  Then I would recommend you begin a 3 day a week full body circuit program with 4 days of cardiovascular exercise on your favorite type of cardio.  If you burn a lot of calories and have good nutrition you will begin to see results immediately.

Home Coffee Solutions Barrie Hi Chad, I am 34, eat healthy again and now after doing 45 minutes of cardio, plus core body movements, along with yoga for the last 6 weeks (3-5X Day), I want to keep the slim 30 waist and build the upper mass. Is there a way I can do it while still keeping to the cardio while still gaining 15 lbs in 3 months?

Chad TheTrainer You can gain probably 10 – 12 pounds in that time frame of lean body mass.  The trick thing is you are going to have to take in just enough more calories than you are burning to do this.  If you are burning 3000 calories a day you will need to consume just over 3000 calories so you can gain lean muscle mass but no so much as to gain extra body fat.  I would switch your core movements to heavier upper body lifts rotating your back, chest, shoulders, and arms.  You may just want to increase your calories by about 300/day to gain lean mass.  You might try a protein shake for this immediately after your heavy workout. Another thing to watch for is taking in 1.5 grams of protein for every pound of body weight.  Log into your account,  click on my nutrition and register for Truestar.  This will help you design a custom menu plan for gaining weight.  Best of luck!

Kristi Dupont Hi Chad. I just have a few questions for you. I did a fitness model competition back in April. My trainer the time had me carb-cut for the last 2 weeks, and now I feel like my body is messed up. I haven't been training as hard but anything I eat seems to go straight to my butt and legs. Any ideas how to get my body back to normal?

Chad TheTrainer Kristi-  I would just focus on getting back on your old consistent workout routine.   A lot of the weight you gain back after a competition is water and even more so with your cutting carbohydrates.  One thing you might try is to cut out some of the heavier starchy carbs like pasta, white rice, and bread.  Try to keep your carbohydrates to vegetables, eat a lot of salads, and if you do eat rice make it brown rice.  If you did a competition I know you have discipline so just get back on your routine with a lighter diet.   Cheers!

Renee Peluso Marsh I went from doing an elliptical and weight- training routine (free & machine - different muscle groups) 4-5 days a week to an aerobic group style (muscle pump, R.i.p.p.e.d., core, Tabata, etc.) and still elliptical work. Is one better than the other for weight control and being toned? I don't feel like my workouts are as rigorous/ hardcore but also didn't change my workout much! Oh, I changed all this because of a move! Thanks!

Chad TheTrainer Renee-  What really matters how many calories you are burning in a session.  If you are burning the same amount of calories in each workout then they are equal.  Your group style classes are generally made for toning.  You are not going to gain strength from the high repetition classes that you have been doing.  If I were you I would still do a combination of the two to keep your body in shock and to avoid any plateaus. 


Look for part 2 of the chat coming soon - and be sure to look for the announcement of our November live-chat on Facebook!

Ask the Trainer: Lower Back Injury

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I have a bulging disc in my lower back. Are there any exercises that I'm able to do, that will help?


Answer: The best advice for this is to check with your doctor and work with a physical therapist that has details about your specific injury. Two things that may be beneficial however are increasing the strength in your abdominal area and avoiding heavy weight. The stronger your core (mid-section area) is, the stronger your lower back will be. This will alleviate some pressure. Also, stay away from heavy weights and anything that will put extra pressure on your lower back. Try using an elliptical or seated bike verses a treadmill which has more impact.

Ask the Trainer: Changing Workout Order

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I've been working out M-F for about one hour. I do 20-25 minutes of cardio, then hit the weights. Should I change my workout?

Answer: I would switch it up like this: 5 minute warm-up, 25 minutes of weight training, and finish with 30 minutes of cardio. You need to warm up your muscles before you train them, and then need to burn off all of that blood sugar during your weight training which is your energy source. By the end of your weight training you will be more depleted of energy and your heart rate will already be elevated, therefore, when you begin your cardio your heart rate is already elevated and you get a full 30 minutes more of intense cardio.

Ask the Trainer: Cardio and Abs

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: Can cardio help with getting abs?


Answer: Having and showing abdominal muscles is a combination of good nutrition with smart exercise. For example, we all have a six pack underneath all of the skin and fat. If you just remove the fat layer, the muscles are there. Therefore, doing cardiovascular exercise, which helps you burn stored body fat, is a very effective way to get you to your goal. The best advice would be to continue to do cardio to burn stored fat, eat healthy to not add any more fat, and work your abs three days a week to help the muscle become more defined. Keep everything in balance and you will see results much faster!

Ask the Trainer: Chad The Trainer's 9/13/12 Live-Chat: Cardio/Heart Rate

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Here are the questions and answers from this week's Facebook live-chat with Chad the Trainer! Our theme for the chat: Cardio/Target Heart Rate! These chats are conducted monthly on the Snap Fitness Facebook Page at


Jose Alas Jr Hi burn more fat and calories is it better to do weights and then cardio or the other way around?thanks
Chad TheTrainer Jose, I would warm up for 5 minutes and do your weights first. This way your heart rate is already elevated when you begin your cardiovascular exercise so you get more benefit from it. Weights first then cardio.

Jamie Lynn What is the best way to increase the calorie burn in a run?
Chad TheTrainer Jamie, if you are just running the only way to burn more calories is to run faster and keep your heart rate elevated. You need to make sure you are training at 60 - 75 % of your max heart rate. My best advice would be to add weight training to increase your metabolism and calorie burn.
Michelle Garrison How do I prep for 5 k zombie run
Chad TheTrainer Michelle, what all is entailed in the zombie run. All running or obstacle course? You may need a bat to fight off the Zombies too!

Ellen Ridings what are the ideal heart rates when doing cardiovascular exercises
Chad TheTrainer Ellen, look up the Karvonen formula online. You should be training at 60 - 75% for fat loss and 70 - 85% for cardiovascular endurance. A generic version is 220- age (70%).

Pat Sexton What is a good resting HR what should I be shooting for to lose and tone and where should I be after a 5 min cooldown
Chad TheTrainer Pat, a good resting heart rate would be around 60 beats per minute. Some well trained endurance athletes get theirs down as low as 45 bpm.

YouthFor Freedom If you get your heart rate up to quickly when doing cardio does it burn muscle?
Chad TheTrainer YouthFor Freedom, it doesn't really burn muscle. It is more about duration at that zone. I would get your heart rate up as quick as possible so you can maximize your time. If yo...See More

Brock Casey If I drink 3 pots of coffee in the morning, Does that count as cardio?
Chad TheTrainer Brock, it does in my book. It will definitely increase your heart rate and motivation. Probably not enough to burn fat but will curb your appetite.

Travis Sonsalla What weight training would be best for a runner?
Chad TheTrainer Travis, it would depend on how much running you are doing. I would try to fit in 2 - 3 days a week of full body circuit training. This way you can keep your muscle mass up while doing a lot of running. Try Mon, Wed, Fri- full body workout.

Michelle Garrison I think there's obstacles too it my first on and only have till Oct13 to prep
Chad TheTrainer Michelle, I would recommend getting in the gym doing upper body one day and lower the next. You will need some strength for the obstacle course. You will also need very good endurance. I would be running for distance now. Start with 20 minutes and work your way up to one hour.

Jennifer Tassler I've heard about interval training and high intensity you feel short bursts of intense activity are more effective than long periods of moderate activity? Like would going all out on cardio for 10 minutes be better than maintaining a constant level for 30 minutes?
Chad TheTrainer Jennifer, it's really about how many calories you burn. It will take more effort in the short bursts but you may burn the same amount in the long run. I would mix it up for variety. You might try doing 10 min bursts and lift weights for 5 minutes in between. You will burn more calories doing this.

Mila-Rae Sprintz @CTT: on the treadmill I start with a 5 minute walk at 3.5 then jog as i increase the speed by .5 of an increment every minute until it gets to 7 speed then I start a slow jog at 3 speed until my heart rate slows down and repeat. Is this an acceptable approach for fat loss if I am doing this for 20 minutes?
Chad TheTrainer Mila- I would try to extend your cardio to 30 minutes because you are not burning fat in the 5 minute warm-up. You are really getting about 15 minutes currently. You can extend your time or step up your intensity at the beginning.

Andrea Tremblay Is it all right to train the full lower half in one day and the upper half in another day as well? Or is it best to break it up?
Chad TheTrainer Andrea, upper-lower split is a great training technique. Make sure you are getting a days rest in between though. I like Monday and Tuesday to life, Wednesday off, Thursday and Friday to lift. Maybe an extra day of cardio on the weekend. Mix it up though if you aren't seeing any results.

Ava Anaïs McEachern Whats the best way to lose thigh/calf mass? I run a lot but im not seeing the results as i wouldve hoped for. Do you have any training tips to tone butt, hamstrings, quads, calves without gaining muscle mass?
Chad TheTrainer Ava, the only way you will gain muscle mass is if your diet is bad. I would do leg presses, squats, leg extensions, leg curls, calve raises, and luges. I would keep your repetitions higher link 3 sets of 15. Make sure you are getting in 20 - 30 minutes of cardio afterwards to burn the stored fat as well. Gaining muscle mass is much harder than people think.

Michelle Garrison What about my treadmill
Chad TheTrainer Michelle, if you are using a treadmill make sure you are running at an incline. I would recommend being outside since the event is outside.

Mandi Salinas Hi chad, what's the right amount of cardio i should b doing everyday in order to lose my mid section? I have 2 kids & cant seem to b successful in that area!
Chad TheTrainer Mandi, over the years I have increased my cardio from no cardio, to 20 minutes, to 30 minutes, and I am now up to 45 minutes. I think that 20 is a good starting point but 30 - 45 minutes is the best. If you are lifting weights right before your cardio you will burn significantly more calories as well.

Abby Becerra Is there a big difference between working out at 5am vrs 5 pm?? Im still trying to loose weight and wondering how long my workouts should be without over working out? 2 hours combination of weights and cardio?
Chad TheTrainer Abby, the best time to work out is the time that you will commit to going each day. Don't do mornings if you are not a morning person because you will not show up. The duration of your workouts depends on your goal. I believe that you should be able to get every thing done in 1 hour. 5 minute warm-up, 25 minutes of weight training, and finish with 30 minutes of cardio.

Michelle Garrison So hiking and jogging could help too right.been hiking trails.will that help me too
Chad TheTrainer Michelle, definitely will help. Make sure you keep increasing your intensity the closer you get to the event.

Nathan Inglis why does my heart rate get to 140 from just walking on da treddie for like 10min
Chad TheTrainer Nathan, this usually has to do with a medication. Are you taking certain meds? Have you spoken with your doctor?

Mila-Rae Sprintz I am currently in the gym doing Russian twists, weight decline sit ups, leg to chest pull ups, chest press anterior and interior, hip abduction/adduction, leg press, free weights: biceps and triceps
Lateral pull downs and weighted back dips (not sure of the correct name but I hold 10lbs to my chest and bend forward and up on the stationary board) 3 x 5-10 reps. This is in addition to my jogging style.
Am I forgetting anything? What gaps am I missing? And I do this 3 x a week every other day.
Chad TheTrainer Mila, this looks pretty good. Looks like you have everything covered except shoulder presses or lateral raises. I would keep doing this full-body workout with one days rest in between.

Tony Gozdowski If I do 30 minutes of weight lifting (Circuit Training) and 45 Minutes of Cardio 4-5 days a week. What is a good caloric intake to be around? I am 6'3" 370 lbs. Down from 398lbs. I just want to make sure I'm not starving my body, so it doesn't go into "Fat storing mode." Thanks!
Chad TheTrainer Tony, go to your site. Click on my nutrition. You can register for a free nutrition profile though truestar health. You can pick a weight loss goal and it will have you log in all of your statistics. It will give you a custom menu plan designed exactly for you based on your goal and time frame. If you need help e-mail me at

Nathan Inglis im on jack3d?
Chad TheTrainer Nathan, I have some of that every day at 5:00 a.m. before I hit the gym. Great pre-workout. I hear it may be going away though.

David Xu What protein stuff does your brother use?
Chad TheTrainer David, no brother here but if I did he would be taking Truestrength organic protein from truestar health. Soy free, gluten free and great tasting.

Mila-Rae Sprintz Thanks chad. One more question. Do you recommend taking a protein shake and consuming it during my workout? Mine are just water and 1 serving of brown rice protein (other formats make me sick). should I be consuming this prior/during/after and how long before or after a workout or is it okay to drink during. As well is once a day enough or should I be having more. I consume lean source of protein during all of my meals FYI
Chad TheTrainer Mila, after your workout you want to get your protein shake in withing 30 minutes to get the best benefit. Your body will use the protein to repair the torn muscle tissue from your workout. I am not a big fan of protein shakes before a workout because you need to increase your blood sugar for energy and a shake won't do it much. I would drink a cup of orange juice or eat a piece of fruit about 30 minutes before you exercise. Give that a try:)


Previously Asked Questions:

Freddie asked: “Is cardio the best way to tone your midsection?”
Chad TheTrainer Freddie, you are correct in that cardiovascular exercise burns stored fat. Just doing crunches builds the muscle under the fat layer. It's more about a combination of diet, weight training, and cardiovascular exercise.

Ash asked: “Is too much cardio dangerous?”  
Chad TheTrainer: Ash, it depends what you mean by too much.  If you talking about an hour a day or less there is no problem.  If you are doing 5 hours a day it will eventually take a toll on your joints and make it hard for your body to recover from each workout.  I feel that 20 – 45 minutes of cardio is ideal for someone based on their goal.  

Trishant asked: “Is there any specific diet one needs to follow during a day where you do cardio? I usually continue with my high-protein diet on these days.”  
Chad TheTrainer: Trishant, I would recommend staying on these high protein diet days especially on cardio day only.  You don’t need that additional calories because your body isn’t burning calories for an extended period like after weight training.

Ron and Deborah asked: “Should every daily workout have some time dedicated to cardio?”
Chad TheTrainer: Ron and Deborah,  There are different thoughts on this and it is really based on your specific goal.  I like doing  cardio after weight training because my heart rate is already elevated and I feel like I maximize my time better.  Some people like to do cardio on their off weight training days.  It really is  your preference.

Nick asked: “What’s the target heart rate for fat loss?”  
Chad TheTrainer: Nick, you would have to know your resting heart rate to figure it out.   A generic version would be 220 – age =  Y. Then take Y times 60% and 75%.   This will give you a fat burning range which is 60 – 75% of your max heart rate.

Susan asked: “I fractured my foot. What cardio exercise can I do in a wheel chair?”
Chad TheTrainer: Susan, They do make a few pieces of cardiovascular machines that just utilize your upper body.  I would also focus on lifting weights above your head and finding a cable system that you can use around your chair.  With this you could do back and chest exercises.  You should be able to work your back, chest, shoulders, and arms with no problem.  Get with one of the Snap Fitness trainers to help you customize a program.

Tami asked: “I signed up for a 10k next year. What’s the best way to start training for it? I did it this year as a power walk and finished in 1 hr 15 min but would like to run/jog it next year.”
Chad TheTrainer: Tami, I would start with light jogging and work your way up with intensity for short distances.  Figure out what an average time is for this type of race and make sure you are completing programs with this distance prior to the race.

Ricki asked: “What’s the safest way to exercise with a heart murmur?”  
Chad TheTrainer: This one is better left to the Doctor.  He or she may have you on medications and will probably have a restriction on how high your heart rate should go.  Once you know your restrictions you can plan accordingly.

Pat asked: “I have a slow heart rate. On a treadmill at 3.0 I can only get my heart rate up to 89-90. What can I do to increase it besides going much faster, as I’m just starting out?”  
Chad TheTrainer: Pat, the only way to get your heart rate up is to increase the speed of the treadmill or you can increase the resistance by adjusting the incline or resistance button.

Joseph asked: “Why is it that you burn more fat at a lower heart rate?”
Chad TheTrainer: Joseph, you would burn more fat by burning more calories and having your heart rate elevated.  You would burn more fat at a higher heart rate unless you are excessively over training and losing muscle mass.


Thanks everyone for your questions and participation! We'll be doing our next live-chat October 18th at 12 PM CST. The theme will be "Weight Training" so mark your calendar and get your questions ready!

Ask The Trainer: Developing a Routine

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I just gave up a 20-year smoking, being lazy, drinking pop lifestyle three months ago. I'm 35 years old, 6'4" and 300 pounds. I've been working out and getting active, but have no real "core" or cardio yet. How do I gradually build both from nothing?


Answer: The best advice I can give you is to hire a personal trainer who can do an initial assessment with you and get you on the right track. In general however, you can begin with three days a week of cardiovascular exercise for 20 minutes and follow that up with a full body circuit where you are hitting every body part, also three days a week. Start slow and work your way up but be sure to get some help if you want to see results in the fastest way possible.

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