Snap Fitness Health & Fitness Blog

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Ask the Trainer: Workout Order

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: Which is better for working out: running 30 minutes first, then 1.5 hours of lifting weights - or 1.5 hours of lifting weights first, then running for 30 minutes?


Answer: There are different opinions on this but my personal preference is to do your cardio after you lift weights. Use the energy (food) you have in your system to lift weights first after a 5 minute warm-up. After you body has burned off some of that blood sugar your body will be more equipped to burn fat. Plus you will have your heart rate elevated from lifting weights so you will be more efficient at doing your cardio workout. Warm-up, weights, and finish with cardio.

Ask the Trainer: Temptations and Weight Loss

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I really need and want to lose weight - but my biggest problem is giving into temptations. Any suggestions?

 

Answer: Temptations are a problem for all of us. When you have a food temptation and you consume more calories, it can be hard to lose weight. Here are a few things to try. First, make sure you are eating small meals throughout the day - every 3-4 hours. This will increase your metabolism and will make it so you are not as hungry when you tend to crave sweets. Another trick that works for some people is to simply not have tempting things around the house. If there is a bowl of candy out in the open, or a bag of chips in the pantry, it is easy to keep walking by and grabbing a few. Try to eliminate or limit the things you keep around until you break your bad habits. Best of luck with your goals!

Ask the Trainer: 6-Pack Abs

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: What is the best way to get a 6-pack? I know that one must get his/her body fat percentage way down but I'm a fairly athletic, skinny guy and I cannot get a 6-pack for the life of me. Help!

 

Answer: As long as your body fat gets below 10%, you will begin to see your abs. We all have a 6-pack under there but it can be accentuated by doing crunches and possibly weighted sit-ups. I would recommend doing abs every other day so they have time to repair and thus grow. Getting a 6-pack is a combination of building muscle, doing cardiovascular exercise and eating correctly. Genetics help too.

Ask the Trainer: Leg Definition

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I want more definition in my legs. I've been working out "like a man" for about 3 years now, drinking protein with no noticeable improvement. What can I do?

 

Answer: If you have been working out very hard for about three years I am sure you have put on some muscle mass in your legs. You should be showing strength gains and increase in muscle size. However, definition comes down to diet and cardio. If you are not doing so, I would make sure you are keeping your repetitions in the 15 to 20 range on legs. You need to incorporate lunges and leg extensions to give you more definition in the quadriceps area. I would also look at the amount of cardiovascular exercise you are doing - make sure you are getting in 4 – 5 days a week over 30 minute sessions. Best of luck!

Ask the Trainer: Lower Ab Workouts

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: Any good workouts for the lower abs? Needing help with that. Thanks!

 

Answer: There is not a specific exercise for this as you cannot spot reduce. You actually end up working the whole area even if you are trying to emphasize just the upper or lower piece. One thing that will help emphasize and make you feel this area is a hanging knee tuck. Hang from a bar and bring your legs up in front of you with your knees at a 90 degree angle. Lift your knees half-way up to your torso and return in a slow motion. This will make you feel the lower portion more but you are working every muscle.

 

Check out our YouTube video for a Hanging Knee Tuck Demonstration.

Ask the Trainer: Calorie Cycling?

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I have heard one strategy to break through a weight loss plateau is through zigzagging calories/calorie cycling (increase caloric intake at least one-twice per week.) What is your opinion on this?


Answer: I have heard of this too but I personally don’t believe in it. At the end of the day you have to take in less calories than you burn to lose weight. I believe this to be a true science. The only way that would work is if on the higher days of calories you are working out extra hard to make sure you are burning more calories. I would focus on making sure you are burning an excess of 1000 calories over what you are taking in on a daily basis - meaning you are consuming 1500 calories and burning 2500 calories. If 3500 calories equals one pound of body weight you would be able to lose about 1.5 to 2 pounds per week of body fat. My recommendation is to just be consistent with your exercise routine: 4 – 6 days per week and make sure you are taking in less calories than you are burning. Best of luck!

Ask the Trainer: AM vs. PM Workouts

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I do a lot of body weight training and high-intensity-interval-training in the mornings - what are the best exercises for the AM compared to when I am in the gym at night for resistance? Is there a balance? We try to do a lot of plyo in the morning to jump-start metabolism.


Answer: It seems that you have the right idea. I assume you are doing your resistance training in the evening because you have more energy for your weight training workout after several meals? Is sounds like you are doing body weight training with the goal of increasing your heart rate in the AM on an empty stomach to burn more fat. I guess the most important thing to consider is not the type of exercise you are doing, but how elevated your heart rate is during exercise. I would focus on exercises in the morning that do not interfere with the exercises you are doing later in the day. In other words, I wouldn’t do a lot of push-ups in the AM if you are working your chest, for example. Just try breaking up the body parts and keeping your heart rate elevated and you should continue to see results.

Ask the Trainer: Recovering from Injuries

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: In your opinion, what are the top 5 worst exercises for a bad rotator cuff?

Answer: I would say that your biggest enemy here is not properly stretching and warming up before exercise. If I did have to pick a couple exercises that would not be great they would be the overhead barbell or dumbbell press and the flat bench press. All of these exercises put pressure on the rotator cuff especially if you break the 90 degree angle with the elbow.

Question: I had gall bladder surgery 2 months ago. What's the best exercise for me?

Answer: Dorothy, although many experts say it is important to begin walking around soon after surgery, I would be very conscious as you could re-injure your incision sites. I wouldn’t begin an exercise program until you have an examination and are released by the doctor to do so. He or she will give you any restrictions you have to work with and I recommend you get with a personal trainer to have them help customize a program around them. Take it slow and get your advice from the doctor.

Ask the Trainer: Excess Skin and Building Muscle in Weight Loss

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: Love my local Snap in Medford, NJ. I am 60 years old and have lost 110 pounds, with clean eating and working out with my awesome personal trainer, Sue. We are now working on toning the loose skin, the result of being 100 pounds overweight for 30 years. I am interested in your opinion as to what I can realistically expect. From what I have read the odds are not in my favor.

Answer: This sounds more like a question for a medical doctor.  What has happened is you have stretched your skin and when you lost the weight the skin stayed where is was at. I do believe you can alleviate this a little bit by adding back muscle under the skin. However, the skin may have to be removed to be permanent.  Congratulations on your weight loss!

Question: Do you really gain weight when you are building muscle?

Answer: If you only gain muscle through weight resistance training you will gain weight. All you are doing is adding muscle to your body. However, you can build muscle and still maintain your weight by losing fat at the same time. This will take a combination of weight training, good nutrition, and cardio. Gaining muscle + losing fat = losing inches!

Ask the Trainer: Pulling Muscles in Back

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I am constantly pulling muscles in my lower back when I do deadlifts - even after taking 2 weeks off, and starting with almost no weight. I've tried super-slow, low-weight-high repetitions, stretching, etc. Of course, I'm also lifting with my glutes, not my back. Any ideas?

 

Answer: There are a couple things you can do to help with this. One issue many have with the lower back is a weak core. Try strengthening your core with leg lifts, crunches, and sit-ups on a stability ball. You can also try wearing a power belt to hold your core tight and help support your lower back. The best way to handle this would be to eliminate dead lifts from your workout unless you need to do them for testing or a sport specific exercise.

Posts 31 - 40 of 86