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Ask the Trainer: Facebook Fitness Questions

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: Is doing a long period of cardio good enough to lose weight?

 

Answer: Doing cardio will help you lose weight as long as you are burning more calories than you are taking in. It is a great way to start but you will get better results by adding in some weight training exercise with your cardio. I would do 30 minutes of weight training with 30 minutes of cardio. 

 

Question: I'm looking for a good core exercise that will also strengthen the back - any suggestions?

 

Answer: Working the core in general will strengthen your back. I would recommend doing your sit-ups on a stability ball. It will help you work your mid section, including your obliques, and will help you strengthen your back as well.  You can also do planks for your mid-section, which will strengthen your core.

Ask the Trainer: Adding Exercise to Dieting

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I started dieting two months ago and lost 10 pounds. Last month I added exercise and did a total of 40 hours and have not lost a pound. Some people have suggested I might have a thyroid issue. I can’t believe I haven’t even lost a pound. What is going on? I have the weight to lose. Help!


Answer: If you lost 10 pounds just through dieting in the first month it was probably a combination of fat, water, and muscle. However, when you added weight training to the mix you probably started putting on more muscle and losing fat at the same time. Many times this accounts for no weight loss but inches lost on the waistline. Take a look at whether you are losing inches more than weight. If this is not the case then I would recommend going to the doctor and getting your thyroid checked. If your thyroid is o.k. then you need to start looking at the amount of calories you are consuming versus the calories you are burning. If you are burning more calories than you are taking in then you have to be losing weight. Good luck with your workout program and your future fitness adventure!

Ask the Trainer: Can I whittle my stomach down?

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I am 45, working out for over 5 months, lifting weights 3 times a week and cardio 5 times a week. Eating clean and making sure that I eat enough protein and drinking my protein shakes. I feel great and have lost 25 lbs and gaining muscle but can't seem to whittle my stomach down. I would be down several sizes if it wasn't for my stomach. Any help would be great.


Answer: Sounds like you are doing all the right things and are already seeing results. I wouldn’t change up a whole lot now if you are continuing to lose weight and gain muscle. Unfortunately, for the stomach area we humans lose fat from the outside in. As fat begins to “burn” off the body we tend to lose it from our extremities first. You will notice someone who begins exercise losing weight in their arms and lower legs first and then in the face. The stomach tends to be the last place it comes off. If you are trying to break a plateau you could do a couple different things. First, try taking your 3 days a week of weights and split it up over 5 days with cardio.  You will have less time on the weights on these days and be more efficient on cardio. Try something like chest on Monday, back on Tuesday, legs on Wednesday, shoulders on Thursday, and arms on Friday. Mix it up a bit and shock your body into change. As far as the stomach goes I would make sure to do crunches to work the muscle underneath but increase your cardiovascular intensity to shed the extra fat you are looking to lose.  

Ask the Trainer: Workout Intensity

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I work out with a trainer once a week and he wipes me out. A couple times a week I try to do that same workout on my own, but I’m not nearly as tired when I do it on my own. Why is this? How can I make sure I’m pushing myself as hard as my trainer does?

 

Answer: This is a tough one. I don’t think it is possible to push yourself as hard without your trainer unless you have a workout partner as well. Think about what the trainer does for you. First, you get the knowledge you need to do the exercises correctly. Second, you have someone that holds you accountable for showing up and not missing workouts. Finally, you have someone who can push you through that pain and burn on your final repetitions that you won’t do on your own. If you can find a workout partner who can be on your routine and who will push you past your comfort zone on exercises, you will be ahead of the game. This is the main reason that many people use personal trainers and why many professional athletes are where they are today!

Ask the Trainer: Dehydration

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: How can I walk further and a little faster without getting so dehydrated?

Answer: You can’t really walk further and faster and stay hydrated because you are going to sweat more with the intensity and lose more water. You have two different options. One option is to ensure that you are properly hydrated prior to exercise. Make sure you drink a few glasses of water before your workout. The other option you have is to consider what a lot of cyclist and hikers do and get a Camelback water backpack. This backpack holds enough water to keep you hydrated on long rides, walks, or hikes. You have to have access to water during prolonged exercise especially in the heat to avoid dehydration.

 

Ask the Trainer: Limited Workout Time

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: If I only have 30 minutes to spend exercising, what’s the best use of my time?

Answer: The best thing you can do to be effective is a combination of cardiovascular exercise mixed with weight resistance training. Adding muscle increases your metabolism and helps you burn more calories over a longer period of time while cardiovascular exercise helps you burn stored fat from your body. Running is always an effective way to burn calories fast because you have the impact of your body weight in motion. If you have a little more time try mixing in 15 minutes of weight training with 20 – 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise. You will see results much faster this way. Check out our Basic 8 routine to do a full circuit of weight resistance training, all in just 30 minutes!

Ask the Trainer: Chad The Trainer's April 11th Live-Chat!

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

On Wednesday, April 11th, our very own Director of Personal Training, Chad - answered our members' health & fitness questions for the $10,000 Lose Weight Challenge on our Facebook Page! Chad's answers are below, in case you missed it!


Robyn: How many calories should I eat each day?


Chad TheTrainer: The total amount of calories you should eat a day depends on your specific goals. The minimum number of calories you should ever eat is 1200 calories. What is your goal and how much are you exercising?


Mark: I wish I could hear but I am hearing impaired. I need someone to help me out.


Chad TheTrainer: I would get with a personal trainer at a local gym who can write down a workout routine and show you exercises in person. Once you learn this from a trainer you will have it the rest of your life.


Dana: Chad, I have lost 26 pounds and I have stopped losing weight and inches. I am not sure what I am doing wrong.


Chad TheTrainer: If you have stopped losing weight there is only one answer. The amount of calories you are taking in is equal to the amount of calories you are burning. I would make a minor adjustment to your caloric input or add an additional 10 minutes of cardiovascular exercise to your daily routine. You need to shock your body into some change.


Mick: I'm down 30 lbs with 10 more to go, but it's a stubborn 10!! It’s right in the mid-section. Any advice? I'm mainly doing cardio exercise.


Chad TheTrainer: Your body had become accustomed to cardiovascular exercise. I want you to do a five minute warm-up. Add about 20 minutes of weight training prior to cardio. Then I want you to finish with your normal cardio routine. Adding some weight training is all you need to shock your body. Do not change your eating habits though.


Lucas: What's your view on the use of creatine in moderate levels?


Chad TheTrainer: Creatine is the most studied bodybuilding supplement out there. Moderate levels are good to increase intramuscular energy. However, be careful as creatine makes you retain water and can inhibit your weight loss goal. I would use creatine more as a weight and strength-gain supplement.


Maria: Elliptical or treadmill to burn most calories possible? And how often if trying to lose weight?


Chad TheTrainer: The answer is using a combination of elliptical and treadmill to ensure your body is not getting used to one or the other. If you are trying to lose weight I would get at least 5 to 6 days in a week for 20 - 30 minutes.


Marie: I have been working out every day - 1 hour of cardio in the morning and aerobics at night. I have been eating right and doing this since February and have only lost 5 lbs. Everyone says they can tell I have lost weight but I don’t see it nor do I see it on the scale!! Any advice!?


Chad TheTrainer: You probably don't see it on yourself because you see yourself every day. Other people tend to notice these things first. You are probably adding muscle while losing fat and your weight isn't changing much. However, you are losing inches. Don't make the mistake of just doing cardio alone. Make sure you are doing some weight training so you can maintain muscle mass and keep your natural metabolism going.


Cosmos: My size 10 jeans fit me perfect with the thanks due to Drake, my trainer from the Mentor on the Lake, OH Snap club. I just tried them on and I look fantastic! In January my size 14 barely zippered...now I can wear a size 10!


Chad TheTrainer: Congratulations Cosmos and nice work Drake!


Tabitha: Chad , I’ve kinda hit a plateau with my weight; any advice? I really want to lose some of the mid-section.


Chad TheTrainer: See my response to Dana - same thing. You need to affect one side of the equation. More calories burned or less eaten and you will start seeing a change.


Debbie: Chad...I have been working out and eating right and whenever I weigh myself I gain weight...and it's not muscle!! What's up with that? When I started I wanted to lose twenty pounds...now I need to lose 25!


Chad TheTrainer: I would have to look at exactly what you are eating on a daily basis and how many calories you are burning. When you say eating right do you mean better types of foods or are you actually counting calories?


Angela: What type of vitamins should a woman take?


Chad TheTrainer: I am not a registered dietitian but I can give recommendations. I believe that everyone should take a multivitamin and women typically need more calcium. If you log onto mysnapfitness.com under "My Nutrition" and click on the truestarhealth.com link > register > click vitamins > you can create a custom vitamin profile based on your health needs. It will analyze what is best for you.


Jackie: Chad, I have been working out 6 days a week and eating healthy for the last 6 months. I have lost weight and toned up - everywhere but my belly. Any suggestions on what may be going on?


Chad TheTrainer: Congratulations on what you have accomplished so far. Unfortunately when you lose weight your body loses it from the outside-in. That's why you may have noticed changes in your face, arms, and legs first. It tends to get to the mid-section last. However, you are burning fat off your internal organs at the same time for great health benefits. Keep it up, you are on your way :)


Mark: Chad, I am doing great myself. Susie is helping me out and I’d like to have a personal trainer but I don't have money to pay for it. I need to get rid of my belly because I lost about 20 lbs and need to do ab exercises that I know I can learn with a one-on-one trainer but can’t afford it. Any suggestions?


Chad TheTrainer: Keep doing what you are doing. Just make sure you are doing some light weight training with cardiovascular exercise at least three days per week. Also, make some minor adjustments to what you are eating. Think of some small things you can eliminate from your diet.


Matt: Chad, I have been working out 6 days a week for the last three months and eating a 1,500 calorie diet. My routine consists of 20 min on the ARC @ 100 percent resistance going at a slow steady pace, then 10 minutes on arms and abs using the machine weights. Weight came off quickly the first two months then slowed drastically. I changed up my routine and went to 20 min on the arc but I would start out at 20 percent resistance @ 120 steps/min then go down to 60 steps/min on the next minute. I would do two sets like this then jump the resistance up 5 and do it all over until I maxed out at 40% resistance. The weight again started to come off. Now a month later I find myself at another plateau. Can you recommend any good workouts for weight loss as well as working on arms? I have about 30 - 40 minutes during my lunch-break to work out. Thanks.


Chad TheTrainer: I would think of a workout you can do quickly, in like 10 minutes, and then bump your cardio up to 30 minutes. Try doing an intense workout 6 days on weight for 10 minutes with the following split- Chest, back, arms, legs, shoulders, and repeat. Follow-up each of these workouts with 30 minutes of cardio. Do more intensity on the weights and increase time on cardio.


Amanda: I want to clean out my system before I start dieting. What should I use?


Chad TheTrainer: There are many cleansers out there. Truestarhealth has a product called True Detox that many people I know take. Check it out on their website truestarhealth.com. You can also go to health food or supplement stores and they will have detox programs for 7 to 10 days.


Amanda: How about the two day cleanser?


Chad TheTrainer: I would be careful with things that say they can clean out your system in that short of time. It takes a few more days to truly cleanse your system.


Asif: Hi Chad... I’m wondering how to get rid of abdomen fat and love handles. I’m losing fat all over the body but it’s been very tough to get rid of it near the abdomen area. What do you suggest??


Chad TheTrainer: Unfortunately when you lose weight, your body loses it from the outside-in. That's why you may have noticed changes in your face, arms, and legs first. It tends to get to the mid-section last. However, you are burning fat off of your internal organs at the same time for great health benefits. Keep it up; you are on your way!

Ask the Trainer: Chad The Trainer's March 21st Live-Chat!

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

On Wednesday, March 21st, our very own Director of Personal Training, Chad - answered our members' health & fitness questions for the $10,000 Lose Weight Challenge on our Facebook Page! Chad's answers are below, in case you missed it!
 
Eddie: I found out I have MS about a year ago. I use to work out a lot but not for a long time now; was wondering if light workouts are worth my time - I mean, could it help?

Chad TheTrainer: Exercise can improve your quality of life and ease symptoms and complications associated with MS such as fatigue and bladder control. I would recommend 2 - 3 times per week in the gym combining cardiovascular exercise and weight training. My best recommendation would be to see a physical therapist to help determine which exercises are most beneficial.

Angie: How long should I work out in a day to have maximum results?

Chad TheTrainer: There is no set amount of time to work out. I would not recommend more than 90 minutes though. My personal recommendation is to do about 30 minutes of weight training followed by 30 - 40 minutes of cardiovascular exercise.

Kevin: What is the best way to break out of a weight loss plateau?

Chad TheTrainer: If you are at a plateau you simply need to change something. I would look at making minor nutritional changes such as cutting calories a bit. Or you could add an additional 10 minutes of cardio to your workout to start losing weight.

Daniel: I'm trying to gain muscle, but I'm having a very hard time. What would you suggest I do?

Chad TheTrainer: If you are trying to gain weight and muscle you simply need to increase your caloric input. Try adding a 30 - 40 gram protein shake in your daily mix. Right now you are taking in the same calories as you burning. I would take this shake immediately after you finish training to repair and build the muscle. Also, make sure you are getting at least 8 hours of sleep at night to repair tissue.

Sarah: Do you know much about Juicing for medical as well as weight loss? My gallbladder is only working at 4% and I need to do something that is alternative......do not want to have surgery!

Chad TheTrainer: I would recommend you consult your doctor for advice on this one. Juicing organic green apples and green leafy vegetables is recommended to flush the gallbladder but you may need more medical advice on this one.

Brenda: Doing cardio after weights gives you a better benefit, correct?

Chad TheTrainer: There are mixed opinions on this one but my recommendation is to do cardio after weight training. I would warm up for 5 minutes, lift weights, and finish with cardio. This way you are raising your heart rate on the weights and when you start cardio you will get into the fat burning zone much faster. Hence, you are being more efficient!

Jedd:  What is the best way to maintain a healthy eating habit when my sleep schedule changes a couple times a week with working split-shifts at work?

Chad TheTrainer: You are going to have to be a planner. In your case I would prepare foods in advance and keep a cooler with you so you can grab something healthy every 3 - 4 hours. You may also want to get a box of protein or granola bars to keep on hand so you don't make bad eating choices. Be prepared and stay away from fast food places that have high-calorie options.

Mari: How much fat loss is healthy in a week? How much is actually attainable? (The max amount one can lose, regardless of health consequences?)

Chad TheTrainer: Realistically you can lose about 2 pounds of fat per week. If you are losing more than 2 pounds a week it is either water or muscle. So I would gauge it at 2 pounds. However, when you first start exercising and eating healthy you may see more in the first week as you are flushing out excess water.

Georgia: I have heard a person needs to net at least 1200 calories per day since that is what it takes to function and that we need to burn more than we take in during the day to lose weight. So if I eat 1200 calories per day, I would net to 0, and stay the same weight. So, anything I burn during a workout would essentially be the "burn more than we take in" part, I would think. But then I've heard that if you work out, you need to eat that many more calories so you still net 1200. So now I'm not sure how many calories I need to eat to lose weight. I burn about 200-300 on the treadmill/day, and eat about 1200 per day. I weigh 138 at 5'7" and I'm stuck.

Chad TheTrainer: You are sitting right at a maintenance level. If you have been stuck for a while and you know you are eating 1200 calories, you are also burning about 1200 calories. I would continue to eat 1200 calories but increase you caloric output. Try adding an additional 10 minutes to your cardio workout and you will begin breaking the plateau.

Desiree: We recently joined Snap and I wanted to know what you recommend for a beginner like me... I am also in WW. I want to lose weight but also keep my shape as I lose the weight. Any tips?

Chad TheTrainer: My first recommendation would be to get with a personal trainer there and get your fitness score/assessment done to get a starting point. If you do not have a trainer at that location I would recommend the following: try doing weight training Monday, Wednesday and Friday followed by 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise. This will get you in 3 days per week. Try doing a full-body workout on the selectorized machines utilizing each body part.

Hannah: In your opinion, do you feel there's a standard calorie intake that one should not go below? I know I haven't plateau(ed) but last week I started working out morning and night, I eat very healthy etc...and I lost less lbs since doing that (went from 1.5-2lbs loss/wk to .25-.50 loss)...I'm wondering if I'm doing something wrong....not eating enough? I don’t know...any ideas are welcome! :)

Chad TheTrainer: I would write down what you eat for a few days and make sure you aren't going below 1200 calories. Also, make sure you are getting enough protein in your diet to maintain your lean muscle. If you are at a plateau and your diet is on, try mixing in some different weight training exercises or add 10 minutes to your cardio routine.

Bruce: Is there anything out there for shakes or supplements to help while working out before and after and doing your workout to help build more muscle tone? I'm seeing results. I would like to see more but faster. I do work out 3x week now. Do you recommend going more to the gym?

Chad TheTrainer: On the workouts I would try moving to an upper/lower split 4 days per week. This will help you break the plateau. Do all upper body on Monday and Thursday and lower body on Tuesday and Friday. Rest on Wednesday and the weekend for recovery. On the supplement piece, log into your mysnapfitness.com site and click on “My Nutrition” and hit “Start Today”. This will direct you to the Truestar site. They have a great organic whey protein called “True Strength” that you can purchase online. Try taking in 30 - 40 grams of protein immediately after your workouts to help repair and add muscle mass.

Susan: Is it better to weight-train different areas of muscles on separate days or combine? Ex: arms and chest or arms one day and chest next day, etc?

Chad TheTrainer: Your training split depends on your goals. If you are trying to be more efficient I would include multiple body parts. Try pairing biceps with back and triceps with chest and shoulders. I would do your leg workout by itself one day per week. For weight loss I like a full-body workout 3 days per week with 5 days of cardiovascular exercise.

Amanda: Chad, what is your opinion on eating back the calories you burn? Say you're at 1200 calories a day and you burn 500 working out – do you eat the 500 back as some websites state you should? It's a bit confusing.

Chad TheTrainer: If you eat back the calories you won't be able to lose weight as you are going back to maintenance. If you burn 500 calories working out, you are now at 1700 calories and eating back the calories would put your input at 1700 calories. If you have 500 calories per day exceeding your input you will burn about 3500 calories over the week. 3500 calories = 1 pound of body weight. Hence, you would lose 1 pound of fat per week.

Susan: Will I get better results from an elliptical or treadmill? What about the crosstrainer or arc trainer?

Chad TheTrainer: The type of cardio that you do doesn't matter as much as your heart rate. If you take 220 – age = maximum heart rate. (i.e. 220 – 20 = 200) 200 would be max heart rate. Fat burning zone is 60 - 75% of max heart rate. So 70% of 200 is 140. So in this example I would keep my heart rate at 140 beats per minute. I would recommend mixing up all types of cardio to keep it fun and interesting so you keep on track with your goals.

Megan: Chad, would you ever take a supplement capsule where you get energy and speed up your metabolism, and curbs your appetite to help lose weight, or even just to boost your workout?

Chad TheTrainer: I have tried many on the market and I do believe they help as long as you are eating a healthy diet and exercising. They do not work all by themselves though. On your mysnapfitness.com site under “My Nutrition” you can log onto Truestar Health. They have a true energy supplement that does this type of thing. You would take this about 30 minutes prior to a workout.

Kara: Is it a bad idea to work out twice a day once in the morning and once at night?

Chad TheTrainer: It is perfectly fine to work out twice a day if you have time. Many people like to get up early and get their cardiovascular exercise done and come back for weight training in the evenings. Some people believe that you can build more muscle if you just lift weights and then get a meal in right after to repair torn muscle tissue. Just make sure you are separating weight training and cardio.

David: I'm having real trouble motivating myself to get to the gym. Do you have any tips?

Chad TheTrainer: I think most people do. I would recommend setting a certain time aside each day where you have no interruptions. Make this a habit. I do a couple things that help me stay motivated: I drink a coffee about 30 minutes prior to my workout to get my energy going. I also recommend getting some headphones and put on some music that motivates you. I have added music to my workouts this year and my motivation has been much better. Good luck!

Amy: If fat burning is 60-75% of my max heart rate, what happens when I'm between 85-95%?

Chad TheTrainer: The cardio zone is 70 - 85% of your max heart rate. I wouldn't go over 85%. You simply will burn more calories in this zone but you don't have to go to this height to burn stored body fat. Many people who train in this zone are doing it for sports-specific reasons or a specific event.

Josh: Hey Chad I’m doing a 12-week challenge. I’m at week 5 and most of the boys have lost over 8 kgs. My first 4 weeks, I was on a high-protein diet; now I’m doing a soup detox and i can’t seem to lose enough weight. I’m taking oxy elite, geranium, caffeine and muscle pharm assault every morning before my cardio session, then I do another cardio session after work including full body circuits Tuesdays and Thursdays, but I just can’t seem to lose enough. Please help me - I really want to win!

Chad TheTrainer: I would recommend increasing your weight training circuit to 3 days per week since you are already doing so much cardio. Try doing your circuit Mon, Wed, and Friday. Try doing you exercises in a different order. You need to shock your body into breaking that plateau. Keep up the cardio and push harder on the weights. Good luck!

Susan: For weight loss, should I eat before a workout or after?

Chad TheTrainer: I would eat very light about 30 - 60 minutes before your workout. This could even be a small glass of orange juice 30 minutes before. After your workout make sure you get a meal that has protein in it to help repair muscle tissue. In general, you should be eating small meals about every 3 - 4 hours.

Cosmos: Age 55 and need 30 pounds of fat gone. My trainer is great but I keep hitting plateaus. I eat about 1,000 calories of high protein and very low carbs. What else can I do to lose at least two pounds a week? I think I need to push myself more. My protein shakes are at least 30g whey isolate. I eat one gram of protein per lean body mass. Am I doing this right?

Chad TheTrainer: Keep with your trainer for motivation but try increasing your calories a bit. You may not be eating enough to maintain your lean muscle mass. This can sometimes work backwards. You could go to about 1.2 or 1.5 grams on your protein to get there. You need to create a 1,000 calorie deficit per day to lose 2 pounds per week. For example, if you are eating 1200 calories you need to burn 2200 calories per day to get there. Good luck!
 

And here are some additional questions that were submitted through our social media channels!

Question: Chad, I am a Personal Trainer at a Snap Fitness. I have several members asking me (in reference to the "Lose Weight Challenge" if they should only do cardio to lose more weight. These members are in the 400 - 450lb range. Being trained that muscle is "the fat burning furnace" my natural response is "NEVER do just Cardio! Who would want to lose precious muscle?!?" But in this case... they REALLY want to win (lol) what should I recommend?

ChadTheTrainer: I agree with you on this one. I would never recommend just doing cardio for the same reason.  The tricky part is people get competitive and only look at wanting to win a contest, then forget about the long-term effects from what they are doing. I think in their case they work out to maintain their current muscle mass versus gaining lean muscle mass. It is okay to do more cardio to lose weight but I would recommend lifting at least three times per week to maintain that “fat burning machinery.”

Question: I'm dealing with an under-active thyroid and I have been working out but haven't lost a pound. What else can I do?

ChadTheTrainer: Thyroid issues are bothersome for many individuals wanting to exercise. However, to combat the symptoms associated with this condition such as fatigue and a slower metabolism, you need to make sure you are weight training and doing cardiovascular exercise. Weight training will actually increase your resting metabolism and allow you to burn more calories. Continue to work out on your cardiovascular machines to get your energy going but add some weight training to break the weight loss barrier. I would also recommend consulting your physician to make sure you have no restrictions.  

Question: I have a trainer helping me but she only works 2 days a week. I feel like I am not meeting my goals since I joined the contest. I need help on my middle area. Any advice?

Chad TheTrainer: I am glad to see that you are working with a personal trainer. I am sure that is helping you get on the right track even though it is only twice per week. In terms of working your middle area I would say that you cannot really spot-reduce. Meaning, when you begin to lose body fat it will come off everywhere on your body with some variances due to your specific genetic makeup. If you are really trying to cut fast I would make sure you are getting 5 days a week of 30 minutes or more cardiovascular exercise with 3 days of weight training.  I would also pay close attention to what you put in your mouth. At the end of the day you need to burn more calories through exercise than you take in with food. Sometimes it is easier to eat a little bit less that workout a lot more. Good luck with the challenge!

Ask the Trainer: Knees Stressed During Exercise

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I am obese and knees sound like they're cracking when I try walking lunges...any suggestions until some weight comes off?

Answer: The cracking sound in your knees sounds scarier than it is. Here is a recommendation until you feel comfortable with doing walking lunges. I would start with a 5 minute walk on the treadmill to make sure your muscles are warm. Then stretch your legs out to get your quadriceps and hamstrings loosened up. Try doing stationary lunges until you build up enough strength for walking lunges. Standing straight step one leg backwards (reverse lunge) and then push up with your front leg. This will be safer until you build up more strength to support your knee joint.

Ask the Trainer: "Pushing Through the Soreness"

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I am 34 and have always been fairly thin with periodic gains/losses. This past year, I have put on more than ever and have been extremely inactive for the past year as well. On Friday of this past week, I completed a 4 week session of boot camp. I rested on Saturday, and then started the a 30 day shred on Sunday.

After the intense boot camp workouts, I am surprised to find how difficult this 20 minute(!) workout is!  I know that you've addressed this, but I’m just curious why so many people seem to have no issue with working straight through, and claim that “pushing through the soreness” makes it “easier”? I feel like it won’t be as effective if I don’t take a break, but I don’t want to fall into the trap of not pushing myself enough. What is your opinion?

Answer: The reason you felt so good on the one day you worked out was because of the rest you gave your body. Think about when you hurt yourself and you go to the doctor. The doctor usually gives you something for the pain and tells you to lay off everything so you can heal. This is no different than working out but on a smaller scale. When you lift weights and you feel the soreness the next day you are experiencing micro-tears in the muscle fibers. This is a good thing as long as you allow the muscle to repair itself and grow. More muscle equals a faster metabolism. If you continue to train sore muscles over and over again they will not repair or grow and you will burn out and lose your motivation. I recommend keeping up the good program but with a day's rest during the week and one day's rest on the weekend. Also, make sure you are getting enough protein in your diet to repair your muscle and cut your calories a bit on your off-days as you are not burning as much.

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