Snap Fitness Health & Fitness Blog

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Ask the Trainer: Workout Routine

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

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

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

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

Ask the Trainer: Stuck Behind a Desk

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: What can I do while at work to get some activity into my day?


Answer: The main thing you can do at work to burn more calories is to be more active. Many people work in offices where you sit at a desk all day. Here are some ideas to help you burn some calories:


  1. Ban the elevator. If you have an elevator try taking the stairs instead. It is the equivalent of doing the Stairmaster at the gym.
  2. Use your 15 minute breaks and/or lunch to take walks. Most companies have these breaks built into your schedule. Get outside and take a walk and get some fresh air!
  3. Use your lunch break to work out. Go to the gym or run outside for 30 minutes. It will refresh you and release stress at the same time!

Ask the Trainer: Keeping on Track

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I recently started a workout plan, and it's been going great. Do you have any tips to stay on track?


Answer: My passion for working in this business is to help people like yourself continue to see the results they want and to inspire others around them to make a positive change in their minds and appearance. The reality of long term success is you have to make fitness a way of life. Here are a few ideas to keep you focused:

  1. Make sure that you are a member of a health club (you can find a Snap Fitness club here) or some type of organization where you are around others who want to be fit and see results. It is a lot more motivating to be working out around a group of people who share similar passions and goals. 
  2. Find a workout partner who you can help and who will keep you motivated and accountable on a daily basis. If you have to meet someone for a workout or if you have to call someone to say “I can’t make it,” you are less likely to miss. Find a friend to do this or make one at the gym who works out at the same time as you do.
  3. Self accountability- Write down your goals, make copies, keep a copy next to the bed and/or on your desk at work. You need something staring back at your face saying that you can do this. Commit to yourself and share your goals with others who know what you are trying to achieve.
  4. Pick a time that works for YOU- I have to get up every day at 5:00 a.m. to get my workout in. I know if I put off my workout I may get pulled into a meeting at lunch and that after work I will make too many excuses. You need to find the time of day that works best for you and stick to your guns.

Ask the Trainer: Getting Started on a Workout Plan

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: What are the best exercises to do if I’m just getting started with an exercise program?

Answer: The good thing about starting an exercise program is that anything works because you have been doing nothing. The fact that you get your body moving will “shock your body” into seeing some results. This doesn’t mean throwing around a ton of weight but it does mean putting your body in motion. It really depends on your goal. If you are trying to lose weight and you have been at a plateau for a long time, you need to burn more calories though exercise than you take in through food. It’s all about energy in versus energy out. Therefore, if you are planning on eating the same way and your weight has been the same for a long time I would recommend starting out with 20 – 30 minutes on a treadmill. If you do this consistently you will burn more calories then you take in and should start seeing the pounds come off.

Ask the Trainer: Outdoor Workouts

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: Now that’s it finally starting to get nice out, how can I transition some of my cardio and strength training to the outdoors?


Answer: It’s that time of the year when the snow has melted and the temperature outside is rising. This is a great time of the year to get yourself outdoors for some variety and excitement in your workouts. Although going outside is a great alternative to indoor exercise, make sure you don’t lose sight of your strength training. If possible I would recommend spending about 3 -4 days a week in the health club to keep your muscles developed and to ensure you don’t lose muscle mass with a cardio only workout. Plan on taking 20 or 30 minutes to complete your weight training in the gym and then head outdoors. Many individuals in the summer time prefer to do their exercise outdoors and are very successful in doing so. Here are some ideas for you:

  1. Running or jogging- Take your indoor cardio workout outdoors and get some fresh air. Make sure in doing so you are still getting in your time allotment and keeping your heart rate elevated enough to see results. Also, make sure to stretch and stay hydrated as the sun can play a toll on your body and your hydration.
  2. Outdoor boot-camps- Many health clubs and Personal Trainers offer boot-camps or group training outdoors. Keep yourself motivated by working out in a team environment and having a Personal Trainer keep you motivated while doing so.
  3. Cycling- If you are a “spin class” person you can take your workout outdoors. Find local groups or pair with a friend and burn your calories on the road.
  4. Any sport- If you play soccer, tennis, football, baseball, or any outdoor sport, you can do things that are fun for you to burn extra calories. Use recreation as a means of exercise and have more fun in your life and in your fitness goals.

Ask the Trainer: Your Weight Loss Questions Answered

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: For the last 3 weeks, I have been working out 6 days a week, with a variety of treadmill, elliptical, and 30 minute kettlebell workouts. I’ve also been watching what I eat very carefully, tracking what I eat and calories/fat/carbs on line, and eating more fruits and vegetables rather than junk food. Despite my efforts, I haven’t lost more than 1 lb. I only have 5-10 lbs to lose, but it seems that my efforts aren’t working. Any advice?

Answer: The only way that your body can be staying the same weight is if the calories you are consuming through food are equal to the calories you are burning through exercise. In your case you are already doing a great job working out and it looks like you are making better food choices. My recommendation to you is to look at something you are eating on a daily basis and cutting it back a bit. Maybe just one snack or switching from regular soda to diet soda. Just small adjustments. Also, I am curious if you are losing inches off your waist and other parts of your body. You are probably gaining muscle with your lifting while you are losing fat with your cardio. The scale weight may not come off as fast but the inches will. Keep up the good work!

Posts 81 - 86 of 86