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Tips for the Final Week of the Lose Weight Challenge!

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Hello weight loss challenge participants. Congratulations on making it to the final week of the Lose Weight Challenge! It has been a long road so I want to give you some final tips on how to lower the scale in the final days:

Tip #1 - Limit your simple sugars. Try to stay away from candy or anything that is high in sugar. Sugar is a carbohydrate and excess carbohydrates tend to make you retain extra water weight. Limit your candy, fruit juice, regular soda, or anything that is full of empty sugar calories.


Tip #2 - Avoid heavy carbohydrates. Stay away from heavy morning cereals, pancakes, waffles, pasta, white bread, and potatoes. Think more green vegetables like broccoli, green beans, asparagus, and spinach. Try to focus on keeping your carbohydrates lower this week and adding higher protein foods.  If you do this you may see some additional water come off of your body.


Tip #3 - Don’t miss a workout day. You have made it this far in the challenge. Do not allow yourself to miss a single workout at this crucial time. You are almost there and the finish line is in sight. Focus, Focus, Focus!!!

 

Tip #4 - Get in a good workout prior to weigh-ins the final day of the challenge. Make sure not to eat a huge meal prior to weigh-ins and instead get a nice intense workout in. This may account for 1 – 3 pounds of water weight on the scale. Time it right so that you are on top of your game.

Try implementing one or all of these tips and you should see some minor changes in body weight before you do your final weigh-in this week!  


Best of luck and let’s see who is going to make the top 10!!!

Sincerely,

Chad

Road Map to Stay Motivated

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Hello Lose Weight Challenge participants. With only two weeks left in the challenge I wanted to give you some advice for a strong finish. In order to win the challenge you will need to finish with a lot of consistency. The main driver here is motivation. Here are some ways to create a “road map” or plan for your final two weeks:

Tip #1 - Get out your calendar again and map out your next two weeks of workouts.  Write down the times you are going, what body part you are working, and what type and duration of cardiovascular exercise you will complete. This is your written commitment to complete these workouts each day. After you complete each day make sure you cross out that day and begin counting down the days till the end of the challenge.  

Example:
Monday- (8:00 a.m. -9:00 a.m.) Upper body on the machines and 45 minutes of cardiovascular exercise on the Stairmaster. 3 sets of 15 on all exercises and keep heart rate at 145 beats per minutes on cardio.  

Tip #2 - Write out your commitment on the nutrition side. Make a statement of how you will behave over the last two weeks.

Example:
“I will follow my nutrition plan over the final two weeks. I will not eat any fast food (even on the weekend) and I will be dedicated to making better eating choices. I will commit to being perfect over the next two weeks until this contest is over!”

Tip #3 - Write out a prize for yourself at the end of the challenge. Hopefully you win 1st place, but think of something you can do for yourself once you finish successfully. This can be something like taking yourself for a mini vacation, buying something you have wanted a long time, or maybe a nice dinner at your favorite restaurant. Print a picture of whatever it is and tape it up on your refrigerator or on your work computer so you can visualize it each day. Use this as motivation as you go through these final two weeks.

Once again, these are only some tips to help you finish strong. It is up to you to put them into place, take action, and get the results you want. Commit yourself to the finish and I promise you won’t be disappointed in yourself!

Sincerely,

Chad

Tips to Burn Those Extra Calories

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Hello weight loss challenge participants. With only three weeks left in the challenge I wanted to give you some tips on getting in some extra movement to burn more calories. These are just some basic daily habits that can help put you over the hump. Keep your head up you are almost there!


"Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other." - Abraham Lincoln

Tip #1 - Don’t look for the closest parking spot. We all have the habit of parking in the closest parking spot.  Try parking on the far side of the parking lot. Imagine how many more calories you will burn if you make this a habit everywhere you go. Park further at work, the grocery store, or anywhere you go. Always be thinking about movement to burn off calories.


Tip #2 - Stop taking the elevator. Imagine how many more calories you will burn if you walk up the stairs.  This is especially true if you have multiple flights of stairs to go up. This also goes for escalators when you are shopping at stores. Try to make it a habit to use the stairs everywhere you go and you will burn twice as many calories and speed up your weight loss.


Tip #3 - Make use of your lunch break. Instead of using your whole lunch break to eat and rest, try limiting your eating time and spending 30 minutes of your lunch break walking outside. This is a great way to burn some extra calories and a great way to get an extra energy boost for the day. Try walking right after your lunch meal to kick in your metabolism and avoid the blood sugar crash.


Tip #4 - Take your cardiovascular workout up one more level. If you are doing 20 minutes, go to 30 minutes; if you are at 30 minutes, go to 40 minutes. Remember - the more calories you burn, the better chance you have to lose weight. You are already at the gym or in your workout, so just add a little bit at the end and you will see a difference.

 

Overall, try implementing these things over the next three weeks and you should start to see a difference if you keep with your current program.


Best of luck with the challenge and keep up the great work!

Sincerely,

Chad

 

Reminder: At 7:00 p.m. CST on April 11th I will be hosting a live Facebook chat on the Weight Loss Challenge. "Like" the Snap Fitness page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/snapfitness247 for Lose Weight Challenge tips, motivation, and to get in on our live chat!

Training in Your Most Effective Heart Rate Zone

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Hello Lose Weight Challenge participants. Congratulations on getting to week five of the challenge. This week I want share the Karvonen heart rate formula with you so you can have more effective cardiovascular workouts.

Karvonen Formula

The Karvonen Formula is a heart rate reserve formula and it’s one of the most effective methods used to calculate training heart rate. The formula factors in your resting heart rate, therefore, you’ll need to determine your resting heart rate before beginning.

The formula:

Zone 1:  Fat burning zone

220 – Age – resting pulse= A    
Take A (60%) and A (75%) Fat Burning Zone
Take these numbers and add the resting pulse back in and you will have your Fat Burning Zone.

 

Example: 220 – 30(age) – 80(resting pulse) = 110
110(60%) = 66 (66 + 80) = 146
110(75%) = 82.5 (82.5 + 80) = 162.5
This individual’s fat burning zone would be (146 – 162.5 bpm)

Zone 2: Cardiovascular zone

220 – Age – resting pulse= A    
Take A (70%) and A (85%) Cardiovascular Zone
Take these numbers and add the resting pulse back in and you will have your Cardiovascular Zone.

 

Example: 220 – 30(age) – 80(resting pulse) = 110
110(70%) = 77 (77 + 80) = 157
110(85%) = 93.5 (93.5 + 80) = 173.5
This individual’s cardiovascular zone would be (157 – 173.5 bpm)

Which zone do I train in?

  1. The fat burning zone is efficient enough for you to burn stored body fat. Meaning, staying in this zone will help you begin to shed those unwanted pounds of fat from your body. You will need to get at least into this zone to be the most efficient in the fat burning process.
  2. The cardio zone is training at a higher heart rate mainly in the 80+ % zone. This will be much more intense and you will ultimately burn more calories. However, you do not have to train in this zone to burn stored body fat. It will however help you see results faster. Many individuals who train in this zone are considered endurance athletes.


My recommendation:

You have been in the challenge for 4 weeks now and you may be hitting some mid-point plateaus.  Your resting heart rate is probably much lower that when you began the challenge because your body is adapting to your workouts. Therefore, I would take your resting pulse first thing in the morning. Take your pulse for one minute and record that number. Plug it into one of the formulas above and you will have a much better idea of where you need to keep your heart rate going forward!

Best of luck on your finish!

Chad

Reminder: At 7:00 p.m. CST on April 11th I will be hosting a live Facebook chat on the Weight Loss Challenge. "Like" the Snap Fitness page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/snapfitness247 for Lose Weight Challenge tips, motivation, and to get in on our live chat!

The Secret to Weight Loss

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Hello Lose Weight Challenge Participants!  Congratulations on getting to week four of the challenge.  This week I want to share what I consider the secret to weight loss.

To lose weight you have to take in fewer calories than you burn! - Period

1.    If you eat 2000 calories and burn 3000 calories, you lose weight
2.    If you eat 2000 calories and burn 1000 calories, you gain weight
3.    If you eat 2000 calories and burn 2000 calories, you don’t move


Most people are at a maintenance level when they begin an exercise routine. This means that in example #3 above they are taking in the same amount of calories as they are burning. If you know you are at a maintenance level, all you have to do is write down what you eat for a few days and figure exactly how many calories you are taking in on average. We have a free calorie tracking tool in mysnapfitness.com for you to utilize to track your calorie intake, should you want to use that. Once you know this information, you have a couple options.

  1. You can eat fewer calories. When you eat fewer calories you will begin to lose weight as your caloric input number is lower than your output. However, by dieting alone, your body will adjust to this and lower your metabolism, eating away at your muscle to get there. In the end you have lost weight but most of it will be muscle mass. This is why DIETING ALONE DOES NOT WORK.
  2. You exercise more and eat fewer calories. This is good in that you are creating a larger caloric deficit.  You add 20 minutes of weight training and 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise and the numbers start to move. (I.e. 1500 calories coming in with food and 3000 calories being burned through exercise).  Because you are at a 1500 calorie deficit you will begin losing about 2 pounds per week. This is because 3500 calories equals one pound of body weight. Weight training will help you burn more calories and help you maintain lean muscle mass which increases your metabolism. Cardiovascular fitness will help you burn more calories and will help you begin burning stored body fat. By eating less and healthier you will not be adding any more stored fat.

  
To summarize this whole idea, it can simply be said to, "Eat less and exercise more." Don’t overcomplicate it.  Be consistent - especially during the weekdays when you are on a strict routine. Keep your eating clean and don’t let anything get in the way of your workout. It really isn’t rocket science; it is consistency and dedication to make the right decisions each and every day.

Once again, hope the challenge is going well for you and best of luck in your finish.

Chad

Reminder: At 7:00 p.m. CST on April 11th I will be hosting a live Facebook chat on the Weight Loss Challenge. "Like" the Snap Fitness page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/snapfitness247 for Lose Weight Challenge tips, motivation, and to get in on our live chat!

How to Sculpt Your Entire Body

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Hello Lose Weight Challenge Participants! Congratulations on getting to week three of the challenge.  This week I want to give you some tips on how to sculpt your entire body during the challenge:

1.    Work every body part- In order to sculpt your entire body you will need to focus on working each muscle group. The areas you will need to focus on include chest, back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, abdominals, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. A couple different options to hit all of these body parts would be a full body workout three days a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) or upper body (Monday and Thursday) and lower body (Tuesday and Friday). The key in either one of these scenarios is to hit all body parts and allow for a day of rest to repair muscle in-between. Either way, the more you can add lean muscle mass to each body part, the more toned or “sculpted” you will look and the more calories you will burn.

2.    Don’t forget the cardiovascular exercise - If you look at your body, you have muscle over the bone and a layer of fat between the muscles and skin.  As you exercise with weights you are increasing the size of the muscle. If you lift alone, you will expand your muscle and this will push the fat layer out with it, giving you a more bulky appearance. This is a common myth people believe - that “lifting will make my bulky or huge.”  What people don’t realize is that by doing cardiovascular exercise you are actually burning that fat layer off between the skin and muscle. In this case you are adding muscle mass but are burning fat and taking inches off your body.  I would recommend getting in 3 to 5 days of cardiovascular exercise per week for at least 20 – 30 minutes.

3.    Watch your food intake - If you are trying to lose weight and sculpt your body, it will be impossible if you are taking in more calories than you are burning. All the hard work you do in the gym on weights and cardiovascular fitness can be erased by making poor eating choices. Stay on track with the adjustments you made from what you discovered in week one. This is the one area where most people fall off during weight loss programs. Keep yourself committed and stay on track with good eating habits.

Thanks again and have a great week,

Chad

Reminder: At 12:00 p.m. CST on March 21st I will be hosting a live Facebook chat on the weight loss challenge. "Like" the Snap Fitness page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/snapfitness247 for Lose Weight Challenge tips, motivation, and to get in on our live chat!

How to Speed Up Your Metabolism

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Hello Lose Weight Challenge participants!  Congratulations on getting to week two of the challenge.  This week I want to give you some tips on how to increase your metabolism with exercise and nutrition:

 

1.   Weight resistance exercise (weight training) - Although cardiovascular exercise is a great way to burn stored fat, weight training increases your metabolism for a longer period of time. After you run on the treadmill, your body burns calories for a few hours.  After weight training, you may notice some soreness in your muscles - even two or three days after your lift. This means your muscles are repairing themselves and that a lot of those calories you are eating are going to repair the sore muscle and will not store as body fat. This is the main reason I recommended weight training at least three days a week in last week's tips.  You will not bulk up from weight training unless you are eating a ton of calories and not doing cardiovascular exercise.

 

2.   Eat five to six meals per day - Think of your body operating like a car operates on gas. When you want to operate your car, you put in a certain amount of gas. When you are almost out of fuel, you add more gas. If you pour too much gas in the tank, the gas pours out all over the place. The same thing happens when you eat too many calories.  If you eat too many calories at once, these calories “overflow” into your body and store as fat. The goal is to eat more meals and avoid overeating when in the starving mode.  Here is a general recommendation that you can adjust it to your schedule:

    • 7:00 a.m. Breakfast
    • 10:00 a.m. Light Snack
    • 1:00 p.m. Lunch
    • 3:00 p.m. Light Snack
    • 6:00 p.m. Dinner
    • 9:00 p.m. Very Light Snack

3.   Drink lots of water - Considering your body is made up of about 60% water, this is a key area in speeding up your metabolism. The benefits of proper water consumption is that it flushes toxins out of the vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues. Lack of water can lead to dehydration and can drain your energy and make you feel tired. The general rule for water is the 8 by 8 rule. “Drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.” However, during exercise such as what you are doing in this Lose Weight Challenge, you may need to consume an additional 2 – 3 cups per day to replace fluids lost during cardiovascular exercise. Drinking lots of water will make you feel better and will make your body operate more effectively.

 

Thanks again and have a great week,

Chad

 

Reminder: At 12:00 p.m. CST on March 21st I will be hosting a live Facebook chat on the Lose Weight Challenge. "Like" the Snap Fitness page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/snapfitness247 for weight loss challenge tips, motivation, and to get in on our live chat!

 

3 Ways to Kick-Start Your Weight Loss Program

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Hello Weight Loss Challenge participants! Congratulations on getting started with the challenge and I wish you the best of luck in getting the best results. To get you started I wanted to give you some tips on how to get out of the gates.  Here are 3 ways to kick start your weight loss program:

Setting goals

Goal setting serves two purposes. The first is that it provides motivation, and the second is that gives you a specific end-point to shoot for. Get out a sheet of paper and write down exactly what your weight loss goals are at the top of the sheet. Once your goal is determined, write out three different ways you are committing yourself to achieve this goal. For example, if your goal is to lose 20 pounds, you should have some specifics written down. You might write that you're going to get to the gym four times per week, eat 300 less calories per day, or eliminate high-calorie desserts or alcohol. Once you have carefully put this together, sign the bottom of the goal sheet and make three copies. I would post one copy on your refrigerator, one on your work computer or office, and one on your home computer.  Make sure you post it where you have to look at it each day to remind yourself of what you are committed to.
 
Nutrition

Write down what you eat for three days. In order for you to lose weight, you are going to have to burn more calories than you take in. It’s the law of thermodynamics. If you consume 2000 calories and you burn 2000 calories, your weight will remain the same. If you burn anything over 2000 calories you will begin to lose weight. Therefore I would recommend writing down exactly what you eat and drink for a three day period.  Use Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday and log everything you eat from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed. Once you have all of this recorded I would go to mysnapfitness.com and click on the "my nutrition" link.  Once you register here you can go to the calorie counter and enter all of the meals for each of the three days.  This will tell you how many calories you are consuming. Knowing this total will be a good guideline to let you know how many calories you'll need to burn to lose weight.  


Gym Routine

Get to the gym more! Now that you have determined the amount of calories that you are taking in, you need to start burning more calories through exercise. Although three days a week is a good start, I would recommend five days per week if you truly want to start moving the needle. This doesn’t mean you have to lift weights all 5 days but I would definitely get in to burn some calories on the cardiovascular machines.  An example would be a Monday, Wednesday, Friday full-body workout on the selectorized machines. Try a 30 minute circuit hitting all body parts and end with 20–30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise on a cross-trainer or treadmill.  On Tuesday and Thursday I would come in and just do cardio for 30 – 40 minutes.  This will allow your muscles to rest on these days and repair.  My best advice would be to get with a Personal Trainer at the gym and get your Fitness Score session completed so you have a starting point. Working with a Personal Trainer will give you an advantage on a customized workout, nutritional advice, and Truestar supplements that can give you much faster results with your weight-loss efforts.


Best of luck during week one and be looking for my week two tips on “Eating to Increase and Speed Up Your Metabolism."


Reminder: At 12:00 p.m. CST on March 21st I will be hosting a live Facebook chat on the weight loss challenge. "Like" the Snap Fitness page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/snapfitness247 for weight loss challenge tips, motivation, and to get in on our live chat!

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: Quick Weight Loss

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I just started back working out and I'm not quite sure what I love...I just get intimidated by the equipment. I want to lose 15 pounds fast. Any suggestions?

Answer: My recommendation is that you work with the manager of your Snap Fitness or a Personal Trainer and have them take you though a “Basic 8” session. It is free for all new members and takes you through 8 basic exercises on the machines and will allow you to work all the main muscles on your body. This orientation will eliminate your intimidation with the equipment and you will have a full understanding of the proper technique for each exercise. I would recommend completing a full body circuit which encompasses two times through the basic 8 machines three times per week. This will work all of your muscles one day and allow for a day of rest in-between. I would also recommend completing about 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise after your circuit three times per week. For this you can use a treadmill, cross-trainer or you can ride a stationary bike. You can also go to your mysnapfitness.com site and find the basic 8 exercises there http://www.mysnapfitness.com/my/videos. There are videos of how to complete each exercise for your viewing. This is a good game plan for you to follow, but the best recommendation I can give is to hire a Personal Trainer to customize a weight training and cardiovascular plan paired with good nutritional recommendations just for you. More exercise paired with less calories equals fast results!  Good Luck!

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