Snap Fitness Health & Fitness Blog

Chad the Trainer's 3/5/13 Live Chat: Lose Weight Challenge Special!

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Thank you to everyone who participated in our February live-chat on our Facebook Page! Here are the questions and answers from our first "Lose Weight Challenge" live-chat. These chats will be conducted every other week on the Snap Fitness Facebook Page at http://www.facebook.com/snapfitness247!

Chad, what do you think of the protein diet? I was doing weight watchers. I have lost 100 lbs. on my own still have 15-20 lbs. to go that I just cant get rid of! I joined the Challenge, and I'm hoping that will help. HELP!

Chad the Trainer: I don’t believe in a protein only diet as we need carbohydrates for energy and fat for satiety (feeling full).  I think you need to have a balanced approach with the correct combination based on your goals.  Although I believe in a lower carbohydrate diet I think you should have your menu provided to you based on your hormonal balance and goals.  Log into your snapfitness.com website,  click on mynutrition, register for your free nutrition plan.  You can then plug in your goals and it will provide the amount of calories and protein, fat, and carbohydrate percentages for your goals.  Try this menu plan for a couple weeks and let us know what you think?  Make sure to go in and adjust it to the foods you want by making substitutions.  Keep up on your consistent cardiovascular program, weigh training program and get your menu dialed in.

Hi, I have been exercising and eating correctly for 7 months, I have lost 60 lbs. However, I have reached a plateau, any advice on how to break through it? I havent lost a pound in 3 weeks...

Chad the Trainer: 
You have just hit a plateau.  Your body has hit maintenance as the amount of calories you are consuming has equaled the amount you are taking in.  One thing you might want to look at is if you are changing your body composition.  Are you gaining muscle and losing fat?   If so, this is not a bad thing if you are seeing a change in how you look.  If this isn’t the case you are going to need to adjust your caloric input or increase your caloric output.  .  Log into your snapfitness.com website,  click on mynutrition and register for your free nutrition plan.  You can then plug in your goals and it will provide the amount of calories and protein, fat, and carbohydrate percentages for your goals.  You will need to create a 1000 calorie deficit per day to lose 2 pounds per week.  If you are taking in 2500 calories you will need to figure out how to burn 3500 calories per day.  I would start by making sure you are burning over 500 calories per day during your workout.  Try a 5 minute warm-up, 30 minutes of weight training followed by 30 – 40 minutes of cardiovascular exercise.

I get side aches when I run. What can I do to help prevent them? I've tried eating 4 hours In advanced, 1 hour in advanced, drinking water, not drinking water, etc. I can usually run for about 5 minutes the. It gets so bad and I have to walk. And them can only run about 2 minutes before it starts again. Ive also worked on my breathing which sometimes helps. Suggestions?

Chad the Trainer: Scientists aren’t 100% sure why side stitches occur – for years, the diaphragm was the culprit and proper breathing techniques were encouraged. But, a study in the Journal of Sports Medicine found that poor posture is actually more likely. Forward, rounded, and elevated shoulders, along with tension in the ribcage, can all contribute to side stitches. You can do a few things to prevent: 

1. Learn diaphragm breathing – breathe into the lowest and side portions of your ribcage/lungs so that you can prevent further tension in your shoulders
2. Slow down your pace to get your breathing under control if necessary
3. Sip water throughout the day, rather than gulping before your run (sounds like you are doing this in a way - but, try to start slower overall).
4. Stop to drink while you are running, rather than trying to drink and breathe and run with efficiency
5. Stretch your upper back, ribcage and sides before your run or a few minutes into your warmup – these are often “forgotten” muscles needed for running since most people focus solely on the legs in preparation for their run.

I do HIIT for my cardio, and I do 60 seconds at 3.0, 30 seconds at 6.0. I'll be changing to 45 seconds at 3.0, then 45 seconds at 6.0 within the next few days. What is this equivalent to if I was doing regular cardio for 60 minutes?

Chad the Trainer: 
Interval Training is awesome for improving cardiovascular fitness and burning fat - but, longer (and usually lower intense workouts), are great for stretching your ability to burn fat during your workout and actually make your HIIT training more efficient. Without knowing how long you do your HIIT training, 60min sounds like it will just be a lower intensity or pace. Start with 4.0 (miles per hour)...or 0% incline if you were referring to that. See if you can sustain it for the duration of your cardio. Slow down if you need to but, keep it going, you'll do great. Good luck!

I'm trying to gain weight for football season but I'm also in track season at the moment. What can I do to keep gaining weight/muscle in a short period of time at the gym (track goes until 6 so i have to not have much time to spare). 

Chad the Trainer: This is a tough one.  It is tough to gain muscle when you are burning so many calories throughout the day. I would make sure you are lifting lower body a couple times a week and upper a couple times a week to maintain your muscle mass. Make sure to keep your protein at about 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight to ensure you are not burning muscle for energy.  I would also make sure you are taking time to consume a lot of calories and rest on the weekends when you can.  Overall, I would focus on maintenance for now and work on the bulking when season is over.

I'm 22, 5'2", and over the last year and a half I've lost 95 pounds and still counting. I've done this by walking and now running along with a healthy diet. I still have about 20-25 pounds until I get to a healthy BMI but I'd like to begin incorporating weight training to tone and build muscle. What's the best way I can do this? I have no idea where to begin.

Chad the Trainer: I would start by incorporating a three day a week full body exercise program.  Try doing a full body workout 2 sets of 15 for each of the selectorized machines.  Begin with 5 minute warm-up.  You will then work each body part including chest, back, biceps, triceps, shoulders, and legs.  Once you run though these sets I would finish with 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise.  Take Tuesday, Thursday, and weekends off to rest and repair your body.  Try this for the next 60 days and get back with us.   Make sure you get your nutrition in check as this is the largest piece of the puzzle when losing weight.

I have lost about 100 pounds down from 432, should I start adding in strength training or just keep working on cardio?

Chad the Trainer: Assuming you have lost your weight with cardio alone I would begin adding weight training to increase your metabolism.  The more muscle you add the higher your metabolism will be.  Try starting with three days a week and slowly work your way to a four day split with Wednesday and weekends off.  Also, if you haven’t done so I would log into your snapfitness.com account and click on mynutrition.  Register for your free nutrition profile when they will set you up on a custom nutrition plan to make sure you are on the right track with calories and macronutrients. Get your nutrition in check, keep up the cardio and weight training and you should begin breaking through your barrier.  Best of luck!

Just wondering if it is good to go to the gym every day? Also should you mix up doing cardio somedays and weight machines other days? Right now I am combining everything together and going to the gym 4 days a week.

Chad the Trainer: I prefer to lift weights and do cardio on the same day. Try doing your cardio after your weight routine if you aren’t doing so now. Try adding one more day to your routine or split. Back one day, chest one day, biceps and triceps one day, Legs one day, and shoulders one day.  Take Wednesday and Sunday off as rest.  Just make sure you have a day off in the middle for recovery.   Give this a try and see what happens.

I drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, cut down caffeine and sugar intake and carb intake. Upped the protein and finally having success. I am 5'5" and started out weighing 185. I have lost 5 pounds so far and am walking and doing some lean/tone exercises from home. Do I need to ramp up my program?

Chad the Trainer: It really depends on your goal if you want to “amp” up your program.  I’m assuming if you are trying to lose weight you want to increase the intensity of your workouts. Try increasing the intensity of your cardiovascular exercise.  Take 180 – age to get your heart rate to train.  For example: 180 – 30= 150.  In this case you would want to keep your heart rate at 150 beats per minute while doing cardiovascular exercise.  Continue doing your toning exercises but speed up your walk to a fast walk and try to increase your heart rate some more.  At the end of the day you either need to burn more calories though your exercise or make minor cuts in your nutrition to cut additional calories.

To build muscle is it better for lower weight, but high reps or big weight and fewer reps? Does it really matter?

Chad the Trainer: To build muscle most people stay in the 8 to 12 repetition range for exercises focusing on taking the muscle to complete failure.  For strength you stay in the 4 – 8 range and for endurance 12- 18 repetitions depending on who you talk to.  For you I would keep your repetition range in the 8 – 12 range and I recommend you have a spotter so you can get a couple forced repetitions at the end of each set.  I would start each exercise with a light warm-up an finish with two set to complete failure where you can barely get the 10th to 12th repetition.  Week over week I would just try to add 5 to 10 additional pounds to your exercises to increase muscle size.  It is also crucial that you are getting a high protein (30 grams) shake within 30 minutes after your workout to get the best possible muscle recovery.  Try this out for a few weeks and you should see a difference.

How do you determine the number of calories to eat for losing weight?

Chad the Trainer: This is simple.  Log into your mysnapfitness.com site.  Click on mynutrition and register for your free nutrition profile through truestar.com. Plug in your weight and your weight goal and it will take you through a series of questions to determine exactly how many calories you should be taking in based on your goal.  It will have you taking in less than you are burning which is what you need to do to lose weight.