Snap Fitness Health & Fitness Blog

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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,



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 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.

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 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 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: "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.

Ask the Trainer: Targeting Pectoral Muscles

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I've been working on toning my muscles the past three months, and the only thing I am unhappy with is the bottom of my pecs. What can I do to tone them and get that nice rolled/ripped look?

Answer: There are a few different ways to hit the chest. Flat bench press is typically used as a strength move to build a foundation. Incline press builds the upper pectorals and give you the muscle you can see from a “side shot” as it focuses on the upper portion. To focus on your lower “pecs” I would recommend doing a decline chest press with a straight bar or decline dumbbell presses. You can follow that up with some low cable rows that emphasize the lower pectorals. Make sure you continue to hit it from three different angles for the best results and shape! For demonstrations on these different exercises, visit our YouTube channel at

Ask the Trainer: Early Bird Workouts or Night Owls?

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: When is the best time to work out? Morning or evening?

Answer: There is really no best time to work out. Some people come in early before work, some after work, and some come in early for their cardio and then again later in the day for weights. It really depends on what your goals are and what you have time for. The best rule to follow is to work out when is best for you. I have seen too many people try to become morning people and they end up missing too many workouts and don’t see results. If you are a morning person, work out before work. If you are not a morning person try to fit it in during your lunch break or after hours. Either way, it is up to you to be consistent. Whatever time you’re more likely to stick to a routine for is the best time for you.

Ask the Trainer: Leg Press Machine vs. Squats

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: Does the leg press machine work your muscles just as well as standing squats? I can never tell.


Answer: The leg press machine isolates your quadriceps, giving you a more targeted workout for those muscles. Squats will hit your quads and the auxiliary muscles - giving you a more efficient workout if you're trying to hit multiple muscles!

Ask the Trainer: Warm-Up, Cool-Down, and Pace

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I read your article on Target Heart Rate, but it did not state how long you should exercise at that target rate. Is there a formula for that? Also, is there a typical amount of time one should spend on warm-up and cool-down? I am a 60-year old woman who is trying to live a healthier lifestyle and this weight loss challenge I'm involved in was just the “push” I needed.  I have lost 14 pounds so far, but would like to maximize my efforts for the greatest personal benefit.

Answer: Congratulations on losing 14 pounds! That is great work so far and it sounds like you have the right attitude that will get you the results you want. In terms of warm-up and cool-down I would recommend about 5 minutes. The five minutes before is to warm your muscles up and to gradually get your heart rate up to your target heart rate zone. The cool-down is to bring your heart rate down slowly and safely to a lower level. There really isn’t a formula for the duration of cardiovascular exercise. This would depend on your goal and time frame. It really comes down to the amount of calories you want to burn in a day. You will burn a lot more calories in 30 minutes at your target heart rate zone than you will in 20 minutes. If you are continuing to lose weight and see results I would keep doing what you are doing. If you hit a plateau I would recommend adding an additional 10 minutes to your current cardiovascular program per day, and I would recommend trying different machines to shock your body into getting results. Keep up the good work!

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 site and find the basic 8 exercises there 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!

Ask the Trainer: Zumba vs. Circuit Training

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: Is Zumba better for toning than circuit training?


Answer: Zumba is a great dance class, much like a group fitness class, which keeps your body moving and calories burning. It is great for motivation as you are in a group setting and keeps you coming back because it is fun. I do believe that you can burn more calories long-term with circuit training as you are still burning calories with an elevated heart rate but you are incorporating weight resistance exercise as well. Weight training allows you to burn calories for up to 24 hours afterwards as your body is repairing damaged muscle. This increases your metabolism long-term. If you do want to continue Zumba I would recommend adding some basic weight training to go along with it for long-term results.

Posts 391 - 400 of 430