Snap Fitness Health & Fitness Blog

Posts 391 - 400 of 452

Ask the Trainer: Leg Definition

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I want more definition in my legs. I've been working out "like a man" for about 3 years now, drinking protein with no noticeable improvement. What can I do?


Answer: If you have been working out very hard for about three years I am sure you have put on some muscle mass in your legs. You should be showing strength gains and increase in muscle size. However, definition comes down to diet and cardio. If you are not doing so, I would make sure you are keeping your repetitions in the 15 to 20 range on legs. You need to incorporate lunges and leg extensions to give you more definition in the quadriceps area. I would also look at the amount of cardiovascular exercise you are doing - make sure you are getting in 4 – 5 days a week over 30 minute sessions. Best of luck!

Ask the Trainer: Lower Ab Workouts

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: Any good workouts for the lower abs? Needing help with that. Thanks!


Answer: There is not a specific exercise for this as you cannot spot reduce. You actually end up working the whole area even if you are trying to emphasize just the upper or lower piece. One thing that will help emphasize and make you feel this area is a hanging knee tuck. Hang from a bar and bring your legs up in front of you with your knees at a 90 degree angle. Lift your knees half-way up to your torso and return in a slow motion. This will make you feel the lower portion more but you are working every muscle.


Check out our YouTube video for a Hanging Knee Tuck Demonstration.

Ask the Trainer: Calorie Cycling?

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I have heard one strategy to break through a weight loss plateau is through zigzagging calories/calorie cycling (increase caloric intake at least one-twice per week.) What is your opinion on this?

Answer: I have heard of this too but I personally don’t believe in it. At the end of the day you have to take in less calories than you burn to lose weight. I believe this to be a true science. The only way that would work is if on the higher days of calories you are working out extra hard to make sure you are burning more calories. I would focus on making sure you are burning an excess of 1000 calories over what you are taking in on a daily basis - meaning you are consuming 1500 calories and burning 2500 calories. If 3500 calories equals one pound of body weight you would be able to lose about 1.5 to 2 pounds per week of body fat. My recommendation is to just be consistent with your exercise routine: 4 – 6 days per week and make sure you are taking in less calories than you are burning. Best of luck!

Ask the Trainer: AM vs. PM Workouts

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I do a lot of body weight training and high-intensity-interval-training in the mornings - what are the best exercises for the AM compared to when I am in the gym at night for resistance? Is there a balance? We try to do a lot of plyo in the morning to jump-start metabolism.

Answer: It seems that you have the right idea. I assume you are doing your resistance training in the evening because you have more energy for your weight training workout after several meals? Is sounds like you are doing body weight training with the goal of increasing your heart rate in the AM on an empty stomach to burn more fat. I guess the most important thing to consider is not the type of exercise you are doing, but how elevated your heart rate is during exercise. I would focus on exercises in the morning that do not interfere with the exercises you are doing later in the day. In other words, I wouldn’t do a lot of push-ups in the AM if you are working your chest, for example. Just try breaking up the body parts and keeping your heart rate elevated and you should continue to see results.

Ask the Trainer: Recovering from Injuries

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: In your opinion, what are the top 5 worst exercises for a bad rotator cuff?

Answer: I would say that your biggest enemy here is not properly stretching and warming up before exercise. If I did have to pick a couple exercises that would not be great they would be the overhead barbell or dumbbell press and the flat bench press. All of these exercises put pressure on the rotator cuff especially if you break the 90 degree angle with the elbow.

Question: I had gall bladder surgery 2 months ago. What's the best exercise for me?

Answer: Dorothy, although many experts say it is important to begin walking around soon after surgery, I would be very conscious as you could re-injure your incision sites. I wouldn’t begin an exercise program until you have an examination and are released by the doctor to do so. He or she will give you any restrictions you have to work with and I recommend you get with a personal trainer to have them help customize a program around them. Take it slow and get your advice from the doctor.

Ask the Trainer: Excess Skin and Building Muscle in Weight Loss

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: Love my local Snap in Medford, NJ. I am 60 years old and have lost 110 pounds, with clean eating and working out with my awesome personal trainer, Sue. We are now working on toning the loose skin, the result of being 100 pounds overweight for 30 years. I am interested in your opinion as to what I can realistically expect. From what I have read the odds are not in my favor.

Answer: This sounds more like a question for a medical doctor.  What has happened is you have stretched your skin and when you lost the weight the skin stayed where is was at. I do believe you can alleviate this a little bit by adding back muscle under the skin. However, the skin may have to be removed to be permanent.  Congratulations on your weight loss!

Question: Do you really gain weight when you are building muscle?

Answer: If you only gain muscle through weight resistance training you will gain weight. All you are doing is adding muscle to your body. However, you can build muscle and still maintain your weight by losing fat at the same time. This will take a combination of weight training, good nutrition, and cardio. Gaining muscle + losing fat = losing inches!

Ask the Trainer: Pulling Muscles in Back

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Question: I am constantly pulling muscles in my lower back when I do deadlifts - even after taking 2 weeks off, and starting with almost no weight. I've tried super-slow, low-weight-high repetitions, stretching, etc. Of course, I'm also lifting with my glutes, not my back. Any ideas?


Answer: There are a couple things you can do to help with this. One issue many have with the lower back is a weak core. Try strengthening your core with leg lifts, crunches, and sit-ups on a stability ball. You can also try wearing a power belt to hold your core tight and help support your lower back. The best way to handle this would be to eliminate dead lifts from your workout unless you need to do them for testing or a sport specific exercise.

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.  

Posts 391 - 400 of 452