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Ask the Trainer: Chad The Trainer's March 21st Live-Chat!

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

On Wednesday, March 21st, our very own Director of Personal Training, Chad - answered our members' health & fitness questions for the $10,000 Lose Weight Challenge on our Facebook Page! Chad's answers are below, in case you missed it!
Eddie: I found out I have MS about a year ago. I use to work out a lot but not for a long time now; was wondering if light workouts are worth my time - I mean, could it help?

Chad TheTrainer: Exercise can improve your quality of life and ease symptoms and complications associated with MS such as fatigue and bladder control. I would recommend 2 - 3 times per week in the gym combining cardiovascular exercise and weight training. My best recommendation would be to see a physical therapist to help determine which exercises are most beneficial.

Angie: How long should I work out in a day to have maximum results?

Chad TheTrainer: There is no set amount of time to work out. I would not recommend more than 90 minutes though. My personal recommendation is to do about 30 minutes of weight training followed by 30 - 40 minutes of cardiovascular exercise.

Kevin: What is the best way to break out of a weight loss plateau?

Chad TheTrainer: If you are at a plateau you simply need to change something. I would look at making minor nutritional changes such as cutting calories a bit. Or you could add an additional 10 minutes of cardio to your workout to start losing weight.

Daniel: I'm trying to gain muscle, but I'm having a very hard time. What would you suggest I do?

Chad TheTrainer: If you are trying to gain weight and muscle you simply need to increase your caloric input. Try adding a 30 - 40 gram protein shake in your daily mix. Right now you are taking in the same calories as you burning. I would take this shake immediately after you finish training to repair and build the muscle. Also, make sure you are getting at least 8 hours of sleep at night to repair tissue.

Sarah: Do you know much about Juicing for medical as well as weight loss? My gallbladder is only working at 4% and I need to do something that is not want to have surgery!

Chad TheTrainer: I would recommend you consult your doctor for advice on this one. Juicing organic green apples and green leafy vegetables is recommended to flush the gallbladder but you may need more medical advice on this one.

Brenda: Doing cardio after weights gives you a better benefit, correct?

Chad TheTrainer: There are mixed opinions on this one but my recommendation is to do cardio after weight training. I would warm up for 5 minutes, lift weights, and finish with cardio. This way you are raising your heart rate on the weights and when you start cardio you will get into the fat burning zone much faster. Hence, you are being more efficient!

Jedd:  What is the best way to maintain a healthy eating habit when my sleep schedule changes a couple times a week with working split-shifts at work?

Chad TheTrainer: You are going to have to be a planner. In your case I would prepare foods in advance and keep a cooler with you so you can grab something healthy every 3 - 4 hours. You may also want to get a box of protein or granola bars to keep on hand so you don't make bad eating choices. Be prepared and stay away from fast food places that have high-calorie options.

Mari: How much fat loss is healthy in a week? How much is actually attainable? (The max amount one can lose, regardless of health consequences?)

Chad TheTrainer: Realistically you can lose about 2 pounds of fat per week. If you are losing more than 2 pounds a week it is either water or muscle. So I would gauge it at 2 pounds. However, when you first start exercising and eating healthy you may see more in the first week as you are flushing out excess water.

Georgia: I have heard a person needs to net at least 1200 calories per day since that is what it takes to function and that we need to burn more than we take in during the day to lose weight. So if I eat 1200 calories per day, I would net to 0, and stay the same weight. So, anything I burn during a workout would essentially be the "burn more than we take in" part, I would think. But then I've heard that if you work out, you need to eat that many more calories so you still net 1200. So now I'm not sure how many calories I need to eat to lose weight. I burn about 200-300 on the treadmill/day, and eat about 1200 per day. I weigh 138 at 5'7" and I'm stuck.

Chad TheTrainer: You are sitting right at a maintenance level. If you have been stuck for a while and you know you are eating 1200 calories, you are also burning about 1200 calories. I would continue to eat 1200 calories but increase you caloric output. Try adding an additional 10 minutes to your cardio workout and you will begin breaking the plateau.

Desiree: We recently joined Snap and I wanted to know what you recommend for a beginner like me... I am also in WW. I want to lose weight but also keep my shape as I lose the weight. Any tips?

Chad TheTrainer: My first recommendation would be to get with a personal trainer there and get your fitness score/assessment done to get a starting point. If you do not have a trainer at that location I would recommend the following: try doing weight training Monday, Wednesday and Friday followed by 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise. This will get you in 3 days per week. Try doing a full-body workout on the selectorized machines utilizing each body part.

Hannah: In your opinion, do you feel there's a standard calorie intake that one should not go below? I know I haven't plateau(ed) but last week I started working out morning and night, I eat very healthy etc...and I lost less lbs since doing that (went from 1.5-2lbs loss/wk to .25-.50 loss)...I'm wondering if I'm doing something wrong....not eating enough? I don’t know...any ideas are welcome! :)

Chad TheTrainer: I would write down what you eat for a few days and make sure you aren't going below 1200 calories. Also, make sure you are getting enough protein in your diet to maintain your lean muscle. If you are at a plateau and your diet is on, try mixing in some different weight training exercises or add 10 minutes to your cardio routine.

Bruce: Is there anything out there for shakes or supplements to help while working out before and after and doing your workout to help build more muscle tone? I'm seeing results. I would like to see more but faster. I do work out 3x week now. Do you recommend going more to the gym?

Chad TheTrainer: On the workouts I would try moving to an upper/lower split 4 days per week. This will help you break the plateau. Do all upper body on Monday and Thursday and lower body on Tuesday and Friday. Rest on Wednesday and the weekend for recovery. On the supplement piece, log into your site and click on “My Nutrition” and hit “Start Today”. This will direct you to the Truestar site. They have a great organic whey protein called “True Strength” that you can purchase online. Try taking in 30 - 40 grams of protein immediately after your workouts to help repair and add muscle mass.

Susan: Is it better to weight-train different areas of muscles on separate days or combine? Ex: arms and chest or arms one day and chest next day, etc?

Chad TheTrainer: Your training split depends on your goals. If you are trying to be more efficient I would include multiple body parts. Try pairing biceps with back and triceps with chest and shoulders. I would do your leg workout by itself one day per week. For weight loss I like a full-body workout 3 days per week with 5 days of cardiovascular exercise.

Amanda: Chad, what is your opinion on eating back the calories you burn? Say you're at 1200 calories a day and you burn 500 working out – do you eat the 500 back as some websites state you should? It's a bit confusing.

Chad TheTrainer: If you eat back the calories you won't be able to lose weight as you are going back to maintenance. If you burn 500 calories working out, you are now at 1700 calories and eating back the calories would put your input at 1700 calories. If you have 500 calories per day exceeding your input you will burn about 3500 calories over the week. 3500 calories = 1 pound of body weight. Hence, you would lose 1 pound of fat per week.

Susan: Will I get better results from an elliptical or treadmill? What about the crosstrainer or arc trainer?

Chad TheTrainer: The type of cardio that you do doesn't matter as much as your heart rate. If you take 220 – age = maximum heart rate. (i.e. 220 – 20 = 200) 200 would be max heart rate. Fat burning zone is 60 - 75% of max heart rate. So 70% of 200 is 140. So in this example I would keep my heart rate at 140 beats per minute. I would recommend mixing up all types of cardio to keep it fun and interesting so you keep on track with your goals.

Megan: Chad, would you ever take a supplement capsule where you get energy and speed up your metabolism, and curbs your appetite to help lose weight, or even just to boost your workout?

Chad TheTrainer: I have tried many on the market and I do believe they help as long as you are eating a healthy diet and exercising. They do not work all by themselves though. On your site under “My Nutrition” you can log onto Truestar Health. They have a true energy supplement that does this type of thing. You would take this about 30 minutes prior to a workout.

Kara: Is it a bad idea to work out twice a day once in the morning and once at night?

Chad TheTrainer: It is perfectly fine to work out twice a day if you have time. Many people like to get up early and get their cardiovascular exercise done and come back for weight training in the evenings. Some people believe that you can build more muscle if you just lift weights and then get a meal in right after to repair torn muscle tissue. Just make sure you are separating weight training and cardio.

David: I'm having real trouble motivating myself to get to the gym. Do you have any tips?

Chad TheTrainer: I think most people do. I would recommend setting a certain time aside each day where you have no interruptions. Make this a habit. I do a couple things that help me stay motivated: I drink a coffee about 30 minutes prior to my workout to get my energy going. I also recommend getting some headphones and put on some music that motivates you. I have added music to my workouts this year and my motivation has been much better. Good luck!

Amy: If fat burning is 60-75% of my max heart rate, what happens when I'm between 85-95%?

Chad TheTrainer: The cardio zone is 70 - 85% of your max heart rate. I wouldn't go over 85%. You simply will burn more calories in this zone but you don't have to go to this height to burn stored body fat. Many people who train in this zone are doing it for sports-specific reasons or a specific event.

Josh: Hey Chad I’m doing a 12-week challenge. I’m at week 5 and most of the boys have lost over 8 kgs. My first 4 weeks, I was on a high-protein diet; now I’m doing a soup detox and i can’t seem to lose enough weight. I’m taking oxy elite, geranium, caffeine and muscle pharm assault every morning before my cardio session, then I do another cardio session after work including full body circuits Tuesdays and Thursdays, but I just can’t seem to lose enough. Please help me - I really want to win!

Chad TheTrainer: I would recommend increasing your weight training circuit to 3 days per week since you are already doing so much cardio. Try doing your circuit Mon, Wed, and Friday. Try doing you exercises in a different order. You need to shock your body into breaking that plateau. Keep up the cardio and push harder on the weights. Good luck!

Susan: For weight loss, should I eat before a workout or after?

Chad TheTrainer: I would eat very light about 30 - 60 minutes before your workout. This could even be a small glass of orange juice 30 minutes before. After your workout make sure you get a meal that has protein in it to help repair muscle tissue. In general, you should be eating small meals about every 3 - 4 hours.

Cosmos: Age 55 and need 30 pounds of fat gone. My trainer is great but I keep hitting plateaus. I eat about 1,000 calories of high protein and very low carbs. What else can I do to lose at least two pounds a week? I think I need to push myself more. My protein shakes are at least 30g whey isolate. I eat one gram of protein per lean body mass. Am I doing this right?

Chad TheTrainer: Keep with your trainer for motivation but try increasing your calories a bit. You may not be eating enough to maintain your lean muscle mass. This can sometimes work backwards. You could go to about 1.2 or 1.5 grams on your protein to get there. You need to create a 1,000 calorie deficit per day to lose 2 pounds per week. For example, if you are eating 1200 calories you need to burn 2200 calories per day to get there. Good luck!

And here are some additional questions that were submitted through our social media channels!

Question: Chad, I am a Personal Trainer at a Snap Fitness. I have several members asking me (in reference to the "Lose Weight Challenge" if they should only do cardio to lose more weight. These members are in the 400 - 450lb range. Being trained that muscle is "the fat burning furnace" my natural response is "NEVER do just Cardio! Who would want to lose precious muscle?!?" But in this case... they REALLY want to win (lol) what should I recommend?

ChadTheTrainer: I agree with you on this one. I would never recommend just doing cardio for the same reason.  The tricky part is people get competitive and only look at wanting to win a contest, then forget about the long-term effects from what they are doing. I think in their case they work out to maintain their current muscle mass versus gaining lean muscle mass. It is okay to do more cardio to lose weight but I would recommend lifting at least three times per week to maintain that “fat burning machinery.”

Question: I'm dealing with an under-active thyroid and I have been working out but haven't lost a pound. What else can I do?

ChadTheTrainer: Thyroid issues are bothersome for many individuals wanting to exercise. However, to combat the symptoms associated with this condition such as fatigue and a slower metabolism, you need to make sure you are weight training and doing cardiovascular exercise. Weight training will actually increase your resting metabolism and allow you to burn more calories. Continue to work out on your cardiovascular machines to get your energy going but add some weight training to break the weight loss barrier. I would also recommend consulting your physician to make sure you have no restrictions.  

Question: I have a trainer helping me but she only works 2 days a week. I feel like I am not meeting my goals since I joined the contest. I need help on my middle area. Any advice?

Chad TheTrainer: I am glad to see that you are working with a personal trainer. I am sure that is helping you get on the right track even though it is only twice per week. In terms of working your middle area I would say that you cannot really spot-reduce. Meaning, when you begin to lose body fat it will come off everywhere on your body with some variances due to your specific genetic makeup. If you are really trying to cut fast I would make sure you are getting 5 days a week of 30 minutes or more cardiovascular exercise with 3 days of weight training.  I would also pay close attention to what you put in your mouth. At the end of the day you need to burn more calories through exercise than you take in with food. Sometimes it is easier to eat a little bit less that workout a lot more. Good luck with the challenge!

Are You Overtraining?

By: Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

Many Americans get stuck in the rut of overtraining when trying to see results in the gym and outdoors. How do you know when you have done too much? How do you know when it is time to switch up the routine and/or what you are doing that's moving you in the wrong direction?  Here are some signs that you may potentially be overtraining.



  1. You have been losing weight and body fat for some time but now you are going in the wrong direction. Your body’s hormones are out of whack and you are starting to store body fat and lose lean muscle. 
  2. Your workouts are getting worse and not better. Remember when you started and your workouts would continue to get better as time went on? Now you cannot finish the original workout you did a month ago and you can’t seem to get your heart rate up like you used to.
  3. You are working out 7 days a week without rest. You are training too often. Your body needs rest between workout days to recover and repair torn muscle tissue. Try taking at least two days off a week to get the needed recovery time you need to build lean muscle mass.
  4. Your joints, limbs, and bones ache and hurt. The overuse of your muscles during these multiple workouts has caused pain in the joints and auxiliary muscles where you have more motion and use. Your body cannot repair fast enough in these areas as you are using them in multiple exercises. Don’t ignore that pain in your knee cap and that throbbing pain in your hip joint. You may be overtraining.
  5. You are getting sick or catching colds more often. You notice you have been sick a lot more this year. You are exercising a lot but you are wearing down your body’s immune system and it can’t repair itself fast enough to keep you healthy.


Pay attention to these potential symptoms of overtraining and you may have a better and more enjoyable fitness journey in your future!

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!!!



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.  

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.

“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!



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!




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 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!


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 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 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.


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 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,


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 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,



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!

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