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


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!

GUEST BLOGGER | Chad Ruf, Director of Personal Training

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