Saturday, December 27, 2008


Last week we finished Biggest Loser “5” but the thing I didn’t tell you was the average weight loss for all the participants. Of course the top three had crazy weight loss. Weston lost 57.2 lbs, Erika lost 37.0 lbs, and Logan lost 43.7 lbs.

While we continue to see people losing this much, it’s really the exception rather than the rule. Just like in life, there are always a few people that take it to a different level.

Don’t get me wrong, the others were working pretty hard, too. Just not at their level. First of all, Weston, Erika and Logan were pretty young, and in pretty good shape, so they could push themselves harder. I was told that Weston even did three workouts a day a couple of times.

Once you start feeling better, you can start doing more. Then your workouts can be more intense and you can burn more calories, losing more weight. Now everything gets a little easier, letting you push even harder, burning even more calories and losing even more weight.

I call it the “cycle of success.” Your body starts working for you instead of against you. At first, some people can’t do much. So you won’t lose much weight but you will start feeling better and getting stronger. Then your weight loss can increase.

Another factor is the effect certain medicines have on the body. Medicines for high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, depression, or conditions requiring steroids often have an adverse effect on metabolism—causing weight gain and making it much harder to lose weight.

Even so, it’s still possible to get the job done. It just might be harder for you than for others. When the tough times come, motivation counts for a lot. You’ve got to really want to do this.

In fact, it’s got to be more than that. It’s got to be a “have-to” if you’re really going to be successful. Like a salmon swimming up stream, you don’t have any choice in the matter. You’ve just “got” to do it.

If you have that kind of drive, you’ll be able to push yourself more. You’ll also stick when it counts. The person that sticks will always do more than the one who starts and stops all the time.

It’s tough losing weight. A pound of fat is 3,500 calories. You have to work really hard to burn that off so some people feel like it’s just too much work so they quit trying. What a shame, because almost everyone can burn 3,500 calories in a week—a little at a time.

There was a pair of ladies in their 50’s that made tremendous gains during the program. They even ended up jogging for a couple minutes at a time. They also participated in some really tough workouts there at the end.

Both will tell you that they never dreamed that they could work that hard. But each week they got a little stronger, lost a little more weight, and could do a little bit more. By the end, they were running short distances on the treadmill. They’ve also signed up for the next Biggest Loser. I think they have this thing figured out.

Two other gals told me that jogging was hurting their knees too much, but there at the end, they figured out that they could do the elliptical without pain. In those last two weeks, their weight loss really jumped up.

Another had serious back trouble for years and had to limit the exercises she did. Her strategy was doing more of the things she could do. It worked for her.

After you’ve made the decision to start, and made the daily decision to stick with it, there’s still one more thing. You have to have a realistic goal.

A poll of the 21 participants at the end showed that most wanted to lose 20 lbs, and a few wanted to lose 25 or more. In Biggest Loser “6” we’ll ask everyone up front what their goal is.

Something I keep saying, and just like getting women to hit their “minimum” calories, it’s hard to get people to believe me. Losing a pound a week is good. Two pounds a week is great, and three or more is fantastic.

That means that a 12 week program should net you 12 pounds, if everything goes right. 24 pounds in 12 weeks would be great. Anything more than that would be fantastic. We had 3 people in the “fantastic” category.

The total average weight loss for the 21 was 18 ¼ lbs. If you throw out the top three results, the average for the other 18 people that made the final weigh-in was 13.6 lbs.

This means the average was pretty good. For some people, the weight loss was better than good—it was almost great. For those three, it was outstanding. Keep in mind that all of them wanted to lose more.

In the end, it comes down to realizing you have a problem and then deciding to do something about it. Then you have to get started, set a realistic short-term goal, and work toward that goal.

You have to be dedicated, persistent, and pick your way through the minefields that appear along the way—and they will. At the end of that time period, evaluate how things went.

Then set a new short-term goal designed to get you to the bigger, long-term goal. There’s not a single person I’ve ever met that couldn’t get where they wanted, if they were willing to do what it took for just one year.

Think of it. A year of hard work, but you’re feeling better each day. You’re losing more weight each month, and looking better too. Six months have gone by and now you’re feeling great. You’ve got a spring in your step, and you’re well on your way.

After nine months, people don’t recognize you. They tell you that you look sick, because of all the weight you’ve lost (that’s pretty ironic). Your jogging—maybe even running a 5K. You’re lifting more weight, and have muscles showing up all over.

Your metabolism is humming along, making you a fat burner even standing still. You’ve had to buy new clothes—several times. After a year, you’ve completely transformed yourself. You’re a new, healthy person physically and mentally, too. It’s completely doable.

Biggest Loser “6” starts Friday, January 2nd. We’ve already got 10 people signed up, and you have to be registered before the end of the year—we’ll be too busy that night to mess with that.

It costs $50 to participate and you don’t have to be a member at my gym, although you should be a member somewhere, because you’re going to be working out all the time, right?

2008 has come and gone, and 2009 will go quickly too. A year will pass whatever you do. So what will you accomplish this next year? You can accomplish big things too—a little at a time. Let’s do this together.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


This week we have the final results from Biggest Loser “5.” Before we get to that, I want to finish a conversation we started a couple weeks ago.

Sometimes we do things we shouldn’t, even though we know better. Think about all those things we do that we shouldn’t. We also have a hard time doing what we know we need to do.

We talked about being honest when we have a problem, inside of hiding and making excuses. That’s the first step to true recovery. The next step is to go get some help. Sometimes it needs to be spiritual help.

I’ve never been disappointed when I’ve asked God for help. It might take some time, and sometimes the answer isn’t always what I thought it would be—but he’s never let me down.
Once you’ve got that going for you, things get a lot easier. This brings me to the last thing I talked about with the group on Friday night.

The Apostle Paul told the Romans we need to be transformed by the “renewing of our minds.” What it means is that we can change, if we can change our thought process.

Most battles start in our minds. Think about something long enough and you’ll do it, even when you know better. You’ll simply talk yourself into it.

One of Solomon’s proverbs says “as we think, so we are.” This works both ways—whether we’re thinking about things that can hurt us, or things that can help us.

Paul also told the Philippians to quit thinking about bad things and to start thinking about good things. He called them things that were “true and honorable” or “excellent and worthy of praise.”

We have to reprogram our thinking. Instead of thinking negative thoughts, start thinking about something more positive. Instead of thinking about what’s tempting you, start thinking about how it would be to be free.

This works. Some time ago, I was outside running while trying to come to terms with a tough spot I was in that involved trusting God’s provision.

The enemy wanted me to believe God was letting me fail, and was showing me all the bad things that were going to happen. But I was reminded of this verse from Psalms: “My God is a very present help in trouble.”

While I ran, I also started saying this one from Philippians: “My God shall supply all my needs according to his riches in glory.” After a couple miles, it was like a cloud had lifted.

I had more faith. Things were going to be alright. Because I’d studied those verses a little, and put them in my mind, they were there for me when I needed them.

I know it sounds simplistic, but it works. If you’re struggling with something, you need to see what God has to say about it. Then, start thinking that way. Think those thoughts.

Let’s get to the results. We started with 53 people, but just 21 finished. Another 8 to 10 people were still active but missed the weigh-in. So we helped at least 30 people that I know of. That’s the way I’m going to think about it.

Our winner for Week 12 was Steve Jones, who just completed his second Biggest Loser. Steve lost 2.1% of his body weight and 4.4 lbs and won a $20 Walmart gift card from Terry Elston and State Farm Insurance.

Our overall winner was Weston Hughes, who lost another 3.6 lbs this week for a grand total of 19.9% of his body weight and an amazing 57.2 lbs in just 12 weeks. Weston won the $250 grand prize provided by Terry Elston and State Farm Insurance!

2nd place went to Erika Hollis, who finished with a total weight loss of 17.8% of her body weight and an outstanding 37.0 lbs—the most ever lost by a woman in our five Biggest Loser contests. Erika pushed herself like crazy, and won $150 from Terry Elston for all her hard work.

3rd place went to Logan Graves (I call him Horton), who finished with a total weight loss of 14.2% of his body weight, and 43.7 lbs. At 17, Logan was the youngest participant we’ve ever had, and won $100 for his college fund from Terry Elston. His performance here was as great as it was on the stage last spring.

Remember that even though these three set the bar pretty high, there’s a healthy way of looking at this for the rest of them. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, healthy weight loss is between 1-2 lbs a week.

I preach that one pound a week is good, two pounds a week is great, and three pounds or more is fantastic. I’m proud of everyone who participated, and as far as I’m concerned, they’re all winners.

Keep that in mind while you’re also thinking about getting involved in Biggest Loser “6” which starts January 2nd. You have to sign up before the end of the year, but why not demonstrate your commitment to change and sign up now. Think about it.

1. Weston Hughes 19.9 % 57.2 lbs
2. Erika Hollis 17.8 % 37.0 lbs
3. Logan Graves 14.2 % 43.7 lbs
4. Carol Cline 10.2 % 23.2 lbs
5. Gayle Dailey 9.3 % 13.4 lbs
6. Margo Yeargin 8.7 % 16.2 lbs
7. Dan Lynch 8.5% 20.1 lbs
8. Kelly Lynch 8.4 % 15.0 lbs
9. Jean McConkey 8.3 % 16.6 lbs
10. Steve Jones 7.6 % 16.9 lbs
11. Teri Dennis 7.3 % 16.1 lbs
12. Sue Sheeran 6.7 % 14.8 lbs
13. John Rigdon 6.5 % 13.3 lbs
14. Shawn Bowers 5.8 % 16.7 lbs
15. Melissa Bradley 5.5 % 11.6 lbs
16. Brant Walls 5.5 % 14.2 lbs
17. Renee Colvin 5.5 % 10.6 lbs
18. Heidi Walls 4.8 % 7.0 lbs
19. Shirley Fiscus 3.4 % 6.8 lbs
20. Pam Ogle 3.1 % 7.2 lbs
21. Pam Kelly 2.2 % 5.6 lbs

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Last week we talked about how life-long struggles and how early childhood “cookies for comfort” still affect me today. There are often deep reasons why we do the things we do. This week I want to go back even further. Let’s go back to the Garden.

Remember in the beginning when Adam and Eve stood naked and unashamed? They used to walk with God in the cool of the evening. After the fall, when they chose sin and pride over obedience, what did they do?

“At that moment, their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they strung fig leaves together around their hips to cover themselves.” Genesis 3:7.

They’d been told not to eat the fruit of the tree or they’d surely die. It couldn’t have been a physical death or they’d have died right then.

It had to be a different type of death, a spiritual one. And the consequences still plague us today. “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.” Proverbs 16:25.

That evening, when God came to walk with them, they became afraid and hid in the trees. “The Lord God called to Adam, “Where are you?” He replied, “I heard you, so I hid. I was afraid because I was naked.” Genesis 3:8-10.

We hide things instinctively. What’s a child do when caught with something? It’s in our nature, since the day when Adam fell. All of us are born into sin, and we’re still hiding today.

And what happens when we get caught? Like Adam, we make excuses. “Yes,” Adam admitted, “but it was the woman you gave me who brought me the fruit, and I ate it.” Genesis 3:12.

When God asked Eve “How could you do such a thing?” she did the same. “The serpent tricked me,” she replied. “That’s why I ate it.” Genesis 3:13.

Both did it. Both were guilty. And just like them, we’re still making excuses for things we’ve done, or things we’re doing. Like how we’re eating or take care of ourselves.

But can we really hide from God? Does he not know what’s going on? “People may think they are doing what is right, but the Lord examines the heart.” Proverbs 21:2.

He not only knows, but loves us anyway, in spite of our sin. Even in the garden, he was planning to get us back.

We’ve got to quit hiding. And we’ve got to quit making excuses. It’s time to take responsibility for the things we’re doing.

If you’ve let your appetites run out of control, you may be facing the consequences of those decisions right now. It could be as simple as having a sugar addiction that’s led to obesity. Or it might be a lack of discipline and overeating that’s holding you back.

Maybe you still smoke, or need a drink or two every night to relax. Maybe you’re getting up every night, wolfing down everything in sight, and can’t seem to stop.

Other destructive behaviors can include sexual addictions like Internet porn, or sleeping around. All are ways of being unfaithful to yourself, your spouse, and to God.

Those addictions may seem out of place here, but the root cause is the same. We’re trying to fill needs that we have, but we’re taking the easy way out.

Eating right takes a little work and discipline, but it’s easier to eat fast foods. Doing some healthy exercise every day takes commitment, but it’s easier to make excuses.

A healthy, fulfilling sexual relationship with your spouse takes commitment and work, but it’s easier to go for quick satisfaction, without a real relationship.

No courage or commitment is required with a computer monitor. You don’t have to woo it or live a life of loving sacrifice for it. All you have to do is look at it. It’s a sad epidemic these days, and it’s taking the easy way out.

Just like with getting right with God, we need to admit that things are wrong. Then, we have to want to change, to truly want to turn away from these things. Then and only then, can God can give us the power we need to make changes.

But we don’t do it. We don’t even get close to the power we need. We don’t study long enough to learn how to do it. We try and fail and finally just quit trying. Sound familiar? Think diets and failed exercise programs.

I mean, come on, some of the things we do? We’re so deceived that we’ll ask a blessing on food we know we shouldn’t be eating.

Every day we make choices that are an offense to God, even in our thoughts. And in those moments when we’re being honest, we know it too.

In Romans, we’re told to present our bodies “as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.”

Do we live like that? Like our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. I don’t think so. So why do we do it? Why can’t we live right? Paul told the Colossians “You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the evil powers of this world. So why do you keep on following rules of the world?”

He went on to say, “These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, humility, and severe bodily discipline, but they have no effect when it comes to conquering a person’s evil thoughts and desires.”

No wonder diets usually fail. No wonder so many people give up after starting a fitness program. No wonder we fall at the slightest temptation. The usual rules have no effect!

We’ve been using the wrong weapons, in the wrong places. We’ve been trying to fight this battle the wrong way. Next week, I’ll tell you about a different way to fight the battle.

Our biggest loser this week was Weston Hughes, who got back on track by losing 2.3% of his body weight and 5.4 lbs. Weston has lost a total of 53.6 lbs so far, and won a $20 gift card to Joe’s Pizza from Terry Elston and State Farm Insurance.

Second place went to Shawn Bowers, also back on track, losing 2.0% of his body weight and 5.4 lbs. Third place went to Gayle Dailey, who lost 1.8 % of her body weight and 2.4 lbs. In fourth place was Carol Cline, who lost 1.7% of her body weight and 3.6 lbs, and fifth place went to Erika Hollis, consistent as always, losing 1.4% of her body weight and 2.4 lbs.

Don’t forget to get signed up for Biggest Loser “6” right now. It costs $50 to participate, and will help you get 2009 going right. Next week we’ll have the final results for Biggest Loser “5” so stay tuned!

Thursday, December 04, 2008


This week we showed a “lucky 7” people how to turn it up again. They were the ones who made the Friday night workout. Basically, we took their Level III workouts (compound exercises that use more than just one part of the body), and combined them with abs and cardio intervals for a really intense workout.

Each exercise takes about a minute, so you’ve got a minute of the primary exercise, a minute of abs, and then 2 minutes cardio. That’s four minutes total per round. We did three exercises, two times each, for a total of six rounds. That’s 24 minutes of work, not counting the time it takes to move from one room to the other and get on the treadmill.

When the weather’s nice, we’ll just step out the back door and run around the block which is just about ¼ mile. Since it’s too cold now, everyone alternates so while some were running, others were doing the work in the back. Of course if you’re on your own, it’s pretty easy going back and forth. Here’s a description of how to perform the exercises.

· THRUSTERS: Holding dumbbells (DB) on shoulders, perform a correct squat, sitting backward until your bottom touches an exercise ball or bench; then using your hips and legs, keeping your back arched, straighten back up and thrust both DB up until your arms are straight overhead. Lower the DB to shoulders and repeat.

· WALKING LUNGE, CURL, PRESS: While letting two DB hang down at your sides, take a walking lunging step forward until your front knee is over your toes on your front foot; your back knee should be quite bent but not touching the floor and you should be balancing on the ball of your foot. While staying in that unstable position, curl both DB up together and then rotate them, while pressing them overhead. Lower them, uncurl them, and then take another walking lunging step forward and repeat.

· DEADLIFT, CURL, PRESS: With knees slightly bent, reach down and pick up two DB that were placed at your feet. After straightening up, curl them together, and then rotate and press them both overhead. Lower them, uncurl them, and touch them back to the floor. Repeat.

· AB ROUTINE #1-6: 1) Crunches with knees bent 2) Crunches with legs straight up in air 3) Crunches with one leg bent and other crossed; come up and touch elbow to knee 4) Same thing on opposite side 5) Straight Leg Lifts (raise legs up and down about 12 inches, as fast as possible 6) Pilates Crunches (bring knees to chest, then lower upper body and legs, repeat).

· CARDIO: Ideally, this would be jogging or running on the treadmill at a not quite comfortable pace slightly faster than your regular running pace for 400 meters or ¼ mile (one lap around the football field). Once you get in shape, that will take somewhere between 1:45 and 2:30. For an extra challenge, we also like to increase the pace of the 400 each time. To introduce the concept, we just had them do 2 minutes of cardio. People with knee issues used the elliptical or the exercise bike.

1. Thrusters, AB Routine #1, 2 minutes cardio
2. Thrusters, AB Routine #2, 2 minutes cardio
3. Walking Lunge, Curl, Press, AB Routine #3, 2 minutes cardio
4. Walking Lunge, Curl, Press, AB Routine #4, 2 minutes cardio
5. Deadlift, Curl, Press, AB Routine #5, 2 minutes cardio
6. Standing Deadlift, Curl, Press, AB Routine #6, 2 minutes cardio

We also started talking about some sensitive issues. Eating right and exercising smart will change your life, but you can be out of balance in other ways. In fact, those other areas might be hurting you more than you know.

Let's just lay it all out. If you really want to turn this thing around, sometimes you've got to go a little deeper. What happens when working hard is not enough? Once in awhile, losing weight is easy. Usually it's not, same as with any other problems we face.

We want to, we've tried to, but somehow things never seem to change. What's going on? The things we want to do, we can't seem to do. The things we don't want to do, somehow, we keep doing them.

The Apostle Paul said the same thing in the Bible, in the book of Romans: “I don't understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead I do the very thing I hate.” Romans 7:15. Sound familiar?

What we have to do, is look at why we do what we do. Our problems aren't always physical—many times they have deeper roots; sometimes even spiritual ones. Right now I just know some hearts and minds are clanging shut, but if we want real hope, maybe we need to go back and take a look.

My earliest memory is at the age of four as we were moving from Chicago into our new house in Angola, Indiana. I’m sitting at the top of the steps, eating what appear to be Oreo’s (although I’m not sure they were that brand).

Moves are pretty noteworthy for kids, and I seem to remember being given cookies so I’d sit up there out of the way, while they brought stuff in. Not a terrible experience, but is it any wonder I find comfort in crunchy cookies, especially Oreo’s—forty years later?

It’s not bad for me to eat cookies, as long as I’m not eating too many. I’ll just burn them off. But a good strategy is to not have any in the house. Failing that, it’s better if they’re my wife’s special oatmeal, raisin, walnut, whole-wheat, super-duper snacker cookies.

Still, there are those times when the Oreo’s are there and they’re hard to resist. It’s good to know that maybe it’s not all just me. Perhaps there’s something else going on. Maybe we need to go back even further. We’ll look at this next week.

Of the 17 people that weighed in (which I chalk up to the holiday weekend), our biggest loser was a two way tie between Weston Hughes and Teri Dennis, who both lost 1.2% of their body weight and 2.9 lbs and 2.4 lbs respectively.

Teri received a $20 Walmart gift card from our friends at Terry Elston State Farm Insurance. Second place went to went to Erika Hollis, who lost 1.1% of her body weight and 2.0 lbs.

Friday, November 28, 2008


Week nine is in the books, leaving us with three weeks to go in the 12-week contest. So far, Weston has lost the most weight at 45.3 lbs, followed by Logan at 38.8 lbs, and Erika at 30.6 lbs. If we look at percentage of weight loss, Erika is slightly ahead of Logan.

We also have a couple new records going on. Weston has a chance to move ahead of Josh’s 57.6 lb record from Biggest Loser “4.” So far, he’s been losing 5 lbs a week and if he stays on track, he could top 60 lbs.

Erika has also moved just in front of our former leading lady, Shirley who lost 30.4 lbs in “Biggest Loser “2.” Unless she has a couple really bad weeks, she’ll continue to set new records. She also has a chance to win the whole thing if Weston slips up. It will be interesting to watch.

You might start thinking about getting involved in Biggest Loser “6” which begins on Friday, January 2nd. Don’t wait to make the resolution. Sign up now and ensure your spot. Its $50 to participate and you don’t have to be a member.

We had 21 people participate in the Friday night workout. This week, it was all about showing them how to increase the intensity of the weight routine by using compound movements like thrusters, where you take a squat and a dumbbell shoulder press and combine them into one movement.

Holding the dumbbells in your hands up at your shoulders, execute a correct squat, sitting backward until your buns touch a ball placed behind you. As you use your hips and legs to drive yourself back upward, you also extend the weights with your arms overhead. Be careful to keep your upper body as straight as possible, keeping your back arched and looking upward.

If you’ll recall, Level I training on the machines provides basic strength and a foundation. Level II training replaces the machines with dumbbells, and using more stabilizer muscles.

Compound movements like thrusters are what I call Level III training, because they use much more energy—try them, you’ll see. You’ll also work your core muscles more, because you have to transfer the power from your lower body to your upper body.

The group did some other Level III exercises during the workout. In fact, everything they did was a compound movement. They also never stopped moving, once they started—another principle of Level III training.

They did walking lunges and DB curls, where holding dumbbells, you take a long step forward so that your front knee is over your toes, and your back knee is bent, and your back foot is heel up. This is a very unstable position (which is the whole idea), and at that time, you curl and un-curl the two dumbbells. Then you take another step, curl, and so on.

Holding pushup position on the exercise ball was a “big hit” with the group. Pushup position is tough enough, but with your lower legs or feet on a stability ball, it’s quite a challenge. Your upper body and legs are fatiguing, trying to hold you up, and your core is screaming while you try to maintain the position.

Some more difficult variations included bringing knees to chest, and then the mother of all core exercises—pikes on the ball. In this one, you keep your legs straight, lifting your buns in the air, until you are holding your upper body at a 90 degree bend, almost straight up and down.

In between these compound movements, the group also did side twists with the medicine ball, and wood choppers, where you bring the ball from the floor in a squatted position, overhead, while twisting to one side, back down, and then up again to the other side. With a heavy enough ball, this can be quite a bit of work.

All these exercises have one thing in common: they work several parts of the body, and your core. The goal is to replace the single exercises with compound movements for the next three weeks, keeping the intensity high.

This week’s winner was Gayle Dailey again. Having recently had a birthday, this feisty 60 year old is our oldest competitor, but you wouldn’t know it, watching her work out. Gayle lost 2.2% of her body weight and a total of 3.0 lbs. She won a $20 Joes gift card from Terry Elston and State Farm Insurance.

Second place went to Weston Hughes, who lost 2.1% of his body weight and 5.1 lbs. Third place was a tie between Erika Hollis and Kelli Stidham who both lost 1.6% of their body weight and 2.8 lbs and 4.0 lbs respectively.

The best personal story for the week came from Shawn, who was out hunting that morning with his dad. For those of you who don’t following hunting, Friday was the first day of shotgun season and even though he didn’t make it into the gym, he got his workout in several ways.

Shawn told me climbing trees and putting up stands used to be much harder. That morning, he got a nice buck and had to drag it up out of a ravine. He said that last year at this time, he probably couldn’t have done it. Now, 70 lbs lighter, it was still hard work, but he was able to do it. This eating right and working out stuff works!

Next week they’ll do a different Level III workout and I’ll tell you about it. We’ll also get into some of the other issues that make weight loss difficult sometimes, and a politically incorrect (biblical) approach to dealing with them. Right now, I’ve got to go split up the rest of my wood pile. Good thing I’ve been working out.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Well we just finished the second month in our 12 week contest, so it’s time for another look at how everyone is doing. If you recall, we started with 53 people but only 40 people weighed in at the end of week four. This week, 30 people made the weigh-in.

I’d like to say the drop in numbers is unusual, but unfortunately, it’s not. At the beginning, I told them that half of them wouldn’t finish for one reason or another. Then I ask them which half they’ll be in.

In spite of our best intentions, life always intrudes. Something always comes up. Sickness slows you down. Bills you didn’t expect. Injuries you didn’t want. Even our own nature rises up, trying to get things back to the way they were. We’ve met the enemy and he is us.

We’re creatures of habit and comfort. We take the easy out when we have a choice. We like things a certain way, and don’t like to rock the boat.

Our bodies work this way, too. They resist extreme changes in either direction, always pulling us back to the center. Think about all the times you’ve lost weight, but then just put it right back on.

We like to keep it easy in our heads as well. Once in awhile, we’ll get disgusted enough to try to change, but then we find ourselves slipping back into our old ways. Why? It’s more comfortable that way, even if it’s not what we really want.

Isaac Newton figured this out. If something is standing still, it will keep standing still unless acted upon by an outside force. It’s called inertia. Even a moving object has inertia and will continue in a certain direction unless acted on by something else.

We need to find a way to overcome our own inertia. If we can figure out how to get things going, we could develop a new inertia that will lead to real and lasting change.

Of course, there will be a whole other set of problems to deal with, because life will intrude. Circumstances will conspire against you. It will be all too easy to slip back into the old ways.

In the end, it comes down to what you really want. You’ll do what’s important to you. If eating right and getting in shape really matter, you’ll do what it takes. You’ll find a way.

We have quite a few people with impressive numbers, but you know who really impresses me? It’s the ones who’ve stuck with it for eight weeks, in spite of the results.

These people have overcome not only the usual obstacles, but the biggest one of all—slow results, while being surrounded by bigger losers. If that describes you, I’m here to tell you that your perseverance will be the determining factor in you getting what you want.

You also have to believe that weight loss is possible. Not just for them, but for you too. If they can do it, you can do it. You can lose the weight. We might have to tweak things a little bit to get it working, but they did it—you can do it.

If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can’t, you can’t. Either way, you’ll be right. You might as well be right and thin.

Ask yourself, “How can I start winning too? What else could I be doing that they’re doing? Or, is there something they’re doing that I’m not?” Success is often just a breakthrough away.

Finally, we need to learn to be content sometimes, especially during plateaus. For normal weight loss, one pound a week is good, two pounds a week is great, and three or more pounds a week is fantastic. That means in eight weeks, we’d like to see at least eight pounds.

If you’re making progress, that’s good, even if it’s only one pound a week, or a half a pound. Take some comfort in that—even while you’re looking for ways to do better. You’ll be happier.

It’s a biblical concept. Paul said he’d learned how to be content in all things, whether he was abased or abounding. This was from a guy who was the foremost apostle to the Gentiles (you and me), who was content to be living in jail, preaching to his jailers.

I’ve learned that God has given me (and you) the ability to strive for all kinds of things, and he always helps me along the way. But some of my biggest blessings have come when I’ve learned to be content, too—and grateful for all the things I used to take for granted.

If it’s a pound this week, take it. Try for two, but be glad you lost a pound. If it’s zero pounds, how do you feel? Do you feel better? Take it and be happy that now you can do more than you did before.

Having said that, our winner in week eight was Erika Hollis, who lost 2.7% of her body weight and 4.8 lbs. Erika won a $20 Walmart gift card courtesy of Terry Elston and State Farm Insurance.

With four weeks to go, she’s also in the running to win the one of the grand prizes, also provided by Terry and State Farm. Here’s the current breakdown:
% loss Lbs
1. Weston Hughes 14.0 40.2
2. Erika Hollis 13.4 27.8
3. Logan Graves 11.5 35.4
4. Kelly Lynch 7.7 13.6
5. Dan Lynch 7.2 16.9
6. Carol Cline 7.0 15.8
7. Melissa Bradley 6.7 14.0
8. Shawn Bowers 6.6 19.0
9. Sue Sheeran 6.6 14.4
10. Steve Jones 6.5 14.6
11. Jean McConkey 6.4 12.8
12. Amanda Posey 6.4 13.8
13. Brant Walls 5.8 15.2
14. John Rigdon 5.8 11.9
15. Teri Dennis 5.7 12.4
16. Heidi Walls 5.4 8.0
17. Ellen Newlin 5.3 10.6
18. Pam Ogle 4.3 10.0
19. Gayle Dailey 4.3 6.2
20. Jennifer Bowers 4.1 8.4
21. Megan Sellers 3.8 7.5
22. Shirley Fiscus 3.3 6.6
23. Kelli Stidham 3.1 8.4
24. Kevin Branson 2.7 7.3
25. Amy Elmore 2.5 4.2
26. Kelly Reed 1.7 3.2
27. Pam Kelly 1.4 3.6
28. Darren German 1.3 3.6
29. MaryAnn Heinrich 0.8 1.8
30. Stacey Reed 0.0 0.0

Sunday, November 16, 2008


Last week I gave you two free weight routines that I called Level Two workouts. If you’ll recall, the main benefit with free weights is that all your stabilizer and core muscles are much more involved than when using machines (Level One). It also burns more calories.

So we want to keep increasing the work and help them burn more calories. This is possible, because after seven weeks, they’re getting stronger. The goal is to be as lean as we can be—as strong as we can be.

This week we asked the group to turn it up again. They had three weeks to get familiar with the other two routines, so now they’re ready to combine the two into one larger routine. Here are the exercises, and all you need are dumbbells (DB) and an exercise ball.

Chest, Shoulders & Triceps (Pushing Exercises):
· Chest Press on Ball
· Pec Fly’s on Ball
· Shoulder Press
· Overhead Tricep Press
· Tricep Kickbacks

Back & Biceps (Pulling Exercises):
· Pullovers on Ball
· Single Arm Rows
· Bicep Curls (together)
· Bicep Curls (one arm at a time)

Legs, Hips & Back (Lower Body Exercises):
· Body Squat
· Walking Lunge
· Bent Knee Deadlift

Abs & Core:
· Crunches on Ball
· Side Twists with Ball
· Crunches (bent knee, legs straight, crossing to either side, leg lifts)

It’s not just what exercises you do, though. How you lift makes a difference, too. The main concepts in our Level Three workouts are:

1. Do a comfortable 10-15 minute cardio warmup.
2. Exercise your entire body (Pushing, Pulling, Lower and Core) three days a week, typically Mon, Wed & Fri.
3. Once you start the workout, never take a break—keep moving.
4. Alternate between Pushing, Pulling, Lower and Core exercises to give one muscle group a rest, while working another.
5. Drink plenty of water before and during your workout.
6. Keep things interesting, by changing your routine often.

Here’s an example of how this routine could go. On Monday, after a 10 minute cardio workout, you start by doing a set of DB Chest Presses on the exercise ball. As soon as you’re done, do a set of Body Squats, alternating back and forth two or three times before getting a quick drink.

Then, you do a set of DB Pullovers on the exercise ball, alternating with Walking Lunges, for two or three more sets before taking another quick drink break. Next, do a set of DB Shoulder Presses, followed immediately by a set of DB Biceps Curls and a set of Triceps Overhead Presses. Alternate back and forth three times.

Finally, finish up with three sets of Ab Crunches and Side Twists back to back. See how it works? Next time, you might choose some different exercises, or do them in a different combination. It’s all about keeping the intensity high during the workout.

During the Friday night workout, I also showed them how to do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) cardio workouts. They started with a 5 minute warmup on either the bike, elliptical, or treadmill. On an “intensity scale” of 1-10, it should have felt like about a “5” or a “6.”

Then they increased the intensity by going faster, going uphill, or raising the resistance level to what felt like a “7.” After exactly a minute, they took it back down to around a “6.” After another minute to recover at that level, they took it up to what felt like an “8.” Then they took it back down to a “7.” They repeated that several times.

Finally, they did a couple one minute intervals at what felt like a “9.” This was tough, but it was only for a minute, followed by a minute at an easy pace. After 20 minutes, they took it down and coasted for a few minutes to cool off. Try it—it works.

With HIIT in your routine on cardio days, you’ll burn more calories in less time. You’ll also improve your ability to use and deliver oxygen quicker. It also gives you something to think about, which helps you pass the time.

Our winner this week was Heidi Walls, who lost 2.3% of her body weight and 3.2 lbs. Heidi is one of the smaller gals, and has to work extra hard to lose weight. The smaller you get, the harder it is. Heidi won a $20 Joe’s gift card from Terry Elston and State Farm Insurance.

Second place went to Melissa Bradley, who lost 2.0% of her body weight and 4.0 lbs. Melissa has impressed me because she’s had serious problems with her lower back that have kept her from working out before. This time she told me that there were some things she could do and some things she couldn’t, so she’d just do the things she could do twice as much!

Finally, third place was a two way tie between Margo Yeargin and Ellen Newlin, who both lost 1.7% of their body weight. Margo lost 3.0 lbs and Ellen lost 3.2 lbs, making the top four spots a clean sweep for women!

Sunday, November 09, 2008


Well we’ve made to the half-way point of the twelve weeks. We started with 53, but only 33 made the weigh-in on Friday. It was Halloween, and I know some of them had to go trick-or-treating. Even fewer people made the workout—just 10 people. Yikes!

Of course, the workouts keep getting tougher. The whole goal is to teach them how to continually raise the intensity of their workouts—and that’s what we’re doing.

In week five, we introduced our Level Two training with free weights into their routine. Free weights are better than machines because machines guide the work, give you a leverage advantage, and provide support for the body.

Those sound like good things, but here are the benefits you get by using dumbbells (DB), barbells, and exercise balls:

1. There is nothing to guide the weights—you have to do all the work.
2. There is no leverage advantage—again, you’re doing all the work.
3. There are no supports, so your core muscles are much more active.
4. All the additional stabilizer muscles work harder to balance the weights.

This means that you’ll be using more and different muscles, especially your core, to lift the free weights than you would on machines. It doesn’t mean that you’ll be lifting more weight.

Let’s say you’re a lady that can lift 60 pounds on the bench press machine. This doesn’t mean you’ll be able to press two 30 lb dumbbells. Typically, we cut the weight in half (one for each arm), and then cut it in half again because you have to balance it now.

Then, we make it even tougher by having you do the movement on an exercise ball. The instability of it forces you to use your core muscles even more. This means you’ll be burning more calories too.

So, it would be reasonable to expect to be able to bench press two 15 lb dumbbells starting out. We might even drop down to 12 lb dumbbells, until you get a sense of how to do the movement, and how to control the weights.

At some point, you’d bump it up to 15’s, and then even 20’s. Don’t be afraid to try a heavier weight once you understand how to do the motions. We’ve had lots of women amazed when we show them they can lift 25 lb, 30 lb, 35 lb, and even 40 lb dumbbells (after lots of training)!

This doesn’t mean that you’ll get big like a body-builder, either, so don’t worry about it. My goal personally, and for most of our clients, is to get as lean as possible, as strong as possible.

It’s not easy to get big, especially women, because most people won’t train hard enough, long enough, and eat anywhere near enough to put on that kind of muscle. And women don’t have enough of the human growth hormone, testosterone, either. What you will do, is get lean and strong, tone up, and feel amazing.

It doesn’t even take that long. Most of our advanced workouts last 20 minutes, or 30 minutes at most. Some are even quicker. We did a killer routine last Friday that took around 18-20 minutes.

A few finished in around 15 minutes, and a couple young studs knocked it out in just over eleven minutes! Of course, they were totally trashed afterward. I even had a personal best that day (13:15). Not bad for a papaw! Anyway, here are two of the beginning Level II workouts to get you started:

1. Body Squat—Hips, Legs
2. DB Bench Press on Exercise Ball—Chest, Shoulders, Triceps
3. DB Deadlift (slightly bent legs)—Hips, Legs
4. Single Arm DB Rows—Upper Back, Biceps
5. DB Lateral Raises—Shoulders
6. DB Bicep Curls (alternating)—Biceps, Forearms
7. DB Tricep Overhead Press—Triceps, Shoulders
8. Ab Crunches on Exercise Ball
9. Side to Side Twists holding a weight or heavy ball.

1. Walking Lunges (with bent knee)—Hips, Legs
2. DB Pec Flys on Exercise Ball—Chest, Shoulders
3. DB Deadlift—Hips, Legs
4. DB Pullovers on Exercise Ball—Chest, Upper Back, Shoulder, Triceps
5. DB Shoulder Press—Shoulders, Triceps
6. DB Bicep Curls (together)—Biceps, Forearms
7. DB Triceps Kickbacks—Triceps
8. AB Routine #1-5: Ab Crunches—Knees Bent, Legs Straight, Crossing (both sides), and Leg Flutter Kicks

Do the workouts three days a week, in place of the machines. Start with Workout #1. When you’re familiar with it, switch to Workout #2. Then start alternating then each time you lift weights. Next week, I’ll tell you how to make these workouts even better.

Our winner this week was Weston Hughes, who lost 2.1% of his bodyweight and a total of 5.3 pounds of fat. Weston received a $20 Walmart gift card from Terry Elston and State Farm Insurance.

Don’t forget that Terry and State Farm are sponsoring the grand prizes the group is competing for: $250 for 1st place, $150 for 2nd place, and $100 for 3rd place. Right now, Weston is in first place overall, having lost 11.3% of his body weight, and a total of 32.4 pounds—in just six weeks!
2nd place for the week went to Jean McConkey, who lost 2.0% of her body weight and 3.8 lbs, and 3rd place went to Carol Cline, who lost 1.6% of her body weight and 3.4 lbs.

Sunday, November 02, 2008


We lost a few more this week. I guess things happen, but it’s still disappointing. Just like at the center. I’ll see people get started, but then something happens, and they just fade away.

Why is it so hard to overcome the inertia of the things we’ve done in life? Sometimes it seems like I’m just another barking dog in some strange Pavlovian world—I see the stimulus and just mindlessly respond—even though I know better.

Try to kick a habit. You know what I mean. Take for instance, smoking. For years, when things get a little tense at work or at home, you’ve just stepped outside for a quick one. You might not even know why you’re doing it all the time—you just do it.

Some of us eat to feel better. I’ve done it. You get a little bored, or perhaps are a little depressed about something, so you hit the refrigerator or pantry, just for something small—that can easily turn into something big. At least when you’re eating, you’re doing something.

A scarier habit on the rise involves the internet, and images that used to be a little harder to come by. Once only available in that “dirty” corner of the store (and you didn’t dare walk over there), now you get daily email invitations.

And if you respond, you’ll start to head down a slippery slope of addiction that can end marriages and create such disfunction that can you take years to overcome. There’s danger there.

Finally, there are the things that lead to more obvious social difficulties that can directly hurt other people—even jail-time. As a part-time police officer, I still get amazed at the things that some people do, even when they know better. And they keep doing it.

I think ultimately, everything’s related. We’re all the same, although some of our “habits” are more obvious, or more public than others. We all have things we struggle with. We all face demons of our past. But why do some people seem to be able to overcome them, and finally move on—and others don’t?

One of the first steps is to realize that often, we like doing the things we shouldn’t. It’s comfortable; it’s fun, perhaps even exciting. We like it—especially at the time.

We like smoking, eating, looking at internet porn, drinking, hanging out with those friends, stealing, thinking those thoughts, etc… (fill in the blank). And we’re going to do what we want to do—what we like, until the pain of doing it outweighs the benefit we get from it.

When we get so fat that we don’t like the way we feel anymore, then we might start making some changes. But if the “pain” of making the changes is too high (exercise, eating better), then we might just waver when confronted with the temptation again.

We need something more to help us get through the tough times, or every time they ring the bell, we’ll salivate, just like Pavlov’s dogs, and jump right into the old way of doing things.

Personally, I believe it takes more than just a strong will to get this done. I think it takes prayer and God’s help to overcome years of conditioning, and years of wrong desires. Even then, recovery can take a long time.

It can be a real battle. But it’s worth it. That’s when all things become new. That’s what I want. And what I’ve learned is that one of the ways God helps is by bringing you what you need, when you need it, if you ask.

There are lots of people who are more than willing to give you a hand. They’ve been there and done that. Listen to them.

There are also lots of great books out there, written by people who know. Use them. Keep trying to learn more. Figure out what’s going on.

Learn from your mistakes, and pick up and move on. Find and follow a plan that you’ve seen is working. Use others as an example of how you can get things together.

Then, once you start down that road, don’t quit. If you’ve finally had an epiphany, realized what you’d been doing to yourself, and actually took action to try to turn it around, what a shame if you then just throw it all away.

Look for and find a new nature that will allow you to overcome these things and become a new you. The old one’s not working anyway. Why not just put it away?

You can clean a pig, but if you leave it alone for awhile, pretty soon you’ll find it back in a puddle somewhere. It can’t change what it is. It’s a pig.

But we’ve got the ability to get a new nature. To become more than what we are. We just have to be willing to work at it a little bit. And realize that God does the giving on that one.

Things can change. I’m living proof, and I see it all the time in others. But you have to admit that they need changing. Then you have to want them to change. And you have to want that more then you want the things you’re doing.

I talked to a friend the other day. He hangs with people that get in trouble, drinking and drugs and the like. He knows better. He used to do that himself.

But they’re his friends, and he kind of likes that. So he’s got one foot inside the pig pen. Even though he’s got one foot outside, part of him is still getting dirty.

Another guy I met in the police academy had a drinking problem. He liked going out and partying, but he was also a cop. Having a few drinks is one thing, but getting blasted, belligerent and out of control is quite another.

After a stern warning and disciplinary measures (and the offer of help with the drinking problem he said he didn’t have), he found himself under arrest again, this time for felony charges. The department fired him, he was booted out of the academy, and his career was over.

We’ve got to take things seriously, because things have serious consequences. Don’t let those old “habits” control you. You deserve better than that. That’s why I love working with these guys in the Biggest Loser. They’re getting it done.

It’s kind of like the Paris Tigers football team. They’re getting it done, too. The years have been pretty tough on them. But this year, after a few early losses, things started coming together. With all their hard work, they got some momentum and started playing up to their true potential.

That led to excitement, which led to confidence. Then they had a setback. But they found a way to overcome it and came out growling on Saturday, making them the first Paris team ever to make the playoffs. It wasn’t an easy game, early on, but they stuck to their guns, and then things broke wide open. It can happen that way.

This week’s winner was a sleeper—Gayle Dailey, who lost 2.2% of her body weight and 3.0 lbs. She’d been flying under the radar, but at age 59, Gayle’s our oldest (by a year), and is proving that you can do what you really want to do.

I know she’s tough, because she took kickboxing classes from me a couple years ago. And we work really hard and hit things in that class! Gayle won a $20 Joe’s Pizza gift certificate from Terry Elston and State Farm Insurance for all her hard work.

We had a tie for 2nd place between Weston Hughes and Erika Hollis, both of whom lost 1.6% of their body weight. For Erika, it was 3.0 lbs, and for Weston, it was 4.2 lbs.

Next week, I’ll tell you about how the Biggest Losers are using free weights to burn even more calories, and make even more changes in their body—and their life. What kind of changes do you need to make?

Saturday, October 25, 2008


Well, it’s been a quick four weeks and we’re a third of the way through the twelve week program. That means it’s time for a look at how everyone’s doing.

We started with 53 people who’d signed up for Biggest Loser “5” and we have 47 people still on the books. Of those, 40 people made the weigh-in at the end of week four.

Of the seven who missed the weigh-in, I think a few have called it quits, but the rest are still participating. We’ll find out this week.

That’s actually a pretty good percentage at this point. Typically, we lose about a third in the first month, due to life intruding in various ways. So how is everyone doing?

I told you last week about the ladies. This week the men came roaring back with some great numbers, but two out of the top three losers still were women.

The Biggest Loser in Week Four was Shawn Bowers, our winner back in week one. Shawn lost an amazing 3.0% of his body weight and a total of 8 lbs. That brings him to a total weight loss of 18.8 lbs in the first month.

For his hard work last week, Shawn won a $20 Walmart gift card from Terry Elston and State Farm Insurance. I know how hard he’s been working, because he does his group workouts with me three days a week, and is running on the other days.

Shawn’s situation actually demonstrates something I talk a lot about to the group—the need to eat enough food when you’re trying to lose weight. After having a great first week, things slacked off a little bit for him.

When people have dieted over the years, especially women, they’re often scared to eat, thinking that anything they eat will be put on as fat. Nine out of ten women I work with start out not eating enough—often as little as 1,000 calories a day—or even less!

Guys usually have the other problem, typically being over-eaters, but once in awhile, we’ll need to add calories—especially if they’re very active, like Shawn. The American College of Sports Medicine strongly recommends that women never drop below 1,200 calories and that men get at least 1,800 calories each day.

This is to ensure that they hit their minimums, and give their body enough fuel to keep things going. If we drop below our minimums, our body slows down, thinking that we’re starving, and making it very difficult to burn fat for fuel.

What we’ve found, though, is that active people need even more. Most average women need at least 1,650 calories a day to feel great and still lose weight. Men need around 2,400 calories.

Shawn’s a big boy, standing around 6’4, but was only allowing himself around 2,400 calories, which is usually correct. As active as he was, he needed to bump up the calories to around 2,700 and sure enough, his body responded, letting him burn fat for fuel.

I see it all the time, and it sounds crazy, but it’s true—eat more, and you’ll start losing weight. Now, if you’re an over-eater (most guys), you probably have to back off the calories. But for most women, and a few guys (especially active ones like Shawn), you’ve got to hit your minimum.

Second place was a two-way tie between two ladies: Shirley Fiscus and Erika Hollis. Both lost 2.1% of their body weight and 4.0 lbs. I think this is Shirley’s fourth Biggest Loser, and Erika was the winner back in Week Two. Both ladies are hard workers.

Before we go over the results for the first month, there are a couple more things to talk about. Even though it’s exciting to get those big numbers, and everybody wants them, that’s not going to happen to everyone.

There are a lot of factors that play into how quickly you can lose weight. I keep telling everyone that one pound a week is good, two pounds is great, and three or more pounds is fantastic. That means four pounds in a month is good, but even then, there are other considerations.

Everybody is different, and some people can push themselves harder. Sometimes, we just have to get you stronger first, and then you can turn it up. Plus there’s the issue of eating enough, as we looked at earlier.

Age has a lot to do with it, too, as does your current health when starting a program. The younger and healthier you are, the more you can do. Finally, the closer you are to your ideal weight, the harder it is to lose.

Here’s what I think is important. How do you feel? That’s first and foremost. Do you feel better? If you’re feeling good, you’re doing good, and weight loss will eventually come.

Next, how are your clothes fitting? People are always telling me that they’re losing inches, but it’s not showing up on the scale. That’s O.K. It will.

Then, what’s your body fat doing? If it’s going down, even though your weight isn’t changing much, that’s O.K. too. You’re burning fat, building muscle, and the scale will show it soon.

Finally, what does the scale say? If you lose just a pound a week, in a year, that’s over 50 pounds. That’s enough to change anybody’s life. Stay with it and you’ll get what you want. That said, I’m proud of everyone who’s made it this far.

1. Erika Hollis 8.6% 18.0 lbs
2. Weston Hughes 8.0% 22.9 lbs
3. Logan Graves 7.5% 23.0 lbs
4. Shawn Bowers 6.5% 18.8 lbs
5. Steve Jones 5.7% 12.8 lbs
6. Kelly Lynch 5.6% 10.0 lbs
7. Amanda Posey 5.1% 11.1 lbs
8. John Rigdon 4.9% 10.1 lbs
9. Dan Lynch 4.6% 10.9 lbs
10. Pam Ogle 4.3% 10.0 lbs
11. Shirley Fiscus 4.3% 8.6 lbs
12. Brant Walls 4.3% 11.2 lbs
13. Sue Sheeran 4.3% 9.4 lbs
14. Heidi Walls 4.1% 6.0 lbs
15. Margo Yeargin 4.1% 7.6 lbs
16. Kelli Stidham 4.0% 10.8 lbs
17. Jennifer Bowers 3.9% 8.0 lbs
18. Melissa Bradley 3.8% 8.0 lbs
19. Ellen Newlin 3.7% 7.4 lbs
20. Jean McConkey 3.5% 7.0 lbs
21. Carol Cline 3.4% 7.8 lbs
22. Teri Dennis 2.7% 6.0 lbs
23. Amy Elmore 2.7% 4.4 lbs
24. Megan Gill 2.7% 5.6 lbs
25. Cherise Murphy 2.5% 5.8 lbs
26. Renee Colvin 2.3% 4.4 lbs
27. Kevin Branson 2.2% 5.9 lbs
28. Kelly Reed 2.2% 4.0 lbs
29. Gayle Dailey 2.1% 3.0 lbs
30. Lynn Holloway 2.0% 2.8 lbs
31. Megan Sellers 1.8% 3.5 lbs
32. Stacey Reed 1.5% 2.6 lbs
33. Robert Davis 1.4% 3.8 lbs
34. Darren German 1.4% 4.0 lbs
35. Pam Kelly 1.4% 3.6 lbs
36. Doug Hasler 1.2% 2.8 lbs
37. Theresa Finley 1.0% 2.1 lbs
38. Mary Jo Becher 1.0% 1.8 lbs
39. Lavonna Davis 0.7% 1.2 lbs
40. MaryAnn Heinrich 0.5% 1.2 lbs

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Something’s going on. I’d been suspecting it, but this week it was confirmed. We’re in for something special with this group.

I knew the ladies were doing better than normal, and then last week, three out of the top four losers were women. This week, they swept the top three—with all different women too. Not only that, but eight out of the top ten spots went to women!

This is big news. Typically, it’s harder for gals because guys have a different hormone mix—more testosterone (which builds muscle), which lets them push harder in their workouts, burning more calories. That in turn lets them build more muscle, which repeats the cycle.

Ladies have very little testosterone. Instead, their hormone mix causes them to store fat around the middle, as protection for their ovaries, and other internal parts. These two things usually make it much more difficult for them to lose fat.

I just tell them that they need to work hard and do their best. They must be listening, because the ladies are doing very well.

If you look at total weight loss for the last three weeks, one is in the top three overall, which is usually unheard of. Two guys have lost 17.8 lbs and 17.2 lbs respectively, and then a lady is in third place, losing 14.0 lbs.

Another is tied with a guy for fourth place at 10.8 lbs, followed by another lady with 10.6 lbs. And this is just in the first three weeks. As usual, I’ll show you the entire field next week after they finish their first month in the program.

Unfortunately, this success might be having another effect. Some of the other gals are getting discouraged, because they’re (only) losing around a pound (or two) a week.

This is crazy, and like Barney used to say, “We’ve got to nip it—nip it in the bud.” Not the dinosaur, the other Barney. And he’s right. We’ve got to.

Self talk is very powerful. You are what you think you are. And you’re not what you think you’re not. When you start believing you’re down and out, you stay down and out, because that’s the way you think it’s supposed to be—but it’s not.

Instead, when you start seeing someone else have success, a much better strategy is to start thinking, “why can’t I do that?” Or, “if they can do it, I can do it.” The difference is all in your mind, but it’s a big difference.

For years, I went to Taekwondo training seminars for instructors around the country. These were taught by seniors and masters around the U.S. The goal was to learn how to be an even better instructor, and broaden our skill set, giving us more to teach.

I’d come home teaching like they did. I don’t mean teaching what they taught me. I mean teaching like they did. Somehow, I’d realized that I didn’t need to become a master instructor to teach like one.

All I needed to do is say what they said, demonstrate like they demonstrated, and act like they acted. Of course, many years later, they made me a master instructor in my own right.

The same principle applies in success coaching. We’re told to get around people who are positive, and avoid people who want to pull us down. And to find someone having success like you’d like to have, and emulate them.

You also have to believe that it’s possible for you, too. Not just them, but you. If they can do it, you can do it. We might have to tweak things a little bit to get it working, but they did it—you can do it.

Remember, if you think you can, you can. And if you think you can’t, you’re right—you can’t. So don’t get bitter when someone else is winning.

Ask yourself, how can I start winning too? What else could I be doing that they’re doing? Or, is their something they’re doing that I’m not? Success is often just a breakthrough away.

Finally, we need to learn to be content sometimes. For normal weight loss, one pound a week is good, two pounds a week is great, and three or more pounds a week is fantastic.

If you’re making progress, that’s good. It’s predictable, and you know you’re going to get what you want. Take some comfort in that—even while you’re looking for ways to do better. You’ll be happier.

It’s a biblical concept. Paul said he’d learned how to be content in all things, whether he was abased or abounding. This is a guy who was the foremost apostle to the Gentiles (you and me), who was content to be living in jail, preaching to his jailers.

I’ve learned that God has given me (and you) the ability to strive for all kinds of things, and he always helps me along the way. But some of my biggest blessings have come when I’ve learned to be content, too—and grateful for all the things I used to take for granted.

If it’s a pound, take it. Try for two, but be glad you lost a pound. If it’s zero pounds, how do you feel? Do you feel better? Take it and be happy that now you can do more than you did before.

This week, our Biggest Loser was Melissa Bradley who lost a whopping 2.8% of her body weight, and a total of 5.6 lbs. Melissa has had some serious back issues for years, but she told me something when we got started.

She said there were a lot of things she couldn’t do, but she could walk, and only do a few machines, so she was going to do those things more, to make up for the things she couldn’t do. That’s why she’s winning.

Melissa received a $20 Joe’s Pizza gift card from Terry Elston and State Farm Insurance. Terry stopped by to encourage everyone and told them that if they were trying, they were all winners, and he’s right.

Second place went to Ellen Newlin, who lost 2.7% of her body weight, and a total of 5.2 lbs. Third place went to Margo Yeargin (who’s 50 I might add). Margo lost 2.0% of her body weight, and 3.6 lbs.

Fourth place went to Logan Graves, who lost 1.9% of his body weight, and a total of 5.4 lbs, while firth place went to Weston Hughes, who lost 1.8% of body weight, and 4.8 lbs. Weston and Logan are neck and neck for most pounds lost (17.8 and 17.2 respectively) in the first three weeks.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


This week 45 people weighed in—down from the 52 that started. Unfortunately, that’s normal. So, I thought it was time for some straight talk.

After everyone had finished with their first assignment, walk/run a mile and had gathered in the room, I pointed to a large stack of papers on the center table. “Can anyone tell me what those are,” I asked.

There were several guesses about the foot-tall stack, and then someone guessed that they were files of people who had quit. “That’s right,” I said. There were probably 300 membership files sitting there.

So we talked about some of the reasons people had started and stopped over the past few years. Some people had moved away. At least two had passed away.

I told them about Buddy, who used to come in with his oxygen tank. He worked out almost everyday. Even though he was fighting a losing battle, he wanted to do what he could—and did almost to the end.

They learned about my friend Bob, who was dragged in kicking and screaming by his wife. His first words were “I don’t want to be here and I’m not going to do anything!”

I remember saying, “That’s O.K. Just sit here on one of the bikes and watch TV. If you feel like pedaling a little bit, go ahead.” Before long, Bob was riding the bike 30 minutes, and finally, he worked up to coming in twice a day.

Others have left to join the Y. That’s O.K. too. A third of the Biggest Losers this time work out at the Y. The important thing is that they’re doing something.

Some had purchased equipment to use at home, and that’s fine, too—if they’re using it. Unfortunately, most home gym equipment goes unused, and sooner or later gets moved out to the garage, sold in the paper, or even given away.

The real shame is that every one of those people had a goal—a reason for starting. Most of them had reasons for stopping, too. But most of them didn’t get what they wanted.

The hardest thing is starting. Once you’ve done that, the hardest thing is continuing with an exercise program, a healthy diet, or anything else you’re trying to change.

We are creatures of habit, and old habits are hard to break. Experts say it takes 21 days to make something new a habit. We’re 14 days into this thing, and have already lost 7 people.

If experience holds true, before it’s over, we’ll lose close to half of the group for some reason or other. So I asked them, “Which half are you going to be in? The half that quits, or the half that sticks it out and gets what they want?”

You see, life is going to intrude. There will be emergencies, inconveniences, scheduling conflicts, kids getting sick, high gas prices, working late, vacations, and so on. But do you let those things keep you from getting what you want, or do you impose your will on things?

You decide what you’re going to do. I’m so proud of one of our Losers. He’s been a busy executive for years and just never thought he had time to do it, even though he knew he needed to.

He’s hitting it on his lunch hour. I told him to let people know that’s where they can find him if they need him—and not to bring in his phone, either! If it’s that important, they can come get him. And you know what? Things are fine that hour without him. He’s getting it done.

I’ve got one gal who’s getting up at 3:30 AM to get in her early mile. I’ll say. That’s an early mile. You won’t see me in here at that time. But, she works in Indiana, and wanted to get it done. Once she gets to her goal, it’s likely that she’ll back off a little bit and just hit it after work, but for awhile, more power to her.

I finally met the woman I’ve seen running while pushing a double baby carriage, two dogs on leashes running along on each side—and a little one riding a bicycle in front. Now that’s multi-tasking!

She took everyone’s excuses away just by running by. We’ve got her husband involved now. You know he’s going to get plenty of encouragement at home.

Once you’ve started, you’ve got to make the commitment to stay with it, and not let down your guard. Change doesn’t come easy, and the old you will rear up and try to shut things down.

Don’t let it. Stay focused. Have the big picture in mind—you getting smaller. Anything worthwhile never comes easily. There’s always a price to pay, but it’s worth it.

Looking good and feeling good is there for everyone, if you’ll just stay with the program. It doesn’t take nearly as long to take it off as it did to put the weight on.

Still, that’s not fast enough for some people, especially when they see others putting up those big weight-loss numbers on TV, or even here each week. I’ve got to keep reminding them that losing one pound a week is good, two pounds a week is great, and three or more pounds is fantastic.

Even a pound a week will turn into 50 pounds in a year. Most people can double that, if they do everything right. That’s 100 pounds. For most people, they’ll have hit their ideal weight before then.

That brings us to our Biggest Loser this week, Erika Hollis. It’s rare for a woman to put up the higher numbers, because the guys usually have more to lose, and more muscle to help them lose it with. Women also have a different hormone mix that makes it more difficult.

Erika lost an astounding 3.0% of her body weight, for a total of 5.8 pounds. Her two week total is 11.6 pounds lost, putting her in 3rd place for overall weight loss.

She won a $20 Walmart gift card from our sponsor, Terry Elston & State Farm Insurance. Terry is the high school boy’s basketball coach, and is all about helping people achieve their goals!

Second place went to John Rigdon, who lost 2.2% of his body weight and 4.4 pounds. Third place was a tie between two other women woman, Jennifer Bowers and Stacey Reed. Jennifer lost 2.0% of her body weight and 3.9 pounds, and Stacey also lost 2.0% of her body weight, which worked out to 3.4 pounds.

Next week, I’ll give you the skinny on why they’re getting the results they’re getting, and how to put together the perfect meal to keep you eating right, all the time. Right now, it’s time to get to the gym!

Sunday, October 05, 2008


Before we take a look at how Biggest Loser “5” is shaping up, I wanted to tell you about the Honeybee 5K race held last Saturday at Twin Lakes Park.

Named in honor of Shawna M. Morrison, who gave her life serving in Iraq several years ago, the 3.1 mile run couldn’t have been held on a more perfect day. Sunny and cool, it was a great day for people to get some exercise and test themselves, while contributing to a very worthwhile cause.

Lots of people I know had personal bests. Even I had my best time. I’d been trying to break 26 minutes, and finally did it with the help of a couple friends. Not bad, for a 46 year old snail.

I felt pretty good about that, especially after running through some asthma in the first mile and needing to hit a porta-potty for the last 2 miles. It’s funny how the body always keeps a certain time for things (I could use a later start time, thank you), and running always shakes things up a bit.

Hats off to the YMCA for organizing a great event—the t-shirts were awesome, and I heard they had to order more, after seeing all the registrations. Next year, I’ll bet it will be even bigger. Nice job, everyone that participated! I think Shawna would have been proud.

Now on to Biggest Loser “5.” After getting 52 registrants, we had 48 make it through the first week to the first weigh-in. I don’t know where the others were, or if they’re continuing. We’ll have to see.

I always tell everyone that there will be two groups: one that finishes and one that doesn’t, and ask them which group they’ll in? Starting a massive weight loss campaign is hard. It’s inconvenient and messy, and life intrudes.

Circumstances will always conspire against you (recall the asthma attack & porta-potty issue during my 5K, or my knee during the long run last week). It’s what you do then, that really determines how successful you’ll be. Do you keep trying, or do you let set backs control you?

We also talked about how the results on the TV show aren’t very realistic. No one here gets to live on a ranch without the hassles of work and taking care of the kids. As far as I know, no one has a chef either, and I know no one’s working out for hours a day!

We’re shooting for a mile walk each morning (20 minutes), and a more rigorous, dedicated workout each afternoon or evening. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, they’re hitting the weight machine circuit, and on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, they’re hitting the cardio room for 30-45 minutes.

This week was about getting everyone moving, and we certainly did that during the Friday night workout. Earlier groups have called the room “Tom’s House of Pain.” That might be a little extreme, but basically descriptive.

Everyone did 50 pushups, 50 crunches, and 50 squats, broken up in sets of 10. I told them that while it may seem pretty tough then, in 12 weeks, they’ll be wondering why it was such a big deal. Tough workouts today will be easy ones tomorrow.

Then they did several sets of walking lunges (forward & backwards), monkey runs (on hands & feet), and some stretching. The whole workout is designed to have them doing more and more each week.

As they do things they didn’t think they could do, it gives them confidence. It also makes them stronger. That’s another good reason for everyone to try a 5K walk/run at some point.

The other major goal this week was to get them thinking about their minimum. Regular readers will recognize this term “minimum.” Actually their Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), I came up with the term “minimum” to help people understand this is the minimum number of calories your body needs everyday to thrive and survive.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine (the established authority on exercise and diet standards), women should never go below 1,200 calories a day, and men should never get under 1,800 calories. This is because most women have a minimum somewhere around 1,250-1,350.

Petite women might be closer to 1,200 and taller, bigger-boned women might be closer to 1,400. This means you need to hit that first, just to provide the body the energy it needs to get through the day.

To feel really good, especially when working out, you need to add another few hundred calories. Stay below your minimum, and your body will think you’re starving, making it very difficult, if not impossible to burn fat for fuel.

This is the number one problem with women trying to lose weight. I already talked with several women who had been eating 800-900 calories a day. One took it up to 1,400 calories and lost 5 pounds this week. 9 out of 10 women don’t eat enough.

1,500 to 1,650 calories a day seems to be just about right for women to feel great while losing weight. For guys, it’s somewhere around 2,250-2,400 calories. It’s usually flipped for guys, though. 9 out of 10 guys tend to overeat, so while the gals need to eat more, we need portion control.

If you’re following along at home, the group is supposed to do 2 circuits on the weight machines. This is not a set followed by a rest, and then another set. Instead, they’re supposed to do a set of each machine, in a row without stopping, and then do it again.

The main goal is to keep their heart rate up, helping them burn more calories. They’re also supposed to turn it up in the cardio room too. Remember, if you can already do it, your body has no reason to change. You’ve got to work hard to drive those calories off.

This week’s winner was Shawn Bowers, who lost an amazing 3.9% of his body weight, for a total of 10.8 lbs. I might also add, that he was one of the ones I was very proud of at the 5K run. Shawn’s a big man, and he ran the 3.1 miles in just over 30 minutes—with all those hills!

Shawn won a Joe’s Pizza gift certificate from Terry Elston and State Farm Insurance. Terry has graciously come aboard as our sponsor and will be standing with us all the way through to the end with a $250 prize for the winner, $150 prize for 2nd place, and a $100 prize for the 3rd place finisher in 12 weeks.

We’ll have Shawn’s picture in the paper sometime this week. Stay tuned for more results from Biggest Loser “5” next week!

Saturday, September 27, 2008


You might recall that after four months of training, we got to St. Louis, only to have the Lewis & Clark marathon called off due to rain last week, after two previous attempts (2007 & 2006) that went bad after knee injuries.

After stewing about it for a few days, it became apparent that I wasn’t going to be getting to any other marathons. The Chicago marathon was closed. There were two marathons up in the Indianapolis area in the next month, but I’ve got police training then, so no luck there.

In the end, I decided that we needed to have our own marathon: the 1st ever Horace-Brocton marathon. Its 13 miles from my mailbox to Brocton, so if I ran there and back, plus my driveway, I’d be going 26.2 miles—the exact distance needed.

A friend had a can of spray paint that they use to mark the road, so I marked off each mile. It really helps to have those mile markers, so you can tell yourself “just run one more mile.” Then you gut it out for 10-11 minutes, and then tell yourself that again.

On “race” day, I was getting pretty excited about the challenge coming up. After church, I went home and set out containers at miles 2/24, 4/22, 6/20, 8/18, 10/16, and 12/14. Each held a bottle of water, Gatorade, and a couple zip-lock baggies with some toilet paper.

In real marathons, they have porta-potties at aid stations along the route. Since I didn’t have a porta-potty, I had to get creative. I’m not above stepping inside a cornfield (just between us), but I draw the line at using the corn!

I also left several packets of Gu (a 100 calorie sucrose formula used for quick energy) at several key points along the way to help keep my energy levels up. Typically, you take 3 or 4 during a 26.2 mile run.

After warming up and stretching for a few minutes, I started the timer in my watch and hit the road. The watch would help me figure out my pace each mile, so I’d know if I was on track to finish in less than 5 hours.

That’s actually pretty slow for a marathon. Most people finish them between 4 and 4 ½ hours. Really good runners finish in 3 ½ hours. Amazing runners get done in 3 hours, and experts do it in 2 ½ hours. World class runners come in around 2:05 to 2:10.

The first few miles went well and the weather was pretty good. It was partly cloudy and there was a cool breeze. I was doing about a 10:30 pace and thinking that this might be the time I actually made it all the way through one of these things.

At mile 7 the wind really picked up, and I noticed a storm brewing up ahead. The skies got dark and I started seeing the lightning and hearing the thunder. I said a quick prayer for protection. I wasn’t worried about running in the rain, but a million volts could be a big problem.

Around mile 10, the winds got very strong, and I can’t remember ever running into such resistance. It really slowed things down, but I was keeping pretty cool.

At mile 11, my hips really started hurting. No matter how much running I do, or training in the gym, it never seems to help the hip flexors. They just go crazy on long runs. Some people are good at blocking out the pain. I’ll have to talk to them.

Someone also ripped off my container at mile 12. I figured they’d see the mile markers, water and stuff, and leave them alone. Wrong. I guess they needed it for storing stuff. At least they had the courtesy to leave behind a water bottle.

Finally I hit the edge of Brocton, followed by a nice doggy I’d picked up along the way. I reached the halfway mark at 2:24, in front of the bank. Not my fastest half-marathon time—I’d done a 2:15 in the spring, but that was not holding anything back.

This time, I was trying to be conservative, with half the race still to go. The cool thing was that I’d actually run to Brocton, and was half-way through the race. The bummer was that I was only half-way and still had to go home.

Turning around, I cruised back through town and headed back up the Horace-Brocton road. I ran through a few minor sprinkles, but the big storm just kind of went around me. Prayers do get answered.

Mile 14 and 15 came and went, and I was feeling a little cramping in my left thigh. I’d only eaten a half banana a couple hours before the run and should have had a whole one. When you’re low on potassium, the muscles don’t relax as well.

It got a little better after my Gatorade kicked in, but it must have been a sign of things to come, because next, my old nemesis came calling. Over the last two years, I’ve had knee problems in the upper miles.

At mile 16, my Ilio-Tibial Band (ITB) syndrome showed up in full force. I’d faced it in the last long run (20 mile) a couple weeks back when it kicked in at 19.5 miles. So, I’d backed off the training to get it some rest before the race.

Unfortunately, the inflammation (where the band rubs at the knee joint) made running extremely painful. I toughed it out for a couple more miles, but had to walk every ¼ mile to relieve the pressure.

And in between walks, there wasn’t much running going on either. At one point, I thought I saw a cricket pass me in just three hops. It could have been delirium, though. Finally, I just called it quits at mile 19, with only 7 miles to go.

You see, I’ve already done three marathons where I had to walk through to the finish and didn’t really want to do that again. Besides, my cutie-pie’s 8th birthday party was tonight, and everyone would be arriving in little more than an hour.

So now I’m 0 for 4 marathon attempts. On the plus side, I got 16 pretty good miles before the other shoe dropped and 19 miles if you count the walking. I guess there’s always next year!

But next week, I’ll have the results from week one of Biggest Loser “5.” There’s still time if you want to participate. We’ve got 50 people started, and have a little room left too. Just let me know before Friday, and we’ll get you going!

Friday, September 19, 2008


So we knew it was up in the air. Hurricane Ike had just blasted the Texas coast and was moving northeast as a tropical depression. Forecasters were predicting gale force winds and heavy rains sometime on Sunday. I’d been hoping that the worst of it would hold off until after the marathon.

We’d arrived in the St. Louis area on Saturday afternoon after an interesting 3 hour trip. Usually it’s a little shorter, but when my wife asked me if I brought the map to the hotel, I gave her that “I thought you brought it” look.

After we found our way to St. Charles, we went to the Ameristar Casino Convention Center to pick up the packet. An amazing place, it seems that Las Vegas has found its way to the Midwest. Still, we kept wondering where the boat part of the riverboat was. It looked like a bunch of lights and buildings to us.

A quick dash upstairs to the Convention Center yielded my race packet with the all important race number and the computer chip that somehow tells everyone when you start and when you finish. It kind of reminded me of those ear tags they put on cattle.

We left for more conservative digs over at the Country Inn & Suites. Actually it was pretty pricey too, but I was counting on the fact that there was a hot tub in every room. That and the last time my wife and I had gotten out of town for something, we’d stayed there and had a good time.

After bumming around for awhile, we decided to go out and get some supper. There were quite a few fast food joints, but only two restaurants, the obligatory Denny’s and Country Kitchen. Wanting to save Denny’s for breakfast, we decided to go back to Ameristar to try our luck at the buffet.

If you get over the $21 price (each) to eat, it takes top honors for the best buffet we’ve ever experienced. At that price it should.

They had everything, and I mean everything. I thought I was on a cruise ship. Knowing I had to run the next morning, though, helped me keep things in check. I sampled five different salads (out of the 15 possible), and tried 3 different kinds of pasta (out of the 10 possible).

My potluck and buffet strategy, and it usually works, is to take a little bit of a lot of things. I had a couple entrées, and was particularly impressed with the mandarin chicken & rice (rice is good for carb-loading). The salmon was nice too.

I lucked out and found a banana on top of one of the dessert displays. I think it was a display, but we squeezed it and it was real, so we filched it for in the morning, with a couple of oatmeal cookies—perfect. Now my pre-race breakfast was taken care of, and that made the $21 seem more worthwhile.

We also tried a couple desserts and they were fabulous. They usually are. Again the strategy was to have just a little bit of several different things. The discipline comes in when you push the plate over to the edge of the table where the waitress will grab them on the way by.

You have to do this before you eat everything. The waitress also has to get there and take the plate pretty quickly. Otherwise you pick at it until you’ve actually eaten everything. It worked out. She took the plate early. I gave her a good tip.

Back at the hotel, we tried out the spa. We’ve got to get one of those for home. It was just about the same size as our garden tub—it just had jets in it. I wonder if we can get those retrofitted. This is definitely going on our “need to get after we get out of debt” list.

The alarm was set for 5:00 am but never rang, because I was up before it. Anticipation had gotten me up every hour on the hour at 3:00 and 4:00am. Just before 5:00, I woke up from a dream with my mother, of all things. I had only dreamed about her once, a year after we lost her to a stroke three years ago.

In the dream, she was helping me calm down before a musical competition of all things, and I’d been having trouble finding my sheet music and the right clothes to wear. Once I was convinced that everything was going to be alright, I woke up. That’s mom, still helping me after all these years.

Dressed and ready, I went downstairs with my wife to check out the weather, since it was tough to tell from the room. The forecasters were right. It was extremely windy and raining cats and dogs.

After chewing on it for awhile, I decided to call it off and go back upstairs. I know Kathy was pretty happy about it. There were a lot of things that factored into the decision.

When you run such a long distance, research shows you can compromise your immune system. Add running in the cold and windy rain for five hours, and there was a good chance to get sick.

It also bothered me that Kathy would have to wait for me in the finish for an unknown length of time—in the rain. The real kicker was the hour I’d have to spend standing in the rain—before the race began. That was too much.

After we got upstairs, I started second-guessing myself. Finally, I told her that we were here, and I was going to give it a try. After all, it’s what I’d been working up to, for all these years.
Like the amazing wife she is, she didn’t say anything. Just opened the door and we went back down. This time, the winds were gale force. I mean it was crazy.

After another few minutes, I was able to let it go, and told her that it was really about the journey to get there and all the training along the way. The race was just one event, and there would be another chance—even if it was my 3rd try there at the Lewis & Clark.

At peace with things, I went back up stairs and we hit the sack for a couple more hours. At 8:00 am we got back up to more wind and rain, and got ready to hit the road.

My wife found out that they started the race, but things were pretty tough on them. We checked out and headed to Denny’s for breakfast, before we started our swim, I mean drive home.

While we were talking, my wife had this funny look on her face and I thought she might be choking, or getting sick. She said “no, I’m listening.”

It turns out that the two guys in the booth next to us were getting carryout, and had people in the race, so she asked them how it was going. He told her they just called it off—they’d actually stopped the race!

Apparently, the wind and rain was so bad, it was causing extreme flooding in the St. Louis area—and the course was right by the river. It got to the point where it was becoming dangerous, so they called it to a halt, stopping everyone at mile 10.

There, at mile marker ten, the runners were waiting (in the rain) for people to come and pick them up. Suddenly, my day was getting brighter. I couldn’t have done it anyway.

So I’ve got to find another one to run this fall. Or, there’s always next year. But now, I’ve got to go run off that buffet!

Monday, September 15, 2008


First a disclaimer: Neither I nor any member of my family is an employee of NBC. Now, I want to tell you one last time to watch the TV premier of this season’s Biggest Loser on Tuesday night.

If you want to see how people lose a lot of weight fast, this is your show. You’ll be amazed and then touched, as you see the contestants tackle a big task—themselves.

It’s like the old saying: “We’ve met the enemy, and he is us.” So true. But this time, these people are doing something about it. You can too. More on that in a minute.

My hope is that it will inspire you to one of the following ways:

1. If you need to lose weight, I hope it will motivate you to get started. If they can do it—you can do it.
2. If you’re already working on it, I hope it will help you stay on course. If they can do it—you can do it.
3. If you’re where you need to be, I hope it will help motivate you to encourage others, especially those participating in the program here this fall. If you can do it—they can do it.

Now the shameless plug. If you’ve been thinking about it for a long time, and you’d be amazed how many people I talk to who’ve been thinking about it for years—this is your chance.


Our community Biggest Loser “5” starts on Friday night, Sept. 19th! You’ve got to pre-register to participate. We can’t take any walk-in’s Friday night because it gets too crazy.

We’ve got to weigh everybody in, and then take off and do the initial fitness assessment. We do the test at the start of the 12 weeks to let you see where you are. Then, we do it again at the end on December 12th, so you can see how far you’ve come.

I have to say, enrollment has been a little slow this time. Last fall, when we announced Biggest Loser “4,” we had 68 people signed up in just 3 weeks. Perhaps other things are going on. Maybe people are just waiting to decide. Either way, the time is now.

Registration is easy, but it has to be done in advance. All you need to do is come in to Tom’s Fitness, fill out the form, pay your entry fee ($50), and show up a little before 6:30 on Friday night.

I’m usually here between 9 and 1 pm, and then again after 5pm. It might take a little time for me to get free in the afternoons, because I’m usually teaching or training people, but come and find me and we’ll get it done.

You can be a member here, at the YMCA, Curves, work, home, or wherever. You just have to have a place to work out. If you’re wanting to workout at home, you’ll need a treadmill or exercise bike, and some basic workout equipment.

We’ll meet every Friday night from 6:30-7:30pm for the weigh-in, workout, and to learn what you’re supposed to do the following week. I won’t be putting your weight in the paper—just how much you’ve lost after a month, two months, and then at the end.

This is the last chance I have to tell you about Biggest Loser “5” so get moving. Make a decision. Take some action. You can get what you want—a new you. I’ve seen it too many times to believe that you’re the only one who can’t do it.

All you have to do is start. Then you just need to show up. Then you just need to keep trying. We’ll fill in the gaps and give you what you need to know to be successful. You’ll learn that you can do it, and a lot more about yourself along the way.

Being part of a group will help a lot. Seeing other people do it will help you believe that you can do it too. It also pushes you. When you see them keep going, you’ll decide to keep going too.

Think of it. A new you. How does that sound to you? Lighter, stronger, faster. New clothes. It’s so doable. You just have to do it. So, finally, here are my top 10 reasons for you to get started with us in Biggest Loser “5”:

1. You’ll feel better.
2. You’ll look better (not that it’s all about looks, but this will affect the way you feel about yourself, helping you do #1).
3. You’ll lower your risk or heart disease, diabetes, and a whole slew of other things (which also helps with #1).
4. You’ll secretly enjoy getting “that look” when you come down the hall with just your underwear on (make sure you’re in your house).
5. You’ll be able to run and play with your kids (or grandkids) without having to stop to catch your breath or worry about CPR.
6. You’ll have more energy to do more things and will be physically able to do them.
7. You’ll be more confident (see #4).
8. You’ll be more content (see #5).
9. You’ll be able to bend over and tie your shoes (you’d be surprised how many people tell me this one).
10. You’ll be able to get back up off the toilet without having to use your hands to help you up (this was priceless—a little lady in her 60’s told me this about 2 weeks after starting working out. She wasn’t in Biggest Loser, but it was still pretty cool).

Like I said last week, let’s do this together! Get in here ASAP so I can put you on the list. See you Friday!

Thursday, September 11, 2008



If you’ve watched it in the past, you’re probably all set to tune in next Tuesday night for the new season of “The Biggest Loser” on NBC. If you’re not a regular viewer of the TV show, I want to encourage you to watch the show on the 16th.

You’re going to see some amazing things. Like the courage these participants have, putting it all out there on national TV for all to see—and there will be a lot to see. These are big people.

They’ve let things go for years. Most of them are morbidly obese—overweight to the point they have life threatening consequences. Even walking will be difficult for them when they get started. But they’ll do more than walk.

When you see how hard they work, especially as big as they are, it takes away all our excuses. Sure, they’re living on a ranch and don’t have to go to work—exercise is their job. So they have lots of time on their hands. But the things they’ll do will amaze you—and themselves.

They’ll start realizing that they can do things they thought were impossible. They’ll start seeing themselves in a new and different light. It gives them hope, maybe for the first time ever.

I remember the first season, thinking that this was going to be a show that made fun of fat people, and I didn’t want any part of it. When I watched the show, though, I was really surprised.

Sure, they build up the drama, and do the TV thing, and the winner gets $250,000 which helps, but everyone’s treated with respect and dignity, just like we want to do here at home. And when you see the transformations, it’s just amazing.

That’s why I like for our people here to watch the show. It helps to see someone else going through the battle. If they can do it, maybe you can do it too.

Maybe that’s another reason the groups do so well here. Everyone’s in the same boat and we all have to paddle if we’re going to make it.


You won’t have to be a member at Tom’s. You can belong to the YMCA, Curves, a gym at work, or even work out at home if you have the right equipment. Some like to work out here. You just have to be able to work out somewhere.

You’ll have to be willing to work out twice a day, six days a week. That’s right—twice a day. Now it’s not as bad as you might think.

The first workout is simple. Walk a mile in the morning every day. Twenty minutes. That’s 3.0 mph on a treadmill. I’ve never met anyone in at least basic health that couldn’t do that within their first week. Most people do that the first day. If you think it might be difficult, get started walking now.

If you want to lose as much as possible, as quickly as possible, that extra easy workout in the morning makes all the difference. It gets the metabolism moving, and gives you a calorie burning edge, all day.

Later in the day, you’ll do your 2nd workout—which is a much more demanding workout. It can be at noon, after work in the afternoon or at night and will take around 45 minutes.

On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, you’ll be building muscle and getting stronger. This will speed your metabolism up and make you a fat burner.

On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, you’ll be doing cardio for your heart and lungs. It will burn lots of calories, and will help you build your endurance.

Each week, we’ll be teaching you how to do more and more things, and giving you new challenges. This helps increase the intensity, and helps you keep losing weight.

As you get stronger, you’ll be noticing that you’re also losing inches—and your clothing will start fitting loosely. It’s very common to have people drop several clothing sizes during the 12 weeks. What a problem to have!

I’ll be giving the group an initial fitness assessment that first day, and then some initial direction on how to get moving that first week. Everyone will also get materials that will help them start thinking about how to start eating right, along with some homework assignments.


Signups are this week and next. The first night is Friday the 19th at 6:30 pm. You have to be signed up in advance (before 9/19), because it’s crazy on that first night.

It costs $50 to participate for 12 weeks and 13 meetings. I did the math—it works out to about $3.85 a meeting. That’s about the price of a quarter-pounder and fries, which is pretty tasty, but won’t help you get what you want. Being in the Biggest Loser “5” will.

You’ll learn everything you need to know about how to get this done. You’ll also be surrounded by a group where everyone’s trying to accomplish the same thing.

You’ll also have me motivating you—and pushing you. I’m not as good looking as Bob or Jillian, but we get the job done. Perhaps most important, you’ll be accountable, having to report in every week.

You won’t have to bear almost all, on national TV. I won’t be putting your weight in the paper, but I will be reporting results every 4 weeks. We’ll also have a picture of the weekly winners and their weight loss each week in the paper.

So there you have it. The ball is in your court. What are you going to do about it? Watch the show on TV. But don’t just watch the show. Realize that you can do this too. Right here, right now. It’s your time!