Monday, January 28, 2008


It was another interesting week for our Biggest Losers (Season 3). We had some great numbers at the Friday night weigh-in, and almost everyone was there for the workout. The fact that most people came back after last week’s boot camp reflects their desire to make some changes.

I deliberately made the first one tough to weed out anyone who’s not committed. Last group, I took the group running down Main St. on the first night. You should have heard the comments behind me.

“He’s going to do what???” “You’ve GOT to be kidding.” And some other choice ones! But I figure that if you’re worried about what other people are going to think, you’re really not ready. Let’s get past that right away. It’s about you. What you need. How your life is going to change.

Sadly, it’s too cold to take them outside right now, but wait until March J. So, we started with 50 body squats, 50 pushups, and 50 crunches (5 sets of 10), all in a row, without stopping. I thought it set the tone nicely.

Then we moved on to walking lunges, hops, sprints, pilates crunches, banana rolls and finished them off with wheelbarrow walks. Those are where you hold someone’s feet up and walk behind them while they are walking in pushup position on their hands!

I was so proud of them—they kept pushing, even when it got tough. My goal is to teach them how to put intensity into their exercise and know how it feels. Then, when they’re on their own, they’ll know if they’re taking it too easy.

If they can get to where my workouts aren’t any harder than the ones they do, they’ll be just fine. They’ll continue to progress and get what they want.

Sure, they’re going to be sore for awhile, but it’s worth it. Remember, they’re changing their bodies. Things don’t change when you’re comfortable. Why would they?

Before the workout, I had a chance to talk to them about food, and how to prepare a balanced diet and what each plate should look like. We also talked about how important it was for them (especially the women) to hit what I call their minimum—which is the minimum amount of calories they need to survive.

I always go by American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) standards, and according to them, women should never get less than 1,200 calories, and men should never go below 1,800 calories a day.

In my experience, 9 out of 10 women don’t hit their minimum. Many diets are under 1,200 calories. This will cause your metabolism to slow down making it very difficult to burn fat for fuel.

Once we know someone’s minimum we want to give them a little extra to cover the activity they’re engaging in. This means most women end up around 1,650 calories.

Just this morning, I was on the phone with a nutritionist with one of the hospitals in Terre Haute. She makes sure that the women she counsels never go below 1,500 calories. Sometimes, you’ve got to eat more to lose.

On the other hand, guys are usually over-eaters. We need a visit from the portion control police. “STEP AWAY FROM THE TABLE...!”

Once you know how much you should eat, you need to look at the quality of what you’re eating. Every meal should have a source of Protein, Starch, and Fruits & Greens. If you’re doing fats correctly, you don’t even need to think about it, so let’s spend a moment on fats.

· Eat low fat dairy—it has the same protein without all the extra calories from fat.
· Eat more fish—it’s the best source of Omega-3, a fatty acid that actually helps you burn fat.
· Eat more olives and cook with Olive Oil—never use vegetable oils.
· Eat more nuts—they’re very high in Omega-3, especially walnuts and almonds. Even peanut butter is good for you (just don’t eat the whole can).
· Eat more avacados—they’ll help you burn more fat.
· Eat dark chocolate—I’m serious—it’s another one of those fat foods that helps you burn fat. Just don’t go crazy with it.
· Avoid fatty cuts of meat—eat lean cuts and trim the fat.
· Take an Omega-3 (fish oil) supplement.
If you’re doing all those things, then your fats are taking care of themselves, and you can focus on Protein, Starch, and Fruits & Greens. Basically you’re dividing the plate up into three equal sections, each containing one of those three food sources:

(For Building Muscle & Bone)
· Fish
· Poultry (chicken or turkey)
· Lean cuts of Beef
· Nuts
· Lo-fat Dairy Products (cottage cheese, yogurt, cheese, milk, eggs)
· Pork
· 3-4 oz portions for women, 5-6 oz portions for men (about the size of your palm)

(For Long Fuel & some Vitamins & Minerals)
· Whole Wheat or Whole Grain Cereal
· Whole Wheat or Whole Grain Breads, Bagels, etc…
· Oats or Oatmeal
· Potatoes or Sweet Potatoes
· Corn
· Whole Grain Pasta
· Long Grain Wild Rice
· Some Beans

(For lots of Vitamins & Minerals, Fiber, & Quick Energy)
· These are pretty obvious. Choose fresh or frozen if possible, then canned.
· Try to get as much color on your plate

At the weigh-in, the winner of Week 2 was Tony Haupt, who has been working out at home. While that may not be as good for business, it clearly demonstrates that you can do this even if you can’t get to the gym. He’s getting it done at home!

Tony won with a weight loss of 7.6 lbs and -2.94% of his body weight, just ahead of the 2nd Place finisher. He received a $25 Casey’s Gas Card from Dimond Brothers Insurance, but it was so close that we had to go to the hundredth percent to eliminate a tie this week.

2nd Place went to Kathy Hurst, who lost 6.0 lbs and -2.93% of her body weight. 3rd Place went to Tiffany Gann, who also lost 6.0 lbs and -2.76% of her body weight. That’s two gals in the top three!

4th Place went to Bill Lewis, our oldest in the group (age 67) who lost 7.0 lbs and -2.61% of his body weight. I like Bill. He lets you know that anyone can do this, regardless of age.

Next week, we’re turning up the heat. Their assignments were to do extremely slow reps on the weight machines (much harder—they’ll feel the burn), doing a 15 count going up and 15 count going down. Then, doing the rest of the reps with a 5 count up and down.

They’re also supposed to continue improving their cardio, and recording what they eat in 3 healthy meals and 3 healthy snacks. By writing it down, they will be educating themselves about the caloric value of different foods. If you don’t know, you’re guessing, and guessing makes you fat!

It will also hold them accountable, and that’s another thing we need—accountability! More on this next week. Until then, I’ll see you in the gym!

Monday, January 21, 2008


Well, our Biggest Loser “3” is fully underway, and wow, what a group! We now have 57 people registered and participating in what has become a community wide event. People are working out at the Y, Curves, Tom’s, at work, and at home. I’ve even heard from others that are following along on their own!

All the contestants came together for the Friday night weigh-in and boot camp ready for action, and I knew they’d be putting up some good numbers. Their assignments were to walk at least a mile every morning (20 minutes), and then do another more intense cardio or strength workout later that day.

This is certainly the time of year when people are the most resolute, and it sure showed in the gym. All week I watched them sweating, smiling (mostly), and getting it done each day, and I could barely keep up with towels!

This time around, we’re going to do the weekly winners and the grand prize like the show, based on percentage of weight lost. We also picked up a special sponsor, Dimond Brothers Insurance, who will be providing weekly prizes along the way!

One other change is that we’re not publishing the weights each week. I think it might help keep people motivated, but many of the contestants didn’t want it. We’ll see how they do this time around. And so far, it doesn’t seem to have been a factor!

As they started stepping on the scale, I knew we were in for something special. Weight loss of 1 to 1 ½ lbs a week is normal, 2 lbs is excellent, and anything over that is extraordinary.

Of the 57 contestants, 41 people lost at least a pound. Of those 41 people, 33 lost at least 2 pounds; and 22 of them lost at least 3 pounds. As a group, they lost a combined total of 150.5 pounds, and that’s just in Week One!

The Biggest Loser male this week was Joe Stidham, who works out at the YMCA and our place. That should tell you something. He’s working out at two gyms! Joe lost the most amount of weight (-9.6 lbs), and had the highest percent of weight loss by far (-4.1%).

The Biggest Loser female this week was a very surprised Sherree Hutchings (-5.2 lbs) who just squeezed by Penny Spinner (-4.9 lbs). Both Sherree and Penny had a higher percent of weight loss than anyone else (-2.8) except Joe.

Joe and Sherree both received a special $20 Walmart Gift Card from Dimond Brothers. I gave Penny a copy of my latest Nashville CD “Leaving Egypt”. I’m pretty sure Joe and Sherree got the better deal—they can use their gift cards to buy some fresh fruits and vegetables!

I was also amazed by the Redmon family who put up some awesome numbers. The Dad (Chris) lost 9.2 lbs, while Mom (Cheryl) lost 4.6 lbs, and their son Cody lost 8.0 lbs. That’s a total of 21.8 lbs in one week for one family. This family is serious, and they showed it in the gym. I’m gonna give em CD’s too. If nothing else, they make good coffee coasters.

There were many other great losers too, like Donnie Bartos and Bill Lewis (-7.8 lbs), and Steve Johnson and Mike Slaven (-6.8 lbs). Jim York (-6.2 lbs), Robert Sanders (-5.6 lbs) and Becky Slaven and James Motley (-4.2 lbs). Rick Akerman, Tony Haupt and Carrie Whitmer (-4.0 lbs) and Jeff Archibald and Lauwana Wallace (-3.0 lbs).

Like I mentioned earlier, quite a few others lost more between 2 and 3 lbs, and many more lost at least a pound. For those that lost less than a pound, many of them had difficulty getting their morning walk in, due to scheduling problems and the like. They’ll have to figure that out, because the best results always come from working out twice a day.

After the weigh-in we had a pretty grueling boot camp workout (if I do say so myself). It would have been tougher, but I was nursing a slight neck sprain from my own workout that morning and had to tone it down.

Still, they did quite a few sets of pushups, planks, jumping jacks, squats, lunges, crunches galore, running the dots, crab walks and an introduction to kick boxing before cooling down with some stretching at the end. It was pretty crazy with over 50 people in the room doing it all at the same time!

For many of them, it was the hardest workout they’ve done in years. It will quickly get easier though. In 4 weeks, they’ll look back and wonder what the big deal was. I’ll have to push them harder. In 12 weeks, they’ll laugh about it.

You see people often think that just because things are the way they are now, that they always have to be that way. This just isn’t true.

As our contestants are already learning, things can change. They can get stronger. They can start to lose inches, pounds, and fat. They’ll also gain confidence in their ability to accomplish new things—and that’s where the real power is.

Next week the contestants are supposed to step it up. They’re supposed to take 15 seconds off their one mile time (each week), and do at least one more pushup in a minute. They’re supposed to do two circuits on the weight machines instead of just one, and increase the weights when they can.

They’re also supposed to start looking at how much food they’re eating by starting to keep a daily food diary. Most of the guys will find out they’re overeating. Nine out of ten of the women will learn they’re not eating enough. We’ll be looking at that next week. After that, we’ll start talking about the quality of what they’re eating. For now, what about your New Year’s Resolution?

Saturday, January 12, 2008


It was a crazy ride the last 12 weeks with the guys and gals from Biggest Loser “2” and we’re about to do it all again! Biggest Loser “3” started last Friday night and we were all a little shocked with the response.

After opening it up to anyone regardless of gym membership, and putting a limit on it, we had 50 people register and show up to the first weigh-in and workout. By the end of the weekend, we had 2 more for a total of 52 contestants this time! Over the next couple days it grew to 57 total!

Several were participants a year ago in Biggest Loser “1” and wanted to get back on track. Another 5 or 6 were with us in Biggest Loser “2”, including Steve (38 lbs) and Shirley (30 lbs). The rest were an extremely diverse group of men and women ranging in age from 19 to 67.

We took a few minutes and talked about Steve and Shirley and their accomplishments last time, and then they shared how they did it. It says a lot that both of them are doing it again. They see it now and know it’s just a matter of time for them.

It was also a great example for the rest of them because they saw that Steve and Shirley were ordinary people just like them. What made them extraordinary is their commitment to getting it done—to making the changes.

We also talked about how to be successful. Here are the things I think you need to do, if you want to get your health and body back (it works for other things, too).

(1) You’ve got to recognize your need to change.
(2) You’ve got to make a decision to do something about it.
(3) You’ve got to find someone who’s doing it or helping people do it, and copy their success—don’t try to reinvent the wheel.
(4) You’ve got to actually start—too many people just think or talk about it. These 52 people have definitely started.
(5) You’ve got to set a goal. Have a definite end in mind, based on what you think is reasonable. Steve and Shirley lost over 30 lbs in 12 weeks. That’s a lot. The average was around 15-20 lbs. Maybe that’s more reasonable.
(6) You’ve got to be deliberate about it, doing certain things—on purpose—every day that will help you get to your goal.
(7) Finally, you’ve got to be consistent with it. Too many people start and stop when life intrudes. Last time, 16 out of 21 really stuck with it to the end. How many of these 52 will stick? Those are the ones who’ll get what they want.

Then we started the fitness tests and let them get familiar with the machines. If you want to follow along with the Losers and work out on your own, give yourself these tests:

• Walk or jog a mile as quickly as possible (4 laps around the track), and record your time.
• Do as many pushups as you can in 1 minute. (Your chest must touch the floor and you must go all the way up and all the way down. Ladies may do them with their knees on the floor.)
• Do as many setups as you can in 1 minute. (Your knees should be bent, and someone can hold your feet down. With your arms crossed in front of you, don’t count them unless your elbows touch your knees.)

The tests are really a wakeup call. Quite a few of the participants came up to me and told me they knew they were out of shape, but didn’t realize it was that bad.

What they’re going to find out, is that once they get back to an active lifestyle, it’s not uncommon for them to take 3 minutes off their 1 mile time, and double the number of pushups and setups in just 12 weeks.

Finally, everyone left for the week with their assignments. The primary goals this week are to get them moving again and to start making daily exercise a habit.

To that end, they’ll be doing two exercise sessions a day: an easy one in the morning to get their metabolism going and get a jump on calories, and another more significant workout later in the day.

M-W-F: Strength circuit on the machines (30-45 min)
T-TH-SA: Cardio exercise on a treadmill, bike, elliptical, etc… (30-45 min).
M-T-W-TH-F-SA: Walk a minimum of 1 mile each morning (20 min).
SU: Rest Day

In the past, I used to try to ease people into the exercise, and to a point I still do—especially with the older population, or with someone who is coming back from a serious illness or injury.

On the other hand, I’ve also learned that many people will quit no matter what I do, and at some point, they just need to jump in. Look, if you have a big goal, you have to take big action.

That’s the only way to really get what you want. Sure it’s going to hurt a little bit afterward. Yes, you will be sore, but you can do things about that, like stretch, and drink lots of water, and getting up and moving.

The good news is that it will never be that bad again. Your body is fearfully and wonderfully made—it will adapt and get stronger, faster than you can even imagine.

Next week, we’ll introduce a daily calorie journal, and get them thinking about the things they’re eating. Until then, I’m hoping that you will get out there and start doing something too!

Monday, January 07, 2008


This was the 12th and final week of the contest and our top two competitors ran neck and neck, ending the week with a tie at 2.6 lbs. Shirley kept Steve honest up to the very end, with a very strong 2nd place finish (30.4 lbs). That was 10 lbs more than her closest competitors, and the most a woman’s lost in 12 weeks.

Steve ended the 12 weeks 38.8 lbs lighter, and $500.00 richer. He said it was just in time for Christmas shopping for the kids! Steve lost over 40 lbs the first time, and in the last year has lost over 100 pounds total. Talk about changing your life!

Karl finished 3rd (23.4), Dawn Stewart was 4th (19.8), and Marvin and Carol tied for 5th (19.2). Tony was 6th (18.8), Dawn Hopper was 7th (18.0), just edging out her husband Roger (17.0).

Many of the contestants would have finished even stronger, but we’re moving into the holiday season. With parties at work, and fewer workouts in the gym, several of them actually gained a few pounds this week, otherwise we’d have seen several more people over 20 lbs for the 12 weeks.

Of the 21 people that started the contest, 16 made the final weigh-in, and 19 were still working out regularly. Nine of the contestants lost around 20 lbs. Twelve of the 21 lost 10 or more lbs.

While not everyone had a chance to do the fitness post-test, those who did showed great improvements. Most took 2-3 minutes off of their 1 mile walk/run time. Those that improved the least still took off 1 ½ min of their time.

Everyone improved in the situps and pushups too. There were several who couldn’t do a single situp when they began. Just 12 weeks later, they were able to do 12-15.

Now they’re all at a crossroad. This is probably the most important time for them. Hopefully, they’ll keep the gains they’ve made, and continue to progress. And it’s a perfect time to press on.

Let’s say they needed to lose 60 lbs, and they lost around 20. All they need to do is simply do it again. Start another 12 week cycle. Do it again and lose another 20 lbs. Then, do it again. That’s it. Just two more 12 week sessions and they can have what they want. Doing what they know.

If they lost 10 lbs, it might take a little longer, but the results are still predictable. It’s doable. All they have to do is—do it. In fact, there wasn’t a single person that can’t get down to their ideal body weight in 12 months at the most, if they just keep working at it.

Take Steve for example. It’s been a year and he’s down over 100 lbs. He says he has another 36 lbs to go. If he’ll just do it again for another 12-16 weeks, he’s there. It’s predictable.

For some of the contestants, 12 weeks will do the trick. For most of the rest of them, it might take two more 12 week sessions. And that’s how you do it. Set a new goal. Pick a reasonable amount of time to do it in, and start doing it.

Your chance is coming up, too. Like I told you last time, we’re going to start a community wide Biggest Loser “3” in just 2 weeks on Friday, January 4th. Same $25 entry, same $500 prize.

We’ve already have 5 people sign up just from last week’s article, and I think some of these contestants are going to do it again too. I’m not going to set a limit on it this time, but we’re starting with or without you on the 4th!

You can work out anywhere you like—here, at the YMCA, Curves—wherever you want to have your fitness membership. You can even work out at home, or at work, it you like. We’ll all come together at our place on Fridays for the weigh-ins and a boot-camp style class.

This time, I won’t be putting the names & weights in the paper each week, but I will give updates from time to time, and write about the winners a little bit.

Everyone talks about making that change after the 1st of the year. Maybe you have too. Here’s your chance. What are you going to do with it? May God bless you this Christmas season, and I’ll see you in 2008!