Monday, June 30, 2008


We just finished the next to the last week of the contest and we’re getting ready to wrap things up for the summer. We had 3 great groups in a row, but I think that it’s time to take a break from the contest.

Instead, I’m leaning toward giving a special workout on Wed’s and Fri’s at 5:30 where people can come in and get the same workout I do with my personal training clients. It will be a group workout and it will be tough. Level III and Level IV stuff designed to keep your body changing for the better.

I do a similar group workout called on M, W & F at noon. Basically, it’s a group of people that want to be pushed, challenged, and coached. Everyone works at their own level, but I push them all.

Everyone has an inner athlete just waiting to be discovered (even if you never were one) and that’s what those workouts are about. It’s easy to control your weight when you’re an athlete and it’s really cool becoming more athletic, and leaner and meaner.

As we move fully into those dog days of summer, here are a few thoughts. If you want to change the way you look and feel, you have to have a big desire. It takes desire to change. It’s got to be a really big desire, or it won’t stick. Another way of putting it is that the pain of doing it has to be less than the pain of not doing it. Fix your eyes on the prize or the goal.

The next thing is commitment. You have to be committed to doing it or it will simply get lost in the shuffle. There’s too much going on. Your commitment will determine how high a priority it is. If it isn’t up near the top of your list, forget it—you’ll end up quitting.

Things are so fast paced. We live in a fast food society and if it takes longer than about 3 minutes we lose interest. Our news channels have news and more news that scrolls across the screen. All to keep our interest, because they know we’re about 5 seconds from tuning out.

But it’s our commitment that matters. If you’re committed, you stay with something and figure out how to make it work. Even when it’s tough, you make it work.

Another thing you need is willingness to change. You would be amazed at how many people I hear from that aren’t happy with the way they look and feel. It’s like pulling teeth, though, trying to get them to change.

After I hear all the reasons they can’t try it my way, one of my favorite lines (which sounds kind of cocky but I don’t mean it that way) is: “so how’s that working for you?” Really. If it’s not working, why not try something different.

You also have to learn how to be intentional. You do things on purpose, for a reason, every day. You look for opportunities to intentionally do things that move you in the direction you want to go.

This is important because if you don’t, life intrudes and will always move you in a different direction. You’ve got to schedule your workouts. That’s what you do at that time, every day. Same thing with how you eat.

You also have to have a plan. A wise person once said that failure to plan is really planning to fail. Knowing you need to do something, and knowing what to do are two different things. Find someone that knows how and hook up with them. Get a mentor. Find a coach. Listen to them. Read some books. Do a Google or Yahoo search on it. But do something.

Finally, perhaps above all, you have to be consistent. Doing the same things over and over, day in, day out has great power. It’s how we get fat, or how we get thin. It comes down to what you do each day. Like the power of compounding interest, good habits add up too.

If you slip up, acknowledge it, and move on. It won’t do you any good to dwell in the past. You’ve got to be willing to forgive yourself for the dumb things (and quit doing them) and start looking ahead again.

This week’s winner was Bill Lewis—again. You may recall he lost 52.5 lbs in our Biggest Loser “3” and had been doing very well this time around—until he went on vacation for 2 weeks and put 10 pounds back on.

He’ll tell you it was because he ate too much and didn’t get enough exercise. Bill has such a way of making this simple. When he averaged 5 lbs a week I’d ask him how he did it and he said he just walks/jogs an hour on the treadmill twice a day.

It’s pretty simple, but it’s also quite a lot of work. If anyone else was complaining that they weren’t losing enough, I’d ask them if they were doing that?

After Bill got back, he took off 8 lbs last week, and this week lost an amazing 5% of his body weight, and a total of 10.0 lbs. He’s like a machine. This week he turned it up to walking 3 times a day, plus walking to and from the gym!

So far, he’s lost 33.6 lbs and with the 52.5 lbs from before, is up to a total of 86 lbs in 23 weeks. And he still has a week to go. Bill received a $15 Subway gift card from Dimond Brothers Insurance. Next week we’ll have the final results. Right now, it’s time for my run.

I’ve got this crazy desire to run a marathon on September 13th and I’m committed to getting ready. Last year I had to walk the last 8 miles due to a knee injury showing up during the race and I know I have to be intentional about my training, so each workout has a purpose.

I’m following a plan by one of the many expert marathon trainers out there (Hal Higdon). I’ve got to be consistent in my training if I want to get strong enough to do the 26 miles and hopefully avoid injuries. This week the long run is 12 miles so I’ve got to get going. See you next week!

Monday, June 23, 2008


When we began the 12 weeks, we started the group with what I call Level I training (circuit training with machines) for a month. Then we introduced them to Level II workouts (single exercises with free weights and dumbbells).

After that, they started on our Level III training (compound exercises with free weights). The goal was to keep the workouts progressing so their bodies would never get used to the training—that way they’d keep changing.

The Level III training helps them get great workouts fast—none of them take longer than 30 minutes. They also burn more calories because you’re working several muscle groups at the same time.

Here’s the final week of workouts for the group, in case you want to give it a try.

  • Start with a 5-10 minute Cardio Warmup.
  • Do each numbered exercise 12-15 repetitions in a circuit, four times, without stopping.
    Finish with a single burnout exercise* with maximum reps!

    Level III Workouts—Week Four

Pushups on Rings (or Ball)
Jumping Pullups
Ab Routine #1-4 (Crunches, Legs Up, Crossing, Leg Lifts)
*Single Arm Cable Lateral Raises (1 set to max)

Thrusters with Bar
Reverse Pullups
*Floor Wipers (1 set to max)

Jumping DB Clean & Presses
EZ Bar Curls
Hanging Knee Raises
*Ball Pikes (1 set to max)

This week’s Biggest Loser was Bill Lewis, who lost 3.8% of his body weight and a total of 8.0 lbs. That’s impressive, even if he was taking off most of the 10 lbs he’d put on during his recent vacation.

He’s not the first one to face that problem this summer. As soon as he got back from vacation, he got back to work and took off eight pounds. Bill won a $20 Walmart gift certificate from Dimond Brother Insurance.

2nd Place went to Pam Kelly who lost 2.1% of her body weight and a total of 5.6 lbs. Any other week, she probably would have won, but this happened to be the week Bill got back!

Pam was in the last group of Biggest Losers also. She recently took me up on a challenge I made at the end of the last group. She ran/walked a 5K race a few weeks ago and plans to do another one soon.

Next week I’m going to introduce the group to Level 4 training. Believe it or not, many of the workouts are done in 20 minutes, and one in particular takes less than 10 minutes, but it’s intense. I’ll tell you more later. Right now, it’s time to get to the gym!

Sunday, June 22, 2008


At the last meeting we talked about continuing to turn up the cardio intensity with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), and in their weight workouts with our Level III training. This last month is all about turning up the intensity.

The main mistake I see people make is that they do the same things that they’ve gotten used to—that they’re comfortable with. But if you’ll change it up, your body will continue changing too. That will help you get past the normal plateau’s you’ll find along the way.

I taught them the next two week’s Level III workouts, so here they are in case you’d like to try them. Each workout will hit your entire body—the pushing muscles (Chest, Shoulders & Triceps), the pulling muscles (Back & Biceps), your lower body, as well as your core.

Remember, the goal is to do everything back to back, with no breaks, except for water. Make sure you get with someone who knows how to do the exercises, so you can do them safely.

  • Start with a 5-10 minute Cardio Warmup.
  • Do each numbered exercise 10-12 reps (guys) or 12-15 reps (gals) in a circuit 4 times!
  • Finish with a single burnout exercise* with maximum reps!

    Level III Workouts—Week Two

DB Thrusters (Squat & Press)
Ring Pullups
Floor Wipers
*DB Curl 21’s (1 set to max)

DB Single Arm Clean & Press
DB Curls (both arms, together)
Ab Crunches on the Ball—one leg raised
*Ball Pushups & Knee Curls (1 set to max)

EZ Bar Deadlift, Curl & Reverse Press
Pilates Crunches
*DB Lateral Raises (1 set to max)

Level III Workouts—Week Three

Jumping Squats with Bar
Pullover Presses on Ball
SA Dumbbell Curls
*Floor Wipers (1 set to max)

Push Presses with Bar
EZ Bar Curls
Hanging Knee Raises
*Ball Pikes (1 set to max)

Jumping Lunge with SA DB Press
DB Curl 21’s
Pilates Crunches
*SA Cable Curl (1 set to max)

This week’s Biggest Loser was Denise Cravens, who lost 2.8% of her body weight and 4.2 lbs. Denise has been working hard for months and was pretty happy to be in the winner’s column! She received a $25 Casey’s gift card from Dimond Brothers Insurance.

This will be the 3rd twelve week Biggest Loser we’ve done in a row and I’m wondering if it’s time to take a break. I’d bring it back in September to coincide with the TV show like we did last fall.

It’s really up to you, though. We started with 68 people this time, and 57 people last time. If there’s enough interest to do a 4th one this year during the summer, I’m willing. It would start on 7/11 if we did it.

The other idea I had was to take a smaller group of say 20 people, and personally train them for the summer—no contest—just hard work and results. We’ll have to see what develops. You’ll have to let me know.

See you next week. Right now, it’s time to get to the gym!

Sunday, June 15, 2008


It’s been eight weeks and it’s time for another update on everyone’s progress. We started with 68 people and 36 people made the weigh-in last Friday.

As usual, the contestants have divided themselves into three groups. The first group is made up of people who have quit for one reason or another. They’re not around anymore.

The second group is made up of people that are still involved, but I don’t see them much. Quite a few of them have been on vacation this summer. Some make a Friday workout and weigh-in, and then miss another. Some have been sick. At least one had knee surgery.

Finally, we have a core group of people left who are really pushing hard. I see them in the gym all the time, doing more and more. Around 20 to 25 of them make the regular Friday night workouts to learn how to turn it up.

This time, after the weigh-in and announcements, I spent about 10 minutes explaining the new exercises. In the first four weeks, they did Level I exercises on the machines. In weeks 5 to 8, they did Level II exercises on the free weights.

If you’ll remember, free weights cause you to use more stabilizer muscles and engage your core more—burning more calories and giving you a better workout.

This week, they’ll be starting on Level III. Instead of simple one-movement exercises that primarily focus on a single muscle group, this time, they’ll be doing compound movements that combine different exercises.

The Clean-Jerk and Press is a good example. You bend down and pick up the bar, jerk it up to shoulder level, move yourself slightly so you’re underneath the bar, and then press it overhead.

Another example is the Walking, Lunge, Curl & Press. Holding 2 dumbbells just light enough for you to be able to shoulder press them, take a walking step forward (lunge). While maintaining that position, curl both dumbbells up to your shoulders, and then turn your hands and press the dumbbells up over head. Lower the weights, take another long lunging step and repeat.

These exercises are demanding because you’re using so many different muscle groups all at the same time. They have a huge influence on your metabolism and are awesome calorie burners. They also engage your core the whole time.

I gave them four weeks of workouts to finish out the 12 weeks. Each workout is different, causing your body to respond more dramatically. In case you’d like to try them on for size, here’s their Level III workout for Week Nine:

Start with a 5-10 minute Cardio Warmup.
Do each primary exercise 10-12 reps (guys) or 12-15 reps (gals) in a circuit 4 times!
Finish with a single burnout exercise* with maximum reps!

Clean Jerk & Press
Standing EZ Bar Curl
Pilates Crunches
*Single Arm Cable Curl

Walking Lunge, Curl & Press
Ab Routine #1-4: (Crunches, Legs Up, Crossing, Leg Lifts)
*Dumbbell Lateral Raises

Box Step Ups with Curls
Single Arm Dumbbell Press on Ball
Hanging Knee Raises
*Tricep Overhead Press

While half the people tried out the exercises, I took the other half of the group into the cardio room and showed them how to do high intensity interval training (HIIT).

Basically, HIIT is a way to pack 40-45 minutes worth of work into 20-24 minutes. It doesn’t matter what equipment you use. They used the treadmills, ellipticals, and exercise bikes, rotating on each after 7-8 minutes.

What you do is take a perceived exertion scale of 1-10, where 1-4 would be about like lying on the couch. Level 5 and 6 is pretty easy and you could do it indefinitely. Level 7 is where we started—not too hard, but you can definitely feel it. That was their 2 minute warmup—at what felt like a “7.”

Then they cranked it up to what felt like an “8” on their perceived exertion scale. This meant they were jogging on the treadmill, or walking up a very steep grade. On the bikes and ellipticals, they cranked up the levels until it was pretty hard, but they could still do it.

After a minute of working at what felt like an “8”, they backed it down to a 6 or 7 to recover for a minute. Then, they took it back up to what felt like an “8” for another minute, and so on.

After 8 minutes, they switched to a different piece of cardio equipment so they could see how it felt while doing other things.

When they’d done several intervals at an “8”, they did one at what felt like a “9.” A nine is very difficult. You can do it for a while, but only for a little while (a “10” would be too difficult to continue). They were all watching the clock, cause it was killer—but they did it!

Finally, after about 20-22 minutes, they did one final interval at a “9”, but for two minutes! This one was brutal. I could really hear them breathing hard, grunting and groaning, with focused intensity—exactly what it takes to get what you want. One of them told me “I thought I was about ready to die, at the end of those two minutes.”

They stayed on for a couple minutes, and backed it down around what felt like a “5” to cool down a little bit. One other important note: make sure you have your water bottle with you, and every time you are on a resting interval, take a sip or two of water. By the time you’ve finished your workout, you should have finished the bottle. This will keep you hydrated.

Well there’s their workout strategy for the next four weeks to finish out the contest: HIIT training on cardio days, and Level III workouts (compound exercises) in the weight room. Of course they’ve got to keep watching what they eat.

The winner this week was Theresa Finley, who lost 1.4% of her body weight and 3.0 lbs. Theresa won a $20 Kroger gift card from Dimond Brothers Insurance for her hard work.

Remember, for most people, losing a pound a week is pretty predictable. Two pounds a week is doable if you’re walking a mile in the morning and then getting your real workout in later in the day. Anything over two pounds a week is outstanding. Here’s the breakdown after Week 8:

1. Josh Rigdon 14.3 % 38.8 lbs
2. Tracy Rush 11.4 % 27.2 lbs
3. Rodney Rodrick 11.1 % 27.2 lbs
4. Judy Rush 10.3 % 19.6 lbs
5. Julie Reed 10.1 % 17.3 lbs
6. Kelly Reed 10.0 % 19.8 lbs
7. Darren German 8.3 % 25.0 lbs
8. Mike Elledge 8.1 % 24.4 lbs
9. Steve Jones 7.0 % 17.8 lbs
10. Shawn Bowers 7.0% 21.4 lbs
11. Kellie Gates 6.9 % 15.4 lbs
12. Jeannie Kaufman 6.8 % 11.0 lbs
13. Janet Tyler 5.7 % 10.0 lbs
14. John Kaufman 5.5 % 11.6 lbs
15. Kelli Stidham 5.2 % 14.0 lbs
16. Alta Cary 5.1 % 12.3 lbs
17. Karen Kerrick 4.3 % 6.6 lbs
18. Lynn Anderson 4.2 % 8.2 lbs
19. Lisa Eskew 4.2 % 7.6 lbs
20. Julie Wieland 3.9 % 7.6 lbs
21. Pam Kelly 3.6 % 9.6 lbs
22. Laura Whitaker 3.5 % 10.2 lbs
23. Samantha Wombles 3.4 % 10.0 lbs
24. Denise Cravens 3.4 % 5.4 lbs
25. Sheri Hackett 3.3 % 7.4 lbs
26. Theresa Finley 3.0 % 6.6 lbs
27. Gary Lane 2.9 % 8.0 lbs
28. Tina Cooper 2.8 % 5.0 lbs
29. Jasmine Camp 2.8 % 6.0 lbs
30. Rosa Wolfe 2.7 % 6.2 lbs
31. Bridgett Trover 2.2 % 4.0 lbs
32. Mandy Neal 2.1 % 4.8 lbs
33. Shirley Fiscus 1.2 % 2.4 lbs
34. Penny Spinner 1.1 % 1.8 lbs
35. Loretta Morgan 0.1 % 1.4 lbs
36. Kathy Rhoads 0.1 % 0.8 lbs

Friday, June 06, 2008


Have you ever been so proud of someone you just wanted to burst? Of course you have—if you’ve ever had kids or grandkids.

Well, last Friday, I took 22 of the Biggest Losers out to the H.S. football field and laid down a challenge: 8 laps around the track (2 miles), with 25 body squats, 25 pushups and 25 sit-ups after each lap (200 total)!

The challenge was actually a mental one as much as a physical one. To my amazement, no one said anything—not one complaint, not one argument, no one bargained. They all just kind of gave me that faraway look and said O.K. What a great group!

My plan was actually to have them do half that much—4 laps around the track (1 mile), and 100 total body squats, pushups and sit-ups. I wanted to see how they’d react though. Plus, when it got tough, I wanted them to remember that it could have been twice as much, and that would keep them going.

Don’t think I was taking it easy on them. Even a mile is tough when you throw in 25 squats, pushups & sit-ups in between each lap—try it sometime. In addition, they were supposed to run anytime they could.

If they were pretty good at running, they were to run the whole thing, as fast as they could. If they hadn’t been running much, then I wanted them to at least try to jog at times down the straight-aways.

After they got back in from the 1st ¼ mile, I let them in on the secret and they were all pretty happy about it. But you know, I think they would have done it even if I hadn’t cut it in half.
This is that kind of group.

Take Judy Rush for example. She’s lost 22.2 pounds to date in 7 weeks. That’s great, but she’s lost 70 pounds total, including the 47 pounds she lost before we ever met her. You could see why, if you watched her working out with the group.

Judy has some pretty serious knee problems, but she never quits. She even does the squats with everyone else, although she has to modify them, going just halfway down on the one side. I even saw her sprinting down the back straight-away!

No wonder she’s lost 70 pounds. She might never win this contest, but she’s still a winner, and a great example. She also takes your excuses away.

Everyone finished the workout, and they all agreed it was pretty tough. I challenged them to try the 2 mile version sometime. Anytime you put some running intervals in between full body exercises in a workout, you’ll burn a lot of calories.

This week’s winner was Gary Lane, who joined us at the start of Week Two. Gary lost 2.0% of his body weight and 5.4 lbs during the week. He received a $15 Subway gift card from Dimond Brothers Insurance.

Next week, I’ll give you everyone’s two-month totals and tell you how we’re going to turn it up yet again. We’ve got to keep things moving—and these guys and gals can take it. Right now, it’s time for my workout!