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.

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