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.

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