Saturday, April 25, 2009


Last week I challenged this group to do the 5K at the “Races for all Paces” at Sarah Bush Lincoln in Charleston on May 9th. I’ll be doing the half-marathon, to make up for missing the Illinois marathon last week. Every one else will do the 5K (3.1 mi).

Since they’ve already done a mile the first night, and 1.8 miles last week, this week the challenge was to do 2 miles. First they walked/ran a mile, and then met back at the gym where they did 5 sets of 5 burpees and 10 sit-ups.

For those of you who’ve never had the privilege of doing a burpee, here’s how it goes. Start standing up. Then drop down onto your hands and kick your feet back behind you into pushup position. Then do a pushup. Then hop your feet back underneath you and stand back up. Once up, jump a few inches up in the air with your hands stretched out over-head. That’s a burpee!

Since the whole body is being used, burpees are very metabolically demanding—meaning they require a lot of oxygen and energy. By the end of the second set, everyone was huffing and puffing, but they all hung in there and completed the 5 sets.

After the burpees and sit-ups, the rest of the challenge was to go back out the door and walk/run another mile. Lacey Strow and Brian Bradley led the pack, running the whole way!

After tracking their calories for a few days, some were surprised to see how little they were actually eating. Most women need somewhere between 1200 and 1350 calories minimum. Then, we try to get them up to 1,500 or 1,650 calories. Guys tend to need around 1,800 calories minimum, and we try to get them to stay between 2,000 and 2,400 calories.

We also talked about the quality of foods, starting with fats. Eating low fat dairy products every day, avoid foods cooked in vegetable oil (most fast foods), and take an Omega-3 supplement (fish oil). Then divide your plate into 3 segments: Protein, Starch, and Fruits/Greens:

  • Protein is for building muscle and bone and we usually don’t get enough. Sources include Fish, poultry, lean cuts of beef, pork, low fat dairy, some beans, and nuts.
  • Starches are complex carbohydrates that take your body longer to break down, so you get longer lasting fuel. We usually overdo these. A good plan is to eat only one per meal. Sources include whole wheat or multigrain breads and cereals, oats, potatoes, sweet potatoes, whole grain pastas, long grain wild rice, corn, and some beans.
  • Fruits are for quick energy, lots of vitamins and fiber, and we don’t eat enough of them. Unless you’re diabetic, try to eat 3-4 fruits a day for breakfast and snacks.
  • Greens include all vegetables—whether or not they’re actually green—and we definitely don’t eat enough of these. Packed with lots of vitamins and minerals, and fiber, try to eat 3-4 of these a day. Wal-Mart has a big bag of frozen broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. Steam em up or lightly sautee them in a little butter. Other days, have a big salad with your supper.

This week’s winner was Nicole Richardson who lost 2.0% of her body weight and 3.4 lbs. She won a $20 gift card from Terry Elston and State Farm Insurance. Nicole does a lot of bike riding and won the first week also.

Second place went to a surprised Kara Englum who lost 1.7% of her body weight and 2.6 lbs. Kara was one of those who learned she wasn’t eating enough. She stepped it up from 1,300 calories to 1,650 and lost weight!

Third place went to Vince Porter who lost 1.6% of his body weight and 4.4 lbs. Vince is in the lead overall, having lost 16.8 lbs so far in just three weeks!

Friday, April 17, 2009


This week we turned it up a notch during the Saturday morning workout. We had to because two of our BL7 participants, Shawn and Jennifer, were in Champaign running the 1st ever Illinois Marathon & Half-Marathon. Since they were there, running 13.1 miles, I felt we owed it to them to pick it up a little bit back here at home.

I was supposed to be running the marathon with them, but 3 weeks ago during the last long training run, my old right knee flared up again. Then last week, the dreaded flu and sinusitis combo reared its ugly head and knocked me out for a couple days. Working out over two hours tends to suppress the immune system, so the smart thing to do was take it easy so my system would recover.

I’m not the only one who had to pass on the run. My friend Susan made it all the way through the long run on the marathon training, when her shin splints started kicking in. They got bad enough that hardly any running at all made it worse, to the point where there could be long-term consequences. Though she was smart for not tempting fate, she says she still felt like a loser.

It’s funny how that works. Even though we’ve trained for 16 weeks, and ran around 500 miles to prepare, and we even did the long runs up to 18 miles, we still feel that way, even though we know it’s not true. We need to remember the real benefit is gained from what we’ve done and learned along the way. It would have been nice to be there, though.

But we did have some others go from the center. Josh and Stacey were doing their first half-marathon. Jane was doing her first one in over twenty years. Paul & Penny were doing just another of many races and half-marathons, and Josh Rigdon, who you might remember won BL4, was doing his first ever full marathon.

With all that going on, I pushed the BL7 group pretty hard this morning. After walking at the center for a warm-up, we did an interesting interval workout. We met outside the building and ran or walked down Wood St. to the park at 5-Points (High St).

Once there, we all did 25 jumping-jacks, 15 pushups, 15 sit-ups, and 15 body squats. Then they ran or walked north on High St to the park at Edgar & High St. Once everyone arrived, we did 25 more jumping-jacks, and 15 pushups, sit-ups and body squats.

After that, we took off toward the football field. Once there, we did another set of each of the exercises. Finally, we ran or walked up the big hill and headed back to Wood St and then back to the fitness center where we did the final set of exercises back in the mat room.

The first week, they did 5 sets of 10 each of the pushups, sit-ups, and body squats. This time, they did 60 of each, along with 100 jumping jacks, not to mention the running from point to point in-between.

If I’d have told them what they were going to do before they did it, most of them wouldn’t have believed they could do it. Once they were into it, though, they learned that they could do it. What’s more, their bodies will come back stronger next time and be able to do even more.

It got me thinking, though. The Sarah Bush Lincoln “Races for all Paces” is on Saturday, May 9th. They have a 5K walk/run, 10K relay, and Half-Marathon. I ran it last year after my knee kept me out of the St. Louis Marathon.

I was planning on doing it again this year, since I just had to skip the Illinois Marathon this weekend. While we were working out, it occurred to me that it would be a good challenge for the group in Biggest Losers “7”.

So, we’re going to all meet there that Saturday morning, and instead of our regular workout, they have to do the 5K walk/run, and I’ll do the 13.1 mile run. Some of them will run most or all of it while others will take lots of walk breaks. Some will walk the whole thing. A 5K is 3.1 miles and they’ve all done at least two miles, so the 5K would be only one more mile, and take at the most around one hour.

We’ll spend the next four weeks building up to it. If you’d like to do it with us, you can get information about it by Googling “Races for all Paces.”

This week’s winner was John Crow who lost 2.3% of his body weight and 6.4 lbs. I’m not surprised, because every time I came in the fitness center, there he was, working out. John won a $20 Wal-Mart gift card from Terry Elston and State Farm Insurance.

Second place went to Brittany Cline who lost 1.8% of her body weight and 3.4 lbs. Stacey Reed came in third, with 1.6% of her body weight and 3.2 lbs. Here are the rest of the top 10 for this week.

1. John Crow 2.3% 6.4
2. Brittany Cline 1.8% 3.4
3. Stacey Reed 1.6 3.2
4. Mike Elledge 1.5 4.5
5. Stephanie Crampton 1.4 2.4
6. Daniel Pearson 1.4 4.6
7. Heather Sutton 1.4 3.2
8. Shirley Fiscus 1.3 2.6
9. Jerryca Pearson 1.3 3.0
10. Doug Sutton 1.2 3.0

The group also got a homework assignment—a calorie log to start recording what they eat each day. Research shows that people who write down what they eat lost more weight than those who don’t write it down.

It will also let us know if they’re hitting their “minimum” each day—their basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the minimum calories they need to live. Most women don’t hit their minimum, and most guys overeat. This will tell us where everyone is, so we can go from there. Next week, we’ll look at the quality of their foods. See you then!

Saturday, April 11, 2009


We hit the ground running this week. Having just finished Biggest Loser “6,” we turned right around and started another. At the end of week one, there are 39 participants. The results so far are pretty promising. Over half the group lost at least 2.0 lbs and 21 people lost more than 3.0 lbs.

As always, the goal in the first week is to just get everyone moving. They’re supposed to walk at least a mile in the morning, and then get another workout in later. Three days a week they’ll hit the machine circuit to build muscle. The other days are cardio days where they do things like walking, jogging, elliptical, bike, and so on.

The morning workout can be as little as 20 minutes, but the “real” workout later in the day should be 30-45 minutes. It has to become a priority, and most people do better by planning out their workout times. If you just wait until you have time, it never happens. Schedule it, and keep your schedule.

Their assignment this week is to figure out their daily “minimum.” This is the minimum number of calories they need to live. They do this by getting their body fat and going on the website and plugging in the numbers.

Most of the women are going to find out that their minimum is more calories then they’ve been eating. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that women never go below 1,200 calories, while guys should never go below 1,800.

For best results, most women will need to be around 1,500-1,800 calories. Men will need to be between 2,000-2,400 calories. That means most women will need to start eating more, but most men will need to cut back a little. 9 out of 10 women don’t eat enough, but most men are over-eaters.

Once they get the amount of food right, they need to break it up into 3 meals and 2-3 healthy snacks. After they’re doing that correctly, it will be time to take a look at the quality of foods they’re eating, but more on that another time.

I like to phase these things in over the first 2-3 weeks, and then start fine-tuning their eating. Meanwhile, they’ll be working to turn things up in the gym too. Each week, they’ll be doing a little bit more—pushing themselves harder and working out longer.

As I mentioned before, quite a few people lost quite a bit of weight. I try not to get too excited about large weight losses in the first week, because sometimes it’s primarily water weight. The real key is if they lose weight the next week.

If they lost weight the first week, but gain weight after that, it’s a pretty good indicator that it wasn’t all fat. But if they lose a lot of weight early and keep losing, that’s the real deal. Like I told them, we’ll find out next week.

The winner this week was Nicole Richardson who lost 4.0% of her body weight and 7.2 lbs. She won a $20 gift card from Terry Elston and State Farm Insurance. Here are your top ten.
% lbs
1. Nicole Richardson 4.0 7.2
2. Stacey Reed 3.7 7.4
3. Penny Spinner 3.6 6.2
4. Vince Porter 3.3 9.4
5. Bessie Rigdon 3.3 4.6
6. Steve Jones 3.1 7.6
7. Doug Sutton 3.1 8.0
8. Lacey Strow 3.0 5.6
9. Mary Ann Creech 2.2 4.0
10. Libby Reel 2.1 6.4

Each of our 39 participants has done something special. They all had a desire to do something about their situation, and now they’ve started. That’s the real secret to success. Just get started. If you don’t do that, nothing happens. For them, it’s going to be a matter of learning how to be consistent, even when things get tough and life starts to intrude.

It also comes down to who can stay focused on the goal, which is to feel better and lose the fat. To get there, you’ve got to make it a priority in your life. You’ve also got to have a good game plan. Follow someone that seems to be getting what you want. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel—just do what they’re doing.

So why not shadow this group? Put together a group of people and have them do it with you. Get in a gym and get busy. Do your own 12 week program. Just get started.

Saturday, April 04, 2009


Once again, another 12 weeks have come and gone, so we’ve got the final results from Biggest Loser “6.” We started with 60 and finished up with 32 people making the final weigh-in. So this group ended up Friday night just like all the others with just a little more than half the people finishing.

The winner of week 12 was Bill Lewis who lost 2.2% of his body weight and another 4.2 lbs. Bill won 6 of the 12 weeks, and received yet another $20 Wal-Mart gift card from Terry Elston and State Farm Insurance, and another massage from Bridgett’s Therapeutic Massage.

Second place for the week went to Chad Cline who lost 1.2% of his body weight and 2.5 lbs. Third place for the week was a tie between Haley Sanders and John Sanchez, who lost 1.0% of their body weight, with 2.4 lbs for Haley and 2.0 lbs for John.

We also met Saturday for the start of Biggest Loser “7.” It’s a much smaller group this time with only 32 people so far, so it’s not too late for you to join if you come in and register this week. The first workout will be Saturday, April 4th at 10 am. It’s only $50 to participate so don’t let this chance pass you by!

Here are the final results from Biggest Loser “6.” As expected, Bill Lewis was the Biggest Loser by losing 24.1% of his body weight and a whopping 62.0 lbs—a new record! For all his hard work, Bill won a full year’s fitness membership at our 24 hour gym—a $537 value!

The top lady loser was Dawn Hopper who made 7th place overall, losing 12.5% of her body weight and 26.8 lbs. Here are the rest of the results from everyone who made the final weigh-in.

Name % lbs
1. Bill Lewis 24.1 62.0
2. Randy Weir 14.7 35.0
3. Gary Goodman 14.4 31.5
4. Brian Bradley 12.8 30.8
5. John Sanchez 12.7 31.4
6. Chad Cline 12.5 28.8
7. Dawn Hopper 12.5 26.8
8. Brenda Lilley 10.7 19.8
9. Michele Everetts 10.3 24.6
10. Erin Hutchison 8.9 18.2
11. Katy Kennedy 7.8 16.4
12. Carol Cline 7.1 14.3
13. Haley Sanders 6.6 16.2
14. Janet Tyler 6.5 10.6
15. Tony Peel 6.3 18.4
16. Pam Kelly 6.2 15.7
17. Kim Arbuckle 5.8 9.4
18. Bridgett Trover 5.6 10.4
19. Judy Rush 5.6 8.8
20. Penny Duzan 5.3 9.6
21. George Griffin 4.7 10.0
22. Teri Dennis 4.6 9.2
23. Shawn Bowers 4.6 13.4
24. Dale Anderson 4.5 11.1
25. Melissa Bradley 4.4 9.0
26. Margo Yeargin 4.3 7.2
27. Kathy Kennedy 4.0 5.2
28. Shirley Fiscus 3.0 6.0
29. Tracy Rush 1.6 3.6
30. Peter Petrowsky 1.5 3.4
31. Gracie Petrowsky 1.4 2.4
32. Jennifer Bowers 0.0 0.0