Wednesday, May 27, 2009


To celebrate finishing two months with the group, I took them out to the football field last Saturday morning for the toughest challenge yet. After everyone finished, I was talking with one of them when he said something that stayed with me. “You’ve got to want it.”

John’s exactly right. Even though he has knee problems and isn’t allowed to run, he’s switching out the jogging for walking and using the exercise bicycle. He wants it.

Especially after a couple months, we’ve really got to want it. Complacency sets in. We get bored and tired of trying. It feels like it’s taking too long. This is a dangerous time, because quitting is just around the corner. But that’s when we need to fight the hardest.

It’s when you have to have a big “have-to,” or a big “got-to.” If you’ve just got-to do it, you’ll find a way. For some, it’s because of the consequences if they don’t. For others, it’s because they’ve caught a vision of what could be, and they really want to get there. When it gets important enough, we’ll do it.

I think the best way to keep things moving is to build it into your daily schedule. At such-and-such time, that’s what you’re going to be doing. No exceptions. It becomes a regular part of your day and it will become part of you.

Once you have it on the schedule, the next best thing you can do is to vary the workouts. Variety is good for overcoming boredom, and it keeps the body guessing. Your body is “fearfully and wonderfully made,” and has been designed to quickly adapt to what you’re doing.

Changing things up will keep you out in front of your body. It will have to keep changing to keep up with the new demands. This will help keep you on track with your goals. That’s why I like to teach people different levels as they progress.

Level I: (Weeks 1-4)
Cardio: Walking
Strength: Nautilus or Maxicam machines
The goal of these workouts is to get you moving and to start using your muscles.

Level II: (Weeks 5-6)
Cardio: Walk/Run
Strength: Dumbbells (DB) and Exercise Balls
The goal of these workouts is to get you moving faster and further, and to replace machines with free weights to work additional stabilizer muscles and your core more.

Level III: (Weeks 7-8)
Cardio: More running intervals and less walking
Strength: Mixing the new exercises with DB and exercise balls together
The goal of these workouts is to work harder, and never stop moving. While one body part is resting, another is working. For examples of this, go to and click on my blog where you’ll find all the past articles.

Level IV: (Weeks 9-12)
Cardio: High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
Strength: Combining short cardio intervals with several full body exercises.
The goal of these workouts is to raise the intensity even more. You’ll be taxing all your different recovery mechanisms, and burning even more calories in as little as 20-30 min.

That’s the type of training they did during the Saturday morning. The Level IV workout I chose for them was kind of tough because they did it outside at the track on a hot sunny day. It’s a little easier in the gym and a controlled environment.

In case you’d like to try it, make sure you’ve eaten something an hour before the workout, and have plenty of water on hand. Try to do the entire thing without stopping, except for a quick drink between rounds.

· Run ¼ mile (400 meters)
· Do 25 pushups
· Do 25 body squats
· Do 25 sit-ups
(4 rounds)

Of the 23 people to make the weigh-in, only half stuck around for the challenge. A few had to work, and some others were MIA for other activities. The eleven that made it were: Shawn Bowers, Brittany Cline, Stephanie Crampton, John Crow, Kara Englum, Vince Porter, Bessie Rigdon, John Rigdon, Heather Sutton, Tisha Watters and Margo Yeargon. Great job guys!

This week’s winner was Vince Porter who lost 1.7% of his body weight and another 4.3 lbs. This brings his 8 week total up to 39.0 lbs. He won a $20 Wal-Mart gift card from Terry Elston and State Farm Insurance.

Second place was a tie between Brittany Cline (2.6 lbs) and Tisha Watters (3.0 lbs), both losing 1.5% of their body weight. Brittany lost 2.6 lbs and is our leading lady so far, having lost 20.8 lbs in 8 weeks.

That’s it for this week. Now I’ve got to go pick up some brush and move a bunch of dirt and mulch into Kathy’s strawberry patch. Tomorrow I’ve got another 26 mile practice ride planned for the C.A.M.A. bike ride coming up on June 6th. That will be our Biggest Loser Challenge that weekend.

They’ve set up 7, 25, 40 and 70 (expert) mile rides. I’ve decided on the 40 miler, since last week’s 26 mile practice ride took what felt like forever—at least the last six miles. Clearly I’m no expert. If all goes well, I’ll try to do 32-33 miles next weekend, and a couple shorter rides in between to try and get ready. Hope to see you there!

Friday, May 22, 2009


Did you see the Biggest Loser finale on TV last week? Aren’t you just amazed at the transformations of all the participants? Not just the winner, or finalists, but all of them. In just five short months, they lost an amazing amount of weight.

Mike, the 18 year old in the finals lost over 200 lbs—and still didn’t win. The two gals beat him with a higher percentage of weight loss. It was just amazing. But at 18 years old, he’s now got a completely different future ahead of him.

And so does Helen the 48 year old winner. To lose 150 lbs must just feel amazing for her. The runner-up, Tara, was a former plus-size model. She won 13 out of the 18 challenges, including a half-marathon and full marathon. The confidence they’ve gained will last them the rest of their lives.

I’m not sure I can even comprehend how that must feel, to drop 150 or 200 lbs. I do know what it feels like to drop 30 lbs. That feels amazing, especially when since I replaced it with 20 pounds of muscle. Imagine how they must feel.

If you want a new lease on life, try getting in shape. Lose that fat you’re carrying around and build some new muscle. It doesn’t mean you won’t have other problems, but you’ll feel better while facing them. You’ll have strength, stamina, and a spring in your step when you head out the door. Feeling better about yourself often produces other dividends, too.

You don’t have to hit it as hard as they did on the show—they worked out 6-8 hours a day. It was their main focus in life for five months. You don’t even have to hit it as hard as our Biggest Losers. Many of them work out twice a day on most days, and the others try to hit it hard at least once every day.

You could start out by making a decision to just start moving every day for at least 20 minutes. Most everyone can walk a mile in 20 minutes. If you just did that, and watched what you ate, you could change your life.

Adding a simple weight lifting routine would make things even better. It takes just 20-30 minutes, three days a week, and will improve your strength, stamina, and muscle tone. It’ll also make you a more efficient fat burner as you gain muscle, and it looks pretty good too.

So instead of a 5 month program to lose the weight, say it takes you 10 months. Or instead of a three month program, it might take you six months. So what if it takes a year, or even 18 months. How long did it take to put the weight on? The time is going to pass, no matter what you do, and each day is going to be better, so just last it out and you’ll get what you want.

If you want to do it quicker, that’s O.K., too. After 6 weeks, our leader is averaging 5.0 lbs a week. Second place was averaging right around 4.0 lbs a week. A couple people averaged 3.0 lbs a week, and several more are averaging 2.0 lbs a week. Most everyone else is losing about a pound a week, and that’s fine.

Personally, I think that when you lose too much too fast, sometimes you’re left with saggy skin, and we saw that on this year’s show with several of the finalists. Skin is elastic and will shrink somewhat as you lose the fat, but building muscle is the real key to filling up that space where the fat used to be.

If you’ve been working at it for awhile, and you’re not losing as fast as you’d like, here are some questions. First, how do you feel? Do you feel better than you used to? Great, so quit complaining and keep going.

Next, how do your clothes fit? People will lose inches, but it hasn’t showed up on the scale yet. But they’re thinner around the waist. You’re thinner, so quit complaining and keep going.

Third, what is your body fat doing? If your weight is staying the same, but your body fat percentage is going down, that means you’re losing fat and building muscle. That’s fine because muscle will help you do more, and burn even more fat in the end. Quit complaining and keep going.

Finally, what does the scale say? If you’re gaining weight, then “Houston, we have a problem.” You’ve got to be looking at how much you’re eating. Put the fork down and step away from the table. If you’re losing weight, then don’t worry if it’s not “enough.” It’s something, so quit complaining and keep going.

In every case, one action is the same. Did you catch that? You are in control of this bus. You’re in the driver’s seat. So get started, quit complaining, and keep going. If you’ll do that, then you’ll be well on your way to a new you.

This week’s winner was Pennie Callaway-Duzan who lost 3.5% of her body weight and 5.4 lbs. She wasn’t really sure why, though, because her work schedule kept her from being quite as active as she’d have like.

I’m not sure why either, but sometimes our body takes awhile to catch up, and you can put in the work one week and see it on the scale the next. We’ll see what happens next week. Pennie won a $20 Wal-Mart gift card from Terry Elston and State Farm Insurance.

Second place went to Brittany Cline who lost 2.7% of her body weight and 4.8 lbs. Brittany said she was pretty much running on the treadmill all the time. Third place went to John Crow who lost 2.6% of his body weight and an amazing 6.9 lbs. John said he’d really stepped it up with two workouts a day.

Here’s a full-body workout similar to the new one they learned on Saturday in case you’d like to try it at home. Do the first two exercises back to back three times and then move on to the next pair. Try to keep moving and never stop the entire time you’re working out. Do 3 sets of each pair with 15 repetitions of each exercise.

1. DB Pec Fly’s on Stability Ball 3. Walking Lunges
2. Ball Twists w. Medicine Ball 4. DB Pullovers on Stability Ball

5. DB Deadlift-Curl-Press 7. Double Tricep Kickbacks
6. Pikes on the Stability Ball 8. Knee-In’s on Stability Ball

Start with a pretty easy weight to get warmed up and familiar with the movements. Try to increase the weight in your second and third sets. If you’re not sure how to perform the exercises, make sure you get with a trainer who can show you how to do the movements correctly. Do everything slowly and in control, making sure to keep breathing throughout the exercise.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


This week the group’s challenge was to run/walk a 5K over at Sarah Bush Lincoln’s “Races for all Paces.” When they started six weeks ago, they had to do a mile as fast as possible as part of the fitness tests on their first day.

Each week, the goal was to add a little distance to the total, as well as trying to keep doing the mile a little bit quicker. By week four, they’d gone about 2 ½ miles during the Saturday morning workout, so they were all ready to tackle a 5K, which is 3.1 miles.

It also helped that on TV, the Biggest Losers final challenge was to do an entire marathon (26.1 miles). That left no room for any complaining since I was only asking them to do a 5K.

One of the participants was really a “sleeper.” Already running 5 miles a day, this is the gal I’ve written about some time ago. I’d see her out running, while pushing a baby carriage, along with 2 dogs. She’d joined Biggest Losers to support her husband John, and also to lose that “last little bit” after having her most recent little one.

I was running the half-marathon as a personal challenge, and to show the others I was willing to push myself too. My son Chris was running with me as a birthday present—left on his own, he can just blaze through the 13.1 miles—but he was willing to slow it up that day for me.

So it seemed fitting to encourage Bessie to do the half-marathon as well, since she’s an amazing runner anyway. She tore it up, too, finishing a half hour ahead of me (which I fully expected). I’m pretty sure that won’t be her last one.

We started at 7:00 am, and the 5K started at 8:00. I’d told them that they’d still all finish before me, because even if you walk the 5K at a comfortable pace, it takes about 60 minutes. Since they’d be pushing a little bit, many of them finished closer to 35-40 minutes.

On my best day, I’m between 2:10-2:15 for a ½ marathon. This wasn’t that day. The wind was crazy, and I think I was still down a bit from that bug that hit everybody a month or so ago. Still, at 2:23, it was great to see all those Biggest Losers in their white “Races for all Paces” t-shirts standing there cheering and waiting for the old man to finally lumber across the finish line.

I was proud of everyone that went and tried, especially the ones with knee issues. They just go to show that you can do what you want to do. Another couple did the one mile family event with their daughter and baby carriage. They’ve had a difficult week dealing with a death in the family and health issues, but they were still out there doing it.

That’s what I’m talking about. You set a goal. You find a way. You get started, and you keep going, even when things get tough. We used to do this instinctively, but somewhere along the line, something happened. Now, people have a tough time even setting goals.

We’ve gotten lazy somehow. Or maybe, we’ve just lost our belief. We’ve got to get back to the point where striving for something is important. Because when we’re in that place, that’s where we learn who we are and what we’re made of. That’s where we’ll find ourselves—or who we want to be.

It’s where character is made. Even failures are of benefit there. I wasn’t crazy about the 2:23 finish, because I know I can do better. But it is what it is and it was the best I could do that day. At least I was doing something. I was trying—striving—and they were too. That’s why I was so proud of them. That’s why we’ll keep turning up the heat, to show them what they’re made of, and what they can accomplish.

That’s also why their next challenge is to do the 2009 C.A.M.A. Teen “Tour de Park Edgar & Clark 2009 Bike Rally” on June 6th. They’ll have to find a bike and do one of the rides: 7, 25, 40 or 70 miles. Since my cutie-pie did the 7 mile ride last year at the age of seven, they’ve got no excuses.

Hopefully, a lot of them will try the 25 mile ride. I’ll probably end up shooting for the 40 mile ride, but that 70 miler looks pretty intriguing. Now that’s something I’ve never done. If I can find someone to ride with, it might give us both something to strive for.

This week’s winner was Vince Porter, who lost 2.0% of his body weight and 5.1 lbs. Vince has been doing very well so far, losing 30.0 lbs in the first six weeks. That’s five pounds a week! Vince will receive a $20 Wal-Mart gift card from Terry Elston and State Farm Insurance.

Second place was a tie between Penny Spinner and Nicole Richardson. Penny is a dedicated runner who loves a challenge, running two half-marathons back to back two weeks ago. First the Indy Mini on Saturday, and then another in Ohio on Sunday! She lost 1.8% of her body weight and 3.0 lbs, and is down 12.2 lbs in the first six weeks.

Nicole likes bike riding better, and is looking forward to the C.A.M.A. bike rally. She also lost 1.8% of her body weight and 3.0 lbs, and is down a total of 16.8 lbs so far.

Next week we’ll teach the Biggest Losers another free weight routine. Right now, I’ve got to go get a workout in. My wife has weeded all around the garden and there’s a huge pile of mulch waiting with my name on it. It’s all that’s left after our 100-year Oak fell during the storm last summer. In a couple of hours, it’ll be in the garden. Hmm, I wonder if I can beat that 2:23 time.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


This week we introduced them to free weights in the Saturday morning workout. Sometimes people get nervous about using dumbbells and the other equipment, but they don’t need to be. The key is starting out with a weight you can easily handle for 15 repetitions and learning how to do the techniques correctly.

If you do those two things, you’ll be amazed at the differences in your workout. While the machines guide the motion, with free weights, you guide the motion. This alone makes it more interesting—and intense. All of a sudden, new stabilizer muscles have to come into play. Your core is more involved, keeping you in the correct position.

It kind of resembles real life. When something happens and you have to move a certain way to get out of danger, you have to move—right then. When you have to lift something and the angle’s a little awkward, you still have to lift it. Working out with real weights prepares you for those moments. Here’s an example of the workout they did.

· DB Chest Press on the Stability Ball x 3
· AB Crunches x 3 (knees bent, legs up, crossing)

· DB Deadlifts (slightly bent leg) x 3
· DB Lateral Raises x 3

· DB Single Arm Rows (each side) x 3
· Body Squats (with or w/o DB) x 3

· DB Bicep Curls & DB Overhead Tricep Presses x 3
· Side Twists with a Ball x 3

Once you’re comfortable with the motion, the next step is to add a little weight. If you find yourself doing 15 repetitions and it’s still pretty easy, grab the next set of dumbbells. Don’t be afraid to try a heavier weight. Do the motions slow and always in control.

After adding weight, another trick we use is to group things together so you don’t take rest breaks. Do a set of one exercise, followed by another set of a different exercise that works a different muscle group. I call this “active rest.”

While one group of muscles is resting, another is working. This really jacks up the intensity of the workout, helping you burn more calories, and getting a better workout. You’ll be stronger, and have more endurance too.

The winner of Week Five was John Crow who lost 1.9% of his body weight and 5.0 lbs. This means he’s lost 21.4 lbs in the first five weeks. John won a $20 Wal-Mart gift card from Terry Elston and our friends at State Farm Insurance. Here’s the rest of the top ten this week.

% lbs
John Crow 1.9 5.0
Vince Porter 1.8 4.7
Dawn Hopper 1.6 3.0
Jaymi Warner 1.6 2.6
Lacey Strow 1.5 2.8
Brittany Cline 1.3 2.4
Margo Yeargin 1.1 1.8
Stephanie Crampton 1.0 1.6
Brian Bradley 0.7 1.4
Kara Englum 0.5 0.8

Sunday, May 03, 2009


This week we turned it up again. The goal is to get them ready for the Sarah Bush Lincoln “Races for all Paces” 5K two weeks from now on Saturday, May 9th. You can Goggle it to get more information.

So, they ran to the park at Main & Central. Then they did a pretty intense sequence of exercises there in the park, including sprints, walking lunges, burpees, crunches, sumo wrestling, pushups, planks, and more. Then they had to run back to the gym.

With all the sprints, they did more than 2 miles. Plus running back home is quite a bit tougher after you’ve done all those other things. The 5K will actually be easier, because they’ll have fresh legs.

The workout was non-stop as they moved from one thing to the other. I call it “active rest.” While one muscle group is resting, we’re working another. This keeps the intensity high, making a strength workout a cardio workout too—burning more calories and getting you leaner and meaner.

Next week we’ll be turning it up again by moving from the machines to free weights. The difference between machines and free weights is very obvious once you try the free weights.

Machines are very good about isolating the target muscles, but that’s also their weakness. Since the motion is so strict, you don’t need your stabilizer muscles to assist and support the motion. That’s where free weights have the advantage.

Machines also often give you a leverage advantage that you just don’t get with free weights. With free weights, you have to do all the work. More work means more calories burned and a better workout.

Finally, machines typically support you with a back pad. This is fine, but it means you don’t need to use your core muscles for support. Free weights have no support and once again, you’re doing all the work—including stabilization, with your core. It also helps prepare you for real life, where often times you need your core for support.

Doing a chest press with two 25lb dumbbells on an exercise ball will feel much more difficult than lifting 100 lbs on a chest press machine, even though it’s less than half the weight. Try it, you’ll see. Next week, I’ll give you the run down on the basic free weight routine they’ll be starting with.

The winner of week four was Shawn Bowers who lost 2.6% of his body weight and an amazing 7.0 lbs. He’s been stepping it up with the Level IV workouts and his running. Shawn won a $20 Wal-Mart gift card from Terry Elston and State Farm Insurance.

Second place went to Mary Ann Creech who lost 1.8% of her body weight and 3.2 lbs. Third place went to Linda Kerekguarto who lost 1.6% of her body weight and 3.0 lbs.

Out of the original 39 that started Biggest Loser “7,” we’re down to 32 participants that made the Saturday morning weigh-in. So here are the results for the first four weeks.

The goal is to average at least a pound a week, or 4.0 lbs by now, which is good. Two pounds a week is great, and that would be around 8.0 lbs. Three or more pounds a week is fantastic, and that would be anything around 12.0 lbs or more.

% lbs
1. Nicole Richardson 7.3 13.2
2. Vince Porter 7.1 20.2
3. Doug Sutton 6.6 17.4
4. Penny Spinner 5.7 10.0
5. John Crow 5.7 16.4
6. Shawn Bowers 5.0 14.0
7. Stacey Reed 5.0 10.0
8. Brittany Cline 4.8 9.0
9. Linda Kerekguarto 4.4 8.6
10. Stephanie Crampton 4.2 7.0
11. Jaymi Warner 3.9 6.6
12. Mary Ann Creech 3.7 6.8
13. Bessie Rigdon 3.7 5.2
14. Steve Jones 3.3 8.0
15. Heather Sutton 3.1 7.2
16. Kara Englum 2.9 4.6
17. Shirley Fiscus 2.7 5.2
18. Tisha Watters 2.6 5.4
19. Brian Bradley 2.5 5.2
20. Dawn Hopper 2.5 4.6
21. Pennie Callaway-Duzan 2.1 3.4
22. Christy Neal 2.0 4.8
23. Margo Yeargon 1.9 3.0
24. Mike Elledge 1.7 5.0
25. Lacey Strow 1.6 3.0
26. Kenneth Harp 1.3 4.4
27. Jennifer Reel 1.3 2.6
28. John Rigdon 1.2 2.4
29. Libby Reel 0.1 2.8
30. Tony Peel 0.1 2.4
31. Jeff Reel 0.1 2.6
32. Jennifer Bowers 0.0 0.0