Tuesday, October 06, 2009


Our goal in Week One was to get everyone moving. To that end, they were supposed to walk a mile every morning. At a very comfortable walking pace, it should take just 20 minutes or less, so it wouldn’t take up too much time before starting their day.

Then, later in the day, they were supposed to get in their “real” workout. Those alternated between using the strength machine circuit on M, W, F and hitting the cardio equipment on T, TH, and SA.

The point to using the weight machines was so they could start building muscular strength and endurance. Being stronger will everything easier—in and out of the gym. More muscle will also increase their metabolism which will help them burn more fat.

On the cardio equipment, the goal is to get their heart rate up and keep it up for 20-30 minutes. With a warm-up and cool-down, that means their workouts will last around 40-45 minutes.

Their first Biggest Loser workout consisted of walking/running a mile, and then 50 Pushups, 50 Sit-ups, and 50 Body Squats. After everyone got back from the mile, they did 10 Pushups, 10 Sit-ups, and 10 Body Squats. They then repeated the sequence for a total of 5 sets, back-to-back, without taking a break. While it was pretty tough, it will seem pretty tame later, after we keep adding to it for twelve weeks.

I gave them a calorie log so they can start thinking about how much they’re eating. While quality is important, the first step is to make sure they’re not eating too much or too little. Nine out of ten women don’t eat enough; guys usually are over-eaters.

So, we’ll prove it. Each day they’ll write down everything they ate along with their calories for each thing. Usually they can find the calories/serving on the box, can, or bag somewhere. If they can’t find it, they can go online.

There are lots of websites that will give you the calories for all kinds of foods. Some sites are free, others want to charge you. One free site we use a lot is www.calorieking.com. They will try to make you a subscriber, but you don’t have to do that to use the free stuff.

Once you start writing things down, two things happen. First, you’ll become accountable. Second, you’ll quickly learn what your food values are. Most people don’t have that much variety and need to learn around 20 things. Once you know them you know them.

For example, an egg is around 78 calories. An apple, orange or pear is around 64 calories. A normal slice of whole grain bread is around 100 calories. A cup of quality whole grain cereal is around 150-180 calories, depending on the brand.

Knowing these things, you can quickly figure out that a good breakfast for a woman would be around 400 calories: 150 calories for a packet of oatmeal, 120 calories for a glass of 2% milk, and around 130 calories for a large banana. You might eat that breakfast a lot, so it will be easy to figure out. If you had that breakfast, you just write down “oatmeal, milk and a banana: 400 calories.”

If you were paying close attention to last week’s Biggest Loser TV show, they said that the women needed to make sure they got their 1,200 calories in. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, women should never go below 1,200 calories a day, and guys should get at least 1,800 calories. That’s where that came from.

But that’s a pretty severe and restrictive diet. Some can handle it, but we suggest women should shoot for around 1,500-1,650 calories a day. That breaks down into three 400 calorie meals and two or three 150 calorie snacks.

It’s a little more food which will make them feel better. They’ll have more energy to get through your day, and still lose lots of weight because with exercise, they’ll be burning around 2,000-2,500 calories. The difference will be made up by using fat for fuel.

Usually, if the ladies weren’t eating enough, my first goal is to just get them to hit their minimum, or twelve or thirteen hundred calories. Then, if they can, work up to 1,500-1,650.
For guys, even though they can get by on as little as 1,800 calories, they usually feel better eating 2,000-2,400 calories a day. It’s still pretty low compared to what guys usually take in.

After you get a handle on how much you’re eating, you can start looking at the quality of your foods and how they’ll help you feel and perform better. The thing is to understand what functions each type of food perform—what they’re for. I’ll talk about that more next week.

Of the 28 people that started and finished week one, 17 lost a pound or more, including Pam Arrasmith who said: “That’s 4 sticks of butter!” You know, she’s right, and that’s a great way of looking at it.

10 out of 28 lost two pounds or more, and 7 out of 28, or 25% lost three or more pounds. Remember, a pound a week is good (and 4 sticks of butter), two pounds is great, and anything over three pounds is fantastic.

The winner of Biggest Loser “9” Week One was Michelle Nugent, who lost 3.4% of her body weight and 5.6 lbs. Michelle said she quit drinking pop and started taking bottled water with her to work. She also started working out harder than ever, and wonders what she could have lost if she’d done even more. She won a $15 gift card from Terry Elston and State Farm Insurance.

Second place went to Karen Brown, who lost 3.2% of her body weight and an amazing 8.8 lbs. The big change for Karen was increasing her activity level, working out twice a day. She made sure she walked a mile each day on her lunch hour, and then came back to the gym later for her “real” workout.

Third place went to Vicki Hefner, who lost 2.4% of her body weight and a total of 4.4 lbs. In fourth place, Heidi Walls lost 2.2% of her body weight and 3.0 lbs. Fifth place was a tie between Hilary Chaney, and Jessica Hopper, both losing 1.7% of their body weight. Hilary lost 3.6 lbs, and Jess lost 2.2 lbs.

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