Saturday, December 12, 2009


This week we did some interesting things. Thirteen of us from the center went over and participated in a 5K race, Sunday afternoon at Deming Park in Terre Haute, IN.

It was the first 5K race (3.1 miles) for one of the members, and she did fine. Most everyone else had an improved time over the last 5K they ran 2 weeks ago in Marshall, IL.

The weather was quite cold while standing around before and after the race, but just about perfect while running. In fact, we might have done a little better due to the cold weather. Much like an engine, you need to stay cool to avoid breaking down.

Sweating cools the body by bringing the heat out through the pores in the form of water which then evaporates. In cooler weather, you’ll still sweat, but it helps the process along, so you can typically push a little harder.

Outside of seeing everyone have a good race, the coolest thing was seeing the little kids do the half mile race. I mean there were four and five year olds running, along with their parents to keep them on track.

Talk about creating a lifestyle of fitness. These kids will grow up thinking that being in shape is normal, and running will help keep them that way. I’d like to find a way to bring a kids fitness event like that here to Paris sometime—perhaps in the spring.

On Saturday, during the Biggest Loser workout, the group learned how to do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Out of the original 28 people, about half are left, and eight made the workout. Those eight learned how to put more intensity into their workouts.

First they learned about Borg’s scale of “Perceived Exertion.” Basically you rank how tough the workload feels, on a scale of 1 to 10:

Perceived Exertion:
0 This is like doing nothing.
1 This is almost like doing nothing.
2 This still feels pretty light.
3 This finally feels like light exercise.
4 This feels like moderate exercise—no big deal.
5 This is getting a little harder but still pretty easy.
6 This is getting harder but still pretty doable.
7 This is harder and I’m breathing harder, too.
8 This feels very hard and talking is tough.
9 This is extremely hard—I can’t talk!
10 This is MAXIMAL—I have to stop!!!

They started with a fairly easy warm-up for a few minutes on either the treadmill, elliptical, or recumbent exercise bike. Then they did a minute at what felt like a “7” and then backed off for a minute to what felt like a “5” or a “6.” Then they took it up to an “8” before backing off again.

After another interval at what felt like an “8” and a minute of rest, they finally got up to what felt like a “9.” This is the big one. By then, I heard them breathing hard, and you could see them leaning in to the equipment to keep the pace.

Some wanted to quit before the minute was up, but the key is to last it out—it’s usually just a few seconds more. Once they got to the end of the minute, they backed it off to what felt like a “5” or a “6” to recover. Then they rotated machines and did the same thing again. After hitting a “9” on the new equipment, they rotated again, and did another series of intervals.

I hope they’ll implement HIIT workouts into their routines at least once a week. Not only will they burn more calories during their workouts, but HIIT workouts will give them a much longer after-burn as your body recovers over the next few hours.

The 5K was a different type of workout. More like a tempo run, the goal is to see how fast you can get through it. Most people pick a pace like say a 10 minute mile pace, and try to get through the 3.1 miles in just over 30 minutes. As your fitness level improves, you try to get down to 9 minute miles, or 8 minute miles, or even faster.

Once a week, you can even try to go either longer or further than usual. Karen did this again this week. Remember last week when she learned she could walk/jog 7 miles? This week she stayed on the treadmill for 10 miles!

In a perfect training scenario, it would be great to do all three types of workouts. You could do a tempo run one day, high intensity intervals the next time, and then on the weekend, you could go for distance.

One other thing to consider about weigh-ins, especially as you get 10 weeks into a weight loss routine, is that sometimes you hit a wall. Things slow down, even if you’ve been busting it big-time. Once in awhile, despite your best efforts, you just won’t lose any weight.

I usually don’t worry about those times, because the body is kind of quirky that way. Usually, it will just show up the following week. Of course, there are things to consider, too, like “time of the month,” whether you’ve eaten, or not, drank a 16 oz water, gone to the bathroom or not, and so on.

Sometimes the scale takes a little while to catch up, so I never look at any one weigh-in as all important. It’s the trend that matters, and that takes two in a row, or even better, three or more. Then you can tell what’s going on.

This week’s winner was Rob Irish, who lost 1.6% of his body weight and 2.6 lbs. Rob had to miss the workout, so the $15 prize, a gift card from Terry Elston and State Farm Insurance went to Cathy Kemper in 2nd place, who lost about 1.0% of her body weight and 1.6 lbs. Third place went to Michelle Nugent, who lost 0.8 lbs.

It’s time to start thinking about Biggest Loser “10” which is coming up before you know it. Something I’m considering is running two groups at the same time: one on Friday nights from 6:30-7:30, and a separate one on Saturday mornings from 10:00-11:00 like we do now. If there’s enough interest in the Friday night, we’ll add it.

The cost will be the same: $50.00 for the 12 weeks and you don’t have to be a member here, but you should probably have a fitness membership somewhere, like at the Y or Curves, or at least have some decent home equipment. We’ll start the weekend of January 8th & 9th to make the most of your New Year’s Resolutions. Get ready!

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