Monday, April 26, 2010


Well the group just finished their first full week of training. The goal was to get them moving, and I think we accomplished that. After the weigh-in, we talked about how much they were eating.

It’s always a surprise to women when they learn they need to eat more. I got an email from one of the participants telling me how hard it was to hit her target—it just seemed like so much food. At the end of the week, though, she’d lost a pound. She ate more (including breakfasts) and lost weight.

She’s not alone in that. Most women aren’t eating enough. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), women need a minimum of 1,200 calories a day just to live—without taking exercise into consideration.

Typically, the average woman will need to be up around 1,500-1,650 calories a day to lose weight, and feel good doing it. That’s important. You need to feel good too. You’d never think of driving your car to Terre Haute on an empty gas tank (not more than once), but that’s what you’re doing with your body if you’re not hitting your minimum.

Food is fuel for the body. You need it to live, for quick energy, long fuel, building muscle and bone, and to keep the body healthy. It’s just fuel. If you don’t get enough, your body won’t work right. In fact, too few calories and your body just might think its starving.

That’s the problem many women are facing. They’ve gotten scared to eat anything, thinking it’ll go right to their butt! But it won’t. If they eat the right amount of food, they’ll just feel better, and their body will take what it needs to build, and use the rest for fuel.

So the first thing was to find out how much they were eating. That was the purpose for giving them daily calorie logs that first day. After tracking it for a few days, it will become pretty clear if they’re getting their minimum or not.

Now guys tend to go the other way—we’re typically over-eaters. Put a plate in front of a guy, and not only will we clean it up, but we’ll go back for seconds, even thirds! We can eat our way right past full, straight through to gorged.

Of course, this isn’t healthy either, and explains the big guts and butts you see all over the place. What men need to learn is portion control, and the daily logs help with those, too.

If you write it down, you become more accountable. If you’re guessing, you’re usually wrong, because guessing makes you fat. But keeping a diary will keep you thin! Studies have shown that people who wrote down what they eat lose more weight than those who didn’t.

The ACSM minimum for guys is 1,800 calories, and most guys can lose a lot of weight and still be pretty comfortable if they stay around 2,400 calories a day. But if you want to lose more weight, quicker, than you can push it down closer to the minimum.

Personally, I think it’s better to be comfortable and not feeling like you are starving. That’s why I recommend that most women stick with 1,650 calories if you’re of average build. If you’re a little taller, you can eat a little more and still lose weight. Likewise, if you’re a little smaller, you can eat a little less and still feel satisfied.

The workout this week began with a 1 mile walk/run. After that, they moved to the mat room and did 5 rounds of 10 pushups, 10 body squats, and 10 sit-ups for a total of 50 of each exercise.

It’s a good example of what I call “active rest.” After doing the pushups, your upper body gets a break while you do the body squats. Then your lower body gets a break while you do the sit-ups, and so on. This way you can do more total work, and your body burns more calories because you keep moving.

Next week we’ll turn it up a notch. Meanwhile, they’re supposed to continue their daily mile each morning, and their regular routines later in the day: the weight machine circuit three days a week and cardio on the other days. We’re also going to look at how food is used in the body so they can start making better choices.

This week’s winner was Susan King, who lost 2.7% of her body weight and 6.4 lbs. I almost missed it because she weighed in Thursday night before going out of town and left me a note that I found after our Friday night workout. Good thing I found it!

Second place went to Michelle Clark, who lost 2.4% and 4.0 lbs, and Alison Raney took third by losing 2.3% and 4.5 lbs. Karen Brown and Carol Mitchell tied for fourth place, losing 2.2%. Karen lost 5.0 lbs and Carol lost 3.8. Fifth place went to Tom Dagley, who lost 2.1% and 3.8 lbs.

Monday, April 19, 2010


This week marks the start of another 12 week cycle with 27 participants starting Biggest Loser “12”. To kick things off, the group started with our standard fitness test. After a timed one mile walk/run, they counted pushups in a minute, as well as sit-ups in a minute.

The tests have two purposes. First, the tests give us a benchmark to measure against when everyone does the test again at the end of the 12 weeks. Second, the fitness tests give everyone an idea of how out of shape they really are.

For many new participants, the tests feel like an actual workout, even though they’re really not. So, at least for the first day, they serve as their first workout. When they come back next Friday night for their first “real” workout, they’ll realize how easy the tests actually were.

The goal in the first week is always to get everyone moving. While some of them have already been engaged in fitness programs and even looking at their diets, many, if not most of them haven’t. So it’s not important how much they do, just that they do something every day.

To that end, I asked them all to try and start their day with a one mile walk in the morning. For most people, a 3.0 mph pace is pretty comfortable, so it will only take them 20 minutes to cover the mile. Getting moving early is a good way to crank up your metabolism so you’ll burn more calories throughout the day.

Later in the day, they’ll do their “real” workout for the day. This will consist of weight training on the machines three days a week (Mon, Wed, Fri), and cardio workouts on the treadmills, elliptical trainers, bikes, or walking/jogging outside on the other days (Tue, Thur, Sat). Once a week, they can take a day off, unless they want to go for a walk.

Weight training on the machines can be as simple as going through the circuit one time, after a 10 minute cardio warm-up that gets their blood flowing and joints warmed up. A typical circuit will take 20-30 minutes. Their goal is to set the machines on weights light enough to get 12-15 repetitions. If it’s easy, then next time they can try a slightly heavier weight.

On the cardio days, their goal is to get at least 20-30 minutes of exercise. It can be all on one piece of cardio equipment, or divided up between several things. As they get stronger and build up their endurance, they’ll want to stretch it out to 30-45 minutes, or even an hour.

Another thing they’ll want to be thinking about is what their weight loss goal is for the 12 weeks. Guys tend to lose more than gals for several reasons. They usually have more muscle, so they can push harder, burning more calories. They also have a different hormone mix which tends to influence weight loss.

A good way to set a goal is to look at what other people have done. Last time, the top seven guys lost 44.0, 36.4, 34.2, 32.4, 30.1, 29.8, and 27.6 lbs respectively. The top seven gals lost 34.2, 19.4, 18.4, 17.4, 15.0, 13.6, and 13.2 lbs respectively.

In the past, we’ve had guys lose even more, up to 56.0, 57.0, and even 60.0 lbs. The top losing woman over the past couple years has lost 42.0 lbs in 12 weeks. So you need to take a look at the averages, and set your own goal.

Almost everyone falls short of what they want to lose, but that’s O.K. Most are pretty happy with what they did lose, and now they know how to do it again to take the rest of the weight off.

The other main purpose for the first week is to give them a food diary so they can start keeping track of what they should eat. It’s not so much to get them thinking about the quality of their foods, because we’ll cover that next week. It’s to determine how much they’re eating—the quantity of food.

Most women don’t eat enough, and most men are overeaters, so this will help them see where they land. It also gets them in the habit of thinking about what they’re eating. Research shows that people who write it down lose more weight than those who don’t.

When they come back next week, they’ll bring their diaries, and they’ll learn how to figure out their minimum calories needed, and a good calorie target to shoot for each day. We’ll also start talking about the quality of foods and how to make better choices.

It’s going to be a wild 12 weeks—it always is. At least half of them will drop out before it’s over—they always do. Some will have good reasons, but many won’t. It just won’t be their time to lose the weight, I guess.

When life intrudes, and it will, you have to make choices and stick with it to get what you want. Sometimes those choices aren’t easy, but if you’re trying to do the right thing, it will usually work out in the end.

I hope that this new group of 27 Biggest Losers can learn how to make those tough choices and keep focused on the goal. That will serve them well if they can do it. Next week, we’ll have the weight loss results from Week One.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


This week we’re taking a break between the last Biggest Loser groups and Biggest Loser “12” which starts this Friday, April 16th at 6:30 pm. There was much more participation in the Friday night group, so we’re going to drop the Saturday morning group for the time being.

If you want to participate Friday night, you need to come in and get registered right away. The administration fee is just $50.00 to participate in the 12-week community-wide Biggest Loser program.

It’s not necessary to belong to a gym, but it’s probably a good idea. There are several in the area to choose from, including the Y, Curves, and Tom’s. Some people have gotten good results working out at home, but they had enough equipment to get the job done: treadmill, elliptical, some free weights, and an exercise ball.

Over the years, I’ve noticed that people tend to do better losing weight in groups than on their own though, even if it’s a group as small as you and a friend. I think there are several reasons why.

There’s more accountability in groups. You know everyone else is going to show up, so there’s a little more pressure on you to show up, too. It’s the same thing with the weekly weigh-in. Every one else is working hard to lose weight, so you’re more likely to do what you have to do too.

It takes a lot of motivation to workout hard enough to lose weight. But when you’re working with others, it’s a little easier to do it yourself when you see them doing it too. There’s a group dynamic that kicks in that results in everyone doing much more than they might have done on their own.

People working out in the Biggest Loser groups are also following a proven plan. It’s not necessary to re-invent the wheel here. Certain things work. Others don’t. The idea is to get people moving, and then teach them how to raise the intensity each week to keep their bodies burning fat and building muscle.

They’re also learning how to eat right. Diets usually don’t work, but learning how to eat right does. If you want to lose weight, you’ve got to master what you’re putting in your mouth every day. In the end, women usually need to eat more, and men usually need to eat smaller portions. It’s also important to eat the right things.

People in the groups are also working on building healthy habits that lead to lasting weight loss. Experts say it takes a minimum of 21 repetitions to build a habit. If you do it everyday, that would take 3 weeks.

I’ve found that it takes people about a month to start getting results that you can really see. It takes two months to really make a difference, and if you give yourself 3 months, you can transform your life.

Some people will need two 12 week cycles to get where they want to be. Others will only need one. A few might need 3 or 4 cycles before they’re at their ideal weight. That’s O.K. They’ll have learned everything they need to know, and they’ll have good habits in place, so it will be just a matter of time.

It doesn’t mean that you need to continue working in the groups after your first one. Once you’ve lost some weight, gotten stronger, and learned what to do, it’s much easier to maintain your momentum on your own if you want. Still, quite a few people choose to continue to use the groups to help keep them on track.

So, what’s your schedule like? If you’re free on Friday nights for an hour, and you want to learn how to get that body where it needs to be, once and for all, you might want to join us. The 12 weeks will pass pretty quickly, and you could just have a new you at the other end!

Thursday, April 08, 2010


This week marked the end of our most recent twelve week Biggest Loser programs. Overall, I was very pleased with the results, even though the drop out rate was pretty steep, especially in the Saturday group.

We started the twelve weeks with 29 participants in the Friday night group. By week ten, we’d lost only three people, but picked up two that had switched from Fridays. In the end, 17 of 28 made the final weigh-in.

The Saturday morning group didn’t fare so well. They started with 24 people, and by the halfway point, about half the group had dropped out for one reason or another—not counting the two that moved to Fridays! In the end, only 6 of the original 24 made the final weigh-in.

So out of 53 participants total, just 23 made the final weigh-in, for a 57 percent drop out rate, which was a little higher than the usual 50%. I think on Saturdays, there were a lot more activities competing for attention, and that might help explain it. The results were pretty good though, for those who were able to stick it out.

The Biggest Loser for week twelve from the Friday night group was Scot Grimes, who lost 1.6% of his body weight and 4.0 lbs. Penny Spinner, Scott Block, and Shawn Bowers, all tied for second place, losing 1.1%. Penny lost 1.8 lbs, Scott lost 2.2 lbs, and Shawn dropped 3.0 lbs. In the Saturday morning group, the winner for week twelve was Dale Rasmussen, who lost 1.4% of his body weight, and 3.4 lbs.

The overall Biggest Loser for Friday nights was Scott Block, who lost 18.4% of his body weight and a total of 44.0 lbs in the twelve weeks. His goal was to lose 40 lbs, so he’s quite happy with the results. Here’s how the rest of the Friday night group came out.

Name % lbs
1. Scott Block 18.4 44.0
2. Donnie Bartos 13.3 27.6
3. Scot Grimes 12.5 34.2
4. Jessica Trover 11.4 18.4
5. Nicole Clodfelter 11.1 34.2
6. Shawn Bowers 10.5 32.4
7. Sheri Tyler 8.7 19.4
8. Penny Spinner 8.7 15.0
9. Brett Block 7.3 11.1
10. Judy Rush 7.1 13.6
11. Melissa White 7.1 9.8
12. Tisha Brinkley 6.1 12.2
13. Karen Brown 5.6 13.2
14. Jackie Tyler 5.1 8.7
15. Brenda Lilley 5.1 8.0
16. Leslie Rush 3.6 6.2
17. Jamie Wheeler 2.7 4.2

The overall Biggest Loser for the Saturday morning group was Scott Dosch, who lost 13.8% of his body weight and 36.4 lbs during the twelve weeks. He said his next goal is to get down to 200 lbs by June, which would be another 26 lbs in eight weeks. I’m pretty sure he’ll do it. Here’s how the rest of the group fared.

Name % lbs
1. Scott Dosch 13.8 36.4
2. Brad Adams 12.5 30.1
3. Cheri Dosch 11.3 17.4
4. Dale Rasmussen 11.1 29.8
5. Shirley Fiscus 4.0 8.0
6. Cathy Kemper 3.1 5.8

All told, the 23 finishers lost a total of 440 lbs during the twelve weeks. That works out to an average weight loss of just over 19 lbs per person. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, ideal weight loss is 1-2 lbs a week, which works out to 12-24 lbs in twelve weeks. That puts the group average right square in the middle.

As we wrapped things up, we talked about the importance of keeping the weight off. While it’s a lot easier to maintain weight than lose it, it’s even easier to put it back on, so they’ll need to be vigilant with their diet and exercise program.

Another good strategy is to set new goals, whether it’s weight loss goals, running a 5K, or just buying some new clothing. One of the participants told me over the twelve weeks, she dropped from a size 12 to a size 4. Another lost 4 inches off his waist. That’s pretty motivating.

How about you? What motivates you? The next community Biggest Loser groups are forming now, and kick off in two weeks. The Friday night group will start on April 16th, and the Saturday morning group starts on the 17th.

You’ll need to get registered in advance and the administration fee is $50. You don’t need a membership to participate, but it’s recommended that you have one somewhere, like at Curves, at the Y, or here. Some people have success working out at home if they have enough equipment.

Whatever you decide, remember that whatever happens, time is going to pass anyway. You might as well get started now, so you can enjoy it. This could be the summer you get your body back!

Friday, April 02, 2010


This week I had to chance to see a PIXAR movie called WALL-E. Placed somewhere in between Toy Story, Nemo, and Cars, somehow I missed it. Turns out it was one of the largest grossing opening movies, and a big one for Pixar, but I must have been out running somewhere.

There wasn’t a lot of dialogue which was pretty surprising for a kid’s movie. Usually, it’s non-stop. In the case of WALL-E, the lead character didn’t even talk, except for one word, which is pretty normal for a robot. The one word was his love interest’s name: EVE, who happened to also be a robot.

WALL-E was left behind on planet Earth to clean up the mess after everyone else left on a luxury space liner. I’m not quite sure how they fit everyone on there, but hey, it works. The sales pitch to humans to get them to leave Earth was pretty simple: “Enjoy your time away and let us (the corporation) clean it up.”

They were also told they wouldn’t have to do anything—just basically lounge around. That must have worked, because most people left. Meanwhile, WALL-E’s doing his job crushing trash and stacking it up into skyscraper size and shaped junk piles. He also saves assorted knick knacks that interest him, including an old shoe which happens to have a green plant growing inside of it.

One day, a space ship lands and he comes across a probe (EVE) out looking for life. After some interesting exchanges where he just about gets blasted, they meet each other and develop an interest in each other. But then, she finds the shoe with the green plant growing in it.

Immediately, she goes into lock down mode and apparently summons the space ship back. WALL-E tries to take care of her, but she just stays in lock down until the ship comes back to pick her up, and WALL-E too, as a stow-away. It turns out the ship travels to the space liner where the humans are, but it’s now 700 years since they’ve left Earth.

The people have robot servants and even robot chairs that take them everywhere they need to go. They never move—even the babies. Guess what. They’re all quite fat. So morbidly obese that they basically just sit in lounge chairs.

In the Captain’s cabin they show pictures of each captain’s tenure and the pictures tell the story. The first captain was in great shape, but each subsequent captain was bigger than the one before. No real surprise, since they don’t even get up and walk around.

Well, many of you might know the ending. The captain realizes that they should have been taking care of Earth and tries to go back, but the evil automatic pilot tries to stop him. Only WALL-E and EVE’s intervention save the day, and they all go back to Earth.

In the end, the people are seen planting and watering seeds so they can grow pizza (I know), and WALL-E and EVE go off happily ever after. It looks like everyone’s going to get some exercise, because they have quite a job in front of them. I love movies that have messages like this—especially kid’s movies.

Take B-Movie, for example. In that story, a bee sues humans for “stealing their honey” in a case on behalf of all the bees. They win their case, and none of the bees have to work anymore. But once they quit working, there’s an unanticipated effect—things quit growing because of the lack of pollination. So they take dramatic action to change things so the bees can go back to work!

I wonder how many parents talk to their kids about the movies. Or how many grandparents use the themes as lessons to educate their grandkids? Or do most of us just say, “Oh, that’s nice” and just go on with our business?

WALL-E had such a strong message that I was pretty surprised because it wasn’t all that politically correct. You’re not supposed to tell people that they’re fat, but guess what? Lounge around and quit moving and you’re going to get fat—just like in the movie!

It’s the same thing with B-Movie. Everything we do has consequences, and we reap what we sow. Work is important, and we all have a job to do. These things are just as true in real life as they were in the movies.

I wish I’d have seen the movies when they first came out because I would have taken their messages into my Karate for Kids classes. We’re trying to keep them moving, and it would have given me something they could relate to. But I’ll bet the kids will remember, so I’m going to use those examples anyway, just like I’m doing here. I figure some of you have seen WALL-E with your kids, but maybe some of you haven’t.

So I’ll say it again. Lounge around and quit moving and you’re going to get fat—just like in WALL-E’s world. It’s something our Biggest Losers need to think about too. It’s a lot easier to put the pounds back on than it was to take them off.

After eleven weeks, these guys and gals know what to do and how to do it. Some of them have really figured it out and by now have had some awesome results. Most of them are still working at it, but are making pretty good progress. If they quit moving, though, they run the risk of putting it ALL back on! I’ve seen it happen more times than you might imagine.

The Friday night Biggest Loser was Scott Block, who’s definitely not been lounging around. He lost 1.7% of his body weight and 3.4 lbs this week. All told, he’s lost 41.8 lbs, and 17.5% of his body weight in just 11 weeks, and he told me he doesn’t plan on putting any of it back on!

Second place went to Nicole Clodfelter, who lost 1.0% and 2.8 lbs and was the only Biggest Loser to show up for the 5K challenge in Charleston! It was really cold, windy, and she even had to run through some really wet grass. Nicole’s lost 32.4 lbs overall.

Third place went to Jackie Tyler, who ran her 5K back in the gym and pushed herself pretty hard, too, getting a time of 31:53. She also lost about half a percent and a pound, and has lost 10.0 lbs overall.

The Saturday morning Biggest Loser was once again Melissa White, who lost 1.7% and 2.2 lbs. Dale Rasmussen also placed second again, losing 1.5% and 3.8 lbs. Melissa’s lost just about 10.0 lbs so far, and Dale’s lost 26.4 lbs total.

Don’t forget to get signed up for our next community wide Biggest Loser groups which start on either Friday, April 16th or Saturday, April 17th. The administration fee is just $50 and you don’t have to be a member to participate—although you should probably be a member somewhere. Remember, if you just lounge around and quit moving, you’re going to get fat!