Sunday, May 16, 2010


This week marks the end of three weeks for our Biggest Losers, or 21 days in the program. Experts say it takes a minimum of 21 times to make something a habit, so hopefully, they’re right on track.

The goal for week one was simply to get them moving. In week two, the goal was to get them to start keeping a daily food diary so they would be able to see if they were eating enough (most women don’t) or overeating (most men do). Week three was about the types of food they were eating, and understanding how food is used in the body.

The participants have had three weeks working out on the machines to build their strength, and on cardio days, they’ve hopefully been hitting it for a minimum of 30 minutes. As their endurance allows, they were to up it to 45 minutes, or even an hour! On top of that, if their schedules allowed, they were to also get in a quick 20 minute walk each morning.

The whole purpose has been to get them eating better, in the right amounts, and start building their strength and endurance so they can do more during their workouts. At first, they were kind of fighting their own bodies, which weren’t used to working out.

Once they started building some strength, though, their bodies started working for them, which allows them to do a little bit more in the same amount of time, or even, spend more time before they get gassed.

The more work they can do, the more calories they’ll burn, so they’ll end up losing more weight, which of course was their goal all along. At first, it’s pretty tough burning enough calories, but later, as they get stronger, it will be much easier.

Most people can burn around 5 calories a minute with light to moderate exercise. That means about 300 calories an hour when you’re starting out. After a few weeks to get stronger, though, people can start doing work to the tune of around 10 calories a minute, or around 600 calories an hour.

That’s double the work, and it pays off. A pound of fat is the equivalent of 3,500 calories. That means if everything else is equal, and you just add an hour of activity to your day, at first, it would take about 11 ½ days to burn a pound of fat.

Once you start getting in shape, you can double your output, which can cut your time to lose a pound almost in half—down to around 5 or 6 days. And if you work out longer, you can lose more.

That’s why if people have a big weight loss goal, I always recommend they take an extra 20-30 minute walk regardless what else they did in their “real” workout. If they want to take the weight off quickly, that can make a big difference.

So now that they’re stronger, the goal is to change the intensity of the work along with the amount of time they can keep going. Both will drive up the calorie output, and that will drive off the pounds.

This week, their goal is to use the machines for one more week, but this time doing “supersets.” Rather than just hit the circuit from start to finish, they’ll be doing a pushing exercise like the Chest Press, and then do an opposing pulling movement like the Seated Row, back to back. Then they’ll repeat the two exercises two more times before moving on to the next two machines.

Each pair of machines are arranged in order so they can get the Pushing/Pulling thing going at each step as they work their way through the circuit. This way, they’ll never take a break, but while one muscle group is resting, the other, opposing group is working.

If the machines aren’t organized quite that way where you work out, or if you’re using equipment at home, here’s how I have the machines arranged, so you can simulate the workout. Do each pair of exercises back to back, 10-12 repetitions each, for a total of 3 sets before moving on. Next week, we’ll raise the intensity again by moving to free weights!

1. Chest Press -- Seated Row
2. Pec Deck -- Lat Pulldown
3. Shoulder Press -- Rear Delt
4. Tricep Press -- Bicep Curl
5. Leg Press -- Calf Raises
6. Leg Extension -- Leg Curl
7. Ab Crunch -- Lower Back

This week’s Biggest Loser was a two-way tie between Cheryl Clark and Carrieann Phegley, who both lost 2.1% of their body weight. Cheryl lost 4.4 lbs and Carrieann lost 3.6 lbs. Third place went to Dale Rasmussen, who lost 2.0% and 4.6 lbs.

Michelle Clark was fourth, losing 1.6% and 2.6 lbs. Alison Raney took fifth, losing 1.1% and 2.0 lbs. Sixth place went to Janice Johnson, who lost 1.0% and 2.4 lbs.

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