Monday, October 25, 2010


This week the group took their weight training to the next level. They’ve been doing Level I training with the machines for a month so it was time to turn it up. Level II training with dumbbells presents a different challenge.

While the machines provide a nice safe, guided motion with a leverage assist, dumbbells (DB) require you to control the entire movement. This means more stabilizer muscles are called on which makes it more work. That means you’ll get a better workout and burn more calories.

Machines also have pads to lean on or press against. Level II training with dumbbells requires you to use your core to keep your posture correct. Once again, this means you’ll be using more muscles to complete the same movements.

Our goal was to replace each of the machines with a similar movement with dumbbells. We also taught them how to string several exercises together in what are called supersets. It also allows you to rest one muscle group while you’re working another. I call it “active rest.”

We also used a stability ball (exercise ball) for many of the exercises which hit their core even more. Finally, we threw in some mini cardio bursts between rounds to help keep their heart rate up.

Here’s what their first Level II dumbbell workout looked like in case you want to try it yourself:

1. DB Chest Press on Ball
2. Body Squat (holding exercise ball overhead)
(repeat 3x, back-to-back, 10-12 repetitions)
3. Jog around the room 5 times

4. DB Dead-lifts
5. Single Arm Rows
(repeat 3x, back-to-back, 10-12 reps)
6. Run the lines in the room (wind sprints)

7. DB Lateral Shoulder Raises
8. Standing DB Single Arm Curls
9. Standing Triceps Overhead Press
(repeat 3x, back-to-back, 10-12 reps)
10. Jog around the room 5 times

11. Series of different Abdominal Crunches with Exercise Ball
12. Run the lines in the room (wind sprints)

Shelly Roark was our Biggest Loser this week, losing 2.0% of her body weight and 3.0 lbs. Mary Pfister came in second, losing 1.8% and 3.5 lbs. Lisa Eskew was third, losing 1.3% and 2.4 lbs.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


In Week One the goal was to get the group moving. They also focused on learning how much they were eating, by tracking their calories each day. In Week Two they focused on looking at the quality of what they were eating, and how to put together balanced meals.

This week our goal was to help them learn how to burn, by turning up the intensity of their exercise. In the first Friday night workout, they did 5 sets of 10 pushups, sit-ups and body squats, for a total of 50 each, followed by walk/running one mile.

Last week in the second workout, they did 4 sets of 15 pushups, sit-ups and body squats, for a total of 60 each. They also learned how to do walking lunges, and several different exercises for their abs on the stability ball.

This week we raised the intensity by having them walk/run to the water tower park. Once everyone got there, we did all the usual things plus some new exercises: burpees, windmills, mountain climbers, leg-lifts, and even a sprint across the park and back. Once they finished, they jogged back to the center.

So instead of just a mile after the workout, they ended up doing about a mile and a half. The intensity of the workout was higher because they ran before all the exercises, and then ran again afterward. All the new exercises helped too.

So how do you use this information to increase the intensity of your own workouts? The first thing is to start doing some cardio at the beginning. Ten minutes is a good start. Then, after you use the strength circuit, do another ten minutes of cardio at the end.

This works whether you’re using machines or free weights. Adding a run always increases the intensity. That’s why jogging and calisthenics have always been the backbone of physical training in police academies as well as the military.

Now if you’ve never done any running, that’s O.K. After a couple minutes walking to warm up, try a very slow jog for just a minute. You don’t need to go fast. Pick a pace that’s just fast enough that you’re not walking anymore.

Even then, it might be hard to get a whole minute in. That’s O.K. too. Do what you can. Then walk two minutes. Then try another minute jogging and another two minutes walking to recover. Try to do it several times.

The next time, try to do five or six intervals, then seven, and so on. At some point, you’ll realize you don’t need the entire two minutes of walking to recover. Start jogging again a little sooner. You’ll get to where you can do a minute on and a minute off.

Before you know it, you’ll be able to go longer than a minute. Then it will switch. Try jogging two minutes with only a one minute walk break. Then go three minutes and so on. It won’t take long and you’ll really be building up your time.

So that’s how to sandwich your workouts with cardio. Next week I’ll tell you how they built cardio intervals into their workouts! See you then.

This week’s Biggest Loser was a two-way tie between Janet Tyler and Nicole Shaughnessy, who lost 1.1% of their body weight. Janet lost 2.0 lbs and Nicole lost 1.8 lbs. Nicole Clodfelter and Shawn Bowers tied for second, losing 1.0% of their body weight. Nicole C. lost 2.2 lbs while Shawn lost 3.0 lbs. Next week we’ll introduce the group to free weights, so I’ll see you then!

Monday, October 11, 2010


This week the Biggest Losers looked at how to eat meals that are in balance. If you recall from last week, each type of food has a preferred use in the body.

Proteins are best for building muscle and bone; starches (complex carbs) are best for long lasting energy and some vitamins; and fruits and greens provide quick energy, lots of vitamins and minerals, and also some fiber.

While there are lots of different diets out there, our Biggest Losers have pretty good results by just eating plain old balanced meals—in the right amounts. Here are some healthy, balanced meal ideas we used to get them started. Each has a serving of Protein, Starch, and Fruits or Greens.

A woman shooting for 1,650 calories a day needs three 400 calorie meals and three 150 calorie snacks as shown in the examples below. Guys need larger meals and have to adjust up as needed. Mix and match foods to come up with slightly different meals.

Sample 400 Calorie Breakfasts:
• ½ to ¾ cup whole grain Cereal, 8 oz Skim or Soy Milk, and a Medium Banana.
• 1 piece of quality whole grain Bread with a little butter and honey, a small low fat Yogurt, and some fresh Fruit.
• 2 eggs, 1 piece of whole wheat Toast with butter, ½ cup fresh fruit.
• 1 serving of Oatmeal, 8 oz Skim or Soy Milk, and some fresh fruit.

Sample 400 Calorie Lunches:
• 1 cup whole wheat Spaghetti & Meatballs and ½ cup Green Beans.
• 6” Chicken Teriyaki Sub loaded with veggies on Honey Oat bread.
• Grilled Chicken and Spinach Salad with fat free dressing.
• ½ broiled Chicken Breast, ½ cup frozen Bean Medley, 1 piece ww Bread with butter.

Sample 400 Calorie Suppers:
• 3 oz baked Chicken, ½ cup Baked Beans, Mixed Salad with fat free dressing.
• 3 oz Meatloaf, ½ baked Sweet Potato, ½ cup fresh Green Beans.
• 1 cup grilled Chicken and whole wheat Pasta, Mixed Salad with fat free dressing.
• 3 oz fresh or frozen Fish, ½ cup long grain wild Rice, frozen garden Bean Medley
• 3 oz smoked Pork Chop, ½ baked Potato w. a little butter, Mixed Salad with fat free dressing.

Sample 150 Calorie Snacks:
• Small low fat Yogurt and ½ cup Red Seedless Grapes, or Banana or other fruit.
• Meal Replacement Shakes
• ½ small box of Raisins and ¼ cup of Cashew Pieces.
• ½ cup low fat Cottage Cheese and ½ cup Fruit.
• Several pieces of real (not processed) Cheese & several whole wheat Crackers .
• Protein Bar
• ½ cup fat free Frozen Yogurt and ½ cup fresh Strawberries.
• Yellow Delicious Apple and 1 tbsp Peanut Butter.

Once you have your routine down, you won’t need to keep track of the calories so much anymore. Then it will be more about just controlling your portions. In fact, that’s really what you’re learning to do when you start eating this way, so you might give it a try.

This week’s Biggest Loser was Jennifer Bell who lost 1.7% of her body weight and 3.4 lbs. Lisa Eskew was second, losing 2.8% and 2.4 lbs. Mary Pfister placed third, losing 1.4% and 2.8 lbs. Shay Jones was fourth, losing 1.1% and 1.8 lbs, and Nicole Clodfelter came in fifth, losing 1.0% and 2.0 lbs.

Monday, October 04, 2010


The Biggest Losers completed their first week and had their first workout on Friday night. During the workout, we talked about how important it was for them to hit their minimum (calories) each day.

For women, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends a minimum of 1,200 calories. For men it’s 1,800 calories. Anything less than that will work against you. But if you can hit your minimum, you’ll feel better and start to lose weight.

Once you hit your minimum, you can actually shoot for eating a little more to cover your activity during the day. Most women can eat between 1,500-1,650 calories and feel fine while losing weight. Most guys can lose weight around 2,200-2,400 calories. Once you get your quantity under control, the next step is to look at the quality of what you’re eating.

Remember, food is fuel. Sure, it can give us pleasure, but the bottom line is food is fuel. When you get empty, you need to fuel up. But there’s another issue.

If you put the wrong kind of fuel in a car, it won’t run well, or not at all. What you want is high octane foods that help your body work better. Every meal should have three main components: Protein, Starch & Fruits & Greens.

Protein—for building Muscle & Bone:
Meats, Chicken, Turkey, Fish, Low Fat Dairy products like Milk, Yogurt & Cottage Cheese, Nuts, Peanut Butter, some Beans, and Meal Replacement Shakes.

Most people don’t get nearly enough protein in their diet. It’s not fuel, though. Your body doesn’t like to burn protein for fuel as it’s inefficient, and can cause medical side effects.

You should probably eat more Fish, then Chicken & Turkey, less Beef (lean cuts only), and even less Pork. Low Fat Dairy is fine. If you’re lactose intolerant, choose a Soy based dairy product.

Starch—for long lasting Fuel (Energy):
Quality Whole Grains like Cereals & Breads, Oats, Whole Wheat Pasta, Long Grain Wild Rice, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Corn, Sugar Snap Peas, Beans.

Starches are your bodies preferred fuel for energy. Also known as complex carbohydrates, starches take a long time for your body to break down, so you get long lasting energy.

Most people eat too much starch (carbs), especially the bad kinds like white breads, refined flours, and junk foods. Some diets tell you not to eat carbs at all (even the good stuff!). That’s goofy. Just don’t eat too many.

Fruits & Greens—for Vitamins & Minerals, Quick Energy, and Fiber:
Most people don’t eat nearly enough Fruits & Greens and some don’t eat any at all. Fruits & Greens have tons of vitamins & minerals, along with the enzymes needed to use them. They're high in fiber and low in calories. If you’ll start eating more Fruits & Greens, you’ll start feeling better, almost immediately. Go for Fruits early in the day for quick energy, and have lots of Greens at your later meals.

Take a high quality supplement that has a blend of Omega-3 (fish oil) and also Omega-6 and Omega-9 in it. It will help you fight infections, think more clearly, support your metabolism, and make you feel better. Eat more fish and nuts too. Avoid vegetable oils and foods cooked in them. They’ll make you fat. Go with olive oil for cooking.

Avoid Trans Fats. If you see a label that says Trans Fats .5 or more, don’t buy it. Only buy it if it says Trans Fats 0. This type of fat is extremely dangerous. Your body can’t process them, so it coats them with cholesterol and stores them in your arteries. Experts believe they’re the main reason for the increase in heart disease in men and women at younger ages.

Choose low fat dairy products for milk, cottage cheese and yogurt. There’s no difference in the amount of protein, only fat. Go 2%, or even lower if you can. Choose low fat salad dressings, too. This will take you from 140 calories for 2 tbsp down to 50, 45, or sometimes 25 calories!

Try to avoid High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS), found in pop, ice creams, and many other foods. Unlike fructose (sugars found in fruits), sucrose (simple sugars), or even corn syrup (all of which your body CAN burn for fuel), HFCS can’t be burned for fuel, so your body stores it as fat.

Another problem is that HFCS doesn’t trigger the release of leptin which tells you that you’re full. Many experts believe HFCS is the main reason behind the epidemic of obesity in our kids.

If you want to feel better, drink more water. It helps flush and cleanse the body, and also is critical to things moving in and out of the cells at a molecular level.

When you’re dehydrated, your body doesn’t work as well. Until you’ve been fully hydrated you’ll never really know how good you can feel. Coffee and pop don’t count as water. Quit the pop. Only water counts as water. Drink it.

The government recommends adults have at least 64 oz (a little more than 3 20 oz bottles) of water each day. Even that’s not enough, especially if you’re exercising. Active women may need up to 4 bottles (up to 80 oz) and active men could need 5 or 6 (100-120 oz).

Week One Results
Next week I’ll give you some sample meal and snack ideas. This week’s Biggest Loser was Janet Tyler, who lost 3.1% of her body weight and 5.8 lbs. Shawn Bowers was second, losing 2.3% and 7.2 lbs. Nicole Shaughnessy was third, losing 1.8% and 3.0 lbs. Nicole Clodfelter placed fourth, losing 1.6% and 3.6 lbs, and Mary Pfister was fifth, losing 1.4% and 2.8 lbs.