Thursday, December 20, 2012


This marked the end of Biggest Loser “17” for our group, after 12 weeks of training and watching what they ate. After the final weigh-in, the remaining participants once again took measurements of their arms, chest, stomach, hips, legs and calves. The goal was to compare their numbers with what they got in the first meeting, so they could calculate total inches lost.

We also did a fitness post-test, consisting of a minute each of push-ups, sit-ups, body squats, burpees, and mountain climbers. In each case, the participants were stronger and had much more endurance, sometimes markedly so, often doubling and tripling their numbers from before.

They also had to record a final 1 mile walk/run time. It was not unusual to see several minutes taken off their 1 mile walk/run time from twelve weeks ago. Most of them have completed at least one 5 K recently, and several have done two!

This week’s Biggest Loser was Jeremy Whitaker, who lost 3.2% of his body weight and another 6.6 lbs in the final week of the program. He finished off the program with a 6 mile run this morning, and then Garfields for lunch and Texas Roadhouse for Supper! Not to worry – he ate sensibly at both places.

For second place, we had a tie between Nicole Shaughnessy and Betty Payne, both losing 1.2% and also 1.8 and 1.6 lbs respectively. Interestingly, we also had a tie for third place, with Ashlee Hiatt and Johna Todd losing about 1.0% and also 1.6 and 1.8 lbs respectively.

Since it was the last meeting, we talked about how each of them needed to set new goals, whether it’s additional weight loss, or maintaining the results they’ve gotten. If they get out of balance, it will be easy to put that weight right back on. Exercising daily and watching what they eat will be a life-long pursuit.

The overall winner for Biggest Loser “17” was Jeremy Whitaker (no surprise there), who lost 32.7% of his body weight and a whopping 66.4 lbs – a new Biggest Loser record for 12 weeks! His body fat percentage went down by 13.5%, and he lost in excess of 40 inches across his body. He also significantly reduced his metabolic age, now having a body much younger than his actual years, rather than much older.

Nicole Shaughnessy finished the twelve weeks in second place, losing 10.8% and 15.7 lbs. Ashlee Hiatt placed third, losing 10.2% and 17.0 lbs. Johna Todd finished fourth, losing 7.6% and 15.0 lbs. Carla Duke was fifth, losing 4.7% and 7.0 lbs, and Betty Payne finished sixth, losing 4.6% and 6.0 lbs.

Feel free to contact me through Facebook at if you have any questions or comments.

Thursday, December 13, 2012


This was the last meeting with the group before the final weigh-in next week, so I had one last chance to give them another tough workout! You might recall the last few weeks have included High Intensity Interval Training in the cardio room, and also several advanced circuit training workouts in the weight room.

To keep it new and interesting, I took things they knew from each of the past few workouts but combined them all into one giant super-circuit. Instead of doing several rounds of six or seven exercises, this time they only had to do each station one time, but a lot of reps while they were there. The other twist was that they started with a ¼ mile run, and also did ¼ mile runs after each station!

This is a challenging workout for people whether you’re used to running or not. If you’re an experienced runner, treat the ¼ mile runs like sprints and try to increase your speed each time. Then attack the different stations, trying to finish each as quickly as possible.

If running is new and difficult for you, don’t try to go too fast, just try to run the entire ¼ mile. Then when you get to the stations, push yourself there. As an alternative to running, you could do 2-3 minute intervals on an elliptical, stepper, bike, or rower. Here’s what the workout looked like, in case you’d like to give it a try.

1. 25 Pull-ups

2. 50 Box Jumps

3. 50 Kettlebell Swings

4. 50 Pushups

5. 50 Single-arm DB Curls (total)

6. 50 Sit-ups

This week’s Biggest Loser was Jeremy Whitaker, who lost 2.1% of his body weight and 4.6 lbs. Johna Todd was second, losing 1.9% and 3.8 lbs. Carla Duke placed third, losing about 1.0% and 1.2 lbs. Betty Payne was fourth, losing about 1.0% and 1.0 lbs.

Feel free to contact me through Facebook at if you have any questions or comments.

Thursday, December 06, 2012


This week I introduced the group to another type of circuit training that uses some traditional power training moves. They used a straight bar which comes in two sizes: 30 lbs for the ladies, and the traditional 45 lb bar for the guys. The ladies started with the bar and 5 lbs on each side (40 lbs total) while the guys started with the bar and 10 lbs on each side (65 lbs total).

They did four basic movements. The first is a Bent Leg Dead-Lift: Bend over, grabbing the bar with both hands in an overhand grip. With knees slightly bent, use your hips and lower back to straighten your body up so you are standing straight, and the bar is hanging down around thigh level. Don’t use your arms at all, except to hold the bar. Once you straighten up, bend back over, lowering the bar to the ground. People lifting heavy weights will often use a reverse grip in one hand, switching hands in each subsequent set. On the last rep, don’t put the bar back down on the floor.

The second movement is the Hanging Clean: This movement starts with you standing up straight, with the bar in both arms hanging down in front of you with an overhand grip (where you ended above). Drop your knees just a little bit, and then accelerate your hips up while pulling up on the bar in a straight line up to eye level. At the top of the movement, drop your arms a little bit so you can get your hands under the bar and let the bar settle in front of your shoulders on your upper chest. Release the bar so it hangs at arm level again and then repeat. On the last rep, leave the bar up on your chest.

The third movement is the Front Squat: With the bar up on your chest, and keeping your body as erect as possible, bend your knees into a squat position. Try to avoid letting your knees move forward, instead pushing your hips back behind you with most of your weight on your heels. Some people find it better to balance with their shoes off, since tennis shoes tend to lift you up and tilt you forward a bit. Again, try to keep your upper body as straight as possible, with a good natural arch in your back. It might also be helpful to tilt your head back, looking upward. You definitely don’t want to bend forward as that puts too much stress on your lower back. Once you’ve reached a 90 degree angle at the knee joint, use your legs and hips to stand back up to the starting position. On the last rep, don’t put the bar down.

The fourth movement is the Push Press: Starting in the last position, slightly bend your knees, and then explode upward using your hips to get the bar moving. Using that momentum, use your arms and shoulders to press the bar up overhead into a locked position. Keep your back straight and try to avoid leaning backward. If it’s too heavy, use a lighter weight. Once the bar is overhead, you should be able to pause there for just a split second before lowering the bar back to your chest and repeating the movement. On the last rep, put the bar back down on the floor by dropping your arms so the bar is hanging down, and then lowering the bar by squatting and bending at the waist. Again, use your legs, and not just your back when lowering the bar.

After completing all four movements (40 reps total), they took “a break” by doing 5 assorted Ab exercises: Toes-2-Bar, Leg Raises, Sit-Ups, Crunches, and Leg Lifts. After doing about a minutes worth of abs, they started another set with the bar, for 5 rounds total!

This week’s Biggest Loser was Jeremy Whitaker, who lost 3.1% of his body weight and another 6.8 lbs. His ten week total is an amazing 55.2 lbs total. Second place went to Betty Payne, who lost 1.3% and 1.8 lbs. Carla Duke placed third, losing about 1.0% and 1.4 lbs.

Feel free to contact me through Facebook at if you have any questions or comments.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


This week I gave the group another Level 4 workout. From now, till the end, our goal is to keep things intense with circuit training, and also to keep teaching them new exercises to put into their routines.

The key with Level 4 circuit training is to mix it up day-to-day by changing the different exercises. This keeps your body from getting too used to things, which means it’s always going to be challenging, so you’ll burn lots of calories. That means you’ll keep losing weight! It also keeps it fresh, which helps keep your interest.

When you do circuit training, you want to have exercises that will hit your entire body. This means you’re going to target your pushing muscles (Chest, Shoulders, Triceps), pulling muscles (Back & Biceps), lower body (Hips & Legs), and also your abs or core.

It can be as simple as doing one exercise from each group, or doing a longer circuit with 2 or more exercises that hit each area. You want to arrange things so each area gets worked, then rests while you hit a different area. This way, you move from one exercise to the next, without needing an actual break, and that’s what keeps the intensity high.

Last week, they did an 8 station circuit that was made up of Wall Ball (Squat thrusters), the Rower, Battle Ropes, Leg Raises, Pull-ups, Deadlift Sumo Hi-Pulls, the Exercise Bike, and Assorted Ab exercises with a ball.

This week’s circuit used some more new movements for the group: Box Jumps, Mountain Climbers, Single Arm Kettlebell Swings (switching arms), Dynamax Ball Smack Downs, BOSU Ballistic Push-ups, Pilate Crunches, and Burpees!

They did each station for 45-50 seconds, with 10-15 seconds to move and get ready for the next station. There were 7 stations, done 3 times by the Biggest Losers, for a total of 21 minutes. The 5:30 group did 4 rounds totaling 28 minutes.

1. Box Jumps (lower body) – jump on and off a box for 45-50 seconds. We use an aerobics step with several risers. The better shape you’re in, the more risers.

2. Mountain Climbers (entire body) – in a push-up position, bring your knees up alternating L-R as fast as you can for 45-50 seconds.

3. Single Arm Kettlebell Swings (shoulders, biceps, hips, core) – in a slight crouch, using a fairly light kettlebell, swing it up until it’s horizontal to the ground with one arm, lower it down, bouncing off one leg, and then switch arms on the way back up. Repeat for 45-50 seconds.

4. Dynamax Ball Smack Downs (upper back, core) – holding a 10 lb soft medicine ball, reach up overhead, slightly raise up off your heels and then bring the ball down violently, letting go of it so it smacks the mat! If you’re in great shape, use a heavier Dynamax ball. Do it for 45-50 seconds (which is much harder than it sounds).

5. BOSU Ballistic Push-ups (chest, shoulders, triceps) – using a BOSU trainer, do a pushup with your L hand is on the BOSU, and your R hand on the floor. Following the push-up, explosively transition yourself so that your R hand is now on the BOSU, and your L hand is on the other side on the floor. Continue for 45-50 seconds. In every other set, flip the BOSU over and do the pushups with your hands on the handles.

6. Pilate Crunches (core) – lay on the mat on your back with your legs straight and arms in front of you. Bring your knees up to your chest while lifting your shoulders off the mat and reaching toward your toes. Repeat for 45-50 seconds.

7. Burpees (entire body) – from a standing position, bend your knees, reach down and drop into a pushup position. Do a pushup before hopping back to your feet and doing a small jump while reaching over your head with your arms. Repeat for 45-50 seconds.

This week’s Biggest Loser was Jackie Landsaw, who lost 1.4% of her body weight and 2.4 lbs. Jeremy Whitaker was second, losing 1.2% and 2.6 lbs. Nicole Shaughnessy placed third, losing about 1.0% and 1.2 lbs.

Feel free to contact me through Facebook at if you have any questions or comments.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


This week marked the end of eight weeks—two months down, and one to go. At this point, weight loss often slows down, and the people have to fight hard to get past a plateau. To help them turn it up another notch, I introduced them to what I call Level 4 workouts.

Level 1 consists of doing the basic weight and cardio machines. Level 2 workouts replace the machine circuit with basic free weight movements with dumbbells. Recently, they’ve been doing Level 3 workouts by doing High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) in the cardio room, and Supersets with their free weights.

Level 4 workouts take free weight movements and combine them with new core-training movements and short bouts of cardio, arranged in a circuit that you complete several times.

You do each station for 45-50 seconds, with 10-15 seconds to rest while moving to the next station. The Biggest Losers did 3 rounds for a total of 24 minutes. The regular evening class did a bonus 4th round for a total workout time of 32 minutes. Here’s what they did.

1. Wall Ball (10-20 lb ball) – Keeping your body erect, squat facing a wall with a ball on your shoulder. As you come up, toss the ball overhead on a wall, and then catch it on your other shoulder, repeating the squat. Repeat for 45-50 seconds.

2. Rower (Concept 2) – Get on and row for 45-50 seconds.

3. Battle Ropes (take two ends of a 50’ rope wrapped around something) – shake it up and down, side-to-side, making circles, etc… for 45-50 seconds.

4. Leg Raises (on dip, leg raise, pull-up station) – do as many as you can straight leg, and then with knees bent for 45-50 seconds.

5. Pull-ups (on dip, leg raise, pull-up station) – assisted with your leg if necessary, do as many wide grip pull-ups as you can; change grip to neutral grip, and reverse grip when needed. 45-50 seconds.

6. Kettlebell (KB) Sumo Hi-Pulls – starting with a fairly light KB hanging down in front of you with a dual grip, keeping your back straight, squat down so the KB touches the floor. Then stand up and raise the KB up with both arms until your hands are at eye level, and repeat for 45-50 seconds.

7. Exercise Bike (Schwinn AirDyne) – get on a ride, using both arms and legs with great intensity for 45-50 seconds.

8. Assorted Sit-ups with small Ball (8-10 lb ball) – Round 1: Regular sit-ups while holding ball in front of you with arms extended; Round 2: Bicycle motion with legs while holding ball in front of you with bent arms, moving ball to each side of your body; Round 3: Lay down on your back, with your legs straight, while holding the ball in arms extended overhead. Jack-knife your body up so your straight arms holding the ball touch your toes of your straight legs (good luck with this one). Bonus Round 4: Lay on your back with knees bent, holding the ball between your knees, with your arms extended straight side-to-side for balance. Bring your knees side-to-side so they touch the ground on the L, then R, etc… do each for 45-50 seconds.

This week’s Biggest Loser was Jeremy Whitaker, who lost 2.6% of his body weight and another 6.0 lbs. His 8 week total is 45.9 lbs! Second place went to Ashlee Hiatt, who lost 1.6% and 2.8 lbs. Johna Todd was third, losing a little more than half a pound.

Feel free to contact me through Facebook at if you have any questions or comments.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


This week the group worked on High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). It’s always an eye-opener for them because they find out they can do quite a bit more than they thought.

HIIT is all about short, hard bouts of exercise followed by brief moments to recover. You start with a few minutes going easy to get warmed up. Then you pick up the pace for a minute. Then you back off for a minute to give yourself time to recover a little bit. Then you do another minute even harder, rest a minute, and so on.

You can do the intervals on any piece of cardio equipment. Here in the gym, we had them split up into smaller groups on the treadmills, ellipticals, and Schwinn AirDyne bikes. After several intervals, each group rotated to the next piece of equipment.

We also varied the time of the intervals. For the first couple rounds, we stuck with one minute intervals. After everyone had done three rounds in each area (9 rounds total), we rotated back to the beginning, and shortened the work and rest intervals to 30 seconds.

After a few of those intervals, we went to 20 second high intensity intervals with just 10 seconds rest. The shorter intervals let you go even faster, since you don’t have to go as long, so they’re even more intense.

We switched equipment again, and they did two 90 second work intervals, each with a minute rest. Finally, they did a monster 2 minute interval to cap things off. They started at a very high workload but the interval was so long, they had to slow down a little bit to be able to finish.

In the end, they worked out for 45 minutes, which included a few minutes at the start for a warm-up, and a few minutes at the end for a cool-down. They learned they could do the high intensity interval training on any cardio equipment. They also got some experience changing up the interval times to allow even great intensity.

It’s good to do HIIT at least once a week, and it really doesn’t matter what you do it on, or what your interval times are. What matters is that you use it as a tool to push yourself beyond what you normally would do. This challenges your body, and will get you in great shape!

If you’re trying to lose weight, as they are, HIIT also has a longer calorie after-burn than regular forms of exercise. The work is so hard that your body will keep burning calories long after your workout. You might even get hungry later.

Make sure you don’t do HIIT on an empty stomach, though. You’ll quickly burn through all the readily available fuels in your body. Since you can’t access fat for fuel quickly enough to meet the demands, you’ll want to have a little sugar in the blood to get you through, so have a snack 30-60 minutes before your workout.

If you’re new to exercise, getting into HIIT can be as simple as trying to jog a minute and then walking two minutes. As you get stronger, you can decrease the rest period little-by-little, until at some point, you’ll be able to just keep jogging. Give it a try!

This week’s Biggest Loser was Ashlee Hiatt, who lost 1.8% of her body weight and 3.2 lbs. Betty Payne was second, losing 1.5% and 2.0 lbs. Third place went to Johna Todd, who lost 1.4% and 2.8 lbs.

Feel free to contact me through Facebook at if you have any questions or comments.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012


Well we made it halfway through our latest twelve week Biggest Loser program with no major bumps or bruises. We’re down four from our original group, but that’s to be expected. Remember, in any program like this, it’s normal to see half the group drop out for one reason or another.

That’s why I talked with them Monday night about digging deep to discover what it takes inside to keep things going. If you can’t do six weeks, how can you do six years? Losing the weight—and keeping it off—is a lifelong pursuit, not just a twelve week program.

In the end, you’ve got to have something bigger than a want-to, if you’re going to get something of this magnitude done. It’s got to be a have-to. It’s got to be so big that it’s going to just “kill you” if you don’t get this done.

That’s the kind of drive and commitment it takes to do big things. Anything less than that will fall by the wayside sooner or later when things come up.

After six weeks, you start running into more than just psychological issues. Your body starts adjusting to the work and weight loss starts to plateau.

That’s why it’s important to keep changing things up, and increasing the intensity of your workouts. So this week, we took the first two free weight routines the group learned (published in last week’s article) and combined them.

They performed each set of exercises, back-to-back, without a break, 10-15 repetitions each set, a total of three times in each round. Each round also included an exercise that worked their abs. That way they got a break from the major muscle group worked while also covering their midsection too.

Here’s what they did, in case you’d like to try it yourself. Make sure you get with someone who knows how to properly perform each exercise. If need be, you can always use Google and YouTube to find videos online.

Round One: (Chest)

• Dumbbell (DB) Chest Press on Ball

• DB Pec Fly’s on Ball

• Ab Crunches on Ball (3x)

Round Two: (Back)

• DB Single Arm Rows

• DB Pullover on Ball (3x)

Round Three: (Lower Body)

• Walking Lunges

• DB Squats

• DB Bent-knee Deadlifts

• Ab Crunches on Ground (3x)

Round Four: (Shoulders)

• DB Shoulder Press (Arnold Press)

• DB Lateral Raises

• Cross-over Sit-ups on Ball (3x)

Round Five: (Arms)

• DB Hammer Curls and then Single Arm Curls

• DB Overhead Tricep Press and then DB Kickbacks

• Leg Raises (3x)

This week’s Biggest Loser was Jeremy Whitaker who again had a big week, losing 3.3% of his body weight and 7.8 lbs. He told us he’d increased his jogging from 3 miles to 5 miles/day. One day he did 5 miles in the morning and another 3 miles that evening. Jeremy’s lost 37.0 lbs in the six weeks.

Second place went to Carla Duke, who lost about 1.0% and 1.2 lbs. Nicole Shaughnessy was third, losing about a half a percent and 0.6 lbs. Feel free to contact me through Facebook at if you have any questions or comments.

Thursday, November 01, 2012


During the first four weeks, the group focuses on using the strength machines—what I call Level 1 workouts—first as a circuit, then in pairs, back-to-back, to get a better workout. The machines are nice to start out on, because they provide a safe, controlled motion, and allow you to focus on each muscle group.

After the first month, it’s time to expand their horizons by starting them out on free weights. They notice the difference in their workouts right away because there are quite a few differences between machines and free weights.

Machines guide the motions. Free weights require you to control the weight the entire time. Machines isolate the particular muscle group you’re working on. Free weights force you to use accessory muscles to help stabilize your body during the movements. Finally, since you have to use more muscles, that means you’ll burn more calories during your workout.

While there are hundreds of different free weight exercises, a good plan is to start replacing each machine with one basic free weight movement. I call these Level 2 workouts. For example, the Chest Press machine is replaced by the Dumbbell (DB) Press on a ball. The Seated Row machine is replaced by Single Arm DB rows, and so on.

After a week of basic movements, we did a second free weight workout with similar, yet different exercises. They did the first workout on M-W-F in Week Five, and are doing the other on M-W- F this week.

Here they are in case you’d like to try them. Get with someone who can show you how to do each movement correctly. Or you can Google the movements and view videos on YouTube.

The goal is to do three sets of 10-15 repetitions for each exercise. All of the exercises are performed with dumbbells (DB), at a weight they could lift comfortably at least 10 times. If it gets too easy, use the next heavier pair of dumbbells in subsequent sets.


1. DB Squat (Legs, Hips)

2. DB Press on Ball (Chest)

3. DB Bent Leg Deadlifts (Hips, Legs & Lower Back)

4. DB Single Arm Rows (Upper Back)

5. DB Lateral Raises (Shoulders)

6. Single DB Overhead Press (Triceps)

7. Alternating DB Curls (Biceps)

8. AB Crunches on the ball (Crunches, Sit-ups, and Knee-In’s)

9. Ball Twists (Standing, Lumberjacks)


1. Walking Lunges (Legs, Hips)

2. DB Pec Fly’s on Ball (Chest)

3. DB Straight Leg Deadlifts (Hips, Legs & Lower Back)

4. DB Pullovers on Ball (Upper Back)

5. DB Arnold Press (Shoulders)

6. Bent-over double DB Kickbacks (Triceps)

7. Double DB Curls (Biceps)

8. AB Routine #1-5 (Crunches w/Knees Bent, Crunches w/Legs Up, Crunches to R side w/one leg crossed, Crunches to L side w/one leg crossed, Leg Lifts)

This week’s Biggest Loser was Ashlee Hiatt, who lost 1.7% of her body weight and 3.0 lbs. Second place went to Jeremy Whitaker, who lost 1.1% and 2.6 lbs. Third place was a tie between Sheryl Bennett and Vince Porter, both losing about 1.0% and 2.0 and 2.1 lbs respectively.

Feel free to contact me through Facebook at if you have any questions or comments.

Friday, October 26, 2012


Last week we talked about the different food groups and why we need them: Protein, Complex Carbs (starches), Fruits (simple sugars), Vegetables (fibrous carbs), and good Fats. We also talked about avoiding all those refined and highly processed junk foods.

Perhaps a simpler way of looking at it is like this—make sure that every meal includes a source of Protein, Starch, and Fruits or Greens. This common sense approach has worked with hundreds of Biggest Losers. Then you just need to make sure your portion control is operating.

Remember, women should never go below 1,200 calories/day and men should never go below 1,800 calories/day. This is the minimum calories you need just to keep your body operating properly. Your activity level will add to the number of calories you need.

Over the years, I’ve observed that most women can comfortably lose weight on between 1,500-1,650 calories/day. This is often quite a bit more than they were eating before. Guys tend to comfortably lose weight if they stick to around 2,200-2,400 calories a day. Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you that most guys are over-eaters!

Here are some healthy, balanced meal ideas that many of our successful Biggest Losers have used. Each has a serving of Protein, Starch, and Fruits or Greens.

Adjust for the calories that you need. The 400 calorie meal size works out perfectly for women on a 1,650 calorie diet if they’re also having three 150 calorie snacks. If you’re a guy, you’ll need to add a little bit to get up to 500-600 calories/meal. If you have any questions or special concerns, check with your health care professional!

Sample 400 Calorie Breakfasts:

• ½ to ¾ cup whole grain Cereal, 8 oz Skim or Soy Milk, and a Medium Banana.

• 1 piece of 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 whole wheat 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.

This week’s Biggest Loser was Jeremy Whitaker, who lost 2.6% of his body weight and 6.6 lbs. Second place was a tie between Ashlee Hiatt and Nicole Shaughnessy, both losing 1.9% and 3.4 lbs and 2.9 lbs respectively.

The group also graduated from the weight machines this week, so in next week’s article, I’ll cover their first free weight routine for you. Feel free to contact me through Facebook at if you have any questions or comments.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


So we’re three weeks into Biggest Loser “17” and things seem to be going pretty well for most of the participants. They’ve got their daily food diaries going so it’s time to start taking a closer look at what they should be eating and why. Keep in mind that I’m not a doctor or registered dietitian, so this is a summary of what I’ve seen work best for most people in the past. Check with your health care professional to be sure this will work for you.


The first food we looked at was protein, which is used for building muscle and bone. Quality sources of protein include lean cuts of meat, poultry, and fish; and low fat dairy products like eggs, milk, yogurt and cottage cheese. Other good sources are nuts, peanut butter, and some types of hard beans. Other foods might contain some protein, but typically not enough to be counted as a main source.

Most people don’t eat enough protein in their diet, especially once they start an exercise program. Even if you try to get some in every meal and snack, you still might be too low on protein. If that’s the case, a quality protein shake supplement will help you get what you need.


Next, we looked at the most abused and misunderstood food group—carbohydrates. There are really three things to know about these—outside of the obvious need to knock out most, if not all of the highly refined, processed junk foods.

First, not all carbs are bad. In fact, most of them are fine for you—if you eat them in moderation. We need carbs for fuel, for both quick and long lasting energy, particularly when we’re exercising.

Fruits are made mostly of water, fiber and fructose, a simple sugar, which can be broken down very rapidly and used to get you going. There are lots to choose from, but most people don’t eat nearly enough fruits like apples, oranges, bananas, grapefruits, grapes, pears, kiwi and so on. As a result, they’re also missing out on a great source of critical vitamins and minerals.

Because they’re very low in calories and high in water and fiber, most people can eat as much fruit as they want, unless they’re diabetic. If you have that medical condition, you’ll need to be more careful with fruits and other carbs because of the effect they have on your insulin level, so consult your physician.

The second kind of good carbs are called complex carbohydrates because they have a more complicated chemical structure which takes longer to be broken down by the body. That makes them an ideal source of long lasting energy.

Good sources of complex carbs include whole grain breads and cereals; oats and oatmeal; long grain wild rice, barley, and whole grain pastas. Other sources include potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, and some hard beans.

If you’re diabetic, you’ll need to be extremely careful with complex carbs because of the huge effect they have on insulin levels. Most everyone else will do well by getting one serving at each meal. That will give you the long lasting fuel you need, and also some good vitamins and minerals.

For most people, half a potato or sweet potato will be more than enough to meet your needs. You can also limit your bread to sandwiches made from just one slice of quality whole grain bread, instead of two. Go with thin crust pizza’s (without the cheese filling), and thin flat wraps when available.

Vegetables are the third type of good carbs. Extremely high in vitamins and minerals, vegetables are fibrous carbs (extremely high in fiber) and so are more difficult to digest. Since much of the food is passed through as roughage, not all the food is absorbed by the body, which makes vegetables extremely low in calories. It’s very hard to over eat vegetables but most people tend to skip this critical part of a healthy food regimen.


The best way to deal with fats is to construct a food plan that takes them into account naturally. In fact, we’ve probably run into them in other areas, like eating low fat dairy products, nuts, and fish. We can avoid foods higher in fat by eating more poultry, and eating only lean cuts of meat and even then, smaller portions.

If we’re doing all those things, we’re probably getting all the fats we need, but experts recommend we take a supplement to be sure. In the past few years, most people have become aware of the need to take Omega 3 (fish oil), but recently more attention has been paid to the need to include Omega 6 and 9. So that’s what I look for: a supplement that contains all three: Omega 3, 6, and 9.

So there you have it. It’s pretty simple really. We just need to take the basics and run with them. If you do that and also eliminate most of the junk, it’s hard to go wrong. Next week I’ll show you some of the sample meals that I’ve seen people use to get great results.


This week’s Biggest Loser was Carla Duke, who lost 2.5% of her body weight and 3.8 lbs. This brought her total weight loss for the three weeks up to 9.8 lbs. Second place went to Jeremy Whitaker, who lost 2.0% and another 5.2 lbs, bringing his total weight loss up to an amazing 20.0 lbs! Vince Porter was third, losing 1.7% and 4.4 lbs, and 10.8 lbs for the three weeks.

Feel free to contact me through Facebook at if you have any questions or comments.

Thursday, October 11, 2012


By now the group has had another week to get used to tracking their food consumption with their daily food diaries or on their smart phones. Most people have no idea how much they are eating so they either eat too much or too little.

Food diaries help you get just enough food to keep the fires burning and fuel part of your activity during the day. Then, if you exercise enough, you’ll create a calorie deficit that lets you start burning fat for fuel. That’s how you take the weight off.

It’s also important to spread your calories out during the day. Some experts call it grazing. The main thing is to avoid eating too much at any one time, because anything you can’t use is stored as fat in the body.

By spreading it out into 3 smaller meals and 2-3 healthy snacks, you’ll tend to always use or burn everything you eat, which is a huge advantage. It also keeps you from getting hungry and maybe overeating later in the day.

For most people, this means you need to eat a little more in the morning, and a little less at night. Some need to eat a lot less in the evenings! If you miss breakfast, a morning snack, and maybe even lunch, you’re setting things up for a disaster later in the day.

Every time we talk about this I remind people never go to below 1,200 calories (women) or 1,800 calories (men). This is your baseline which I call your “minimum.” If you routinely come in under your minimum, several things start to happen.

You’ll start to feel run-down, and just have an overall lack of energy. Often, your body won’t recover as well from little things. What’s worse, your body thinks you’re “starving” and causes you to hold on to that fat in case you might need it.

But as soon as you start hitting your minimum, your body will have what it needs to operate correctly, and then starts letting you burn fat for fuel. I’ve seen this hundreds of times. It’s counter-intuitive, but it works. You’ve got to hit your minimum.

Most women need around 1,650 calories to lose weight and feel good doing it. Most guys need around 2400 calories. This breaks down to three 400 calorie meals and three 150 calorie snacks for the gals. The guys need to shoot for three 600 calorie meals and three 200 calorie snacks.

In the gym, their goals were to continue to hit their cardio workouts and push ahead with the interval training I talked about last week (run a minute, walk two minutes, etc…). As it gets easier, they should start increasing their speed. They can also run a little further, or take shorter rest breaks.

For their group workout, I had them do 10 pushups, 10 body squats, and 10 sit-ups (5x). Then we went to the weight room where they learned a new way to use the machines. We took the first two machines (Chest Press and Seated Row) and did them back-to-back, three times, without a break. In this case, they had a partner on the other machine, so they switched back-and-forth.

Then they would take the next pair of machines (Pec Deck and Lat Pulldown) and do those back-to-back, without a break, a total of three times, and so on. These supersets continue until you get through each pair of machines. If you try it, you’ll see this will greatly increase the intensity of your workouts, burning lots more calories.

This week’s Biggest Loser was Jeremy Whitaker, who lost 1.8% of his body weight and 4.6 lbs. Jeremy’s lost 14.8 lbs in the first two weeks! Second place went to Johna Todd, who lost 1.6% of her body weight and 3.4 lbs. Third place went to Sheryl Bennett, who lost 1.5% and 3.4 lbs.

Next week we’ll take a look at the quality of foods we eat. Feel free to contact me through Facebook at if you have any questions or comments.

Thursday, October 04, 2012


After taking the summer off, it’s nice to get another Biggest Loser group started, so here we go with Biggest Loser “17.” It’s a pretty small group, just fourteen people, especially compared to some of the bigger groups we’ve had, but I figure there are still lots of people wanting to do this on their own.

So for the next 12 weeks, I’m going to take you through everything we do with the group. I’ll tell you about the workouts and how they progress in intensity over the course of the program. We’ll also cover how they’re learning to watch what they’re eating.

There’s no sense in reinventing the wheel—if someone has success, we should be able to copy it and have some success of our own. So if you want to do this on your own, you should be able to mirror what they do with similar results. Here’s what we’ve done so far.

A week ago, we met for the initial weigh-in and measurement sessions so they could get an accurate read on where they were. We took weight, body fat, water, bone density, and other variables, as well as several tape measurements: Right & Left Arm, Chest, Stomach, Hips, Right & Left Thigh, and Right & Left Calves. They’ll weigh-in weekly, and do measurements once a month. This will give them a way of tracking their progress, both on the scale, and around their body.

They also did a fitness test consisting of 1 min pushups, 1 min sit-ups, 1 min body squats, 1 min burpees, and 1 min mountain climbers. Part of their homework assignment was to do a 1 mile walk/run for time.

We had two goals here. The first was just to show them what kind of shape they were in. The other was to have something to compare to when they do the tests again in 12 weeks. I’m betting they’ll all be pretty amazed at how much easier each of these tests will be.

Another part of their homework was to start filling out a Daily Calorie Log. Most people have no idea how much they’re eating—they either guess high or low—but few people guess right. This will lock that in for them and show them exactly where they are each day.

We’ll also use the logs to look at the quality of their foods, but for the first week, it’s all about getting the quantity right. Women need to stay above 1,200 calories; men above 1,800. Targets that seem to work pretty well are 1,650 calories for women and 2,400 calories for men. If you don’t get enough food, your metabolism will slow, making it hard to burn fat for fuel.

Obviously, if you get too much, you store whatever you don’t need as fat. Either way, it’s a problem, so the trick is figuring out what your body needs and not go much over that. Then, by adding exercise and more activity, you put your body in a calorie deficit that lets you start burning fat for fuel.

If you can burn 500 calories a day through a combination of exercise and watching what you eat, you’ll net 3,500 calories a week, which is a pound of fat. If you can double that and burn 1,000 calories a day, you can lose two pounds of fat, and so on. In the end, it comes down to how much activity you have, and how closely you stick to your calorie targets.

Highly motivated people can even triple those numbers, especially early in the weight loss cycle, often losing three pounds a week or even more. Of the 14 people involved, eight of them lost at least 2.6 pounds, and six of them lost over 3.4 lbs, so you see what I’m talking about.

That means we’re off to a good start. All 14 people weighed in, with 12 of them losing weight. We had a two-way tie for first place between Carla Duke and Jeremy Whitaker, both losing 3.8% of their body weight and a whopping 6.0 lbs and 10.2 lbs respectively. Second place went to Nicole Shaughnessy, who lost 3.1% and 5.0 lbs.

Their workout goals are to walk at least a mile every morning, and then get their regular workouts each afternoon or evening. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, they’re supposed to hit the weight machine circuit after a cardio warm-up. On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, they’ll get a good cardio workout on the treadmill, elliptical, bike, rower, stepper, or even running and walking outside.

They’re also supposed to start pushing a little bit during their cardio workouts. One of the best ways to get this going is by first warming up, and then trying to jog a minute at a low running speed (4.0 to 5.0 mph). After a minute pushing, they can rest a little by walking two minutes. Then they do another interval jogging, rest, and so on. This will help them prepare for an upcoming 5 K (3.1 mile) walk/run they’ll do in November.

Next week we’ll take a look at food diaries and how they start ramping things up in the gym. Feel free to contact me through Facebook at if you have any questions or comments.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


These past few weeks, we’ve taken a look at some of the different fitness goals people have. Most commonly, they want to lose a little weight, or even a lot of weight. It’s also common for people to want to get toned up, and sometimes increase their size or strength. But sometimes, people tell me they’d like to get “ripped.”

While getting “ripped” means different things to different people, it’s usually associated with wanting to have good muscle tone everywhere, and such low body fat that all the abdominals and oblique muscles (sides) are showing. This type of physique is pretty unusual, especially in adults.

Being ripped is much more common in males, especially in the teenage years. This is partly due to metabolism and partly due to activity level. The more active they are, the leaner they are. Girls tend not to be quite as cut, even if they’re just as active. There are several reasons for this.

Guys have extremely high levels of testosterone, especially at that age, which results in greater muscular development. Their additional muscle mass increases metabolism which burns more calories, even while resting.

On the other hand, females tend to maintain higher levels of body fat. This is due to much lower levels of testosterone, but much higher levels of estrogen and other hormones. This means their muscle mass will typically be much less than that of males. Women also tend to have more body fat around their midsection for protection of their reproductive organs.

For these reasons, I’ve observed that women wanting to get cut or ripped usually have to work harder than men to get the same result. But that doesn’t make it easy for guys either, especially as they move out of their younger years. For every decade it gets harder.

Someone in their 20’s will find it easier to get ripped than someone in their 30’s. Those in their 30’s will find it easier than someone in their 40’s or 50’s, and so on. This is partly due to metabolism changes as we age. Activity levels also play a huge role, as does decreased muscle mass in both men in women.

But the biggest difficulty in getting ripped is due to our diet. We tend to eat more than we need, especially guys. And even regular fitness enthusiasts often have poor diets, too high in carbs and too low in protein.

If these problems weren’t enough, there’s one more. The easiest pounds to come off are the first few, early in the process. In contrast, the hardest pounds to lose are those stubborn last few, especially around your abdominals and obliques (side muscles).

That will take a very complete and focused effort, with little room for error. This means you’re going to have to maximize your muscle mass but also burn away most of your body fat. But these are conflicting goals.

Pros build up their muscle mass and then do a cut phase where they eat less and more cleaner, eliminating most carbs altogether. Most people find it hard to stick with such a restrictive diet.

To see the top row of abs, your body fat needs to be around 10%. To see the next row, you’ll have to lose another percent, getting down to around 9%. To see another row, you’ll have to be around 8%. The last row will get you down to around 7%. And to eliminate the rest of the body fat below your belly button and around your hips, you’ll need to get down to around 5-6%.

Not only is this difficult, but it usually can’t last very long. Those fitness models and professional bodybuilders you see in the magazines are photographed at a time when they are at their absolute peak fitness and lowest body fat.

They know when the photo shoot is, and train and diet to peak at that moment. They pull back on the heavier weights, focusing on lighter weights and more repetitions, and also increase their cardio. They’re often dehydrated, sometimes even using artificial means to get there.

A good example would be an MMA (mixed martial arts) fighter who cut weight before a fight. They look extremely ripped because they’ve gotten as dehydrated as possible to eliminate any weight due to water weight so they can make their weight.

But once the photo shoot, bodybuilding competition, or MMA fight is over, they have to return to a more normal diet. In the case of fighters, they hydrate and eat right after the weigh-in. Fitness models and bodybuilders typically resume a more traditional muscle building phase. As a result, their body fat can quickly go back up as much as five percent or more.

There’s another way to do it that might work better for you. High intensity exercise programs like P90X, Insanity, or Cross Fit can help get you there. Eliminate rest periods during your weight lifting by doing supersets of opposing muscle groups or adding ab exercises between sets.

Do higher repetitions in some of your sets, and add burn-out drop sets to failure. Add an extra cardio session each day, like going for a 20 minute walk every morning, or riding the bike an hour every night. Or do 20 minutes of cardio like the rower and bike before your workout and then another 20 minutes after. It doesn’t have to be hard, just burn those calories.

At the same time, adjust your calories enough so you can lose a little bit each week. You don’t have to eliminate carbs, just the junk. Make sure the rest of your carbs are high quality, like fruits and vegetables.

Do only low fat dairy, and if you like breads, limit yourself to about half of what you’re used to. Make a sandwich with only one piece of whole grain bread. Use the smaller, lower calorie breads, or rye, which is lower in calories, and has a smaller insulin response. Learn how to quit eating when you’re full.

If you’re already near your ideal weight and in excellent shape, these steps will get you there but you have to stick with it. Little-by-little you’ll start seeing more and more definition, and if you want it bad enough, and don’t give up, you too can “get ripped!”

Don’t worry if you’re not ready for that yet. Most people just want to lose weight and get their life back, so Biggest Loser “17” is starting this week to help you get the ball rolling. If you want to participate, you need to get with me right away! Feel free to contact me through Facebook at if you have any questions or comments.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Last week I gave you the framework for how a weight lifting program can evolve as a person gets more experienced, and more serious. This week I’d like to give you some sample programs for a couple of those stops along the way.

Keep in mind that there are countless ways to lift weights, along with countless programs. These are a few programs that I use to help people get started and are by no means the only way to do things. As you learn more and more exercises, feel free to change things up often to keep your body guessing—and growing.


The first step is often a simple circuit training program with machines. My circuit hits both your upper and lower body, working opposing muscle groups back-to-back, so one group of muscles can rest while the opposing muscle group rests, and so on.

Chest Press, Seated Row, Pec Fly, Lat Pulldown, Shoulder Press, Rear Delt, Triceps, Biceps, Leg Extension, Leg Curl, Leg Press & Calves, Back Extensions, Ab Crunches.

Someone just starting out can get a full body workout with just one pass through the circuit. Pick a starting weight that you can do at least 10 times comfortably. When you can get 15 reps, increase the weight next time. As you get stronger, do up to 3 sets of each exercise with 20-30 seconds rest (between sets) before moving on to the next one.

A more advanced way of using the circuit is to pick two opposing machines like the Chest Press and Seated Row, and alternate them back-to-back without rest, for 3 sets before moving on to the next pair of machines. Another example is alternating the Bicep and Tricep machines.


Once you decide to start lifting free weights, you’ll have taken a big step toward getting bigger and stronger. A good next step is a 3-Day split routine that breaks the body up into Pushing, Pulling, and Lower Body/Abs. By splitting things up, you can focus more attention on each area by doing more exercises for each body part.

You’ll do Pushing exercises on the first day, Pulling exercises the next day, and Lower Body and Abs on the next. At that point, you take a rest day, do some cardio, or simply start over.

Pick a weight light enough to control, but heavy enough that you feel like you’re doing something. Start with lighter weights in your first set and increase the weights a little bit in each set. Lift heavier weights for size and strength, and do higher repetitions in some exercises for more endurance.

Try to limit the rest time between sets to 30 seconds unless you’re lifting heavier weights. That will give you a cardio benefit to your workout also. Where you see two exercises together, that’s a superset, which should be done back-to-back without rest.

Once you start moving some heavier weights in your Bench Press, Squat, and Dead Lifts, you’ll need longer rest breaks. It’s normal to take up to a minute or two between sets for the heavier sets. In extreme cases—for those lifting the heaviest weights—rest breaks can be as long as five minutes.

Take your time and work up to things. Do slow and steady movements that you are controlling at all times. Don’t overdo things. If you don’t know how to do something, go online and Google them, or ask a trainer or experienced lifter in your gym.

(Chest, Shoulders & Triceps):

• 5-10 min warm-up on Schwinn AirDyne or Elliptical

• Bench Press or Dumbbell (DB) presses on a ball (4-5 sets of 8-10 reps)

• Incline Bench Press or Pec Fly Machine (3-4 sets of 10-12 reps)

• DB Lateral Raises -AND- DB Overhead Tricep Presses (3 x 10)

• Front Shoulder Raises w/bar -AND- DB Kickbacks (3 x 10)

• Single Arm Cable Tricep Pushdowns (reverse grip) (3 x 10)

• 5-10 min cool-down on Schwinn AirDyne or Elliptical

(Back & Biceps):

• 5-10 min warm-up on Schwinn AirDyne, Elliptical or Rowing Machine

• Straight Bar Dead Lifts (slightly bent knees) -AND- Wide Grip Pull-ups or Lat Pulldown machine or Assisted Pullups on Chin/Dip machine (3-4 sets of 10-12 reps)

• T-Bar Rows -AND- Preacher Curls w/EZ curl bar (3-4 sets of 8-10 reps)

• DB Hammer Curls (3-4 sets of 10-12 reps)

• DB Concentration Curls or Cable Curls (3 x 10)

• 5-10 min cool-down on Schwinn AirDyne, Elliptical or Rowing Machine

(Lower Body & Abs):

• 5-10 min warm-up on Schwinn AirDyne

• Rear Squats (5-6 sets of 8-10 reps) -AND- Leg Raises (12-15 reps)

• Leg Extension Machine -AND- Leg Curl Machine (3 sets of 10-12 reps)

• Calf Machine -AND- Cable Crunches (3 sets of 12-15 reps)

• 5-10 min cool-down on Schwinn AirDyne

Feel free to contact me through Facebook at if you have any questions or comments!

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Last week we talked about the main three fitness goals I’ve seen—toning up a bit, losing a little weight, or losing lots of weight—along with a basic game plan for each goal. But there are some other goals that people often have, including gaining size and strength; getting ripped; and training for specific events. This week I’d like to focus on Gaining Size and Strength.

This is a very common goal, particularly with men. Gaining size and strength is not all that difficult to do, especially for someone just starting out. At that point, most anything will work, and it really comes down to just adding more calories to your diet, and getting to the gym often, hitting the weights.

You need to make sure the calories are high quality, with lots of protein for building muscle and bone. That protein can come from low-fat dairy products, lean meats, nuts, peanut butter, and often, protein shakes.

Your protein shakes should also contain glutamine, and some carbs, both of which help your recovery. The better ones have several different types of protein which have different absorption rates, and they often taste better too. Several reputable online stores include: , , and , which is where I get my shakes.

You’ll also need some quality carbs like whole grains and fruits to fuel your workouts. You can even purchase different workout shakes that can help you fuel up before your workout too. Personally, I just have a good breakfast with some fruit, whole-grain waffles, and some yogurt.

Weight-lifting routines for beginners often focus on all the major muscle groups and are called whole-body workouts. Typically, you’ll start with weight machines, doing a circuit which hits all your muscle groups in a sequence. The machines will help learn different exercises and how to use your muscles in a pretty safe manner.

As you advance, however, you’ll probably want to replace many if not all of the machine exercises with free weights. While machines are great for isolating muscle groups, free weights require you to balance and control the weights yourself, which uses more stabilizer muscles. You also won’t have the leverage advantage machines often provide, so you’ll be doing more work, which gives you a better workout.

At that point, you’ll probably also want to start splitting things up into different workouts (workout splits). Then, you might do only Pushing exercises one day (Chest Shoulders & Triceps), Pulling exercises the next day (Back & Biceps), and Lower Body exercises (Legs & Abs) the next.

After that, you’d either start over, or take a rest day. Since you’re limiting your workout to fewer muscle groups, this allows you to do more exercises for each area, working those particular muscles harder. This is called a 3-Day Split Routine.

If you do Pushing on M, Pulling on T, and Lower Body on W, and then go right to Pushing on TH, Pulling on F, and Lower on SA, you might want to hit things a little heavier or do more in the workouts earlier in the week. Then when you hit them again, later in the week, go a little lighter, or do fewer exercises. This will help you recover for the following week.

Advanced body-builders often do 4-Day and even 5-Day Split routines. A common 4-Day Split routine is Chest & Triceps-M, Back & Biceps-TU, Legs & Abs (W), and Shoulders (TH).

A 5-Day Split could include Chest-M, Back-TU, Legs & Abs (W), Shoulders (TH), and Biceps & Triceps (F). In each case, these advanced splits allow you to pull out a specific area that you’d like to focus on, so you can do more exercises that hit that exact muscle group.

These aren’t the only ways to do it. I know some really successful guys who split it up in different ways. One does Chest & Biceps, Legs & Shoulders, and Back & Triceps, throwing in some Ab exercises every other time.

This is the big picture—the overall plan of action. For more specific information like exercises, sets and reps, you need to dig deeper. Get with a trainer or someone in your gym that looks like they know what they’re doing.

Be careful though. Don’t think that just because someone looks great and got great results with a program they did, that it’s right for you. Everyone’s different and the real fun comes from figuring out what works best for you.

I’m convinced that most programs will bring results, at least for awhile, if you’ll just stick with it. After awhile, it’s good to change things up. This makes your workouts fresh and interesting, and also keeps your body guessing.

One good resource is . You’ll find lots of article detailing specific routines, including all the exercises, number of sets and reps. Or you can pick up a recent copy of “Muscle & Fitness”, “Men’s Health”, or “Oxygen” (for ladies).

Next week I’ll give you some sample workouts I like for each routine we looked at today. Don’t forget, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me through Facebook at !

Wednesday, September 05, 2012


Like we talked about last week, this is the season when we start to see things picking back up in the gym. Many are just getting back into things after a summer packed fill of other activities. But for some, it might be the first time in a long while. For a few, it might even be the first time!

Even though everyone’s situation is a little different, we all need a plan. So what’s your main workout goal? Here are some of the reasons people have for getting back in the gym, and a basic game plan.

If you just want to tone up a bit—this is probably the easiest thing to do. All you need to do is add some basic weight training workouts for 30 minutes, three days a week, on M-W-F. It could also be T-TH-SA. Just make sure you get a rest day between.

Start with the machine circuit in your gym. If you’re not sure how to use the machines, get with a trainer or a friend who’s familiar with the equipment. At some point, you might want to add some free weight exercises too. You won’t need to change your diet much, if any. You might want to add some protein however, to support that new muscle!

If you just want to lose a little weight—this is still pretty easy. All it takes is adding 30 minutes of activity every day while keeping your food intake the same. Use the same weight training program outlined above on M-W-F.

On T-TH-SA, do 30 minutes of cardio on the treadmill, elliptical, recumbent bike, upright bike, Schwinn Airdyne, rower, or stair-stepper. It can be 30 minutes on one piece of equipment, or you can break it up. Some people like to do 5 min jogging, 5 min rowing, 5 min on the Schwinn Airdyne, and then repeat it 2 or 3 times.

On the food front, you’ll need to start watching what you eat a little bit. Try to cut back on the things you know you shouldn’t eat (junk foods, candy, pop, etc…). Go for something better instead, most of the time, like fruits and vegetables, and foods with more whole-grains.

With this approach, you’ll see a change in your clothing within a couple weeks. In a month, you can expect to lose 5-10 lbs without too much trouble. The more you do, the quicker you’ll see the results.

If you want to lose lots of weight—this is a pretty tough job but you can do it. The problem is that it takes a lot of work to burn fat that you might have taken years to put on. It also takes a pretty disciplined approach to your eating, because you need to change lots of habits you’ve had for years too.

I like 12 week programs. They’re short enough that you can see the end, but long enough to help you learn some new habits. Follow the same weight loss advice above, but add two other things to your routine: a second workout every day, and a food journal. Set a 12 week goal.

The second workout can actually be the first workout in the day. If you have time, get up 20 minutes earlier and go walk a mile. Most people can do a mile in 20 minutes at a comfortable pace. It doesn’t have to be a hard workout, you’re just trying to burn some calories and get your furnace going for the day.

The daily food journal is important, because it makes you accountable. If you’re high tech, use an app on your smart phone or computer. There are lots of good ones out there like , , & .

Write everything down. If you’re not using a program to help you with the calories, get the information off the cans, boxes, and labels or buy a small calorie guide. They’re cheap and will tell you what you need to know.

The main reason you write things down is to become aware of how much you’re eating, and the caloric value of different foods. When you compare it to the amount of calories burned during exercise, you’ll learn that it’s easy to undo a whole workout in just one weak moment!

Over the years, I’ve seen people lose up to 60 lbs in 12 weeks, with 30-40 lbs being pretty common. That was with really hard work, and lots of discipline in their eating.

In the end, it doesn’t really matter which particular diet you follow, or which specific exercise program you use. The main things are that you do something and that you stick with it. Once it stops working for you, change things up a little bit. Things will pick back up for you.

These aren’t the only workout goals people can have. Some want to gain size and strength, some want to get totally ripped, while others might want to prepare for some event like a 5K, obstacle run, Tough Mudder, Half-Marathon, or even a full marathon. More on those goals next week!

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me through Facebook at !

Saturday, September 01, 2012


Every year at this time, we start seeing more people come back to the gym. We typically see a significant drop during the summers, and then things pick back up in the fall, as they are now.

Part of the summer drop is due to the increase in outdoor adult activities like baseball, softball, and running outside. Parents also don’t have as much free time, due to the kids being home from school—often with extra activities of their own.

Once summer ends, I can almost hear the giant sigh of relief as people start making their way back into the gym. Since the kids have to get used to a different routine all over again, it might be a good idea to look at some things to help you get your own routine going again in the gym. So let’s go back to fitness school.

First of all, don’t do too much your first few visits. If you haven’t been working out, you’ve lost some muscle tone and probably put on some fat. That’s O.K. We’ll take care of it. But right now, you just want to get moving again.

It’s very easy to overdo things—especially if you’ve really been working out a lot in the past. The problem is, your body needs to get prepared for those hard workouts, and if you don’t respect that, you’ll be incredibly sore, and possibly even get injured.

Lots of people get shin splints in the first couple weeks of a walking or jogging program. Part of it is their form, where they are spending too much time on their heels. The right way to do it is to try and land mid-foot if possible, and then lift your heel up while pushing off the ball of your foot. This will use more calf muscle and give your shins a break.

A good start is to come in and do some light cardio and stretching your first time. Work on walking two or three miles before you start running. When you do start jogging again, jog intervals like a minute or two, followed by walking intervals for a minute or two.

Once it starts feeling easy, you can lengthen your running intervals to a quarter or half mile. Then you can start doing a whole mile. Don’t worry too much about your speed either. Your body will tell you when you’re ready for more.

If you’re going to hit the weights, you might consider doing the machines for a week to get your muscles used to working out again. Start with weights lower than you were used to before, and stop before you’ve done too much.

If you want to jump right back into the free weights, that’s fine too. Just make sure you use slightly lighter weights than you did before. After a week or so you’ll be able to start lifting a little heavier, and in two to three weeks, you should be ready to start moving some of the weight you did before.

The main thing is to listen to your body—it’ll tell you pretty quickly when you’re overdoing things. You need to make sure you match the workouts with the right nutrition. Get plenty of protein in your diet for building muscle and bone, and some quality carbs to fuel those workouts. A pre-workout snack 45 minutes to an hour before will help keep you going!

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me through Facebook at !

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


A group of us went over to Crawfordsville, IN last a week ago last Saturday to participate in an event called Warrior Dash. You might recall that earlier in the summer, we were in Indiana for something called Tough Mudder, which was a 12 mile obstacle run.

While Tough Mudder was a pretty serious event which took a lot of training to get ready for, Warrior Dash was just a 5 K obstacle run, which equates to 3.1 miles. This brought it well within the reach of almost everyone, including people relatively new to exercise. If someone had difficulty running the entire way, or up the hills, they could simply walk when they felt like it.

On the other hand, if someone wanted to push through it as fast as they could, that was fine too. During Mudder, it required a team approach to get over many of the obstacles, but in Warrior Dash, there wasn’t really anything you couldn’t get over yourself.

We started out with a quick dash through the field, and went right into the woods. I found these to be a little challenging, especially the first hill, which just seemed to go on and on. Several hills were so steep that they had ropes strung for hand holds as you went down them. You were on your own going up, though.

After several up and down undulations, we stomped out into the river bottoms and ran through about 8 inches of water several times. You did have to be careful where you were stepping, so you wouldn’t step on a slick rock, so the best bet was slowing down a little bit.

There were several more hills, dales and river bottoms and then they brought us to our first mud pit, with barbed wire strung overhead. The point there was to keep people down in the muck, and it worked!

A neat little rope bridge brought us back to another river bottom, and then we ran up our last hill before coming out of the woods area to a neat little climbing wall about 32’ long with a few hand holds and a 2 x 4” across the bottom. You had to make your way across by using the hand holds on top and staying on the board as you went. If you missed a grip or slipped, you ended up in the water below.

After a little more running, we came to an undulating series of small mud hills. These were so slick it was tough getting over them. They had them stacked together back to back, so you got over one, slid down into the water at the bottom, and had to do it all over again something like 5 or 6 times. That probably gassed me the most, and felt like a two minutes fighting someone twice my size (which I’ve done)!

After another short run, they had some hay bales piled up with junk boats strewn in between them. You had to really watch your footing there, so again, slowing down seemed to be the wise move. There was also a horizontal climbing net you had to make your way over.

Finally, we came out of the woods to the edge of a small lake. There was a pontoon structure you had to swim out to. Once you got there, you climbed up on the pontoons and then jumped back in the water, and then did some more swimming to get to the other side of the structure. Then you climbed over that end, and jumped back in the water and walked to shore.

After that, it was a simple matter of one more cargo net to climb over, two jumps over fire, and then crawling through one more mud pit to the finish line. All in all, it was a challenging 5K, especially if you pushed yourself a little. You can go to to get the details. Several of us have already pre-registered—I’ll see you there!

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me through Facebook at !

Wednesday, August 08, 2012


If you’re like me, you’ve probably been keeping an eye on some of the events from the 2012 Olympic Games going on in London right now. I have to say, the athletes are both amazing and inspiring, even in the sports I didn’t know anything about.

Take table tennis, for example. Sure, I played a game or two as a child, and we’ve all watched “Forrest Gump” in the movie. But these guys and gals are fast! How can they react so quickly to such a little ball on such a little table?

It’s the same thing with beach volleyball, and even regular team volleyball for that matter. You just know there is no way they’ll ever get to the ball, and then somehow they dig it out and put it back in play.

I watched the USA women’s soccer team win a nail-biter the other day—after over two hours! That was two 45 minute halves, two 15 minute overtime periods, plus 3 extra minutes for some reason that I never quite understood. They got the head bounce to win 4-3 with just seconds left on the clock. I’m not sure what was more impressive—the endurance it would take to run full speed up and down the field for over two hours, or the sheer determination it took to keep trying to win.

It’s amazing to see the kind of control the gymnasts have over their bodies. They’re the best in the world, and their ability to keep focused under such pressure, at such an important moment in their lives, is as huge as the crazy things they can do—and most of them are still kids!

2012 was the swan song for Olympic champion Michael Phelps. While he seemed to struggle a little early on, he refocused and put together some wins with the team and in two individual events. This brought his total count up to 22 medals, making him the most decorated athlete of all time. He said he’d be leaving the sport having done everything he set out to do. How many of us can say that, whatever our endeavor?

If I have a beef with one sport, it’s got to be the speed walking event. At some point, why not run already! It’s a herky-jerky looking sport that I’ve heard is pretty tough on the body, especially the hip joints. Of course, the winner is able to power walk faster than I can run, so I probably should just keep my mouth shut.

In all the events, the stories behind the athletes are just as inspiring as their winning performances. It’s impossible for most of us to ever understand what it would be like to perform at such an elite level, where the difference between the best in the world can be less than 1/100th of a second. We’ll probably never know what it took either to get there.

What we can learn though, is that effort matters, sacrifice counts for something, and a commitment to excellence brings great rewards. We might not have the genetics to be Olympic athletes, but we all can work to improve ourselves. What do you want to accomplish today?

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me through Facebook at !

Wednesday, August 01, 2012


This week I’d like to talk about a quality that can take you a really long way called staying power.

Athletic ability is great if you’ve got it, but even that only takes you so far. Pretty soon, you’ll run into someone better equipped and just as talented, if not more. At that point, it becomes about conditioning, preparation, experience, and finally, who simply wants it more.

Back in my competition days, I won quite a few matches against better, more talented fighters simply because I was able to outlast them. I couldn’t defeat them, but I could defend long enough to survive the initial onslaught. Then, when their meter started running down, I still had a pretty full tank of gas. As their reactions started slowing down, I could often catch them with one or two moves I’d practiced a thousand times. That was good because I only had a couple moves back then!

That’s why when I work with athletes during the off-season, my goal is to teach them how to train so their workouts are much harder than their actual events. The game should be easy compared to the training.

But if skill, conditioning and experience are equal, it comes down to one other thing: “Who wants it more?” This is about heart and desire—where staying power goes past your actual physical capabilities.

There’s an awesome long distance runner named Dean Karnazes with the nickname Ultramarathon Man. He runs marathons (26.2 mi) on the way to 50 mile races! This guy has actually run 50 marathons in 50 days. He’s also run 100 mile races in the desert, and gone even further under other extreme conditions.

Dean’s obviously an amazing athlete at the super elite level, but these events take it to another level. He has an ability to keep going, when the extreme pain and suffering would make almost everyone else on the planet to stop.

Look at our combat soldiers. Their training is designed to develop this capability, even at the basic level. Then, as the warriors become more elite, their training gets even more intense, weeding out those who might give up under such extreme circumstances—with no shame, by the way—all of us would. But those elite few who survive learn their mind can take them a lot further than their bodies alone.

We see examples of this quality here in our normal lives too. People right around us are often faced with unbelievable trials and challenges like dealing with disease and disabilities, and still find a way to keep on going.

And I don’t know anyone who got a college degree by dropping out in the first semester. You have to finish before you can graduate and get that degree.

What we need to do, is learn how to put that kind of staying power in our exercise and weight loss programs. When we can learn to apply that kind of discipline and attention to staying the course and getting it done, that’s when we’ll finally see the results we want.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me through Facebook at !

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Once you’ve made the decision to get started, the biggest challenge is often…getting started. It’s easy to put things off, especially something like working out and changing your diet. But like we talked about last week, if you can just take a couple steps in the right direction, you can get some momentum working for you.

Here are 10 ideas that can help you get started:

1. Set your alarm 20 minutes earlier and go for a walk outside every morning. I like to walk 5 minutes down the lane and back, and then get on my rower for 5 minutes, and then do the bike easy for 5 minutes. It’s different, takes just 15 minutes and gets my mind going and my body loosened up. If I have time, I’ll do 2 rounds.

2. Eat breakfast. Studies show that people who eat breakfast lose more weight than those who don’t eat breakfast.

3. If you’re planning on working out at a gym, call and make an appointment for a visit. Unless you already know which one you want to join, check out several in your area. Talk to your friends. Where do they workout? It can be motivating to have some people you know with you when you’re working out. Set a goal to be signed up by the end of the week.

4. Talk to people who have done this and do what they’ve done. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. It takes some cardio every day, watching what you eat, and weight workouts at least 3 days a week.

5. Go for smaller, more frequent meals & snacks. I personally recommend 3 smaller meals and 2-3 healthy snacks.

6. Start eating more fruits & vegetables, and more whole grains instead of the packaged, processed foods. You’ll get more energy and feel better too. And unless you’re diabetic, you can pretty much eat all the fruits & vegetables you can handle. This goes a long way to filling you up!

7. Start eating more protein, at every meal. Good sources of protein include low fat dairy products like yogurt, cottage cheese, and milk; chicken & turkey, and lean cuts of beef; nuts, peanut butter, and some beans. Some healthy snack ideas include a sliced apple with peanut butter, and some fruit and yogurt.

8. Be determined. Don’t settle for less than success this time. No matter how many times you’ve tried before. This time is going to be different. Make a decision and make it happen. If you have a week where you don’t lose weight, get mad, get even, and get back on the program.

9. Be consistent. I lost 35 lbs over a 7 month period by adding an hour on the bike every night while I watched the news and other programs we record. I didn’t miss a single day. Not one. Still don’t.

10. Stop the pop and start drinking more water. If you find yourself having to go to the bathroom more often and it’s clear, that means you’re probably drinking enough.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me through Facebook at !

Thursday, July 12, 2012


Last week we talked about excuses. This week, I want to talk about one reason why we’ve become an overweight society.

There’s a principle in physics that states that objects at rest tend to stay at rest unless acted on by an outside force. Likewise, objects in motion tend to stay in motion unless also acted on by an outside force.

A good example is trying to push a stalled car off the road without any help. At first, it’s pretty hard to get it moving, but once you get going and build up a little speed, it’s a little easier to keep it going. This is called overcoming inertia, which can be difficult.

I think this can apply to us too. Have you ever noticed that very few toddlers are out of shape? They’re moving all the time, up and down, all around, and getting lots of exercise just in their play.

But once they get a little older, their activity level can get cut back if they’re not in some organized sports. If you step back and look at the big picture, you start to see two very different types of kids: those who are in pretty good shape and those who are overweight.

Those who are active, tend to stay active and stay in pretty good shape. Those who quit moving start putting on weight, even as a child. In this case, the outside force is the TV and video games, which act like anchors that weigh them down.

If you’re not careful about regulating their TV and game time, the older they get, the more pronounced the weight gain, and then you have a candidate for childhood obesity. Studies show that if someone is obese as a teenager, they are much more likely to be obese as an adult. At that point, it’s really hard to turn things around.

I also run into quite a few people who were active in high school, or even college, but things got out of control later. Once they started work and a family, they became less active. In this case, the outside force was the demands on their time and energy.

Sometimes, you can get your start by actually stopping something. Like they say, if you know you’re digging a hole for yourself, the first thing to do is to stop digging.

It might be as simple as quitting drinking pop. Then you can start replacing certain junk foods with better choices. Then, you might start going for 20 minute walks every day. You can start building from that.

Once you start fighting back, your motivation becomes the new outside force. The more you want it, the more you’ll be willing to make the changes necessary. When your “know you need to” becomes not just a “want to” but a “have to” that’s when you’ll be on your way. To borrow from George Lucas and Obi-Wan, “may the “force” be with you.”

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me through Facebook at !

Monday, July 09, 2012


This week let’s talk about excuses. We make them about all kinds of things. During my “midlife crisis” a couple years ago, I came up with lots of reasons for what I was doing. Even the term “midlife crisis” tries to put a different face on it, but none of that made it right.

And those five pounds I put on recently? Since Tough Mudder is over, I’ve cut back my running, so I’m not burning quite as many calories each day. But I’m still eating the same. A valid excuse, I think, but it doesn’t solve the problem.

Heck, even writing this article has been hard this time. We just finished Biggest Loser “16” last week, which always provided plenty to talk about. But coming up with something new has been a little difficult. And then there’s the holiday to deal with. See? More excuses.

It’s easy to come up with excuses, especially when we’re talking about things as personal as fidelity and relationships, or diet and exercise. As long as we can come up with a reason for doing what we’re doing, it seems to make it alright—at least in our minds, for awhile.

But sometimes, the truth will filter through, even though we try to block it. When that happens, we find ourselves conflicted. At that point, we’ll often try to make more… you guessed it… excuses.

If we’re successful in excusing ourselves, the “problem” is solved and we can go on doing what we’re doing. But if we find ourselves in a big enough crisis, the excuses start to run a little thin, even to us. If things get bad enough, well, sooner or later we’ll have to face it.

It’s always better to deal with things sooner, rather than later. You might have some consequences, but if you wait too long, the problems get bigger, and so do the consequences. The more out of control you are, the harder it is to get back on track.

Fortunately, the human body and spirit are pretty amazing. We’re designed to come back from almost anything—just look at some of our Wounded Warriors. They deal with things that make most of our problems miniscule.

But if you’ve been letting things get out of control, maybe this is the time to take a look at things. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to someone who let one thing happen, then another, and before they knew it, they were significantly overweight.

They maybe had an injury, or got busy at work, and stopped working out. Somehow, things got off track with their diet, too. It’s easy to do. Some people keep doing it over and over.

Obesity is becoming normal, instead of the exception. Kids quit moving right around the time they can start watching TV and playing video games, and things often go downhill from there.

We need to either cut back our portions or find a way to get more exercise in every day. Some of us need to do both. Most of all, we need to quit making excuses.

As for me, since I finally got this article done, I’m going to go home and kiss my wife, tell her I love her, and have some supper while watching my portions. Then I’m going to get on the exercise bike and ride it at least 45 minutes. Normally I’d go an hour, but I worked legs today and my legs are kind of sore… whoops, there I go again with the excuses. I’d better go an hour.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me through Facebook at !

Thursday, June 28, 2012


This week marked the end of Biggest Loser “16” after twelve weeks of work for the participants. It was certainly tough keeping everyone going, particularly this time around. Summers are always tough, and we had quite a few people that had to miss due to injuries, vacations and the like.

For the final workout, we did a repeat of the workout they did on the first night. The exercises were: Wall Ball (squatting with a medicine ball and then throwing it up on the wall), Dumbbell Curls, Box Jumps, Kettlebell Swings and AB Routine #1-4 (Crunches with knees bent, Crunches with legs in the air, Sit-ups Crossing, and Leg Lifts).

Each person works out at their station for 45-50 seconds, and then rotates to the next station by the start of the next minute. It takes five minutes to complete a circuit, and the goal is to repeat the circuit four times for a total of 20 minutes. It’s a pretty demanding routine that’s a lot harder than it sounds—especially if you’re pushing yourself.

Twelve weeks ago, I cut it off at 15 minutes, due to the fact that everyone was pretty much hammered after just 3 rounds. This time, they did the whole 20 minute workout, and while it was still tough, they had plenty left in their tank.

For the last six weeks, the top two participants have been battling back and forth, often alternating between the top two spots. This week’s Biggest Loser was T. J. Johnson, who lost 1.0% of his body weight and 2.2 lbs. After winning last week, Brittany Cline placed second this week, losing a little less than 1.0% and 1.0 lb.

The title of Biggest Loser for the entire program, however, goes to Brittany, who lost a larger percentage of body weight throughout Biggest Loser “16.” Over the twelve weeks, she lost 17.3% of her body weight and 23.4 lbs.

Even though he lost a little more weight in total, T. J. ended up in second place overall, losing 11.2% of his body weight, and 25.4 lbs.

Now the goal is to keep their routines going, even though the program’s over. That’s maybe tougher than the program itself. Life intrudes and if you’re not careful, it’s very easy to let your guard down and start missing workouts. Before you know it, you’ve put the weight right back on. It takes daily discipline to watch and control your weight.

In Brittany’s case, she’s got some extra motivation to keep plugging for the next four months due to an upcoming wedding dress she’s planning on fitting into. Good luck Brittany, and congratulations!

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me through Facebook at !

Thursday, June 21, 2012


This weekend a group of twelve of us did the real deal at Tough Mudder—IN. The group included Susan Pearman Arp, Patty Brewington, Jennifer Clover, Jane Graham, Dr. John Hancock, Michelle Henry-Hall, Sharon McDaniel, Chris and Brooke Newhart, Michelle Bibo Vaughn, Heather Warren and myself.

Two of our Biggest Losers, T. J. and Amanda Johnson (and one Bub) also attended as support staff (which was pretty tough too), and they did a great job helping us during the event.

After several months of training, we all felt more or less ready for the physical part, but you never know about the mental part. It was basically twelve miles up and down sand dunes and the motorcycle and four-wheeler trails at Badlands Off Road Park in Attica, IN. What made it interesting were the 24 truly sadistic obstacles thrown in throughout the event.

Here’s one way of putting things in perspective. You had to go over a 6-foot wall just to enter the starting corral before the race. You then swore a pledge not to whine, or leave anyone behind. They called the waiver the “death” waiver.

Every 20 minutes, several hundred people went through the starting gates and out into the course. Throughout the event, we must have gone up and down a hundred hills. Some were extremely high, and almost too steep to go up without help near the top.

They also liked getting you extremely wet and slippery before having you climb things, which made it more difficult. For example, they had you do things like the “Kiss of Mud”, which was a belly crawl through a muddy field, under barbed wire just 8 inches off the ground.

Once your hands and feet were extremely muddy, they had you tackle several pairs of 12-foot “Berlin Walls” (I guess one pair wasn’t enough). Too tall for most people to do without help, it typically took two on the bottom for a boost, and one on top reaching down so you had something to grab. Once you made it over, you had to be careful jumping back down so you wouldn’t turn an ankle or sprain a knee.

Another time, after going through more mud pits, they had you going over and under a section of large trees that had been cut down and stacked up like tinker toys. This would have been better without the muddy hands and feet!

There were several tunnel crawls, one of which led down to another muddy pit with more barbed wire keeping you face down in the water. Once you made it out of the pipe into the water, you had to crawl back through another one to get up and out.

Another tunnel was even smaller and more claustrophobic, with a sandy bottom that just tore up your knees and elbows. Speaking of sand, just continuing to run with your shoes filled up with sand and rocks might have been the biggest challenge of all. Most of us stopped to clean them out a couple times, but it didn’t really matter, they just filled right back up.

There was one section called the “Muddy Mile” where you waded through these mud bogs hip deep and so thick that it was almost impossible to move. Other times, the mud was sloppier so it was easier to move, but they had buried tree trunks at different places where you couldn’t see them. If you didn’t feel them, you’d smack your shins on them. Even if you did feel them, you still slipped trying to get over them.

At one point, we came through the mud and up this dusty hill and then stopped to catch our breath. Someone commented “we looked like a bunch of refugees from somewhere bad.”

One of the most interesting obstacles was the “Arctic Enema”, a large construction dumpster filled with water and ice cubes. Belly button deep, you waded to the center and then had to fully immerse yourself to get under this obstacle and come up on the other side. It was extremely cold!

There was a really long water slide which was pretty refreshing, except for the muddy pool you slammed into at the end. Another time we ran about a mile through a shallow creek which was kind of neat, but you had to watch your footing on the rocks.

Probably the coolest water event was the 15’ jump off the “Walk the Plank” platform into the creek, after pulling yourself up a steep ramp with a rope. But it wasn’t cool for this one guy, who forgot to keep his arm in close when jumping, and separated his shoulder when he hit the water.

About four hours into the event, the rain and lightning came, and they were closing any obstacles that had anything to do with water, including a monster monkey bars over water, and a long slippery balance beam with water on both sides to break your fall.

They actually shut the entire course down while we were doing the slippery giant quarter pipe wall. Two of us made it up, and another almost made it before we were all told to leave the obstacle because the course was closing due to the extreme weather.

Unfortunately, we weren’t able to complete the most shocking events. One was a belly crawl through a muddy section with live wires packing 10,000 volts. The other was a sprint through the final obstacle called “Electro Shock Therapy.” You guessed it—more live wires hanging down to run through to get to the finish line. It’s weird. You didn’t want to do it, but you were kind of disappointed that you couldn’t do it. Maybe next time.

Some of the obstacles seemed pretty daunting when we looked at them on the internet, and they seemed even more there. But at that moment, you just had to suck it up and get started. If you just got started, you could do it, because the biggest challenge was actually in your mind, not the obstacle itself.

All in all, we ended up with some bruises and minor abrasions, but also a pretty big sense of accomplishment. We were Tough Mudders!

This week’s Biggest Loser was once again Brittany Cline, who lost 3.3% of her body weight and 4.6 lbs. T. J. Johnson was second, losing a little less than 1.0% and 1.6 lbs.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me through Facebook at !

Thursday, June 14, 2012


This weekend another group met out at the house for some more Tough Mudder training, and we had a couple more new obstacles for them: a 13’ cargo net, and a rope climb up (or down) a cliff. We ran about a mile of trail four times, up and down hills, not counting the creek running, which is always an extra bonus!

As part of each lap, they climbed over an 8’ climbing wall, the new 13’ cargo net, a 15’ rope climb of the cliff, as well as carrying a 25-40# weight up a hill and across the dam. They also ran in mud, belly crawled across a muddy section, and walked across another section of the pond.

In the creek, we went farther than last time, including lots of going over and around fallen trees. They even did quite a bit of balance beam walking along some of them. Once, they had to belly crawl through a section of creek, and several times, they were fully immersed.

We’ll be doing more training this week on the same course, focusing on the obstacles and running, especially uphill. All of this is designed to help us get ready for Tough Mudder, a 12 mile trail run this weekend with a bunch of even more difficult obstacles.

To read more about this interesting and difficult event, go to . Next week, I’ll give you a report from the Tough Mudder field!

This week’s Biggest Loser was Brittany Cline, who lost 2.6% of her body weight and 3.6 lbs. T. J. Johnson was second, losing 1.0% and 2.4 lbs.

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me through Facebook at !