Wednesday, May 23, 2012


This week we introduced some new exercises to the group. Previously, they’d been using dumbbells for their free weight workouts, so I wanted them to have an opportunity to try some new things with the straight bar.

The best known straight bar movements are the bench press, rear squat and dead-lift. The bench press is the best known movement that develops the chest, and also works the shoulders and triceps.

The rear squat is an overall lower body movement that emphasizes the quadriceps (front of the thigh), hamstrings (back of the thigh), gluteals (your bottom), and adductor muscles that run inside the thigh.

The dead-lift primarily works your lower back, gluteals and hamstrings. These three exercises are the most popular free weight movements of all time, and are the basis for any serious strength and conditioning programs.

Because they’re compound movements that require a great deal of stabilizer muscle involvement, they’re also important for anyone wanting to improve their overall functional fitness.

We also introduced several other straight bar movements: Front Squat, Thrusters (Rear Squat with a shoulder press), Cleans, Clean, Jerk & Press, and floor-wipers. When combined with other exercises such as pull-ups, you can create some very challenging workouts like this nationally known CrossFit workout known by the nickname “Fran.”

Do a set of 21 Thrusters followed by 21 Pull-ups, then 15 Thrusters and 15 Pull-ups, and finally 9 Thrusters and 9 Pull-ups, as fast as possible without any breaks. Compare your time to others. The best time I’ve ever had was 4:45. Most people starting out will take a couple more minutes. The record for this nationally is right around 2:00! Amazing.

The standard weights are 95 lbs for men (45 lb bar with two 25 lb plates ), and 65 lbs for women (45 lb bar plus two 10 lb plates). I’d suggest guys start out with 65 lbs, and women try it with 40 lbs (30 lb bar with two 5 lb plates). Most people will also need to use a chair to help cheat out the pull-ups.

This week’s Biggest Loser was Brittany Cline again, who lost 2.6% of her body weight and 3.8 lbs. Second place went to T. J. Johnson, who lost 1.3% and 3.0 lbs.

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

Monday, May 21, 2012


This week the group reached the half-way point of their twelve week program. By now, they’ve created some new habits with their diet and exercise that hopefully, will last a long time.

But in the end, it’s not just about losing weight and getting in shape—it’s about learning how to keep the weight off and stay in shape. Now that changes your life. If you lose all that weight, but just put it right back on, you really haven’t changed your life.

That’s why I want to keep giving them different workout routines and exercises. That keeps things interesting, and that will keep you working out. Setting goals to do new and interesting events can help too. You have to train for them and that helps keep you motivated day-to-day.

Last Saturday, a group of us did something interesting called the “Viking Assault” at Dobbs Park in Terre Haute, including two of our Biggest Losers, Sande Sherer and T. J. Johnson. It was a trail run that was supposed to be a 5K (3.1 miles), but we think it was closer to 2 ½ miles. It also had 10 obstacles you had to go over, including a 4’ wall, a 6’ wall, running through a creek, and a few other things.

We all got a little wet and muddy, but even someone relatively new to exercise could have done it. While some people smoked through it, everyone set their own pace. It’s really more about finishing the event and doing something different.

The weekly Biggest Loser workout was an example of how to combine interval training with weights or calisthenics. They ran ¼ mile, followed by 25 push-ups, 25 body squats and 25 sit-ups (4x). To make it harder, do ½ miles instead, or replace the exercises with hand-stand pushups, pull-ups, kettlebell swings, and other movements.

This week’s Biggest Loser was Brittany Cline who lost 2.0% of her body weight and 3.0 lbs. Floyd McWilliams was second, losing 1.0% and 2.0 lbs. Jennifer Bowers placed third, losing about a half a percent and 1.2 lbs.

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

Monday, May 14, 2012


This week we did High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) on the treadmill, elliptical, recumbent bike, stair-stepper, Concept 2 rower and Schwinn Airdyne. They used the following scale called Perceived Exertion to help measure the intensity of their workout intervals.

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

It has nothing to do with speed, resistance or level—it’s always based on how you feel. Some person could be walking and it would feel like a “4.” Someone else could actually be running and that feels like a “4” to them. Here’s the 28 minute HIIT workout that they did.

• 1 min at what felt like a “4” or “5”
• 1 min at what felt like a “6”
• 1 min at what felt like a “7"
• 1 min at a “6” to recover
• 1 min at what felt like a “8”
• 1 min at a “6” to recover
• 1 min at an “8”
• 1 min at a “6”
• 1 min at what felt like a “9”
• 1 min at a “7”
• 1 min at a “9”
• 1 min at a “6”to recover
• 1 min at a “10” (so hard you have to stop)
• 1 min at a “4”
• 1 min at a “10” (same thing)
• 1 min at a “4”
• 2 min at an “8”
• 1 min at a “6”
• 2 min at an “8”
• 1 min at a “6”
• 2 min at a “9” (this was very hard!)
• 1 min at a “6”
• 1 min at a “10” (one more crazy one!)
• 2 min at a “4” or “5” to cool down

This week’s Biggest Loser was Brittany Cline, who lost 1.4 lbs. Tonya Westerfield placed second, losing 1.0 lbs, and Tom Emerick lost 1.2 lbs for third place. All of them lost just a little less than 1% of their body weight.

This shows just how hard it is after the first month. Where people were used to losing 2-3 lbs a week, at week five, even the top three found it hard to lose much more than a pound. Hopefully, the high intensity interval training will help get them through the slump!

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

Wednesday, May 02, 2012


This week I gave the group a new free weight workout with dumbbells (DB). I want to keep teaching them new exercises and movements so they’ll have a big bag of tricks when they workout.

It helps keep it fresh and interesting and also keeps the body from getting too used to things, and that keeps the body changing! It was another full-body workout that hit all the major muscle groups. Here’s what they did:

Round One:
Walking Lunges (1st set), Walking Lunges w/dumbbells (2nd set), and Walking Lunges w/stick held overhead (3rd set). They alternated this exercise with Pec Fly’s on a Ball with DB (3x).

Round Two:
Single Leg Deadlifts with DB, alternating with DB Pull-overs on a ball (3x).

Round Three:
3-Way Shoulder Drill with DB (front raises, lateral raises, and bent-over rear delt raises), alternating with DB Biceps Curls—21’s (7 hammer curls, 7 halfway curls from top down, and 7 full length curls), and also bent-over double Tricep Kickbacks with DB (3x).

Round Four:
Assorted Ab exercises on the ball: One-leg crunches, total pull-over crunches with twists, pikes, ball pull-overs on their back, and round-the-worlds.

While some of these exercises are self-explanatory, others probably need some interpretation and guidance—some even had the group scratching their head sometimes. The best thing to do is find a friend who knows what they’re doing, or get with an athletic trainer.

If you’re internet savvy, you can Google the movement name, or look it up on YouTube. There will be lots of free videos showing you exactly how to do it with good form. This will help you get more out of your workout, and also help you avoid injuries.

Finally, at the end of our fourth week, the group should be taking some new measurements to compare with their starting measurements a month ago. Hopefully, I’ll have some good numbers to report to you next week!

Some of us are signed up to do the “Viking Assault” 5K obstacle run over in Terre Haute in a couple of weeks. It’s on Saturday, May 12th, and you can sign up at . If you want a nice little challenge, and don’t mind getting a little dirty (filthy muddy), this event’s for you!

This week’s Biggest Loser was a tie between Tina Foote, who lost 3.2 lbs, and Brittany Cline, who lost 2.6 lbs. Both lost 1.7% if their body weight. Third place went to T. J. Johnson, who lost 3.7 lbs, and 1.6%. Amanda Johnson lost 2.2 lbs and 1.5% for fourth place.

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