Saturday, September 21, 2013


Biggest Loser “18” met together for the first time Monday night with 24 participants. It was exciting for me, as we haven’t had a Biggest Loser group since last fall. Over the last few years, we’ve done 17 other groups, so after a nine month break, I was ready to go.

It’s always pretty chaotic on the first night. It takes a little time to teach them how to use the scale and get weighed in. Not that the scale’s difficult, but there are a lot of variables it measures. I’ll have more on that later.

While people were weighing in, we had the rest of them getting their basic measurements: R & L arm, Chest, Stomach, Hips, R & L thigh, and R & L calf. They’ll do this again at the end of each month, so they’ll have four different measurements to compare along the way.

This will be especially important at times when they don’t necessarily see it on the scale. That way they can still have confidence that good things are happening, even if they’re in a weight loss plateau. Over time, the total inches they’ll lose will be amazing.

Once we got the group weighed in, we talked a little bit about how to interpret the results from the scale. First of all, no one should be totally devastated by their numbers.

Many people avoid the scale when they’re overweight, and this can be a rude awakening. That’s good, actually, because sometimes we have to reach a level of disgust with the current situation before we’re willing to do what’s necessary to make some changes.

Even so, it’s just a starting point. You need to know where you are, so you can see if you’re making progress. Besides, I never trust any one or two weigh-ins anyway. It’s the trend over time that matters.

We’ll have the following measures each week: weight, body fat %, body water %, muscle mass, their BMR (basal metabolic rate), metabolic age, bone mass, and visceral (belly) fat.

Body fat % is important for a couple of reasons. Weight loss without a corresponding drop in body fat, means you’re losing muscle mass. That’s not how we want to do this. For every pound you lose, you should see a .25 to .5 reduction in body fat. The body fat % is also very accurate in predicting the risk of things like diabetes and high blood pressure due to obesity.

Knowing the body water % is also important to see if they are fully hydrated. This is critical, because hydration has a big effect on measured body fat % and muscle mass, so you’ll know whether you can trust the numbers. It also has a lot to do with how you feel, and how well your body is working.

I love the fact that they can get their personal BMR (basal metabolic rate) directly from the scale. This will tell them exactly how many calories they need each day as a minimum. We’ll set a daily target goal a little above that, so they feel full, but still will be well set up for weight loss.

Metabolic age and visceral fat readings are also pretty big wake up calls. No one wants to have a body that’s older than they are! As for the belly fat, that’s directly correlated with their risk of heart disease.

We did several fitness tests: 1 minute of push-ups, 1 minute of sit-ups, 1 minute of body squats, 1 minute of burpees, and 1 minute of mountain-climbers. As homework assignments, they also have to complete a 1 mile walk/run and post their scores to Facebook.

They got their calorie log to start recording their daily calories, and have to turn in several days worth next Monday night. This will let them know if they’re hitting their minimum, and also get us set up to start talking about the quality of what they’re eating.

Finally, they got their workout assignments for the week: Walk 20 minutes every morning, and get a more intense, longer workout in later in the day. Three days a week, they’ll focus on weights, and three days a week, they’ll focus on cardio oriented workouts.

I’ll be posting their suggested workouts on Facebook each day. Next week, I’ll give you more information, in case you want to follow along on your own. We’ll also have the results from Week One, which are always pretty exciting!

There’s still time to get involved in this community-wide program! For more information, you can reach me at the gym, email at, or through Facebook at www.facebook/tomdolanfitness!

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