Monday, October 21, 2013


We just finished the first four weeks of training with Biggest Loser “18.” With one month down, and two to go, we’re still really just getting started. Up to now we’ve focused on helping them learn to control their portions, watch their total calories, and get moving at least once every day (twice is better).

It takes awhile before something new can become a habit. But after a month of eating right, it should start getting a little easier to put healthy meals together. And with a month of daily workouts behind them, hopefully they’re getting to the point where they’re not having to fight themselves to get to the gym either.

So at this point, the main issues will be getting them to stick with the program, and to keep them progressing in their workouts. Typically, about half the group drops out of most programs at one time or another.

Right now, we’re doing pretty well with about 20 out of the original 24 still here, giving us about an 80% participation rate. The irony is that the harder they work now, the better results they get. The better they do, the more motivated they are to continue. That’s why we push pretty hard to get good results early.

In the end, you get what you focus on. Work hard and work often, and sooner or later, you’ll likely get what you want (as long as it’s reasonable). One thing is certain. If you quit trying, you’ll never get what you want.

The other big focus will be teaching them how to add intensity to their workouts. As they get stronger, they can work out harder, burning more calories in the same amount of time. Or, they can work out longer, which also burns more calories. This translates directly to more weight loss.

One of the big keys is mixing up the workouts by adding new and different exercises that they aren’t used to. This helps them get through the inevitable weight loss plateau.

Circuit training is an excellent way to keep things moving along. To that end, I gave them a two part workout with a bunch of new and challenging exercises. The first part was four rounds of four exercises, each lasting about 50 seconds, with 10 seconds to move to the next station.

Round One: Bouncing pushups over a BOSU trainer; Box Jumps on and off of a step with several risers; Standing dumbbell (DB) curl & overhead presses; and AB rollers with a stability ball.

Round Two: Pushups on an upside down BOSU trainer; Box Step Over’s side-to-side; Walking Lunges; and Pushups with their legs on the stability ball.

Round Three: Body Squats standing on the BOSU trainer; Box Step Over’s length wise; Walking Lunges with DB curls; and Knee-Ins on the stability ball.

Round Four: Burpees while holding the BOSU trainer; Box Step Over’s while turning behind; Walking Lunges with DB curl & overhead presses; and Pikes on the stability ball.

The second part of the workout took about 12 minutes. One person got on the battle rope and had to do 25 battle ropes (L & R) while the others took did DB Burpee Curl & Presses (holding two DB, drop down and do a pushup on them, then stand back up with the DB, curling & pressing them overhead; repeat).

When the person finished on the rope, another took their place, rotating until everyone had a chance to do the battle rope. Everyone else continued with the DB Burpee Curl & Presses, which was pretty brutal by the time everybody got through the rope!

What makes workouts like these so difficult, but also so effective, is that the are using whole body movements like the Walking Lunge, Curl Press, or DB Burpee Curl & Presses. The exercises on the BOSU trainer and stability ball also require lots of muscle, especially your core.

Since these exercises use all the major muscle groups, often at the same time, they require lots of oxygen, and burn tons of calories, including a long after burn. Start-to-finish, it was less than a half hour, but I’ll bet they’ll tell you it was the toughest workout by far.

This week’s Biggest Loser was Julie Panetti, who lost 2.1% of her body weight and 2.6 lbs. Second place went to Maddie Johnson, who lost 1.9% and 4.6 lbs. Third place was a tie between Pam Johns and Jeremy Whitaker, both losing 1.5% and 2.4 lbs and 2.8 lbs respectively.

For more information, you can reach me at the gym, email at, or through Facebook at www.facebook/tomdolanfitness!

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