Tuesday, December 31, 2013


The older I get, the faster each year seems to go. Remember when we were younger, and things seemed to take forever? Still, to me, year ends are like bookends. It’s always good to take a look back so you can close the book on things.

Did you accomplish all you wanted to do? If not, did you at least make some progress?

Unfortunately, sometimes we can look around and wonder what we really accomplished. If everything’s the same but everything’s great, then that’s fine. Good job. But if everything’s still the same and everything isn’t great, then you’ve got some work to do in 2014.

If you’ve just been procrastinating, remember time marches on, with or without you. If you feel like you just can’t do it, I’d like to ask “who said you can’t do it? Who told you that?” Just because you haven’t been successful yet doesn’t mean you can’t be, or won’t be.

You might recall last week I told you “Resolutions matter, but what you do matters more.” Well here are ten tips to help you keep them:

1. Know what you want to do.
2. Really, really want it.
3. Do your homework.
4. Break it up into smaller, attainable goals.
5. Stay focused.
6. Don’t let setbacks throw you off track.
7. Learn from your mistakes.
8. Get back on the pony.
9. Take pride in your victories, but know that they’re not yours alone.
10. Use them to gain momentum that keeps building, until you get what you want.

To give you some support, we’re going right ahead with our community-wide Biggest Loser “19” in January starting right after the holidays on Monday, January 6th. Our goal is to have lots of couples, partners, or even just friends, so you’ll have lots of motivation to get there!

For more information, you can reach by email at tomdolanfitness@gmail.com, or through Facebook at www.facebook/tomdolanfitness!

Friday, December 20, 2013


I’m sure you’ve heard people talk about their New Year’s resolutions. You’ve probably even made a few of your own over the years. The question is, did you follow through? Did you actually do the things you said you were going to do?

Most everyone has good intentions. We’d all like to see things get better whether it’s at home, at work, in the community, or inside our clothing. I’m guessing that many of us are feeling a little bit snugger in those “skinny” jeans. Maybe even in our not-so-skinny jeans!

You’ve probably heard that the average American gains between five and seven pounds over the holiday season between Thanksgiving and New Years. It’s easy to see why, with all the extra temptations like Christmas cookies, Egg Nog, and all those awesome leftovers.

Plus you’ve got all that stuff to do during the holidays like all the running around for shopping, kids concerts, and so on. It’s easy to start missing workouts, if you were active. And if you were already struggling with the whole exercise business, it’s easy to let it slide altogether.

Here’s where you just have to have some discipline. Good things don’t always happen to those who wait (although sometimes you do have wait). Good things tend to happen to those who get going, and keep going!

Sometimes I hear people speak a little enviously of others. “Those people are so lucky, they can just do anything they want.” Or, “She’s always so skinny, she can just eat anything.”

But they don’t see how that couple has worked three jobs, tons of overtime, socking money away, and avoiding debt. And that gal has walked five miles a day, everyday, for years, even in bad weather! It’s what they’ve done, that has put them in that better place today.

Having a resolution is great, because it means you’re really resolved to do something; it‘s important to you. It means you have a plan. And telling other people gives you leverage and helps make you accountable.

To help you get some leverage, the community-wide Biggest Loser “19” starts right after the holidays, on Monday, January 6th. If you’ve already made your resolutions, that’s great, for resolutions do matter. But remember, talk can be cheap. It’s what you do that matters most.

For more information, you can reach by email at tomdolanfitness@gmail.com, or through Facebook at www.facebook/tomdolanfitness!

Friday, December 13, 2013


After 12 difficult weeks, we finally reached the end of Biggest Loser “18.” We started with 24, and ended up with 12, which was exactly half the group. Things come up, people get busy, and priorities change, especially with such a difficult thing as starting and sticking to a new, rigorous, exercise and weight loss program.

The statistic always holds, no matter the size of the group (we’ve had up to 66), the difficulty of the program (I’ve tried easing them into it, slamming them into it, and everything in between). Half will finish, half will drop for one reason or another.

So I always like to ask the ones left standing a couple questions: “What makes you different? How did you do this, when others couldn’t? Here are some of their answers.

“I just made up my mind.” “I love new clothing.” “It’s about not ever giving up, even if you tried 100 times before.” “Determination.” “It was the competition with my wife.” “When you told us half the people always quit, I was determined not to be a quitter.”

The group also took post-test like the one they took on the first day: a series of one minute tests: Pushups, Sit-ups, Body Squats, Burpees, and Mountain Climbers (they had already done a 1-mile post-test on their own).

All of them were much stronger in each area, doubling their output in several categories. Most took several minutes off their 1 mile time, and a couple gained more than 7 minutes!

The winner for Week Twelve was Johna Todd, who finished first by losing 2.4 lbs and 1.2% of her body weight. Lesley Mills, Tracy Whitaker, and Sondra Martin tied for second place, and Julie Panetti and Debbie Eveland tied for third place.

Our overall winner for Biggest Loser “18” was Jeremy Whitaker, who lost 30.0 lbs and 17.1% of his body weight during the 12 weeks. This is particularly impressive because he was also the winner last time in Biggest Loser “17”, losing 66.4 lbs, bringing his total weight loss to 96.4 lbs! This is the first time anyone has won two Biggest Losers or two in a row.

Tracy Whitaker, finished second overall, losing 18.2 lbs and 13.6% of her body weight. This was also unique, because it was the first time a husband and wife ever finished in 1st and 2nd place! Sondra Martin was third, losing 30.2 lbs and 12.7% of her body weight.

Now the group needs to think about how to maintain what they’ve fought so hard for. In some cases, they’ll set new fitness and weight loss goals, with a new 12-week cycle. Others may need three or four 12-week cycles before they get where they really want to be.

To help them along, we’ll be starting Biggest Loser “19” right after the holidays on Monday, January 6th. It’s been reported that most Americans gain 5-7 lbs between Thanksgiving and New Years. Hopefully that won’t happen to this group, but if it does, we’ll be ready!

For more information, you can reach by email at tomdolanfitness@gmail.com, or through Facebook at www.facebook/tomdolanfitness!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


We’re getting close to the finish line for this 12 week program and it’s pretty clear who the finishers will be. I always wish more people could make it to the end, but so many different things always seem to come up that make it hard for them to stick with it.

For the remaining participants, it always comes down to how well they hit their calorie targets each week, and how much they were able to keep moving. Calories out must exceed calories in. If you watch what you eat and move more, you’ll lose the pounds.

While those things are constant, we try to change the intensity of their workouts each week. As they get capable of doing more work, they’ll be able to burn more calories which means more pounds off on the scale.

The goal has always been to show them they can do much more than they thought they could do, in both the cardio room and weight room. Since this was the last chance I had to work them out, I really tried to make that point this week.

We set up a couple 6 station circuits and spent 30 seconds at each station with about a short break after each round. That amounted to about 3 ½ minutes per round, if you count movement time. The exercises were Dumbbell Curls, Box Jumps, Pushups, Kettlebell Swings, Ball Smack-downs, and Abs.

At first they thought they were doing five rounds, but after the fifth one, I let them know they were actually doing ten! It would have been hard for them to believe they could do 10 rounds, but once they were halfway, they realized that they could do it.

Since each station lasted only 30 seconds, they were able to push really hard at each station, each time. This 100% effort on each exercise is guaranteed to raise the intensity.

Two of the group are runners, doing significant mileage each week. They both said they were breathing harder and sweating more than they do during 8-10 mile runs. Another participant logged 400 calories for the 36 minute workout, which is quite good for such a short time.

This week’s Biggest Loser was Sondra Martin, who lost another 2.0 lbs and 0.8% of her body weight. Sondra’s been very consistent, averaging two and a half pounds a week for a total of 28.8 lbs. Second place went to Tracy Whitaker, losing 1.0 lb and 0.7%. Stevannah Drake was third, losing 1.0 lb and 0.6%.

For more information, you can reach by email at tomdolanfitness@gmail.com, or through Facebook at www.facebook/tomdolanfitness!

Tuesday, December 03, 2013


I do a lot of kickboxing and other forms of martial arts training like Brazilian JiuJitsu and mixed martial arts, so as you might imagine, I also like to work them into my regular workouts.

One of my favorite workouts is to do ten 5 min rounds on the heavy bag with a 30 second break between rounds. Since it’s a lot of rounds, with little rest, it’s a pretty good workout.

Sometimes, if I don’t feel like doing so many rounds, I’ll alternate rounds on the bag with either 500 meters on the rower, or with quarter mile sprints on the treadmill. If I’m doing that, I’ll usually just do five 5 min rounds.

Once in awhile, if I’ve had trouble finding time to get my weight workout in, I’ll actually work it into a kickboxing routine, or a Brazilian JiuJitsu workout on the mat with a partner. I tend to do this more when I can roll with a partner on the mat, but hitting the bag works fine too.

The most recent example is where we did 5 minutes on the mat, and then a biceps and triceps exercise. Then we returned to the mat for another round, another set for arms, and so on. I’ve also done it with chest & back routines, and also with legs & abs, usually for 10 rounds.

Regardless what body parts you’re working on, it’ll be a tough workout, because you tend to also use the same parts kickboxing or rolling on the mat. It makes for high intensity, especially in the later rounds, and it also gives you a huge calorie burn. Trust me, your workout clothes will be totally soaked when you finish, if you’ve been pushing hard.

For this week’s Monday night group workout, we used the same idea to expand on the basic kickboxing workout we did two weeks ago. This time they learned some new combinations, and also included workout intervals. Each round lasted five minutes.

The group working their kickboxing did Jab-Cross-Low Round Kick (both sides), and then Front Kick-Jab-Cross-Low Round Kick (both sides). They worked on hand held targets for the first two rounds, and then on the heavy bag for the last two rounds.

While they were doing kickboxing, the other group did Pushups, Pull-ups, & Sit-ups or Kettlebell swings, Pull-ups & Crunches. After five minutes, each group rotated, so they all ended up with four rounds of kickboxing, and four rounds of exercises.

This week’s Biggest Loser was Steve Johnson III, who lost 2.9% of his body weight and 6.2 lbs. Debbie Eveland finished second, losing 1.2% and 1.6 lbs. Sondra Martin was third, losing 0.8% and 2.0 lbs, and Jeremy Whitaker placed fourth, losing 0.7% and 1.2 lbs.

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