Wednesday, July 30, 2014


This marks the end of Week One for Biggest Loser "21" so now we're really underway! They completed their initial weigh-in, assessment, and fitness testing a week ago, and it was pretty eye-opening. They did a minute each of push-ups, body squats, and sit-ups, and a minute of Mountain Climbers, Burpees, Kettlebell Swings, Battle Rope, and Ball Smacks.

A minute of the basics is tough enough, but a minute of the advanced exercises is very hard, even for experienced people. For most of them, 30 seconds did them in, but it will get much easier after 12 weeks of training.

You know how it is when you start something new that you've been really wanting to do? You're excited about the new beginning and all the possibilities. But you're also a little nervous, wondering if you can do it, and you don't want to mess it up.

That's typically how it is for the first group workout, but it went fine. They started with a five minute cardio warmup, and then did 10 minutes of Interval Training (a minute of cardio where you really push, followed by a minute where you back off to recover).

We took a little break to look at their daily calorie logs and talk about getting their food intake right. Most men eat too much, and most women don't eat enough. The trick is getting what you need. So we worked on creating a daily calorie deficit that will let them burn fat for fuel.

Women tend to do very well around 1,500-1,650 calories a day, and most men will lose weight at around 2,000-2,400 calories a day. This will give them enough to feel satisfied, and fuel their day, including workouts.

Finally, we jumped into a 13-station full body circuit. Machines are a pretty good way to get started because they're simple and safe. Later, they'll transition to dumbbells and free weights where they'll have to control and guide the weights.

This time, they did all 13 machines with a weight they could keep doing for a minute. If it got too difficult, they lowered the amount of weight. After a minute, they quickly moved to the next station, which worked a different group of muscles. It only took about 15 minutes, raising their total workout time to just a half hour.

Our Week One Biggest Loser was Dale Colter, who lost 5.0 lbs and 2.2% of his body weight. Shelly Borchers was second, losing 4.2 lbs and 2.1%. Polly Colter finished third, losing 3.2 lbs and 1.6%.

Next week, we'll modify their workouts to increase the level of difficulty, and start working on how to put good meals together. I'll give you updates from time-to-time in case you'd like to follow along!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


Over the years, I've been fortunate to work with a wide variety of people with many different goals. I've seen dozens of Karate Kids who've spent several years to achieve their Black Belts. I've also seen hundreds of adults take off tremendous amounts of weight in just 12 weeks, and 20 different Biggest Loser groups.

What I've come to realize is that even though their goals are diverse, the process is pretty much the same. I was reminded of this recently when doing some planning for our new group of Karate for Kids students and our Biggest Loser "21" group which is also just getting underway. So here are 10 steps that will help each of these groups of kids and adults get where they want to go:

1. Know what you want. You have to have a goal. It's impossible to set course if you don't have a destination.

2. Have a burning desire. Without that fire, you won't have the staying power to go the distance. Especially when other things come up. And they always come up.

3. Get more information. Dreams are great, but they're just that: Dreams. But when you get specific information, you can have a plan.

4. Find someone who knows how to do it. Ideally, someone who's actually done it. Even better, someone who's helped others do it too.

5. Just get started. Too many people sit on the fence, afraid to make that jump. But even with desire and a plan, nothing will happen until you get started.

6. Set smaller, bite-sized goals. Keep the big picture in mind, but focus on the short-term immediate goals. Knock them out one at a time and check them off your list. This will give you some momentum, and a sense of accomplishment too.

7. Review your progress from time to time. Compare it with others to see if you're on track. If you've missed a step or two, figure out what went wrong and redouble your efforts.

8. Stay focused. Lots of things will happen that can throw you off track. Life intrudes. Always. You have to keep the fire, and stay focused.

9. Celebrate success. Even the little ones, and not just your own. Celebrate others' successes too. It's easy to get discouraged, so look for the silver lining in things. Stop the negative self-talk.

10. Never give up. No matter what. You've probably heard "Quitters never win, and winners never quit." I've never seen a single person who got what they wanted by quitting, but I've seen hundreds get what they want by simply not giving up! A loss doesn't mean it's over. It means the journey is just beginning.

I know the article has been about 10 steps, but there's actually one more. A big one. Sometimes we just can't do it on our own. In times like that, prayer can make all the difference. I've found that to be true, and know plenty of others who've done it too. In fact, it can often make the other steps easier.

Some people who've taken the first few steps include our newest group of Biggest Losers. Good luck on your new journey. I'm looking forward to celebrating your successes over the next 12 weeks!

Thursday, July 17, 2014


Last week, Biggest Loser "20" ended with Christy Henry losing 46.2 lbs for first place. Brian Bradley finished second, losing 43.2 lbs, and Lori Hollingsworth was third, losing 27.3 lbs. We also covered "building hedges", and staying accountable, to give them some tools for keeping the weight off.

This week, I thought you might like to know how some of the other participants did. Twenty-two people started the 12-week program, and twelve made the final weigh-in. Of those that didn't finish, I can think of at least three who are still working on it, and haven't actually quit. They just didn't make the weigh-in for one reason or another.

Typically, 50% of the people finish the 12 weeks, so the 54% completion ratio was a little better than usual. I'm not sure why that was the case this time, but it's always good to see. When I polled the finishers, a common theme was "I just don't quit."

Several participants spoke about their support system. Both Christy and Lori (1st and 3rd place) said they relied on each other for motivation. Brian did the 12 weeks along with his 13 year old daughter, and says she helped give him the push he needed to finish in second place.

Several others had nice results too. Cheryl Funkhouser finished in fourth place, losing 19.2 lbs, and Heather Watson was fifth, with 17.6 lbs. Both were pretty happy, especially after interesting starts. Cheryl had to be talked into doing Biggest Loser "20" by her sister, and Heather had a serious ankle sprain in the 1st workout!

Pam Kelly took sixth, losing 23.6 lbs; Brad Adams was seventh, with 25.1 lbs; and Matt Murphy finished eighth, at 25.1 lbs. Brian's daughter Bailey lost 10.2 lbs for ninth place, and Sarah Mitchell was tenth with 5.8 lbs. This was Sarah's second Biggest Loser in a row, and both her and Bailey had the least to lose, as they were already close to their goal weight.

Other notable accomplishments include several ladies dropping 2-3 dress sizes, and guys dropping 2 pants sizes. One individual lost 21" over their body during the 12 weeks. There was dramatic improvement in the physical post-tests too. It was common for people to take 2-3 minutes off their 1 mile walk/run time, and one even took off 8 minutes!

It was routine for the group to get 10-12 more reps of each exercise in a minute. But the biggest improvement was Lori's ability to do Battle Ropes and Mountain Climbers. She doubled her output in both, and never had to stop for any breaks!

These results were typical of the improvements people have been able to make over the last ten years in twenty Biggest Losers. They're also very predictable if someone just works at it a little bit. If you've been wondering how YOU could do, Biggest Loser "21" starts Monday night at 6:15. We'll have some members from Tom's along with people from other gyms including the Rec and even some working out at home. Let me know if you'd like to join in!

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Someone I hadn't seen in awhile stopped me the other say. They'd gained 30 lbs and wanted some help getting going again. I got them started, but couldn't help but think about the dozens of conversations I've had like this before.

Unfortunately, I see this all the time. People will work like crazy for three or six months but then just let it go. I've even had several work a whole year to lose 100 lbs, but then put it back on.

What's so hard to understand is how this happens, especially after someone puts in all that time and hard work. It's like spending a ton of money for a new lawn and landscaping, and then just deciding not to mow all summer. Or the next year, and the next.

People don't really intend to put the weight back on. Just like no one ever wakes up one morning saying, "You know, I think I want to mess up my life today." We just kind of slide into these things.

Drop your guard a little today; compromise a little bit tomorrow. Pretty soon, days and weeks can go by. Before you know it, you've lost your way. By then, up can be down, black can be white, right can seem wrong, and wrong can seem right.

To prevent this, you have to stay vigilant, wherever necessary. I've heard it called "building a hedge around yourself." If you know you're vulnerable to a thing, arrange it so it's impossible for you to act, should you find yourself tempted. Another strategy is keeping yourself accountable in some way, even to someone else.

Our Biggest Loser "20" veterans will likely need these strategies. Now that they've finished their 12 weeks, some will need to set new goals. Others will need to keep a close watch on their diet and activity levels.

If they gain a pound one week, no big deal. But if they gain a pound two weeks in a row, it could be a big deal. They might need to turn the activity back up, or start watching their portions again. But these participants have shown they have the staying power to get the weight off and keep it off.

The winner for Week Twelve was Lori Hollingsworth, losing 3.0 lbs and 1.8%. Bailey Bradley was second, losing 1.8 lbs and 1.3%. Christy Henry placed third for the week, losing 2.2 lbs and 1.2%.

Our overall winner for Biggest Loser "20" was Christy Henry, who set a new women's record during the 12 weeks. Christy lost a total of 46.2 lbs and an amazing 25.1% of her body weight. Great job!

Brian Bradley finished in second place overall, losing 43.2 lbs and 19.4% of his body weight. Third place went to Lori Hollingsworth, who finished the 12 weeks with 27.5 lbs and 17.0%.

Monday, July 07, 2014


One of my friends posted a neat picture of their seven year old on Facebook recently. Jackson had quite the six-pack of Abs going on. Actually, I think he had an eight-pack.

This was obviously the product of good genes, a super-fast metabolism, and lots of activities (he does baseball and gymnastics). While he does eat some junk food now and then, his mom told me that they control it.

His extremely "ripped" condition is also extremely unusual. But it didn't always used to be that way. Think back a generation or two. I'll bet you'll recall that many of the kids were "ripped." It was so normal that we didn't even think of it as "ripped."

Kids were so active that almost everyone was lean. Back then, it was pretty unusual for a child to be significantly overweight. Sure, some kids might have had more muscle than others, but you could usually see their ribs, and their Abs, too.

So what's changed? Many experts believe it has something to do with all the processed foods and artificial sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup. There is some evidence to support that. We certainly eat much more fast food and junk food than we did in earlier generations.

Declining activity levels have a lot to do with it too. Games on iPods have taken the place of games outside. If a child isn't in organized sports or an individual activity like martial arts or gymnastics, the problem can be even greater.

So how do we counter this? We have to take personal responsibility. A parent has to take control of their children's diet and exercise every day. It also helps if they're doing it themselves.

Jackson's parents are both active in sports and working out, and they're very involved in health and nutrition. So they have a whole household of active people who are also watching what they eat.

But kids aren't always going to be interested, or even able to excel at sports. Perhaps they're already overweight, which will make every kind of activity harder. It will likely also affect their self-esteem. Parents can still make a difference if they'll just help their kids get started.

They can put them in individual activities like martial arts or swimming. They can also start them out by going on walks together, or even taking them to the gym. Parents can also take advantage of kids bootcamps, summer programs, or whatever else you can do to get them moving.

Some people who've taken personal responsibility this week include our Biggest Losers. Bailey Bradley won first place, losing 3.0 lbs and 2.2% of her body weight. Christy Henry was second, losing 3.8 lbs and 2.0%. Brian Bradley placed third, losing 4.0 lbs and 1.8%. Cheryl Funkhouser finished fourth, losing 2.0 lbs and 1.3%, and Sarah Mitchell was fifth, losing 1.4 lbs and 1.1%.