Tuesday, August 26, 2014


"If you do what you always do, you'll get what you've always got." I'm not sure who said it, but I've sure found it to be true.

Albert Einstein defined insanity as "doing the same thing but expecting a different result." Thomas Edison did hundreds of experiments, all slightly different, before creating a light bulb that worked. Both changed the world.

Whether you're just trying to get active and change your eating, or you're already active and trying to break through a plateau, something is probably going to have to change. We can't keep doing the same things but expect a different result.

So what needs to change? I think it starts with our thinking. We have to first realize there's a problem, before we can solve it. And then we have to realize that what we've been doing isn't working, or isn't working well enough. Sometimes, that's tough to admit.

If you're not satisfied, that could be a beginning. It means you just might be ready. So ask yourself these questions: What do you want to accomplish? What small changes can you make today that could lead to big changes later? And what's holding you back?

If you can change your thinking just a little bit, you might be able to stop doing what you've always done. And you just might be able to stop getting what you've always got!

Our Biggest Losers have made some changes, especially our Week Five winners. Brooke Bartley won first place, losing 8.0 lbs and 3.8% of her body weight. Mark Clark was second, losing another 5.6 lbs and 1.8%, and Krista Krable came in third, losing 2.3 lbs and 1.0%.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Staying Focused and Beating Fatigue Helps With Both Muscle & Money!

I love training. Any type of training. Especially if it will help me get better at something I'm interested in. Or learn something I need to learn.

In a couple weeks, I'm going to start some training for my brain, and my heart: Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University (FPU). It's designed to help people exercise their financial muscles. Over the last 20 years, Dave has helped millions of people turn things around, and become debt free.

Kathy and I are no strangers to Dave's program. Several years ago it helped us pay off thousands of dollars of personal debt, and develop a nice safety net. We'd built up our financial muscles, and gone on the cash only diet.

But somewhere along the way, I got off track. Little by little, I started letting debt creep back in. I was wanting to keep improving things at the gym with new equipment, and the like.

We still kept our financial workouts going to some degree, and paid cash for a lot of the improvements. But some things were just too big to cash flow. There was also the matter of some improvements at home too. Dave would not be very happy.

I've often talked about people losing 100 lbs and then gaining it back again. How could they do that? But isn't this just about the same thing? Working so hard for so long, toward becoming debt free, how is it possible to take your eye off the ball like that?

I think it comes down to a loss of focus. This happens all the time with people trying to maintain their weight, or keep an exercise program going. Whatever it is we're wanting at that moment becomes more important than what we've worked so hard for. We lose our gazelle intensity, as Dave calls it.

Sometimes we just get tired, too. Fatigue sets in. A little break seems like it won't really hurt us, since we're just taking a break for a little while. But a few days become a few weeks, and then a few months, and old habits come back, along with old problems.

So what's the solution? Just like in the gym, and with weight loss, you have to reach a level of disgust before you can start turning things around. You have to be sick and tired of being sick and tired. You have to be disgusted with how things are.

For the millions of people Dave has helped with FPU, they got disgusted with living paycheck to paycheck, and struggling to make ends meet. They were disgusted with their debt. They wanted their lives to be better. They wanted to rule their money instead of their money ruling them. Some, like me, have done it before and just want a restart.

I found out our church was going to offer the nine week program and knew it was time for me to jump back in with both feet. So just like our Biggest Losers, I'm going to join a different group of losers, all working together toward the same goal. We're going to exercise some financial muscle and lose some debt!

Since I've done it before, I'm going to be coordinating the program, but I'll be doing it with them, just like in our Boot Camp classes. And just like our Biggest Losers, I'm looking forward to being a little bit lighter in a few months!

Speaking of Biggest Losers, our Week Four Winner was Mark Clark, who lost 5.0 lbs and 1.6% of his body weight. Second place went to Brian Blair, who lost 4.4 lbs and 1.4%. Tiffany Gann took third, with 2.4 lbs and 1.0%, and Krista Krabel finished fourth, losing 1.7 lbs and 0.8%.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


I've seen a lot of people come and go over the years at the gym. Some move on to another place, or even get some equipment at home, which is perfectly fine. But all too often, they simply quit working out altogether.

Now I know it's tough when you're busy, but I also know plenty of busy people who've found a way to carve out time for their training. Because for them, it's not just a workout, it's training. They're working hard to accomplish something specific.

It might be to get bigger or stronger. Or it could be to get smaller. Both are worthy goals that require lots of dedication and a strong commitment. But once in awhile, they get interested in a particular sport or event.

This extra level of interest in something specific gives them a real advantage. They don't ever want to miss, because they're constantly trying to improve. After all, they're in training.

Here are some things I've seen people prepare for, in just the last month or two. 5K races like the Color Run, 1/2 and full marathons, Warrior Dash and the Spartan Sprint (5K with obstacles). Tough Mudder (10-12 mile obstacle course), Steeple Chase, and Long Distance Bicycle Rides (across a state, or even several states). Soft Ball Season, College Baseball, Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fights, JiuJitsu tournaments, Golf Season, Gymnastics, Cheerleading, and Taekwondo tourneys. Weight loss in Biggest Losers, BooT CamP Workouts (both kids and adults), body-building, strength training, and even weight lifting competitions!

As you can see, it's a pretty diverse group of events. Some people are trying to win their event while others are trying to improve their performance. Still others are simply trying to finish their first event. But they all have something in common. They're committed to their training. They never miss. As a result, they're also getting and staying fit.

I think the key to their success is they've found something specific that interests them. Sometimes they want a new challenge to test themselves with, so they switch gears and start training for that. Whatever the reason, it keeps them training, and that keeps them fit.

Don't get me wrong, it's perfectly fine to just go and workout. Lots of people do that too. They're getting healthy and that's the main thing. But if you can find something that lights a fire under you, THAT will give you staying power!

Some people working on their training include our Week Three Biggest Losers. Tiffany Gann took first place, losing 3.8 lbs and 1.6% of her body weight; Krista Krabel finished second, losing 3.2 lbs and 1.4%; and Jacqi Trowbridge was third, losing 1.8 lbs and 1.2%.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014


Last weekend I had a chance to watch the 2014 CrossFit Games on ESPN. In a word, Wow! I've watched it every year it's aired, and each season they take it up to a whole new level.

They say the athletes are the "Fittest Men and Women on Earth." It's probably true. There are certainly some amazing athletes doing triathlons, ultra endurance runs, and the Ninja Warrior series on NBC right now. But nowhere else are they moving not just their bodies, but significant weights too, and doing it quickly, repeatedly, over such a wide variety of challenges.

The philosophy behind CrossFit is not specialize in any one event or sport. Instead, they train as generalists, preparing for a variety of challenges. It's a good philosophy that has led to wide acceptance across the globe. CrossFit gyms have popped up all over, from what they call "boxes" with minimal equipment, to full scale centers that add this style of training to their traditional equipment.

I've been aware of CrossFit for about eight years now. For three years or so, most of my personal workouts were CrossFit routines, and I used them for many of our Boot Camp group workouts too. Over the past couple years, I've pulled back a little bit though. As a trainer with an M.A. in Exercise Physiology, I've come to feel that a couple of these workouts a week is more than enough for most people. At 52, it's sufficient for me too.

While it's true that CrossFit allows (and encourages) you to scale the weights down to fit your fitness level, I think it might be a little much for the average person, especially if they're a little older, or have shoulder, knee, or back issues. Balancing this style of training with other less intense workouts seems to work better for the larger population, and for our Boot Camps as well.

Still, there's nothing like a CrossFit style workout to push you. And if you're wanting to improve your overall athletic performance, there's probably nothing better. I would caution you to take it easy, and not push too hard too soon, because that can lead to injuries. It's also extremely important to learn the proper techniques, especially for the Olympic Lifts with the barbell, for this can help keep you safe.

That being said, if you're wanting to see something special, I'd encourage you to look for replays of the 2014 CrossFit Games on ESPN. These are the best of the best in the world, both men and women, and you will be amazed at what they can do.

This week, I wanted to give our Boot Camp warriors a little feel of the games so I cooked up several new workouts for them. They're a little long, compared to most CrossFit workouts, but Boot Camp is 30-45 minutes. This workout definitely left them feeling smoked! Here's the first one that they did Monday night:

1. Run 1/4 mile
2. 30 pull-ups (modified if necessary)
3. 40 Wall Ball shots
4. Row 500 meters
5. 50 push-ups (modified if necessary)

As you can imagine, this wasn't easy. It took me all of 35:36, going full bore, and there were a couple times I had to pause, during the last round. If you decide to try it, make sure you know how to do everything correctly, and that you pace yourself the first time. Also, make sure you've had something to eat about 45 minutes before working out!

This week's Biggest Losers are learning how to push themselves too. Our Week Two winner was Mark Clark, who lost an amazing 11.8 lbs and 3.2% of his body weight. Brian Blair finished second, losing 6.6 lbs and 2.1%, and third place went to Shelly Borchers, who lost 4.0 lbs and 2.0%.