Try a Free Class!

Tom’s Fitness & Paris Martial Arts


Posted: November 02, 2007

This week’s winner, for the second time, was Karl Degenhart with a loss of 4.4 lbs, followed closely by Marvin Hooper (3.8 lbs). In third place, Carol Laughton also posted a nice loss (3.0 lbs), followed by Steve Johnson (2.6 lbs).

Karl has been working hard both here and at home. He told me his daughter has been helping coach him—she’ll get on her bike while he’s walking & jogging and he has to keep up with her.

That’s awesome. Not only is she helping him achieve his goal, but she’s staying active too! If only more families got involved like that, we’d see much less obesity in our kids today.

A few people put on a little weight, which was kind of discouraging for them. The problem is that you have to learn what the right amount of food is for you. Until you get it dialed in, you’ll have those ups and downs.

When we see a nice loss one week, and then a gain the next, it was almost always water weight and possibly muscle loss, due to not eating enough. Then, once you eat a little more, you put it right back on. This is the classic “yo-yo” syndrome.

One woman told me she ate less (on purpose), yet she put on a pound. It’s hard for women to understand that sometimes they need to eat more to lose weight, especially once they start working out.

Remember, if you don’t hit your minimum, or BMR (basal metabolic rate), your metabolism slows down. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends that no woman ever go below 1200 calories a day. Males should never go below 1,800 calories.

Those are the bare minimums though. Most women are successful with a diet of around 1,500-1,650 calories. Guys usually do fine when they stay right around 2,400 calories.

So, while half of the group has the diet dialed in pretty well, the other half still needs to tweak it a little bit. Of course, they need to focus on lots of fruits and greens, whole grains (no white bread, buns, etc…), low fat dairy, fish, poultry, and avoiding pop and junk food.

For the most part, I believe they’re doing that. Once you’re eating the right things, it’s a matter of eating enough of the right things. You can eat a lot of food, if it’s the good stuff.

On the workout side of things, we turned it up again for next week, introducing our Level Two training with free weights to everyone. The machines are nice, and a good way to get started, but free weights have certain other benefits.

First of all, the machines guide and support you. When lifting free weights, you are the one guiding the weights, bringing in all your stabilizer muscles and your core. This makes you work harder, ultimately burning more calories!

Everyone will be doing the first workout three days a week. Guys will work up to three sets of 10 repetitions (men) and the ladies will work up to three sets of 12-15 reps.

Here’s the first workout, in case you’d like to try it yourself. Each exercise covers a major muscle group. If you do all ten basic exercises, you’ll hit the entire body, in just 20-30 minutes.

Wall Squat (with a ball), or Bench Squat (legs, hips, core)
DB Chest Press on a Ball or Bench (chest, shoulders, triceps, core)
DB Deadlift (knees slightly bent) (legs, hips, low back)
Single Arm DB Row (upper back, biceps, core)
Calf Raises (on a step) (calves)
DB Lateral Raises (shoulders)
Overhead DB Tricep Press (triceps, shoulders, core)
Alternating DB Bicep Curl (biceps, core)
Ab Crunches on the ball (core)
Side Twists with a ball (core)

The first time, do just one set of each exercise. The second time, repeat each exercise twice. Finally, try to do three sets of each exercise.

With free weights, you’ll be lifting less weight than you did on the machines, since you have to balance the weights yourself. Make sure you have a trainer or other knowledgeable person show you how to do everything correctly, with good form.

Do everything very slowly, and with great control. If you can’t control the weight, choose a lower weight. Everything can be performed with dumbbells (DB), and a ball or a bench. Most guys starting out will need 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 lb dumbbells. Ladies will usually use 5, 8, 10, 12 and 15 lb dumbbells. Good luck!