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Tom’s Fitness and Paris Martial Arts

BIGGEST LOSER “5” WEEK ONE

Posted: October 05, 2008

Before we take a look at how Biggest Loser “5” is shaping up, I wanted to tell you about the Honeybee 5K race held last Saturday at Twin Lakes Park.

Named in honor of Shawna M. Morrison, who gave her life serving in Iraq several years ago, the 3.1 mile run couldn’t have been held on a more perfect day. Sunny and cool, it was a great day for people to get some exercise and test themselves, while contributing to a very worthwhile cause.

Lots of people I know had personal bests. Even I had my best time. I’d been trying to break 26 minutes, and finally did it with the help of a couple friends. Not bad, for a 46 year old snail.

I felt pretty good about that, especially after running through some asthma in the first mile and needing to hit a porta-potty for the last 2 miles. It’s funny how the body always keeps a certain time for things (I could use a later start time, thank you), and running always shakes things up a bit.

Hats off to the YMCA for organizing a great event—the t-shirts were awesome, and I heard they had to order more, after seeing all the registrations. Next year, I’ll bet it will be even bigger. Nice job, everyone that participated! I think Shawna would have been proud.

Now on to Biggest Loser “5.” After getting 52 registrants, we had 48 make it through the first week to the first weigh-in. I don’t know where the others were, or if they’re continuing. We’ll have to see.

I always tell everyone that there will be two groups: one that finishes and one that doesn’t, and ask them which group they’ll in? Starting a massive weight loss campaign is hard. It’s inconvenient and messy, and life intrudes.

Circumstances will always conspire against you (recall the asthma attack & porta-potty issue during my 5K, or my knee during the long run last week). It’s what you do then, that really determines how successful you’ll be. Do you keep trying, or do you let set backs control you?

We also talked about how the results on the TV show aren’t very realistic. No one here gets to live on a ranch without the hassles of work and taking care of the kids. As far as I know, no one has a chef either, and I know no one’s working out for hours a day!

We’re shooting for a mile walk each morning (20 minutes), and a more rigorous, dedicated workout each afternoon or evening. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, they’re hitting the weight machine circuit, and on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, they’re hitting the cardio room for 30-45 minutes.

This week was about getting everyone moving, and we certainly did that during the Friday night workout. Earlier groups have called the room “Tom’s House of Pain.” That might be a little extreme, but basically descriptive.

Everyone did 50 pushups, 50 crunches, and 50 squats, broken up in sets of 10. I told them that while it may seem pretty tough then, in 12 weeks, they’ll be wondering why it was such a big deal. Tough workouts today will be easy ones tomorrow.

Then they did several sets of walking lunges (forward & backwards), monkey runs (on hands & feet), and some stretching. The whole workout is designed to have them doing more and more each week.

As they do things they didn’t think they could do, it gives them confidence. It also makes them stronger. That’s another good reason for everyone to try a 5K walk/run at some point.

The other major goal this week was to get them thinking about their minimum. Regular readers will recognize this term “minimum.” Actually their Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), I came up with the term “minimum” to help people understand this is the minimum number of calories your body needs everyday to thrive and survive.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine (the established authority on exercise and diet standards), women should never go below 1,200 calories a day, and men should never get under 1,800 calories. This is because most women have a minimum somewhere around 1,250-1,350.

Petite women might be closer to 1,200 and taller, bigger-boned women might be closer to 1,400. This means you need to hit that first, just to provide the body the energy it needs to get through the day.

To feel really good, especially when working out, you need to add another few hundred calories. Stay below your minimum, and your body will think you’re starving, making it very difficult, if not impossible to burn fat for fuel.

This is the number one problem with women trying to lose weight. I already talked with several women who had been eating 800-900 calories a day. One took it up to 1,400 calories and lost 5 pounds this week. 9 out of 10 women don’t eat enough.

1,500 to 1,650 calories a day seems to be just about right for women to feel great while losing weight. For guys, it’s somewhere around 2,250-2,400 calories. It’s usually flipped for guys, though. 9 out of 10 guys tend to overeat, so while the gals need to eat more, we need portion control.

If you’re following along at home, the group is supposed to do 2 circuits on the weight machines. This is not a set followed by a rest, and then another set. Instead, they’re supposed to do a set of each machine, in a row without stopping, and then do it again.

The main goal is to keep their heart rate up, helping them burn more calories. They’re also supposed to turn it up in the cardio room too. Remember, if you can already do it, your body has no reason to change. You’ve got to work hard to drive those calories off.

This week’s winner was Shawn Bowers, who lost an amazing 3.9% of his body weight, for a total of 10.8 lbs. I might also add, that he was one of the ones I was very proud of at the 5K run. Shawn’s a big man, and he ran the 3.1 miles in just over 30 minutes—with all those hills!

Shawn won a Joe’s Pizza gift certificate from Terry Elston and State Farm Insurance. Terry has graciously come aboard as our sponsor and will be standing with us all the way through to the end with a $250 prize for the winner, $150 prize for 2nd place, and a $100 prize for the 3rd place finisher in 12 weeks.

We’ll have Shawn’s picture in the paper sometime this week. Stay tuned for more results from Biggest Loser “5” next week!