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Tom’s Fitness & Paris Martial Arts


Posted: June 06, 2009

This week the group learned how to do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) in the cardio room. These workouts are packed with power when it comes to burning calories. Most people can’t go at a higher intensity for a long period of time, but they can do it for a short time.

They jumped on the treadmill, elliptical, or bike and warmed up for a few minutes. While they were doing that, I taught them how to rate the difficulty of the week by using “Perceived Exertion.”

On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being super easy and 10 being impossible to continue, what does the level of exertion feel like? Invented by a doctor named Borg, “Perceived Exertion” is a useful alternative if you don’t have a way of monitoring heart rate. In fact, I think it’s more valuable, because two people could have the same heart rate, but feel completely different about how hard it is.


Posted: May 27, 2009

To celebrate finishing two months with the group, I took them out to the football field last Saturday morning for the toughest challenge yet. After everyone finished, I was talking with one of them when he said something that stayed with me. “You’ve got to want it.”

John’s exactly right. Even though he has knee problems and isn’t allowed to run, he’s switching out the jogging for walking and using the exercise bicycle. He wants it.

Especially after a couple months, we’ve really got to want it. Complacency sets in. We get bored and tired of trying. It feels like it’s taking too long. This is a dangerous time, because quitting is just around the corner. But that’s when we need to fight the hardest.


Posted: May 22, 2009

Did you see the Biggest Loser finale on TV last week? Aren’t you just amazed at the transformations of all the participants? Not just the winner, or finalists, but all of them. In just five short months, they lost an amazing amount of weight.

Mike, the 18 year old in the finals lost over 200 lbs—and still didn’t win. The two gals beat him with a higher percentage of weight loss. It was just amazing. But at 18 years old, he’s now got a completely different future ahead of him.

And so does Helen the 48 year old winner. To lose 150 lbs must just feel amazing for her. The runner-up, Tara, was a former plus-size model. She won 13 out of the 18 challenges, including a half-marathon and full marathon. The confidence they’ve gained will last them the rest of their lives.


Posted: May 13, 2009

This week the group’s challenge was to run/walk a 5K over at Sarah Bush Lincoln’s “Races for all Paces.” When they started six weeks ago, they had to do a mile as fast as possible as part of the fitness tests on their first day.

Each week, the goal was to add a little distance to the total, as well as trying to keep doing the mile a little bit quicker. By week four, they’d gone about 2 ½ miles during the Saturday morning workout, so they were all ready to tackle a 5K, which is 3.1 miles.

It also helped that on TV, the Biggest Losers final challenge was to do an entire marathon (26.1 miles). That left no room for any complaining since I was only asking them to do a 5K.


Posted: May 10, 2009

This week we introduced them to free weights in the Saturday morning workout. Sometimes people get nervous about using dumbbells and the other equipment, but they don’t need to be. The key is starting out with a weight you can easily handle for 15 repetitions and learning how to do the techniques correctly.

If you do those two things, you’ll be amazed at the differences in your workout. While the machines guide the motion, with free weights, you guide the motion. This alone makes it more interesting—and intense. All of a sudden, new stabilizer muscles have to come into play. Your core is more involved, keeping you in the correct position.

It kind of resembles real life. When something happens and you have to move a certain way to get out of danger, you have to move—right then. When you have to lift something and the angle’s a little awkward, you still have to lift it. Working out with real weights prepares you for those moments. Here’s an example of the workout they did.

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