I remember when the television show "The Biggest Loser" first came out and I'm sure you do as well. I had been a trainer for a few years and already had a few success stories that included clients losing as much as 60 lbs. The first client I had that lost more than 100 lbs was initially inspired by The Biggest Loser. It was then that my mentality changed from thinking that I'm not just changing lives, I'm saving them!
The Biggest Loser television show inspired the person that on the surface, seemed beyond help. The "I'm just trying to lose 20 lbs before summer" person, was the type of client I was used to training.
I can still remember when I saved my first life. We'll call this person Wendy. This was my first client inspired by The Biggest Loser.
When Wendy first contacted me, it wasn't in person. Wendy called the gym where at the time, I was working as a a general manager and wondered if we had trainers that took home calls. My first hurdle to overcome with Wendy was convincing her to come in to the gym since our trainers only train within the gym. I had no idea at the time how fragile this situation was for Wendy barely left the house for ANYTHING.
It took me some time of pleasantly following up with her before she agreed to meet me on a Sunday where I assured her it was the least busiest time at the gym. I can still remember when we first met.
At first, Wendy wouldn't even make eye contact with me. When I asked whether she would like to tour the gym Wendy said she would prefer to just talk with me in my office.
What I later found out was that Wendy had never stepped foot into a gym. The gym atmosphere, in which I take for granted, scared Wendy to death.
Normal protocol in assessing a members needs for a gym membership went out the door with Wendy. Wendy not only needed this membership, she needed personal training. After nearly an hour of going over everything from Wendy's family to her job history to laughing about our favorite chocolate candy (I'm human too!), she was finally comfortable enough to talk about her most private feelings.
Her feelings of insecurity due to her eating disorder. I could relate because I too lost nearly 100 lbs in high school. The first step in achieving her goals was to take her preliminary starting statistics.
At first she said that was fine until she realized what that meant. I was going to weigh Wendy in and test her body fat. Wendy nearly cried as I promised her this would be the last time she would lay eyes on these particular numbers. Not knowing exactly what Wendy weighed and knowing that our scale may not accommodate her weight, I simply asked her when her last physical examination was with the doctor and used that measurement.
Wendy didn't argue whether or not we had a scale. Now was the body fat percentage. At the time, we didn't have those little hand held things that work like magic and spit out a number. No, we had the barbecue tong looking devices that pinched multiple areas of your fat! I first showed Wendy on myself the areas I would be testing.
She closed her eyes as I pinched her bicep, her tricep. Then I came into a problem. Wendy's scapula, the fat just below her shoulder blade, was too large and I couldn't fit my calipers over her skin fold. Not to alarm her, I simply touched the caliper to her skin and moved on. The same happened for her illiac crest, the fat just above her right hip. Factoring in the widest width of my caliper, Wendy's body fat percentage was 49.99%. At 420 lbs, Wendy was by far my soon to be greatest success story.
Training proved difficult because most equipment Wendy couldn't use and the only piece of cardio she could operate was the treadmill. As a trainer, I knew that to burn the most calories, we had to get her big muscles moving.
The most simplest of tasks proved to be difficult which equated to an elevated heart rate maximizing her calorie expenditure. I remember when we got our first leg workout together. I assisted Wendy as she sat down and again stood up from her chair. Over and over again we simply sat up and down until her legs were sufficiently fatigued. Wendy averaged a loss of 20 lbs per month for the first few months and continued on at about 10 lbs per month until she hit her goal. We continued on for just under 2 years.
To this day Wendy still works out at the gym. Wendy is 160 lbs and is in the best shape of her life! It's funny because she still says she has room for improvement! Wendy is a whole different person today from when I first met her those years ago.
I learned a lot from Wendy. It wasn't about all the different types of cardio that she could use or all the equipment in the gym that got her to her goals. We simply had to get her MOVING. This is the main reason I see all my clients to this day suffering from excess weight. We sleep all night. We drive to work. We sit at work. We drive home. We sit on the couch. We go to bed. Lack of activity is killing us! Below are some workouts designed to get us MOVING! To get us focusing on our balance. To get us burning more calories so that like Wendy, YOU can achieve your fitness goals!
Alternating Single Leg Jump Box Squats
• Begin with leg on floor and the other on box
• Squat down and spring up over box to opposite side
• Feet should be in opposite starting position
• Continue back and forth at a fast pace for 1 to 3 minutes
• *Hold out a medicine ball with straight arms to challenge balance and core*
Single Leg Squat
• With hands on hips, place one foot behind up on a 6in to 12in platform
• Squat down with leading leg being sure to keep all weight on lead heel
• Complete for 8 to 12 repetitions switching between sets
• 3 to 5 total sets on each leg
• *Grab and hold side of table or wall for support of balance aid if need be*
Single Leg Dead Lift w/Balance
• With one hand on hip, lower other hand to floor while lifting opposite leg parallel to floor
• Be sure to keep back and leg to floor very straight
• Repeat for 8 to 12 repetitions resting 1 to 2 minutes between sets
• Complete 3 to 5 total sets
• *hold on to a dumbbell when reaching to floor for added resistance*
Hamstring Curl w/Ball
• Begin on mat, lying on your back, arms to your side
• Place feet together and position directly on top of ball. Bridge torso up
• Keeping hands down by your sides for balance, bring heels in towards your glutes being sure to keep the hips in the upward position
• Continue at a controlled pace for 8 to 12 repetitions
• Complete 3 to 5 sets