We've talked about the dreaded scale, we've talked about the safe amount of weight to lose from week-to-week, we've talked about the mental obstacles during the weight loss process...now I want to talk about how different the Great Weight Racers are both mentally and physically since day 1.
You should not be shocked to hear how mentally challenging this contest has been for the Racers. They've blogged about it, and you even may have felt the same way if you've gone through a weight loss process. Why is it so difficult, why does it take so long, and why (after losing weight) do I see the same body in the mirror? To answer the questions in a simplistic manner...it's difficult because it's a process. It's a process that takes patience and time. It takes time day after day to learn about good eating habits. It takes time to learn how to workout effectively. And, by the way, gaining the weight didn't happen overnight so you're not going to lose it overnight. It just takes time! I hear people say, "I've lost 15 pounds, but I just don't see a change!" Well, how are your clothes fitting? Are you 1 or 2 sizes smaller? Are you pulling your belt tighter? We don't often see it because we are our own toughest critics.
You may not see a smaller you in the mirror, but I ask you...are you in better shape? I can tell you that The Great Pocono Weight Racers are in better shape! As trainers working with new clients, we have to learn how much new exercisers can handle in the gym. With a little trial and error, we find out how much strength they have, and how much intensity they can endure on the cardio equipment. Once we have the starting point, we create a plan with one goal in mind... asking the client to give just a little more effort each time.
With all of our Racers, the trainers saw poor physical condition but a great desire to overcome it. So the training began. Week after week, the trainers worked with the Racers, teaching them how to exercise at the right intensity. There were weight room workouts, water workouts, group workouts including various challenges and obstacle courses, and some even gained the confidence to take group fitness classes. Spinning and Stretch seemed to be among the favorites! During our last challenge workout last Saturday, I saw awesome attitudes, desire, and an unbelievable change in physical condition since day 1. Readers will see these changes next week with the follow up test results and measurements. So stay tuned...
So when you are wondering what happened to the Racers over the 10 week contest and how they lost so many pounds and inches...they followed their plan! With patience and determination, they overcame great obstacles, mentally and physically. I am proud of all of them for going through this demanding process and sticking to it no matter what the scale registered on "Weigh-In Day".
Speaking for all the trainers at Elevations...It has been an unbelievable process! It has been a pleasure to work with all the Racers and see their inner strengths emerge!
With only 9 days left, we want you to put forth your best effort and attitude and we'll see you at the finish line!
Three more weeks left of The Great Pocono Weight Race!
Who will win the prize? If you ask me...they are all
winners! "You've already won" is a phrase that is becoming tiresome for the contestants but I can't help myself...they have!
If you ask me if losing over 20 pounds in 7 weeks is success, I say "heck yeah"!
So why aren't the contestants so thrilled? When comparing themselves to the reality show The Biggest Loser, the 2 pound loss a week is not enough. But there is one problem with that comparision, which is that the show is not reality based at all. Now don't get me wrong, I love the show as much as the next person...but working out 8 hours a day and eating custom-created, minimal-calorie meals is not reality. Not having to go to work is not reality. Not having family responsbilities is not reality.
One of the topics I emphasized to all the contestants back in January was that this contest is not like the television show, and a great goal would be to lose 25-30 pounds (2-3 pounds a week). So that is the conundrum...lose a lot of weight quickly to win the contest and be hit with a few side effects, or go slow-and-steady, and safely, for the long hall. Hmmm. You can answer that one. Just think, if you lost 2 pounds a week for the next 40 weeks...you'd be down 80 pounds, and 100 pounds in one year!
With only 3 weeks left in the contest and having not yet reached their goal weights, the Racers' fitness quest will continue throughout 2010. I know they are heading down the path of success and will step on the scale one day and see their magic number.
Message to the Racers... Look back to where you started. Look how far you've come in such a short period of time. You are ALL winners!
So for the next three weeks...keep this quote in mind...
"Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do." - coaching legend John Wooden
Here we are...at a very critical point in the Great Pocono Weight Race
. If you have been following the race over the past few weeks, you may have noticed that last week's weigh-in had the lowest total pounds lost from the group. Our contestants were, of course, frustrated. "How can this be?" and "I don't understand how I gained!" were a few comments made by the contestants as they stepped off the scale and walked into the disheartened hallway of racers.
The blogging, Facebooking and emailing that night was rampant with negative comments pertaining to the group not feeling the usual support they get from each other, and missing the typical excitement of "weigh-in night". So, at Saturday's challenge workout, I addressed the group about how everyone was feeling.
The common question was: I am working so hard...why did I gain weight or why was my weight loss so small?
Answer: Because you have already lost 20 -30 pounds in 6 weeks! Guess what, weight loss will slow down a bit. Are you still working out consistently? Still watching your portion sizes and food choices? These are very good questions to look into the mirror and ask. Rather than focusing on how the weight loss slowed down, think back to where you started, 20-something inches bigger and in poor health. You are not the same 12 people Mike and I interviewed in December.
So my advice was to refocus...Going forward for the next 4 weeks, let's not focus on the outcome (weigh-in Thursday) and focus instead on the process. Push yourself a little farther each workout, doing a little more work (either by increasing effort and resistance or increasing time of the workout), and clean up your diet. If you take in fewer calories and burn more calories, you will lose weight!
We are at a critical point of the race where some racers said that this is the point when they would typically quit. My response was...you can't quit! All 12 of them, 8 weeks ago when interviewed, said they all tried multiple diets in the past...and quit...but this time it is for good.
So if this time it is for good, I repeat...You can't quit!
No more negative talk, focus on the day-to day-tasks, and go out and buy your next pair of jeans (the next size smaller) and enjoy the ride...everything else will fall into place.
The Racers had a taste of winter last week...illness and a snow storm mapped out a bumpy road for most of the contestants. That being said...They still managed to lose 20+ pounds this week! And, we have a new leader...Beth!
We have concluded week 4 of the contest which marks the end of the initial fitness program. By now, the racers have done the same exercise routine week after week and are settling in their comfort zone. They all have learned the equipment, the frequency for lifting weights and do their cardiovascular exercises. Some have even mastered a few classes. So... it's time to take it up a notch!
Saturday was challenge workout #2 and the racers had a guest appearance from Mike Sadowski (our organizer of TGPWR). Mike was sporting his workout gear and was ready to take on the challenge. Like Challenge #1, the racers were divided into 2 teams. Each person on the team was responsible for completing an event... pushups, dips, burpees in 60 seconds, an elliptical and bike sprint, and one of the toughest challenges of pushing the heavy bag back back and forth in the group fitness room. The winning team had a drawing for the prize (2 Personal Training Sessions)! The intensity and determination of the teams impressed me more than I can say...way to go!!! Thanks for joining us Mike!
Since our racers have such a great following, we decided to take the contest one step further... helping others in need. We will be selling "The Great Pocono Weight Race" t-shirts and will donate the money to the Diabetes Education Fund at Pocono Medical Center. We will be taking orders this week. T-shirt price is $15. Support the racers, buy and wear the shirt, and help out a local charity!
With a week of ups and downs, I feel the need to address something...
Up: Coming off of week 2 with everyone losing weight!
Down: A few frustrations due to illness or family members feeling ill, which prevented workouts at the gym.
Up: More incredibly generous people in the community giving prizes and awesome things for the contestants. Thank you Tom from Subway for giving away FREE subs and salads. Thank you to Gorman Chiropractic for giving away FREE care to the contestants. Thank you to Kevin's company for giving a pair of orthotics and a good pair of sneakers to the grand prize winner. Thank you to the Adam Mitchell Color Studio for giving all the contestants a FREE makeover the last week of the contest!
Down: A few contestants, barely maintained, or even gained, a little weight.
Are you following all of that? Good, and guess what... ups and downs are normal. That is life. BUT, what I need to address this week is that yes, while on any journey, there are peaks and valleys, most times, they are out of your control. What you can control is what goes on in your head. (What I call the interruptions!)
So, you can't make it to the gym for a few days because you have a sick child or something going on at work. How do you deal with it? Do you choose better food options or try to do a little more physical activity around the house? Or, do you feel sorry for yourself, make poor foot choices, and make excuses. Interruptions are the thoughts and actions that get in the way of your goal... your reason... your "why"!
As you read the contestants' blogs and get their point of view during the 11 weeks, I'll bet you nod in agreement to what they say. Maybe you have been there and done that. Maybe you are there right now and don't know what to do. In my opinion (of course, 'cause it is my blog) I love the fact that we all can hear what is going on in the contestants' heads throughout this contest. It is why so many people are following the race and reading the blogs.
As I read the blogs, I nod in agreement because I have heard it before, then I smile, because they are getting it!!! They are changing their mindset, essentially stopping the interruptions. They are acknowledging the fear of the scale, the frustrations, the soreness....but they are moving forward, not looking back. Instead of making excuses, they are figuring out what they can do better next time. I love that! They all are changing their lives, not just losing weight!
So, the the lesson this week.... Stay focused, stop the interruptions, and achieve....
Great job this week racers!
After much enthusiasm from week 1, the racers continued on their fitness journey to better health and a grand prize! Last Monday started off a little rocky for the group because there was one resignation. Although it was an alternate and did not create much change for the contest, it did create a little angst with everyone. I was very worried about the morale of the group because the support for each other has been so wonderful. Collectively, we felt bad, but then wished our former alternate luck to continue her quest on her own.
So many exciting things happened last week...
Gorman Chiropractic visited on Thursday to inform the racers that they would be receiving free chiropractic care for the length of the contest! Also, they announced the winner would receive free care for a year! Many thanks!
Thursday weigh in was another success with everyone losing weight! 46 pounds lost.
All of the contestants signed a birthday card for our trainer Alicia and while lining up in the hallway after weigh in, they sang happy birthday and presented Alicia with an apple and a birthday candle! How cool.
Christina Brecht, our nutritionist, gave a talk to the racers that was terrific. She addressed the psychology behind the "chronic dieter" and everyone in the room could relate. She gave feedback on using food journals and some very helpful suggestions. We're looking forward to her next visit... many thanks, Chris!
For Saturday's Challenge workout, Sarah and I worked together to challenge the group in a team competition. Red and Blue team, 7 events, group exercises, and a prize! We had a great time. Everyone pushed out of their comfort zone, impressing both Sarah and me, and confirming that they are in much better shape than when they started. We heard things like... "I would have never done that 2 weeks ago", "You kept up with April, great job", "The last time I did a burpee was 13 years ago".
The outcome...both teams tied and the winner of the goody bag was Kevin (who by the way shared his winnings). What a great bunch of people!
So without giving anything away...stay tuned because there are more surprises for the racers! Great job this week, Jennifer, Nicole, Nancy, Debbie, Barbara, Joe, April, Christa, Beth, Kevin, Robert, and Janet.
First, I want to say how proud I am of all the contestants and the 2 alternates
this week. I was figuring that last Sunday and Monday (days 1 and 2), every one of them would be at the gym starting off the contest much enthusiasm. To my surprise, it didn't stop there...Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday...they just kept coming into the gym, meeting with the trainers and each other for workouts. The energy was outrageous!
At this point, introductions to the weight room, pool, and classes are over, and everyone's just getting to work. I am amazed by the camaraderie and support I see in the gym, on Facebook, and in the blogs. What a great group!
Regarding last Thursday's weigh in... what can I say? All 13 racers show up to get weighed and see how the hard work had been paying off. If you can picture this... a room at the end of a hallway with the dreaded "scale" in it and 13 anxious people waiting to enter to see their results. After each racer (contestant) enters, we tally pounds and percentage lost. Lindsay excitedly announces the result for each racer into the hallway... then you hear the applause! The total lost was 85 pounds with each racer losing weight!
For last Saturday's group workout, I was the trainer and was a bit puzzled. What would I do with them? They all have been working so hard and the questions running through my head were...should I keep them in the weight room and cardio room...do they need a break...who is going to show up? My decision was to use the group fitness room... with a special surprise. We did a little cardio with the step, then strength training with the stability ball and dumbells, and ended with a stretch. I played music that the racers chose to make it more personal to them. They all got a copy of the CD (that was the surprise)!
But, the best part of Saturday's workout was that everyone made it through a workout that they never would have thought about doing just a week or two earlier. Way to go racers!
Jennifer, Nicole, Nancy, Debbie, Barbara, Joe, April, Christa, Beth, Kevin, Robert, Teri, and Janet. Keep up the great work!
Let's review so far: In the beginning of December 2009, Mike Sadowski of the Pocono Record posted an application for the weight loss contest. Within the first 3 hours, there were 40 applications (which blew Mike away).
It didn't stop there. December 22nd marked the cut off for applicants, with a final tally of 168 people! So, now what would we do? We could only take 10 contestants. With further probing and interviewing to find the most motivated, we narrowed down the 30 people interviewed to 11 contestants and 2 alternates.
Last Sunday, January 3rd, was weigh in day, meet the trainers, pre-testing, and photos! I think I can speak for all the trainers that were there... we were very excited to meet everyone and could wait for the contest to begin!
January 17th marked day 1 of The Great Pocono Weight Race...
I woke up on morning of the 17th so excited to read the Pocono Record and much to my surprise, it wasn't a 1/4 page spread...it was a full page layout! There was Jennifer Crosby with her story, Alicia and Lindsay demonstrating at home exercises, and my column. The first thing I did was show my husband and kids since for the past month I've been non stop talking about this huge event.
I checked in at the club on Sunday morning and we had several visits from our fired up contestants. Monday the 18th marked the day training sessions will be offered at both Elevations locations. Jenn will be training at Scotrun while Kate will work with the group at Marshalls Creek.
As I read the chatter (which by the way, has been so supportive and encouraging) and comments on Facebook, I became even more excited.
I'll be staying close to the Facebook activity. You will see my postings as a co-organizer (along with Mike) and from the trainer in me. Stay tuned! I will be sharing information over the 10 weeks as well as some tips. If you would like to follow the contestants in more detail, the trainers' involvement, and see some great results, become one of our Facebook fans!
Some tips so far...
1. Cut your portions down. The contestants have not met with the nutritionist yet, so I gave a little tip last week. In general, cut portion sizes down. When you go out to eat and your meal is brought to you, immediately put half in a take out container. You won't be tempted to eat everything on your plate and you'll have lunch for the next day!
2. Slow and steady will win the race, consistency will be the key to losing the weight and winning the weight race!
So, keep checking in, I will be blogging the next 10 weeks and tracking the journey of these 13 awesome contestants! Jennifer, Nicole, Nancy, Debbie, Barbara, Joe, April, Christa, Beth, Kevin, Robert, Teri, and Janet. Good Luck to you all!