Archive for the ‘Success Stories’ Category

Weekly Update 2 and 3

Monday, January 26th, 2009

“Biggest Loser” contestant Joelle Gwynn is a client at the CoachMeFit studio in West Bloomfield,  MI.  She works out with the owner of the studio, Catherine Munaco.

“Biggest Loser” airs Tuesday’s at 8:00pm on NBC.\

Catherine will be blogging weekly first-hand updates from Joelle’s training

(Oops!  Week 2 must have been busy!)

These past two weeks were difficult emotionally on Joelle. Week 2 and 3 aired episodes that portrayed Joelle as a slacker. It seemed that the cast’s attitude towards Joelle was less than cordial. Furthermore, Joelle was in the bottom two during the weigh-ins two weeks in a row. Joelle said this was the most difficult time on the ranch for her—Carla was putting a lot of pressure on her and so were her teammates. While this may motivate some people, it’s certainly not how Joelle is motivated. Because she is naturally quiet and not competitive, it actually defeated her more than it helped. It was initially hard to figure out what would motivate Joelle, but the more we trained together, the more I realized Joelle was motivated by positive feedback. What she really needed was a buddy (enter, Catherine!). While I feel it’s my primary job to give Joelle a tough, physically demanding workout, I also feel like she needs someone on her team. These past two weeks, we’ve tried to surround her with as much support as possible. Last Wednesday, after watching another difficult episode air the night before, she came in and said “I’m done worrying about the show. I want to focus on me.” SUCCESS! Let’s get rockin’

This week, Joelle and I also finalized a schedule for her workouts from now until the May 12 finale. We coordinated fitness class schedule with my availability and Joelle’s work schedule. When all was said and done, Joelle is working out a minimum of four hours a day, including multiple kickboxing classes, cardio interval workouts, and strength training sessions with me. We did allow Sunday to be a lighter day, so she could recuperate and prevent injury. Four hours a day is a lot for anyone, but it’s especially dense for someone who didn’t work out before starting at the ranch. Psychologically, Joelle mentioned having some difficulty getting her head around the idea of being skinny. Our schedule and workout plan put her on track to lose over 160 pounds since her initial ranch weigh in! That’s a lot of weight in a short amount of time. Even more noteworthy is that the last time she weighed less than 200 pounds was when she was ten years old. Joelle has literally never been thin—and the thought of success may take some getting used to. In the meantime, I’m keeping her on track and the weight is really starting to come off. Since starting at CoachMeFit, Joelle is losing weight at the same rate that she did while on the ranch. This is extremely encouraging. On the ranch, there is no job, no family, and few similarities to real life. It is infinitely more difficult to lose weight at home, where the demands of life can easily take precedence over working out. In this regard, Joelle seems most appreciative to have a trainer to keep her on track and motivated, although she has been teasing me about the phrases I use most as a trainer. She took a particular liking to my personal favorite, “Its only numbers”. I say it when we have 5 reps left and she’s hurting. Joelle said it puts things in perspective—only numbers! But I do use it a lot. I’ll have to scour the internet for some new motivating phrases.

As always, stay tuned…

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Going Functional in Grand Rapids

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

By: Brian Dokter

Manager, CoachMeFit Grand Rapids

“Functional training” is considered training that prepares the body for the actual demands of every day life. Well, when your everyday life is about to get more extreme, then your idea of “functional training” should follow. In Grand Rapids we recently adjusted the training of one of our clients to meet the needs of a missions trip he is heading on, and it is getting very “functional”.

Our client is heading on a trip to Burma to live the the life of a photo journalist that he supports. He is going to be hiking in the Burmese mountains to provide aid to locals, as well as to help his friend who through the lens of his camera, exposes the genocide that takes place there.  Needless to say, but there are certain people who don’t appreciate his presence, and there are times that swift action and movement is necessary, and it has to be done in very extreme mountain conditions, with 40-50 lbs. on your shoulders.

Since starting with CoachMeFit, our client has lost 30lbs and has improved his overall fitness greatly, but now his life could depend on that level of fitness. Let’s just say he has an increased level of motivation. And we are training him in conditions as similar to the demands he is about to endure.

Every warm up and cool-down periods on the treadmill and elliptical is done with a backpack with 35lbs. in it. He has been doing many single leg exercises to help improve his balance and strength. We also do lots of negative work on the stairs to simulate downhill climbing. Our cardio sessions on the treadmill involve the backpack with large amounts of weight and steep hill climbs.

He has loved the change and variety in his day to day workouts, but he really enjoys the confidence and strength he is building knowing that he will be prepared for the demands of his coming missions trip.

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Every Woman’s Plight: Dieting with Her Husband

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

By: Catherine Munaco

Owner, CoachMeFit West Bloomfield

A few months back, Robin, the mother of my old college roommate called me to ask me a few questions about diet and exercise for herself and her husband. “Mark and I are going to go on a diet!” She explained giddily. My response was less enthusiastic, but she assured me that Mark was a “meat and potato guy” who was “simply getting dragged along for the ride”. I had heard it before, but I gave her my advice on cardio routines and we were on our way.

Less than six weeks later, Robin called me in a fury to explain Mark’s “diet”. “He weighs himself in the morning,” she lamented, “and if he weighs more than he did the day before, he skips his morning muffin. If he weighs less, he eats his muffin.” She paused before exploding: “HE’S LOST 15 POUNDS! I’VE LOST ONE AND I NEVER EAT THE MUFFIN!”

If this were a rare occurrence, women wouldn’t have such a disdain for watching a male significant other drop 5 pounds in a week by eliminating his midnight snack. But instead, woman after woman has returned disgruntled after attempting to diet with her man.

So why is it so easy for men to drop weight compared to women? The easiest answer is the most annoying one: men’s body compositions are simply designed to burn more calories. Anthropologically speaking, men were the hunters and the protectors. Women had to bear children (which also means fatty breast and hip tissue). As we evolved, men continued to have more muscle mass than women in part because the males that survived had higher muscle masses and the strength to kill for food or protection, and the females that survived had the fat stores to carry healthy children to term. Because muscle is an active tissue, it burns more calories at rest than fat. Men have substantially more muscle than women, both because they have a lower percentage of body fat than women (A healthy level of 8-19% for males compared to 21-33% for women) and also more mass in general. In analyzing body fat, a body is generally divided into two groups: Fat mass percentage (FM) and fat free mass (FFM), which includes muscles, bones, and organs. If we compare two individuals with healthy body fat percentages (a 135 lb woman with a FM of 27% and a 165 lb male with a FM of 14%) the female would have a FFM of 98.55 pounds and the male would have a FFM of 141.9 lbs. That’s roughly 43 more pounds of active tissue for the male. It’s no wonder that skipping a morning muffin can still lead to weight loss when a man’s body will almost always have higher rate of calorie burn at rest (also called resting metabolic rate, or RMR). Whether it’s running outside or watching a movie, women simply do not burn as many calories as men.

To be fair, men have a similar frustration when they reach 30 and realize they can’t eat like they did in college. I call this the plight of the 30-year-old male. Part of this is because careers and families make it more difficult for a man to regularly exercise like he did in his college bachelorhood days. But even more significant is the fact that testosterone levels first start to drop at 30 in males. In some men, testosterone can drop by as much as 2% every year after 30. Among other things, testosterone is responsible for muscle development. (The significantly lower level of testosterone in females is another reason female muscle masses are lower than in males. Sigh.) After puberty and throughout the 20s, when testosterone levels are highest and males see their peak muscle mass, an average man can practically eat whatever he wants and not gain significant weight, as long as he remains relatively active. At this age, men are caloric vacuums. Their bodies can literally burn calories while they sleep. But when 30 hits and testosterone levels drop along with activity levels, men who are conscious of their weight often find themselves nibbling on carrots and whole bran cereal right along with the women in their lives.

The bottom line is that many factors contribute to muscle mass in both females and males. Muscle mass is directly linked to resting metabolic rate, or calories burned at rest. RMR is considered the baseline for measuring caloric expenditure. The intensity level of an activity can be measured by how much greater it is than RMR. If an activity burns twice as many calories than RMR, it is considered to be 2MR, if it burns 9 times more calories per minute, its considered 9MR, and so on. It makes sense, then, that a higher muscle mass leads to a higher RMR, and also a higher caloric expenditure in any activity. There’s not much a woman can do to increase her testosterone levels to those of a man, nor should she want to (a plethora of complications could arise). But women can still fight the weight loss battle more effectively by increasing their own muscle mass. And by staying away from diets with men and muffins.

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Personal Training Success Story

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

Everybody has different reasons for working out. Some of our clients want to lose inches and pounds, some want to improve their 5k times, and some simply want help improving the quality of their lives. Here at the CoachMeFit studio in Grand Rapids, we have seen success in many ways for our clients, and recently, we helped one of them enjoy the trip of her lifetime.

Ann Marie came to us looking to lose a few inches and pounds, but as we began to achieve those milestones, her goals began to change. Ann Marie scheduled a trip to Italy with her sister. This trip was going to cover a lot of beautiful territory they had wanted to visit their whole lives, and it was going to cover that ground mostly on foot. Ann Marie was worried that given her age and weight she would not be able to keep up with the pack or see all of the things she wanted to. We trained for several weeks with her trip to Italy specifically in mind. We focused on strength training with her lower body and maintaining it’s flexibility, as well as getting her heart and lungs ready for the cardiovascular demands.

Ann Marie returned home from her trip to Italy with a large smile on her face when she walked back in to the studio to resume her training. She was able to not only keep up with the pack, but said she often found herself waiting for them. Not once was she tired or sore and not once did her health keep her from seeing anything she wanted to see. She was very thankful that she put in the physical work that was necessary for her trip, and she was glad that her trainer at CoachMefit was able to help her do so.

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Weekly Update #5. Celebrity Status.

Friday, October 24th, 2008

The Biggest Loser airs Tuesdays at 8pm on NBC

Shellays celebrity status went up several notches with her live appearance on the Today Show last Tuesday. “I live in my workout clothes. Wearing Spandex is my signature,” she confirmed to a nationwide audience. Her “before” photo showed the dramatic difference the loss of 60 lbs has made in her body.

Shellay admits that her lifelong failure to lose weight led to an overall feeling of failure. She couldn’t muster the physical energy and confidence to work outside her home. Her husband encouraged her to “just get moving.” Now her “head is spinning” with ideas of what she wants to do with her life after December. In trying diet after diet, she learned what eating habits to adopt to lose weight. It was the role of exercise that surprised her.

There are greater challenges to losing weight at 51, than at 31. You’ve been living with the physical consequences of being overweight for a longer amount of time, and as a woman, you’re dealing with menopause. But Shellay is overwhelming proof that if you are determined you can transform yourself regardless of age. For Shellay, support from her husband, daughter, and personal trainers is keeping her on track without a weekly weigh-in in front of the cameras.

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Oh, That’s Uncomfortable?

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

A cute story from CoachMeFit in West Bloomfield, MI:

I have a couple, Bob and Kelly, who I train three days a week at 7 am. I was originally reluctant to have to wake up before 6 am (I’m lucky to make it to the coffee pot at that hour) but Kelly and Bob’s comic interactions make waking up early completely worth it. I often find myself laughing at their one-liners and quick jokes.

One morning I had them doing a combination move of a push-up followed by a dumbbell row in a push-up position. Physiologically, this type of exercise is demanding because it calls on two opposing muscle groups simultaneously (chest and back). The body needs to get blood and oxygen to both sets of muscles at once, and the heart rate tends to spike.

When I told Kelly and Bob what we were going to do, both of them looked at me like I was crazy, but got into a push-up position anyway. Bob started his set and got 4 reps into it before Kelly had even tried one. After doing one, Kelly tells me that it was too hard and she’s going to do them on her knees. Two repetitions later, Kelly looks at me and says– oh-so-matter-of-factly– “Catherine, I’m not going to do these anymore. They are really uncomfortable.”

At this comment, Bob stops (mid push-up, obviously struggling with his 10th repetition, sweat dripping down his face) and looks incredulously at his wife. After a silent pause he asks sarcastically: “Oh. These are uncomfortable? I was really wondering what to call them. Thanks.

Kelly never finished the set. I was laughing too hard to care. Now, whenever I’m going to give Kelly and Bob something hard to do I always warn them they may be “uncomfortable” for the next few minutes.

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