Archive for September, 2010

Not enough time?

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

By: Jessica VanReenen, M.S. Clinical Exercise Physiology, Grand Rapids

Not enough time is usually one of first complaints I hear from clients when discussing exercise and eating habits. We all know that in order to lose weight we must expend more calories then we are consuming. Time is an important step in achieving weight loss, because it takes time, it does not just happen instantly. Not only is exercise an important aspect in weight loss but nutrition also plays a critical role. When I look at clients’ food logs, one of the main reasons for defeat in weight loss is because they do not take the time to plan ahead and do not pick the right foods. Having a plan will help you eat well! Here are some tips for eating well and shopping in the grocery store: 1.) Limit prepackaged foods: prepackaged foods contain a lot of sodium, fat and preservatives. 2.) Limit presweetened foods: Instead of buying presweetened cereals or yogurt (which contain a lot of sugar), buy the plain version and if absolutely necessary you can add a little bit of honey for your sweet tooth. 3.) Buy seasonal produce: try your local farmer’s market. 4.) Limit empty calories: Sodas and alcohol have lots of sugar and empty calories and no nutrients so why waste your money? 5.) Learn to read labels: the fewer the ingredients the better, avoid trans fats such as hydrogenated oils, and keep your saturated fats under 5 grams a serving. Watch for hidden sugars such as dextrose, corn syrup that may not be listed at the top of the ingredients. 6.) Plan a menu: don’t have time? That is probably not true, especially if you have time to sit and watch T.V. Plan a menu while watching T.V.! Having a plan will prevent you from impulse buying things you may crave at the store, and also allow you to plan healthier meals and not be tempted to eat out all the time. Remember, practice makes perfect. Try some of these steps here and there and make time to do them because you will benefit in the end!


Take Control of Yourself!

Sunday, September 26th, 2010

Kelly Kalbfleisch, NPTI Certified Personal Trainer

Manager of CoachMeFit Ann Arbor


As I began watching the new season of The Biggest Loser, I became overwhelmed and saddened at the number of people who are struggling with obesity.  We have clients in our CoachMeFit studios who could easily be candidates for the show.  I love The Biggest Loser because it shows what these overweight  people can actually do, physically and what barriers need to be broken down, mentally, in order for them to succeed in his/her journey in fitness and life.  I do get frustrated because the contestants on the show lose an amazing amount of weight in a short period of time and some of my clients think they should be able to do the same.  Everyone needs to keep in mind that these people are working out hours a day and being provided the necessary nutritional needs on a daily basis.  I can give my clients the nutritional knowledge and workout routines needed to succeed, but it’s ultimately up to each individual to want to make the change and believe he/she can.  People want the easy way out.  If everything in life was easy, we would all be thin, healthy and happy without having to put forth much effort.  Life is full of challenges and tests to make us better and healthier people.  You control who you are and your happiness.  Maybe you don’t have a lot of control over much in your life, but you do have control over the most important thing ever, yourself!  Take the power within you and apply it to your new healthy lifestyle.  Here’s your challenge for this fall:

Set one or two short term goals and write them down.  Seeing them will make it more believable.

Don’t jump into everything all at once with fitness and nutrition, if you need help with both.  Pick one area and stick with it for at least 30 days.  A habit begins or breaks in roughly 30 days.

Call on someone to help you if you can’t do it alone at first:  A trainer, family member or friend who will hold you accountable.

One particular person on this new season of The Biggest Loser caught my attention.  Her name is Shanna and is a grade 3 breast cancer survivor.  She said she had no control over cancer, but she does have control over one area that could prevent it from coming back, which is her weight loss.  My mother is a grade 3 breast cancer survivor as well and I will tell you it is the worst thing to see someone go through something they have no control over.  You have control over your weight and in turn, control over preventing other health problems along the way.  You owe it to yourself and others around you to make a change.


Rick Bloom, West Bloomfield’s Featured Client for Sept 2010

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

After my last annual physical my doctor gave me the predictable talk that I had to lose weight.  The doctor has told me this in the past but like most of us, it goes in one ear and out the other ear.  However, this time there was a little more sense of urgency.  His tone was different and he let me know in no uncertain terms that I had to lose weight.  Of course, it’s not like I didn’t know that I had been putting weight on; however, I tried to ignore the situation.  That being said, after my conversation with the doctor I decided to get serious.

After talking to the doctor I decided that my course of action would be two pronged.  The first would be to sit down with a nutritionist to develop better eating habits; something that I know I was lacking.  The other part of the equation that the doctor had recommended was that I start an exercise program and he thought that a personal trainer would be something that I would benefit from.

The thought of going to a personal trainer was not something that I was looking forward to.  In fact, I couldn’t decide what I looked more forward to, going to the doctor or going to a personal trainer.  Although I have consistently ridden an exercise bike I’ve never had a personal trainer (never wanted one) nor did I do any type of formal exercise program, and it certainly was not something that I was looking forward to.  However, after realizing that there were no simple solutions to getting in better shape; in other words there was no magical pill that I had always hoped and prayed for; I did decide to engage the services of a personal trainer.

Before I decided to hire a trainer I did some research as to the different types of training facilities and personal trainers. I didn’t want to make my exercise routine a social event or anything of that nature, nor did I want to be intimidated by a bunch of no-neck body builders.  Therefore, I decided what was best for me would be a private studio.  In that regard, after doing some research on private studios I decided on CoachMeFit.

As painful as it was I did decide to call CoachMeFit for the initial appointment.  When I called I expressed my concerns and the fact that I was out of shape.  I was assured that I had nothing to worry about (yeah, right) and I made my initial appointment.  I wasn’t sure whether I should have a male trainer or a female trainer; it really didn’t matter much to me although, in the back of my mind I was thinking who would laugh less at me.  Anyways, it was recommended I meet with Travis Kneale.

Whether it was good luck or fate, I don’t know, but I could not have a better trainer than Travis.  Travis has been a joy to work with.  He has been upbeat and encouraging without being patronizing.  He has designed my workouts so that every session has been new and challenging.  When I leave the studio I know that I’ve had a workout and I have a sense of accomplishment that feels good.

Travis has been an incredibly patient trainer.  Never having done anything like this before, I certainly think I have been a challenge for him; however, you wouldn’t know that from Travis.  He has been understanding and always encourages me to do my best.

What I also like about Travis is that he doesn’t let me wimp out, while at the same time he is not a drill sergeant.  If I’m not doing something that I should, he has no hesitation to let me know in a positive and encouraging way.  I have no doubt that I could not have reached the results I have without Travis’ assistance and guidance.

My friends and family are constantly asking me how much weight I have lost.  Truly, I don’t know.  I have never been fixated on weight and as far as I am concerned, it is just a number.  However, what is important to me is the pant test; in other words, my waistline.  Since I have been training with Travis and following what the nutritionist has told me, I have literally taken about eight inches off my waistline.  I have put some muscle on (I think) and I know I have more strength and stamina.  However, the most important thing has been the shrinking of my waistline.

For anyone who is thinking of using a personal trainer, I cannot think of a better trainer or a person to deal with than Travis.  My only regret is that I didn’t start this sooner.

After my very first session with Travis, I think I saw my life flash in front of me.  I didn’t think that there would be a session two.  However, I’m now completing my six-months of training and I couldn’t be happier with the results.  Do I like my sessions?  Honestly, not really; however, I do love the results.

Rick Bloom                                                                                                                                             


Cardiovascular Risk Factors

Thursday, September 16th, 2010

By Jessica VanReenen, M.S. Clinical Exercise Physiology, CoachMeFit, Grand Rapids.

At CoachMeFit, Grand Rapids, community members now have the ability for a brief look into cardiovascular screening.  The major risk factors for cardiovascular disease are: 1.) age, men >45, women>55 years 2.) family history, heart disease in your family 3.) cigarette smoking, current smoker or past smoker, 4.) sedentary lifestyle, not doing any current physical activity 5.) obesity, a BMI over 30 6.) hypertension, blood pressure >140/90 mmHg 7.) dyslipidemia, LDL cholesterol over 130 mg/dL or HDL <40 mg/dL 8.) prediabetes, a fasting glucose level >100 mg/dL.  If you meet any criteria for these risk factors then you will be put into a risk stratification category. Low risk for CVD is have <1 risk factor, moderate risk is >2 risk factors, and high risk is if you have known cardiovascular disease or signs and symptoms relating to cardiovascular disease.  It is vital to each individual to be aware of these risk factors and make the necessary lifestyle modifications in order to decrease his or her risk for cardiovascular disease.


Ann Arbor Featured Client for Sept 2010

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Post by: Kelly Kalbfleisch, NPTI Trainer

Manager of Ann Arbor CMF

I want to take more time to give proper recognition to those clients, here in Ann Arbor, who have met or are on their way to meeting their goals.  One in particular, David Fry, shared his story with me this month.  David is the perfect example of how dedication and the proper mind set will allow anyone to reach his/her goals.  Be inspired by his story, as I was. 


I grew up in Pennsylvania in a family of overweight people. There was no appreciation for eating right or getting regular exercise. But even among my loved ones I stood out. I was an obese child who became a morbidly obese teenager, carrying 350 pounds on my 5′ 7″ frame by the time I entered college. My weight defined my life.

After my freshman year I put myself on a starvation diet of my own design. By eating less than 500 calories a day I lost more than 150 pounds in six months. This was an extremely stupid thing to do and some of my internal organs turned against me. But I was young and ultimately regained my health. I was thrilled with my new body and I lived the life I had always been denied. I was physically active throughout my 20s and kept my weight off with no particular effort.

In the mid 1990s I moved to Ann Arbor with my wife and started a new business. I resumed my bad eating habits and sedentary lifestyle as I focused on my work, and I started regaining my weight rapidly. But I kept telling myself, “It’s okay, I’ve lost weight before. I can lose it again when I need to.” Somehow I just never got around to it. Ten years later I finally had to deal with the consequences when a bout of severe dizziness and confusion led me to a local hospital. I weighed over 400 pounds and had extremely high blood pressure, with a host of other medical problems around the corner.

That scared me enough that I finally started to address my problem. Over the next few years I slowly lost 60 pounds by eating a little better and getting more physical activity. I didn’t really make progress, though, until my wife and I joined Coach Me Fit and began working out with Ann Marie Furlong. Even when I was young and active I never had done any structured weight training, so Ann Marie’s workouts were a new experience for me. I remember being so exhausted in the first few months that several times I drove home and fell asleep in the car in my garage before going inside the house. Ann Marie was the perfect coach for me. She challenged me to push harder each time, but she didn’t come on strong with a “drill sergeant” attitude. Some people respond well to that but it probably would have been counterproductive with me. I think a good personality match with your trainer is very important.

Over the next two years my physical fitness and stamina improved greatly but I only lost about 20 pounds because I still wasn’t watching my calorie intake. I used to joke that if they had an Olympics for people with a BMI over 50, I would do very well! Good health truly is about “fitness” and not just “weight loss,” but I still had face the facts about my diet. Late last year I signed up for a service called BistroMD that delivers frozen, pre-packaged meals to my home once a week. Starting right before Thanksgiving (great timing, right?) I began eating 1,200 to 1,400 calories per day while continuing my regular Coach Me Fit workouts. I also started using an iPhone app called “Tap N Track” to measure all the calories I ate or burned up through exercise each day.

The results were immediate. I lost 25 pounds through the holiday season, which encouraged me to stick to my diet. And the weight loss made it easier for me to workout so I was able to increase my physical activity throughout the winter. Ann Marie started giving me more challenging workouts at Coach Me Fit, and in the spring I rediscovered my old love of long distance road cycling, something I hadn’t done in more than 15 years.

Today I’m happy to report I’ve lost 100 pounds since November 2009. I’ve dropped eight clothing sizes, I’m no longer taking blood pressure medicine, and my cholesterol level is now well within the healthy range. But more than that, I can barely describe how much better I feel every day, whether I’m rushing through a crowded airport with heavy luggage, riding my bike to Brighton and back, or simply trying to fit into a seat at the movie theater. Obesity means making compromises with yourself every day, and I finally decided I didn’t want to do it anymore.

I know my struggle isn’t over. I still want to lose another 40 pounds or so but, even after that, good health is a lifelong commitment to smart food choices and regular physical activity. Coach Me Fit will continue to be a part of that for me.

I have two pieces of advice for anyone who’s facing similar challenges: First, don’t wait to get started on a healthy lifestyle.   As I learned, time is not your friend. Each week it just gets harder and harder to change bad habits, and you just find yourself farther and farther away from where you need to be. As they say, “when you find yourself stuck in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging.”

Second, you don’t have to solve all your problems at once. Do you what you can, when you can. Each step forward is progress. You can see in my history that I rapidly lost a huge amount of weight when I was young, but I did it in an unhealthy way that didn’t really include a conscious change to my lifestyle. And so my weight rapidly returned. My current weight loss adventure has actually been multi-phased, lasting over five years. The people around me have noticed the big physical change in the last 10 months, but my brain started making the necessary adjustments several years ago.

If you’re reading this, that probably means you’re a Coach Me Fit client or thinking about becoming one. So then “Congratulations” on a great first step towards a healthier life!


Thank you for sharing your story, David.  Congratulations on all your progress.  I’m excited to see you reach more goals as you continue on this healthy living journey!!