Monday, November 30, 2009

The Biggest Loser- week 10- Losers, Losers Everywhere. . .

Week 10 of The Biggest Loser was not limited to just the show on Tuesday. There was also the Where are They Now? special on Wednesday, Jillian popping up at the Thanksgiving Day parade on Thursday and the Suze Orman show on Saturday. Instead of giving you a play by play of what happened, I thought I would list my favorite moments out of all of these moments. The Biggest Loser really is a nationwide movement. And apparently channel wide.

RECAP OF THE BIGGEST LOSER:

It was the last week on campus, and Country Liz was kept over firefighter Allen. WHAT? Was Rudy behind this? It was actually Amanda, using female solidarity as her reason.

I felt the scorn of all of America as I was the only one who thought Liz was going to stay. I don't know how I am the last one standing on the Liz band wagon, but it was lonely up there. I watch a lot of reality television, and I knew that GAME PLAY was going to be in full effect. Allen was a tough competitor. Of course he was going! Liz is no Helen.

He looked great on Leno, and schooled Charles Barkley and Jay on some healthy eating.


RECAP OF THE BIGGEST LOSER WHERE ARE THEY NOW:

I have watched almost every season of BL, and it was nice to see that the bulk of the former contestants are still going strong and are spreading the message of health and wellness wherever they go.

  • Jerry, Colleen's dad from season 6, has gone from 380 to 262. At the age of 52, he is now healthier than he has been in years- and is RealAge has gone down from the 76 years it was when he arrived at the ranch.
  • Mallory from season 5 went from 217 and is now a personal trainer.
  • Pete Thomas from season 2 went from 401 pounds to 238, and he has a little rhyme: "Sexy, strong, and great as I maintain my weight at 238!" He is paying it forward by being a motivational speaker and personal trainer.
  • Drea from season 1 went from 215 pounds to 160 and runs a not for profit organization called HealthWorks that is striving to get inner city women in better shape.
  • Mark and Jay, the brothers from season 5, are now running road races and have kept their weight at 185 and 207 respectively.
  • Season 2's Matt and Suzy are now married and have two children. They are keeping their weight at 237 and 175, and Matt competed in the Kona Ironman. This was the most awe inspiring and tear-filled parts of the show. He missed being a qualifier by only 3 minutes, but he finished the race and inspired so many people to think they can do it, too.
  • Nicole and Damien from season 7 have gotten their weights to 155 and 253. They got married, and now are both personal trainers and gearing up for parenthood.
  • Nicole from season 4 is now 174 and a radio DJ at a station in Philadelphia.
  • Jerry and Estelle from season 7 are still going strong and spending time with the grand kids and being motivational speakers for older people who want to start getting fit.
  • Mike and Ron from season 7 are still small and have motivated the youngest Morelli, Max, to also lose over 100 pounds. Mike is now a freshman at Michigan State University intent on gaining the freshman 15 in muscle. Max lost his weight at The Biggest Loser Resort in Utah.
  • Tara Costa from season 7 is still at 165 and is a marathon runner and organized a run in her hometown of Bethpage, New York.
  • Jaron from season 3 is a svelte 200 pounds and competes in triathlons: Most recently in the Beach 2 Battleship Triathlon.
  • Julie Haddon from season 4 is little tiny! She works out 5 to 6 days a week with a Jillian Michaels treadmill and has adopted a baby since her season wrapped.
  • The most hated player (maybe more than Trazy) is Vicky from season 6. She is still 150 pounds, but offers these words of advice, "Keep your mouth shut".
  • Felipe and Sione from season 7 are still motivating the Tongan community in Arizona. They offer weekly workouts and lower calorie luaus for their families and friends.
  • Dan and Jackie, the mother and son team from season 5, are busy promoting Dan's country music career. Nothing says rock and roll like traveling in a tour bus with your mom.
  • Michelle Aguilar, winner of season 6, has been working with the Texas state legislature to redefine state health. She also is newly married.
  • Ali Vincent, the first female Biggest Loser in the world, is keeping herself trim at 125 pounds. She has gotten her mom, Bette Sue, down to 160 pounds. Ali has written a book, and is a spokesperson for The Biggest Loser franchise.
  • Twins Bill and Jim from season 4 are now certified Spin instructors, motivational speakers, and Jim is still a kick ass cop.
  • The adorable Bernie Salazar (one of my all time faves) from season 5 weighs in at 160. He has written a book called Monstercise to help kids get in shape.
  • A lot of past season's contestants met in Detroit for a half marathon.
  • Bob met with Erik, the season 3 winner who gained back almost all of the weight he lost. Bob has challenged him to weigh in at the season 9 finale.
  • David from season 3 weighs in at 224 and is a personal trainer.
  • Neil from season 4 has lost 211 pounds and finally got married to his long time girlfriend.

The show closed with some cool stats: 18,200 pounds have been lost on the show. But the real goal is to inspire it's watchers. And I know we have all been inspired by these people's stories.

RECAP OF SUZE ORMAN SHOW:

Love her or leave her, Suze speaks the truth about financial health. Jillian teamed up with Suze to talk about the relationship between your financial health and how that in turn affects your physical health. I know from personal experience that when I feel stressed out about money the last thing I want to do is workout.

Below is a clip from the show:



The finale is only 2 weeks away! My money is on Suze Orman's choice: Danny.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Foster Fitness Feature: 30 Day Shred with Jillian Michaels


In Jillian Michaels' world, there are no excuses. There are no reasons why you cannot be fit, you cannot workout, you cannot break through your mental barriers to find a stronger you. Alas, most of us will never get to be on The Biggest Loser ranch. There is a solution, however, for the need to have Jillian yell at you and inspire you to your fullest potential: The 30 Day Shred DVD.


The 30 Day Shred (Collage Video, $14.95) is a collection of three 20-minute workouts that range from "easy" to "hard", although none of the workouts are truly novice. If you are familiar with Jillian and her boot camp style, you know that she expects great things from those she trains, and you at home are no exception. She is followed by two women who do the easier and more difficult modifications, so there is always someone doing the level you are working on.


The workout itself is 20 minutes, but there is a brief warm up and cool down attached, making the workout really about 25-30 minutes in length. Each level follows Jillian's "3-2-1 Interval System": 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio, and 1 minute of abs. Lather, rinse, and repeat. The plan is to do 10 days of each level, but of course, you can customize to your own preferences. All you need for equipment is light hand weights and a mat.


Level 1 introduces you to the way Jillian teaches, and the moves are fairly basic but not unchallenging. She jumps right into the strength session with push ups on the toes, and some of the shoulder concentrated strength work is very tough. The cardio is also a challenge, mixing in jumping jacks, butt kicks, and jump rope to get your heart rate up.


Level 2 ads on to Level 1, but ups the intensity with more plank work and more complicated ab work. The plyometric factor also goes up in the cardio bursts.


Level 3 (my personal favorite) takes everything you have learned from Levels 1 and 2 and adds weights to the cardio activities, side planks for ab work, and lots of plank work and Super Mans in the strength sessions.


The workouts are really great stand alone, but you can also layer the workouts on top of each other for super calorie blasting. With such a customizable program with such great results (read my blogs of my own 30 Day journey in my 30 Day Shred Challenge posts), there is no reason not to put this DVD into your workout rotation.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Holiday Fitness Gift Ideas, aka Don't Buy Me a Sweater


(Original article with links to gifts is here at examiner.com!)


Need ideas for the Black Friday shopping rush? The gift of health and fitness is something that everyone needs! Here are some hot items to pick up for the ones you love.

Kettlebells: Although they've been around for years, the kettlebell trend is picking up speed in health clubs and at home fitness. These weighted wonders provide a way to work the muscles with a fuller range of motion than traditional free weights. The Body Solid Kettlebell set from Sears offers 6 Kettlebells in 5 pound increments (up to 30 pounds) for $199.50. Target is offering the GoFit Kettlebell set: A 10 pound kettlebell in fashionable yellow with a companion Core DVD for $29.99.

If you already own kettlebells, there are many DVDs that feature the tool. Collagevideo.com offers 8 different videos for all different fitness levels. My favorites are Amy Bento's Kettlebell Dynamics and Kettlebell Bootcamp with Angie Miller.

Heart Rate Monitors: Nothing says, "I care for your heart!" like a great heart rate monitor. There are many varieties on the market: Wireless, chest straps, time tellers, and calorie calculators. The most basic version is the Polar Fs1, which comes with a chest strap and tells time in addition to having stopwatch functions. On Amazon.com, it is $49.99. If you are pulling out all the bells and whistles, the Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS wirelessly tracks heart rate, speed, distance, pace, and calories burned. It also tracks your run with built in GPS. At Saks Fifth Avenue, it is $289.00.

Yoga Equipment: Escape the stress of the holiday season and start the new year in nirvana with yoga. Gaiam.com offers beautiful yoga mats in a rainbow of colors and designs. Target.com offers a beginners yoga kit from Spri that has a mat, yoga blocks, strap, and DVD for $37.99. Lucy.com is featuring yoga pants, tops, and tunics with free shipping during the holiday season.

Nintendo Wii: This game console is sure to be a winner with every member of the family. Not only for traditional video games, the Wii offers many fitness titles, from the hugely popular Wii Fit and newly released Wii Fit Plus, to EA Sports Active Personal Trainer and The Biggest Loser. The Wii console has a new lower price of $199.99, and the Wii Fit Plus with balance board costs $89.99 at BarnesandNoble.com.

Jump ropes, resistance bands, and food diaries are small, inexpensive, and fantastic stocking stuffers. If all else fails, remember that a pair of walking shoes are all you need to get your holidays off on the right foot!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cherie Lily Strikes Out

Here's the article on examiner.com!

What I am "F'd Up!" about today! Core and Powerstrike at Equinox Gym

I am a group fitness junkie. I LOVE to go to class. Although the bulk of my workouts take place in the four walls of my apartment, it is nice to get out in the world and see what everyone else is up to. Luckily through the magic of Twitter, I hooked up with my pal Cherie Lily and scored a guest pass to a Core class and Powerstrike class last Tuesday at the very slick Equinox gym on 92nd Street.

I was giddy and a little nervous when I walked into the gym. Equinox was abuzz with a member party, and all the machines were pumping with the after work crowds. Cherie was at the front desk when I walked in and welcomed me with a huge hug, which instantly put me at ease.

Don't be fooled, folks. Cherie is nice but she is an ass kicker!

The class took place in one of the gym's studios on the second floor. I love the facilities here- everything is super clean and in great shape. I couldn't help but notice a lot of the members looked the same. I grabbed a mat and a medicine ball and waited for the class to fill up with members.

While I waited, Cherie put on some great dance music- I found out later that this was her own "house blend". She likes to use her own remixes and says, "This is one of the things makes me unique as a group fitness instructor - I make my own dance music! When I'm making music, I think about what would be the most exciting music to workout to, that will get people motivated, excited, pumped up to push it outside their comfort zone."

Once class began, I was so thankful that I had been doing the Shred! All the ab and plank work I had been quietly cursing under my exhales and inhales came into play for 30 minutes during the Core class. Bicycle crunches, side planks, regular planks, twists with the medicine ball: You name it, I crunched it. My sides were sore for two days after class!

After Core, people hurried off to Zumba or other classes, but I stayed on for POWERSTRIKE. I love kickboxing. In fact, I own more kickboxing workout DVDs than any other workouts. So needless to say, I was totally thrilled to attend.

Powerstrike was created by Ilaria Montagnani, a real life Wonder Woman. Seriously, she looks like she drives an invisible jet and she could kill you with her bare hands. Here is some more information from http://www.powerstrike.com/ - "The Powerstrike programs reflect the ideology of founder and president, Ilaria Montagnani, who believes the body's potential is an unrealized resource. She has created workouts designed to push everyday warriors past their comfort zone, tapping into their own strength and ability to face the daily challenges of their lives." I know! Right?

I felt like a warrior, fo' sho'. With a pumping beat to guide me I punched, jabbed, hooked, crossed, chambered, and round housed for an hour straight. Cherie got in there and did it with us, and kept us all smiling through the sweat. It was exhilarating to get out all that pent up aggression and burn all those calories! According to http://www.livestrong.com/, kickboxing can burn around 696 calories an hour.

Core and Powerstrike classes are offered at Equinox: Check out http://www.equinoxgym.com/ for class schedules. To learn more about my new hero Cherie Lily and all of her goodness, check out http://www.cherielily.com/.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Biggest Loser- week 9- Tim and Tabitha Take Over Make Over

Normally my BL recaps are filled with all the dish that's fit to print. This week was make over week, and with the help of my Bravo TV faves Tim Gunn and Tabitha Coffey, the BLers made their outsides match their newly shaped insides. Pictures speak volumes, so I will let them. Bloggers note: I searched high and low over the Internet to find after pictures for this season's contestants and they are not out there. I am assuming because the results show is so close NBC is keeping a lid on it. So these are the pics I found!

Rebecca before and Rebecca after:


Amanda before and Amanda after:


Allen before and Allen after:


Country Liz before and Country Liz after:



Rudy before and Rudy after:


Danny before and Danny after:


Favorite show moments:
  • Danny's daughter saying she couldn't wait to start her journey.
  • Rudy trying to fend off Jillian's mind bullets and finally opening up about his sister who died of cancer when he was a teenager.
  • Liz pulling the age card when she is only 49.
  • Rebecca's face when she lost 3 pounds.
  • Amanda's face when she lost 9 pounds.
  • Danny pulling double digits 6 weeks in a row.
  • Rudy acting like he has a case of the crazies and accusing Rebecca of GAMEPLAY.

It was sad to see Rebecca go, but if you saw her on Leno, she looked ridiculously hot and sexy. Watch out Dan.

'400 Calorie Fix' for Holiday Weight Gain

Here is the article on examiner.com!

Friday, November 20, 2009

What I Learned from The 30 Day Shred

My goal in starting this blog was to find a way to write about the things that made me excited about fitness and then share that information with others. I wanted a community where people could come together and find their "thing": Like kickboxing? Pole dancing? Weight lifting? Whatever it was, I wanted to try it out and share it so that everyone can find what they love to do and stick with it. Why run if you hate running, right?

But I am only me, and my information is only as good as the people who read it. And if it is just me, well. . .that's not very helpful. I already know this stuff is good.

I started a Twitter account, and through the Twitterverse I started to make connections and meet people who, like me, had a passion for fitness and health. I didn't want to sell anything (Although I do, I hate being pushy. I find it supremely annoying.) or try to make anyone do my bidding. I didn't care if I had a million followers. My goal was to make as many real, meaningful connections as I possibly could.

Through all the muck and mire and BJ photos, I found Paula Seymour and her Celebrate Weight Loss site. I saw her call to action on a 30 day challenge involving Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred DVD. Since I already owned it, I thought, "What the heck. I could use some structure." I signed up, and met a wonderful group of women that I am so pleased to call my friends.

We Twitter daily, we watch The Biggest Loser, we share our joys and pains and frustrations. I never thought in a million years when I embarked on this journey that I could find real meaningful connections over the Internet (even though I met my boyfriend that way). The accountability and responsibility I share with these women is a powerful tool.

Here is what I learned:

1.) That I can find time to workout everyday.
2.) I own a lot of workout tapes. A LOT. Which means I never have an excuse not to workout.
3.) I am stronger than I thought I was.
4.) I can take control of my life.
5.) I can make time for all my secondary activities and my day job.
6.) I must make time for myself. It is not selfish.
7.) I am a motivator. This is what I was born to do.
8.) I have to walk the walk and talk the talk.
9.) I can leave my day job and get into the fitness industry where I belong.
10.) I am a BAD ASS. Even if I don't look like Natalie.

This 30 Day Challenge opened up so much for me. I am looking forward to the next challenge and the new year with much enthusiasm and optimism. And I am excited to see you all there.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge: Day 30- THE SHRED IS DONE!!!

Oh, did we ever think this day would come!?!

30 days ago I was feeling weak, powerless, unfocused. Today I feel strong, supported, and full of more hope than I could have ever imagined!

I will delve more deeply into what I learned from the 30 Day Shred Challenge tomorrow in another post. Today, let's celebrate today!

I completed Levels 1, 2, and 3 today. I skipped through the cool down section in 1 and 2, and focused on staying warm and keeping my heart rate up. I powered through with 5 pound weights, and was so impressed at how strong I have gotten! I didn't have to move down to lighter weights! The cardio bursts were done full out Natalie style. No Anita moves here.

I am filled with such a sense of accomplishment. And I am so happy that you followed me on my journey!

Onto the next challenge!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge: Day 29- 1 day left!

Hey Shredders! Can you believe that we made a goal and stuck to it- every day for thirty days? Anything is possible when you put your mind to it. Of course, I am still working on getting lasers to shoot out of my eyes. If looks could kill, mine would. :)

Did Level 3 of the Shred and ONLY Level 3 of the Shred. After last nights Core and Powerstrike classes (blog on it's way!) I needed to let my muscles rest and relax. So, I let them rest by doing the Shred. I know, it sounds silly to me too. I want that purse, y'all. I WANT IT!

Tomorrow I will be joining Lori (I think!) and will do all three Shreds back to back. Can't wait to see how far I have come! Let's finish strong and SHRED IT OUT!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Apartment Fitness: Total Core Pilates with Jules Benson

Here's the article on www.examiner.com!

30 Day Shred Challenge: Day 28- 2 days left!

Got an early start to my Level 3 Shred today because I have a date tonight. A DATE WITH FITNESS. What? I know.

During last week's BL tweetfest, I responded to an invite from fellow fitness fan and generally cool chick Cherie Lily. She is certified in many areas of training, including upside down yoga, and is a musician. She teaches some classes at the Equinox gym on 92nd Street here in NYC Tuesday nights: Core and Powerstrike.

Core sounds like what I think it is. Powerstrike sounds like a cardio kickbox class.
The Equinox schedule describes it as: Developed Ilaria Montagnani & taught by Powerstrike! instructors this karate/ kickboxing workout fuses authentic martial arts movements to energizing music.

Can't wait to tell you all about it! Plus, BL makeover show tonight with Tim Gunn and Tabitha. I love Tuesdays!!!

Monday, November 16, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge: Day 27- 3 days left!

Feeling amazing! I am really starting to see my waist shrink, my muscles in my back, arms, and legs become more defined, and my energy and enthusiasm for all things in my life (even house cleaning) have come back 150%.

I have forgotten how great it feels to have all your ducks in a row and how fitness plays such a big part in that. The past couple of years have been a bit of a roller coaster ride for me personally. My weight, whether good or bad, has been a reflection of that. It is nice to remember that I CAN do it. And this 30 day challenge has been just what I needed to get back into the swing of things!

Today I did Level 3 of the Shred, and paired it with Jillian's Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism. Even after 27 straight days of working out, this DVD is TOUGH. It was like the Shred had a baby, and that baby took steroids. But I'm feeling '>long, strong, and down to get the friction on.

Interested in my journey? There is another 30 Day Challenge beginning November 25th! Check out www.celebrateweightloss.com for details.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge: Day 26- 4 DAYS LEFT!

Shred like there is no tomorrow!

Level 3 of the Shred complete, plus 30 minutes of the 10 Minute Solution Slim and Sculpt Pilates with Suzanne Bowen (she's on all those Lotte Berk DVDs) DVD. I chose total body, upper body, and pilates stretch. It comes with a resistance band which is muy bueno and really ups the "pilates factor" aka butt kicking.

Looking forward to yummy dinner with my boyfriend and a relaxing rest of my Sunday.

See you all for THE FINAL COUNTDOWN!!!

DietTribe Season 2- episode 4- "Greatest Fears"

What are you afraid of? What is holding you back? I'm scared that I will end up gaining all the weight that I lost. I'm scared that people won't love me if I don't look a certain way. I'm scared of leaving my closet door open when I go to sleep at night.

Everyone is afraid of something, and this episode of DietTribe entitled "Greatest Fears" focused on the five women's fears and what hurdles they need to jump over to accomplish their ultimate goal: competing in the triathlon and losing 50 pounds. Or 35 pounds if you are Rita.

Day 62: Jessie meets the ladies at the beach, but instead of playing beach volleyball like last episode, they are all suited up in their swim gear to tackle an open water swim in preparation for the real deal. Tiffany is afraid that the ocean is stronger than she is. Rita doesn't like to swim in the ocean. But the ladies have only 6 weeks until they compete, and they need to know what they are really up against.

Swim Coach Diana Nyad meets them on the beach to guide them through this scary experience. We met her in episode 3 at the LA Expo when the women first were learning proper swimming technique. Jessie thought it would make the ladies a little more confident if they had her there to help. Diana asks them who is afraid and Rita and Tiffany immediately raise their hands. Rita is afraid to be out of control and Tiffany is totally out of her comfort zone. Even Jessie is nervous for the ladies!

The women will be swimming half the length they will be swimming at the triathlon- 200 meters. They run out into the choppy Pacific, and Tiffany is immediately slapped with a wave, knocking off her goggles. Rita and Laneesa easily take the lead, followed by Mary who starts to struggle with her breathing. Diana swims in to assist her, as Stephanie helps Tiffany who is really struggling. Mary is having a full blown panic attack, but Diana calmly talks to her and gets her to continue.

Surprisingly, Rita finishes first even though she was so apprehensive to start. She says the fear was her motivator- she just wanted to get out of the ocean as quickly as possible. Laneesa comes in second with ease. Stephanie and Tiffany tie for third. While Stephanie looks exhilarated and happy to have finished, Tiffany breaks down in tears. Mary came in last with Diana's assistance. She literally breaks down when Jessie goes to greet her. "It was a rough road," Mary said. But they made it.

Diana tells them she is inspired and heart warmed to see them overcoming their fears. And they did it as a team! Jessie couldn't be more happy that the ladies have been able to conquer every obstacle that has been put in their paths.

Day 63: Stephanie and Tiffany take their families to Knotts Berry Farm to spend some quality time. They tell their daughters how they used to be so large they couldn't fit on the rides. Now the ladies can strap in with ease- and Stephanie realizes that she has a new fear of roller coasters. She has so much fun on the first ride, however, that she decides to ride every ride in the park with her girls. Weight was no longer the issue. They could focus on fun and their families instead.

Then it is off to Laneesa's sister's house, where she is doing a little babysitting for her two nieces. We discover that Laneesa is a pretty fair singer, and likes to sing in front of her family. But she won't sing in public. She is afraid of being judged or being the center of attention. Something tells me that this will probably come up later. Maybe at. . .

Day 65: . . .therapy time with Stacy Kaiser. Stacy wants to focus on their fears and how they choose to overcome them. Stephanie says you just do it and it's part of the journey, like the ocean swim. Tiffany says she gets through the tough times because someone who loves her was there and they did it together. She says it helps to have someone to lean on.

I really believe this to be true. I know that with my friends I have met on Twitter and my blog help raise my level of accountability and diminish the fear factor. The 30 Day Challenges on my friend Paula's website make getting healthy fun because there is a team working together for a common goal.

Mary said that her fear turned into frustration, because the swimming didn't come easily to her. The frustration and fear turn into anxiety which triggered her panic attack. We know from last episode that Mary is a bit of a control freak. She felt exposed and unprepared. Rita, on the other hand, was panicked when she saw how far she as going to have to swim. She conquered her fear by just jumping in and doing it.

The swimming was so easy for Laneesa, but singing in public is not. Stacy challenges her by signing her up to sing "America the Beautiful" at a local baseball game. Stacy tells the ladies that experiencing fear and getting through it is how change comes about.

Day 66: The ladies decide to kick up their heels and take a salsa class. Dancing can burn up to 500 calories an hour, and is a fun alternative to working out on a treadmill. Everyone was laughing, having fun, and breaking a sweat.

Day 67: The tribe and Jessie are at Bally Total Fitness, where Jessie is helping them make the transition into becoming real athletes. Up to this point, they have been focusing on mostly cardio activities. Jessie wants to up the ante and get them into resistance training. Resistance training slows down the aging process, builds bone density, mass, and strength. (Try Jari Love's DVDs for amazing strength training!) He also shows the ladies how to add a stability ball to their weight lifting practice to further engage their core. Rita says she can do it while she is watching television- an excellent idea!

Day 69: Mary and Tiffany are planning Stephanie's 40th birthday bash. They head to Fantasea Yachts to check out the accommodations and to try a tasting menu. Tiffany is worried because she hasn't not eaten cleanly in such a long time- she doesn't want to sabotage all of her efforts. The food starts to roll out: crab cakes, bruschetta, fillet Mignon bites, coconut shrimp, glazed chicken, and for the finale? Cheesecake. Bum bum bum.

Tiffany starts to freak out a little. She can't eat the cheesecake because she doesn't trust herself not to eat the entire thing. Mary coaxes her to take a bite. This is how they can learn to eat in moderation! They are using willpower not to eat the entire thing, and know that they will be working it out in the gym.

Day 71: The tribe heads out to watch the Orange County Flyers baseball team and Laneesa singing during the seventh inning stretch. She is incredibly nervous. She finds the strength to go on with Stacy, the girls, and her boyfriend Matt (they have patched things up) to head out onto the field alone and sing. She sounds great! And she manages to conquer one of her biggest fears.

Day 72: It is time for their 10 week weigh in! Jessie is worried that the ladies are going to start to plateau and he doesn't want them to feel discouraged. The weigh in has highs and lows: Laneesa breaks the 300 pound mark, while Rita and Tiffany feel discouraged by lower weight loss totals.

Tiffany: starting weight- 221 current weight- 192 weekly loss- 4 pounds loss to date- 29 pounds
Rita: starting weight- 177 current weight- 160 weekly loss- 3 pounds loss to date- 17 pounds
Stephanie: starting weight-244 current weight-210 weekly loss-5 pounds loss to date-34 pounds
Mary: starting weight- 210 current weight- 176 weekly loss- 7 pounds loss to date- 34 pounds
Laneesa: starting weight-336 current weight- 297 weekly loss- 6 pounds loss to date- 38 pounds

Jessie promises he will work one on one with the ladies who have lost less weight to get them back on track. The team weight loss was only 25 pounds, so they don't reach the goal of 30 pounds that was set for them. No fabulous prize this week.

Jessie sets the new goal at 25 pounds, and hopes the ladies don't get discouraged. The ultimate prize is their health and competing in the triathlon.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge: Day 25- 5 DAYS LEFT!

A late night blog post! Sorry to my readers, but I had to spend some time out in the world and away from the laptop. STEP AWAY FROM THE LAPTOP!

Splashed around in the New York rain today and went to see an AMAZING and fun movie, Gentleman Broncos. And had dinner at The Smith, which makes a damn fine burger. I love my treat meal day! Didn't eat the fries, though. Instead I subbed beats with goat cheese and bacon. Mmmm.

Today was my 20 minute Shred, and it was welcome! I was feeling sore-ish from the Trouble Zones DVD.

Thinking about what I want to accomplish in my next thirty days for my goal challenge: I want to gear myself for doing the Insanity workout in the new year. I want to up my cardio, and lower the days I do strength training. My usual routine is every other day strength and every other day cardio, with a yoga or pilates routine peppered in for good measure. I think I am going to do two hard core strength days, and one strength/cardio day, and then balance the other days with cardio and yoga.

But enough rambling! See you all for the Sunday Shred!

Friday, November 13, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge: Day 24

I really pushed myself today! WOW. Didn't know if I could do it, but I did!

I did Level 3 of the Shred AND did Jillian's Tone Trouble Zones. 70 minutes of working out!

Feeling good and thoroughly tired. Now off to work!

See you Shredders for the weekend Shred!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge: Day 23

Day 23? Where has all the time gone? I probably spent all of it working on my BL recap. :)

Level 3 of the Shred completed! Had to be a little careful with the jumping today, as my left knee is like a barometer when the weather gets chilly and likes to be creaky. I followed it with Jillian's Cardio Kickbox.

I've gotten the two new Jillian DVDs I ordered last week but haven't opened them yet. Trying to get up the stamina to do them with the Shred to go out with a bang!

Onward and upwards, Shredders! Day 24 is upon us!

The Biggest Loser- week 9- The Young and The Waistless

{Open with montage of contestants stating things like, "Week 9." "I can't believe it is week 9." "There are only 8 contestants left."}

Shay: I could be a finalist.
Dan: This is two times as long as when I was here last time.
Rebecca: I am so close I could taste it!
Shay: I've never given up. (REALLY SHAY? HOW DID WE GET HERE?)
Danny: I really want to be there at the end when they are shooting confetti cannons. OH. And I want to be The Biggest Loser.

{Scene opens in Calabasas, CA, home to the Biggest Loser Ranch. We see the contestants walking into a tree lined meadow. One Alison Sweeney stands radiantly next to what appears to be a game.}

Ali: Contestants. I know you have encountered a lot of obstacles. Sometimes you beat the scale. And, sometimes {heightened pause} the scale beats you. This week, it will beat two of you.
{Contestants look wide eyed and terrified}
Ali: This week is a double elimination. BUM BUM BUM.

Contestants: {overlapping} What? I can't believe it! Is this in the contract? et al.
Dan: I didn't factor this in when I was playing the game!
Rebecca: I am really great at math. If two contestants go home, that is 1/4!

Ali: There is the yellow line. And then there is a red line. If you fall below the red line, you will go home immediately. No voting, no elimination, no passing go OR collecting $200. Then the two contestants below the yellow line will have the regular elimination ceremony.
Contestants: {quietly} Watermelon, watermelon, watermelon.

Ali: And now it's time for THE POP CHALLENGE!

{Camera pans to backboards painted in the colors of the BL contestants that are competing. Each board has tennis balls stuck to it. }

Ali: The rules are simple. Grab the tennis balls and put them in your can. The first contestant to get all all their balls wins. And the prize? A one pound advantage at this week's weigh in.
Allen: WHAT? Why, a one pound advantage is almost as good as immunity! I want that prize!
Ali: Amanda, due to your tennis ball phobia, you will not be competing. Contestants! On your mark, get set, GO!

{Remaining 7 contestants run for their boards and begin to grab tennis balls. The summer sun beats down on them as their shirts become increasing slick with sweat. Amanda and Ali rest comfortably on the sidelines. The race becomes neck and neck for Allen and Rebecca, who only are separated by two balls. It looks close, but Allen is declared victor. Rebecca throws her ball and walks off in disgust.}

Ali: Congrats, Allen.
Allen: Thank you, Ali. Although I know that this is an advantage, I know this is not a guarantee. I vow by Thor's hammer that I will work out harder than I ever have worked out!

{Later that day: scene opens on the walking path on the Biggest Loser grounds. Camera shows Rebecca and Amanda furiously walking and gossiping even more furiously.}

Amanda: We have to cut Liz loose.
Rebecca: Yeah! She's old and we are so young.
Amanda: And hot!
Rebecca: Right. And hot. Liz is going below that red line. And then {makes cutting sound and draws finger across her neck} we'll get rid of all the other old people.
Both: Evil laughter.

{Same path, opposite side of the ranch. Liz and Danny mosey and talk like country folk.}

Danny: Gorsh, Liz. We country folks need to stick together.
Liz: Darn tootin', Danny.
Danny: I've been worryin' 'bout yer knee. Here's the deal: we oldin's need to work hard to keep you 'bove that red line. Ya hear?
Liz: Loud and clear, Danny. Those youngin's can kiss my grits.

{Next scene: inside the compound. Bob and Jillian enter into the waiting room where the contestants are drinking Brita water.}

Bob: Hi y'all!
Jillian: Where's Trazy? I wanted to give her a big hug. With my fists. {everyone laughs}
Bob: So what's up?
Allen: Well, we had a pop challenge.
Bob: Great!
Dan: And two people are being sent home this week.
Bob and Jillian: WHAT?!? {Bob faints.}
Jillian: Let's go to the gym.

{Contestants file out to go to the gym. Camera sees Bob and Jillian meeting secretly to discuss the fates of their contestants.}

Bob: Jillian, I'm so scared. {Jillian slaps Bob across the face.}
Jillian: Pull it together, Bob. We don't have time for the nice guy routine. People's lives are on the line.
Bob: How can we play God?
Jillian: Easy. Just listen to what the producers say and try to do the exact opposite. We need to save Shay, see?
Bob: But Amanda. . .?
Jillian: Enough about your girlfriend.
Bob: But Jillian!
Jillian: SILENCE! Here, chew on this. {hands him piece of Extra sugar free gum} Listen to me and listen to me good. Amanda is going to be fine. We need to focus all the intensity of my mind bullets on Shay this week. Get it? Got it? Good.
Bob: Wonder Twin Powers Activate!
Jillian: Form: a treadmill!
Bob: Shape: A kettlebell! {Jillian and Bob soar through the air to the gym.}

{Cut to: path outside the 24 Hour fitness gym. Bob walks with Rudy and Amanda.}

Rudy: I'm feeling weak, Bob. I don't know how I am going to make it.
Bob: There are forces conspiring against us. You must be strong. I need for you to repeat after me. I, Rudy. . .
Rudy: I, Rudy. . .
Bob: Do solemnly swear. . .
Rudy: Do solemnly swear. . .
Bob: That I will do whatever Bob asks of me this week. {Rudy hesitates.} SAY IT!
Rudy: That I will do whatever Bob ask of me this week.
Bob: Now smile and get in there. And don't tell Jillian I was talking to you! {hugs Rudy and Amanda, kissing them on both cheeks.} Now go!

{In the gym. We see the contestants on the treadmills under the watchful eye of Jillian. Shay starts to falter, but Jillian uses the force to keep her going strong. Everyone is going crazy, worried about falling beneath the red line. Danny screams.}

Danny: My hip! Oh, sweet LORD.
Jillian: Danny, you are done.
Danny: But Jillian-
Jillian: No "but Jillian". You are done, finished, finito, sayonara sucker.

{Danny runs off in tears. Shay is struggling on the StairMaster and lets out a whimper. Jillian focuses on her.}

Jillian: What's wrong Shay?
Shay: Everything hurts!
Jillian: Do you want to go home?
Shay: No, Jillian.
Jillian: I CAN'T HEAR YOU!
Shay: NO, JILLIAN!
Jillian: Get in plank. And stop crying.
Shay:I'm not crying! My eyes are sweating!
Jillian: As the great Billy Ocean once said, "When the going gets tough, the tough gets going." I'm going to make sure you don't fall below that red line. At least you'll be above that.

{The old folks team meets secretly inside the compound.}

Allen: Did you guys know that people are playing a game? {Rudy, Liz, and Danny look at him like he is stupid.} Maybe I should get in on the action.
Rudy: We need to make sure that we all stay above that red line.
Liz: They're gonna be gunnin' fer me. What with me bein' old and whatnot.
Danny: We'll watch out fer ya, Liz.
Liz: Better. 'Cause I'm gonna kill some youngin's and cook 'em in a low cal possum stew if'n I fall below that red line.

{Back at the gym. Jillian is focusing mind bullets on Rebecca while on the treadmill. }

Jillian: 45 more seconds.
Rebecca: I'm tired! 30 seconds.
Jillian: 45.
Rebecca: 30.
Jillian: 45.
Rebecca: 30!
Jillian: Either you do it or I will gut you.
Rebecca: I HATE YOU! You're not my real DAD! {Rebecca runs off crying to Amanda.}
Jillian: Kids. You can't live with them. You can't kill them. Legally.

{Amanda and Rebecca are in their girly pink fortress at the compound.}

Rebecca: Jillian is so unfair! Why does she want me to believe in myself?
Amanda: Dude, I totally did this two episodes ago.
Rebecca: Oh, right. I forgot. Best Friends?
Amanda: Best friends!
Rebecca: I love Dan- don't tell anyone! I just put it on my Facebook page!

{In another wing of the compound, Danny and Bob have a secret meeting.}

Bob: I know Jillian told you you were done, but you aren't!
Danny: But she told me I was finished! How can we defy her?
Bob: Because we just can, okay? Don't ask questions.
Danny: I came here to look at my skinny pictures. I'm hoping that with enough work I can rejoin my high school football team. Or at least fit back into my uniform. {Bob stares.}

{Next scene: we are at the circus. Ali and a bunch of clowns greet the contestants.}

Ali: Contestants! Today we are going to be jumping through hoops! And the prize?
Rebecca: We get to not hang out with the clowns?
Ali: IMMUNITY! It's on.

{Camera shows multicolor hoops, trampolines, and mats.}

Ali: You must jump through the hoop of your fellow contestant you want to kick out of the game. When that hoop has been jumped through 100 times, that contestant is done. Whoever is left standing wins the grand prize. Ready, set, JUMP!

{the contestants scramble to find who they want to eliminate first. The young folks focus on Liz. The older folks focus on Amanda.}

Ali: Liz, you are out.
Liz: TARNATIONS!
Ali: Amanda, you are also out.
Amanda: Dammit!
Ali: Dan, you are now out.
Dan: Rebecca!
Rebecca: DAN!
Ali: Allen, you are now out.
Allen: THOR'S HAMMER!

{We see Rudy and Danny tag team to get out Rebecca. Rebecca gets really mad.}

Rebecca: REBECCA MAD! REBECCA SMASH!
Ali: Rebecca, you are out.

{We see Rudy and Danny tag team on Shay. What we don't know is that earlier Rudy has promised Shay to help her if they are the last two standing. But instead of knocking out Danny, he has picked Shay. The drama unfolds.}

Shay: Rudy, what are you doing?
Rudy: What I should have done a long time ago.
Shay: But why Rudy? WHY?
Rudy: He is my friend, Shay. Wouldn't you help your friend?
Shay: But you were my friend Rudy? Remember? Why don't you remember?
Rudy: Why are you screaming at me?
Shay: BECAUSE I WEIGH TWICE AS MUCH! I GET TO YELL!
Rudy: I guess that just reflects your character.
Shay: What? What about my character?
Rudy: Your character is like school in the summer time. No class.
Shay: That doesn't make any sense.
Ali: Shay, you are out.

{Danny and Rudy finish out the game hand in hand. Rudy emerges victorious, gaining the immunity so many have sought. The contestants head back to the ranch.}

Liz: Tensions are high here at the ranch. Tensions are high.
Bob: What happened?
Rudy: I won immunity! Just like you wanted Bob!
Bob: Yes! Suck it Jillian!
Jillian: {from the other room} I can hear you, Bob!
Bob: Just kidding, Jillian! {laughs weakly} Alright y'all. Let's go fly around.

{Trapeze workout montage. After the workout, the contestants go back to the gym, where they are greeted by Jillian.}

Jillian: Did you have a fun time at the circus? Did you have fun on your TRAPEZE? Get in here and get on that treadmill. NOW!

{Contestants are shown killing themselves. Rudy rolls off the treadmill.}

Liz: I don't know how long we worked out, but when the work out was over, I was done.

{Camera opens on the weigh in. The drama is so thick and delicious, you could cut it with a knife.}

Ali: Who will the scale choose to be it's first victim? Will it be Rudy?
Rudy: Not me, Ali. I have immunity!
Ali: How about Shay?
Shay: I lost 17 pounds! No way I'm leaving!
Ali: Then how about Amanda?
Amanda: I only lost 5 pounds. Oh no!
Ali: Let's bring up your girlfriend.
Rebecca: I lost 10 pounds suckers! Sorry Amanda. Best friends?
Amanda: Best friends!
Ali: Danny, you are next.
Danny: 17 pounds! HOLLER! Just like Shay!
Ali: And you Allen. What say you and your one pound advantage?
Allen: 10 plus 1 is 11!
Ali: Things aren't looking good, Amanda.
Amanda: I KNOW!
Ali: Liz, you're up!
Liz: 12 pounds! SUCK IT KIDS! {does the Cabbage Patch}
Ali: Shay, that puts you BELOW the yellow line. BUM BUM BUM.
Shay: *gulp*
Ali: It's up to you Dan. If you don't lose 6 pounds, there is no room for third chances.
Dan: I've got this- oh. 5 pounds. Maybe not.
Rebecca: NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
Ali: Dan, you are below the red line. This means you are not the Biggest Loser. {Ali pulls lever and Dan falls through trap door.} That means Shay and Amanda must arm wrestle for their chance to stay. Just kidding. Vote it out.

{Camera moves to the compound, showing the contestants in the waiting room. Shay and Amanda plead their cases.}

Shay: You all need to feel sorry for me. Have I mentioned I weigh the most?
Amanda: I AM CUTE! Look at how cute I'm getting!

{Morgan Freeman narrates over the elimination ceremony.}

Morgan Freeman: In the end, it was the beauty that won this round. Apparently, folks didn't like that Shay was getting too small for her britches. And they sent her home. But her memory will live on at the ranch forever.

THE END. {black out}

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Don't Need the Ranch to be "The Biggest Loser"

Here's the article on www.examiner.com!

30 Day Shred Challenge: Day 22

After all the yelling on the BL last night, I continued with more at home "punishment". Having 8 days left in the challenge, I have decided to go all Jillian, all the time. Instead of trying different workout tapes, I am going to focus on my complete Jillian repertoire.

Did Level 3 of the Shred, and upped my weight on the clean and press to 10 pounds. Kept the 5 and 8 pound weights for everything else. Then I did The Biggest Winner: Maximize Full Frontal, the harder front workout of the series. I can tell you I wouldn't have been able to complete this with such ease (if you want to call my sweat dripping body ease) if I hadn't been doing the Shred. Feeling the improvements every day!

Onto Day 23!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge: Day 21

One of the most challenging aspects of doing this 30 Day Shred Challenge is trying to make it every day. Not just for me, but for all of my teammates who are rooting me on and expecting me to be up to the challenge.

It's true that I was tired and a little grumpus magoo after I FINALLY finished putting away my summer clothes and vacuuming the apartment. I sat on my couch and sighed, "I'm too tired." But if I wanted to Shred during the daylight, I was going to need to act fast as the sun seems to set around 3 pm around here.

I put in the DVD, I hit play. Jillian yelled at me. And I completed another day- DAY 21!

To my Level 3 Shred I added Turbo Jam Fat Blaster. It's a great cardio workout in only 30 minutes, using the "turbos" (intense bursts of cardio) from the Turbo Jam videos. It piles them all together so you get four great bursts with moments of recovery in between.

Now I am worked out, scrubbed down, and ready to watch and tweet during The Biggest Loser!

Only 8 days left! What are you going to do to make you feel proud?

Monday, November 9, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge: Day 20

20! 20 days of working out without interruption! Even when I did the P90x I got at least one day off a week. I'm feeling like a champ.

Actually, this morning, I felt like a chump for eating that popcorn. I think I had food poisoning because I felt AWFUL. Use your imagination, loves.

After the rain washed away the tears and all the pain, I did Level 3 of the Shred, increases my 3 pound weights to 5 pounds and my 5 pounds to 8 pounds. Shadow boxing with 5 pound weights is a challenge! And I like a good challenge.

I also incorporated Kickbox: Core Cross Train, a Gaiam workout DVD featuring my hero Patricia Moreno. It has a variety of different sections, each one about 15 to 20 minutes. I did the punching and kicking sections, and my core and booty are feeling it!!! If you want to learn proper form and Zen technique, and you don't have a ton of space, this video is for you.

Let's Shred these last 10 days, people!!!!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge: Day 19

I live in a five story brownstone on the third floor. During the weekdays, I am totally Natalie- full butt kicks, full rock star jumps, full double jump ropes. On the weekends, however, I am more Anita due to my downstairs neighbors! I would hate for them to hear my elephantine thuds shaking their chandeliers!



I did Level 3 of the Shred, and kept the strength moves with Natalie and kept the plyo moves with Anita. It was a tough day today because I ate movie popcorn (small, and I shared, but nevertheless) and I felt so GROSS afterwards. All bloated and puffy. The exercise actually helped me feel better, but I have made my boyfriend promise that he won't let me buy popcorn in the future even if I really want it because I always complain about feeling nauseous after I eat it.



I also did The Lotte Berk Method High Round Assets DVD. It is a combination of pilates, ballet, and Callanetics, and it is TOUGH! I thought it was going to be an easy stretching type workout. When you hold your leg out behind you at a 90 degree angle and do 30 small pulses? Not so easy.



The good news is that my high round ASSet should be on my shoulders by the holidays. :)



Hope every one's Sunday was great and onto day 20!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge: Day 18

Day 18 shredded! Today is my single workout day, and boy, am I happy. My muscles are SORE today! I'm feeling it mostly in my upper middle back and in my glutes, but my side obliques are really feeling it, too. Must be from upping my intensity! So, thanks to Jillian for kicking my butt.

I had my blood drawn yesterday for my thyroid check, and I probably won't hear anything until next week. I want to thank all my tweeties and blog friends for all their good thoughts! I hope to hear some positive news- maybe my sluggish metabolism will final be explained.

Enjoy your Saturday and I'll be here for Shred Sunday!

Friday, November 6, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge: Day 17

It is Day 17, and I am certainly feeling it! It's nice to know that all the hard work I am putting in is getting results-and I think ramping up the Shred was just the extra motivation that I needed!

I did Level 3, feeling all the core muscles I worked yesterday groaning- you haven't lived until you've done some Supermans with Jillian- and I did Karen Voight's Sleek Essentials 20 minute Sweat. Never hurts to get in a little extra cardio!

Onwards to my single workout day- yay 18! I'm so proud of all of us for doing this together. I get so much inspiration from all of you, and it makes it easier to get up and accomplish what I need to accomplish.

On a side note, going to the doctor today to get my thyroid checked- keep your fingers crossed for me that nothing bad happens!

DietTribe Season 2- episode 4- "Intervention"

Just like one of my other favorite reality shows with the same title, DietTribe has been intervening in these 5 ladies lives for almost 2 months now. But as we find out, it isn't only their lives that have been affected by poor choices and excuses. These ladies also have families that need to be fixed as well.

Day 46: Trainer Jessie meets the ladies on the beach to show them some fun ways to burn calories. He insists that if working out feels more like play, they can burn calories and have a good time. They play paddle ball, volley ball, and Stephanie shows us how surprisingly flexible she is by landing in a full splits position. Whoa. Beach volleyball torches a surprising amount of calories- about 500 calories an hour.

Day 47: Mary and Stephanie take their children and go to the grocery store. They start strong, insisting on shopping on the periphery of the store in the healthy areas. Then their children begin to nag at them. Slowly, they begin to drift towards the naughtier areas of the store: sodas, candy, cookies, chips. Mary gets so frustrated she gives in, and we see some no items ending up in the cart. These busy moms think that just a few bad snack choices are okay, as long as they are making healthy eating choices most of the time.

Day 49: All five ladies meet at Laneesa's house for a Stacy Kaiser intervention. But not for themselves: this intervention focuses on their children. Stacy has brought hidden camera footage to show their negative eating habits. When the parents aren't paying attention, their children are rifling through the cabinets, looking for chips, cookies, donuts, ice cream. Mary's daughter, Cheyenne, ate four snacks after dinner.

Stacy breaks it down, using a rule that my own parents used: the kids should have to ask permission to get any food from the kitchen. Then there is a parental choice being made. She shines the light on the women, making them say out loud the real reasons why they are keeping these terrible foods in the house, which include keeping the kids quiet, trying to make them happy, and thinking that there isn't any real harm in keeping these food around.

Stacy points out that giving in to their children is teaching the kids that they can manipulate their parents, and they are rewarding their bad habits with food. Basically, the women are instilling the bad habits in their children that they themselves are trying to break free from.

They all agree that things need to change, and Stacy announces the ladies will be meeting with celebrity chef Cat Cora to learn some healthy kids recipes.

Day 50: We return to the softball field where the show all began, and watch Team Misfits kicking some serious tail on the field. The ladies are so excited to see all the benefits of their hard work. They can run, they can catch, they can hit the ball and actually do it with ease. And they actually win their game! They win in other ways, too, by resisting the challenge of going to their friendly neighborhood bar and not ordering beer and cheesy fries.

Day 51: It is now Mary's time for some one on one with Stacy. Stacy was concerned over a statement that Mary made in a previous group therapy session: sometimes, she sits in the car outside of her home and doesn't want to come inside. She knows it will be constant chatter and it really stresses her out. We discover that Mary is a TOTAL control freak. If it isn't done the way that she wants it, she would rather do it herself. Stacy shows her that this behavior is the reason why she is feeling so stressed out. She must learn to delegate the housework to the rest of her family so she can become a happier, healthier, and less stressed mom.

Day 54: The tribe heads out to meet Cat Cora for a healthful snack and recipe session. Cat is a mother herself, and with a busy foodie empire, she knows first hand what the ladies must do to make some healthy alternatives that kids will love. She shows them how to make baked chicken fingers, trail mix popcorn, and frozen yogurt banana pops. I can't wait to try the popcorn (my fave!). All the recipes can be found on www.mylifetime.com.

Day 56: At Mary's house, Mary is teaching little Cheyenne how to make Cat's chicken fingers. It is a fun mommy/daughter activity, and Mary seems to relax a bit about the whole anal retentive business. She then sits down with her daughters and husband to delegate chores. Her eldest daughter actually volunteers to take on duties (crazy!) and little Cheyenne looks on in horror as she discovers she has to empty all the trashcans around the house and must ask for permission before she can get her own snacks. Looks like Mary is going to start being a happier mom.

Day 57: Jessie surprises the ladies at Bally Total Fitness by announcing that they were going to have a mini triathlon. They must swim four laps in the pool, ride six miles on the stationary bike, and run twelve laps around the indoor track. Jessie will be timing the race to make sure that the ladies are on track for the actual triathlon.

During the swim, Laneesa takes the early lead while Mary starts having breathing problems. Laneesa, Stephanie, and Tiffany finish first, with Rita and Mary following behind. Jessie tells the ladies he wants them to focus on the transitions between each event, and the two sisters race to hit the bikes first. Although Laneesa was first out of the pool, she is the third to reach the bikes. Her hip pain starts to kick in, and really slows her down.

At the thirty minute mark, Tiffany and Stephanie get to the track, followed by Mary, then Rita, and Laneesa falls into fifth place. Even though Rita finished fourth on the bikes, she is a whiz on the track, quickly taking the lead over the sisters. Tiffany is having a lot of trouble with the running but her sister offers encouragement to keep her going strong.

Rita finishes in first place at 49:15! Stephanie and Tiffany share second place at 50:17, Mary comes in at 51:43, and Laneesa is in last place with 54:30. Jessie is visibly proud of how hard the women are working and says they are right on top of their goal for the race.

Day 60: Time for the weigh in! The ladies are actually excited to see what the scale will say.

Tiffany: starting weight-221 current weight-196 weekly loss-6 pounds loss to date-25 pounds
Laneesa: starting weight-335 current weight-303 weekly loss-8 pounds loss to date-32 pounds
Rita: starting weight-177 current weight-163 weekly loss-4 pounds loss to date-14 pounds
Mary: starting weight-210 current weight-183 weekly loss-4 pounds loss to date-27 pounds
Stephanie: starting weight-244 current weight-215 weekly loss-8 pounds loss to date-29 pounds

The ladies reach their team goal of 30 pounds, winning their prize! This week's prize is a Nintendo Wii and WiiFit for themselves and their families to get more healthy and have more fun.

Their goal for next weigh in will be thirty pounds- at this stage of the game that is a lot of weight to lose, but I think this tribe is up for the challenge.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge: Day 16

I have seen the future, and it is Level 3.

Holy cow, folks. Hope you like jump training! Rock star jumps in the final cardio section are a literal butt kicker. We also upgrade our jumping jacks and butt kickers to weighted jumping jacks and weighted butt kickers.

It is a strong workout, and certainly doable after completing Level 1 and 2.

I also did Shape Bikini Body Bootcamp, a fun cardio sculpt DVD that has multiple workouts and DVD extras. It uses light weights and a resistance band, and has lots of cardio. It is almost the reverse of the Shred, and a nice compliment to the workout.

Leaping Lizards, onto Day 17! Shred it, folks!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Biggest Loser- week 8- Mr. Harper Goes to Washington. . .

. . .and Jillian, and all the BL contestants too! But we'll get to that in a moment.

Last week's tear-filled episode of the Biggest Loser moved many people, but it was time for the BL train to get back on the happy track and give us some inspiration. Ali steps it up right away, and informs the BLers that they will be traveling to Washington DC to make a positive change.

Will we be meeting the President? The First Lady? WHO!?!

The contestants get on the plane (courtesy of Jet Blue, of course), and they are all astonished that they can comfortably fit into their seats and use the seat belts without extenders. It was moving to share this with my BL tweeties, who have had similar experiences and know how embarrassing it can be. It was nice to see the contestants have a little "Extra" room and a big smile.

The nine remaining BLers walk around the Jefferson Memorial to meet Ali at the reflecting pool with Bob and Jillian. Ali announces that the contestants will not only be working out here to help Americans lead happier and healthier lives, they will be traveling to the White House to talk about health issues to some Congressmen and women. But not the President. Darn.

The contestants are also given their original colored t-shirts and told they are now competing as INDIVIDUALS. Huzzah! This is when everyone really has to step it up. Now Dan has to lose weight or he is screwed. GAME PLAY.

Shay is singled out by Ali and told that she is the only contestant that is still over 400 pounds. I forget that she is still up there- she has been such a trooper up until this point. Will she break through the 400 zone?

Then it is time for the POP CHALLENGE: Each contestant has one hour to get as many people to the Washington Monument to workout with Bob and Jillian as they can. Whoever gets the most people wins a special prize and dinner for themselves and all their new friends at Subway.

Subway? For dinner? Now I'm wishing Curtis Stone was there to make a fancy meal. Subway is a lunch place.

The contestants run into the city to start collecting people. How are they going to get them to join? Danny starts propositioning tourists like a politician, promising that they can meet Bob and Jillian. Amanda uses her clout from being on the finale last season to get a group of teens to join her ranks. Rudy gets a big group of guys to start chanting "Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!" in opposition to the Amanda team. Trazy says how personable she is and threatens a group of teenagers to show up on time (or else). Country Liz uses the age card to make some guys feel guilty and perhaps call their mothers.

Dan totally one ups Amanda- since he was a previous contestant last season, he is more easily recognized and steals all of her supporters! He is sneaky one. GAME PLAY.

Allen uses his newly buff brawniness and rallies all his fellow firefighters to join him. He makes the grandest of entrances on a team of cherry red fire trucks to join his contestants and trainers in the shadow of the Washington Monument.

I figured that Allen had this IN THE BAG. Who doesn't love a firefighter?

Apparently, America. Country Liz manages to guilt enough cougar hungry boys to join her team of Brownies. She wins the pop challenge and the luxurious dinner at Subway. And a soon to be determined "Extra" special prize.

Now it is time for the mega last chance America for the love of all that is holy workout. Bob and Jillian team up to beat the stuffing (literally) out of all the people who showed up. One of my fellow tweet friends, DC based personal trainer Kimberly Linton (http://twitter.com/livinthefitlife) was actually there, working out behind all the firefighters. Sounds like a good seat!

We see a montage of Bob and Jillian sitting on people and screaming in their faces (makes me happy Jillian is on my TV and not in my living room). Bob is super excited, and Jillian can't wait to pick on total strangers. Poor Tangerine. You don't say can't to Jillian.

After the workout, Country Liz and friends go to Subway with Jillian for the weekly Subway plug. On second thought, Subway doesn't look THAT bad for dinner. . .

Then it's time for Mr. Harper to go to the White House. Or the Congress. They meet Sen. Kristen Gillibrand from New York and Sen. Robert Casey from Pennsylvania to talk about the obesity epidemic in America. The contestants cite the lack of information and education in our country as a reason why we are such a fat nation.

Dan tells a moving story about how being overweight made his grades drop and his self esteem drop even lower. Bob also points out that Dan is now the norm, and not the exception. Scary.

Rebecca shares her struggles as well, telling how she basically starved herself to fit in and be thin. I feel for her and know as a girl that was chubby, I tried some very extreme measures to lose weight and try to fit in with my thinner counterparts.

And Jillian states the best fact: The Biggest Loser is a MOVEMENT. Not just a reality show. This show is really changing peoples lives. And that is why I love watching and blogging about it.

After the congress with Congress, the BLers meet Ali at the Constitution Gardens to learn about the physical challenge for the week. There are 4 legs of the contest revolving around 4 tourist attractions. The person to survive all 4 sections will gain immunity at the weigh in. Immunity at this stage of the game is HUGE.

The first leg is a one mile run. We see Trazy's eyes go wild, remembering how the first mile run put her in the hospital. If only we could be that lucky again, but I'm sure that Trazy is healthier now.

Ali tells Country Liz that since she won the pop challenge, she will get a get out of jail free card for one section of the contest.

Only 6 contestants can go to the next round. We watch the contestants running around the Constitution Gardens lake with a rather annoying and insulting Miley Cyrus tune that says something about mountains. Fat people do not want to be compared to mountains.

The six continuing on are Rebecca, Allen, Amanda, Dan, Rudy, and Country Liz. That means Shay, Danny, and Trazy are out.

Trazy then explains the mechanics of walking- one foot in front of the other. She is brilliant.

The next stage of the competition is at the Watergate steps in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Lincoln? It is a clue! The contestants have to pick up pennies. Lotsa pennies. 17,954 to be exact, representing how many pounds have been lost to date on the show. The first four players that pick up enough pennies to fill their funnel will get to continue to the next stage.

Country Liz uses her card to get out of this stage of the contest. Smart move! Picking up pennies and running up stairs in the middle of summer heat does not sound like any fun.

Rudy's "banana hands" were made for penny pinching. He can scoop far more pennies than the rest of the team, and has a clear advantage. He easily finishes before anyone else, and is joined by Dan and Rebecca. That means that Allen and Amanda are out.

The third round is at the US Capital. Ali says the key to our government's success is balance- and that is what the contestants are going to have to do. On a very narrow beam with a pilates ball over their heads. I've never seen anyone at the Capital do that.

Dan is the first out, followed by Country Liz.

It is now between Rudy and Rebecca. They have to take 206 steps on a step bench, representing the 206 contestants that have been on BL so far. Rebecca creams Rudy and his size 15 feet, becoming the victor and winner of the immunity challenge! Happy dance.

Ali then announces that finally, finally! the contestants will get to go to the White House.

Then it is product placement time. Bob takes Amanda out on a date to talk about her break down with Jillian last week and to chew some "Extra" sugar free gum. Oh, NBC. So sneaky.

AND the White House. The contestants take the back entrance- scaling a fence and then walking all the way across the great lawn . They meet Sam Kass, the head chef of the White House. They get to pick vegetables in the White House garden for a salad, and Bob gets to avoid the secret service after he threatens to squeeze the first family.

If I was a heavy drinker, I would have suggested a drinking game: every time one of the contestants said "The White House", you would have to take a drink. I would have been WASTED.

We are shown that the first family are healthy eaters and the ultimate role models. Now, if we could do something about that universal health care plan. . .

Then it is time for Last Chance Workout, DC style. Which entails walking on your hands and carrying Jillian up the stairs. It is equal opportunity beatings for everyone! Beatings and "Extra" gum.

Jillian focuses her mind bullets this week on Trazy, who Jillian as been waiting to throttle since week one. She wants to show Trazy that the BL isn't about game play. It is about changing your life. She breaks her down until she is crying. Sweet, sweet victory.

Now it is time for the weigh in at the Lincoln Memorial. No post flight weight gain!

Rebecca weighs in first, since she had immunity. She weighs in at 219, losing 4 pounds. She is in the teens! Shay weighs in next. Will she get past 400? All she needs is 3 pounds to do it. She loses an impressive 9 pounds, reaching her goal of getting out of the 400s. She vows she will never see that number again.

Then it is Trazy time. Will she be able to save herself? She loses 3 pounds, to reach 194. No amount of GAME PLAY can save her now. Fellow GAME PLAYER Dan steps up next. Is he pulling out the big guns to save himself? Absolutely, ripping out 11 pounds to reach 261. He is 7 pounds away from losing 200 pounds. WOW.

Then Allen gets up, and he already looks like he is an after photo. He still loses an impressive 9 pounds, bringing him to 253. Then it is my fellow Okie Danny. He pulls out the double digits again, losing 12 pounds. Down to 333! Then weight loss monster Rudy loses 9 pounds, bringing him to 332. Beating Danny by one pound! Country Liz weighs in- losing only 3 pounds. Bringing her to 218. Amanda weighs in last, filled with "Extra" confidence. She has to lose more than 3 pounds to stay out of the bottom. She loses 7, reaching 207.

So, Country Liz vs. Trazy. Who to go, who to go? Each lady pleads her case to the fellow BLers, but the group chooses Trazy to leave.

FINALLY! But who am I going to write about now?

At the reveal, Trazy looks good. I'll give her that. And she got to be on The Jay Leno Show after the BL was over. But I hear that 15 minutes ticking away. See ya, Trazy. Or not.

30 Day Shred Challenge: Day 15- Half Way DONE!

Day 15 is done! I feel so good, who knows what I'll be able to accomplish at Day 30?

I did Level 1 and Level 2 back to back. It was nice to revisit all those push-ups from Level 1 (oh those!) and then all that plank work in Level 2. It was surprisingly challenging!

I am moving on to Level 3! Excited and scared. To quote Stephen Sondheim.

See all you cool cats on Day 16!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge: Day 14- Mid-Challenge Musings

Day 14 of the Shred. . .well, shredded! WOO!

I did Level 2 full out, all Natalie, all the time. I was super pleased that the thrusting has become easier (I can't think of any other way to word this) and I did the 5 pound weights again for all my shoulder work.

I rounded it out with Jillian's The Biggest Winner Shape Up Front that was such a challenge for me in the first week- I think I did it on day 2 or 3. Today, however, I was stronger, more confident, and able to bust through it with no issue! The format and exercises are similar to the Level 2 Shred- just on steroids. I can't tell you how many weighted jumping jacks I did, but it felt like a million. Actually, it was 60. But it FELT like a million.

The plan for tomorrow is to do Level 1 and Level 2 back to back and see how I've grown. And on Thursday, I am shooting for Level 3. Reaching for the stars, kids.

I wanted to take a second and write about the goals we have set for ourselves. Yes, we are all seeing the benefits of participating in this challenge in our endurance and strength and waistlines. The confidence factor is the most important thing I have been gaining through all of this. The ability to get out there, see a goal, and make it happen.

It is a wonderful feeling. And one I hope that you all are also getting.

It is important to reward your good deeds, and not just if you show positive numbers on the scale or with your tape measure. The fact that we are doing this at all deserves a reward!

And not food based.

My first week reward was a pair of "FUggs" from Payless. I don't have $130 to spend on a pair of yarn booties. But I do have $39! I rewarded myself with those and a new shirt from The Gap. Just a little way to say "I love you, Alison. You are awesome."

This weeks reward: 2 new Jillian Michael's DVDs to round out my collection and give me some extra motivation!

And I am keeping my eye on the prize. Isn't she beautiful? If I finish all 30 days with no excuses, she is ALL MINE!

Happy 14th, y'all! Hope you will be twittering and tweeting with us all during The Biggest Loser!

Monday, November 2, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge: Day 13- Lucky Number!

Hey y'all! 13 is my lucky number, and I was feeling especially lucky today with my Shred.

I did Level 2, and I worked through the V shoulder raises with 5 pound weights! YAY! My second workout was Turbo Jam Cardio Party Mix 2, a fantastic dancy kickboxy combo that is fun and super sweaty. Gotta love Chalene Johnson.

Gearing up for Day 14 and the live tweeting during The Biggest Loser! Will I see you all there?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

30 Day Shred Challenge: Day 12

I survived Halloween without any candy, so I was feeling pretty positive today. An extra hour to play with!!!

I spent my extra hour doing positive things: blogging about DietTribe and doing the Shred!

Level 2 of the Shred came a little easier today. The in and outs were far less traumatic, and I feel my shoulder girdle getting stronger. Maybe I will try to get up to those 5 pound weights on those V raises!

I rounded out my workout with Fat Burning Fusion with Ellen Barrett. This is a great standing pilates/ballet video that lasts about 45 minutes. I always feel super light and graceful when I perform the exercises, and I am not always light or graceful. Ellen Barrett is a great instructor- she is perky, cute, and informative and her cuing is really sharp. Highly recommended!

Ready for lucky number 13!

DietTribe Season 2- episode 3- "The Cold Hard Truth"

After last episode's disappointing weight loss, I was wondering how the ladies of DietTribe were going to recover. Sometimes it is really tough to get back on the bandwagon after you've fallen off the turnip truck.

Tiffany, Stephanie, Rita, and Laneesa met at Mary's house to have a sit down and figure out why they were failing. Rita admitted she thought she WAS making healthy snacking choices, when in reality, she was still overindulging. Tiffany thought that the whole process was just going to be EASIER, and when it wasn't, she felt less eager to make a lifestyle change.

The women all agreed they were trying too hard to do this on their own, instead of working as a team. I know that I feel like I can accomplish so much more when I have the accountability and support of a team (like my 30 Day Shred Challenge group! We meet online and on Twitter!). The ladies pledge to one another that they will take this more seriously and they will do it together, as a team.

It is Day 30 of the 120 day regimen, and Jessie meets the ladies in the park for a workout and to give them a new diet plan. The original plan consisted of 1,500 calories per day, and the new plan drops the ladies down an extra 300 calories to 1,200 calories a day. They will also be eating every 2 to 3 hours to kick start their metabolism. I saw the panic in their eyes as they thought about where they were going to get rid of another 300 calories. Jessie explains the need for the calorie drop: because they are having a challenging time sticking to their meal plan, the women are now behind on their weight loss goals. Jessie states they will be on this reduced plan for only two weeks, until they get back on track.

Jessie also gives the women one of the most amazing tools that can help in weight loss and weight control: The CalorieKing Calorie, Fat, and Carbohydrate Counter. This pocket sized book lists the calories in almost anything you can imagine. It also has a huge section of restaurant selections. I own and use this book daily- I find it an invaluable tool for weight loss success and recommend it just for the eye opening- let's just say I might never eat at PF Chang's again.

Day 31: the ladies and Jessie go to the Tri-Zone, a store that specializes in all things triathlon. They get geared up with swim suits, water bottles, bicycles, and helmets to prepare them for their big day. Getting their new gear gets the ladies excited to compete- it is becoming a reality!

They then meet Kelly Clancy, owner and operator of TriDivas, a company that helps train women to compete in triathlons. Kelly has competed in over 100 triathlons. Holy Jeeze. I learned that there are many types of triathlons (did you know that?) and our competitors were going to be in a sprint type triathlon, which is swimming for 0.5 miles, biking for 12.5 miles, and running for 3 miles, which will take about 2 to 2 1/2 hours. The ladies will begin to train with Kelly and the TriDivas to prepare for their race.

Day 33: the women and Jessie meet the TriDivas for a "brick" workout: biking and running. The ladies will ride 2 laps on their bikes around the park and then run for 10 minutes.

The TriDivas start first, and the the DietTribers take off. They seem to do well on the first cycling lap, and then Laneesa begins to complain. Of course, it would have to be Laneesa. Apparently, she had surgery on her hip when she was younger (she's only 27) and it is giving her problems as she pedals.

Then the ladies hop off their bikes and have to run. This proves to be challenging as their legs feel like jelly. But the TriDivas step in and ENCOURAGE the women TOGETHER, proving that you can do anything when you are part of a group. Laneesa trails at the end, but Jessie steps in and runs with her to help her finish. In a touching moment, Tiffany begins to cry when she completes the race. She realizes that she may be able to do this after all.

Then it is time for the ladies to meet with therapist Stacy Kaiser. Today she has all the ladies put on white paper suits, and then she asks them all who reached their goal in the weigh in. Nobody raises their hands. She then asks the ladies to say the excuses they used to prevent their weight loss, and then write the excuses on the suits so they could see their poor choices. They say things like they don't care, it won't affect them, they are stressed, they are lonely, they need comfort, they didn't know popcorn was fattening (Oh, Rita.).

Laneesa's excuses (doing it on purpose, eating my emotions) were most disturbing to Stacy. We already know that Laneesa hasn't been giving her all, and not just because her hip is bothering her.

The ladies take their excuse suits off and Stacy makes them look at what their excuses have done to their bodies. She makes them look at themselves in the mirror, and recommit to own themselves and the choices that they have made to succeed.

Jessie comes in and takes the ladies to start their pool training, but Laneesa stays behind to have a little one on one time with Stacy. Laneesa has missed a lot of workouts, and when she does come she is often late. She is unhappy with herself, and says she wanted to be fat as a protective shield. Others don't expect as much from you when you are overweight. Laneesa wants to be present, however, and vows to Stacy that she will give 100% from now on.

Day 35: Jessie takes the ladies to the LA Expo for swim training, meeting Diana Nyad, a world record holder for swimming from the Bahamas to Florida. She is here to teach the ladies proper swim technique for their triathlon. And she manages to do something we thought would never happen: she gets Jessie to take off his shirt. You been holding out on us, Jessie!

Day 36: We follow the ladies at home on their new 1,200 calorie diet. Rita shares her knowledge with her kids. Tiffany and Stephanie cook at home together, learning the joy of simplicity. Mary weighs her food and celebrates running 5 minutes continuously on the treadmill. We see all the ladies feeling healthy and bright and being a positive support structure for each other.

Day 38: Stephanie meets one on one with Stacy for some much needed therapy. We have learned in previous episodes that Stephanie had recently gotten a divorce, and now we find out the reason why: her husband cheated on her. Her entire life has been derailed as a result, and she is struggling to find her identity. It is hard to watch her open up to Stacy about her feelings of hurt. She is so used to being "the happy one", and telling everyone that she is okay, that she has pushed her feelings down and tried to ignore them. Those feelings have manifested as Stephanie's weight gain.

Stacy assures her that taking care of herself is not being selfish-taking care of yourself so that you can in turn take care of others is selfless. She asks Stephanie to only speak the truth from now on. She doesn't just have to be "fine".

Day 39: The ladies go to a mixer at a boutique hotel, and Tiffany makes some uncomfortable match making gestures for Stephanie, trying to hook her up with some available bachelors. Although Stephanie is feeling more confident in her own skin, you can tell that she wants her persistent sis to stop being so persistent! Laneesa sends a text message saying that she can't join the ladies for the night out, seeming upset.

Tiffany goes to see her the next day, and Laneesa reveals that she and her boyfriend have broken up. That explains a lot. Laneesa has decided to draw comfort from her friends and family instead of food as she has done in the past. She is ready to sweat it out in the gym!

Day 41: The ladies video journals reveal that they are feeling stronger, healthier, and finally happier. Stephanie reveals that she feels like change is happening for the first time in a long time, and she is ready for it.

Day 42: It is time for the third weigh in. None of the ladies have missed a single workout, they are sticking to the diet plan, and they are feeling super confident.

The team goal for this weigh in is 30 pounds. Will they be able to reach this goal?

Rita steps up first. She started at 177 pounds, and loses 5 pounds, exceeding her goal. Stephanie loses 6 pounds- meeting her goal. Tiffany loses 5 pounds, and is disappointed because she thought she would lose more. But she has the backing of her team. Mary loses 7 pounds, and Laneesa, who only lost 1 pound last weigh in, loses an impressive 13 pounds!

The ladies have lost 36 pounds as a team, and win their weigh in reward- diamond and sapphire pendants. The 5 diamonds on the pendent represent the 5 ladies and the goals they are to reach together as a team.

Jessie sets their team weight loss goal for next weigh in at 30 pounds. With their renewed confidence in themselves, I think there is no way they won't reach all their goals from now on.