>>> Follow Sandra's blog
Two men and four women who share the common goal of wanting to get in better shape, be healthier and happier are excited this week to embark on the Times Colonist Health Challenge, a multi-faceted, 12-week program that incorporates expert advice of fitness trainers, nutritionists, physiologists, mental coaches and financial advisers.
Each week, we’ll carry stories on the participants’ progress, and bring you diet and fitness tips from the experts.
The participants joining me submitted applications explaining why they wanted to be part of the challenge. Their submissions, judged by a panel that included fitness professionals, ranged from touching to persuasive to downright entertaining.
In the end, we couldn’t say no to:
• Nathan Robinson, a 39-year-old collections employee who wants to shed 200 of his 484 pounds;
• Elisabeth Westlake, 58, who last summer became a widow and single parent. She hopes to move forward from her husband’s death with a new focus on health and fitness;
• Suzie Spitfyre, a 37-year-old retail manager and make-up artist, who is “shocked and horrified” that she carries 292 pounds on her five-foot, two-inch frame;
• Raechel Gray, 38-year-old wife and mother of two who is recovering from knee surgery and hopes to return to an active life, starting with running the Times Colonist 10K in April;
• Steve Holub, 26, who feels losing 60 pounds will boost his confidence and allow him to follow his dream of becoming an actor.
Finally, this series really needs input from me — an overweight, 53-year-old journalist with a broken arm, the result of a Jan. 3 fall from a horse. I’ll be working out with the gang and writing stories, typing with my spare hand. I’ll be working to drop 30 of my 180 pounds as fast as I possibly can. The gain happened quickly, under three years, and was an unpleasant consequence of going on insulin.
We gathered for the first time on Jan. 13 at the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence on Interurban Road to meet each other and some of the fitness professionals who will work with us.
Then through the week we each went for fitness assessments in a lab operated by the Canadian Sport Institute at PISE. Exercise physiologists Paula McFadyen and Holly Murray determined our resting metabolic rate by having us lay down and breathe into a snorkel-like mouthpiece with hoses attached.
Then they put us to work on treadmills and stationary bicycles to see how our metabolism rate increases.
I learned that my body burns 72 calories an hour and 1,724 calories a day without me doing anything at all.
My metabolism is 11 per cent slower than average people my size. Genetics plays a role here, as does age, and the amount of muscle and fat we have. Yo-yo dieters (guilty) tend to have slower a metabolism as well.
This and other data will go to our trainers and dietitians this week who will tailor our workouts and eating plans to meet our individual needs.
This week, we also met with financial advisers from VanCity Credit Union. Our finances, like our weight, tends to involve scary numbers. I spent an hour chatting with James Clark about retirement and was delighted to see my situation was much better than I had thought.
It makes sense that we give our finances a workout at the same time we work on our bodies, because in a few months we’ll all need cash to buy new wardrobes.
>>> Follow Sandra's blog
© Copyright 2013