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Tuesday – Beach Burpees!

I wrote a fantastic and creative (and long) post about Tuesday.  Then my phone rang and when I came back to the computer the entire post had disappeared.  I don’t know where it went, but it’s gone.  Very frustrating.  Me and blogging don’t seem to get along. I am going to give a really brief synopsis of Tuesday since it’s already Wednesday! 

I woke up on Tuesday morning and found I couldn’t move.  Just kidding!  (kind of…)  I headed to the dining hall for breakfast and also to look at the list of hiking groups.  I was pretty surprised to see I had been put in Van 7.  I am not sure how that happened, and I don’t think I belong in that group, so I was pretty surprised.  (there are 8 groups, 1 is the slowest and 8 is the fastest)  I talked to the hiking director and told her that I wasn’t sure that was where I truly belonged.  She said I should try it for one day and if it was really bad she would switch me to a different group.

  Breakfast was delicious- a parfait with Greek yogurt, granola, and fresh berries. When it came time to find out our hike for the day, I found out that there is another change in the program since the last time I was here – the beach workout!  Each hiking group has a beach workout one day during the week instead of a hike.  Tuesday was our beach workout day.  This made me extremely nervous because I don’t particularly like being in situations where I don’t know what to expect. (It sounds like I don’t like anything, I really do! I am trying to be positive!) We drove to the beach and started our workout with a walk down the beach to warm up.  I really enjoyed that!  It’s so nice being by the ocean.  We saw dolphins swimming in the water, and the breeze was cool and fresh.  While we walked, trainers set up a circuit workout on the beach. There were eight stations – each a different exercise.  We had to pair up with another person in our group and go through the eight stations with them.  We started by doing a warm up.  Just the warmup had me wiped out and ready to leave!  The highlight of the warmup was beach burpees.  Yes, we had to do burpees, the worst exercise ever, in the sand.  I had slathered myself in sunscreen because I’m health conscious like that, so when I did the burpees sand stuck to every inch of skin that had sunscreen on it.  Yuck!  

When we chose partners there was an uneven number of people, so I had to partner with Steven, the hiking guide.  He’s like 25 years old, 6’2″ tall and weighs about 190 pounds.  He clearly works out a lot – and he’s a hiking guide – so he’s in good shape.  I have to admit that the first thought that came to my evil mind was that there was no way I was going to be able to get away with anything during this workout.  When you are working out with a group you can kind of take a breather when the trainer isn’t watching.  When you’re working out WITH the trainer – not so much!  So Steven and I had a lovely workout going through the circuit. We had to do a variety of exercises for two minutes each.   The exercises included beach volleyball (where I channeled my inner Misty Mae Trainor) (minus the bikini…), running hurdles, throwing a ten pound medicine ball and then running after it and throwing it again (for two minutes), holding a squat while holding hands with our partner…hard stuff – made extra hard by being in sand the whole time.  When we were all finished I was sweaty, sandy and tired.  Now it was time to head back to the ranch and work out some more!

Our 11:30 class was Stretch.  This is my favorite class at BL.  I like it because for at least part of the time you are lying on your back on a yoga mat.  We stretch all our sore muscles in that class, and it’s really good for you because it helps restore your muscles.

1:15 was Zumba!  I learned one thing from the Zumba class.  I will never be a dancer.  I am the worlds biggest klutz on the dance floor, but Zumba is fun!  The music is awesome and if you do the steps wrong it’s okay – you just keep moving and have a good time.  It was also a really good workout!  

2:30 was Pool Class.  Don’t think that just because this class is in the water it’s easy.  It’s not.  It’s a very good workout.  I learned one thing from this class – I will never be an olympic swimmer and I have a new respect for Michael Phelps.

At 3:30 we went into the gym for Cardio Intervals.  I like this class because you change what you’re doing every two minutes, so the time goes fast.  All the cardio and weight machines in the gym are numbered.  Odd numbers are cardio machines and even numbers are weights.  Every two minutes you go up a number so by the end of class you’ve gotten a good workout.  

4:30 was Total Toning.  The instructor of this class changed the name partway through the class to Total Torture, as though he was proud of it!  And it was pretty tortuous!  Each person had a step and two sets of weights – medium and heavy.  The class was basically stepping and lifting the weights in different sequences, using different muscle groups.  I was so wiped out by this class that I wanted to cry.  Every muscle in my body was hurting.  I was extremely happy when it was over!

My friend Brenda (with the broken arm) had an appointment with the orthopedic surgeon on Tuesday afternoon to find out the plan for her broken arm.  The doctor was understanding and came up with a great plan for Brenda.  He is going to give her a ‘Fit to Fly’ letter allowing her to get on the plane with her arm splinted. She can fly home on Sunday as long as she promises she will go to the doctor as soon as she gets back to Scotland and have surgery ASAP.  Brenda is still here and is going to finish out the week, and she is such a trooper!  She comes to every class she can possibly attend and modifies the exercises so she doesn’t have to use her left arm.  She even did the beach workout!  She hikes, too, and it’s humbling to watch her! 

The very best part of Tuesday was that I had scheduled a massage.  Ecstacy!  She worked especially on my calves and glutes – which had really taken a beating.  It was a perfect ending to the day!


Day One

Monday August 13, 2012

Calories burned: 2528

Distance walked: 9.49 miles

Steps taken: 22,397

Flights (equivalent to flight of stairs): 119

One thing I found out when I arrived yesterday was that they changed the food part of the program.  The other two times I was here we ate 1200 calories a day.  They recently changed that to 1500 calories, and they increased the protein and lowered the carbs.  I’m really glad they made that change.  That was honestly my only complaint about the food before – I thought it had too little protein.

Our hike today was Latigo Canyon – Backbone Trail.  It was 6.3 miles long.  Malibu is having a heatwave, just like the entire country, so it was pretty hot.  I’m thankful the hikes are in the morning before it gets too bad.  (It’s still way, way cooler than Phoenix!) They have been really warning us to hydrate well to avoid heatstroke.  We wear Camelback hydration backpacks on the hikes so staying hydrated is easy.  I didn’t have any problems on the hike today.  A huge fear of mine is injuring myself, so I’m always relieved when I make it through a whole day without hurting myself!  I would hate to pay the money it cost to come here and then injure myself and have to go home or modify my activity.

Monday is assessment hike day.  They take you on a hike in randomly selected groups and the hiking guides assess you and put you into the group you will be in for the rest of the week.  They do this to insure that each group is evenly matched according to skill level.  This always makes me really nervous.  I have realized I’m kind of competitive.  I don’t want to look like a bad hiker so I push myself.  I don’t want to be too good a hiker because I’m afraid that will put me into the highest hiking group.  If I’m in the highest hiking group I might be the last person on the hikes.  I don’t like being the last person.  I know, someone has to be last, but  I don’t want it to be me.  Sick, huh?  Well, I’m honest!  This is the kind of thing I worry about while I’m hiking 6.3 miles up and down a mountain.  You’d think I could just hike, but no, it takes me back to first grade when they put us into reading groups according to reading skill.  Everyone knew the Hawks were the best readers and the Sparrows were the worst.  Everybody wants to be a Hawk and nobody wants to be a Sparrow.  I don’t want to be a hiking “Sparrow”.  I will let you know how this all works out!

Something kind of sad happened today. My friend Brenda from Scotland was in Orlando, Florida before she came to California.  She played tennis with her husband yesterday and she fell with her full weight on her arm. It hurt so bad she actually passed out – and her husband tried really hard to talk her out of getting on the plane to come to CA.  There was nothing that was going to stop her from coming though, especially since she was the ringleader in getting the whole group of us here.  So she got on the plane and by the time she landed in CA her arm was swollen and looked really bad. She realized when she got here that she was going to need an X-ray.  She went to urgent care today and found out that one bone in her arm is broken and the other is fractured.  They are either going to have to set it and put a cast on it, or she is going to need surgery then a cast.  The big complication in all of this is that she’s from Scotland.  She has their national health care and it’s not a simple thing to have things covered. The doctor here has to communicate with Scotland to get everything approved.  The worst part is that the doctor told her they will NOT, under any circumstances, let her get onto a plane with a cast. As you can imagine, this is causing her a lot of stress.  If they cast her arm it will stay on for six weeks.  That would mean she couldn’t go back to Scotland for six weeks!  It’s a huge mess and I feel really bad for her.  She goes to the surgeon tomorrow.  She’s actually thinking of staying here at BL for six weeks!  She’s quite a trooper!  Anyway, I will keep you posted on that saga.

I am really thankful that the wireless internet is working really well in my room!  The last time I was here I could only connect via ethernet cable, which meant sitting at the uncomfortable desk in my room.  Wireless allows me to sit on my bed and type – so I will probably be better about posting on this blog this time around.  Now it’s time to get off the computer and get some sleep – tomorrow is another long day!

Here we go again!

So, here I am again, back in Malibu, California at the Biggest Loser Resort.  This will be my third visit to BL. Both times I was here before I swore I wouldn’t come back!  Yet here I am.  So what happened?

First of all, I really want to lose 10 more pounds.  I know that coming here for a week will help me get closer to that goal. There is no way, left to my own devices, I would exercise to the extent I exercise here.  The meals are completely planned out and put in front of me – so it’s basically brainless.  A joke here is that it’s like jail – you get your 3 meals a day and do what your schedule says to do!  That’s funny, but it is also true!  Sometimes not thinking makes it possible to do hard things!

The last time I was here I made some really good friends – including Brenda M. from Glasgow, Scotland.  We really “clicked” when I was here in June.  About a month ago Brenda emailed me to tell me that she and 5 other ladies I knew from my last visit were going to come back to BL in August,  and did I want to join them?  My first response was “Heck no! Why would I torture myself again?”  What really got to me, though, was thinking about my friends here without me!  There is a bonding that takes place when you go through an intense time with people, and if my friends were going to be here, I wanted to be here too.  I asked Rick what he thought of the idea and  he said he thought I should come back.  So, there you go.  That’s what happened.  And here I am!

Thinking about coming here this week has been stressful, but the bottom line is, this is a great program.  The people that work here are good at what they do and I trust them.  I can’t think of a better place to come to do what I really don’t like to do!  The thing is, I know exercise is a necessary part of a healthy life.  I don’t really like it,  but I don’t like a lot of things – and I do them anyway.  I will never run a marathon (I have no desire to even walk that far!) I will never do a triathlon.  I will never be a gym rat.  But I want to be healthy and live as long as I can.  That is why I’m here.



Saturday’s Menu:

Breakfast – Granola (they make it here – I will post the recipe, it’s really good!), almond milk, fresh fruit – 291 calories

Lunch – Tortilla soup, chicken salad on sandwich thin, mixed salad w/berries – 509 calories

Dinner – Enchiladas, mixed fresh vegetables – 358 calories

Total calories – 1198

Total steps for Saturday – 22,403

Miles walked on Saturday – 9.67

Calories burned – 2422

I know I skipped days posting this week.  I had no idea it was going to be so hard to keep up!  The first problem has been the internet connection. The wireless doesn’t work here so I have to use an Ethernet cable to get onto the internet.  That requires sitting at the desk in my room on a straight chair.  By the time I am finished with activities for the day I don’t really feel like sitting up in a chair. And literally the only free time I’ve had every day is after dinner.  Needless to say, there is a lot I want to share about this week and I intend to do that – when I get home!

For now, though, let me recap my final day at BLFR.  Saturday is a half day.  There is a hike, as usual, but you get to choose from three choices.  If you don’t want to hike on Saturday that is fine, but you have to go to the gym and do two hour long workouts with trainers.  I decided the hike would be preferable to the gym workout and I chose the Pointe Dume Beach hike.  (if you don’t want it to sound so scary you can pronounce it Point Dumay, like it’s French.  That’s what we do here – it makes it surprisingly more tolerable.)

Once again it was chilly and foggy.  I love to hike in weather like that so it was a great morning.  It’s a tough hike – you start out walking on the beach, then you walk up a lot of stairs and along a pathway that overlooks the ocean.  You wind up back down on the beach and walk to a huge rock outcropping, then turn around and do the whole thing in reverse.  It was about 5.6 miles long and it was surprisingly easy – but I think that’s because I knew it was our last hike and I was really happy about that!

The very last activity of the week is the last chance workout.  For anyone that watches the Biggest Loser television show, this is how they end each week.  Before the contestants weigh in they have a really long workout with the trainers to get in their final calorie burn before weighing in.  The last chance workout was going to be with Sione.  He’s tough.  (nice, but tough!)  We had to meet in a big field on the property.  When I got there Sione had set up seven different stations around the field.  He explained that we were going divide into groups of four and go around the field and do the seven different exercises for 1 minute each.  After each two exercises Sione would yell “Lap!” and we had to run or walk fast out of the field and down a dirt road, then turn around and go back to the field and go right to our next station. Some of the exercise stations were – running up and down a hill, holding a plank for one minute, playing catch with a ten pound medicine ball …..a whole variety of exercises.  It was hard!  I was so exhausted my legs would hardly even move.  But I’m so glad I did it because afterwards my heart rate monitor watch said I burned 550 calories.

Once the last chance workout was over we were DONE!!! What a great feeling!  There were so many times during the week that I wanted to quit.  Every muscle in my body hurts.  I’m sunburned and bruised.  My hair might never be the same.  But I did it!


Wednesday’s Menu:

Breakfast – Sausage Egg Sandwich; Mixed Fruit 266 calories (The sandwich was scrambled eggs and sausage, which they make with ground turkey, on a sandwich thin.)

Lunch – French Onion Soup; Greek Pita; Mixed Salad – 279 calories

Dinner – Salmon Filet; Israeli Couscous; Asparagus – 654 calories

Dessert – grilled pineapple with raspberry sauce

Total calories – 1199

Along with the food on this menu, we are supposed to add one fruit per day.  We also are allowed a snack after the hike – this is a choice of either a hard boiled egg, 12 almonds, or a piece of fruit.  I usually have an apple after the hike because the kitchen people will cut it up for you and put cinnamon on it.  Try it sometime!  It really makes the apple taste more special.

My schedule:

7:00 am – Breakfast

8:00 am – leave for hike

11:15 – Class 1 – choice of Pool Class or Stretching

12:25 – Lunch

1:15 – Lecture: Emotional Eating

2:30 – Pool Class

3:30 – Kickboxing

4:30 – Mountain Class

5:45 – Dinner

6:15 – Lecture: Intuitive Eating

Mountain class is a cardio class where you choose a cardio machine (treadmill, elliptical, arc trainer, bike etc.) You start at a low level and every 3 minutes you increase either your speed or your resistance.  You do this 12 times. The key is to figure out at the beginning what level you should start at because by the 12th increase you have to be able to sustain that level for 3 minutes.  This was hard but the trainer was the famous Sione Fa (Google him! Check out his before and after pictures!), who was a contestant on Season 7 of Biggest Loser.  He usually works at the Utah Biggest Loser Resort but is here in Malibu for one week.  He is a great trainer and really pushes you to keep going and do more than you think you can do.

I have to admit that I was feeling pretty beat up on Wednesday.  Every part of my body hurt!  It is easy to get discouraged during the long days – especially if you look at how much you still have to get through.  I have found that by the last class each day I am pretty much at the end of my endurance. I feel like there is no way I am going to get through it.  Then I get to dinner, I talk and laugh with friends, I have a little down time and go to sleep.  When I wake up in the morning I’m feeling better and can face another day.  The motto here is “The days are slow but the weeks are fast.” And that is really true!

I Met a Real Hero Today!

Tuesday’s Menu:

Breakfast – Parfait with granola, Greek yogurt and berries, mixed fruit – 326 calories

Lunch – Quinoa lettuce wraps, sunchoke soup – 369 calories

Dinner – BBQ Chicken Sandwich, mixed vegetables – 366 calories

Dessert – Orange sections with chocolate drizzle – ? calories (sorry, I forgot)

Total calories for the day – 1,06? (sorry – it was 1 thousand sixty something)

When I attended BL camp last year my hardest day was Tuesday, so I was a bit apprehensive when I woke up today, wondering how I was going to fare.  I woke up feeling very stiff and sore and the thought of getting through as much activity today as I had done yesterday was daunting.  Five more days of hiking stretched out in front of me and I already felt exhausted.

  I have vivid memories of some of my hiking experiences from last year and they are difficult to even think about-  that’s how hard the hikes are.  There are a lot of mountains here and I think we climbed most of them.  As I said last year, it also seems like the hikes are almost all uphill!  (I know that’s impossible, I’m just telling you how I perceive them.  It’s my blog.  Write your own if you want to be scientifically correct!)  After breakfast  (which was delicious, by the way!) they told us what hiking groups they we were in.  I was put in group 5. Even this minor thing was stressing me out because I have this fear of being a pain in the neck and bothering people.  I don’t want to hike with a group that is way more fit than me, because if I have to walk slower than everyone else I will feel horrible.  The staff here always stresses that the activities are to be done at your own pace – especially the hikes.  But I can’t help it, I want to be unobtrusive and not annoying.  It really mattered to me what group I was put in!  That turned out fine – our whole group seems to be similar in ability, so it made the hike really nice.  The hike was similar to Monday’s hike in that it had a good balance of ups and downs.  There were a few spots that were a challenge but for the most part I was able to get through them without too much trouble.  Knowing what this week was going to entail, I had done a lot of cardio at the gym with the treadmill on the hill setting,  and I can feel a big difference in my hiking ability this year compared to last year.  My trainers (Devan and Brandon) also helped with this by increasing my cardio during our workouts.  Thanks, you two!  Total steps for the hike – 13,000! (around 5 miles)

   We returned to the ranch and immediately it was time for our first class of the day.  This year is a bit different in that we get to choose our first class from 3 options.  I was feeling really, really, sore so decided to go to the stretch class.  I am so glad I did!  The instructor took us through a whole session with foam rollers – rolling out sore spots on our bodies.  It hurt like crazy but I felt a big improvement afterwards!

Next it was time for lunch.  I like the meals.  They are way better than the exercising.  Have I said that already??? As I said, lunch was quinoa lettuce wraps.  I know what you’re thinking!  But you are wrong!  Quinoa lettuce wraps are awesome!  (especially after hiking for 2.5 hours!)  The wraps consisted of quinoa –  (if you’ve never tried quinoa you should – its a grain that is high in protein and very easy to prepare and has lots of applications – you can eat it as a cereal, serve it as a cold salad, as a hot side dish, like rice – you name it.  It doesn’t have a lot of flavor, like most starches, but you can spice it up any way you want and it is very tasty.)  They cooked the quinoa in chicken stock and then added shredded carrots, ground turkey, dried cranberries and lots of good seasonings.  They served that mixture on lettuce leaves and then drizzled hoisin sauce on top.  SO GOOD!!! (I know exactly how they made them because after lunch the chef did a cooking demo. and that is what he cooked.)

Earlier in the day they had told us that we were going to have a very special guest.  I was really curious to find out who it was.  I was imagining one of the trainers from the t.v. show, or maybe one of the winners from the show.  They began by playing a video – it was from an episode of 60 Minutes.  As soon as the  clip started I recognized the man in the story.  That’s because he is one of my fellow campers!  Here was a guy I’ve talked to, taken a pool class with, chatted with on the way to our rooms – and he was in living color on 60 minutes.  His name is Dakota Meyer and he is the first living Marine to win the Medal of Honor in 38 years.  He told us his story and I realized I was in the presence of a real hero.  (Google Dakota Meyer and you will see what I’m talking about.)  What a great young man.  He has been through so much.  He is also 23 years old…. I have to tell you, I felt a lot less like complaining after hearing Dakota’s story. He got a very well deserved standing ovation from the whole group.  He deserved it!

Every day after lunch we have a lecture.  The topics vary – nutrition, eating out, Emotional Eating – and they are all really informative and practical.  

My 2:30 class was Cardio Intervals. You choose a piece of cardio equipment (treadmill, elliptical, stationary bike) and start at a moderate level. After 2 minutes you bump the level up (either speed or resistance). You do that several times (I honestly can’t remember how many, my brain is fried) and then do the opposite, working your way back down to your original level.  

3:30 – Total Toning.  This sounds easy but really wasn’t.  This class consisted of 8 circuits. You went around the gym and did different exercises at each circuit.  These alternated between strength and cardio. (We did planks, step ups onto a box, Russian twists with a medicine ball – all kinds of fun stuff. We repeated the circuits twice.

4:30  Pool class. This was pretty much a repeat of Monday’s pool class. Swim some laps.  Swallow a few gallons of water.  Try not to drown. Repeat.  Loved it. Add sunburn, water in my ears, water in my nose, water everywhere.  That was pool class! 

Finally, at 5:30 came dinner, which also means the end of the day!  This means NO MORE EXERCISE.  That’s always a very happy moment.  Dessert was orange sections with chocolate drizzled on them. It was hilarious seeing everyone try to scrape every tiny morsel of chocolate off their plates!  (Of course I didn’t…)(Ha!)

I had a massage scheduled for 8:00 Tuesday night and I don’t think I’ve ever been happier or more excited for a massage.  It was a combination of deep tissue and swedish and it was pure heaven!  She did a great job and I noticed a huge difference afterwards.

They seem to have fixed the internet issues at the resort, so hopefully at some point I will catch up on my posts.  Thanks for reading  – it makes me feel good to vent in writing!  


Monday – I Survived Day One!PP

Hi everyone!

I had intended to blog at the end of each day,  but they were having internet problems all day yesterday.  I am going to attempt to catch up tonight and do Monday and Tuesday’s posts but I am really tired so I’m not making any guarantees.  We start our days here at 7:00 am and literally keep going until 7:00 pm.  Everything we want to do has to be done after 7:00, and with the amount of activity we are doing sleep is a priority too.  Eventually I will catch up!


Breakfast – Bacon and Egg sandwich, mixed fruit – 289 calories

Lunch – Tilapia Taco’s, mixed salad, tomato soup – 486 calories

Dinner – Chicken, Sweet Potato Puree, Asparagus – 369 calories

Dessert – Pineapple Sorbet – 31 calories

Total calories for Monday – 1,175

One of the keys of BLFR is their hiking program.  Every day starts with a long hike, which burns a ton of calories.  On Monday they do an assessment hike.  Everyone is put in a random group for the day’s hike and the hiking guides assess your performance so they can place you in the permanent hiking group you’ll be in for the rest of the week. The idea is to put similar hikers into groups so nobody is stuck slowing down for slower hikers or feeling pressured because everyone in their group is really fast.  Our hike on Monday was called Newton Creek.  It was 6.5 miles!  It wasn’t too grueling – it had a good balance of ups and downs so I never felt like giving up (at least not too many times….) It was a cool, overcast day so it was perfect for hiking.  I am wearing a Fitbit (an electronic device that measures daily steps taken, calories burned, floors climbed {if you go up a mountain it translates it into ‘floors’ – equivalent to how many flights of stairs you climbed}.  I’m also wearing a standard heart rate monitor, which tells me my heart rate and calories burned.  I know that’s a little fanatical, but after coming here last year I was really curious to know just how much work I did.)  After the 6.5 mile hike on Monday I had walked 15,638 steps and burned between 1000 and 1400 calories (depending on which device you trust- I figure it’s somewhere in the middle.)

After hiking we returned to camp and went straight to a class.  They changed it this year and you now have a choice for your class after the hike.  I chose the Pool Class.  When the class ended I seriously wished I hadn’t gone to it, it was torture.  It involved a lot of actual swimming – doing laps.  I gulped several gallons of water and came close to drowning several times.  I can’t wear my Fitbit in the pool but according to my heart rate monitor I burned 273 calories.  (totally not worth it for the amount of agony).  When the Pool class ended we had 15 minutes to get to our next class, which was a Circuit class.  That class is held in the gym and you rotate around alternating between cardio machines and weight and weight machine stations.  You do 2 minutes of cardio, then 2 minutes of weights.  During that class I burned 410 calories.

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