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A trainer for Florence's Biggest Loser presents some effective exercises

By Tory Zwanziger

FLORENCE, S.C. – My training group for this year’s Florence’s Biggest Loser had a lot of fear when we started, but every member shared the commitment to change.

This commitment meant they had to change not only their work schedule and eating habits but also their overall lifestyle. By having this common commitment and willingness to change, they were able to overcome their fear and gradually take ownership of their workouts. We quickly began working hard, and the weight started coming off.

Once the training group members increased their fitness workload and their fears had been reduced, we were able to come together as a team and push our workouts harder and harder. The contestants were always there to encourage each other when things became difficult, especially if someone felt like giving up.

The team training, along with some “friendly” competition at every workout, kept the fire alive, and they were soon doing things they never thought possible. They went from being out of breath from climbing just one flight of stairs to being able to run laps, jump rope, race up and down flights of stairs, swim laps and battle at rowing challenges.

My belief in progressively overloading the body and functional training seemed to work for this team, as everyone kept bringing more and more to our training sessions each week.

It has been a pleasure to be able to train with such wonderful groups for the Florence’s Biggest Loser, and I am so proud of all of the teams’ accomplishments. Living healthy has to become a lifestyle, and all of my team members have made the necessary changes to get there. Making those changes can be a lot of hard work, but the feelings they receive from that work is written all over their faces every time I see them, and that, to me, is priceless.

Tory’s workout

Below is an example of a workout Tory would take his team members through. When performing this workout, make sure to take no more than a 30-second rest between each exercise.

Warmup

A 2,000-meter row on a row machine.

  • Drive through your legs.
  • Tighten your core.
  • Pull hands in and squeeze at the end of each movement.

Exercise 1

50 kettle-bell swings (Tory’s favorite):

  • Start with a 15-pound kettle-bell and gradually work up to 35 or 40 pounds.
  • Start with the kettle bell in front of you and pull between your legs to provide momentum.
  • Drive through the hips and hamstrings and swing up to eye level.
  • On the downward swing, keep the kettle-bell high and do not let it return to the floor.

Exercise 2

Three sets of 15-20 reps of kettle-bell squats:

  • Start with a 10-15 pound kettle-bell and progressively move up over time.
  • Hold a kettle-bell with both hands in front of your body and ground into your heels.
  • Break at the hips first and slowly lower your body into a full squat.
  • Over time, you should be able to touch the floor with the kettle-bell as you squat down.

Exercise 3

Three sets of 20 wall balls:

  • Start with a lightweight ball.
  • Squat below parallel and keep the weight in your heels.
  • Push the ball up to the wall as you stand up straight.
  • Catch the ball as it falls back and lower into a squat.

Exercise 4

Three sets of 20 thrusters:

  • Start with a five pound dumbbell in each hand.
  • Dumbbells should be in a comfortable resting position at the shoulders.
  • Drop into a squat, trying to go below parallel.
  • Push off heels in an explosive movement upward, extending dumbbells overhead.

Exercise 5

Three sets of one-minute planks:

  • Shoulders, back, hips all the way to the feet should be perfectly straight.
  • Pull in abdominals and squeeze tight.

Plank levels:

  • Beginner level: Knees down, on elbows.
  • Intermediate level: On toes.
  • Advanced level: Weighted plate on the back.
  • Tory level: Two weighted plates on the back.

Exercise 6

5 to 15 minutes of cardio (Tory suggests a Stair-climber or Power Step Mill Machine).

  • Time and level depends on fitness level.
  • You should be able to speak but not hold a conversation.

Exercise 7

5 to 15 minutes of cardio (Tory suggests a Jacob’s Ladder Machine).

  • You burn the most fat and calories at the end of a hard workout, so save calorie busters like the Power Step Mill and Jacob’s Ladder until the end to get the most out of them.

Tory Zwanziger has been employed at the McLeod Health & Fitness Center for eight years and received his personal training certification from the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America seven years ago. This is his fifth year as a trainer for Florence’s Biggest Loser. He has been the trainer for the contestant who won highest percentage weight loss for three out of four years and the trainer for the contestant who won highest percentage inches lost for two out of three years.

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