Tiffany, Week 20: We Won!

the lehmans

So with challenge #5 our goals were set by our trainers. Meet your goals, beat the others and get a prize. Andy and I were certain that we lost this challenge because we’ve had a lot of life happen recently. Having a special needs child and doing everything else that life demands can at times be taxing. At the time this challenge took place we were going through one of the most taxing times in our parenting life to date.

The A-team (yes that’s what I call the Avagliano family. I think they’re pretty rad) and the Lehmans did so well that we both got to choose our prize for challenge #5. We got to choose between the Epic Treadmill, Epic Elliptical, or the Epic Bike. Andy and I chose the elliptical.

Funny story about me and the elliptical. When I first decided way back in the day (oh maybe 5 years ago) that I needed to work out, the first piece of equipment I jumped on was the elliptical. I remember the first time like it was yesterday. I think within the first minute I was sweating so profusely and probably swearing. It was all I could do to last five minutes on that thing. I swore it off (literally) and said never again will my feet touch that machine. Then I decided it was a good idea to hire one of the trainers at my gym at work to whip me into shape and the first thing she had me on was that elliptical. I cried…really I did. For those that know me personally I know you’re not surprised to hear that I cried…I’m such a cry baby. Needless to say she knew what I hated and pushed me to love it. I went from barely being able to be on it for 5 minutes to 30 minutes.

We love the elliptical because you can get a great cardio work out without a lot of heavy impact on the joints and knees. Andy and I both love to use it before working out with Lass and Wes to warm up and we also like to use it as a means of cardio while working out–we do sprints on it. Our favorite cardio routine on the elliptical is to warm up at a normal pace for the first five minutes, then start sprinting. Go as fast as possible at the highest resistance we can take for 30 seconds followed by a 30 rest. Still moving on the machine while resting but not as fast and repeat for 25 minutes followed by a five minute cool down.

So what is your favorite piece of equipment at your gym? Post a comment and tell me!

Challenge #5: Get Fit: The Winners Are…

healthy family challenge

It’s a tie!

Training without a goal is like setting off on a family road trip without your GPS. There’s no guarantee you’ll reach your destination. So this month, we gave each member of the Avaglianos and Lehmans a personalized cardio, strength and weight-loss target. They worked with their fitness trainers and nutritionists to overcome obstacles and shape up. See who hit the mark, why some missed it and what their coaches did to make them move in the right direction.

What the Avaglianos Accomplished
At the start of this challenge, Peggy couldn’t complete a single sit-up and Peter was unable do more than three perfect-form push-ups. But 30 days later that all changed. The entire family reached or exceeded their strength goals. “Sit-ups were a perfect objective for Peggy because she complained about her weak core,” says personal training director Ann Erik of Tilton Fitness. “Plus, they are easy to measure.” And being able to gauge your progress is a great motivator: “Having a target to strive for inspired Peter to make a habit of going to the gym four times per week,” says Peggy. Amazingly, the family lost weight even though they took a 10-day trip to Italy mid-challenge! Here’s what they were aiming for with their workouts.

Peggy’s Goals
Go 2,000 meters on rowing machine in 9 minutes and 30 seconds Missed by only 4 seconds.
Do 5 sit-ups Exceeded by 7!
Lose 6 pounds Achieved! Down to 175 pounds (started at 191 in June).

Peter’s Goals
Walk 1 mile in 15 minutes Achieved! With 28 seconds to spare!
Do 10 push-ups with proper form Exceeded by 2!
Lose 6 pounds Achieved! Down to 272 pounds (started at 285 in June).

Michael’ s Goals
Run 1 mile in 7 minutes and 30 seconds Exceeded! With 32 seconds to spare!
Leg-press 800 pounds for 3 reps Achieved!
Lose 4 pounds Exceeded! Lost 6!

Amanda’s Goals
Go 2,000 meters on rowing machine in 9 minutes and 30 seconds Missed by only 4 seconds.
Do 3 pull-ups Achieved!
Lose 4 pounds Missed by just 1 pound!

How They Did It
★ Passed on a ride. The Avaglianos headed to Italy for some family R&R, but the country’s pasta and gelato didn’t weigh them down. “With all our walking around Venice–sometimes over 40 flights of stairs in one day–we stayed on track with our goals,” says Peggy. Vacations aren’t an excuse to gain weight. Instead, do your sightseeing on foot as much as possible.

★ Got write with themselves. Peggy suggests joining a free website, like SparkPeople.com or MyFitnessPal.com, and logging your food intake and exercise every day. “Being accountable to yourself really makes a difference,” says Peggy.

★ Used a training schedule. “Peter was a little worried about his walking goal,” says Erik, who also created a rowing routine for Peggy. “But following my set plan that includes interval and distance work helps improve speed and endurance.”


What the Lehmans Accomplished

This month the Lehmans’ sweat and tears paid off! Tiffany, Andy and 10-year-old Anna have a lot to be proud of after making huge fitness strides. “You need to be comfortable with basic body-weight movements–lunges, sit-ups, dips, push-ups, pull-ups and rows–before you can begin any formal strength program,” says Andy’s trainer, Wesley Keith of Gold’s Gym. “When Andy was able to complete 50 reps of each of these movements in half an hour, it meant his body was conditioned enough to move to the next level.” Tiffany also achieved what she set out to and feels invincible. “I am amazed at how just believing in myself a little bit and having someone else–my trainer–believe in me has showed me that I can be and do anything I want,” says Tiffany, who lost 2.5% of her body fat.

Best of all, this inspiration was passed from one generation to the next. “My parents motivated me to work out and were so encouraging,” says Anna, who exercised four to five days a week and realized how good she felt when forgoing junk food. “I am happier because I’m healthier and making better food choices. Overall, I’m very proud of myself,” she says. Here’s their tally when it came to taking things up a notch at the gym.

Tiffany’s Goals
5-minute continuous treadmill push Missed by only 6 seconds!
Squat, bench-press and deadlift 120 pounds each Missed each by 50 pounds or less!
Lose 4 pounds Achieved! Down to 233 (started at 250 in June).

Andy’s Goals
15-minute continuous treadmill push Achieved!
Squat, bench-press and deadlift a total of 500 pounds Exceeded by 215 pounds!
Lose 1”  from waist and 1.5% body fat Exceeded! Lost 4.5” and 2% (started at 257 pounds in June).

Anna’s Goals
Do 15 reps each of squats, jumping jacks, toe touches and overhead presses Achieved!
Lose 5 pounds Achieved!

How They Did It

★ Worked their way up. Lass Lassiter of Gold’s Gym helped Tiffany achieve her goals by using interval training and gradually increasing her workouts. For example, with the treadmill push, Tiffany started with 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off; the next session she did one minute on and one minute off, until she hit five minutes. “Every session, Lass pushed me harder and further than I ever thought possible,” Tiffany says.

★ Kept an eye on their plates. Their trainers and nutritionist suggested they cut unhealthy carbs, eat lean sources of protein and consume more fruits and veggies. “Lass has the same philosophy as Stephanie: If you can’t pronounce an ingredient in a product, then you shouldn’t eat it,” says Tiffany.

★ Avoided all excuses. This month the Lehmans were struggling with issues relating to their autistic 7-year-old son, Jack. Yet they were still able to stick with the Healthy Challenge plan. “Life is life, and if we wait for the timing to be perfect to set our goals, we’ll never be able to reach them,” says Tiffany.

What They Won: Both the Avagliano and Lehman families had their choice of one of two Epic home fitness cardio machines provided by Dick’s Sporting Goods: an A30T treadmill with iFit training programs and built-in speakers or an A30E whisper-quiet elliptical trainer (epicfit.com).

How did your family get fit this month? Share in the comments below.

Tiffany, Week 20: What We Let Slip To Stay Fit


I’ve blogged a lot about how much I love working out. Sweaty, intense, long sessions of weights and cardio. And I bet you’re thinking, “She has to be cutting corners somewhere. There just aren’t enough hours in the day!” Well, let me tell you the #1 place that I’m not cutting corners: What we eat. Yes, it’s tough finding time to put a healthy meal on the table and manage this. The solution: Planning. You have to plan. If you don’t have a meal plan you’ll slip. We don’t work out on Sundays so that’s the day that we will cook a lot in preparation for the coming week. We eat a lot of fresh fruit, eggs, chicken, salad, and turkey. We also love quinoa, which is a great meat substitute. We eat a lot of quinoa tacos. We always have chicken cooked up so we can put it in salads or make fajitas.

So what does slip? Housework. Our house is not as organized and clean as I’d like it. But I’ve gotten over it quickly and realize that it’s never going to go away. It will always be there waiting for us. The kids, our health, our lives, etc, could be gone in a moment. So we prioritize what is most important and the rest falls into place. Really we lead a great and busy life and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I hope I’ve given you some tips on how you too can have it all. It might take time but stay persistent and it will fall into place.

What do you push to the side to make time for fitness? Post a comment and tell me!

Tiffany, Week 19: So How Exactly Do Andy and I Both Squeeze in Workouts?


People ask me all the time how do you make time to exercise. B.C. (Before the Challenge) I used the gym at my office. I’m blessed to have a wonderful, complete gym at my office that is staffed with great trainers, great equipment and great classes. I did go a little in the morning but my body doesn’t like to work out very hard in the morning. I need some coffee and a shower before I can work out. I know that’s crazy talk but if I don’t shower before a work out it just doesn’t feel like I’ve worked as hard.

I go a lot on my lunch hour and crank out a hard core half hour, some times 45 minutes, take a fast shower to get the sweat off or just wipe down with wet wipes, freshen the hair up and make up and go back to work. I bought a little fan to keep at my desk so I could fan myself if I’m still overheated from working out. Then I’d eat my lunch while working at my desk. When I was training for the half marathon I did a lot of running on my lunch hour and ran on the trails around my office. Now if you don’t have a gym at your office just take a walk around your building, go in a conference room on your break and do some push ups, sit ups, squats, etc. Where there is a will there is a way.

As part of this challenge we were given a membership to Gold’s Gym and access to amazing trainers. Now I train/work out with Lass at least 3 times a week. My sessions are from 5 to 6 Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Andy works with Wes 3 times a week too. The gym is on my way home from work so I just swing in and punch out an hour and head home. Andy sets his sessions so that he goes between 7 and 8pm. Andy also will work out in the morning. Nothing like working with Wes but he’ll do some to build muscle and endurance. Plus Andy walks all day everyday so he’s constantly moving.

How do you make sure to get a workout in? Post a comment and tell me!

Tiffany, Week 19: Helping Your Kids Make Healthy Choices

tiffany and anna

What’s one of the best ways to help your kid lose weight? Slim down yourself. That’s what a study that came out earlier this year from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and The University of Minnesota showed. Of course changing what I buy at the grocery store, for example, would have an impact on my children. But what’s been so impressive is that even in situations where I’m not in control, my daughter is making healthy choices!

From the beginning of the Healthy Family Challenge, my daughter, Anna, was really looking forward to working out at a gym. Unfortunately, at 9 years old, she’s too young to be allowed on the gym floor. When I broke the news to her, she was bummed. But I told Lass, my trainer, this and he developed a routine for Anna.

She does body weight squats, jumping jacks, toe touches and overhead presses with hand weights. Lass told her to do four sets of twelve reps each. For this month’s challenge she increased to 4 sets at 15 reps. She easily modified her workout and even added more. (Go Anna!) Plus, every day, she and her friends at daycare dance make up routines to do. Anna also loves to ride her bike around our neighborhood with the kids in town. And, of course, she tries to keep up with Jack, which is a tough job. He is consistently on the go!

For this month’s challenge, Anna, like me, was focused on losing weight. According to our doctor, she was at the high end of normal, so she wanted to lose a few pounds. One day, she went on a field trip to a pizza buffet and arcade with her daycare center. Rather than have 2 or 3 slices of pizza, Anna made herself a salad and had one slice of pizza because she wanted to make good choices. Amazing, right? She now feels so much better and full of energy and she doesn’t even miss the bad foods.

How have you helped your kids make healthy choices? Post a comment and tell me!