Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Year in review 2008

In January 2008 I opened my eyes not knowing what to expect with the New Year. What should I be looking for? What new projects should I be attempting? I knew that I was going to have the Weight Loss Challenge starting in a few days and I was very excited to get that started but I was also concerned about the economy and what my business would look like at the middle and then end of the year.

Things were going along just fine. I had more people join and the Weight Loss Challenge was going along very well. Then one day after my step class I run into a member and she informs me that a friend had died just the other night. She was hit by a drunk driver on rt67. To say the least I was very said and concerned for the family. After a few minutes I also figured out that the person who died had two children and one on the way. I was told that there was four people in the car and two survived. One was a boy and he played on my son’s soccer team.

I had gone to the school where she taught that next Monday and the mood at the school was very somber. People were walking around in a daze trying to figure out if it was really true. I remember seeing the Superintendant in the hallway and I asked her what if anything I could do. Besides praying for the family the idea of some sort of an event in remembrance of her would be a good idea. At that point my brain kicked in and, in a short period of time, put together a 5k walk run in remembrance of Jennifer and her daughter. Over 500 people ended up participating and it was a success*.

After finishing the Weight Loss Challenge, I found myself day dreaming again and decided to put on a program I called Shape Time (people not quite obese but 15 to 30 pounds overweight). I ran this in July thru August and once again it was a success*.

A few weeks later, while at my son’s track meet, I was watching the kids warm up and noticed that they did not, in any way, loosen themselves up enough to compete at the levels I knew they could compete at. I also noticed that they just could not perform well against people they really should be beating. After my son finished the Junior Olympics I decided that it would be a good thing if I started at strength and flexibility class for kids and run it 10 weeks. Well that seems to have been a success* also.

This next year I am going to continue to improve on these programs with the hope that I can continually help people help themselves.

*success as I define it is helping people change their life for the better.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Speed and Flexibility Camp

One of the biggest problems we have in this society that I see is that our children are very inflexible. There are studies that have been done that say they can prove that stretching adds no more of an advantage then if you were just to do some calisthenics before your event. They say that at the end of a particular event your body has not benefited from initially being stretch and that the difference in performance is nominal.

Whereas I can see that in some events this theory can be true, I tend to challenge it in most sports. My argument is that our muscles over normal use take on a great load (stress) everyday. With that in mind a constant tearing down of these muscles lead to lactic acid development and this causes soreness (D.O.M.S.). Have you ever noticed that a day after doing something strenuous your can hardly move in that same way the next day? Have you ever been to a massage therapist and received a massage on a sore part of your anatomy and then after words felt much better? Have you ever been to a Physical Therapist and received treatments for a joint or muscle you may have injured? What do all of these professionals do and have in common, they stretch out that muscle to remove the lactic acid from that spot.

Now for our children. One of the most important things that they need to do is stretch. My reasons are as follows;1) Allows body to grow in a less stressed state, especially in the joint regions.
2) Allows the body to perform at its maximum, while minimizing the risk if injury.
3) Allows you to sit in much more relaxed stated and takes stress off opposing muscle groups

Let’s look at each one of these separately.

Stretching allows your child’s body to grow in a less stressed state, especially in the joint regions: What I am referring to there are your child’s growth plates. Have you ever tried to put a weed in a confined area and then have it grow? Yes the weed will grow but it will not reach its potential. However, you take that same weed and allow it to grow unrestricted and it will grow to it potential. Our children’s bodies are the same. If their muscles are not flexible they will still grow, of course, but not to their greatest potential.

Allows the body to perform at its maximum, while minimizing the risk of injury:
Now, I am not saying that your child will not have injuries but you would be lessening the risk of injury. Do this with your child. Without stretching have them enter into a competition of some sort and let them perform. Remember how they did and then the next time they enter into it again, now have them stretch. You should see a difference in stride (their gate), Strength, and agility.

Allows them to sit in a much more relaxed state and takes stress off opposing muscles: Have you ever seen your child sit on the floor? Have you ever noticed how he/she sits? Take a look at it and you will noticed that most children do not sit straight up but leaning back on the Sacrum (lower spine) then on their Gluteous Maximus. The reason why is because their lower back and their hamstrings are extremely tighten. You cannot sit in this position long. Your arms (what is holding you up) and your abdominals will fatigue quickly and they will begin to shift all around to relieve the pressure. By stretching especially your hamstrings and your lower back, this will allow your muscles to relax much better and allow you to sit properly without having to lean back. Trust me tight hamstrings and a tight lower back can make life very uncomfortable.

With this all in mind I have started a camp for child ages 11 to 13 that helps them in the areas described above. This is a 10 week camp and I meet with them once a week for cardio and flexibility followed by some calisthenics. It seems to be working but I will not know until those kids hit the field of play and perform.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

5K Walk Run for life

In our lives we are often moved to ask the question, how can we make a difference? On September 20, 2008, there were 500 people that asked the same question and gave of their time to make their voices heard. This event consisted of three phases. There was the 5k run, the 5k walk, and the 1 mile walk. It did not matter which one you chose to do. Your voice was heard and you helped make a difference because of your participation.

The shirts participants wore said 5k Walk Run for Life the Jennifer Bukowski Foundation and the Courtney Bella Foundation. The back of the shirts read, “Never, Never, Never give up.” (Winston Churchill) There are 500 people who did not nor will they ever. DUI laws need to be changed to protect our citizens but even more importantly, our moral and ethical compass needs to change. We have lost sight of right and wrong. Everything has become gray, and there seems to be no more black or white. We need to revert back to a time when morality was king and wrongdoing was punished to the fullest extent of the law. We need to take responsibility for our actions and mature not just chronologically but mentally.

A special thanks to the Harley riders “The Blue Knights” for showing their support and coming alongside us. Let’s not forget Michael Flemming. All he wanted to do was celebrate the 105th Harley anniversary and he too was tragically killed by a drunk driver. Enough should be enough now. It is time to grow up and learn from these tragic events. “Let’s turn lemons into lemonade”.

Saturday, July 5, 2008


It was filled with much anticipated drama. Who would lose the most? What lives would be changed? What would the final numbers look like? What would be the next step?
This year was so much different than last year. Many of the challengers were here to finally change their lives for the better. All of them told me that they had tried everything else. They tried the diets. They tried the gyms. They tried joining other places. But all that happened was that they ended up back in the same position they were in before they started. They would lose 50 pounds and then gain 60 pounds back. Up and down, Up and down.
Then something happened in their life, Parkers Place Weight Loss Challenge. This was not like any other challenge. How many weight loss places tell you that FOOD IS GOOD? How many other places give you one-on-one personal training for no additional cost? How many other places give you nutritional classes and advice for no additional cost? How many other places give you psychological classes and advice for no additional cost? How many places give you challenges and group workouts and weigh-ins and prizes? How many other places would hold you accountable without digging into your pocket?
The 16 people I had this year were great. In the end 15 finished and finished strong. My top 5 people lost an average of 90 pounds and all 15 finished with an average of 70 pounds. This is just great. However, they have only just begun.
The fanfare is over. The accountability is still there but not as intense as it was when they were part of the challenge. In so many ways you want to relax and go back to the way life was prior to the challenge. Guys, YOU CAN’T! Your old life is how you got to the way you were prior. Don’t go back. It took you six months to get to where you are right now. IT WILL TAKE YOU LESS TO GAIN IT ALL BACK. Now comes the struggle.
I started in the martial arts in 1986 (tae kwon do) and in a very short period of time I had gotten myself to the level of red belt with two stripes. I knew that I had only one more stripe to get and I knew that I could get it easily. I remember taking that test and thinking that once again I blew everybody away. Some people were their just to see what I was going to do next. By this time (1988) I had tried out for the USA Karate team and made it. I was trying out for the Olympics (that summer) and looking forward to it. I had this in the bag. My physical ability was so far superior to anyone there they had to bring some third degree black belts just to spare against me.
After taking the test I felt great. I knew I had it made. That next Monday I received a call from my sobonim (teacher) and I just knew he was going to praise me for how I preformed. He did quit the opposite. He said to me, “Kevin, if I told you that you preformed badly and that your forms were terrible I would be lying to you. You are very strong and physically my best student. But you are lacking in one area that we need to develop and is the most important area in the martial arts, your mind. Mentally, you are still a white belt and we need to mature you before you can go on any further. For this reason, I am not going to allow you to pass thru to your next stripe.”
I was devastated. I was appalled. I was speechless. How dear him do this to me. What was he thinking? What did I do to him? I gave him my all so far and this is the thanks I get! Well at this time I had a decision I had to make. I could quit, go to another place, or go back and prove him wrong. My decision was to go back and prove to him that he was wrong and for the next three months I worked hard and concentrated a lot on the mental aspects of what I was trying to accomplish, my black belt. That summer I had the opportunity to try out for the Olympics in karate and did well. I went to the nationals and finished undefeated in the round-robin tournament never ending in the loser’s pool. What an experience. I just knew that I was going. Well I was not picked to go and I was once again I was devastated. When I asked the officials why I was not picked they told me that they wanted a more experienced fighter and they knew that I was not a black belt as of yet. BUT I WON THE DAMN TOURNEMENT AND I WAS NATIONALLY RANKED!After a few more months of let downs the light had finally went on. I really wasn’t ready. My mind had not caught up with my body and I needed to get it there. I began a regiment of mental preparedness and praying at least once a day and keeping my emotions in check (not experiencing highs and lows as much). I began to give back instead of take. I stopped looking for the lime light and help other people achieve and getting my joy at other people achieving their goals. One year later my teacher, once again, called me and told me that he had seen a remarkable improvement in my maturity and now I was just not ready to take the third stripe test but take my black belt test and that I should be preparing for it now. I took it and passed (1989). I have not been the same since. What I learned in that space of time was priceless and something that I will never forget.
To my weight loss graduates, all this time you have worked on the physical and for the longest time I have been trying to help you work on the mental too. Many of you just did not get it but I believe someday you may be getting it. You can lose 100 pounds but still think of yourself as that fat person or when life gets tough or you feel as though you are not being treated fairly, you may want to revert to going back to the way you were. This is the true challenge. This is your next challenge.
You need to know that the way you were you are no longer. You are a different person now. You are fit, and much stronger. Now let’s begin the process of understanding and growing mentally so that at the end of the day you would have achieved your final goal, a new life.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Final Challenge!!

Well it is here. The final challenge, and it was a good one. The challengers had to fill a hole 10' X 10' X 4' deep with dirt then once that was finished they then had to take over 5 tons of rock and thro them into a a Brinkman Truck. Now that I made it sound simple, let me put things into prospective. It took them 1 hour and 30 minutes just to get the dirt put into the hole and then another hour to get the rocks on the truck. To say the least they were a little tired but it was well worth it.

Brinkman Pools and construction sponsored this challenge and I want to thank them for it and their generous gift to all of the challengers.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The week that wasn't

This week there was no challenge. This week was a week for giving back to the community. As you can tell Pewaukee is really under water and we decided to go and help with the clean up. My prayers go out to all that live in that area and all of the other areas that have been flooded.
Next week is the final challenge and we are looking forward to a great time. Stay tune for next weeks activity.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

5K Yellow Brick Road Run

Well this is the event that they have been waiting for. All of the challengers ran in their first 5K (3.1 miles). The goal for them, as it should be for anyone who runs it, is to just not finish but do better than you did before. This race for these challengers is their first and they should use this as a benchmark for later races.
The challenger’s times were:
Sue 39:07 Mike 50:01 Kathy 42:16
Craig 50:01 Donna 40:19 Tina 46:48
Doreen 40:35 James 36:07 Mat 28:47
Cindy 26:14 Richard 42:15 Jon 41:00
Nicole 53:05 Vicky 38:10

Many of the challengers have asked me about an exist strategy and now this is when it begins. In my next few blogs I will be giving them some ideas that they can use for the rest of their adult lives.

The two pictures are of Cindy and Sue (the birthday girl). Congrats to you all for your beginning accomplishments.

Saturday, May 31, 2008


This week was softball game for the challengers. I did this because next week they will be running in their first 5k run/walk, which I am very excited about. This week the Red Team won 6 to 5. The winning run was an in-the-park home run by James Meyer(trainer) which cleared the bases. Fun was had by all.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Kevin's Obstical Course Challenge

What do you get when you combine speed, strength and endurance? Kevin’s Challenge. At first when I told the challengers what they were about to do they thought that it would be a piece of cake (no pun intended) however, at the end of the challenge many of them ended up on their knees. Let me explain the challenge.
1) A 100 meter run on sanded volleyball courts
2) Then 25 push-ups
3) Then another 20 meter run thru a sanded volleyball court
4) Then 50 sit-ups, elbows to knees, not crunches
5) Then another 20 meter run thru grass
6) Then 50 seated squats, full motion
7) Then another 20 meter run thru grass
8) Then a 20 meter belly crawl, belly on the ground hips are not up
9) Then a 40 meter sprint to the end
You try doing that! Cindy tried and won the individual challenge at 4 minutes. In the team challenge it was a virtual tie. How would have guessed? Good job guys to one and all.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

It’s not broken, so let’s fix it

When I was in the financial markets I noticed that there were many people that started out very strong but after a few years just seemed to disappear. Why was that? I had lunch with a very successful insurance agent. He had been in business for over 20 years and he had grown his business 100 fold in that time. I asked him why it was that he was so successful and his colleagues were not or just plain struggling. His answer astounded me. He told me that he has not changed anything since he first started working in insurance. He still made his 300 dials a day. Still tried to see 4 to 5 new people a day and still came to work every day at the same time.
With that in mind I then went out to lunch with a friend who worked on Wall Street in one of the Fortune 500 brokerage houses and asked him the same question. Funny thing though, I got the same answer. I then spoke to a business man and asked him the same question and again, funny enough, he stated the same thing.
What do all of these people all have in common? No, they are not stuck in a rut but something even more astounding. They found a formula that worked and stayed with it. Now in the case of each one of these people their minimum requirements, for clients, did go up but how they got them did not change. Because of that they are where they are today.
Many of you have asked me, months ago to help you achieve certain goals in your life and what frustrates me is that as soon as we find that plan that works for you want to change it with the hopes of “making it just a little better”. Once you reach that point I know for certain that your goals will never be achieved. Why, you lose focused and once your focus is gone so goes your drive. Without drive there is no push for you to succeed.
In January many have come to me with specific goals and for three months they really worked on achieving them. Now the weather is getting nice and they are beginning to lose their focus. “Instead of running on the treadmill, I’ll just walk around the lake” or “I did gardening outside today so I don’t have to go to the gym and workout”. How many times have we heard this and then come September those same people are back in the gym with the same issue and no better off.
Yes, I know that working out every day or three times a week can get boring and sometimes you do need a break, however, let’s look at this logically. If for three months (January, February and March) the program you were on was working and you were losing weight and feeling better about yourself. Why then would you change what worked just because you got a little bored? Success comes in the everyday grind. It is in the consistency not the periodic change. You may need to increase the intensity a little but keep on keeping on and you will reach your goal and there will your success be.

Kick Ball

Well, this week was Kick Ball and it went very well. We had two teams and we played with softball rules. No one got hurt. No one cried. No one left the field and everyone had fun. We played six innings and in the top half of the final inning the red team finally woke up and scored 4 runs but fell short in the end. The Blue team won 5 to 4. Good job to all.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

James Barany Challenge

James has done something that most have only dreamed of doing he walked here from Waukesha. Now this is a total of 26 miles of up and down hills. He tried doing something like this after his divorce and did not make it the whole way this time was different though. He started from his residence in Waukesha and ended at Parkers Place in Oconomowoc. He spent that night in Naga-Waukee Park under the lights. It was a very cold night and he ended up waking up at 4am. Some of the other challengers met him at the park or at Pabst Farms in Oconomowoc for his final journey of 7 miles. The pace that was set, if he were to go for the whole way without stopping would have taken him 10 hours. His first day he walked 17 miles and the final 7 miles the next day.
When I asked James how he felt he said, “ Excellent but I have sore toes and I need a bath”. Today before he goes home he will be playing in a kick ball game and then weighing in back at Parkers Place. Good Job James! Keep up the good work.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Nutrition Challenge

Well after going thru all of the meal plans, we have a winner. Now to win this part of the challenge we gave the challengers a sheet of paper and they were told that they needed to plan out five days of meals. Now each challenger was given a few things, their caloric intake per days, sodium per day and fats per day. Their goal was to come as close to their goals as possible. The numbers they were given were numbers that if the challenge were to end that day, what they would need every day to maintain their weight.
In this challenge Cindy came the closest in all of the categories. Congrats Cindy you have won a gift certificate of groceries to Sentry worth $40.00

Monday, May 5, 2008

Kailin's Challenge

Well this week we went to another level with the challengers. One of the most important features of this weight loss challenge is the ability to understand their nutrition and the numbers they must always hit or be around to maintain their weight loss. Each person was told how many calories in a day they were to have to maintain were they are today and then with that they were to go to go Sentry (local grocery store) and go shopping and bring us back five days worth of meals that they would buy (breakfast , lunch and dinner) that would keep them at their current weight. However, the way we pick a winner in this challenge is how close they come to their Sodium and Fat content levels. Once we get the sheets, which we have now, we will look them over and announce the winners.
Now, one of the things Kailin did not want to do is send the challengers home without giving them some love so instead of just the grocery store she had them do a full body workout. This one hurt, and a lot. Now please note that if it were me I would have just done the grocery store however it wasn’t my call . The work out consisted of the following disciplines; Dumbbell Chest, Lat Pulldown, Squats, Military Press, Tri Cable and the winner was the person who lifted the most weight, combined, with all of the disciplines. Now they only had 2 minutes to do each station as many times as they could. The winner for the guys was Jon lifting 26,745 pounds total and for the women Tina 18,175 total pounds. Good job guys, keep it up.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

One Mile Run Weight Loss Challenge

I want to thank New Balance for sponsoring the Parkers Place Weight Loss Challenge 1 mile run. Last year when Vern won I believe that it took him to another level in his ability to understand that he truly could do it. He ran that mile in 7 minutes. This year we have two new winners Mat and Cindy and they with their New Balance shoes now know that they can do it.
If you take into consideration that they have never run before and that Cindy has lost 43 pounds and Mat 136 pounds in 15 weeks it makes their running accomplishment even more remarkable (8 minute mile is nothing is laugh about). If you asked them what has given them such success they would say the Parkers Place Weight Loss Challenge and their New Balance Shoes.
Thank you New Balance for coming along side Parkers Place and understanding that proper shoe wear is important in a person’s fitness life. Thank you for helping Parkers Place help them. Congrats Mat and Cindy keep it going.

One MileRun WLC

I want to thank New Balance for sponsoring the Parkers Place Weight Loss Challenge 1 mile run. Last year when Vern won I believe that it took him to another level in his ability to understand that he truly could do it. He ran that mile in 7 minutes. This year we have two new winners Mat and Cindy and they with their New Balance shoes now know that they can do it.
If you take into consideration that they have never run before and that Cindy has lost 43 pounds and Mat 136 pounds in 15 weeks it makes their running accomplishment even more remarkable (8 minute mile is nothing is laugh about). If you asked them what has given them such success they would say the Parkers Place Weight Loss Challenge and their New Balance Shoes.
Thank you New Balance for coming along side Parkers Place and understanding that proper shoe wear is important in a person’s fitness life. Thank you for helping Parkers Place help them. Congrats Mat and Cindy keep it going.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Nature Hill Challenge

Well after such a good week Saturday was very cold but the challengers were up for the challenge. This week they went to Nature hill and the challenge was for them to run up the ski hill, pick up a flag and then run down the other side of the hill. Each team had three people on them. Every group had a trainer that went with them. The teams were as follows:
#1 Mike, Kathy and Doreen (Jim Meyer coach)
#2 Matthew, Tina, Donna (Sue McNutt coach)
#3 Craig, Nicole, Cindy (Dale McNutt coach)
#4 James, Sue, Vickie (Kailin coach)
The top of the hill was very windy and some of the challengers stated that the challenge got increasingly harder when they approached the top of the hill. They wanted to stop but they kept going and in the end reaped the benefit of their labor. The winning team was #4 with a time of 4:34.43. There was no quitting in all of the challengers especially team #4. Good Job to all.

Monday, April 21, 2008

First Fitness Challenge

Well, this one was a first for the Weight Loss Challengers. There were three disciplines that the challengers had to complete. They were the Cone Switch, the Weight Walk, and the Pacer. These events tested their speed, strength and endurance. In the first event the challengers had to replace the cones from one seat to another. This was a 30 foot course that tested their agility and speed. The winner was the one who did the course the fastest time. Mat Conway won in 16.34 seconds.
The second event was the Weight Walk. This was a 60 meter course that the challengers have to tak weights and walk as long as they can. The women had 50 pound weight in both hands and the men had 70 pound weights in both hands. On this walk they were not allowed to put those weights down until they were finished. Each challenger had two spotters. This one was grueling for them. But in the end James Barany won by walking 450 feet. Take into consideration that this was done with an additional 140 pounds of weight it makes to feat even more impressive.
The third event was the Pacer. This was a 60 meter course. The challengers started at one end of the field and when they heard the beep they were to run to the other end before the next beep. If they made it they were to wait for the next beep and then run back to the start line. Every 10 times the beeps would get increasingly closer and the challengers would have to run quicker to get to the other side before the next beep. Cindy won with 50 laps completed. The equates to ½ mile of interval running. Good job Cindy(shown in the blue, last picture)!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Kevin's Challenge

Sometimes it is not just about sweating and getting tired. Sometimes our mind is what needs to be conditioned. This challenge was just that it was a strenuous and many a time the challengers wanted to quit. The way the challenge went was that there were three islands that they needed to get their team mates through. Now at any time you could not have any more than two challengers on any island and if they fell into the pit they would have to start again. Once they got their teammate to safety they were then to run down the field to the end zone and there waiting for them was a golf ball and two PVC pipe. One pipe was small enough to hold the ball but the other was too large. Their next challenge was to get that golf ball from one end of the field to another without dropping it. Now each challenger had to touch each PVC pipe and pass it to the next challenger. To say they least this took quite a while to complete. They kept dropping the golf ball and having to start over again. On one occasion the red team made it two thirds of the way there and then dropped to golf ball. It took the Blue team over 1 hour to complete this task.
Here is the lesson it was trying to teach them. You are going to fail more than you will succeed, but everytime you fail and have to start again you will get just little further to your goal. How many times have you been told that you are just who you are that that you need to just deal with it. “Oh, Sue it just THICK BONED so she just needs to deal with that and accept it”. How many times have we heard that. If we let society continue to dictate to use who we are, we will never amount to much in life. After failing at that golf ball relay 18 times everyone was telling the blue team to pack it in. But they did not and finally they did it and they were better people for it. Good job to everyone who took place in the challenge. Keep your head up and remember when life beats you down get up and try again. Soon enough you will win.

Volley Ball

This week the challengers played volleyball. The teams were the following:
Team #1 James, Tina, Vicky, Donna
Team #2 Matthew, Sue, Mike, Doreen
Team #3 Richard, Cindy, Kathy, Nicole
Team #4 Jon, Debby, Craig, Sue (the trainer)
They played a round robin way and teams finished in the following order:

Team #1 finished 2 – 1
Team #2 finished 3 – 0
Team #3 finished 0 – 3
Team #4 finished 1 – 2
In the finals #3 vs #4 and #4 won winning 15 – 5 and in the money game team #2 beat #1 with a final score of 21 – 17.

I want to thank Snyder Insurance for sponsoring this challenge and giving Mat, Sue, Mike and Doreen such a generous prize. Thanks guys, without you I could not do this.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Lifetime Cookware demonstration

Well the chef was in the house and he prepared a great meal for the challengers. The greatest thing was that it was done with lifetime cookware and no preservatives added. No salt, flower, pepper. All natural and they loved it. Thanks Lifetime Cookware for your help and sponsorship.

The Mile Run

Well this mile run was a success. Winning time was a little over 8 minutes. Good job Cindy keep up the good work.
At the last nutrition class a lot of issues were discussed and resolved about eating and what you should be doing. Good job Kailin.