The Biggest Loser’s Erik Chopin loses it all again

January 6, 2010

...only this time he’s doing it on Discovery Health as part of their ‘5 Nights of Resolution TV.’ series this week. For those of us Biggest Loser fans, we all know the Long Island, N.Y., deli owner as the season 3 winner, losing a whopping total of 214lbs off his then 407 lb frame.

It wasn’t until Chopin came appeared as a guest on Oprah, 122lb heavier than we last seen him weighing in at 315lb, to discuss the difficulties people face in keeping the pounds off.

“I’d worry about him,” said wife Michele in an interview with Oprah. “I’d look at him and think it was like he was drowning and I couldn’t do anything to help him. I could see it in his eyes, and I could see so many things happening again that we’ve been through.”

Chopin said that, although he doesn’t like gyms, he’s going to get back on track, but this time, for himself and his family.

In a recent interview with That’s Fit, Chopin stated that post-Biggest Loser, he had no income nor job and fell into depression. “I identified that on Oprah, but I didn’t address it,” but with the help of Discovery Health he will be able to do that and share his journey with the viewers.

For a look at Erik Chopin’s journey to losing his weight, Confessions of a Reality Show Loser, tune in tonight at 9 p.m. on the Discovery Health channel. For those tuning in tonight, leave a comment and let me know what you thought of it.


A diet cleanse that actually works

January 3, 2010

The New Year has come and many people, post holiday season are feeling bloated, heavy, and looking to rid themselves of this feeling.

But readers beware of the shortcut diets that rampage the internet. Those would include the notorious Master Cleanse and Gwyneth Paltrow diet.

Many of these diets may result in the dieter becoming many pounds lighter and “cleaner,” but post-cleanse, the pounds will eventually come back (most likely more than what was initially lost) and leave the dieter back to where he or she started.

While I am apprehensive about any diet promising fast results, I came across this 7-day Ultimate Diet Cleanse that seems promising. Below is an excerpt of the do’s and don’ts.

1. DON’T add sugar, other natural sweeteners (including honey, agave, and stevia), or artificial sweeteners to anything.

2. DON’T add salt to anything.

3. DON’T eat starches with dinner (including bread, rice, pasta, peas, beans, corn and potatoes).

4. DON’T drink alcohol.

1. DO eat on a schedule

2. DO drink lots of water throughout the day,

3. DO enjoy “water alternatives” in unlimited quantities at any point during the day.

4. DO begin dinner with a healthy appetizer

Happy Hunting! I on the other hand have found my New Year kick start in the form of P90X. After reading a ton of reviews-I also wrote one in a past blog post– I thought, “why not?”.

Looking for some noteworthy New Year diet tips? Check out this article.

Get Jacked Not Fit 2009

December 9, 2009

As this semester and this blog wind down in a fiery ball of finals, national championship runs and and more finals, I leave thee, dear reader with a parting gift.

No, it’s not my press pass to the game or my tickets to Passadena, so stop asking. Instead, it’s a workout to help you wade through the Christmas feasts and the midnight runs to Whataburger and/or Kerby Lane that fuel your studying.

It’s called, as you might have guess from the title, “Get Jacked Not Fat 2009”. Very down to the point. So here we go, courtesy of Zepeda Performance Systems:

Workout A: 5-step circuit. After each circuit, rest for two minutes. Do 3-5 circuits, depending on how much you feel like punishing yourself.

Start with  a front squat/push press, 4-6 repetitions at whatever weight you can handle.

swiss ball lateral roll (explained)- 4-6 repetitions

Chin ups: 10 repetitions

Swiss ball side crunch: 4-6 repetitions

Swiss ball jackknife: 4-6 repetitions

The swiss ball is an awesome device, as this workout tries to show. Get accustomed to it.

Lateral roll:

Do this circuit 3-5 times.

A second workout, recommended t break up monotiny and work different muscles, follows.

Start with the Romanian Deadlift 4-6 repetitions at a weight you can handle.

With a medicine ball, kneeling shoulder press, 8 repetitions

Then a set of Mogul squats: as many possible reps in 20 seconds

Back to the swiss ball for push ups, 8-10 reps

And end with the Tornado Chop 30 reps, to work the abs.

That’s a lot of links, but somone has to decode these workout terms. Hope that helps in getting some work done in between those tests and holiday shopping. Enjoy.

Big D in Dallas

December 8, 2009

As I strained my neck to see the ball soar through the air at Cowboys Stadium, I couldn’t help but mutter a prayer, and a curse for Jerry Jones, under my breath. It was all on the line: an undefeated season, a national championship game, an agonizing post game interview where we try to find out why Colt McCoy decided to have a stroll out of the pocket as time expired. And I pretty much missed it, thanks to the aforementioned JJ.

While practically every stadium in the country allows us vaunted members of the media on the field for the final 5 minutes, the Cowboys do not, meaning I was watching the biggest moment of Texas’ season over a crowd of supremely pissed reporters under the bowels of Jerry’s new stadium. I thought the kick was wide, the Texas-friendly crowd cheered wildly, the TV, on a 7 second tape delay, showed it was good by thismuch and I was able to take a breath before suffocating. Close one. As a sidenote, I would have linked to my story, but thanks for having a server problem. You’re about as reliable as Texas’ interior O-line.

Now for something fun:

See Vince run into a crowd of people? The guy in the white shirt that he is closest to is The Daily Texan reporter who came down from the press box for the final five minutes. That should have been me Saturday! Anyway, latent bitterness aside, what a game. Texas, and myself, are going to the Rose Bowl on January 7th for the national title after the most ridiculous of 13-12 wins over Nebraska.

If the NC game is anything like Saturday night, or January 4, 2006, for that matter, I recommend a steady diet of low cholesterol foods, no caffeine or anything that could clog your arteries, because you’re going to have your heart in your mouth for a good 4 hours. You’ve been warned.

Back to the game. What a display by Ndamukong Suh, who might be the most athletic person to grace college football in, well, ever. At 300 pounds, Suh looked like the strongest, fastest and smartest person on the field.  I think we can  assume he ate his vegetable growing up. He also had this icy, assasin’s cool to him in the post-game while his head coach was blowing up over the clock controversy. He’s just cold blooded, let’s move on before I get flashbacks to him throwing McCoy like a sack of potatoes.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed our detours into Texas football. It’s not exactly fitness and outdoors, but it’s close enough, and who wants to read another gym review anyway? See you in Pasadena.

Indoor and Outdoor Activities on Campus

December 7, 2009

I want to talk about two other activities students, faculty and all members of UT Rec Sports can and should particiapte in to stay fit and have fun. 

Rec Sports facilities (i.e. Gregory, Rec Center and Bellmont) have a buffet of racquetball, squash, wallyball and handball courts for recreational and competitive play everyday of the week. 

The Rec Center has eight racquetball courts and two squash courts for all types of competition. Patrons can also reserve courts by going to the facilities or by going online. 

“I play a lot and I’ve gotten some of my friends up here too,” junior Ryan Hejl said. “I usually come in the afternoon when its less crowded and less likely to have a tournament or something.” 

One of Hejl’s friends is roommate Ari Puntes who said that Hejl wears him out when they play together. 

“It’s a really unexpected workout,” Puentes said. 

The Rec Center and Gregory both have racquetball, walleyball and squash equiptment to check out with a student ID card so don’t worry if you feel unsuited to play. It really is a blast and a great way to get some exercise. 

Another service available is outdoor walking and jogging tracks around campus. Of course, the weather has not been ideal for outdoor activity the last few weeks,m but there are still some nice mornings and afternoons for a peaceful walk, jog or run around the 40 Acres. 

Heading outdoors is a great change of pace from normal treadmills and elliptical machines so head outside. There are six basic trails:  Inner campus Drive Loop, The Stadium Loop, Guadeloupe Run, West Campus Run, Hancock Golf Course Run and The Two+ Mile Loop. All routes begin at Gregory Gym, 21st and Speedway. 

And while the outdoors can be relaxing and a shakeup in the normal routine, please remember to be safe. 

  • Always face incoming traffic and stay as far away from the road as possible
  • If you have to listen to music, keep it at a low volume to listen for traffic, pedestrians, etc. (maybe try one in one out)
  • Stay in well-lit areas and maintain eye contact with other motor vehicle operators
  • Use buddy system (don’t want anybody getting lost out there)
  • Wear light colors or reflective clothing after dark 

“I run outdoors whenever I get a chance,” senior Amy Bruner said. “You get to actually see something instead of the back of someone else on a treadmill or the news.” 

Remember, there are dozens of ways to workout on campus. Just find what fits you and have fun!

Rec Sports During the Break

December 7, 2009

To keep you informed and ready for anything and everything Rec Sports, you have to know about reduced hours and class schedules. 

As I sit in Bellmont 348 at the moment watching one person stretch on the mat, it plagues me to think about why this facility is open instead of the Rec Center at 6 am, but nonetheless, it has given me a chance to blog. The reduced hours started this Saturday and run through January 17 (the day before spring classes start). 

Bellmont, Anna Hiss and the Rec Center do have significant closings because of holidays, but have no fear. Gregory Gym is only closed December 24, 25, 31 and January 1 so you will still have a gym if you are sticking around Austin for the holidays. 

You can check out the hours for finals, December, Christmas, New Years and January here.

Also remember that cycling and TexCercise classes are different too. Check out the hours here and here.  

And for all of those seniors out there that just graduated let me say congratulations. Now, make sure to take advantage of these free facilities while you still have the chance. After Tuesday December 15, all graduates are no longer allowed into Rec Sports facilities without purchasing a membership or a guess pass — and those are $10 a pop.

Consider this your friendly reminder before I have to throw you out of a facility for a faulty membership. Well, I won’t throw you out but I really can’t let you in, so make sure you use this time wisely.

Fitness Events In Austin through the Holiday Season

December 6, 2009

We set a record here in Austin today for the lowest temperature during this time of the year since 1950. With the holidays around the corner and the cold, many of us just want to stay and home and stay under the covers. However, there are many events in Austin that will help motivate you to keep your fitness levels up throughout the season.

Ranger Stampede 5K Run

Ranger Stampede 5K

When: Wednesday, December 9
Time: 5 PM (Registration at 4 PM)
Where: Texas School for the Deaf (1102 South Congress)
Cause: Event is free for students under 21 (otherwise $2) and open to anyone at any age. Any additional contributions will go to a charity of your choice. The race itself is part of a 7-event series that will happen once a month from November to May.  

Esmeralda’s Run 5K/10K

Esmeralda's Run

When: Sunday, December 13
Time: 9 AM
Where: Austin Tennis Academy (6800 Spanish Oaks Club Blvd)
Cause: Esmeralda’s son Brent Werbeck started this annual race in honor of his mother’s loss with a long battle with cancer in 2005.  “Through Esmeralda’s Run, my mother could be remembered for her valiant fight against cancer. People would remember how cancer never held my mother back and how it didn’t dampen her spirit…[this run will] ensure that my mother’s fear never came true. It would provide an opportunity for everyone to gather in remembrance of my mother and to unite together to fight the battle against cancer,” Werbeck said. Registration and donations can be done here.  

Resolution Run 2010

Resolution Run (New Years Day 2009) from event web site

When: New Year’s Day 2010
Time: 11 AM
Where: St. Phillip’s United Methodist Church (16321 Great Oaks Drive, Round Rock, Texas)
Cause: The race is a certified and chip timed, aiming to benefit Round Rock Serving Center–a non-profit corporation that carries out a community-wide mission of churches and other organizations. The organzation does many things for its city–include providing food, clothing, furniture and financial assistance for its citizens. Because it will probably be difficult for people to want to get out of bed at the start of the new year, the sponsors will be providing treats and door prizes. Register here.

Austin Marathon

When: Sunday Feb. 14, 2010
Time: 7 AM
Where: Congress Avenue and 2nd St.
Cause: Although the19th annual marathon does not have a specific cause, there is someone who is using the marathon as a way to show homage for her brother. Sarah Shary has started Running for Ryan.  In 2007, Sarah lost her younger brother Ryan while he raced in the 2007 Men’s Olympic Trials in New York. After Sarah was diagnosed with Lupus, she lost her urge to be healthy. Her brother came to her in a dream of her brother smiling at her while she was running–she became inspired to run the Austin marathon. She is not only running for her brother but also trying to raise $10, 000 for Wounded Warrior Project, a non-profit that helps veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan for coping services and couseling. To help Sarah’s cause, go to her web site, and to register for the marathon please go here.

Which event will you guys try over the holidays?

Cassandra Hernandez writes about North Austin and Pop culture in fitness. If you have any suggestions, please email her at