Originally created 02/13/01

Hard work is paying benefits for weight-loss participant

What are the qualities of a serious athlete? Maybe never missing a workout; steadily increasing repetitions and sets; perhaps getting up before the sun does to exercise.

All of the above now apply to Weight Loss 2000 participant LaSaundria Walker.

"I am doing so much better," she said, "mostly because there is so much support at the gym. As soon as I walk in, people want to know how I am doing, they give me pointers, stuff like that."

Ms. Walker even gets up early once or twice a week to be at the gym at 6 a.m.

Ms. Walker began working with personal trainer Randall Kea at Mass Construction Gym on Gordon Highway on Jan. 11. In the first week, she lost 10 pounds. Since then, Ms. Walker has lost 2 more pounds, bringing her weight to 231.

"That first week was more or less water weight," Mr. Kea said. "The average will be more like 2 to 3 pounds a week. Plus, she is adding muscle."

That's why Mr. Kea looks at inches lost rather than pounds to determine progress. He also keeps track of her ability to increase her repetitions.

For example, when Ms. Walker started she did four sets of 25 crunches at each session. Now she performs four sets of 100.

Crunches are similar to sit-ups but less stressful on the back because only the head and shoulders are lifted off the floor.

Mr. Kea has Ms. Walker perform several other abdominal exercises, ranging from leg lifts to moves involving weight-resistance.

"When he says he stresses abs, he really means he stresses abs," Ms. Walker said. "I am just waiting for him to move (the repetitions) up again. I know it's coming."

But Ms. Walker said she doesn't mind too much.

"He just pushes just enough so I see results, without going overboard," she said.

The one thing Ms. Walker's program has been missing is cardiovascular work.

"But we're starting on that today," Mr. Kea said Thursday.

Ms. Walker was trying to work with a Tae-Bo tape at home. But she decided it was too much for her.

"It was a little too fast for her," Mr. Kea said. So he put her on the treadmill for 45 minutes instead, to walk two to three miles.

Ms. Walker is on track to reach her goal, which is to lose 100 pounds, according to Mr. Kea.

"Her problem was that she was so shy," he said. "But now she feels comfortable here. She's doing really good."

Ms. Walker works out for 60 to 90 minutes three to four times a week.

Mr. Kea also told Ms. Walker to keep her caloric intake to about 1,200 a day with less than 30 percent of her total calories from fat. She has also cut all fried foods out of her diet and limited salt and sugar intake.

Inches lost

In addition to weighing Ms. Walker regularly, Mr. Kea keeps track of her progress by measuring her arms, hips, waist and legs. Below is a list of her measurements on Jan. 11, her first day at the gym, and her measurements on Feb. 8.

Bicep: (was) 17, (now) 16¨

Chest: 46 3/4, 45

Waist: 40, 37"

Hips: 54", 52

Thigh: 29´, 29

Calf: 18´, 18¨

About the series

The Augusta Chronicle is following three people who volunteered to go public with their battle of the bulge by participating in a weight-loss program. We offer an update on one participant's progress each Tuesday.

Today is our 12th follow up with LaSaundria Walker, 22, a mother and student with two jobs.

Her beginning weight was 230. She started working out at with a personal trainer at a new gym in January. She weighed 243´ at her first session. Her current weight is 231.

Reach Lisa M. Lohr at (706) 823-3332 or lisalohr@augustachronicle.com.


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