Category Archives: Fitness

Koons Biggest Loser Challenge 2014 is under way!

Biggest_loser

Collectively, Americans gain over 300 million pounds around the holidays. That is the equivalent of 838 jumbo jets!  It gets worse, of those pounds gained at least one of them will be a persistent pound.  Put another way, if the average American adult consistently gains one pound per year, and does not change anything about their habits, they will be at least 55 pounds overweight by age 75!

We care about all of our employees and we want to help them achieve their goals, our Biggest Loser Challenge is there to do just that” stated Mr. O’Connell

For 4 years, Koons has been one of the Washington Business Journals Best Companies to Work For.  Why? Because, there is a pervasive atmosphere of caring.  Here is one example: Every New Year, Koons Management runs an Annual Biggest Loser Challenge for its employees.  All Koons employees are eligible to take part in the challenge but are not required to.  Jim O’Connell, President of the Koons management team has made it very clear that this program is to promote good life habits and healthy choices. It is about being aware of what you eat, how that affects your health, and eventually how your health affects your co-workers.  “We care about all of our employees and we want to help them achieve their goals, our Biggest Loser Challenge is there to do just that” stated Mr. O’Connell.

We are all familiar with the routine by now, on January 1st we all make BIG pronouncements about how we’re going to change, get rid of a habit, adopt new ideas, and be a better person!  There are all kinds of resolutions, but there is a consistent 3 that seem to always make the list year over year.  For every 100 people who make New Year’s Resolutions here’s how the top 3 break down:

  1. 62% vow to exercise more
  2. 60% promise to eat better
  3. 46% state their goal is to lose weight

By the end of week 7, only 60 people of the original 100 of any given resolution will be left trying to stick with it, and by the end of week 12 there will only be about 30.  For the past 4 years Koons Biggest Loser Challenge (#KoonsBLC) has been trying to help all of those employees who commit to losing weight attain their goal.  So when they hit week 7, they have a reason to keep going, they have others on their team to encourage them and they have incentives.  Everybody needs motivators, a light at the end of the tunnel to keep them going; in this case, it is prizes!  This year’s challenge runs from January 6th to April 7th and the grand prize is a 2014 Corvette!

There are other prizes and incentives, and like every challenge there are rules that have to be followed but ultimately we all win.  It may sound sappy and mellow dramatic but it is true and it is what makes Koons Automotive such a great place to work.  Over the next few months we will be posting our progress here in this blog so come back and see how it is going.  This year we have 729 employees taking up the challenge and we will report on the total amount of pounds lost and the total number of employees who finish.  We wish them all luck and the best of health!

#FitnessFriday: Get Out, Get Active!

Photo Courtesy of AugustaGA.gov
The first step to getting active is to get motivated. Several things could be inhibiting your energy levels and your diet could be the culprit. For some tips on diet and food choices, check back to our Tips To Get You Moving post from last week.We’d like to supplement what we had there with more tips to help your workout and to keep you motivated.
  1. Work up a sweat.
    Vigorous work-outs – when you’re breathing hard and sweating – help your heart pump better, give you more energy and help you look and feel best. Start with a warm-up that stretches your muscles. Include 20 minutes of aerobic activity, such as running, jogging, or dancing. Follow-up with activities that help make you stronger such as push-ups or lifting weights. Then cool-down with more stretching and deep breathing.
  2. Get fit with friends or family.
    Being active is much more fun with friends or family. Encourage others to join you and plan one special physical activity event, like a bike ride or hiking, with a group each week.
  3. Join in physical activities at school.
    Whether you take a physical education class or do other physical activities at school, such as intramural sports, structures activities are a sure way to feel good, look good and stay physically fit.
  4. Make healthy eating and physical activities fun!
    Take advantage of physical activities you and your friends enjoy doing together and eat the foods you like. Be adventurous – try new sports, games and other activities as well as new foods. You’ll grow stronger, play longer, and look and feel better! Set realistic goals – don’t try changing too much at once.

Be Happy! Be Healthy!

-TK

#FitnessFriday: Tips To Get You Moving!

Photo courtesy of the USDA
We know it can be hard to get energized right out of bed. But your daily commute doesn’t have to be a drag and you definitely don’t have to walk through the day like a zombie. To help you get moving, we’ve listed out some tips to help you through your day.
  1. Start your day with breakfast.
    Breakfast fills your “empty tank” to get you going after a long night without food. And it can help you do better in school. Easy-to-prepare breakfasts include cold cereal with fruit and low-fat milk, whole-wheat toast with peanut butter, yogurt with fruit, whole-grain waffles or even last night’s pizza!
  2. Get Moving!
    It’s easy to fit physical activities into your daily routine. Walk, bike or jog to see friends. Take a 10-minute activity break every hour while you read, do homework or watch TV. Climb stairs instead of taking an escalator or elevator. Try to do these things for a total of 30 minutes every day.
  3. Snack smart.
    Snacks are a great way to refuel. Choose snacks from different food groups – a glass of low-fat milk and a few graham crackers, an apple or celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins, or some dry cereal. If you eat smart at other meals, cookies, chips and candy are OK for occasional snacking.
  4. Balance your food choices – don’t eat too much of any one thing.
    You don’t have to give up foods like hamburgers, french fries and ice cream to eat healthy. You just have to be smart about how often and how much of them you eat. Your body needs nutrients like protein, carbohydrates, fat and many different vitamins and minerals such as vitamins C and A, iron and calcium from a variety of foods. Balancing food choices from the Food Guide Pyramid and checking out the Nutrition Facts Panel on food labels will help you get all these nutrients.
  5. Eat more grains, fruits and vegetables.
    These foods give you carbohydrates for energy, plus vitamins, minerals and fiber. Besides, they taste good! Try breads such as whole-wheat, bagels and pita. Spaghetti and oatmeal are also in the grain group.
    Bananas, strawberries and melons are some great tasting fruits. Try vegetables raw, on a sandwich or salad.
  6. Foods aren’t good or bad.
    A healthy eating style is like a puzzle with many parts. Each part — or food — is different. Some foods may have more fat, sugar or salt while others may have more vitamins or fiber. There is a place for all these foods. What makes a diet good or bad is how foods fit together. Balancing your choices is important. Fit in a higher-fat food, like pepperoni pizza, at dinner by choosing lower-fat foods at other meals. And don’t forget about moderation. If two pieces of pizza fill you up, you don’t need a third.

Be Healthy! Be Happy!

-TK

Fitness Friday: Head for the Hills

Photo courtesy of the City of Louisville, Colorado

We’re now several weeks into the 2012 Biggest Loser Challenge and many of us have seen some incredible weight loss and an adoption of healthier diets.

Along with making the right food choices, exercise is also a necessary component for speeding up your metabolism, keeping that weight off, and also to improve overall health.

Running is typically the first type of exercise one thinks of when contemplating weight loss and physical fitness. There are several types of running – some stationary, some on woody trails, and some on concrete. These types of running all have their own difficulties associated with them. To get the best out of your exercise, we recommend you head for the hills.

Roads with long, gradual inclines are a great way to keep your workout consistently intense. Rolling roads are ideal for intervals if you push your pace going up each hill and recovering on the way down. Too chilly outside? Then play with your treadmill and bump up the incline. Make sure to keep your spine straight, gaze straight and abs in and up to ensure ideal alignment for maximum results. Walk on a 5 incline for a minute then back down to 3 for a minute. Play with your intervals and boost your health and your butt. Try it. Have Fun. Bring on the hills. Your heart and lungs will be thanking you.

If this is a little tame for you, carry a resistant band (get one with handles) and every 10 minutes, stop to do one of these multi-muscle moves:

Overhead press and squat:

Stand on one resistant band in the center with your feet hip width apart knees slightly bent.

Holding the handles of the band at your shoulders, squat down, when you come back to stand, press your arms above your head. Do 3 sets of 12 reps.

FORM: Make sure to engage your abs and sit the weight in your heels as you squat. Start slow and feel the movement pattern then pick up the flow for quicker, but precise reps.

Balancing triceps press:

Stand on the band with your right foot in the middle, balancing with your left foot bent at 90 degrees, foot behind you (knees should touch). Hold each handle of the band behind your head, keeping your elbows bent and close to your head, biceps alongside of ears. Extend your hands to the sky as you do a modified one-legged squat.

Advanced- bend your right knee until left toe touches the ground. Repeat 12 times and switch sides.

FORM: Keep abs engaged. Try the balance part first. Stand on both feet and just focus on the triceps press.

Whatever your fitness level, remember to Be Happy! Be Healthy!

-TK

Fitness Friday: Mind Over Munchies

Photo courtesy of the Food & Drug Administration

Tempted to dive head first into your plate when stress hits the fan?

Try this: Visualize your negative thoughts riding by on a conveyor belt. Label each one “5-K tomorrow” or “First Date Jitters!”, then imagine it chugging off into oblivion. Research subjects at Temple University’s Center for Obesity Research and Education say this method of chunking has helped them avoid emotional eating.

Did you also know that if you eat slowly, you’ll probably eat less? This the finding from a recent report from The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. People who lingered over ice cream for 30 minutes produced more of two hormones that signal fullness than those who ate the same amount in 5 minutes.

“Eating slowly lets food interact longer with the intestinal cells that produce these hormones,” says lead study author Alexander Kokkinos, M.D., Ph.D. Put the brakes on speed eating by avoiding dining distractions (like the T.V.) and focusing on food.

So just remember, it’s all a matter of mind over munchies. Put your mind to it, you can do it!

Be Happy, Be Healthy!

-TK