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Getting Fit for Spring and Summer; Weight Loss Success Stories; How to Stay Fit on the Road; Jorge Cruise Tells You How to Sculpt Your Abs

Aired March 22, 2008 - 08:30   ET


SANJAY GUPTA, CNN HOST: Thanks, guys. We're gearing you up for spring and summer. This is fit for spring at HOUSE CALL. It's a show you don't want to miss.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My heart's beating a million times a minute. I thought I was having a heart attack. Something wasn't right.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What would a doctor have to say to you for you to change your life?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was a member of the clean your plate club. It catches up with you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Imagine carrying a 100-pound load up a never-ending flight of stairs.

Plus, how healthy is your city?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Does it have park lands? Does it have places to exercise? Are they well maintained? Is there access to fresh ingredients, fresh foods, farmers market?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To get a sculpted body, it is vital that you also look at your nutrition.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And finally, we have celebrity fitness trainer Jorge Cruise giving us great tips on how to get that sculpted and leaner body.


GUPTA: Now that spring is officially here, we're helping you as you prepare to bear. We're bringing you stories that prove whether you have 20 or 120 pounds to lose, you can succeed.

First up, two years ago, Phil Novak weighed nearly 400 pounds. Here's his incredible journey, and how losing nearly 200 pounds saved his life. Take a look.


SANJAY GUPTA, HOST (voice-over): Just a few years ago, Phil Novak weighed in at 387 pounds. He was not happy with his weight, but it wasn't until he and a buddy bent to a Steelers game that reality hit home.

PHIL NOVAK, WEIGHT LOSS SUCCESS: We were walking back up to our seats. And we getting winded and didn't feel right and just started sweating. And, you know, I didn't think I'd make it back up. Or we got up there and my heart's beating a million times a minute. I'm like, wow, what's going on? I thought I was having a heart attack.

GUPTA: Luckily, it was not a heart attack, he was just badly out of shape. But Phil says it was just as scary.

NOVAK: A lot of things went through my head. Not saying bye to my kids and stuff like that.

GUPTA: That day, Phil started his journey to weight loss.

NOVAK: I walked off my first 100 pounds. Walked it off. I gave it an hour a day and I lost 100 pounds in seven months.

GUPTA: Now 192 pounds lighter, Phil says his keys to success are a low carb diet, a lot of exercise, and a lot of determination.

NOVAK: I feel like I'm a young guy. People always come up to me and they say, oh, you look good. And I go, I feel a million times better than I look.

GUPTA: So would he ever allow himself to get that heavy again?

NOVAK: No way. I'll never go back there, I feel too good to do that. You know, there's no way. My name's Phil Novak and I lost 192 pounds.


GUPTA: Congratulations, Phil.

You know, people strive to live healthier lives, be smart, be fit. But admittedly, it can be hard. And sometimes where you live can have a huge impact. "Cooking Light" magazine ranked the 20 healthiest cities in the United States. It's a list that you want your city to be on.

But the bar is pretty high when it comes to determining the healthiest metro areas in the United States. Seattle and Portland were the top two slots. Washington, D.C. came in at number three.

Cities made the list by having access to healthy food, pedestrian-friendly attitudes and plenty of nice parks. You can check out if your city made the list at CALL.

Now we found our next success story at the number three city on that list. Heather Davis, a woman whose weight loss not only changed her body, but also boosted her career.


HEATHER DAVIS, LOST 110 POUNDS: My name's Heather Davis and I've lost 110 pounds.

GUPTA: Heather was thin in elementary school. But as she grew older, things changed.

DAVIS: We had a meat and potatoes family. And we had that for dinner and we had dessert every night. And I was a member of the clean your plate club. So it catches up with you after a while.

GUPTA: Weight gain took a toll both mentally and physically.

DAVIS: Just picture yourself with a 100-pound backpack on. And that's what it felt like. My knees hurt, my back hurt, my shoulders hurt a lot.

GUPTA: At 22, Heather weighed 250 pounds. She tried all the popular diets, low carb, low fat, even starvation. But one day in graduate school, she says it just clicked.

DAVIS: I was on the campus shuttle and saw the Gold's Gym in Rosslyn out of the corner my of my eye. And I said I can either go down into the metro and go home and eat my Ben and Jerrys, or I can go over there and really just do this. Do it. That first 15 minutes on the treadmill at the gym was killer for me. Now I'm trying to train for a half marathon. And I'm up to six miles.

GUPTA: Good old hard work, determination, and healthy eating fueled Heather's success. She logs an hour of cardio a day, lifts weights three times a week, and joined a rowing team. Now 110 pounds lighter, Heather has more confidence and a new career.

DAVIS: I'm working right now on my master's degree in public health because now I feel like I have a very personal contribution to make. And I will be able to relate to people on a very personal level.


GUPTA: Good luck on that degree, Heather.

Now are you too busy to stick to a workout routine? We'll give you ways to stay fit even when you're on the road. When Elizabeth Cohen stops by, she's helping you to empower yourself. That's a minute away.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Elizabeth Cohen with this week's "Empowered Patient" segment. As the baby boomers grow older, more and more people are going to have to worry about how to get quality care for their elderly relatives in their home.

For this week's column, we talked to a family that is facing that challenge right now. If you look at this photo, back there on the couch is Mary Knee. She has Alzheimer's disease. And she was getting 24/7 care from her husband sitting in the striped shirt next to her, but sadly, Tom Knee died of cancer last month. And that left her family in a panic. How would they find good care for her?

Well they tried to get it through a friend of the family, but that didn't work. So one day, one of their daughters sat down and through her tears, she googled Alzheimer's home care. And she came up with this Web site, And within a couple of days, she had a highly qualified home care person in her home living with her mother.

Now there are several other sites where you put in your zip code, and they put you in touch with home health care agencies. If you look on our column on, you can find more agencies, I mean more Web sites where you can get this kind of help.

Now in addition on our Web site column this week, we have other tips for what to do when you're looking for care for an aging relative. For example, there are Web sites that can give you hiring tips. Most people have never done a background check, but of course, you want to do a background check if you're having someone who's going to be at home helping to take care of your aging relative.

In addition, we'll tell you places where you can find geriatric care managers in your area. Those are people who help coordinate all the care for your loved one.

All of these tips and more are on patient.

GUPTA: All right, thanks, Elizabeth.

Coming up, celebrity trainer Jorge Cruise. He's going to give us some tips on how to sculpt those abs.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was 296 at my highest weight. And I had had enough. I was tired of being fat, tired of not taking care of myself.


GUPTA: Plus, how a sluggish thyroid changed this woman's life drastically. You're going to want to hear her story.

And next, too busy and out of your routine? We'll give you advice on how to stay fit when you're out on the road. Stay with us.


GUPTA: We're back with HOUSE CALL. Now whether you travel for work or for pleasure, staying fit on the road can be a real challenge. I can tell you from personal history. So how do you squeeze a good workout into your already cramped travel itinerary? Well, Judy Fortin has this worthwhile travel advice.


JUDY FORTIN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The only exercise Trisha Curtin often gets while traveling for business is pulling her suitcase.

TRISHA CURTIN, BUSINESS TRAVELER: You're out of your routine. And so it's just easier to kind of, you know, make an excuse not to do anything.

FORTIN: Personal trainer Brent Brinkmeyer is teaching Trisha how to do a basic workout in a hotel room.

BRENT BRINKMEYER, PERSONAL TRAINER: This is real easy to do in a room, because this is all the space you need.

FORTIN: The routine is centered on interval training and begins with lunges. In between exercises, he recommends 15 to 30 seconds of basic jumping jacks, then upper body work.

BRINKMEYER: Good. And up to about right there, just like that.

FORTIN: Exercise bands for triceps and biceps are the one piece of equipment he suggests packing in a suit case.

BRINKMEYER: You fold this up completely. It'll fit right in your tennis shoes.

FORTIN: Abdominal strengthening is the final step in the 20 to 30-minute workout.

BRINKMEYER: This is enough that it's going to just help you maintain what you've done in your normal workout routine. So that when you get home, you're not -- you don't feel like you've lost an entire week.

FORTIN: Judy Fortin, CNN, Atlanta.


GUPTA: All right, Judy, thanks.

And if you're heading out on spring break, or just preparing for summer, you don't have to worry about looking fit. Celebrity fitness trainer Jorge Cruise has tips on how to get your body bathing suit ready for spring and summer.


JORGE CRUISE, CELEBRITY FITNESS TRAINER: The most important thing that I talk to my clients about getting leaner for the summer time. At night, you should avoid starched carbohydrates. You want to avoid that because you're going to store them as body fat. And so that means during breakfast and lunch, you can have your carbs, your protein, your vegetables as normal meals.

And at night just modify. Have a double serving of vegetables with more protein if you want. And that's it. Strength training, you're out to provide fuel and muscle to burn fat. And what the research is showing is that you burn -- and charge up belly fat. And that doesn't mean we're just working the belly and just doing ab exercises. It means we're working the whole body, focusing in on abs as well. But when you add muscle throughout the body, you start to burn fat at rest. And that is the power that (INAUDIBLE) for summertime.

You want to get in shape for summer. So getting in that swimsuit. And you need to have some beautiful lean muscle. So you're going to have these -- so you can look young and burn the fat off your belly.

To get a sculptured body and get a beautiful (INAUDIBLE), it is vital that you also look at your nutrition. I mean, you got to exercise because you got to build the muscle. And then you got to provide the body the ingredients to build the muscles with.

And so the key is you've got to look at nutrition. And probably the most important thing is making sure you get quality protein throughout the day. Whey protein being my favorite. Chicken or fish being other options.

We're getting ready for the beach now. Getting ready for going out there. I mean, probably the best thing is to take the (INAUDIBLE), take a before photo so you know where you're at. And then have a sense of where you want to go.

I always tell my clients visual cues are powerful if you motivate. Visual reminders are very powerful to keep us on track in behaving properly. And sometimes we forget. And what we don't see, we forget. You know, out of sight, out of mind.

So keep it in mind of how you want to look and how you don't want to look. Whether it's on your cell phone, whether it's in your purse, your pocket, your wallet, have a picture of a before and an after. Use it (INAUDIBLE) motivate you the most. And you'll get into that swimsuit. You'll have that six pack, you'll have that sculpted waist. You'll behave right in the future. (INAUDIBLE).


GUPTA: Jorge Cruise, thank you. Some great advice there.

Now later in the show, popular workouts that are leading the exercise market and why you should try them out.

And she was tipping the scales at 300 pounds and had no end in sight. Learn what Tracy considers the most important thing she did to lose weight. Now get this, it's not working out. Stay tuned.


GUPTA: We're back with HOUSE CALL. It's often said that fear is an emotion indispensable for survival. And that phrase might ring true for our next success story. Tracy Wygal. She's a West Virginia teacher who admits fear is her motivation.


GUPTA (voice-over): Tracy Wygal is an exercise fanatic. She hits the gym every day. But eight years ago, Tracey was tipping the scale at 300 pounds. Now 120 pounds lighter, she likes the way she looks.

TRACY WYGAL, LOST 120 POUNDS: Fear of gaining the weight back continue to motivate me. I just do not want to look like that again.

GUPTA: As a middle schoolteacher, Tracey can relate to her students. Bad diets and no exercise in her early teen years, it led to fast weight gain.

WYGAL: By high school I was probably in the 200s. And that lifestyle continued.

GUPTA: There was no magic moment for Tracey. She simply realized 300 pounds was far too heavy.

WYGAL: My doctor says here's a 1,600 calorie diet. I thought that is impossible. I can't do it. And eventually once the scale kept creeping up, I tried it. I never looked back.

GUPTA: At first she worked out at home. Then she joined a gym. Now after three years and a healthy diet and working out, Tracy's maintaining a healthy weight. She keeps a food diary and she watches her calories.

WYGAL: If you are honest and you write down everything you eat, I think that is the key.

GUPTA: She's a firm believer in losing weight in a healthy manner, no quick fixes. Just keeping at it and working hard.

WYGAL: Consistency is the main thing. Sticking with it.


GUPTA: For Tracey who's fighting obesity since her youth, for many, weight gain happens gradually as we age.

And that was the reality for our next success story, Lynn Bering, who despite weighing nearly 300 pounds, denied that she had a problem. Then reality struck with the proof she could no longer ignore.

Here's her story.


GUPTA (voice-over): Lynn Bering was never overweight. But a sluggish thyroid gland quickly changed that. In four years, she gained 100 pounds.

LYNN BERING, LOST 168 POUNDS: I was the features editor at our local newspaper. And I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable with how I looked. And I was giving up stories actually to interns, so I didn't have to be out in public as much.

GUPTA: When a local antique store went up for sale, Lynn jumped at the chance.

BERING: I became basically a hermit for about three, four years. I didn't want to be seen. My antiques store had 19 stairs. And I thought, what if I got sick, how would they get me down those stairs?

GUPTA: Lynne's doctors were concerned about her health. But beyond Lynne's almost 300 pounds, it was those 19 stairs that motivated her.

BERING: I was 296 pounds at my highest weight. And I had had enough, I was tired of being fat, tired of not taking care of myself.

GUPTA: She joined Weight Watchers, participated in online forums, started her own weight loss blog, and began walking at the local school.

BERING: The one thing I -- that's really helped me is journaling. And I'm not talking just journaling food, but it's journaling your journey, journaling how you're feeling, journal why you eat, journal why you don't eat. It's taken a lot of work to get to where I am, but I love it. I love that feeling. I think about those 19 steps a lot.

I'm Lynn Bering and I lost 168 pounds.


GUPTA: Lynn, congratulations to you.

Now from yoga to fitness boot camp, could knowing the latest trends change your workout? We tell you what's out there and what gets results.

And later, getting in shape when your joints are screaming stop. Increase your cardio without increasing joint pain. We'll tell you how. Stay tuned.


GUPTA: Welcome back to HOUSE CALL. Outdoor boot camps are continuing to gain in popularity, offering those already fit the opportunity to cross train, also giving some structure to beginners. It's there where we found our next weight loss success story.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ten, nine, eight.

GUPTA (voice-over): Running drills, push-ups.


GUPTA: Situps, all of it before sunup. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go, everybody!

GUPTA: Operation Boot Camp is about pushing to you to your limits.

SHANNON ALEXANDER, BOOT CAMP PARTICIPANT: By 8:00, I'm off to work. And I know I can handle anything. I mean, I just handled, you know, rolling around in the wet grass and doing 800 situps. You know, I can handle anything that's going to come after me.

GUPTA: Thirty-four year old Shannon Alexander couldn't always handle it, but her routine doctor's appointment became an epiphany.

ALEXANDER: I found myself in the doctor's office with lower back pain. And I just kind of had a moment where, like I'm 34-years-old, I have a 6-year-old son, I should not be feeling this kind of crippled and limited by my own body.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ten, nine, eight.

GUPTA: So Alexander joined this intense 6:00 a.m. boot camp class.

ALEXANDER: I really didn't know what to expect. I was terrified that first morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Little lower, little lower.

GUPTA: Now just six months in, Shannon has lost weight, gained confidence, and started training for a marathon. Most importantly, she says she feels happier.

ALEXANDER: It's definitely had a huge impact on just helping me to feel stronger and more capable, more hopeful. You know, I can play with my son now and keep up with him. And heck, he can hardly keep up with me.


GUPTA: Shannon, keep up the good work.

Covering everything from cardio endurance, strength training, agility, balance and flexibility, fitness boot camps are a great motivator. Very popular as well. You work out in a group with 10 to 15 people. And your instructor controls everyone, blowing the whistle. Kind of like a drill seargeant.

Now if whistle blowing seems harsh, you can try some out of the box workouts. Go with a salsa class, hip hop or ballroom dancing. Or you can go to the outdoors, hiking, skating, even boxing at a local ring. Recreational activities hide the fact that you're really exercising.

Another popular trend, bikram yoga, also known as hot yoga. This kind of yoga has you in a very hot room where the temperatures can be anywhere from 95 to 100 degrees. Proponents say the temperature helps your flexibility. But know that you're going to sweat a lot, so be careful. Also, drink plenty of water.

Coming up, we answer your fitness questions, one of my favorite segments, "Ask the Doctor" up next.


GUPTA: Now, it's time for a segment called "Ask the Doctor," one of my favorite segments. We answer the medical questions that are on your minds.

And here's a question from Brenda in North Carolina. She writes this. "What exercise should I be doing during my flaring arthritis. My feet and knees swell up and are painful...should I be exercising at all?"

Great question, Brenda. Physical fitness is good for everyone. And there are specific benefits for those suffering from arthritis. Exercise increases bone and muscle strength, provides greater flexibility and actually reduces joint pain. That's right.

The Arthritis Foundation recommends yoga and water exercises to increase flexibility and reduce stiffness, golf perhaps for strength and mobility, and cardio activities like walking, dancing, or bicycling to increase muscle efficiency.

Deciding which activities are best depends on the type of arthritis you have. So of course, be sure to check with your doctor to establish a program that will be appropriate for you. Thanks again, Brenda.

Unfortunately, that's all the time we have for today. Remember, this is the place for the answers to all of your medical questions. I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks for watching. Stay tuned now for more news on CNN.