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Harald Fricker's journal

Fricker Gupta chef
Fricker, center, shares a laugh with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, right, while getting tips from chef Melanie Underwood.
Health Treatment

(CNN) -- Like his four fellow "New You Revolution" participants, Harald Fricker is recording regular journal entries documenting his efforts to break bad habits over the program's eight-week run.

A former competitive runner, Fricker hopes a regimented routine will help him shed pounds and regain some of the speed and fitness he once had. Below are excerpts from the 45-year-old Colorado resident's journal. (Profile; E-mail Fricker)

February 22-28

[My trainer] Joel [Weinstein] doesn't want me to do much on non-training days, because he feel two days of recovery per week are key. So I just walk the dogs and cat and watch what I'm eating.

Colorado is once again deep in fresh snow. So making these early workouts 30 miles away is getting to be a chore. But having lived here for over 30 years, I've gotten used to it.

I've been doing so well on my squats that Joel has me trying different positions to work different leg muscles. Today he had me take a wider stance with my feet flaring out, so when I went down for my first rep my knee just popped and buckled. I thought I was toast -- we quickly switched exercises and I did OK but felt pain all day. I was quite concerned, but by the end of the day the pain lessened.

Joel totally maxed me out on the Stairmaster intervals. It was brutal and cruel, and I nearly fell off because he never lets me touch the rails on any of the machines. I loved it because it really feels like I made a breakthrough in my fitness level.

Today is my mom's birthday, and a friend of hers gave her some personal training sessions with Joel for her birthday. Joel's reaction was: "You mean I have to train another Fricker?" I'm really proud of her, because all he'll have to do is fine tune the program that she came up with herself a few years ago. She's an inspiration for the whole family.

February 8-15

Today was the first scheduled workout day I didn't make because we were snowed in and the interstate was closed. There was no way to get there in time for training, so [trainer Joel Weinstein] coached me through a routine over the phone. Luckily, I have an elliptical trainer at home, so I was able to get my 25 minutes of cardio in pretty easily. And I went back to the old staples of ab crunches and push-ups to get some things in on the resistance end.

[Later] I did get back to the gym, and Joel had me doing the ole squat routine. These have now become my favorite workout, because if you do them with proper form you really feel like you are working the whole body in one fell swoop. It's probably the best core building exercise around.

I was finally so whooped -- due to less than six hours of sleep in three nights, some work related stresses and an especially tough workout this morning -- that I pulled over on my drive home to close my eyes for a few minutes.

I called Joel, and told him that I needed to have more sleep to get back in synch. He agreed, and we moved my Friday workout to Sunday so we could still get in our five days this week. When I got home, I hugged the kids, tucked them into bed, then tucked myself in before 9 p.m. (unheard of for me).

[The next day] Joel and I were back in the gym at 5:30 in the morning. He had me do a bit of circuit training, where you jump rapidly through a series of resistance exercises. That was a nice change and, boy oh boy, does it knock you on your butt!

Joel finally "upgraded" me to 40 minutes of cardio, three times per week. Yippee! That's five minutes more, per workout, on the treadmill! (That really does make this addicted runner very happy.) ;-)

February 8-14

It was a non-training day, and a welcome one at that, because [trainer] Joel [Weinstein] has cranked the workouts up a notch. Eating lots of protein in the way of powders, egg white omelets, smoothies, tuna and chicken. Loads of veggies as well.

Later it was back to the gym, the start of five more consecutive days of workouts.

Joel says that I was "Born to Squat," because I'm already squatting as much weight as the bar can handle. I've also maxed out the seated leg press, so now Joel will have to stand on it to get me to a new level. Of course my upper body is quite a different story. Still a bit wimpy in that area.

After making some major adjustments to the ... mask, I finally got a better fit and only woke up about three times -- just because I'm still not quite used to the restricted movements with the mask. Overall, [I'm getting] a better quality of sleep than usual already, so let's see what happens when I finally get it totally dialed in.

[Editor's note: Fricker, who has trouble sleeping, has been wearing a special mask at expert's orders in order to help him sleep and breathe better through the night.]

Now that was better: I only woke up once to make a slight adjustment to my mask. It was another restful night; I slept a highly unusual 7 hours! That may be a record in my adult life!

I am so psyched. As of today I've lost 18 pounds! Joel will do another body fat test at the end of this week, so let's hope that it's in line with my weight loss. It definitely feels like it should be! Nutritionally, things are really great. I'm eating some really great meals: Joel uses his special software to create menus for me, and it works like a charm!

February 1-7

I've been starting each day, when I wake up at 4 a.m. (after I take the dogs and cat out), with a bowl of whole grain cereal (2 cups) with one cup of 1 percent milk. This sets me up perfectly for the workout -- it's just filling enough to stay clear of hunger pangs that Joel (my trainer) is having me avoid at all costs.

Dinner tonight was awesome. My kids, although very used to healthier food now, were glad to have some food that they recognized from life before the "New You Revolution" ... in the form of a healthy burger. We had no fries or chips, just a few extra veggies on the table, and everyone seemed pretty content.

I am so proud of my wife Nancy and the kids for being so supportive of my efforts. I think it's really having some positive effects on them as well.

They even say that they've been feeling better the past few weeks, and they don't even desire any regular junkie fast food that most kids live off these days.

I was so happy when I weighed in with a 15-pound weight loss since I started.

January 25-31

My trainer and I have maintained a vigorous schedule of weight and cardio training five days a week. Some 30-35 minutes are spent on resistance training.

It has been hard not to cheat on this, but I have successfully (upon my trainer's request) quit running at 4 every morning. So I now walk my dogs and the cat just prior to going to my workout.

On the nutrition end, I have kept up eating approximately five 500-calorie meals per day, each with 25 percent of the calories from protein, 55 percent carbs and 20 percent fat.

I have also started to make a real effort to get more sleep.

January 18-24

My first goal was to survive my CNN appearance. Beyond that, I wanted to do well at cooking school and to get into a normal eating routine.

I did all kinds of new things, like working out at the Chelsea Piers in New York, and going to cooking school with the other participants.

I did lots of stretching and some running on an indoor track, and even raced against Dr. Gupta -- but I won't reveal who won at this point.

It was challenging to work around all the bad foods, especially the street vendors in New York. But I managed to control myself. When I got home, I stocked the fridge with healthy foods, and continued to make healthy choices with my meals.

I got some bad news from my doctor. The results of my sleep apnea test weren't pretty, and this may be the missing link to my weight gain. If you stop breathing while asleep, get yourself checked out!

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