Do ya’ll remember Kim Lyons from The Biggest Loser? Back during Season 3 she took Jillian Michaels’ spot as a trainer on the show and then competed against Jillian and Bob in Season 4. She also appeared at the 2008 Miss America pageant as a panelist and wrote a book with a cover I love: Kim Lyons: Your Body, Your Life. Ring a bell?
Surprisingly, Kim never intended to become a fitness superstar. Instead, she originally went to Colorado State University to become an airline pilot. While at school and after using exercise to battle depression and lose weight, she discovered her love of health and fitness and changed her major to human development and nutrition. After her graduation in 1995, she began teaching aerobics, which led to her competing in fitness competitions and modeling. Girlfriend has since appeared on many magazine covers, showing off her fit bottom.
Now Kim is working to get America’s diabetic population up and moving. Tomorrow we’ll review her latest series of workout DVDs, for which she partnered with Dr. Shaila Singh, diplomat of the American Association of Family Physicians. But today, we’re featuring an interview with both of these lovely ladies (the first double FitStars ever!). They give the scoop on why the DVDs were created, and Kim dishes some good gossip on her time at The Biggest Loser ranch!
- FBG: Why did you decide to create a workout DVD specifically for diabetics?
- Kim Lyons: My work on The Biggest Loser and Dr. Phil really opened my eyes to a population that truly needed a trainer to understand and embrace them. A shocking 24 million Americans have diabetes, 57 million Americans have pre-diabetes, and 366 million people worldwide will have diabetes by 2030, according to the World Health Organization. There is such a need and a demand for trainers that are knowledgeable about the disease and how to help people with diabetes get active and eat properly to help control blood-sugar levels. This kind of expertise is often overlooked, and we succeeded in offering a motivating fitness series that addresses much of the internal battle those suffering with obesity, weight loss or diabetes constantly deal with. I am passionate about this at-home workout series that is serving as the first step towards a new active and healthy way of life.
- Dr. Singh: Diabetes is one of the major diseases affecting the general population, and while recent research proves the disease process can be halted or better managed with lifestyle modifications (exercise and proper food choices), this is not communicated to patients properly. It makes sense to create a workout for diabetics and bring awareness to the fitness component as the key to managing blood-sugar levels. My patients struggle not only physically but also mentally. Self esteem plays a big role in hindering patients to get active—we worked hard to create a series that is easy to start, effective and can be done in the comfort of their homes.
- FBG: Why did you decide to partner for the DVDs? What role did each of you play?
- KL: Three essential components to controlling diabetes are exercise, proper nutrition and medication as needed. I’m an expert in the fields of exercise and nutrition, but it is essential to have a medial expert with Dr Shaila Singh’s experience. One of the greatest tools in Start Fitness Now: Beating Type 2 Diabetes is the customized 20-minute workouts. Dr Singh advises 150 minutes per week of physical activity as a realistic and attainable goal. Just a little bit of commitment every day yields drastic results and yet seems so easy with the DVD series! Dr. Singh is there to answer all your medical questions, and I’m there to help you get active and motivate you to the next level! It’s a perfect team! We also have a really great support module online offering nutrition tips, monthly recipes, live chat and much more!
- DS: Partnering with an expert trainer like Kim Lyons was a natural fit. In patients’ journeys to understanding their condition, it is oftentimes difficult to comprehend just how to go about a physician’s recommendations. Patients often find themselves asking, “Where do I start? How do I get results?” A medically sound workout is the perfect place. I helped explain in detailed, easy-to-understand terms the disease process, symptoms and how preventive measures like exercise and dietary modifications can help pre-diabetics from becoming diabetic. Even more importantly, I discussed how to halt the disease process and improve life expectancy. Customized workouts addressing heart rate, circulation and all the internal benefits is an essential ingredient to getting responsible now.
- FBG: How do the Start Fitness Now DVDs differ from one another, and how do they compare to most DVDs on the market today?
- KL: There are three DVDs: Sit Down and Shape Up For Beginners, Sit Down and Shape Up for intermediate exercisers, and Stand Up and Slim Down for the more advanced. Each volume incorporates two 20-minute workouts to progressively challenge and strengthen the body and core, boost heart rate, and increase blood circulation, warm up and mobilize muscle groups without putting strain on the joints. Everything is covered—from aerobic exercise, strength training and flexibility—to make sure that everyone’s personal goals are addressed. There aren’t many DVDs on the market targeted toward helping people with diabetes. Many people with diabetes suffer from a condition called painful diabetic peripheral neuropathy (pDPN). Those rendered immobile, suffering from a stroke or just trying to manage weight loss will also see great results from a slow and gradual program. This is nerve damage that causes painful burning or stabbing pain in feet. These DVDs are geared to help everyone, even those that are intimidated by exercise or have too much pain to walk.
- DS: The DVDs differ from one another significantly. As Kim said, they start with sit-down workouts (beginner to intermediate) and then advance to a stand-up routines. All feature challenging aerobic activity, strength training and flexibility exercises. Most DVDs in the market are not geared to the population of pre-diabetics/diabetics nor is there a partnering of a experienced trainer in the field of obesity with a physician who has managed diabetics and weight loss for many years. Also, these DVDs help anyone who wants to lose weight and does not know where to start. They are easy to do and advance to a more challenging level with an experienced celebrity trainer guiding you at every step, in a very positive way.
- FBG: Do you plan to offer more advanced Start Fitness Now DVDs in the future?
- KL: You bet. I’m only getting started! I’ve got many projects on the horizon and am passionate about helping those that have diabetes!
- DS: Absolutely! The response has been immensely positive. Only good things to come!
- FBG: Can people who are not diabetic or pre-diabetic use these DVDs to lose weight and get in shape?
- KL: Anyone can use these DVDs. They are great for getting started and helping you learn how to get active. The National Health and Nutriton [Nutrition] Examination Survey cites that 63 percent of Americans battle with weight-loss management and obesity. Exercise can be daunting if you are struggling with obesity. These DVDs will inspire and help you to get active.
- DS: Most definitely. These DVDS will help anyone wanting to lose weight. They offer a starting point in the comfort of your own home. The 20-minute workout gets people going, and as they lose weight, they can advance to the next level for a more challenging workout and see inches and pounds come off.
- FBG: How and why did you get into the fitness industry? In your bio it says that you first went to school to be an airline pilot?!
- KL: I was always passionate about fitness, nutrition and psychology. That’s why I decided to get my degree in human development. At the time, I was also going to flight school in the summers with the intention of just getting my degree so that I could be a pilot. After many years of flying, I decided it really wasn’t something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. While I was figuring out what I wanted to do, I decided to work at a new gym that had just opened across the street. Perhaps it was fate or destiny—everything snowballed from there!
- FBG: In the past, you’ve been candid about past weight issues of your own. How have you overcome those and how has that influenced your training style?
- KL: I gained a lot of weight in college and went through a bit of a rough time “finding” myself. I was depressed and had very low confidence. I hid under a ball cap and baggy clothes for more than a year. A trainer offered to train me, and, on a total whim, I decided to try it out. I learned so much, and my body changed. I felt good, I gained confidence, and everything started to come together. He changed my life, and I wanted to do the same for others. That’s when I decided to go to the National Academy of Sports Medicine and get certified. My training style is a little different with everyone I train. Everyone has a unique story, personal struggles and different motivations, and I’ve learned to not be judgmental. I’m tough because I want results and that is often the only way to get people to the point where they see results. But, in the end, it comes down to my passion for finding a way to help people change their lives for the better, just like my trainer did for me.
- FBG: You’ve posed as a fitness model and competed in fitness competitions. How strict do you have to be with eating and working out to do that?
- KL: I was over-the-top strict! I measured every gram and calorie and was training like an Olympic athlete. When you are at that level of competition, every last gram of what you eat is used for fuel. I pushed my body to extreme levels of performance. I learned so much about how to dial in proper nutrition to achieve performance, a fast metabolism, more muscle and less fat. I won’t lie; I spent a ton of time on me. And while it was great at the time and I still embrace my inner competitor, I’ve loosened up a lot and really enjoy being a bit more “normal”!
- FBG: What’s a typical week of workouts look like for you?
- KL: I constantly mix up my workouts. I make sure that I do a mixture of cardio and resistance training. For my cardio, I’ll rollerblade, bike, run stairs or hit the treadmill or elliptical machine. For my resistance training, I’m sure to hit all the major muscle groups once a week. When I travel, I take my resistance bands.
- FBG: You were on The Biggest Loser Seasons 3 and 4. Do you miss doing the show? What did you take away from your time there? (And really, how crazy is it behind the scenes?!)
- KL: There are things I miss about The Biggest Loser like being able to inspire millions of people every week by helping my team reach their personal goals. But I don’t miss the craziness and unrealistic hours of training every day. There were times when I just wanted to hug my team and tell them to go let their bodies recover for the day. Instead, we had to head back into the gym and pound out hours and hours of workouts. It’s really not the best way to lose weight and keep it off! In the first few years of the show, it was more about the weight loss and less about the game play and the drama. Now it’s all drama and game play. I love that it shows people how hard you can push yourself and what you can do when you have 100 percent dedication, but it is far from realistic, and it’s really hard for the contestants to maintain their success after they return home. That part of it is always hard for me.
- FBG: Besides the new workout DVDs, what are you working on?
- KL: I’m launching my grip-free resistance band Gym in a Bag in January on QVC. It’s something everyone can use anywhere, anytime, at all levels. I’ve got an online training website program www.fasttracktofatloss.com. We just had our first 100-pound success story—it’s awesome! I never dreamed I’d be able to help people all over the world. It still amazes me! And last but not least, I’m working with the nonprofit organization Take Control of Your Diabetes, or TCOYD. I’ll be at all the conferences this year to help people learn different exercises and activities. Find out more at www.diabetespainhelp.com. It’s a big job helping the world get healthy, and I’m loving every minute of it!
- FBG: If you had one piece of fitness advice to give to our readers, what would it be?
- KL: Stop waiting for the “right time” to get started because that time will never come! You have to make time to exercise and make better decisions when choosing what to eat. Identify your excuses, and find a way to make it happen. You only have one body and one life. Start now.
- DS: Make exercise a part and way of your life. Whatever your weight, start now with a fitness plan.
- FBG: Any final thoughts?
- KL: Believe in yourself, quit fearing all the reasons you might fail, and you will succeed!
- DS: Weight loss is not a destination but a journey requiring continual effort. With the tools provided by Start Fitness Now DVDs, people have the means to embark on this journey and be successful.
And there you have it! Talk about a dose of inspiration. Stay tuned to for our review of the Start Fitness Now DVDs tomorrow! —Jenn