Fittest Loser writer's advice: Don't be a pandemic couch potato

  • Fittest Loser insider Dick Quagliano watches YouTube videos in his living room to learn yoga.

    Fittest Loser insider Dick Quagliano watches YouTube videos in his living room to learn yoga. Courtesy of Dick Quagliano

By Dick Quagliano
Posted4/5/2020 6:00 AM

The quarantine 15.

It's replacing the freshman 15 very quickly.


There have been plenty of studies of new college students and the amount of weight gain they attain during their first year of school. While many of these studies agree that the actual gain is less than 15 pounds, poor eating skills continue and can contribute to weight game later.

This can be very true right now. With many of us staying at home, the opportunity to snack is very great. Also, because we are home, many are finding themselves on the couch and seeing if they truly can watch everything on Netflix.

That's where the quarantine 15 comes in.

Less exercise and poor eating habits are a recipe for weight gain. Believe me, I can attest from my past.

I also know it's not too late to begin changing those behaviors and turning them into healthy habits. When the Fittest Loser contestants and I met for the last time in person with Push Fitness owner Joshua Steckler, he warned about poor nutrition.

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"As we've always stated, nutrition has the biggest overall impact on weight loss," Steckler said. "Exercise is very important, but your diet is usually the determining factor in seeing results or not. During times where exercise is limited, you can still stay completely on track with your diet and see results even if your exercise isn't as comprehensive as you'd like."

I have been around athletics all my life. You would figure because of that, I would have been in much better shape physically. That didn't happen. Until now.

The best part is you can make exercise and better nutrition part of your life, too. And despite what is going on all around us, this could be the time to change things.

Timing as they say, can be everything.

It is really easy to allow the news of COVID-19 get us down. Stress and boredom are two of the main reasons I used to overeat.


I know for certainty, if it were not for the Fittest Loser Challenge, I would have been a true candidate for the quarantine 15. Being part of Fittest Loser has given me something to focus on and my health has become important to me.

Even though there may not be a Fittest Loser program in you world, your health should be important to you as well. However, with Push Fitness and other health clubs closed, it is easy to put this off to another time.

I would argue it is easy now to get started. It's easier to spend less time in grocery stores and more time doing planks and push ups.

Josh and his Push Fitness team have been in contact with the contestants and me to send us workouts. It's been hard for all of us to really push it without the one-on-one in-person attention from our trainers.

"Of course, most of our clients miss their workouts at the studio but are surprised how effective some of the simple workouts we send them actually are," Josh said. "Home workouts are great but need to be further customized to utilize the equipment that's available. On the most basic level, everyone has body weight to work with, but in addition it always helps to have a mat, dumbbells and a resistance band so more creativity can go into the workouts.

With just the items listed above, you can get a total body workout that gets your muscles burning and your heart rate elevated while breaking a good sweat."

My basement and family room have become my new workout studio. Trust me, there is plenty of sweat.

There is also yoga as I continue to use YouTube videos to help me along the way. I don't want to feel trapped at home. Neither should you.

Eat less and more importantly, eat healthier. Get off that couch and begin a workout routine.

Begin slow so you don't get discouraged and quit. Do a little more each day and slowly add things in.

There is no rush. It looks like we will be home until at least the end of April. So, don't waste this opportunity.

These are unique times. But as Americans, we have continued to find ways to move forward. There is a line from one of my favorite TV shows, "The Newsroom," that always reminded me of this: "Throughout our history, America's darkest days have always been followed by its finest hours."

Be safe.

• Dick Quagliano coached youth football for 32 seasons and has been a freelance high school sports writer for more than 40 years, the last seven with the Daily Herald, in addition to his full-time day job as a packaging salesman. He and his wife Debi have two adult sons, Michael and Anthony.

Dick Quagliano

Starting weight: 273

Current weight: 245

Weekly weight loss: 3

Total weight loss: 28

Percent loss: 10.3%

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