Cardio Intervals for Weight Improvement

Did you know that alternating between high and low intensities for 20 minutes is more effective at burning calories than 20 minutes of steady state exercise? Once you are able to complete steady state cardiovascular exercise for 30 minutes or more, start to gradually introduce interval training to your workout. Interval training is a fitness training approach in which low to moderate intensity intervals are alternated with higher intensity intervals. Interval training has been proven to be one of the most effective forms of training for weight improvement because of the fat burning benefits even hours after your workout. So, how do you safely introduce cardio intervals to your workouts?

1. Select your exercise equipment

It is safest to introduce cardio intervals on exercise equipment that creates less impact on your joints, such as the bike, elliptical or rower. Cardio machines make it easier to control the intensity and help individuals keep the correct form during high intensity intervals. If you prefer to exercise outdoors, then you can with your bike or on foot. However, if you start on foot be careful and make sure you don’t create unnecessary stress your joints.

 2. Choose interval and recovery time

After your five to ten minute warm up, start to alternate between your high and low intensity intervals for a total of twenty minutes.

High-Intensity Interval Time: The amount of time you spend exercising at higher intensity, such as a 70-100% effort. You will want to focus on bringing your heart rate up safely and keeping correct form. Interval time is usually 30-60 seconds long.

Low-Intensity Interval Time: The amount of time you spend exercising by at a lower intensity, such as a 30-60% effort. You will want to focus on recovering by bringing your heart rate down and taking deep controlled breathes.  Low intensity intervals are usually one to three minutes.

 3. Adding intensity effectively

The two most common ways to effectively increase your intensity is by increasing your resistance and/or your speed. I recommend first increasing your resistance and then increasing your speed for the safest results. For example, add resistance to your stationary bike and pick up the speed for 30 seconds. Then, take the resistance you added back off the bike and ride easy for one to two minutes during your low intensity interval.

Written by: Mallory McCormick, Weigh and Win Health Coach

2014 Kiosk Grant Opportunity

Do you want to help improve the health of your community? Apply for our 2014 Kiosk Grant!

Why Host a Kiosk? Hosting a kiosk is beneficial for an organization trying to administer a health and wellness program, improve the health of their community, and/or improve access to wellness resources.

What is the 2014-2015 Grant Opportunity? Weigh and Win will be awarding grants to potential community partners who have the desire to implement the program and align strategies in their respective community. Preference will be given to projects that target community outreach and create a resource for underserved and low-income populations.

For more information on the grant and to access the online application, click here.

If you have any questions regarding the grant, please contact Weigh and Win at 303-694-8012.



50,000 Coloradans Join Weigh and Win

Improving the Health of Colorado
Weigh and Win program enrolls more than 50,000 people statewide

DENVER – What do these numbers have in common — 50,000, 153,000 and 280,000? They are all metrics of success among Weigh and Win participants. To date, more than 50,000 Coloradans have signed up for Weigh and Win as a commitment to improving their health. Participants have lost a total of 153,000 pounds, earning a total of $280,000 in cash rewards for their success. Weigh and Win is a free community program for all Colorado residents that teaches healthy habits and pays cash rewards for weight improvement and maintenance.Kaiser Permanente is the founding funder of Weigh and Win as part of its commitment to promoting healthy eating and active living.

“Weigh and Win has helped thousands of Coloradans live healthier lifestyles. We couldn’t be more pleased with the level of support the program gained from community partners and the tremendous growth which has made it even more accessible to Colorado residents,” said Jandel Allen-Davis, MD, vice president of government, external relations and research, Kaiser Permanente Colorado.  “Our hope is that this program continues to grow in popularity for the sake of the health of all Coloradans.”

 Coloradans can sign up for free at to start receiving daily coaching on healthy eating and active living by email or text message. The coaching includes tips for weight loss, daily exercise and meal plans, weekly grocery shopping lists and more. Progress is tracked through quarterly weigh-ins at one of 53 community kiosk locations  throughout the state. Then, success is rewarded with quarterly cash rewards for weight loss and maintenance, as well as monthly prize drawings just for participating.

“Weigh and Win has been working hard for the past three and a half years to help improve the health of Coloradans,” said Lia Schoepke, Program Manager of Weigh and Win. “Even though Colorado is considered to be one of the healthiest states in the nation, 20 percent of our population is obese and 35 percent is overweight. Hitting 50,000 enrollments is a huge milestone and a big step toward improving the health of our state.” Weigh and Win is a one-of-a-kind community program with verified weight loss data through patented photographed weigh-ins with the HEALTHspot kiosk. Currently, 45 percent of all Weigh and Win participants with two or more weigh-ins have achieved a 3 percent or more weight improvement. Recent research suggests that even a weight loss of 3-5 percent produces meaningful health benefits, such as reducing risk for Type 2 Diabetes and need for cholesterol and heart medications.

 “Once you make the commitment to lose the weight. The Weigh and Win program is such a huge support,” shared Suzie See, a Weigh and Win participant who achieved a 23 percent weight improvement. “There’s so much information that they provide to you, that as long as you’re taking that first step – anybody can do it.”

The average weight improvement for successful Weigh and Win participants after one year in the program is 17 pounds or an eight percent weight loss. Participants involved in the Weigh and Win Team Challenge see a higher success rate: 20 pounds for team members and 22 pounds for team captains. The ‘Fit For Fall’ Weigh and Win Team Challenge is currently running.

“Our goal is to reward 100 million people for engaging in a H.E.A.L (Healthy Eating, Active Living) lifestyle.  Our success in Colorado is one piece of the puzzle,” said Schoepke.

Want to improve the health of your community? Please contact Weigh and Win at 303-694-8012 to learn more on how you can help build a healthier community.


  • 50,000+ people enrolled in Weigh and Win
  • $280,000 in cash rewards given out
  • 153,500 pounds lost
  • 53 community kiosk locations statewide. Map of all partners and kiosk locations can be found here.
  • 8 percent weight loss for successful participants after one year in the program.
  • 45 percent of all participants have achieved a 3 percent or more weight improvement


For media inquiries:
Jillian Tongate
Weigh and Win Marketing Manager

Fruits and Veggies: More Really Does Matters

September is Fruits and Veggies; More Matters Month. The facts show that more than 90 percent of Americans do not eat the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables. The latest dietary guidelines call for 5-13 servings of fruits and vegetables a day or 2½ to 6½ cups, depending on one’s caloric intake. If you’re one of the 90 percent who isn’t getting enough fruits and vegetables, try some of these tips to get you closer to your daily goal:

Aim for a Colorful Plate: Instead of trying to count all 9 servings of fruits and vegetables, make it your goal to eat from each of the color groups daily and this will help to increase your daily intake while getting all of the benefits for each of the color groups.


colorful salad


Make Half your Plate Fruits and Veggies: Increasing your consumption of non-starchy vegetables is a great tool for weight improvement and management. Also, we know that portion sizing exactly what one serving is can be hard especially if you are in a hurry. Keep it simple! Just remember this quick rule of thumb that at least half your plate should be fruits or vegetables and you’ll increase your daily intake.


Know what Counts: Fresh produce is not the only way to get your daily recommended servings. Frozen, canned, dried and 100% juice all count towards your daily intake. If you’re looking at saving some money and not wasting food when the fresh stuff spoils, trying frozen fruits and vegetables. They last longer and generally they are picked at their peak of freshness and contain more nutrients!


Give Healthy Swaps a Try! The possibilities are endless with swapping traditional ingredients for your favorite recipe with vegetables to make sure you’re getting all of the daily servings. Try swapping out cauliflower for a traditional white flour pizza crust or zucchini instead of regular pasta noodle. These recipes are fun to make and add a great boost of healthy flavor to your homemade meals.

Refer a Friend, Win a Fitbit!

Help us make it 50,000 Weigh and Win enrollments and you’ll be entered to win a Fitbit Flex! We’re less than 50 enrollments away!

To Enter:

• Refer friends and family to join Weigh and Win via the referral app on our website between now and Sunday.

• Every person you refer who enrolls in Weigh and Win will enter you in the drawing. Five referrals=five entries!


How we track referrals:

  • STEP 1: Log in to your Weigh and Win account.
  • STEP 2: Click on ‘Settings’ and then ‘Referrals.’
  • STEP 3: Fill out the referral invitation form.
  • STEP 4: Referral must click on the link in the invitation email and complete a full enrollment online in order to count towards your total.

*Only referrals made through the Weigh and Win app are eligible to win. Referral must complete a full enrollment online to count. Only referrals made between Thursday, September 11 and Sunday, September 14 at 11:59 pm MT will count.


New Kiosk at Front Range Community College in Fort Collins

Weigh and Win just installed a new kiosk at Front Range Community College in Fort Collins. Weigh and Win began with four kiosks in 2011, expanding to over 53 kiosks statewide; helping a combined 49,000+ Coloradans improve their health.

“Our mission at FRCC is to enrich lives through learning,” said Elaine Milligan, fitness and wellness coordinator. “Giving students and staff an opportunity to learn ways to improve their diets and wellness is a good fit for our mission.”

Read more about our partnership with Front Range Community College here.

New kiosk on the Larimer Campus inside the Longs Peak Student Center
New kiosk on the Larimer Campus inside the Longs Peak Student Center

Three Ways to Get out of an Exercise Rut

Do you currently enjoy your workouts? Is it a challenge to be active during the day? It is estimated that nearly 80 percent of adult Americans do not get the recommended amounts of exercise each week. This statistic really isn’t surprising if you think about all the perceived barriers to engaging in exercise. If we already do weekly tasks that aren’t particularly enjoyable, then why would we add on another to our week? Let’s consider making a few changes so that our workout time naturally becomes more of a treat and less of a task.

Let’s define a workout as the amount of time you spend per week in the gym or at home with your strength and cardio exercises. Daily activity would be the time you spend moving your body throughout the day (walking, taking the stairs, playing with your kids). Both are important for overall health, but we are going to focus on purely improving your workouts so they become habit.

Three Ways to Get Out of an Exercise Rut

1. Choose Exercises That Give You Results

It is extremely frustrating to focus on improving your physique week after week without noticing physical benefits. You might even begin to doubt if the time you are dedicating to your workouts matter. There are exercises that are scientifically proven to help individuals lose body fat and preserve lean muscle tissue: safe resistance training, cardio intervals, restorative yoga.

  • Resistance Training
    Once you have proper form for body weight exercises, start safely adding and increasing resistance. Start off with lighter weight and once you reach 15-20 repetitions with solid form, bump up the weight to challenge your body.
  • Cardio Intervals
    Once you can sustain 30 minutes of steady state cardio, start adding your intervals. You can safely do this by increasing the intensity (resistance and/or speed) for 30 seconds to a minute then lower the intensity and recover for a few minutes.You can add intervals to almost any form of cardio exercise! These short bursts of anaerobic activity will stimulate your body to release human growth hormone, which helps to burn fat while maintaining lean muscle.
  • Restorative Yoga
    Any form of restorative mind and body exercises are going to be beneficial to weight improvement by relieving stress and promoting muscle relaxation.


2. Personalize Aspects of Your Workout

We all have different goals, schedules, personalities and interests. The type of exercises that one individual deems satisfying might not have the same effect for you. It is important that you get “outside your comfort zone” to reach a higher fitness level, but make sure it is through your own free will. For example, if you are more social then try taking a group exercise class where you can exercise with a group of friends. If you look forward to alone time then charge up the iPod and go for a walk or run. Instead of reinventing the wheel, ask yourself what exercise do you already enjoy doing that can become a weekly habit.


3. Change Up Your Routine Every Six Weeks

They say variety is the spice of life! Make sure that this holds true when it comes to your workouts. Without change you might find yourself dreading the boredom of your workouts, which might lead to loss of motivation. Additionally, your body can adapt to the same caloric burn and muscle exertion as it becomes more efficient at finishing the exercises. If you always run three miles, eventually your body will become very good at running three miles and the weight improvement will plateau. Mark on your calendar and make sure after six to eight weeks you increase the intensity, add a variation or change the exercise all together.


Keep in mind that the majority of your body composition is a result of your diet. The rest is determined by how you effectively manage your sleeping patterns and stress levels, how you exercise and other lifestyle factors. Improving your workout is one of the many ways to boost your weight improvement plan.

 Written By: Mallory McCormick, Weigh and Win Health Coach

Win a Fitbit Flex in September!

Want to win a Fitbit Flex activity tracker? Earn 300 or more HEALTHpoints and you will be entered to win (1) of (4) we’re giving away this month.


Congratulations to the August winners of $50 REI gift cards!

  • Susan – Denver, CO
  • Maureen – Littleton, CO
  • Madeline – Lafayette, CO
  • Katie – Canon City, CO
  • Fred – Lakewood, CO
  • Evelyn – Denver, CO

Have a Healthy Breakfast

We all know that breakfast is the “most important meal of the day” but why? Not only does consuming a healthy breakfast give you energy to start your day, but breakfast is also linked to many other health benefits including: improved performance and concentration, lower cholesterol levels, more strength and endurance throughout the day, and even more success in weight loss!

Many studies suggest that those who consume a healthy breakfast each day tend to weigh less than those who skip breakfast. Why is this? One theory suggests that eating a healthy breakfast can reduce hunger throughout the day. For the breakfast skippers, usually they will find that they end up eating more food at later meals to compensate for their lack of calories early in the day. Another theory suggests that by starting your day out right with healthy decisions, this leads to other healthy decisions throughout the rest of the day. In order to get the most benefit out of your breakfast you are going to want to aim to fill your breakfast full of lean protein, fiber and complex carbohydrates. So, what are some quick and easy, healthy breakfast ideas to get your day started right?

10 Healthy Ways to Start the Day

1. Breakfast Parfait
Mix you favorite fruit into low fat or Greek yogurt and top with granola.

Photo by Penn Waggener / CC BY


2. Egg and Veggie Scramble
Dice up some peppers, onions and spinach and scramble it together with two eggs. Top with your favorite salsa.

3. Whole Grain Toast Topped with a Poached Egg
Place the poached egg on top of a piece of whole grain toast and sprinkle with pepper.

Poached Egg
Photo by Maggie Osterberg / CC BY


4. Berry Breakfast Wrap
Combine peanut butter, sliced berries and a drizzle of honey in a whole wheat tortilla. Roll up and enjoy!

5 Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal
Add chopped apples and a dash of cinnamon into cooked oatmeal. Let sit for a couple minutes to allow apples to soften and you’ve got your own healthy apple pie for breakfast!

Photo by Avelino Maestas / CC BY


6. Breakfast Shake or Smoothie
Combine 1 cup Greek yogurt, your favorite fruits and 1 cup of ice together in a blender. Add a handful of spinach for a “green smoothie!” You can also substitute the Greek yogurt with 1 cup of skim milk and a scoop of protein powder.

7. Breakfast Burrito
Cook your favorite lean meat, scramble 2 eggs, and chop up your choice of veggies. Add to a whole wheat tortilla and top with a light sprinkle of cheese and salsa. These burritos can also be frozen and reheated easily so feel free to make a bulk batch at the beginning of the week for an easy breakfast all week long!

8. Whole Grain Toast with Peanut Butter and Bananas
Spread peanut butter on a piece of whole grain toast (or waffle!) and top with sliced bananas. You can also experiment with a drizzle of honey or a dash of cinnamon for added flavor.

PB Toast
Photo By Tracy Benjamin / CC BY

9. Frozen Yogurt Breakfast Pop
Great for breakfast on the go! Combine yogurt and sliced berries in a Popsicle mold the night before. In the morning, pop one out and take it with you on your morning commute!

10. Ham and Egg Breakfast Cups
Place a piece of sliced ham in a muffin tin. Fill with scrambled egg and add your choice of veggies. Top with a light sprinkle of cheese and bake in the oven at 400 degrees for approximately 15 minutes.

Written by: Deanne Emig, Weigh and Win Health Coach