Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Dave Nuku: The Big Loser

SLIGHTLY improved remix of a news item I wrote for the Well-Being section of the Manila Bulletin that came out only last March. Yes, as this guy has proven, if you want to win big, you have to lose big.


Have you ever felt good in the company of a loser?

Well, if that “loser” happens to be motivational fitness expert Dave Nuku, then you have every reason to be, especially if you need to lose more than just a few pounds yourself.

The New Zealand-born Nuku, the celebrated Blue Team trainer of The Biggest Loser Asia, the popular weight loss reality TV series for the Hallmark Channel, is also the Regional Fitness Manager for Fitness First Asia. He was recently in town to launch the new Lose Big Program of Fitness First that he himself designed.

No stranger to television and movie productions, the Kuala Lumpur-based Nuku once worked as a personal trainer in his native hometown and has trained, among others, the entire cast and crew of the Lord of The Rings trilogy. Also the author of the book Bodyfirst, a step-by-step guide to fitness, nutrition and healthy living, he is an avid fitness enthusiast that regularly competes in local and international running events and as his enviable lean and mean frame suggests, feels at home at just about any gym he walks right into.

Talking about his experience in The Biggest Loser Asia, Nuku describes it as a “baptism of fire.” He admits that yes, he had to apply for the position of trainer and send his own audition video just like any of the other numerous aspirants. “Aside from the fact that yes, it is particularly challenging, I thought being part of the show with a successful format like this would be such a kick and a real thrill,” he exclaims.

When he got the gig, Nuku admitted to having felt the pressure to perform. “This is after all, a weekly reality show where people are accustomed to see visible results with every airing,” he points out.

But being a firm believer in adopting strength, power, agility and quickness training techniques in building a functional physique that can withstand all of life’s challenges including losing weight, Nuku rose to the occasion and more than met expectations. Five of the finalists who finished in the Top 6 were from his own Blue Team including eventual winner, David Gurnani from Indonesia, who lost a total of 83 kilograms in a span of 11 weeks under his tutelage. Gurnani has a 98 percent loss total that consists of 53 percent weight and 45 percent fat.

Bringing his impressive but no mean feat in The Biggest Loser Asia to the Lose Big Programme of Fitness First, Nuku says the program actually follows a format similar to the show in the sense that it takes on two teams of eight for a total of 16 participants with a qualified trainer leading each group. Open to all Fitness First members and non-members, the intensive program and structure allow participants to achieve their weight loss objectives together with people who share their needs and motivations during a 13-week exercise and nutrition weight loss program.

“Most people who want to lose weight have the desire but not the exercise program appropriate to their weight class and needs which is why they do not lose the weight,” he points out. “This is where I and the Lose Big Program of Fitness First comes in, where needs are specifically addressed, ensuring not just a significant weight loss but also a healthy lifestyle.”

In citing a specific example, Nuku points to The Biggest Loser Asia’s Filipino runner-up and fan favorite, Carlo Miguel as an ideal role model. “Carlo, while not under my team is someone that I eventually became close to and remains in touch with,” he admits. “He is an inspiration and an amazing competitor with a superb attitude.”

To qualify for the Lose Big Programme, interested participants must have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 and above or a body fat of 35 percent and above. Rolled out in four phases, the program will test the participants’ courage, determination, maintenance of momentum, and finally, total control of one’s body and weight as each phase accomplished is a feat that will propel them to go further and push themselves beyond their limitations.

After 13 weeks, participants should have significantly lost the unwanted weight they used to carry, allowing them to now plan their own fitness regimen.

“Like the show, the Lose Big Programme should empower people to take control of their lives that allows them to physically and mentally adapt to the challenges it presents by never emphasizing the negatives and simply focusing on the positives,” Nuku stresses.

“Bottom line, I cannot make people want to lose weight. No one can. They have to have the desire and motivation to want to lose weight on their own themselves.”

Not bad for a “loser,” huh?

The Lose Big Programme is now available at selected Fitness First branches on a first-come, first-served basis.

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