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Article updated: 3/11/2013 1:51 PM

Intense workouts become new normal for contestants


Exhausting, excruciating, tough, intense, painful. Those are just some of the words the Fittest Losers use to describe their workout sessions.

"The workouts I've been doing have been beyond intense," says Greg Moehrlin. "My trainer, Wade (Merrill), has a well-thought-out plan for me that usually involves a circuit of exercises. And he doesn't let me stop. Even though it can be frustrating, I know that pushing myself to the limit will lead to better fitness and more weight loss."

Even getting ready to work out is hard work.

"Tony has 'rolled' me out with the foam roller," says Marianne Costales-Roman. "There's a lot of moaning and screaming from me." Her trainer, Tony Rinehart, uses the foam roller to release toxins in her muscles. "After it's done, I feel calm and relaxed," she says.

Moehrlin's warm-up takes him up nine flights of stairs. "I do the stairs before every workout and it's getting easier," he says.

Not only is it getting easier to get through the hard workouts, the rewards are beginning to add up.

"I'm surprised at how much easier a workout is now compared to just four weeks ago," says Mike Paulo. "Running over a mile is something I'm now able to do."

For 18-year-old Joe Gundling sparring with trainer Tony Figueroa is his favorite workout.

"I love boxing day!," he says. "Not only do I get rid of pent-up anger, it's a killer workout!"

Costales-Roman agrees, "My favorite workout with Tony (Rinehart) is boxing. I enjoy hitting Tony with all I can. It releases my tension and stress."

And there have been some surprises along the way for the Fittest Loser contestants.

"I really enjoy going to work out," says Megan McCarthy-Cook. "I'm surprised how strong I really am."

And her trainer, Steve Amsden, is noticing, too.

"Steve's commented a few times that he's surprised at some of the exercises I've done quicker, lifted more weight or finished better than he thought I would."

Karen Castillo went from her pre-contest regimen -- zero workouts -- to full-speed running and lifting weights several days every week.

"I feel stronger than when I started," she says. "I can see definition in my arms and legs!"

"The thing I love the most is finishing a tough workout," says Mike Paulo. "Feeling a sense of well-being and accomplishment."

Makes all the exhausting, excruciating, tough, intense, painful workouts worth it!

Karen Castillo, 37, Carpentersville

Starting weight: 206

Current weight: 200

Weight lost this week: Gained 1 pound

Total weight loss: 6 pounds, 2.9 percent

Marianne Costales-Roman, 37, Carol Stream

Starting weight: 222

Current weight: 200

Weight lost this week: 7 pounds

Total weight loss: 22 pounds, 9.9 percent

Joe Gundling, 18, Hanover Park

Starting weight: 264

Current weight: 247

Weight lost this week: 2 pounds

Total weight loss: 17 pounds, 6.4 percent

Megan McCarthy-Cook, 33, Hoffman Estates

Starting weight: 282

Current weight: 264

Weight lost this week: 2 pounds

Total weight loss: 18 pounds, 6.3 percent

Greg Moehrlin, 39, St. Charles

Starting weight: 245

Current weight: 226

Weight lost this week: 3 pounds

Total weight loss: 19 pounds, 7.7 percent

Mike Paulo, 58, Woodridge

Starting weight: 294

Current weight: 279

Weight lost this week: 4 pounds

Total weight loss: 15 pounds, 5.1 percent

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