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My Interview with Bob Greene

Last week, I told you about my participation in the Get Fit with Omron campaign.

For me, the journey to physical fitness is more a change in attitude than anything else. Getting up and getting moving every day is a choice. It requires constant effort and commitment.

I'm still moving in the right direction, but the going is slow because I have so much weight to lose.

Bob Greene on exercising for weight lossbob greene interview


I asked Bob Greene, author of The Best Life Diet and 20 Years Younger and Oprah's trainer, what advice he had for me and others who have 100 pounds or more to lose.

After the how's your health? do you have any injuries I should know about? and consult your doctor stuff was out the way (and that applies to you, too!), he explained how the old way of thinking is wrong.

You know the old exercise advice, right? You're supposed to walk slowly enough that you can carry on a conversation.

Bob told me that exercising hard – sweating a lot, pushing your heart rate (up to 70-80% of your max heart rate) and breathing rate higher, talking only in sound bytes, not really wanting to talk at all, not being sure if you can finish – that's where the real progress is made. That's where the most fat is burned, he said.

I was glad to hear all of that because that's how I feel every single time I do the two-mile walk with Leslie Sansone. About twenty minutes in, I always think, “I'm not sure if I can keep this up for another ten minutes!” But I always keep going. Sometimes I walk instead of doing the side steps or knee lifts, but I keep the pace. I keep my heart rate up in the 150-160 range (which is 75-80% of my maximum heart rate), and I finish the workout and stretch with Leslie.

He also mentioned that breathing rate is a more reliable indicator of exercise intensity, but I didn't have time to ask him more about that, and I couldn't find any reliable info about it online.

Bob Greene on the length & intensity of workouts

As our conversation continued, Bob told me that 20-30 minutes of intense cardio is better – expends more calories, burns more fat – than an hour of lower intensity exercise.

He also said that walking continues to be the best cardio exercise, especially for those with a lot of weight to lose.

It's better to increase the intensity of a walking workout by walking hills or adding an incline on the treadmill than it is to increasing the impact of the workout (by running or jumping, for example). For those with a lot of weight to lose, increasing the impact of the workout will cause unnecessary wear and tear (and injuries) to the joints.

So, for those of you who wanted me to ask him about the best exercise to do to maximize your time, it sounds like it's not the actual activity that's important, but the intensity with which you do it.

Bob Greene on workout scheduling

I have been working out every other or every third day. If I exercise much more than that, I get really sore and end up walking around like an old lady.

Actually, not even Old Grandma walks around like that.

Some of you wanted to know how to schedule workouts for maximum calorie and fat burn, so I asked Bob about that. He said that losing weight requires 5-6 days of intense cardio each week. Some days, you'll work out harder and other days a little less so, but cardio should happen no less than five days a week.

I asked specifically about strength training, and Bob said something that was ground-breaking to me. He said strength training stimulates appetite, and he recommends delaying it for at least a month after making a lifestyle change.

He said that it's necessary to get your eating habits under control before having to deal with the increased appetite caused by exercise. Once you're in that place, you should do strength training three times a week in addition to the cardio.

Bob Greene on healthier snacks

Snack foods can be a struggle for everyone. We all have those moments in the mid-morning and late afternoon where we get snippy or tired or sleepy and need a snack to keep ourselves going until the next meal.

Bob stressed that all snacks should have protein and calcium but not too many carbs.

He recommends warm foods; he says they are more satisfying and comforting to our bodies than cold ones. He specifically mentioned vegetable soup or a healthy latte (made with 1% or skim milk).

Sweet potatoes are one of the healthiest things you can eat, he said, and my mind went immediately to the baked sweet potato chips or baked sweet potato fries that we make at home.

He also said that nuts were a great snack, but only in the correct portion size. He explained that's a handful in which the fingers actually close against the heel of the hand, not a handful in which the fingers remain open as if holding a soft ball. The image of his closed fingers up in front of the camera are etched in my mind. That's not many nuts in that hand, but that's the point.

Win a $150 Omron Prize Pack!bob greene interview

Omron Fitness is providing me with a $150 Omron prize pack to give away to one lucky Feels Like Home reader. It's the same box that I received when the Get Fit with Omron campaign started – Bob Greene's book, 20 Years Younger, an Omron Heart Rate Monitor, an Omron pedometer, an iTunes gift card, and an Amazon gift card. It's great stuff!

And it's off to Vickie, the winner!

To be entered for a chance to win, leave a comment about your fitness goals.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

  • Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
  • Tweet about this promotion including @TaraZiegmont and #fitwithomron and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post
  • Blog about this promotion and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

No duplicate comments. This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older.

Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. Winner will have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

Good luck! This sweepstakes runs from 3/9/12 – 3/14/12.


This post is sponsored by Bookieboo LLC in a blogger campaign with Omron Fitness and contains affiliate links.

© 2012 – 2018, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.

79 thoughts on “My Interview with Bob Greene”

  1. I’ve been slowly losing weight just by adding cardio and flexibility exercises and working on improving my portion sizes. I think the omron heart rate monitor would really help me ensure I’m keeping my heart rate in the correct range. Very interesting series of articles, thanks for writing it! 😉

  2. My fitness goals? Honestly, I just want to make it out of this pregnancy with less than 50 extra pounds to lose. I feel huge. When the baby is out, I am definitely stepping back on my wii fit. It worked really well the last time! For now, I content myself with light physical work. My tummy pulls and stretches pretty uncomfortably if I try anything harder than a walk, so I’m listening to my body and not even doing the “safe” exercises right now. 🙂

  3. Well, where do I begin. I have about 100 pounds to lose. I am a homeschool mom and all my time is dedicated to my children and my husband, very little time is spent on me. I need to think and work on getting my self healthy for my children and my husband and myself. I would be blessed to win a pedometer and Bob Greene’s book to learn how to get healthy and what to do to get there. Lord knows I really need it. Thank you for the opportunity to win such a great package. I will keep my fingers crossed.
    Thanks and looking forward to seeing who is the lucky winner.

    • How old are your kids? Could you get them involved in exercising? When I exercise with the girls (going for a long walk, for instance), I get more exercise than when I try to squeeze it in after they’re in bed or when they’re outside playing with their dad.

      You’re exactly right, though. Your children deserve a healthy mother who takes good care of herself. Think about the example you’ll be setting for them as they grow.

      • My kids are 6 and 12 and they do take walks with me daily(weather permitting). My husband is away 3 days during the week so what I have been trying to do is when he is home, I am able to take a longer walk myself. Yes, my goal is to be a healthier mom and a healthy example to my kids.

  4. I enjoyed this article very much my friend. I am now 56 lbs down of a 100 lb goal. It is slow going and yet the excitement is slowly building as I realize I am 4 lbs away from being under 200. It is hard to get serious about moving yet, but I am trying to do it every day!

  5. I’ve heard so many great things about Bob Greene! I’m a stay-at-home mom to a three-year-old and I have never been able to lose the sixty pounds of pregnancy weight I put on almost four years ago. I recently started a diet and workout regimen and I’ve already lost five pounds! This kit would be a great boost to my efforts. I would *love* to win it!

  6. Oh, my goals are pretty big – I need to lose at least 70 lbs to be with in 30 lbs of my goal weight. I’d be happy losing 50 lbs but I know for my long-term health Losing 70-100 would be best. I’m struggling with motivation. When I get discouraged I eat. I need to get to the root of these issues. One of my goals would be to run a 5K. I’ve started the c25k program but I have not been consistent. My goal is to restart again next week and stick with it. Thanks for the chance to win I would love to start losing this weight along with you Tara!

    • That sounds great, Donna! Freeman Michael’s program (called Weight Release) was really helpful for me in addressing the emotional issues that have been bothering me. First Place 4 Health has also been great, but in a different way. It’s based on the Bible and using your relationship with Christ to fulfill your emotional needs rather than food. That part is a work in progress for me. I’m not there yet, but I’m closer than I was when I started.

      I lead a First Place 4 Health group at my church. I know you’re a hike from us, but you are welcome to join us. We have a new session starting on the 16th of April. 🙂

      • Thanks Tara. I’ve heard of First Place before, I think a friend did the program and had great success. I’ll have to see if there are any churches near me that run the program. I’ll look into Freeman Michael’s program too! Thanks Tara, it’s been fun watching you log your workouts on facebook/twitter and “see” you workin it! 🙂

  7. My fitness goal this year is to run a 5k… I’ve run 3 miles before but it’s so easy for me to get out of shape, which I am right now! I just need to find the motivation to start up again 🙂

  8. i still have 10lbs to go from having a baby in november i plan on eating a lot of protein and i also plan to do a lot of jogging

  9. I’ve lost my goal weight but didn’t exercise much while getting there. I now need to get myself exercising to get rid of some of the flab left behind

  10. I am trying to lose 15 lbs that I’ve put on since last fall. I also really want to tone up and build some muscle in my arms.

  11. My fitness goal is simple- To fit in my old skinny jeans from years ago and most importantly, to reach this goal by staying healthy.

  12. I’m happy to hear the 20-30 minutes of intense exercise is better than an hour of lighter exercise because I can usually only devote that much time or handle that long. I walked today and plan to stick with that a minimum of three times a week, in addition to other exercise. I need consistency.

  13. I want to lose 65 pounds. Once I do, my hubby has promised me a trip to Disney…now if the thought of walking around my happy place as a slinkier version of myself isn’t motivation, I don’t know what is!

  14. I have about 100 lbs to lose, it has been a struggle my whole life. My Mom didn’t exactly have great eating habit’s for us growing up, the food she prepared was great, but their was no discipline on our part or her’s. I’m not trying to blame her for my weight, but as far back as Kindergarten I remember being called names. I have 5 kids and they keep me on my toe’s, it’s not enough, I have Type 2 Diabetes and it is a struggle to keep it diet controlled, my kid’s love me and I need to push myself not only for them but me as well!

  15. I have about 40-50 pounds to loose. That is my long term goal but my short term is to actually do exercise without being in pain (back & hips). So far walking seems to be about all I can do & even that I can’t do for too long. So I guess my goal is to educate myself on what I can do & go out and do it!

    • Definitely talk to your doctor, Shana. It may be a case of having a little hip and back pain that you have to work through. Once in a while, I get a lot of knee pain while I’m walking, and if I keep going, it works itself out and feels fine a few minutes later.

      • Sometimes I can handle the pain but with my hip it gets worse the more I use it to wear just bending over brings on the tears. I’ve had it ever since I was a teenager & I screwed it up really bad playing soccer. Back then I thought it was cool, now that I am older it’s not as cool LOL

  16. My fitness goals: this week, I want to work out four times. (That’s walking on my treadmill and doing videos in my house.) I’m walking a 5K in July and probably another one before then. But I’d really love to run a 5K in October. That will require me to meet the other half of my health goals and lose significant weight. I’ve recently cut way back on carbs and that’s kick started me in eating healthier (and, as of this morning, losing 5 lbs so far).

    • Get yourself a walking DVD. It will be really hard at first (as a couch potato myself just two months ago), but you can always slow down the pace if you need to. There aren’t any complicated movements like there would be with pilates or aerobics or something. You can do a walking DVD, Mary! I know it. 🙂

      • Yes, my Walk Away the Pounds is my never-fails, get-back-to-exercise video! My favorite is my old Tae-Bo tape (which I have to work up to), and I bought a couple new Jazzercise videos a couple months ago, too. Alternating between all those keeps me from getting bored by doing the same thing over and over. 🙂

  17. I’ve always been good about working out…my problem is the food. I’ve been trying to eat more greens and whole foods. Something I’ve never done!

  18. My goals are to start simple,drink more water less diet sodas,an now that the weather is getting nicer ,im going to walk a bit more each day


  19. My fitness goals are to stay at the weight I am now without going over. I lost almost 20 pounds last summer and I have been trying hard to keep it that way! I exercise at least 20 minutes a day and try to avoid carbs.

    • It sure is! From my experience, you might want to start with a smaller goal at first. My first goal was 25 pounds by Easter. I’m at 24 now; I’ll reward myself when I get there. I have my eye on something from Lisa Leonard as a reward. I’ll work on the next 25 once I hit my first target.

      If I looked only at my eventual goal (which is 180 pounds), I’d get discouraged long before I reached it.

  20. I just started Jillian Michaels’ Ripped in 30 DVD workout… and it’s kicking my butt. I’m hoping I can get stronger, tone my arms and my belly. 🙂

  21. I just started trying to lose. I’m on MyFitnessPal, which has been really helpful. I did 5 minutes of stairs the other day though and though I was gonna die! I have a ways to go. 🙂

  22. I don’t have a lot of weight to lose but I’m not at my goal weight. What I really want to do is get healthy and fit with diet and exercise, since I really slacked through college. I think I’ll be able to lose the pounds I want to in the process. I’ve started by changing my diet and running throughout the week, but I want to get some yoga/more stretching, and some strength work into my routine as well. lmlynch2 at gmail dot com

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