Mother, daughter get fit with sledgehammers, chains, cinder blocks

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Nola Comingore used to drag herself out of bed each morning. 

She was overweight, wore a knee brace and loved sugar.

Comingore’s 18-year-old daughter, Zoe, was in the same situation. She suffered from low self-esteem and had been overweight since the age of 4 , a result of poor eating habits. 

“We were big on starch,” Nola Comingore said. “Potatoes, rice and pasta — oh my,” she emphasized. “That is what we were living on, because it’s cheap and it tastes good.”

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Rising blood sugar levels pushed the Comingores into action. They did not want to become diabetic.

Nola Comingore and her daughter decided to give Weight Watchers a try.

“We were starving and miserable the whole time,” Nola Comingore said. 

One of Nola Comingore’s clients told her about a barn in Auburn, where women lift cinder blocks rather than traditional weights, rattle chains rather than treadmills and pound sledgehammers rather than pavement. All while eating like “humans are supposed to eat.”

“Tell me more,” she said. “Tell me how I can lose weight and still eat.”

Luke Robinson, a 2003 Edward Little High School graduate and professional wrestler, has a strong following. 

A recent “ladies lifting” night in his barn resembled a high school graduation more so than a gym workout from the outside. Cars were parked along the country road for a 100 yards or more. 

Inside, women wore hats, gloves and winter boots rather than sweats, sports bras and running shoes. Thirty women swung sledgehammers to Iron Maiden while their children played together outside in the snow during “Cub Class.” 

Welcome to Wolfpack Fitness.

There are no traditional workout machines or exercise bikes, only used tractor tires, industrial strength chains and cinder blocks labeled with wolf paw prints.

“His point about all that stuff is that it’s cheap. You don’t have to go out and buy a lot of expensive equipment to get a good workout,” Nola Comingore said. You just use what you got.”

“It feels like playing,” Zoe Comingore said. “They are big toys.”

Robinson’s strategy to good health is simple tools and a simple diet. “There is no point in overcomplicating it,” she said about Robinson’s teachings.

The Comingores have gone from eating foods that are high in sugar to food that is high in protein and fat. “But good fats,” Nola Comingore emphasized.

Think beef from cows that eat grass rather than grain, eggs from free-range chickens that eat bugs, and wild salmon rather than farm-raised, Robinson said.

Coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil and butter made from grass-fed cows are other good sources of good fat, he said. 

“We eat a lot of fat,” Nola Comingore said. “I eat eggs, butter and bacon every morning for breakfast.

“Changing your dietary habits is tough in the beginning, because we were all so addicted to sugar and starch,” she said. “So the first week was miserable getting over the addiction.

“When you back off that cold turkey, you have withdrawal symptoms and that was the miserable first week,” she said. “After that, it was really pretty easy.”

“It’s not a diet or a program; it’s a lifestyle,” Robinson said. “It’s like real humans are supposed to eat.”

“It’s been fantastic. It’s changed our outlook on life,” said Nola Comingore, who has lost 60 pounds since joining the pack one year ago. Zoe Comingore has lost 50.

Nola Comingore no longer wears a knee brace and Zoe Comingore’s healthier lifestyle has boosted her confidence. 

“Working out with heart has really clicked with me,” Zoe Comingore said. “My self-esteem has gone up a lot since I started. A lot of people can tell because I’m more talkative and friendly instead of just hiding from everybody, which is what I tended to do the first 2½ years of high school.

“It’s a lot easier to do presentations for school; to get up in front of the class.”

Zoe Comingore applied for college and wrote an essay about her Wolfpack experience as part of the admissions requirement. “If you want to make the change hard enough, you will find a way to do it,” she said.

She was accepted at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, where she will study ultrasound next fall. 

“Learning about nutrition was the piece that sent me over the edge,” Nola Comingore said. “Moving is great, but learning to eat like Luke has taught me has made changing my eating habits so much more easier because I can eat and not starve. I feel so much more healthier and energetic and the weight just falls off.”

Nola Comingore now wakes up each morning before the alarm goes off. “I’m addicted,” she said about her new lifestyle. 

The Comingores work out three days a week.

“If I miss a day, something is just not right,” Nola Comingore said. “I feel like I gotta go beat a tire.” 

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