YMCA looking for 150 people to take Weight Challenge

Want to lose the flab?

Personal trainer Nick Baker leads a group in tricep curls during a Boot Camp taster class at the Firley YMCA Center Wednesday morning.

Personal trainer Nick Baker leads a group in tricep curls during a Boot Camp taster class at the Firley YMCA Center Wednesday morning.

Have you ever sat on the couch, stared at the TV, and wished in vain that you, too, could be a competitor on the NBC hit “The Biggest Loser?”

Here’s your golden opportunity to do something similar.

The public is invited to join the Jefferson City YMCA’s Weight Challenge, an 85-day exercise and healthy-eating contest designed to help participants lose their extra flab. YMCA organizers have slots for 150 participants in this year’s program; the deadline to sign up is Jan. 12.

Although participating in the weight loss contest isn’t free — the organization is charging $180 for Y members and $240 for non-members — those prices represent a discount on what the YMCA normally charges. (People who join as a pair can have $30 knocked off those prices.)

“It’s $1,000 worth of services for 20 percent of the cost,” said YMCA Fitness Director Ashley Hale.

The 12-week window was chosen because that’s the amount of time it takes to learn a new, positive habit, Hale said.

Participants will be divided into several teams of 10 to 15 members. Each team will be assigned a YMCA trainer who will act as a motivational coach on the journey. The program includes two personal training sessions per week for each team — one on a weekday and another on the weekend, Hale added.

By pulling people together into small teams, Hale hopes a sense of camaraderie will develop. But she also noted Y leaders want every customer to receive some personal attention from the trainers. Trainer assignments will be based on personal preference, on a first-come, first-served basis, Hale said.

“They’ll be working with you the whole time,” she said.

The program includes three nutritional seminars:

• A talk about healthy shopping by Lindsey Koelling, a registered dietitian at Hy-Vee on Jan. 25.

• A presentation on healthy cooking by Y staffer Brian Valentine on Feb. 22.

• And advice on how to create healthy lifestyle habits by Laurel Kremer, a behavior psychologist from St. Marys Health Center on April 5.

At the end of the contest — which starts Jan. 18 and ends April 12 — the accomplishments of each team will be measured. Winning will be determined by the percentage of weight lost, not pounds lost. Participants will weigh in every other week.

“This is a much fairer comparison than weight loss alone,” Hale said.

While 75 percent of a participant’s score will be measured based on weight loss, 25 percent will be based on the amount of participation points — attendance at the challenge events and daily check-ins at the Y — a person earns.

The grand prize winner will take home a pool table. The No. 1 team will earn some personal training sessions, a free membership to the Y and assorted goodies.

“Hopefully we can make a big impact with this program.We hope it will rub off on friends and family,” Hale said. “It’s a good time of the year to do it, and in the past, people have seen great results. We’re hoping to reach more of the community who are sitting around, not sure of what to do.”

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