Local fitness and nutrition specialists Anna Woods, a certified personal trainer, and Jeanne Rziha, Greenhaw Wellness coordinator, will begin the local version of the contest Jan. 8.
?Our biggest goal, I would say, is to help people adopt healthier lifestyles, not just lose the weight for the money and then gain it all back,? Woods said.
Money will be an incentive, however. The entry fee for each competitor will be $20, with 90 percent of the money going toward prizes for the top three ?losers? and 10 percent toward advertising.
?I would like to get a lot of enthusiasm (for the competition),? Rziha said.
The competition will run from January through May, with a mid-point weigh-in in March. Competitors can participate individually or as teams. Team weight loss will be averaged.
Participants will have their first weigh-in Jan. 8 or 10 by appointment from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Greenhaw Wellness Center or other designated area.
Participants will have a mid-point weigh-in March 4 and 6. Weight loss will be figured as percentage of original weight. For example, an individual who weighs 160 pounds at the start and loses 16 pounds will have a weight loss of 10 percent.
Depending on the number of participants, the top 10 or 20 individuals will have their weight-loss achievements published and will be awarded small prizes to help maintain motivation.
At the final weigh-in May 6 and 8, the cash prizes will be awarded.
?We?re not saying how much because we don?t know how much,? Rziha said. ?But the winner will get the bigger proportion, and we?ll do three prizes with the idea that if someone is way ahead, everybody won?t give up because there?s still second and third prize.?
The organization and implementation of a Marion County Biggest Loser competition has been in the works for nearly three years, Rziha said.
Rziha, a Tampa resident, placed second in a similar community program sponsored in her town three years ago.
?Ever since we did that, I?ve been wanting to do something because it was fun,? Rziha said.
Before moving to Marion County, Woods competed in a Biggest Loser competition in her community. ?It was a huge success,? she said. ?We had a good turnout and people were really motivated.?
Each participant will receive a packet of information containing nutrition and exercise tips. The packet will also have coupons for vitamins, weight-loss supplements, exercise bands, balls and pedometers from Greenhaw Pharmacy.
Woods will offer a discount of $5 off her monthly fee of $35 to attend evening exercise classes. The classes will span a wide range of activities from January through April.
In January, Woods will offer Fit and Fitness, a class focusing on cardiovascular exercise and strength training.
She will offer a family fitness class in February for children and adults. Woods and Amy Ratzlaff will promote family wellness through children?s activities.
In March, the class focus will be sports performance. The course in April will focus on training for a 5-kilometer run. The goal will be to train for the Emma Creek Run in Hesston.
?We?re trying to give everyone an opportunity that might interest them to participate so there?s no excuses,? Woods said of the variety of classes.
In addition to her evening classes, Woods also offers personal training services for those wanting them. Greenhaw Wellness also offers guidance on nutrition and exercise.
While the majority of the initiative will be up to the individual, two seminars will be offered at the beginning of the competition: one dealing with nutrition and the other with developing in-home workouts.
?(The seminars will) help guide people through this whole process of making good choices, and making it a habit to eat healthy and to exercise,? Woods said. That?s why the competition is open to everyone, not just the significantly overweight.
?I would tell even people who don?t have a huge amount of weight to lose that being involved with something like this can help motivate them to get that last 10, 20 pounds off,? Woods said.
To schedule an appointment, call the Greenhaw Wellness at 620-947-3048. For additional information, call the above number or contact Woods at 620-877-7503.