Join David Bittner, pictured right, Jessica Hawthorne, and the other staff members at the Winona Area Chamber of Commerce in the Biggest Loser Community Challenge, starting on February 15 with the premiere of the newest season.
by LAURA HAYES
For the staff at the Winona Area Chamber of Commerce, New Years' resolutions are starting a little early. Chamber staff members invite the public to join them in participating in the 2016 Biggest Loser Community Challenge — a community-wide competition challenging teams of four to get healthy and eat better.
Starting with the premiere of 17th season of “Biggest Loser,” community members can participate with the competitors with teams made up of co-workers, family members or friends.
Chamber Vice President of Finance and Operations Kay Mathews will be participating in a team of four, made up of Chamber staff. Mathews said that she was contacted by the Biggest Loser to see if the Winona community would be interested in participating.
“We’re hoping this could combine everyone together — get the business community working toward wellness,” Mathews explained. “It’s kind of neat because it’s more than just a weight loss thing,” Mathews continued. She said that the competition focused on one’s overall health, including eating healthy and being active.
After gathering a team, visit biggestlosercommunity.com and register. For a team of four, it costs $100 to register. Starting on January 4, participants can start to log in to their accounts, although the actual challenge won’t begin until February 15.
Once they register, participants can select a “challenge guide” from past Biggest Loser contestants. Each week, the guide will introduce a challenge and give helpful tips and pieces of advice.
Teams can participate in the weekly challenge along with the competitors on the show. They can earn points by completing the challenge and chronicling their progress, like privately updating their weight or motivation levels. Additional points will be given out for healthy activities, like minutes of activity or servings of fruits and vegetables.
While weigh-ins is a key part of the TV show, Mathews said that public weigh-ins won’t be a part of the community challenge. Instead, Mathews said that participants will weigh in as a team. The totals, however, may be shared.
“I like the competition aspect of it,” Mathews said. She said that there’s over $10,000 available in prizes, including personal training with Dolvett Quince, one of the trainers on Biggest Loser; trips to the finale of the Biggest Loser; and week-long stays at a Biggest Loser resort. Prizewinners are determined on participation, not based on points.
Mathews will compete on a team along with other staff members Chamber President Della Schmidt, Winona Main Street Program Coordinator David Bittner, and Communications Coordinator Jessica Hawthorne.
Both Bittner and Hawthorne said that they were looking forward to participating in the competition. “I’m looking forward to the challenges, and hoping that they have some interesting new things to do that will be fun,” Hawthorne said.
Last season began with a volleyball-inspired course, requiring participants to push a giant ball up a hill while going through the course. Another challenge last season involved contestants confronting the excuses that led to weight gain, carrying a punching bag through an obstacle course and knocking down walls labeled with excuses like “food” or “work.”
“For me, it will be a nice way to keep myself accountable,” Bittner said.
“With the new year, it’s typical for people to start back up with things,” Hawthorne added. “I’m trying to do that again after the holidays, getting moving and into a routine. It’s something different.”
Join the Chamber of Commerce and get a team of four together to register for the Biggest Loser Community Challenge. Company employees can have as many teams as they would like and do not have to be Chamber members to participate.