Wellness center is hosting an eight-week weight loss challenge

by Sergio Montealegre

Students aiming to slim down and get in shape have been issued a challenge.

Beginning today the Biscayne Bay Recreation Center located in room 160 of the Wolfe University Center is hosting an eight-week team weight-loss challenge to help participants achieve a healthy lifestyle.

Registration begins at 10:30 a.m. and lasts until 3 p.m. at the Wellness Center in WUC 330. The challenge, which includes a fitness assessment (faculty and staff must pay $10 for the assessment.), is open to any gym member for free.  Registrants can sign up with a partner or alone.

“It’s to promote wellness,” said Andrea Rojas, a senior sociology major and assistant to Warren Shaw, assistant director of Campus Recreation at Biscayne Bay Campus. “We’re not forcing people to be a certain size or shape.”

After registering and submitting a release form, participants will be weighed-in to obtain their starting weight. “They [the Wellness Center] will use a tri-fit machine to do a wellness assessment, which takes about 30 minutes, on the first and last weigh-ins. Every other time will measure body fat changes”,Rojas said. After the initial weigh-in, the team doesn’t have to show up together for weigh-ins. Weigh-ins will be held every other Friday in the Wellness Center  from 10:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m until the end of the contest on March 12. At the end of the challenge, prizes will be awarded to teams or individuals who were the biggest losers in terms of body fat percentage lost.

During the challenge, participants will work together or alone to develop diets and work out routines to facilitate losing weight. However, the challenge doesn’t measure the total weight lost, but rather the percentage lost by a person. For example, a contestant may enter the competition weighing in a 220 pounds, but finish at 235 pounds. This isn’t very unusual according to Rojas.

“People may gain weight, but it’s due to the weight gained by growing muscles. For that reason, we’re measuring the percentage of body fat lost,” Rojas said.

The center will assist in finding a partner for the challenge for participants interested in working with a group, which the Wellness Center strongly recommends. This is due to the added benefits of working with a group.

“A group supports each other and helps them stay on track with the challenge,” said Rojas. “Someone who works alone may become lazy, lose motivation and then just stop showing up.”

The idea behind a two-or-more person team is that the partners will motivate each other as the challenge progresses to continue their diets and exercises.

However, if a team member should choose to drop out at some point in the challenge, their results from the last weigh-in they attended will be used when calculating the team’s final score at the end of the challenge. This doesn’t mean that being in a team and having a partner drop will doom the other entrant.

“While we don’t want people to give up, especially when they’re so close to the end, if it happens and that causes a team to break up, the other member can still win the individual category prize,” Rojas said.

Missing a weigh-in will cause the data collected from the last weigh into be used in its place. Participants are welcome to log their own progress in their own notebooks if he or she desired.

The rules of the challenge include encouragement of exercise and healthy eating, but discourage drastic weight loss (over five pounds a week), and prohibit using weight-loss surgeries during the challenge and sabotaging other teams.

For the final weigh-in, contestants are required to wear the same attire they wore during the initial weigh in. For this reason, the Wellness Center recommends wearing t-shirt and shorts.

“We want the participants to get to a point they feel comfortable with themselves,” Rojas said.

For more information, contact the Recreation Center at 305-919-5678 or 305-919-4701.