By Cheryl Conway
Residents in Mt. Olive and nearby areas are getting that extra push to jump their way into improved fitness goals that can lead to a healthier body and weight loss.
The date has been set for the eighth annual biggest loser contest in Mt. Olive. Called “Lose For Now But Win For Life – Biggest Loser 2017 Contest,” contestants can sign up to compete against their peers for the 16-week challenge set for Jan. 14 through April 29.
Eager to begin, people can join on Jan. 2, at the beginning of the month to a fresh new start for the New Year.
“Get started exercising and then make progress before the first weigh in on January 14th,” says contest organizer Laura Hars of Budd Lake and head instructor of the Mt. Olive Exercise Program offered through Mt. Olive Recreation.
Hars is hoping that at least 10 people will sign up for this year’s contest. This go around, Hars would like to keep participants motivated by scheduling a nutritionist and a former contest winner to speak with the group.
“I would like one of our former winners come and speak to the group at a “midway” healthy dinner we will have locally,” says Hars. “Additionally I will have a local nutritionist come at least once or possibly twice to talk about healthy eating choices.
“We will be putting forth some mandatory requirements this year due to areas where I have seen the most need for improvement,” Hars adds. “Each participant will be asked to do the following: keep a daily food journal and email it to me once a week; weigh in once a week – if you can’t make the weigh in on Saturday, weigh in at home and snap a picture and email it to me with the food journal; track activities or steps either on a handwritten copy where you record the activity and estimate the calories burned or an app like My Fitness Pal. Every IPhone has a health app and you can strap on your IPhone around your waist with a fitness belt and that is much cheaper than buying a Fitbit. I actually have found this free app very accurate.”
The contest is for anyone male or female.
“Husband and wife or any couple can join the challenge -two women or two men are encouraged to join together as exercising and losing weight with a partner or buddy is always much easier because you push each other,” says Hars. “Currently we have two women and a married couple who joined the classes together and I can see they definitely push each other. This is really the best way as you tend to hold each other accountable.”
Hars has been holding the contest annually through her exercise program as a way to keep her members motivated through exercise.
“The contest gets people motivated because they know they have that weekly weigh in,” says Hars. “One year after the contest ended, the winner of the contest asked that I continue to bring the scale to class every Saturday and weigh her because she feared she would not be as faithful exercising or eating healthy without those weekly weigh-ins. This is one of the reasons that the Weight Watchers program is so successful – it enforces accountability and people need that.”
Classes are held seven days a week at the Senior Center in Budd Lake and include cardio workouts combined with weight training taught by various instructors. Kickbox, Pilates, step, Zumba, cardio-blast, butts and guts and toning with exercise bands, physio balls and weights are some of the styles featured in the program.
Cost for the four month exercise program is $160 and the Biggest Losers contest, weigh-ins and nutrition meetings are free.
To sign up, come to the Senior Center on Jan. 2 at 7 p.m., for the first class of the year or anytime that week or sign up on-line at rec.mountolivetownship.com or call Hars at 973-903-0453 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.