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Wanted: People committed to being losers

Ken Hemshrot, NEADS Emergency Manager, works out on an elliptical machine at the Fitness Center. He was crowned the “Biggest Loser” after dropping 51 pounds which represented a total percent weight loss of 20 percent (Photo by Maj. Leo Devine).

Ken Hemshrot, NEADS Emergency Manager, works out on an elliptical machine at the Fitness Center. He was crowned the “Biggest Loser” after dropping 51 pounds which represented a total percent weight loss of 20 percent (Photo by Maj. Leo Devine).

ROME, N.Y. -- The Fitness Center is looking for losers. Biggest Losers, that is.

That's how Lisa Coleman, Fitness Center Director, describes the requirement for participants in the unit-sponsored Biggest Loser weight-loss competition. The fitness challenge, which ran from Jan. 28 through April 28, consisted of 5-person teams and was designed to encourage healthy weight loss through a combination of diet and exercise.

"The goal of this program was to foster a fit lifestyle and create a mindset of positive change," said Ms. Coleman. "This program is the foundation on which we can begin building life-long healthy attitudes toward eating and working out."

During the competition, 14 teams were weighed every week to monitor their progress. Participants were encouraged to pursue their goals through weekly challenges, dietary education and training suggestions.

After many hours exercising in combination with a balanced eating plan, Ken Hemshrot, NEADS Emergency Manager, was crowned the "Biggest Loser" after dropping 51 pounds which represented a total percent weight loss of 20 percent. His workout schedule for the three-month contest consisted of various cardio workouts in the morning and weights lifting in the afternoon.

In addition to Mr. Hemshrot's individual victory, his team, The Chubbies, won the team competition by losing a combined 116.5 pounds that represented a total percent weight loss of 46 percent. Along with Mr. Hemshrot, The Chubbies team members included: Maj. Thomas Territt, Lt. Col. Timothy "Chappy" Bejian, Randy Rausch and Joe Pierce.

Other honorable mentions in the Biggest Loser weight-loss competition include: Maj. Jeff Potter who overcame a recent back injury and lost 45.9 pounds and Amy Ayers who lost 31.5 pounds.

When designing a weight loss program, numerous factors need to be considered to ensure it is safe and effective. Lifestyle, employment, cultural influences, physical limitations, and heredity are just a few variables that can contribute to weight fluctuations and overall health.

"One of the biggest challenges as a fitness professional is helping those people on shift schedules," explained Ms. Coleman. "They tend to eat unbalanced meals at odd hours and establishing a regular training regiment is difficult. As part of this program, we worked with individuals to prepare six small balanced meals for each day. These small meals were designed to generate a consistent metabolism and steady energy flow."

In the future, Coleman wants to continue to build on the momentum of this program and create other fun opportunities to improve physical fitness and inspire healthy eating habits.

"In August, we are planning on sponsoring "Fitness Week" at the fitness center that will include golf, volleyball and softball tournaments, along with a 5K run at Griffiss. The fitness center will also host a barbeque at the end to cap the week's events," said Ms. Coleman. "The goal is to foster an atmosphere of wellness that will continue long after the events are over and ensure that our airmen remain fit to fight."