Halfway home for Fitness Challenge

Fitness Challenge heads into final four weeks

020818...R FIT-WEIGH 3...Niles...02-08-18...Cait Gilger from Warren Family Mission's "Heavy Decisions" team, left, weighs-in at St. Joe's at the Mall as manager Shirley Lisk charts the weigh-in numbers...by R. Michael Semple

At the halfway mark of the 2018 Tribune Chronicle / Mercy Health Fitness Challenge, the top five teams remain in the same order.

But the changing gaps between them foreshadow a wild ride to the finish line of the community weight loss competition to benefit service organizations.

The quintet known as Just Weight now has shed 9.6 percent of their starting weight to stay in the lead; Do It Again closed the gap at 9.2 percent; Believers Disappearing Act is at 8.3 percent; Low Ton remains in fourth at at 7 percent; and Heavy Decisions hung onto fifth place at 6.5 percent.

“We are all so happy to be on top of the leaderboard once again,” Just Weight team captain Stephanie Iacozili said. “We will keep doing what we have been doing, eating good food and exercising. It is working for us.”

Just Weight started the Fitness Challenge in second place, slid into first the second week and hasn’t looked back.

Do It Again team captain Brian McConnell says they should. Last week, Just Weight held a 0.59 percent lead. This week, it’s down to 0.43 percent.

“We’re coming,” he said.

Believers Disappearing Act stopped its freefall. The team was in first after one week, second after two weeks, third after three weeks, and after four weeks — stayed in third.

“We will be meeting this weekend to see what we can do to pick up the pace,” team captain Rudy Pekarovic said. “We all set goals for the contest and I think we are all on track to meet our objectives.

“We just wish it (weight) would come off as painless as it goes on. These apples and oranges are OK, but a nice juicy cheeseburger sounds like the answer for my growling stomach at this moment,” Pekarovic said.

“Why does your stomach growl anyway? You already know you’re hungry without the reminders,” he said. “Maybe I should turn my hearing aids off.”


Here’s how the Fitness Challenge works: Each five-player team pays a $250 entry fee and designates a nonprofit service group that it will represent. All teams are guaranteed to send at least $225 of that money to their chosen service organization. The top 10 teams send more, up to $1,125 for first place. Or even more than that, with weekly bonuses available for the best seven-day performance.


Team of the Week honors this week go to Four and a Half Full-Grown Men, a big-boy group that melted away 1.68 percent of their starting weight over the last seven days. That performance earns them a sweet treat of $10 to add to the donation they will be making to their designated nonprofit, the Trumbull Family Fitness Heat Assistance Fund.

But even with the strong showing, Full-Grown Men remained in seventh place at 6.4 percent of total starting weight lost. But that leaves them only 0.06 percent out of sixth place and 0.2 percent out of fifth.

“Four and a Half Full-Grown Men could be the dark horse for the second half of the Challenge,” team captain Mike Rossi said. “That’s all we can predict for now as we turn to focus on another week of deprivation.”


One team so far has broken the 100-pound barrier — Do It Again at 110.5 pounds lost. Believers Disappearing Act almost hit it at 97.75 pounds lost. Just Weight is the only other team in the 90-pound club at 92.25 pounds gone.

Four and a Half Full-Grown Men began the competition as the heaviest team at a combined mass of 1,298.25 pounds. Now that they’ve shrunk to a mere 1,215.25 pounds, they’re no longer the heftiest.

The Full-Grown Men have eclipsed the Faithful Five — down nearly 65 pounds to 1,230.75 — and have nearly caught Ariana’s Hope — down nearly 68 pounds to 1,211.25 pounds.


Ladies and gentlemen, the Amazon Weight Loss Warriors have left the cellar.

The team of five ladies vaulted from 17th to 14th place this week after dropping nearly 16 pounds.

“Up until this point, I thought that our team was just going to hold onto last place for sure. I mean, somebody has to be the anchor, right?” team captain Fran Moldovan said. “But NEVER underestimate the power of a woman — or five awesome warrior women for that matter.

“There is only one place to go when you are at the bottom, and that is up,” she said. “My team put in an incredible week. We stuck together, we overcame, adapted and improvised. Hooahhh!

“As far as the second half goes, we are in for the fight,” she said. “We didn’t pick the name Amazon Weight Loss Warriors for nothing.”

Over at PsyCare Hungry Gamers headquarters, team captain Christina Rudy is looking for a strong final four weeks. Her team moved from 10th to eighth place this week.

“We are heading into this second half full steam ahead,” Rudy said. “We are doing more workouts and focusing on portion control. Look forward to seeing how the second half goes.”

The gauntlets have been thrown.