Lead changes in second week of Fitness Challenge

The leaders switched places.

The quintet known as Just Weight didn’t wait any longer to slip past the Believers Disappearing Act. The team just took over first place in the 17th annual Tribune Chronicle / Mercy Health Fitness Challenge.

Both teams lost 14.5 pounds in the second week of the community weight-loss competition to benefit charity. But the Fitness Challenge is based on the percentage of starting weight lost.

Since Just Weight began the competition 209 pounds lighter than the heftier Believers, their 14.5 pounds represented the greater loss.

“We all are so excited to be on top of the leaderboard,” Just Weight team captain Stephanie Iacozili said. “We all work really hard every day.

“All of our team members are focused on eating better and make working out a priority,” Iacozili said. “Some of our team works out with Mike Phillips, the trainer at Trumbull Family Fitness. He has us doing a variety of cardio workouts so it doesn’t get boring. We also like to spin.”

Just Weight now has lost 6.52 percent of their starting weight for a slim lead over Believers Disappearing Act at 6.46 percent.

“We had a good week, just not good enough to hold on to first,” Believers captain Rudy Pekarovic said. “It’s going to be a tough go. No room to sneak a Dairy Queen in, that’s for sure.

“I’ll be meeting with my team (Sunday). Maybe I can pull off a Knute Rockne locker room inspirational speech like Rudy did in the movie ‘Rudy.’ I’ll let you know how it works out.”

Do It Again, a team of former champions, remained in third at 5.78 percent of starting weight lost. Don’t expect them to stay there, team captain Brian McConnell warned.

“Last year, we finished third and that did not sit well,” McConnell said. “It takes a team effort to win and I know my guys and myself are not happy about finishing third last year.”

The strategy?

“We are waiting. We will make our move,” he said. “I personally need to step up my game. I’m the reason we lost. My guys have always been committed and do not like to lose. We are going to keep working and eat less and see if we can win this thing again.”

Hence, the team name.

Rounding out the top five are Low Ton, which kept fourth place at 4.93 percent, and Heavy Decisions which bumped up a spot from last week’s sixth place.

Slipping into last place but still having fun are the Amazon Weight Loss Warriors. Team captain Fran Moldovan, an instructor at Global Fitness in Warren, said her team will be on their way up.

“Our team had a meet-and-greet (Jan. 26) at the Chophouse in Warren,” Moldovan said. “I knew all of the ladies on my team but not all of them knew each other, so we got together to do a little socializing and swapped some war stories and strategies on how we’re going to successfully get through the Challenge.”

The other 16 teams are on notice.


For those of you who came in late, 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, with weekly bonuses available for the best seven-day performance.


The sweet icing on the prize cake is that the team posting the best single-week performance each week earns a $10 bonus to tag onto its earnings for its designated nonprofit. Last week, the Faithful Five lost more pounds — 22 — than any team to post the biggest single-week percentage of any team — 2.14 percent.

It also rocketed the Faithful Five from 11th place into seventh place.


The first week always seems to be the easiest week to shed the most pounds. In the first week of the Fitness Challenge, the 17 teams lost about 572 pounds collectively.

This week, teams dropped 240 pounds. That’s well less than half of the first week’s slim-sation.

But hey, that’s still 813 pounds over two weeks, an average of 9.6 pounds per player. Take a bow, touch your toes and tighten your belts a notch or two.


This week’s service organizations spotlight falls on the Warren Family Mission, 155 Tod Ave. NW, Warren, the service organization designated by three teams, Heavy Decisions, Weight No More and the PsyCare Hungry Gamers.

“We feel it is important to the community to keep this facility up and going,” Christina Rudy, captain of the Hungry Gamers, said.

The Warren Family Mission is a nonprofit, faith-based family resource center that provides food, shelter, clothing, spiritual and drug and alcohol rehabilitation help free of charge to participants from Trumbull County and its surrounding area. The mission operates solely on donations from individuals and local businesses.

“We have a vision to be able to serve our community in a way that helps people; recover from addictions, get back on their feet, rebuild broken relationships, restore families and become a vital part of a growing community with a positive influence,” according to the mission.


How did they come up with those creative team names? This week, we asked Believers Disappearing Act.

“The disappearing act means seen today gone forever,” team captain Rudy Pekarovic said. “Yeah, right. Well, hopefully.”