Running away: Just Weight trims down to big lead

2018 Fitness Challenge

They aren’t waiting. Nearly two-thirds of the way through the 2018 Tribune Chronicle / Mercy Health Fitness Challenge, the quintet known as Just Weight is trying to push the title out of reach of anyone else.

Just Weight now is way ahead at nearly 11.5 percent of the team’s starting weight lost, heavily outpacing second place Do It Again at 9.9 percent of starting weight lost.

“Our group continues to work hard every day while maintaining our healthy eating and exercise,” Just Weight captain Stephanie Iacozili said.

Rounding out the top five in the community weight loss competition to benefit charity are Believers Disappearing Act, in third but closing the gap with second at about 9.4 percent; Low Ton with a solid hold on fourth place at 8.4 percent; and Heavy Decisions in fifth at about 7.4 percent.

“We have a 24-pound deficit, which is quite a gap, but there’s no time for a white flag from the Disappearing Act,” team captain Rudy Pekarovic said. “I got a commitment from all members to pull out all the stops.

“I think I’m going to give everyone a wake-up call at 5 a.m. with a combo of the ‘Rocky’ theme song and ‘Eye of the Tiger.’ Hey, it worked for Stallone,” Pekarovic said.

Overall, the 85 players from the 17 teams across Trumbull County have lightened up by about 1,268 pounds, or 6.7 percent of their combined 19,014-pound starting weight, in five weeks.

The Flubber Busters pulled off the single biggest jump in the standings this week, powering up from 13th place into an eighth-place money spot.

“We are staying diligent even after five weeks, especially when it becomes tempting to fall back into our old habits,” team captain Dr. Jeff Patterson said. “We plan to continue staying focused and keeping our eyes on the goal.”

Then he noted, “Pizza party in 3 weeks!”

Taking a tumble were the Amazon Weight Loss Warriors, who only a week earlier left the basement. The five ladies had clambered from last place into 14th. This week, they slid to 16th.

“Don’t count us out yet,” team captain Fran Moldovan said. “We had one team member who was on vacation, one who maintained … we had one that gained and two that lost. What a roller coaster.

“Let’s see how this week goes,” she said.


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 Just Weight. The group melted off 2.1 percent of its starting weight over the preceding seven days.

Last week, Iacozili said of her team, “We will need to make some adjustments to our routines as it’s getting harder and harder for our bodies to pull big numbers, but ‘JUST WEIGHT.'”

Adjustments made. Weight whipped.


Last week, one team broke the 100-pound barrier. This week, it’s four — Do It Again at 119.5 pounds lost, Just Weight at 110.5 pounds, Believers Disappearing Act at 109.75 and Low Ton at 103.5.

While the competition is based on percentage of starting weight lost, not total pounds, those also are the top four teams — just not in that order.

The next closest team to crossing the century mark is seventh-place Four and a Half Full-Grown Men, which has shed 91.25 pounds. After that, the team that’s lost the most is eighth-place Flubber Busters at 76 pounds gone.


For two weeks in a row, one team managed to gain weight in the weight-loss competition. Oops. But even after gaining almost two pounds this week, Farmers Bank Fit Five still remain down more than 27 pounds overall, so the team’s still ahead of the scales with three weeks to go.


This week, the service organizations spotlight falls on Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mahoning Valley, the service organization for which the Flubber Busters are playing.

Big Brothers Big Sisters provides children facing adversity with strong, volunteer role models who will spend time with them as mentors and friends.

“We’ve got some family members who participate,” team captain Jeff Patterson said. “My stepdaughter has been a mentor for quite a while. We see the good things it’s doing. We want to help a program that works.”

The program traces its roots to a young businessman named Irvin Westeimer who developed the first Big Brother group in 1903 in Cincinnati as he and a friend counseled boys who had no fathers.

The program expanded nationally and Big Brothers of Mahoning County was incorporated Oct. 13, 1969. In 1977, Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Mahoning Valley began serving both boys and girls in Mahoning and Trumbull Counties.



Believers Disappearing Act captain Rudy Pekarovic said if his plan to awaken his time to Rocky movie music doesn’t work, “I may send them a dietary article about the power of the prune. You have to think out of the box at times — but staying out of the refrigerator is even more important.”