Winner awaits crown, numbers crunched

For 10 weeks of fierce competition, 48 teams have battled it out on the scales.

With nearly two tons of dropped pounds, who will be declared the fittest of them all in the 12th annual Tribune Chronicle / St. Elizabeth-St. Joseph Health Center Fitness Challenge?

And the winner is…

Sorry folks, not yet.

While a team of number-crunchers and mathematicians diligently calculate the Fitness Challenge’s final tabulations, readers will find out the answers to their most pressing questions in this Sunday’s edition of the Tribune Chronicle.

Will the Kingz of Carz hold on to the top spot?

Will they set a new Fitness Challenge record?

Will we see a dramatic takeover of first place in the final week of competition?

Is Mike Rossi still working out in his slacks and loafers?

Did Mocha House / Warren Strong talk any poor saps into eating a whole cheesecake?

Is Vince Peterson still working on finishing that “The Hulk” burger from the Cup Cakery?

With hundreds of dollars in charity winnings at stake, the big reveal will be available Sunday.

Dig In!

Teammates in the Fitness Challenge and in life, Belinda and Anthony Hillegas of Newton Falls, each raised a glass Friday at the Warren Mocha House.

The pair, along with teammates Tom McCausland, Sarah French and Sean Spencer, made up the team better known as Fat and Fearocious, who spent virtually all of the 2014 Fitness Challenge as one of the top 10 “losers.”

The team’s final weigh-in occurred Thursday and, now, the Hillegas family was looking to blow off a little steam and indulge in some fine eating as a reward for a job well done.

Still, don’t let the cookies, cupcakes and french fries on the table fool you. Most of the goodies were being scarfed down by the couple’s two children, Parker, 4, and Taren, 3.

“Every year, I claim that this will be the last time,” Belinda said. “Every year, I say that I’m not going to gain and back. What do I do? I gain it back. We’re hoping after this year, we can really retire.”

Though the couple have competed for several years, there is reason for optimism after this year’s challenge.

While the official results have not been released yet, there is no denying Hillegas’ had a strong year on the scales.

“I did lose a good bit of weight,” Anthony said. “I think I lost about 33 pounds.”

Belinda also had a strong campaign, but she noted that just because the competition is over, it doesn’t mean things are downhill from here.

“This is actually my struggle time,” Belinda said. “It’s easy when the competition is here. Now, I have to realize that I want to keep it off. I don’t want to gain it back. 22 pounds is a lot to lose in 10 weeks. I want to make sure I keep it off.”

Among the changes to her diet, Belinda has cut out soda, fried food, pizza and chocolate.

“I tried chocolate the other day and I got sick. I just don’t want to go back to that,” Belinda said.

Still, she admits temptation is still strong.

“That’s why I’m not sitting closer to them with their cookies,” she laughed, pointing to her children.

One of the ways Anthony and Belinda plan to keep the weight off is continuing to do formal weekly checks of their progress at places like St. Joe’s at the Mall.

“Also, have better portion control,” Anthony said. “You also might have a cheat day where you go a little bit over the edge. Not crazy, but you give yourself a little perk. Sometimes you indulge a little.”

Fat and Fearocious played the 2014 Fitness Challenge for the charity West Side Community Center in Youngstown.

“Sean Spencer, who is on our team, has a family member who started it,” Belinda said of the charity. “They do things like teach kids or adults certain trades and people in need can go there to get food.

“It’s a really great cause,” she said.

Pass the Salt …

Fat and Fearocious are one of several teams employed by Covelli Enterprises.

“They pay our way in, which helps us out,” Belinda said.

Again, official results have not been calculated yet, but preliminary numbers show the team has a good chance of being the highest rated Covelli team in this year’s competition.

“That was our goal,” Belinda said. “We’d check the numbers of all the Covelli teams each week and send emails back and forth.

“So, we have bragging rights.”

Fun With Numbers

As we tabulate the results, there are a few individuals who shall remain nameless (for now) which deserve mention.

First, there’s the good.

One person in this year’s competition lost a staggering 78.25 pounds. Two others lost more than 60 pounds.

Three people lost more than 50 pounds and five lost more than 40. Seventeen others lost more than 30 pounds in the 10-week competition.

Bravo. You know who you are.

Tune in Sunday to see who finished where.