Fitness Challenge competitors slipping into final week

Members of the LOSTinspanx Fitness Challenge team stand in front of the pastry case at Panera Bread, where they hold team meetings to strategize on weight loss. They are holding chocolate roses they prepared to gift to competing teams in the community weight-loss competition. (Photo special to the Tribune Chronicle)

To see the complete chart of weight loss for this week, click here

And then there was one. This is the last week of the 2019 Tribune Chronicle / Mercy Health Fitness Challenge weight-loss competition to benefit charity.

The lead teams remain the same — it’s still the Big Dogs at the top of the Go-Getters division and Just Weight taking charge of the Dynamos division.

But the looks of all 24 five-member teams have changed — by nearly a full ton of undone fun.

After seven weeks of the eight-week contest, the 120 players have combined to lose 1,850.25 pounds, or nearly 6.8 percent of their starting weight. That works out to an average of about 15.5 pounds lost per player.

Let the skinny times roll — right off the scales.


The race for first in the Go-Getters division remains a tight fit. The Big Dogs kept the lead for a second-straight week with 11.3 percent of starting weight lost. Mission Slimpossible remains in striking distance at 10.7 percent of starting weight lost.

Whichever team is in front next week will lift the championship trophy. Or would if there was a trophy. Instead, it will be the big first-prize check for $775 for the winning team’s designated nonprofit service group.

“Everybody’s feeling great on our team,” Big Dog David “Soup” Campbell said. “We are focused we want to win this for the animals.”

The Big Dogs are playing for the Voice of the Trumbull Pound Dogs, and Mission Slimpossible is playing for the Warren Family Mission.

The battle for third place is a real squeeze.

After seven weeks, it’s LOSTinspanx in third place at 7.34 percent of starting weight lost; followed by the Blubber Busters at 7.32 percent, LPJ Lean Machine at 7 percent; Trumbull Family Fitness 1 at 6.6 percent; and Because We Can 1 at 6.5 percent.

With a pack jammed as tightly as a bunch of bananas, it might take some dirty tricks to pull it out. That’s why LOSTinspanx was busy building bouquets of chocolate roses during one of its team meetings at Panera Bread. They wanted to entice the competition to eat dessert.

“Recently, Mission Slimpossible and PsyCare Hungry Gamers were honored by their competitors, LOSTinspanx, for all that they do to contribute to our community in so many ways,” team captain Linda Petrilla said. “Slimpossible and Gamers are playing for the Warren Family Mission and were each gifted with handcrafted and arranged chocolate roses.

“I think they were pleased with them,” she said. “But we’ve gotten more of a chuckle out of it than they did.

“This has been fun. We’ve all had fun. LOSTinspanx is looking forward to donating the grand prize to their charity, the Harriet Taylor Upton gardens.”

“This last week was tough,” Michelle Garman of Because We Can 2 said. “Fat Tuesday was the worst. I stopped at Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee and I really, REALLY wanted a doughnut! I was good though and just got the coffee.

“This last week I’m really gonna buckle down. The goal is to try and avoid carbs, keep watching the calories and maybe join in on the Drums and Muscle Class along with Cardio Jam at St. Joe’s at the Mall.”


In the Dynamos division, where the veteran teams play, defending Fitness Challenge champions Just Weight widened its lead. They’ve led every week — most of them decisively — except for Week 3, when The Slimsons topped the charts.

Heading into the final week, the top three teams in the Dynamos division are Just Weight at 13.4 percent of starting weight lost; The Slimsons at 11.5 percent; and Thinning the Herd, 10.9 percent.

“We are feeling great with our success to this point,” Just Weight captain Jim Miller said. “Our strategy is to keep up the hard work and eating habits.

“Best of luck and congratulations to all teams. We are all winners in this journey to good health.”


The teams with the best single-week performance each week earn a bonus $10 for their designated charity. This week, Team of the Week honors go to LOSTinspanx for the Go-Getters with a 1.3 percent one-week showing, and The Slimsons repeat for the Dynamos at 1.2 percent over the last week.

It’s the first Team of the Week showing for the Dogs and the third for The Slimsons.



Exercise or diet? St. Joe’s at the Mall exercise physiologist and trainer Lana Eddy-Campfield says it takes both. And both are a problem if you’re not paying attention.

“We generally underestimate what we’re eating in a day and we generally overestimate how active we are,” Eddy-Campfield said.

“If your goal is to get the weight off, you have to watch your intake of calories in a day, especially late at night,” she said. “Emotional picking at food — get out of those kinds of habits.”

But it’s exercise that helps the body perform at a higher level and burn more calories, even for everyday activities.

But wait, there’s more.

“It is proven that a common denominator among people with longevity is exercise,” she said. “They are happier, socialize more, are healthier and live longer.”

Exercise in a group setting or in a gym stimulates the social aspect, which generally staves off depression and makes people happier. Being part of an exercise group also helps with motivation. People who work out in groups have accountability and stay more positive, Eddy-Campfield said.

Skip the excuses about getting too bored to continue after a couple of months.

“Think of it like internal hygiene, like brushing your teeth or combing your hair,” Eddy-Campfield said.

Most people wouldn’t think of not tending to their teeth or fixing their hair. Make exercise the same kind of routine, only think of it as grooming your inner workings for better physical and mental health, she said.


Four teams gained poundage this week in the weight-LOSS competition. But all gains were less than 2 pounds, so it wasn’t much of a falling out.

The PsyCare Hungry Gamers gained 1.75 pounds (but still are down 42.5 pounds overall), The Chubba Bubbas and The Commish each gained a pound (but are down overall by 34.75 and 29.75 pounds), and the Flash Mob went up a half-pound (but still down 44.75 pounds overall).

The teams with the greatest total pounds lost this week were Thinning the Herd at 17.5 pounds and LPJ Lean Machine, 15 pounds.