The losers are the real winners

By Keith Strange Staff Reporter

November 17, 2013

Sixty-five people started the program, but only 30 finished.

For those 30, however, Thursday night was a chance to sit back and bask in their accomplishments.

Reeves Community Center held a recognition ceremony for the finishers of the latest Biggest Loser/Losing for Life program Thursday night, recognizing a total of 232 pounds lost by the competitors.

The program, a 12-week weight loss effort aimed at instilling a love of exercise and healthy living, involved a first: A corporate team challenge, according to Bradley Key, health and wellness coordinator for Mount Airy Parks and Recreation.

“This is the third time we’ve offered the Biggest Loser/Losing for Life program, and this time we decided to incorporate the team challenge where companies put together a five- to eight-person team,” he said.

North Carolina Foam, Mountain Valley Hospice, the Hampton Inn and AES accepted the challenge, fielding teams who competed against the other companies to see who could lose the highest percentage of body weight.

But individual competitors were also welcome.

When the smoke cleared and the sweat was wiped away, AES came out the team winner, barely edging out Hampton Inn.

“AES lost 53.4 pounds as a team, or 4.5 percent of their body weight,” Key said.

The individual winners during the fall program were Mary Ann Pruehsner, who lost 23.4 pounds, and the runner up was Roger McCreary, who lost 29 pounds.

“It may look funny that he’s not the first place winner in the individual competition, but it was based on percentage of body weight rather than pounds lost,”Key said.

The winning team received a three-month membership to Reeves Community Center, a Subway gift card and a custom-made t-shirt. Pruehsner and McCreary each received a six-month membership to the community center, a Subway gift card and a gift bag, Key said.

But the friendly competition was about more than prizes.

“We want the participants to come away from the program with a love of healthy living, exercise and nutrition,” Key said. “This just gave them that little nudge they needed to get started.”

Starting in August, participants met for exercise on Tuesday and Thursday nights, but Key said there was no chance for them to get bored.

“Classes varied from class to class as far as the type of exercise we did,” he said. “It could be anything from yoga to a boot camp-type type workout.

“We tried to offer a mixture of strength and cardio exercises, but no two workouts were identical,” Key added. “We wanted to keep it fresh and challenge everyone to continue to improve, and by changing the workouts it kept it interesting and gave their bodies a chance to adapt to various types of exercise.”

And all were welcome, Key said.

“We do our best to accommodate all levels of fitness by offering modifications for those who may have needed lower-impact exercise, while continuing to challenge those who wanted to push themselves harder,” he said.

During the program, participants were also offered education on healthy eating.

At the end, those who completed the program said the team competition was a lot of what helped keep them coming back week after week.

“I asked them during the recognition ceremony what their key to success was during the program, and the most common response I received was they liked the group support,” Key said. “And the teams did well because they had that group support while they were at work as well. Not only were they holding themselves accountable, they were accountable to the team as well. It was a really positive environment.”

Another program is set to get under way in January, and registration begins on Dec. 17. Participation is free to members of Reeves Community Center.

Reach Keith Strange at or 719-1929.