WINNSBORO — With the start of a new year, people tend to create a resolution to better themselves and often improve their physical health.
Now is the perfect time to sign up for Get Fit Fairfield, which is an eight-week fitness challenge designed to help increase your physical fitness and lose weight.
Participants will learn about fitness, nutrition, strength training, cardiovascular exercise and can win team prizes.
Wellness coordinator Shealy Robinson moved the program from the fall to after the new year in hopes to draw more people in.
“Our thinking is that if we move it to following the new year, we will have a few more people that are motivated with their New Year’s resolution,” she noted.
To participate, you create a Get Fit Fairfield team consisting of five people (ages 14 and up) or sign up individually and Robinson will place individuals in a group.
Prospective participants must also do the following:
• Pre-register by phone at 803-635-9114 by Jan. 13
• Complete registration at your weigh-in
• Pay $15 per person
Along with participating in the Get Fit Fairfield contest, a person’s $15 payment will also give them access to one Group Fit class per week during the eight-week contest. Robinson said she will generally recommend the boot camp class because it is the most well rounded class with cardio and weight training.
The challenge begins Jan. 20 and ends March 14. Contestants can earn points for submitting food logs, weight loss and exercising.
The team that finishes in first and second place will receive 50 percent and 25 percent of the total revenue generated from the challenge. Winners will also receive one free month with the Group Fit program at the recreation center. During the eight weeks, participants will submit an initial weigh-in, a mid-point weigh-in and a final weigh-in.
Participants can submit their Weigh-in weights on the following dates:
• Jan. 14 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
• Jan. 15 from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.
• Jan. 16 from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m.
• Jan. 17 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
At the end of the eight weeks, participants will step on to a scale that will measure body weight, body fact percentage and body mass index to determine the winners for the first and second place prizes.
Robinson said the eight-week fitness challenge will not just solely focus on weight loss, but on other fitness goals as well
“Even if you don’t have an extreme amount of weight to lose and you just want to lose some of your body fat percentage then we will focus on that as well,” Robinson noted. “Sometimes people don’t understand the difference between body fat percentage and they’re more focused on losing weight, so we just want to make them aware of that.”
Robinson explained that when a person is working out to gain muscle, although it is difficult to lose weight a person can still see a difference in their body fat percentage.
“Sometimes it gets discouraging for people to see that there is no weight loss, but in fact they’ve had gained muscle and lost body fat,” she said.
Some changes a participant might see include their clothes fitting differently and their body changing but not reflecting on the scale.
Some examples of goals that people have set before include losing two to three inches off their waist or losing a certain amount of body fat percentage. Robinson said that she switched goals from actual weight loss to body fat percentage last year because of the number of males participating.
“A lot of guys have wanted to get in on this and they’re not worried about their weight necessarily, they’re worried about their muscle,” she explained. “When you’re building muscle and you’re working out consistently you’re going to lose body fat, but not lose weight.”
Participants will turn in a food log and exercise log each week, and that is something that Robinson believes holds a person accountable during the fitness challenge.
“That (accountability) is really what I like to provide,” she stated. “Some people just need someone to provide a little motivation. And sometimes just writing down what you eat makes you a little more mindful of what you do eat in a day.”
Robinson acknowledged that if a person just cut out drinking sodas, tea or juices and drank just water, he/she would see a considerable notice.
Last year, Get Fit Fairfield participants were given an assignment to find the nutritional facts on their favorite fast-food meal, which really opened their eyes and made them aware of what their body was taking in.
“After they did that, I asked them if they would ever order that meal again and a lot of them said there was no way they would ever order it again after reading the nutritional facts,” Robinson stated. “I just want them to be mindful and a lot of this is just about creating a healthier lifestyle.”
Robinson also advises her participants to just eat more fruits and vegetables and less processed foods.
“It just little things like that and hopefully this eight weeks can help people form a habit,” she noted.
Robinson advised people to refer to two websites when keeping a food log: www.livestrong.com and www.myfitnesspal.com. She said they can either print out or copy nutritional facts for foods. The intended purpose for keeping a food log is to be accountable for what their body is taking in.
Robinson recommended keeping a food log because it can help people reduce the amount of fat, sodium and sugar.
“Sodium was a big deal last year and people realized that sodium will retain water in a person’s body,” she emphasized. “When you intake an excess of sodium, a lot of the weight is water-weight because a person has taken in so much.”
A good jump start for people to lose weight is to initially cut back on their sodium intake, which in turn will cut down their water-weight.
Get Fit Fairfield is also working in conjunction with the Winning at Weight Loss program at the Diabetes Center. Robinson said her program will offer incentives and discounts if participants work with both programs.
Robinson encouraged everyone to participate and emphasized that the Get Fit Fairfield program is for people of all fitness-experience, even beginners. She said there is no preparation needed before signing up and participants should just come as they are.
“This program is made for anyone on any fitness level,” she stated. “Whether they have never participated in fitness and nutrition or if they’re at advanced level. This is an awareness program and is made for everyone.”