‘Get Fit’ sheds 1,992 pounds

Published 10:42 am Friday, March 20, 2009

Over the past nine weeks, Steve Bremner used a formula of eating well, keeping calories lower, cutting out sweets and exercising every chance he got — even at hotel gyms while traveling — to lose 10 pounds.

“It felt good,” he said. “I wish I would have lost more, but it feels good to have lost a little bit.”

And it was enough to win.

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Bremner was part of “Thick and Chunky,” the winning team of the 2009 Get Fit Mower County Healthy Living Challenge.

All winners were announced Thursday at the Austin YMCA as this year’s event came to a close.

The challenge is co-sponsored by the United Way and the YMCA, with funds raised to be designated by the United Way board to wellness programs in the community.

“We were really pleased,” said Mandi Lighthizer-Schmidt, executive director of the United Way of Mower County. “Any time you can get almost 600 people participating in anything is good, especially something that will benefit their life in this kind of way.”

A total of 574 Get Fit participants lost a combined of 1,992 pounds and accumulated 871,571 exercise and nutrition points over the past nine weeks.

“I have to thank all of our community partners who contributed to the success of Get Fit Mower County,” Lighthizer-Schmidt said. “It takes a community working together to solve its problems, and Mower County continues to work together to get and stay healthy.”

Participants earned points based on exercise, getting their daily servings of fruits and vegetables — all on the honor system — and participating in Get Fit activities such as nutrition and exercise seminars.

Hy-Vee dietician Jen Haugen, whose employer donated healthy food-filled baskets as prizes, praised the event.

“I think it’s great for the community to make positive changes,” she said. “And hopefully, they will be life-long changes.”

In its third year, the challenge included three different contests, including Get Fit, Be Fit and a Family category.

Get Fit consists of teams of four to eight people competing for percentage of weight loss, exercise and nutrition points.

Thick & Chunky won by losing 75 total pounds among its five teammates, Bremner, Jake Calhoun, Eric Gudgel, Mike Lammers and Ryan Vossler. The members received a three-month membership to the YMCA, along with other prizes.

Mark Aase, who accumulated 9,610 exercise and nutrition points, was declared the competition’s overall winner by losing 41.5 pounds. His prizes included a silver Trek bike from Rydjor Bike Shop.

Allyson Klankowski, Aase’s daughter, accepted the honor on his behalf.

“He was very motivated,” she said. “When he puts his mind to something, it’s over.”

Jayna Heimark won the Be Fit competition, which was organized for individuals who are not necessarily looking to lose weight, but who are already active. She accumulated 11,665 exercise and nutrition points, and her prizes included a iPod Nano and an iPod music/video download card.

Heimark, whose kids call her a “fitness freak,” plans to compete in two half marathons, a triathlon and a marathon before the end of the year.

“I probably run five times a week, swim two to three times a week and bike about once a week,” she said.

The Stasi Family, made up of Matt, Kristi, Courtney, Jordan and Lauren, won the Family Challenge by accumulating 43,130 exercise and nutrition points and won prizes that included a $125 gift certificate to Games People Play.