HARKER HEIGHTS — In honor of the start of the Sochi Olympic games on Thursday, Heritage Park Fitness got in the spirit of the 22nd winter games by having an Olympic-themed workout Saturday morning.
About 40 Biggest Loser participants braved the cold weather for the weekly Saturday challenge.
“We wanted to give the contestants a chance to challenge themselves and show their patriotism,” said Shauna Cremean Anduze, a personal trainer with the gym. “This challenge will allow them to display their hidden athlete and have fun while getting fit.”
The morning kicked off with a 1-mile run to Wampum, led by personal trainer Kim Bates-Wallace, who led the warm-up carrying the American flag.
Upon returning to the gym, each team of two cycled through five different challenge stations where they earned points and proved their strength.
Stations consisted of push-ups, 45-pound farmer carries, prowler sled pushes, box jumps, and alternating 25-pound kettle bell swings and pull-ups. All were time-based.
Cremean Anduze said participants will go through the circuit again on Feb. 22 to try and improve their scores and vie for either a gold, silver or bronze medal.
After the first round of competition, Nikki Love was in first place with 305 points, followed closely by Josie Reid with 281 and Tiffany Welch with 274.
Dominating the team competition with a combined 518 points were Renee Michaels and Tatiana Dudley.
“I love the gym, the atmosphere and the encouragement,” Dudley said.
“Everyone motivates one another, which keeps me motivated.”
During the farmer carry, Dudley helped her teammate keep her eye on the prize, shouting words of encouragement like “you got this,” and “finish strong,”
“Competition brings out the beast in me,” Michaels said. “She doesn’t let me give up in classes or in challenges and we push each other to get to the next level. Even when I am feeling weak, she pushes me to finish strong. And I need that.”
Michaels is competing in a body building and physique competition in Corpus Christi in July.
Wellness coordinator Kristen Dunlap said the Saturday Challenge workouts are an added bonus to this year’s Biggest Loser program.
“They are meant as a way to meet others and build a community of people with similar goals and struggles,” she said. “So far, there has been a steady attendance of people at each challenge workout and Heritage Park is hoping to continue to see the large groups outside having fun and making friends.”