Franklin - Doug Clark hopes to be an inspiration to his fellow city residents who are considering participation in this year's Get Healthy Challenge sponsored by Innovative Health & Fitness and Franklin's Civic Celebrations Commission.
"It's definitely worth the effort," said Clark, who won the 2012 contest by losing just more than 50 pounds, 14 percent body fat and almost 43 inches. The 6-footer who originally weighed in at 264 pounds dropped his weight to just more than 213 pounds. He originally was selected to be part of a 12-person contest in which each received a 5 1/2 -month membership. Winning earned him another full-year membership that runs to mid-2013.
Those interested in taking part this year must submit an essay explaining why they want to participate and a photo of themselves. Submissions are due no later than Jan. 8 to Innovative Health & Fitness, 8800 S. 102nd St., Franklin, WI 53132, or by e-mail, Fitness@My Innovative Health.com.
A total of 12 participants will compete. Six will be selected by a panel of managers at the gym and six will be randomly selected. They will receive the 5 1/2 -club membership and a complete fitness and nutrition plan geared to their individual needs.
They won't necessarily be the only contestants, because any Franklin resident 21 and older may participate during the contest time from Jan. 21 through June 30.
The winner will be determined on the loss of weight, body fat and inches and will get an additional full-year fitness club membership. In addition, they will be recognized at the Franklin Fourth of July festivities.
The Get Healthy Challenge began about five years ago when the Civic Celebrations Commission approached Innovative Health & Fitness. Commission member John Bergner spearheaded the program.
"We just thought it would be a good idea to get Franklin residents involved," Bergner said. "I had been following 'The Biggest Loser' on television, and that was what sparked the idea. People were very enthusiastic, and they continue to participate."
In fact, Bergner also participated one year as a non-selected contestant and came in second.
Innovative Health & Fitness co-owner Scott Cole said the contest still draws hundreds of submissions each year.
"It's really part of our philosophy because we are trying to get people to lead healthier lives," Cole said. "It's hard for a lot of people to get started because they have an image in their mind of fitness centers that scares them off. This way they are part of others like themselves, and they like to compete. It brings out that competitive spirit."
Cole said Innovative was the first established fitness center in Franklin just over 10 years ago and has attracted 6,000 members.
Now one of those members, last year's winner Doug Clark, said maintaining his winning weight has been a struggle because of an injured Achilles tendon. Because his tendon recently was surgically repaired, he is ready to continue his fitness regimen and lose about 20 recently gained pounds.
"Being in this contest and sticking with a fitness program has really helped me," he said. "I encourage people, even if they don't participate in the competition, to do this. It will change their life like it has mine."
WHAT: Get Healthy Challenge for Franklin residents 21 and older
WHERE:Innovative Health & Fitness, 8800 S. 102nd St.
WHEN: Jan. 8 submission deadline; Jan. 21 through June 30 participation
CONTACT: (414) 529-9900
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