GREENSBURG — On Sept. 9, a group of like-minded participants met at the Decatur County YMCA with two goals: To lose weight and improve overall health.
YMCA Fitness Coordinator Deena Hamer welcomed this group of 18 for the fourth annual “Losing to Win” Challenge, opening the event with an official health assessment.
According to a press release provided to the Daily News by Hamer, participants in the 10-week program hoped to “shed some unwanted pounds” and subtract “inches off their waists.”
The health-assessment session, Hamer explained, included blood-pressure and body-fat measurements, a weigh-in, and circumference measurements of each participant’s neck, right upper arm, waist, hip, and right upper thigh.
We then conducted an individual personal-training session with each participant, Hamer explained, “designing an appropriate workout for their current fitness level and need.”
Hamer also asked participants to weigh themselves each week throughout the 10-week Challenge and to attend nutrition classes conducted by Decatur County Memorial Hospital (DCMH) Dietician Holly Pray.
Of course, no fitness “Challenge” would be complete without challenges, so Losing to Win participants were allowed to sample a range of YMCA classes and activities, Hamer said, adding, “They were also challenged to exercise most days of the week, keeping them moving for better health.”
The women earned “points” for each challenge and personal-exercise session completed. The point system, Hamer said, “makes exercise fun – like a game.”
“Participants watched as their point totals added up,” the fitness coordinator added, “but what they couldn’t see is if their body-fat percentage had changed or how many centimeters they’d lost within the 10-week period. Final weigh-in yielded some impressive results.”
First-place finisher Amy Neimeyer lost 18 pounds, translating into a 3.9-percent body-fat loss, and 11.5 centimeters from her waist. Collectively, Hamer added, Neimeyer lost 21.5 centimeters from her neck, right upper arm, waist, hip and right upper thigh. She also accrued a total of 1,048.50 points, securing the win.
Neimeyer and second-place finisher Chanann Powers ran neck-and-neck throughout Losing to Win, according to Hamer, ending the contest in a near photo-finish. “The final weigh-in decided the winner,” Hamer said.
Powers’ achievements through Losing to Win were also impressive, Hamer added. In addition to losing weight, she lost some 24 centimeters from her five measurements sites, accruing 1031.10 points in the process.
Not incidentally, the first- and second-place finishers are also close friends.
“They did the buddy system while doing the challenge,” Hamer said. “I did their personal training session together, designing it so they could workout together. They did all the challenges of the week together, took all the nutrition classes together and attended my bike class together. They’re a great example of what you can accomplish with a partner; partnering up is just one more way to hold yourself accountable for your workouts and for your progress.”
Third-place finisher Angie Dilkes made “impressive lifestyle changes” through Losing to Win, Hamer said.
“Angie saw the ad in the Daily News about the Y’s program,” she added, “and thought it sounded like a good way to start improving her health and the way she felt.”
Dilkes consistently exercised at the Y throughout the 10-week Challenge, according to Hamer, and only missed one nutrition class. Dilkes lost a shade under 11 pounds through Losing to Win, translating into 1.9 percent body fat, 7.5 centimeters from her waist and 20 centimeters from her five measurement sites.
“She changed some of her eating habits, got in regular cardiovascular exercise and did her strength training program two-to-three days a week, which was prescribed at her training session,” Hamer said. “She had the best percentage of weight loss four times [throughout the weekly weigh-ins] and continued to lose weight each week but one, in which she stayed to same.”
Dilkes wasn’t a regular Y member when she entered the Challenge, but told the Daily News Monday night she intends to follow up her accomplishments with a family membership for her and her husband. Before the Challenge, Dilkes worked out at home, with decidedly mixed results.
“I’d never even been in the Wellness area before I entered Losing to Win,” she said. “Having all this equipment to use was very helpful. Plus, Deena helped me choose exercises that were good for me and then showed me how to do them properly. That made a huge difference.”
She added that, being in the company of numerous, like-minded people at the Y, where everyone’s there to work-out and improve or maintain their health, was also a substantial benefit.
As a result of her Challenge participation, Dilkes might well have reaped the greatest number of practical, day-to-day-health benefits, too. She’s experienced marked improvement, she said, in her overall flexibility and arthritis-related joint troubles, as well as notable improvement in her fibromyalgia-related pain and discomfort.
“I’m really proud of those that worked hard during the past 10 weeks,” Hamer said. “Many of our participants have discovered that change is possible and makes you feel so much better. Exercise is the fountain of youth, and it doesn’t have to be hard; you just have to keep moving. The more often the better.”
Hamer offered special thanks to all of the program’s 2013 sponsors, including DCMH, Honda, Hilliard Lyons, Margaret Lowe, Williams Law Office, ETC, Stradley, Advanced Vacuum Systems, Milestone and Crafts & Occasions (Joe & Susan Rust).
The YMCA’s 10-week “New Year, New You” Fitness Transformation kicks off Jan. 6, Hamer reminded, inviting the entire community to participate. “New Year, New You is a lifestyle change program that will get you ready for spring and the warm weather to come,” she said.
YMCA members can register for New Year, New You beginning Dec. 23, while registration for “program members” starts Dec. 30.
For more information on any YMCA program, call 663-9622.
Contact: Rob Cox 812-663-3111 x7011; email@example.com.