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Brockport staff competes to become "Biggest Loser"

By Nicolette Clark
On February 26, 2013

  • The kick-off event for the Biggest Loser Competition was in the Eagle’s Lookout in SERC, Feb. 1. The goal of the event is to get Brockport faculty and staff involved and to enjoy healthier lifestyles. The Biggest Loser competition is bringing people together as well as becoming one of the biggest events that Human Resources has ever done. Submitted by Matt Vanderwerf
  • Prizes are available for winning and incentives, but Auriemma said it seems like everyone is trying to participate to to stay active and fit. Submitted by Matt Vanderwerf

The staff and faculty of the College at Brockport are taking the next step in achieving their fitness goals. The Biggest Loser Competition, a 12-week event inspiring the college community to stay fit and be healthy, kicked off Feb. 1. 

Matthew Vanderwerf, the college's professional benefits manager in Human Resources, is in charge of the event, along with Betsy Ernst, the fitness and wellness coordinator in Campus Recreation. 

"The goal is to get people to exercise more, implement healthy exercise habits and familiarize people with the equipment," Ernst said. 

Vanderwerf said there is phenomenal software that tells you how old your body is and fitness apps to keep track of dieting. 

He also said he's participating and Ernst is teaching classes in the Special Events Recreation Center (SERC). 

Vanderwerf said the event is based on weight loss percentage and how many healthy choices you have made. He said the biggest focus is the people who participate and whether they've been actively participating in all 12 weeks.

He said they have been using raffles to keep people busy and involed

Vanderwerf explained how important SERC is to this program and the capability it has is integral. 

The SERC has a staff of 12 personal trainers to accommodate faculty and staff as well as students. Ernest said that most people wouldn't just come by themselves as they think it's really intimidating to go to the SERC.  

He also said that if we didn't have the SERC and the level of faculty that they wouldn't be able to offer six classes. Fitness assessments and trainers are all SERC employees. 

She said that the trainers are so thankful for this experience and this is a great experience for everyone involved.

Audrey Auriemma, a staff assistant in the college's Library, Information and Technology Services (LITS) Department who is involved in the competition, said she is participating in group classes like Zumba and Body Pump. 

"I have never done [Zumba] before, so that should be interesting," Auriemma said. "I also participated in the fitness test, and I hope I can go through the test again after the program to see how and if I have improved."

"I haven't seen this level of energy in any program we've done," Vanderwerf said. "We normally do Wegman's Challenge 'Eat Well, Live Well' but the level of excitement wasn't there. We only had 300 people involved, but the biggest loser has more excitement and participation."

Ernst said he didn't expect so many people to want to participate and there were complaints coming in because people couldn't get spots in the program.

Auriemma said it sounded like a fun way to get into shape with her co-workers.  Her long term goal would be to lose a few pounds, but mostly she wants to tone muscle and be in better shape overall. 

She said she considers her hardest obstacle to overcome for this challenge would be laziness. 

"It is very easy to say to yourself, 'I don't feel like working out today,'" Auriemma said. 

She said LITS has a large group of co-workers participating.  

"This is perfect because we will always have someone to go to the gym with," she said. "It's all about the buddy system. I tend to stick with a workout plan when I have someone to push me and challenge me while at the same time having fun."

 For Auriemma, the competition is helping her reach long term goals. 

She said she plans to do some mountain climbing this summer with her friends.

"I want to be able to keep up and to do so I need to be in better shape," Auriemma said. "I also plan to ride more miles than I ever have before in the 2013 Ride for Roswell this June."

The Ride for Rosewell bike-a-thon event helps benefit Roswell Park Cancer Institute and has routes ranging from three miles to 100 at the North Campus of the University at Buffalo in Amherst, N.Y.

"Being in better shape will not only help me with these events, but it will help with recovery time after the fact," Auriemma said.

"I think it is a fun way to be healthy," she said. "I don't know that anyone is really in it to win. Just being more active and healthy is my goal and if I can do that then I've won," she said.

The people who are participating in the Brockport Biggest Loser competition are taking strides for a healthier, more active life in a co-worker friendly zone.

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