3-month Healthy Weight & Wellness Challenge officially launches

Participants of the Healthy Weight and Wellness Challenge, which is sponsored by Perform4Life and The Mining Journal, are pictured with Perform4Life staff at the facility located at 841 W. Washington St., Marquette. (Journal photo by Jaymie Depew)

MARQUETTE — The Healthy Weight & Wellness Challenge, which is sponsored by Perform4Life and The Mining Journal, officially kicked off Friday evening with 12 participants.

The gathering was held at Perform4Life, which is located in the Great Lakes Sports Medicine Institute at 841 W. Washington St., Marquette.

There, staff and participants had the chance to meet one another, talk about each participants’ goals, the rules and have any questions answered. Photos were also taken of the group.

The 12 participants are: Kristine Wales, 55, of Marquette; Gary Vargo, 58, from Marquette; Marie Ross, 32, from Marquette; Lynn Moon, 61, from Marquette; Jerry Garceau, 55, from Negaunee; Ralph Christensen, 64, from Marquette; Pam Christensen, 62, from Marquette; Krystyna Rickauer, 47, from Marquette; Beth Burns, 47 from Gwinn; Wendy LeMire, 55, from Marquette; Sharon Cottrell, 73, from Negaunee; and Vickie Schwemin, 60, from Marquette.

Everyone discussed reasons for signing up for the program, which included the hopes of living longer lives, obtaining a healthier lifestyle and better eating habits, getting off medications, having a routine that involves more exercise and being held accountable.

Journal Publisher Jim Reevs said the local newspaper has been waiting for the right opportunity to collaborate with another fitness center ever since it teamed up with then-Marquette General Hospital in 2006 for the Healthy Weight Journal, in which 11 participants gathered every two weeks for six months to discuss their progress toward losing weight and challenges they faced. The group lost a combined total of 318 pounds.

“I heard many of you talk about being held accountable,” Reevs said to the participants. “I was one of the participants on that challenge, and I’m here to tell you I couldn’t get through the grocery store without anybody keeping an eye on me. That’s what it was like. People would literally stop me to go through my basket. The accountability is certainly there and it helps that everybody’s working together on this.”

Reevs said the Journal’s reward will come in three months after participants give their final report.

“I’m glad that you’re participating in the challenge and hope three months from now I can come in here and see a whole different group of people,” he said. “It’s not just what you accomplished in three months, it’s the life change you make.”

Jenna Neaves of MQT Nutrition and Kevin Thomsen of Queen City Running Co. were also at Friday’s event.

“As many of you know, it’s not just about the exercise,” Neaves said. “Yes, it’s great to get moving, but nutrition will help you in all dimensions of your life.”

Thomsen said staff at Queen City Running Co. will help participants with finding the perfect exercise shoe.

Dawn Evans, membership services coordinator at Perform4Life, said the current group weights a total of 2,781 pounds, with the average being 231.5 pounds. She said the body fat average is 46 percent, muscle mass is 824 pounds, with an average of 68.7 pounds.

The Healthy Weight & Wellness Challenge will combine physical exercise, nutrition information and behavior modification to help each participant achieve their fitness and wellness goals. The winner at the end of the 90-day program will receive a one-year membership to Perform4Life.

To prepare for the challenge, participants had to take an InBody test to assess their health and use various TechnoGym equipment to discover strengths and parameters. Their information was then stored in Perform4Life’s TechnoGym system. Participants will take a total of four InBody assessments and their progress will be documented and published in a special section of The Mining Journal.

Throughout the three-month period, participants will have access to the mywellness app, a virtual platform, and cloud-based wellness tracking program that allows them to access their exercise and lifestyle data from the center, their smartphone, tablet or computer.

They’ll also receive 24/7 access to Perform4Life, a wellness journal and have the opportunity to attend educational sessions about injury prevention, nutritional education and wellness, and other topics.

Participants will have access to weekly small group training sessions that will be offered along with regular meetings with exercise specialists/personal trainers to keep their progress moving forward. Discounted lifestyle conditioning and personal training sessions will be available as well.

Jaymie Depew can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. Her email address is jdepew@miningjournal.net.