UCF Rec Center holds Biggest Loser competition

Sixteen students are losing weight and lowering body fat while vying for the title of UCF Biggest Loser at the Recreation and Wellness Center.

The 12-week program is based on the popular TV show, but unlike the show, no participants are eliminated. The UCF version challenges participants to reach their weight loss goal and make a healthy lifestyle change before the end of the semester with weekly workouts and team challenges.

Based on written applications, twenty-four students were chosen to participate in the tryout week. The 16 who showed the greatest effort, passion and dedication made it into the program.

Training effect

“These are people who have tried to lose weight in the past but may need extra motivation to lose weight just for health reasons or just for aesthetic reasons,” said Chris McGill, one of the red team’s trainers and a senior interpersonal/organizational communications major.

He used to watch “The Biggest Loser” solely for entertainment, but the contestants’ stories both on the show and on campus compelled him to want to help change people’s lives, he said.

Jessica James, one of the two trainers for the blue team, said her own weight loss a few years ago made her want to help other students accomplish the same feat.

“I think my team’s doing awesome,” said James, a junior criminal justice and legal studies major. “They’ve lost a lot of weight collectively, and they’ve tried their best. I don’t think I could ask for anything else from my team.”

“If one person is struggling, they go help them out or they’ll go run an extra lap with someone if they need to,” she said.

Red vs. Blue

Amanda Antor, one of the red team contestants, talks about her experience with UCF Biggest Loser. Click to play.

During her first week of the program, she got shin splints from wearing bad sneakers but pushed through and has lost 23 pounds so far.

Antonio Hernandez, a junior sport and fitness major and member of the red team, said he applied for the program to look as good on the outside as he feels on the inside.

“Lindsay [Jones] and Chris, who are actually my two trainers, they kick your butt. They make you cry a little but it’s worth it, and it’s what we need and what we expected when we came into this,” Hernandez said.

Feeling the burn

Workouts are a mix of cardio and weight training with a lot of variety to keep participants interested and excited. Teams work out twice a week with their trainers, but most members work out daily on their own as well.

Challenges have consisted of running parking garage relays, completing obstacle courses and sprinting up construction dirt mounds near the Intramural Sports fields.

Currently the blue team has won the most team challenges, but there are still seven weeks left of the program. Except for the final winner, there are no prizes for winning the challenges. The dominating team gets “bragging rights,” McGill said.

UCF Biggest Loser is designed so that participants will continue exercising, eating healthy and making healthy choices once the program ends.

“The best thing about this program is that they don’t just concentrate on working out. They concentrate on a lifestyle change,” Hernandez said. “Really it’s geared to make you succeed.”

James said while there will be only one winner at the end, everyone is a winner.

To read more about “Biggest Loser”-inspired competitions in Florida:,0,468940.story

“The Biggest Loser” trainer offers tips to get healthy:,0,5195089.story

Visual idea
A soundslide would be a good addition to this Web story. Photos of UCF Biggest Loser trainers and participants working out and competing in team challenges could be viewed with audio of personal stories by the students.


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