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updated: 4/23/2012 8:08 AM

Fittest Loser contestants ready for final push

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  • Fittest Loser Karen Maranto works out under the guidance of Push Fitness trainer Tony Figueroa.

       Fittest Loser Karen Maranto works out under the guidance of Push Fitness trainer Tony Figueroa.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • With less than two weeks to go, Michael White and his trainer, Wade Merrill, hold on to first place.

       With less than two weeks to go, Michael White and his trainer, Wade Merrill, hold on to first place.
    Bill Zars | Staff Photographer

  • Trainer Michelle Amsden looks on as Katie Przyszlak works out her hips.

       Trainer Michelle Amsden looks on as Katie Przyszlak works out her hips.
    George LeClaire | Staff Photographer

  • Tom Hampson follows trainer Joshua Steckler's instructions to the letter.

       Tom Hampson follows trainer Joshua Steckler's instructions to the letter.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Trainer Mark Trapp promises contestant Matt Kramer will work to the point of exhaustion as the competition nears the end.

       Trainer Mark Trapp promises contestant Matt Kramer will work to the point of exhaustion as the competition nears the end.
    JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer

  • Trainer Steve Amsden will be mixing it up for challenger Brian Corrigan in the final days of competition.

       Trainer Steve Amsden will be mixing it up for challenger Brian Corrigan in the final days of competition.
    Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

  • Video: Fittest Loser: Week 10

 
By Gerry Alger

With less than two weeks to go until the winner of the 2012 Fittest Loser Challenge is crowned, the Push Fitness trainers are gearing up for a big finish. Less than three percentage points separate the top three contestants and, at this point, it's anyone's game to win. While their answers were intentionally vague, the trainers offer at least a glimpse into their plans for the home stretch, which will culminate Thursday, May 3, when the winner is named at the Doubletree Hotel in Arlington Heights.

Tony Figueroa/Karen Maranto

"I've increased Karen's cardio workout big time and, so far, she's handling it very well," says Karen Maranto's trainer, Tony Figueroa. "Our goal is to take third spot. In order to do so, her diet will remain secured and she will continue to lose weight. Between my experience and Karen's energy, in the end, I'm confident we will be very happy."

Just in case his intentions aren't clear, Figueroa clarifies.

"Stepping up is not the problem, it's moving up we're after, and I will make sure we take someone else down ... if you know what I mean."

Karen Maranto, 47, of Bloomingdale

Starting weight: 288

Current weight: 248

Weight lost this week: 3 pounds

Total weight loss: 40 pounds, 13.9 percent

Wade Merrill/Michael White

Michael White has been in first place since the beginning of the competition, but can he hang on to win? According to his trainer, Wade Merrill, as long as he can get up (at 3:45 in the morning), he can get it done.

"He's been having difficulty waking up the past couple weeks," Merrill says. "But, for the most part, Mike's been very consistent in his attendance."

That's a good thing because Merrill has plans for White.

"In the home stretch of the competition, there's no such thing as training too hard," Merrill says. "I'm not using any special training tricks, we're just going to stay focused and keep Mike motivated toward achieving results after the competition ends. The finish line is in sight and I'm excited for him to finish strong!"

Michael White, 25, of West Dundee

Starting weight: 320

Current weight: 247

Weight lost this week: 6 pounds

Total weight loss: 73 pounds, 22.8 percent


Michelle Amsden/ Katie Przyszlak

Watch out, Katie!

"The last two weeks will be grueling," Michelle Amsden warns her contestant, Katie Przyszlak. "Of course, I say that with a smile!

"All the trainers have tricks up their sleeves for the last two weeks. For Katie, the workouts will be hard, and she'll need to push her cardio. Her nutrition will be stricter than it's already been with very limited options."

One thing Amsden knows for sure: "Katie is strong and will finish out great!"


Katie Przyszlak, 32, of Schaumburg

Starting weight: 266

Current weight: 227

Weight lost this week: 2 pounds

Total weight loss: 39 pounds, 14.7 percent


Joshua Steckler/ Tom Hampson

As for contestant Tom Hampson, he'll be getting quite a push from his trainer, Joshua Steckler.

"I'll be encouraging Tom to push his limits with exercise. If there was ever a time to really dig deep and find out what he's capable of, now is the time.

"Tom's diet has been very clean so far, but there are a few foods we'll cut out for the last couple weeks. Dairy will be eliminated, along with certain fruits and all processed sodium. Good fats will be slightly increased for a period of time, and then everything will taper down the last few days of the contest.

Throughout the competition, Tom has been open to anything his trainer suggests.

"Hopefully all he's learned during the contest will stick with him as he continues to make permanent changes to his lifestyle," Steckler concludes.


Tom Hampson, 64, of Hoffman Estates

Starting weight:316

Current weight:280

Weight lost this week: 0 pounds

Total weight loss: 36 pounds, 11.4 percent


Mark Trapp/Matt Kramer

Everything trainer Mark Trapp has been doing with contestant Matt Kramer these last several weeks has been to prepare him for the final two weeks.

"I've been getting into his head the last couple weeks," Trapp says. "When the contest is over, I want Matt to look back with no regrets. But, more importantly, I'm preparing him for life after the competition is over."

As for specifics, Trapp definitely has a plan in mind.

"Matt will be working to the point of exhaustion," Trapp promises. "He'll be adding more cardio sessions each day, especially on the treadmill. We'll be manipulating his diet by pulling foods in and out, thus confusing his body and prompting more weight loss.

"Matt is working hard, giving 110 percent, and he is so close to winning!"

Matt Kramer, 47, of Elk Grove Village

Starting weight: 372

Current weight: 298

Weight lost this week: 5 pounds

Total weight loss: 74 pounds, 19.9 percent

Steve Amsden/Brian Corrigan

Less is more when it comes to Steve Amsden's strategy for contestant Brian Corrigan.

"We've seen lowering weight-loss numbers the past couple of weeks as we added more exercise and reduced his calorie intake," Amsden says. "That tells me Brian's body does better and loses weight faster when he is eating more and training less. Sometimes more isn't always better when it comes to exercise and diet restrictions. His body needs to recover more and the only way to do that is through sleep, food and rest."

With just one more weigh-in before the final numbers are tallied, Amsden will continue to make adjustments.

"I'm sure during the final week we'll revamp the intensity, cut calories a little and push hard through the end."


Brian Corrigan, 44, of Carol Stream

Starting weight:275

Current weight:223

Weight lost this week:2 pounds

Total weight loss:52 pounds, 18.9 percent

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