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Article updated: 4/22/2013 1:15 PM

Fittest Loser trainers keeping contestants focused


Just a little more than a week remains until the winner of the 2013 Fittest Loser Challenge is crowned, and the Push Fitness trainers are geared up for a strong finish. The competition culminates on Wednesday, May 1, when the winner is named at Victoria in the Park in Mount Prospect. While they won't divulge the specifics of their plans, the six trainers offer a glimpse of what's in store for each of the contestants.

Michelle Amsden/Karen Castillo: Karen Castillo has been working hard, and her trainer, Michelle Amsden, is keeping her focused on continuing to work hard no matter how tired she is or how much it hurts.

"Karen is quietly competitive," Amsden says. "She doesn't want to lose, but she definitely needs to work harder in order to fight off the competition."

Tony Rinehart/Marianne Costales-Roman: No tricks up his sleeve, says trainer Tony Rinehart.

"If something is working and working well, why change it?"

Marianne Costales-Roman is closing in on a 50-pound weight loss, down more than 20 percent from her starting weight.

"Marianne has done everything I've asked her to do," Rinehart says. "Her hunger to improve her health gets stronger every day."

As they head to the finish line, the trainer promises nothing fancy.

"The plan is to stay consistent with what we've been doing," he says. "As long as we do that, we'll be OK.

Tony Figueroa/Joe Gundling: "Train hard, eat right," says Tony Figueroa. "That's it, that's the magic."

With Joe Gundling just a few percentage points away from first place, Figueroa will be driving that magic home as the competition nears the end.

For the trainer it's simple.

"Listen to your trainer, and you'll see results," Figueroa says. "A good listener sees results."

Wade Merrill/Greg Moehrlin: Greg Moehrlin likes to train hard, and his trainer is happy to oblige.

"Greg loves getting destroyed," Wade Merrill says. "He asked me if he could wear the 40-pound weighted vest for his workouts."

The trainer of last year's winner appreciates Moehrlin's drive.

As the competition comes to a close, Merrill simply plans to stay the course.

"He's been training harder and harder since he started," the trainer says. "To slow down or jump to an unachievable level wouldn't make sense. Greg will continue to progress at the pace he's been at and he'll continue to see results."

Brodie Medlock/Mike Paulo: Trainer Brodie Medlock has made some adjustments to Mike Paulo's diet and is making sure his contestant understands it's crunch time.

"Every minute, every meal counts, more than ever," the trainer says.

With his crazy schedule coaching girls' softball and working out, Medlock is counting on Paulo to lean on the support of his family to push him through the last days of competition.

As for Medlock's role in Paulo's run to the finish, the coach has a coach.

"If he thinks the workouts have been tough on him so far, he's about to experience a perspective shift," Medlock promises. "Now is the time for him to dig deep and finish this competition strong. We've set some ambitious goals, and I expect them all to be met."

Steve Amsden/Megan McCarthy-Cook:"We're going to push harder, eat even cleaner and use laserlike focus to finish this contest stronger than any of the other contestants," says trainer Steve Amsden.

With that clear direction in mind, contestant Megan McCarthy-Cook faces the finish line already 40 pounds down from her starting weight.

Amsden has built momentum throughout the competition, overcoming McCarthy-Cook's mental obstacles along the way.

"Megan needs to be convinced of her own capabilities," Amsden says. "When her mind is focused, there's no stopping her."

Amsden expects her to work hard and he expects to see results.

"Don't tell me how hard you work," the trainer tells McCarthy-Cook, "show me."

Karen Castillo, 37, Carpentersville

Starting weight: 206

Current weight: 187

Weight lost this week: 2 pounds

Total weight loss: 19 pounds, 9.2 percent

Marianne Costales-Roman, 37, Carol Stream

Starting weight: 222

Current weight: 175

Weight lost this week: 8 pounds

Total weight loss: 47 pounds, 21.1 percent

Joe Gundling, 18, Hanover Park

Starting weight: 264

Current weight: 218

Weight lost this week: 6 pounds

Total weight loss: 46 pounds, 17.4 percent

Megan McCarthy-Cook, 33, Hoffman Estates

Starting weight: 282

Current weight: 242

Weight lost this week: 6 pounds

Total weight loss: 40 pounds, 14.1 percent

Greg Moehrlin, 39, St. Charles

Starting weight: 245

Current weight: 215

Weight lost this week: 0 pounds

Total weight loss: 30 pounds, 12.2 percent

Mike Paulo, 59, Woodridge

Starting weight: 294

Current weight: 260

Weight lost this week: 2 pounds

Total weight loss: 34 pounds, 11.5 percent

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