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Article posted: 4/29/2013 5:23 AM

Team members enjoyed chance to get healthy

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The Community Challenge teams came to their final weigh-in visibly healthier and noticeably thinner than they were at the initial weigh-in 12 weeks ago. The results of the weigh-in provided by the Academy of Athletic Advancement and health screening conducted by nurses from Alexian Brothers Health System attested to the participants' improved health.

While the final results will not be announced until the Fittest Loser Finale on Wednesday, May 1, (tickets to the awards banquet are available to the public and can be purchased online at events.dailyherald.com), almost every one of the over 100 Community Challenge participants saw significant changes, including reduced levels of cholesterol, body fat, metabolic age, stroke risk and increased bone density.

The event participation portion of the challenge gave participants a chance to discover a healthier lifestyle outside the gym by offering healthy entertainment, exercise and cooking classes, and lower-calorie dining in the suburbs.

Ed Reidy, of Bartlett Park District's Lifecenter Gang, attended so many healthy cooking classes at Whole Foods of Schaumburg that he had to make himself an additional event card. Other participants grew attached to the special Fittest Loser menus at Deer Park Town Center's restaurants California Pizza Kitchen, Red Mango and Biaggi's.

Though excited for the finale and the announcement of the winning Community Challenge team, the ending is bittersweet for some teams. Many team members worked out with their teams and team trainer/captain for the last time this past week.

As the Schaumburg Waist Management trainer, Lee Collins, put it, "I will truly miss each and every one of them."

Though the participants plan to keep up their workout routines and healthy eating, Stephanie DiMaso of the Wood Dale Warriors sums up her team's sadness that the Community Challenge is over until next year: "It just won't be the same without the Fittest Loser."

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