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posted: 3/17/2014 5:45 AM

Community teams take fitness routines to the next level

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  • Wendy Schmidt, center, Fittest Loser Corporate Challenge team member from Team Data Mart Direct in Bloomingdale, works out under the direction of Andra Shrader, left, at the Biggest Loser Resort.

       Wendy Schmidt, center, Fittest Loser Corporate Challenge team member from Team Data Mart Direct in Bloomingdale, works out under the direction of Andra Shrader, left, at the Biggest Loser Resort.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • Andra Shrader leads boot camp at the Biggest Loser Resort at Eaglewood in Itasca.

       Andra Shrader leads boot camp at the Biggest Loser Resort at Eaglewood in Itasca.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • After an early morning boot camp at Push Fitness in Schaumburg, several of the contestants headed over to the Biggest Loser Resort at Eaglewood in Itasca to join corporate and community team members for another workout.

       After an early morning boot camp at Push Fitness in Schaumburg, several of the contestants headed over to the Biggest Loser Resort at Eaglewood in Itasca to join corporate and community team members for another workout.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • The Mount Prospect Park District community challenge team, Christina Greco, Marni Finder, Tressa Thomas, Stephanie Melka and Scott Sinclair spent Saturday morning working out at the Biggest Loser Resort at Eaglewood in Itasca.

       The Mount Prospect Park District community challenge team, Christina Greco, Marni Finder, Tressa Thomas, Stephanie Melka and Scott Sinclair spent Saturday morning working out at the Biggest Loser Resort at Eaglewood in Itasca.
    photos by Daniel White | Staff Photographer

  • JourneyCare Team Mojo's mascot, Irish Marie, weighed in at a svelte 9 pounds. In addition to supporting the Fittest Loser team, she serves as a therapy dog.

      JourneyCare Team Mojo's mascot, Irish Marie, weighed in at a svelte 9 pounds. In addition to supporting the Fittest Loser team, she serves as a therapy dog.

 
By Lisa Jones Townsel
fittestloser@dailyherald.com

Week 4 got off to a strong start for our corporate and community partners. With a third of the Fittest Loser Community Challenge behind them, they are busily making strides to seriously lose weight and gain more confidence and know-how in the process.

Members of Wood Dale Park District's Heavy Weights are a bit sore these days. They have enjoyed an achy week of working out together and working through challenges, including figuring out how to pick up things off the floor when their legs hurt.

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In fact, they say this week just about every muscle hurts, including muscles that they didn't know that they had. But in their book that means that their hard work is paying off.

The Schaumburg Park District Unrepentant Thinners kept the pace strong this week. Some took "kick butt" strength and cardio training classes at the Biggest Loser Resort in Itasca. Others ran or did other activities on their own or in groups to work up a sweat.

All had a few sore spots left as souvenirs of their efforts; but none complained. As member Heather Spencer stated: "My butt needed the kicking."

JourneyCare "Team Mojo" takes the idea of teamwork seriously -- and playfully. This week, team members introduced their team mascot, Irish Marie, an adorable Shih-Poo that serves as a therapy dog at JourneyCare. And from what we're told, not only is the 12-year-old pooch a popular social butterfly-type among patients, families and staff, she is also in top-dog shape.

The Diet Pepsi All-Stars Team didn't like counting calories this week, but they did it anyway. They say they're finding that learning this and other healthy tips together makes the process a lot simpler, easier and more palatable.

They have become each other's loudest cheerleaders and daily motivators, and many are becoming "experts" on everything from identifying specific muscle pains to setting weekly goals.

The Elk Grove Village Withering A-Weigh team has made healthy living a priority. People have joined gyms, began to take lunchtime walks and launched into morning workout routines well before leaving for the office.

Others get their groove by participating in group fitness classes, like the cardio class the team signed up for at the Biggest Loser Resort in Itasca.

Members of the Marianjoy Mission Slim Possible team have found ways to mix up their fitness routines to make them anything but routine. They go on walks, take core strength training classes and join more fun sessions, like Jazzercise, when possible. They motivate each other with encouraging words and laughter and lend an ear when aches, pains and frustrations get the best of them.

They've learned about new gadgets, too, like the foam rollers that help to ease muscle pain and stretch tight muscles. And, when it comes to voting for the most hated exercise, they wholeheartedly agree: "Burpees are the absolute worst!"

• Community teams are judged on the total amount of weight lost, as well as their participation in events and team spirit, based on online voting and Facebook participation.

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