2020 Fittest Loser writer says worries won't stop workouts

  • 2020 Daily Herald Fittest Loser contestant Dick Quagliano works with trainer Joshua Steckler at Push Fitness in Schaumburg.

      2020 Daily Herald Fittest Loser contestant Dick Quagliano works with trainer Joshua Steckler at Push Fitness in Schaumburg. John Starks | Staff Photographer

By Dick Quagliano
Posted3/22/2020 7:29 AM

It is time to soldier on.

I know the Fittest Loser is a weight-loss contest, but to all of us participating, it is really an opportunity for us to be much healthier in the event we face a different type of battle.


With Gov. J.B. Pritzker issuing a stay-at-home order Friday, Push Fitness closed until April 7 to everyone, including the contestants and me. It does not mean an end to the contest, but it does mean we will not be able to use the club for the time being.

Push Fitness owner Josh Steckler and I discussed this possibility before it came true. He had a backup plan in place -- offering contestants and his clients virtual training.

"This is where we put out videos for clients, so they can stay on track with their workouts at home," he said. "We'll do everything we can remotely with our Fittest Loser contestants to keep them on track. We can still check food journals, prescribe workouts and follow up.

"We just have to get creative, adapt and overcome," he said.

Saturday morning, the four contestants and I met with Josh and weighed in and he shared his plan going forward.We all have our assignments and we are ready to work as hard as we can.

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Besides my new workouts, there will still be walks with my wife, Debi. And bike rides.

I urge all of you to take walks or ride your bike.

Just stay 6 feet away from your neighbors while you're out there. It is also an opportunity to get out in the neighborhood and see the people who live around us. We are all sharing this together and it is always good to know that there are others around you who are also dealing with this as best as they can. Encourage them. Ask them to be safe.

Getting healthy best defense

With the start of the Fittest Loser contest about five weeks ago, I've had an opportunity to do something I haven't done in 10 years -- join a fitness club. It's been great and I'm seeing the results already.

My weight is down about 25 pounds so far. I'm feeling the best that I have in years.

About 12 years ago, I got a very serious case of pneumonia. I was hospitalized for a week. For the first (and thankfully) the only time in my life, I missed the opening night of the high school football season.

I have come to realize that I am now in much better physical shape than I was than before the outbreak of the coronavirus began. I am eating the healthiest I have in decades. The exercises and workouts, although difficult, are getting a bit easier because I can breathe better.


Does that make me immune from the virus? Not a chance. That's why the caution.

But should I get sick, the nutritious foods and healthier lifestyle hopefully will enable me to be stronger through the illness. I am also optimistic my improved fitness health would allow me to recover quicker.

Support your local eateries

Since I began the Fittest Loser, I have only been out to dinner a handful of times. It's not that I don't love restaurants. On the contrary, I do, very much. I just needed to hunker down and make sure I was eating exactly what was on my nutrition plan.

Being five weeks in, I knew this would be the time to begin to get out to my favorite places and share a meal with Debi. However, since the ordered ban of dining-in at restaurants, getting out to the to have a meal will be difficult.

Fortunately, it won't be impossible. That's because restaurants, which are locally owned and operated, can still offer carryout service and delivery. These are the places that you loved before and this is the time they really need your support.

So, after that walk, call your favorite restaurant. Order that meal from them that you love so much (make it a nutritional one). Help keep them in business until the time when it is safe for them to reopen fully.

We are all in this together. We all can find ways to keep things as normal as possible while being cautious.

Health and safety. It's on all our minds right now. And understandably so.

Be safe.

• Dick Quagliano coached youth football for 32 seasons and has been a freelance high school sports writer for more than 40 years, the last seven with the Daily Herald. In addition, he maintains his full-time day job as a packaging salesman. He and his wife Debi have two adult sons, Michael and Anthony.

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