2020 Fittest Loser team challenge captains steady the boats in choppy waters

  • Captain George Sullivan switched roles with contestant Andrea Granias of Hanover Park Finance Department's "Hanover Net Loss," as she directs him in a makeshift stepper routine while at work.

    Captain George Sullivan switched roles with contestant Andrea Granias of Hanover Park Finance Department's "Hanover Net Loss," as she directs him in a makeshift stepper routine while at work.

 
By Kat Polomsky
kpolomsky@dailyherald.com
Posted4/5/2020 6:00 AM

Spring is here and Fittest Loser teams are eager to spend more time outside to break free of the added stress of COVID-19.

Some participants have been able to adapt their routines for the home stay while others are experiencing higher workloads and discovering that communicating over the internet just isn't the same.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

"Keeping in touch with teammates is key, but having to do it through texts rather than in person is less than ideal," says Barb Koch of Mount Prospect Park District's "Sergeant Steppers Lonely Hearts Club Band."

Despite the hurdle we currently face, teams are making the best of the situation, including Lisa McQueen, captain of "Transformers" out of Arlington Heights. "We have realized while we may not win this challenge, there are so many positive things to take away through participating and are grateful for the opportunities and camaraderie we have gained not only with our teammates but other participates as well," she says.

Prior to the stay-at-home order, team captain Lisa McQueen, left, and Tricia Hansan of team "Transformers" of Arlington Heights attended the Indoor 5K at Elk Grove Village Pavilion Fitness. She said it was "amazing" and that she felt empowered after completing the challenge.
Prior to the stay-at-home order, team captain Lisa McQueen, left, and Tricia Hansan of team "Transformers" of Arlington Heights attended the Indoor 5K at Elk Grove Village Pavilion Fitness. She said it was "amazing" and that she felt empowered after completing the challenge.

Don't worry Lisa, many teams are feeling the same and it is OK for us to experience challenges along the way. The key is to try again and keep moving forward.

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This year, teams are made up of four individuals or five if the team captain is not participating as a competing contestant.

We ask captains to take charge, to be the strength to help guide their teams when times get tough -- this can be a lot to ask, especially during difficult times for many.

Each year, a Team Captain Champion is selected in honor of the first Daily Herald employee to volunteer, participate and document her weight-loss journey through the Fittest Loser Challenge. The late Gerry Alger continued her journey by becoming the Fittest Loser's biggest cheerleader and advocate, working tirelessly on the annual program even as she battled pancreatic cancer.

There are many dedicated individuals who take on this captain role, but there are always some leaders who go above and beyond for their teams, through creative means of engagement, using spreadsheets to stay organized, hosting special parties and events, sharing motivational words of encouragement, or just being a pillar of support.

Michelle Sprainis, captain for TTI Inc.'s "TTI Tons of Love," believes there are some positives from the quarantine, adding it is encouraging her team to get less takeout food and cook at home more.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Michelle Sprainis, captain of TTI Inc.'s "Tons of Love," has taken advantage of free exercise content Fittest Loser sponsors have posted on Facebook, including Planet Fitness' daily workout.
Michelle Sprainis, captain of TTI Inc.'s "Tons of Love," has taken advantage of free exercise content Fittest Loser sponsors have posted on Facebook, including Planet Fitness' daily workout.

Home cooking is a great way to harness what we eat by avoiding high salt, unhealthy fats and carbs.

Many captains tell us being a Fittest Loser leader has been rewarding even in difficult times. Cathy Mitchell, captain of Indeck Energy Services Inc.'s "Team Energy" from Buffalo Grove, mentions that despite living busy lives, her team has enjoyed workouts together at work and says she has enjoyed getting to know her co-workers better.

George Sullivan, captain for Hanover Park Finance Department's "Hanover Net Loss" agrees. "Being a captain is very rewarding as you can see the changes the team goes through and the excitement this brings them," he says.

When times are tough, we have to take a moment to reflect on the situation and appreciate the support and dedication from the leaders in our lives.

• The Fittest Loser Team Challenge will honor top teams and individuals as determined by weight loss and participation in challenge activities. Follow the teams' progress and join the discussion on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheFittestLoserDH.

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