Anytime Fitness names winners in Biggest Loser contest

Published 4:50 pm Saturday, December 6, 2008

Everybody is a winner was the theme Thursday night at Anytime Fitness in Northbridge Mall, as winners of the Biggest Loser contest were announced.

A crowd of 25 people gathered at the fitness center to enjoy a celebration of mutual support in the battle against expanding waistlines. The participants in the contest lost a collective total of 655 pounds during the three-month weight loss contest.

Eighteen teams, ranging from one to five members, were involved in the effort to reduce both weight and percentage of body mass. Improving overall health was the primary focus of the contest, and some of the participants shared their stories of the benefits of good diet and regular exercise.

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Faye Madson finished first among women in weight loss, dropping 28.2 pounds, a 15.2 percent loss in her total body weight. She accomplished this feat even though she refused to be on the same team with her husband, Dick.

“He’s just too competitive,” she said.

Dick, 62, was placed on a five-man team whose other members dropped out of the contest. Dick soldiered on to finish first among the men competing, with a weight loss of 63.6 pounds, which amounted to 26 percent of his total body weight. He cited the camaraderie of the competition as providing incentive to work out.

“We made fun out of the competition. Working out is a great way to meet people and make friends,” Dick Madson said.

Madson suffered from high cholesterol and high blood pressure for 20 years. Since beginning a regular regimen of diet and exercise his cholesterol level has dropped from 200 to 100 and his current blood pressure reading is 102 over 62.

“I learned I needed to eat a good breakfast to start the day,” Madson said.

Winning the contest earned Madson a trophy, a free flying lesson from MN Aviation and a check for $250.

The team competition was won by the Avery-Ravelin family team, whose members lost a total of 150 pounds and an average of 10.7 percent body mass. The five-man Cargill team finished a close second.

Vic and Donna Avery paid for the participation of their entire team. Vic lost 15 pounds during the three-month contest. When he got started he was having trouble catching his breath. Now he says he can exercise for an hour at a time.

“I had to keep at it to get the job done. I feel a whole lot better,” Avery said.

Anytime Fitness offers 24 hour service, with members getting an electric scan key that provides access to the club’s private entrance on the north side of the mall. The club opened four years ago and had a peak membership of 700, though that figure has fallen somewhat since.

Roger Aaron of the Twin Cities has owned the club since November 2007. He says he hopes to increase the club’s membership, and cites recent remodeling efforts as a way to attract more customers.

“We hope to bring in some new equipment in the very near future. We have plenty of room for expansion,” Aaron said.

The club offers co-ed memberships to those age 18 and over and has a working relationship with the Albert Lea Thunder hockey team, providing team members with a place to work out.

Club manager Sindy Dickey offered a special congratulations to Karen Jacobs, whose workout regimen has helped ameliorate the effects of a serious medical condition.

Jacobs, a three-time cancer survivor, was recently diagnosed with brain tumors. Her excellent physical condition allowed her doctors to proceed with immediate surgery.

“Karen took charge of her own health, and the results really helped her,” Dickey said.