Healthy Tuesday: Challenge contest spurs gym members to keep on track |

Healthy Tuesday: Challenge contest spurs gym members to keep on track

It might be the only time in their lives these contestants want to be called big losers.

Eight teams of eight team members are nearly four weeks into a Biggest Loser challenge hosted by Generations Health Club near Lake of the Pines, in southern Nevada County. Each week, the gym holds a weigh-in, and the person and team with the largest weight loss receive prizes such as free smoothies, massages and gift cards.

“It’s awesome,” said Monique Ussery, who was in the club recently with two of her teammates, working with trainer Damian Burt. “I wish they’d do it twice a year.”

Ussery joined the contest to lose a pesky few pounds, and talked her friends into joining up as well.

“It’s a team effort, so you have that encouragement you need to keep on track,” Ussery said.

Teammate Crystal Keyser had been a gym member for a year and a half, but was attracted to the group aspect of the challenge.

“We all have amounts of weight we’d like to take off,” Keyser said. “It seemed like a good time to pull together and get some direction. This is more goal-oriented, and it’s fun.”

Stacy Thrasher said losing weight was her New Year’s resolution – and joining the Biggest Loser contest with her friends is making a 100 percent difference.

“It’s everything,” Thrasher said. “Monique and I motivate each other.”

Thrasher is in her fourth week. “It’s really hard, but it seems easier every time I do it,” she said. “I’m a little stronger.”

The proof is on the scale: Thrasher has lost 7 pounds in the two weeks she’s been doing the weigh-in.

Generations has run a weight-loss contest before, but previously used a format where participants worked one-on-one with trainers.

“It was expensive,” said operations manager Wendy Quist. “This time, the participants are more self-directed and we’re reaching a bigger group. The program itself is free, with weekly weigh-ins, classes and e-mail challenges.”

The contest began Jan. 18 and will run 10 weeks, ending with a celebration party March 30. Even nonmembers were allowed to join, paying a flat rate for use of the gym during the 10-week contest. Late entries will be accepted, but will not be eligible for some of the prizes.

Generations trainers will answer any workout or nutrition questions that participants might have on the club’s Web site,

The club offered four free, motivational workshops for team members, including one on nutrition and one on stress relief. It also is offering add-on options, so participants can customize a workout program, including small group sessions, private training, a nutrition group and private yoga sessions.

“Some of the teams are really united and work out together every day, some work out individually,” Quist said. “Each week, we issue a challenge.

“The first week, they had to pick three things in their diet that were their nemesis and cut them out. The second week, they had to add eight fruit and vegetables in that week,” she added. “We also challenged them to do a workout – 30 minutes of cardio.”

The teams keep each other accountable, said trainer Burt.

“It’s been a big success so far,” he said. “Team unity’s a big thing. They don’t want to let each other down.”

Generations is at 22824 Industrial Place. For more information, call (530) 268-2860.

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, e-mail or call (530) 477-4229.

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