Vision Quest opens enrollment for biggest loser competition

Fitness: Last year’s winner says he’s lost more than 100 pounds in 10 months

Special to the HeraldJanuary 1, 2014 

Vision Quest will hold its 18th weight-loss competition starting Jan. 28.

The program, called The Biggest Loser, was founded in 2008. It has helped thousands of participants lose more than 50 pounds and several lose more than 100 pounds.

Andy Douglas, who won last year’s competition, has lost 106 pounds in the past 10 months. Douglas has competed in two Biggest Loser competitions and said he would love to compete in the next one.

“I’m a pretty competitive person, but I was a little scared because I didn’t know what to expect,” Douglas said. “I knew I wanted to lose weight, so I closed my eyes and jumped in.”

The 90-day event is expected to host more than 300 contestants at the South Hill location. Basic entry starts at $249 and gets more expensive for contestants who want to add extra private training sessions on top of the four that come with the entry.

The Biggest Loser is a company-wide event among all Vision Quest locations.

Complete access to every group training class also is included. There are two group-training classes daily, and they’re taught by different trainers.

Contestants will be set up with a team that will be overseen by one trainer. Each basic-entry contestant will be set up with a nutrition plan that will include macro-nutrient information, which provides the contestant with a knowledge of how much fat, carbohydrates and protein they should consume to reach their weight-loss goals and fuel their workouts.

“The first thing is food,” Vision Quest trainer Megan Hertz said. “It’s really strict. They have to write down everything they eat in a journal, and I calculate what their resting metabolic rate is.”

All of the trainers at Vision Quest are certified and experienced, district manager Shane Cowhig said.

“We’re very particular with who we bring in as far as trainers,” Cowhig said. “We make sure we have very educated people who are all certified.”

Contestants will weigh in every two weeks to ensure they are on track. Hertz said the weigh-in has an accountability factor to it.

Douglas said the competition is for anybody who wants to lose weight.

“The biggest surprise to me was my biggest competitors in both competitions were not young people, but people who were twice my age,” Douglas said. “The old mindset was that this was a young person’s game.”

Douglas, who started at 292 pounds, said he went from doing nothing to working out daily. He said he believes he is more educated about nutrition and exercise following his experience.

Those who want to enroll can call Vision Quest at 253-840-1111, or go to 4301 S. Meridian St. on South Hill.

Elsy Pawelak is a freelance reporter for the Herald.

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