As weather warms, unique local fitness challenge kicks off


UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) -- We've all heard a million different diet fads and formulas, but perhaps the biggest secret to success is green.

On Tuesday, a new fitness challenge kicked off that's the first of its kind in the Mohawk Valley.

"I've lost weight and I've gained weight. I've done lots of different diets," said Kari Thomson, a West Winfield resident who is signing up for the challenge.

Most people say their biggest challenge is staying motivated. So the Mohawk Valley Wellness Council is giving residents a reason to lose weight.

"Five thousand dollars will incentivize anyone!" said Rebecca Kearns, a wellness coordinator.

That's the grand prize for the team that loses the most, but every team that sheds at least 6 percent of their collective body weight will win a cash prize.

"The thought of winning money for losing weight kind of gave a little incentive and I also liked that people from my workplace and friends could join the competition as a team so you can encourage each other along the way," said Thomson.

Now that the snow is finally starting to melt, participants say the warmer weather is putting a spring in their step as they head into this competition.

"People are going, oh wow I need to get in shape. It's bathing suit season. We've got the Boilermaker coming up, the Mighty Run here," said Kearns.

Department of Health statistics from 2009 show 56 percent of adults in Oneida County are obese or overweight. Losing weight decreases the chance of cardiovascular disease, helps you sleep and "you feel good, you feel awesome! You can go do things. You have kids, you want to go run around with your grandkids, with your children, you want to climb a mountain, anything," said fitness expert Christina D'Amico.

If you feel like giving up, don't forget it takes 45 days to form a habit.

"This is a 90 day challenge, so you can really hone in on some new healthier lifestyle skills. We're building community, we're building education. We just don't want to turn you out there and be like 'You're on your own good luck.' We want to show you and support you through this," said Kearns.

The deadline to sign up is April 15. You need to build a team of five and each member pays $60.

Here is the link to register:

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