Connexus Energy Wellness Program Helps Team Rank First in Alliance-Sponsored Health Challenge

The Biggest Winners team poses with the Connexus Energy logo. From back left: Janelle Albrecht, Janis Anderson, Tammy Ferguson, Mike Rajala, Jennifer Sweeney, Kathy Zingler, Leone' Sweeney, Liz Daker and Brian Lambertz.

Employees of Ramsey-area Connexus Energy earn first place in Exercise Minutes category of BizicallyFIT™ 2012 Health Challenge

With support from their company’s top leadership, a team of coworkers from Ramsey-based Connexus Energy – the “Biggest Winners” — took the top spot in exercise minutes, in the just-concluded BizicallyFIT™ 2012 Health Challenge, sponsored by the Alliance for a Healthier Minnesota. The team beat our more than 1,600 teams and more than 10,000 participants throughout the state.

Eighty-seven of the energy cooperative’s 210 employees joined the statewide health challenge, many of them for the second year in a row following last year’s Biggest Loser Minnesota Challenge. Together, the Connexus Energy teams exercised 293,679 minutes and walked 46,205,318 steps over the course of the 12-week Challenge, an average of 40 minutes and 7,535 steps per person per day.

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BizicallyFIT™ 2012 Health Challenge: Two Hennepin County Employee Teams Win Competition’s Exercise and Weight Loss Categories

In Minneapolis, Hennepin County Government employees win two out of three competition categories.

Two teams meet during Hennepin Walking Group's 5K walk through the Minneapolis skyways.

When the BizicallyFIT™ 2012 Health Challenge kicked off this past February, Hennepin County employees were ready. A total of 1,086 individuals competed in the Challenge on Hennepin County Government teams. By the time it ended on May 6, they had exercised 1,764,465 minutes and walked 248,050,732 steps – enough to walk around the earth’s equator 3.78 times.

Two teams from Hennepin County Government earned a first place ranking in the Exercise and Weight Loss divisions, surpassing 10,000 other participants on more than 1,600 other teams. The “Henn Fair” team placed first in Weight Loss with an average of 9.3 percent weight loss over the course of the competition—a percentage that would bring a 215-pound person down to 195. Hennepin County’s “Skywalkers” ranked first in Exercise with a team average of 88 minutes of exercise per day. The Skywalkers team’s three women and three men walked, biked, ran, gardened and broke a sweat on the local softball field as much as they could. While family events and travel posed challenges for some at times, the team continued to fit in exercise wherever and whenever it could.

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BizicallyFIT™ 2012 Health Challenge: Plymouth Woman Wins Trip To Biggest Loser Resort

In the Alliance for a Healthier Minnesota’s 12-week BizicallyFIT™ 2012 Health Challenge, 10,000 Minnesotans achieved healthier lifestyles, but Armaity Bilimoria, 38, of Plymouth won a Grand Prize Drawing for one free week at a Biggest Loser Resort fitness camp.

Armaity was selected in a random drawing for a free seven-day stay at a Biggest Loser Resort in California, New York or Utah. She plans to use this Biggest Loser Resort experience to lose 25 pounds before a trip to see her childhood classmates in her hometown of Mumbai, India this December.

“Winning this trip has been the best motivation to get back to a healthier weight,” says Armaity. “I’d like to make the most of my experience at Biggest Loser Resort – to form a sustainable fitness plan that will help me reach my long-term goals after I come home from the Resort.”

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BizicallyFIT™ 2012 Health Challenge: Hennepin County Government Team Wins in Exercise Category

Team captain Steve Compton attributes success to more walking, better eating habits and a healthy spirit of competition.

As the BizicallyFIT™ 2012 Health Challenge drew to a close May 6, the six people on Hennepin County Government’s Skywalkers team were indeed walking a little lighter. Throughout the 12-week competition, the team had exercised an average 88 minutes per day—enough to snag first place in the Challenge’s Exercise category, which measures the minutes exercised by each team each week. In total, 10,000 participants on more than 1,600 teams competed in the Challenge.

“We are all a little thinner and likely a little stronger,” says Steve Compton, Skywalkers team captain. “I am really proud of the team’s efforts. Every individual was key to that success.”

The Skywalkers team’s three women and three men walked, biked, ran, gardened and broke a sweat on the local softball field as much as they could. While family events and travel posed challenges for some at times, the team continued to fit in exercise wherever and whenever it could. In part, Compton attributes his team’s enduring momentum to the competitive spirit fostered by the Challenge.

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BizicallyFIT™ 2012 Health Challenge: Northern Minnesota Furnace Manufacturer wins in Pedometer Steps

Dream Team members, listed from back left: Madeline Waage, Derick Converse, Rob Mickelson, Eric Etherington, David McDonald, Keith Wheeler, Alietia Nygaard, Sean Sorteberg (team members not pictured: Shannon Converse, Alicia Spilde)

Employees teamed up to compete in statewide BizicallyFIT™ 2012 Health Challenge with support from Central Boiler’s workplace wellness program.

The recent BizicallyFIT™ 2012 Health Challenge lit a fire under Alietia Nygaard and her colleagues at Central Boiler in Greenbush, Minnesota. Nygaard’s 11-member team, called “Alietia’s Dream Team,” won first place in the Pedometer Steps division of the 2012 Health Challenge with a team average of 17,030 steps per day over the 12-week competition, beating 10,000 other participants on more than 1,600 other teams.

Nygaard and her team were among 88 individuals who joined the Challenge with coworkers from Central Boiler, an outdoor wood furnace manufacturer with more than 200 employees in Greenbush, Minnesota. To encourage 2012 Health Challenge participants, Central Boiler’s growing workplace wellness program spread the word and offered an intra-company leaderboard for participating teams. Each week, Central Boiler’s teams received an email that ranked each team from first to last in each category.

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Participants Shed More Than 20,000 Pounds in Alliance-Sponsored Health Challenge

Hennepin County, Connexus Energy and Central Boiler win first place in competition’s Weight Loss, Steps and Exercise categories


Minnesota employers and community organizations geared up for summer with the BizicallyFIT 2012 Health Challenge and earned incredible healthy lifestyle results.  Ten thousand Minnesotans from every corner of the state joined together with coworkers, friends and family to take extra steps, exercise more and drop some extra pounds, competing for online rankings and bragging rights. Together they lost 20,409 pounds, walked 1,610,427,079 steps and exercised 13,176,822 minutes. One lucky participant won the grand prize drawing, a free one-week stay at a Biggest Loser Resort.

“We’re very happy about the successes of Minnesotans who took time to engage in the BizicallyFIT 2012 Health Challenge,” says Tom Mason, president of the Alliance for a Healthier Minnesota. “It’s amazing how effective friendly competition and support from employers, coworkers, friends and family can in motivating people to adopt and maintain healthier habits.”

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BizicallyFIT Competition Heats Up in Willmar

The city of Willmar has been a leader in driving BizicallyFIT 2012 Health Challenge participation, amassing 15 local teams with a total of 150 participants. Now, a recent article in the West Central Tribune reports that workplace wellness is becoming second-nature for many Willmar-area businesses as they find ways to fit exercise and healthy eating into their day. While friendly competition between the local teams is keeping motivation strong throughout the 12-week competition, everyone will win better health. Willmar has been an active city in the competition from the outset, and kicked off the competition February 3 with a special event at the Kandiyohi YMCA.

To read the full story, click here.


Can You Take a Walk During Your Next Meeting?

Looking for a way to fit more movement into your day? What’s stopping your workplace from taking a walk during the 5 or 10 percent of meetings that can be done on the go? Not all meetings can be done while walking, but a story in the Concord Monitor offers simple tips on how to move past some common excuses and walk while you talk.

  1. Propose that 5 or 10 percent of all meetings start with the following question: Can we take this topic for a walk?
  2. Schedule walking check-in meetings during the mid-afternoon doldrums to get your blood and creative juices pumping without a trip to the coffee maker or vending machine.
  3. Consider the head-clearing quality a quick walk provides. What fresh perspective and new ideas could this bring?
  4. Walking together in a common direction can feel like a team sport, boosting a sense of teamwork and collaboration. Why not start a project that requires teamwork with a shoulder-to-shoulder walk?

Competing in the BizicallyFIT 2012 Health Challenge? Remember to clip on your pedometer and get some points on the leaderboard for the the steps you take!


Exercise for your 2012 Health Challenge team and your heart health!

As a part of the BizicallyFIT 2012 Health Challenge thousands of Minnesotans will start tracking their exercise minutes, pedometer steps and weight with support from teams of coworkers, friends and family today. Regular exercise will not only propel their teams to success and bragging rights on the leaderboard, but regular physical activity is great for heart health as well!

Exercise improves circulation, reduced bad cholesterol, increases good cholesterol, reduces blood pressure, helps mainatin a healthy weight, improves sleep and reduces stress! Read more on the seven ways physical activity supports heart health at

It’s not to late to join the BizicallyFIT 2012 Health Challenge. Register, recruit team members and track your activity for Week One (February 13-19) by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, February 21 at


Shakopee Chamber kicks off Health Challenge with former Biggest Loser contestant

Former Biggest Loser contestant and personal trainer O'Neal Hampton addresses more than 30 the Shakopee area business leaders.

Wednesday, February 8, The Shakopee Chamber of Commerce hosted a luncheon featuring former Biggest Loser contestant O’Neal Hampton.

More than 30 chamber members discussed their participation in health competitions and plans for the BizicallyFIT 2012 Health Challenge.

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