Oh, Snap! Four Weight Losers Win Free Gym Memberships


White Bear Lake woman earns a one-year Snap Fitness membership by exercising, eating right, and losing weight during statewide competition.

WHITE BEAR LAKE – A broken ankle and a sweet tooth didn’t stop Cindi Rulli from making great strides toward meeting her health and fitness goals during the Biggest Loser Minnesota Challenge. Now Rulli will have a new tool to continue her healthy lifestyle: she won one of four free memberships to Snap Fitness by placing in the top 1,000 in the weight loss, nutrition, or exercise categories of the statewide competition.

The Biggest Loser Minnesota Challenge “was a great experience, and I look forward to using my membership,” says Rulli, who runs, inline skates, and horseback rides to stay fit. During the competition, she lost 11 pounds or 8 percent of her body weight. “I’m feeling healthy, and it’s fun to buy clothes in small sizes.”

In this year’s Biggest Loser Minnesota Challenge, 22,000 Minnesotans lost 76,048 pounds during the twelve-week wellness competition. Minnesotans also earned 27,749,925 nutrition points and exercised 383,807 hours — the time it would take to walk around the earth 46 times.

During the competition, Rulli found the Challenge’s tracking program particularly useful, as well as being on the District Losers team with other employees of White Bear Lake School District 624. Team members sent daily emails to update and encourage each other, while staff incorporated healthier choices for celebrations like birthdays. On a personal level, the Challenge helped Rulli conquer her sweet tooth. She enjoyed fruit and protein smoothies and started purchasing only one portion of a dessert instead of keeping treats around the house.

The overall goal of Alliance for a Healthier Minnesota’s competitions are to create a fun community activity to encourage Minnesotans to eat better and move more. They could accomplish that goal by participating in one, two or three of the Challenge’s categories: nutrition, exercise and weight loss.

“This isn’t about rapid or sudden weight loss,” says Tom Mason, president of the Alliance for a Healthier Minnesota. “It’s about workplaces and communities establishing a culture that encourages people to take charge of their own health, choosing healthier lifestyle behaviors that can be maintained long-term.”

Open to all Minnesotans, this free statewide competition featured 14 divisions each made up of tens – or even hundreds – of smaller teams. Most participants teamed up with family, friends and coworkers, and some dedicated challengers competed as individuals.

Challenge participants logged their last round of activities Friday, April 15. Those who placed among the top 1,000 in each category were entered into a prize drawing. JoAnn Buck of Burnsville won the competition’s grand prize drawing, a trip to see The Biggest Loser Season 11 finale in Los Angeles, California. Four other lucky participants received a free one-year membership to Snap Fitness. The other fitness membership winners were Captain Kate Jones of the McLeod County Jail, Cory Marquart of the University of Minnesota Morris and Carla Peck of Burnsville, an employee of Hennepin County.

While all Minnesota Challenge participants made progress towards healthier exercise and nutrition habits, some of them dropped as much as 20 percent of their body weight. And the top 100 performers in the weight loss category lost an average of 37 pounds each. Read more success stories.

Nearly one-third of Minnesota Challenge participants came from small- and medium-sized businesses and chambers of commerce from across the state. This Business/Chamber division, made up of 7,500 participants on hundreds of small business teams, placed in the top three in the final rankings of all three competition categories. Research has shown that when businesses support their employees’ wellness, they employ healthier workers and see a big impact on their bottom line. The CDC reports that more than 75 percent of employer health care costs and productivity losses are related to employee lifestyle choices.

The Minnesota Challenge was the second wellness competition offered by the Alliance for a Healthier Minnesota. During summer 2010, with the help of General Mills, the Alliance developed a relationship with NBC’s Biggest Loser. A pilot wellness competition called the Biggest Loser Summer Challenge brought 10,000 employees of Alliance member companies together to shed more than 37,000 pounds, exercise 16 million minutes and earn millions of nutrition points by making healthy food choices. The Alliance for a Healthier Minnesota’s Biggest Loser Challenge competitions are web-based and powered by RedBrick Health.

About the Alliance for a Healthier Minnesota.



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