Wilmette, IL

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Updated on:
Mon, 2017-05-22 21:51

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CFC Wins With Lose to Win

The Wilmette Park District’s own Center Fitness Club hosts their successful annual program promoting healthy lifestyle changes.

Local North Shore residents in need of a kick-start to their new year’s resolutions need look no further than their park district’s gym, the Center Fitness Club (CFC). For 5 years, the CFC has been launching individuals on their journey towards better health with their lifestyle improvement program, Lose to Win. Over the course of two months, Lose to Win’s combination of proper exercise, nutrition, education and camaraderie equips participants with all of the tools to pursue a healthy lifestyle.

Registration for the program places participants on a small team where they meet with an assigned trainer twice a week and weight in to track progress each week. In addition, teams are expected to participate in group fitness classes, and receive nutritional coaching and a 2-month membership to the Center Fitness Club, along with discounts on personal training. While each registrant participates at their own pace, the team environment offers motivation and support to encourage the extra effort. “Our instructor, Julie, along with the whole You Snooze, We Lose team inspired me to keep working,” says women’s 2nd place winner, Tia Valavanis.

2017 proved to be a high-spirited and motivated batch of participants, eager to learn and execute the lessons provided by their trainers and instructors. Men’s 1st place winner, having lost 55.3 pounds through the challenge, Mike Rosen signed up for his second year with the program after having his first baby. “I wanted to become a better example for him, and be healthier in general for my growing family.” His work hasn’t stopped with the finale of the program; Rosen has a personal goal to lose 30 more pounds and successfully maintain.

As Rosen learned, the true success of the program is not necessarily in the numbers on the scale, but in the continued improvement over time. Valavanis expressed her enjoyment in her own progress but explains, “I’m still working on it.” Lose to Win is designed to educate participants and give them the initial momentum that will continue their healthy lifestyle.

Women’s 1st place winner, Erica Swanstrom, totaling 23.2 pounds lost, returned for her second year of Lose to Win seeking new challenges and higher goals. She explains that her first year focused on developing a fitness routine and continuing it after the program, while “this time around I really cracked down on improving my diet and making better choices every day.”

Along with Swanstrom, participants like Chad Blankenbaker, men’s 2nd place winner, found themselves incorporating the tools and lessons of the program into their lives outside the gym. “I began realizing how much work it takes to burn those extra calories.” While before he may not have taken into consideration his diet or exercise, now Blankenbaker has found that “the education helps me make better decisions.”

The positive experience of Lose to Win had participants spreading the healthy changes to their families.  “The competition spilled over at home as well,” says Blankenbaker, whose wife also participated in 2017. Rosen was so encouraged by the program and his success that he was searching for similar programs for his father out of state.

Lose to Win has seen many participants return in subsequent years to recharge their fitness motivation. CFC members, and non-members are encouraged to challenge themselves and give the program a try. Lose to Win will be returning again next year for another eight weeks of friendly competition.


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