Ready to Get Lean in '15?

By Michelle Lounsbury, PES

Whether you're looking to lose weight, decrease body fat or simply clean up your diet, the Lean in '15 Challenge is for you. This 8-week challenge is designed to be fun, while also helping you to recognize how food affects your body. You can participate in this challenge even if you do not wish to lose weight. In these instances, you will participate in the points program but not the weigh-ins. (You will be eligible to win the second-place prize, described below.)

Everyone participating in the Lean in '15 Challenge will have daily opportunities to earn points. The point system is designed to help you clean up your diet and read nutrition labels more critically. This will be a challenge for some, particularly during the first week or two - especially for those truly trying to give up something, such as sugar or alcohol.

To help you cope and provide a resource for your questions, you'll have access to the special Lean in '15 Facebook page. This is a place where participants can help keep each other accountable, share recipes, ask nutrition questions, and share any tips that work for you. I will moderate this page while the other trainers will have access. If you have questions you can reach out to any of us, particularly Steph or I.

The Facebook page is a place where we can support each other through this process, even share our struggles. I don't expect that you will completely avoid sugar or alcohol during the entire contest period. And in fact, you don't need to. Adults attempting to lose weight who are 90% compliant with their diet and exercise program are typically very successful. Total perfection isn't necessary. So don't beat yourself up too badly if you go off program on a night out or a special occasion. Just remember, on those days that you do indulge you simply subtract a point for that category. With all that said, I strongly encourage you to have a "cheat meal" twice a week so you don't feel deprived. Just don't let a cheat meal become a cheat day... or week.

I also will be sending out weekly challenges to help you earn bonus points. At the end of this challenge my goal is for you to recognize how different foods affect YOUR body. There will be two winners; the first place winner will be the contestant who loses the highest percentage of weight (prize = 3 free months at ARX), while the second place winner will be the contestant who accumulates the most points during the challenge period (prize = 1 free month of ARX).

There will be a board hanging in the gym with each participant's name (or pseudonym), along with a list of points-adding (or points-diminishing) activities. You are responsible for writing in your points every time you come to class. The "points" portion of this contest is operating on the honor system so please abide. For those aiming to lose weight, there will be periodic weigh-ins, including an initial baseline during the first week of January. Your weight will be kept private, known only to you and your trainer (whoever weighs you).

So, let's have fun, keep each other accountable and start our journey to being Lean in '15!