Florence’s Biggest Loser competition is returning for the fourth year to provide willing, hard-working competitors with an opportunity to lose weight and live a healthier lifestyle.
Registration for the competition began on Thursday and will continue until Jan. 16, or until interested competitors fill all 80 available spots. The registration fee is $160, which includes a 10-week membership to the McLeod Health and Fitness Center, training sessions with a certified personal trainer and nutrition counseling.
The competition will run from Jan. 24 to April 6 and is sponsored by the United Way of Florence's County Burn and Learn Initiative. Rachel Baggett of the United Way of Florence County said the registration fee and all other money raised during the competition will benefit the Burn and Learn Initiative, which will distribute it to local nonprofit organizations.
“None of the money goes to McLeod. We don’t keep any of it; nothing goes to paying for anything we do,” Baggett said. “It all goes back to our 17 nonprofits.”
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Throughout the program, participants are required to weigh in once a week and take part in various events. Contestants will be placed with a training group based on their schedule availability and work out with a McLeod trainer and other contestants once each week.
Baggett said a few rules have changed since last year’s competition. For example, this year’s Biggest Loser competition will include people ages 15 to 17. The younger contestants must have a parent or guardian also participating in the competition with them.
Another rule change for this year includes an incentive to attend optional events during the competition. A contestant is allowed to have only three absences from the four mandatory events and nine of the group training sessions. If contestants attend an optional event, they can earn an additional absence.
Finally, the price for “Save-A-Weighs” has been reduced. During the competition, if participants gain weight during two of the weekly weigh-ins, they will be disqualified from the Biggest Loser contest. However, a contestant can buy a “Save-A-Weigh” to skip a weigh-in. The price for “Save-A-Weighs” this year has decreased from $35 to $25.
Baggett said these rules are in place to hold contestants accountable throughout the 10-week competition.
“For this to work accountability needs to be there. We need to hold them accountable and it is what helps them get through the program.”
Two winners will be announced during the finale on April 6. The competitors with the greatest percentage of weight loss and the greatest percentage of inches lost at the end of the 10-week contest will win the title of Florence’s Biggest Loser and earn a prize of $500 courtesy of Health Facilities Credit Union.
To register for the Biggest Loser competition or for more information about the program, visit burnandlearnflorence.com.