Get in shape. Be active. Eat healthy.
Five locals, with the help of five local gyms, are about to show Chattanooga how it's done.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press is introducing the Erlanger Live Fit Challenge in which five Chattanoogans team up with five local gyms to compete over the next seven months for prizes, bragging rights and, ultimately, healthier lives.
And, the Times Free Press is inviting readers along for the ride.
Throughout 2015, Live Well Magazine, which will be inside Wednesday's Times Free Press, is following and documenting the progress of Teresa Kelly, Casey Prock, Sandra Kelley, Missy Smith and Michelle Hall as they work with trainers three times a week, change their diets and strive for healthier lives.
Every seven weeks, the contestants will have a progress check with an Erlanger doctor, who will record weight, body fat percentage, blood pressure and the circumference at 12 different points on their body, says Times Free Press Health and Safety Coordinator Sarah Bass, who was at the helm of planning and implementing the challenge.
The winner will be the one who sees the most improvement overall by the end of the seven months.
"We did the same thing here [at the Times Free Press]," says Bass. "One employee lost close to 200 pounds and 3 1/2 feet in circumference. Several lost close to 100 pounds. When we saw this change take place in our company, we saw an opportunity to take this to our community."
The contestants' progress will be documented in Living Well, which publishes in January, May and September.
More than 100 locals applied to be a contestant in the challenge, and the five who were selected are being teamed up with either Chattanooga YMCA, Forte Fitness, Fitness Garage, B.U.S.Y. Body or Iron Tribe.
Other local businesses are also taking part in the challenge by providing their services and products to the contestants. For example, New Balance Chattanooga is fitting each of them with athletic shoes, clothing and other gear. Whole Foods is providing $25 worth of groceries every week; Core Power is giving gear and its protein shakes; and Massage Envy is offering a free sports massage.
"As far as health insurance and the way overall health affects that, none of it is getting better. We're trying to make sure we are taking care of our community and that we all stay well-informed about health," Bass says. "Having our readers read about real people in their community that are doing these life-changing programs, they'll realize they can do it, too."
Contact Kelsie Bowman at email@example.com or 423-757-6423.