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It’s good to be a ‘loser’

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Indianapolis residents can now look forward to having fun while improving their physical health and helping solve two of society’s major problems.

The Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention (CHIP) is presenting the Indy’s Biggest Loser competition.

The local competition is modeled after the hit NBC show “The Biggest Loser,” which involves teams or individuals who compete to lose the most weight for a cash prize.

“This is a unique opportunity for anyone who wants to improve their health but also would like to make a significant contribution to the fight to end homelessness,” said Emily Hervey, program manager for CHIP.

CHIP is a nonprofit agency that advocates for homeless and near homeless people in the Indianapolis area and helps the organizations that serve them work together effectively.

As part of the challenge participants will be able to visit two area gyms for a 12-week boot camp where each pound they lose will be matched by a dollar from donors who are helping CHIP meet its goals of getting more homeless individuals and families off the streets.

A cash prize of $500 will be given to the contestant who lose the most pounds, followed by $300 and $200 for second and third place finishers.

Indy Boot Camps, a local provider of fitness training services, is co-sponsoring Indy’s Biggest Loser with CHIP, and sessions for the fitness camps will take place three times a week at the company’s Eagle Creek Location on the city’s Westside and its Northside facility near Castleton.

“They actually came to us and said this is something they wanted to do, and they thought it would be fun to have our own local competition,” said Hervey.

Participants have to pay $375 for the 12-week fitness boot camp, which includes sessions totaling over 35 hours. However special arrangements can be made for those who are serious about their health and want to support the cause, but can’t afford the fee.

A $50 discount is offered to couples who participate in the program, and a $25 discount is offered to those who participate in the upcoming Indy Health Expo on Saturday, Jan. 23 and Sunday Jan. 24 at the Champions Pavilion of the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

Hervey said the management of Indy Boot Camps is also willing to work out arrangements to make the cost affordable for everyone.

Homelessness and obesity are gradually becoming more serious challenges in Indiana. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 26 percent of Indiana residents are overweight, and the number will continue to rise if changes in diet and exercise are not made by more families.

A recent study conducted by Indiana University’s Center for Health Policy indicated that between 5,000 and 7,000 individuals experienced homelessness in Marion County in 2009.

“The survey we conducted was a point-in-time count, so the actual number of people who experienced homelessness could have been higher,” said Dr. Eric Wright, director of the Center for Health Policy. “The entire community has to get involved if we want to see more families in homes, and this challenge is a great way for everyone to show their support.”

Be the best ‘loser’

What: Indy’s Biggest Loser fitness challenge

When: Jan. 25 through April 15

Where: Indy Boot Camps, 3939 N. High School Rd. and 6330 E. 75th St. Classes will be held each Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at the North location from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and at the West location from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m.

Cost: $375 (discounts/arrangements available)

For more information, call (317) 630-0853 or visit www.chipindy.org.

‘The Biggest Loser:’ A winning concept

Episodes of “The Biggest Loser” reality show first appeared on NBC in October 2004, and its concept of offering cash prizes to individuals or teams who lose weight has caught on worldwide. Versions of the show are now shown in Asia, Great Britain, the Middle East, South Africa and other areas of the world. The latest American installment, “Couples 3” began on Jan. 5 and is shown each Tuesday evening on WTHR Channel 13.

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