CAMP ZAMA, Japan – Help is on the way for those looking to shed some weight and get in shape following the holiday season.
The Armed Forces Wellness Center here plans to kick off its annual “Biggest Loser” competition next month, with registration starting this Monday for active-duty military members and Friday for all other participants.
“The point of the event is to create a supportive network within the community and get people excited and motivated to live healthier, sustainable lifestyles,” said Maria Wallace, the center’s lead health educator.
The six-week program, which runs from Feb. 5 to March 18, aims to help Camp Zama personnel achieve and maintain a healthy weight and body composition through health education and behavioral change.
Only 35 individuals will be able to join the self-directed fitness journey, including retirees, federal civilian employees and adult family members. Several prizes will be awarded throughout the contest, and the competition fee is $15 but free for active-duty military members.
All participants will receive a contest T-shirt and expert advice from AWC professionals.
“We want to provide them resources and support,” Wallace said, “so that they’re able to get the best type of lifestyle that they can achieve.”
Participants in last year’s competition, for instance, lost a total of more than 50 pounds, with one individual losing as many as 13 pounds.
To track their progress, participants will undergo assessments, including the Bod Pod system, a body composition test that determines the ratio of body fat to lean mass.
Metabolic testing will be available to help participants identify their unique target caloric zone, as well as biofeedback to see how their bodies respond to stress.
Participants can also attend classes to learn weight management strategies in the areas of sleep, nutrition and activity.
“We can give them good tips and tricks on how to improve in any of those areas,” Wallace said.
Even outside of the Biggest Loser competition, AWC offers its classes and other services to all Military Health System beneficiaries looking to improve themselves.
During the contest, participants can compete for prizes by tracking the number of steps they take each week and how often they exercise at fitness centers on Camp Zama, Sagamihara Family Housing Area and Sagami General Depot.
Instructors at Camp Zama’s Yano Fitness Center will also be offering their fitness classes to participants.
“People can try new things and see what works best for them,” Wallace said.
While the competition is mainly done independently, Wallace said participants can still make an appointment with AWC staff if they require additional assistance or can interact with fellow contestants to motivate each other.
“I hope that this challenge sets them up for success in the future,” she said, “and that they’re able to find something they really enjoy, because health and wellness should be enjoyable in order to maintain it over a long time.”
Those interested in the competition or in other AWC services can call 263-4073 or 046-407-4073 for more information.