Statewide weight loss competition organized
WAGNER -- With 2015 fast approaching, weight loss resolutions will be a popular pick for the new year. But for Tony Thompson, it wasn't enough to have a weight loss competition among friends or within one gym. He's making it into a community-base...
WAGNER - With 2015 fast approaching, weight loss resolutions will be a popular pick for the new year.
But for Tony Thompson, it wasn't enough to have a weight loss competition among friends or within one gym. He's making it into a community-based battle that stretches into three states.
Thompson, who is the owner of Complete Fitness in Wagner, is the organizer of the inaugural Statewide Weight Loss Challenge, which includes 16 fitness centers around the state trying to lose the most weight over 30 days. The winner will be decided by weight loss per person for each gym, to allow smaller gyms to compete with larger facilities.
"It's a crazy idea, if I'm being honest," he said. "I just think there are all kinds of people who were once competitive, whether that's basketball or volleyball. This is a chance for people to compete again."
Thompson, who opened his business in 2012 on Main Street in Wagner, said he's had "Biggest Loser" challenges to open the year previously. But he wanted to set up a competition against another gym owner friend and see who's gym could lose the most weight. From there, two gyms morphed into four and Thompson was soon adding as many gyms as he could to get on board.
He said he's hopeful that participants can lose 15 to 20 pounds in the 30 day period, which is based on previous weight loss events he's been involved with.
The event starts Jan. 5, with participants working out four times a week with a weight loss plan that Thompson included. The entry fee is $200 per person and Thompson said that includes nutrition advice, personal training and $190 in weight loss supplements.
"You can't put a price on a more productive lifestyle," said Thompson, who is a former football player at South Dakota State University. "It's not just losing weight, but it's getting your life back to where you want it."
He said the competition is also for himself in a way, because he wants to validate his training methods against others in the state.
Along with Wagner, the area locations include Parkston, Armour, Salem, Corsica, Platte and Chamberlain. There's 16 competing gyms in all, ranging from Canby, Minn., to O'Neill, Neb. That's where Thompson's cold-calling craziness took effect, he said.
"I tracked down the mayor in O'Neill, Nebraska, and asked him who owned the gym down there. He hooked me up and we got them on board. I was just calling gyms and seeing if they would be interested. It was a lot of work, but I think it's going to be good."
There's been interest. Since beginning advertising the event this week, he's had 15 people sign up in Wagner, 15 in Chamberlain and 20 in Parkston.
"I don't think there's ever been anything like this, where there's been a statewide competition," he said. "We're going to get after it for 30 days and make South Dakota fitter."