Northwoods YMCA programs target holiday weight gain
Even the most dedicated fitness fanatic can struggle to keep off extra pounds during the holiday season. But the Northwoods YMCA is hoping to help area residents from gaining unwanted weight that comes with this festive time of year.
“The average weight gain around the holidays is seven pounds, the seasonal seven,” YMCA Wellness Director Chris Cook said. “Basically we wanted to help people avoid that weight gain.”
To that end, the YMCA is introducing a new program and a reboot of an older program to help keep people active during the holiday season and keep unwanted pounds from piling on. The two events are the Ho Ho Hold Your Weight Challenge and the Frozen Ultra Triathlon event.
The Ho Ho Hold Your Weight Challenge is similar to a program the YMCA used to offer but has been tweaked.
“We offered a program like this a few years ago,” Cook said. “But this is a different program and it is designed to help people keep of that seasonal weight.”
The program cost $15 to sign up with the opportunity to make some of their money back and maybe even more.
Participants who maintain their weight, lost weight or stayed within two pounds of their weight will receive $10 back and be eligible for the grand prize drawing for half the remaining pot after paybacks.
“We start with a weigh in at the beginning of the program and then we have a weigh in at the end,” Cook said.
The program is a work on your own with no specific classes for the event but it does come with a packet with helpful tips and literature on holiday foods.
“It is all about accountability,” Aquatics Director Melissa Nieman said. “There is a section on how to burn off Thanksgiving dinner where it tells you if you eat this, you have to this much exercise.”
The event will run from Nov. 18 to Jan. 15.
Frozen Hodag Ultra Triathlon
Those participating in the Ho Ho Hold Your Weight Challenge could also benefit from the YMCA newest event, the Frozen Hodag Ultra Triathlon. The triathlon is building off the success of two recent events, the 100 mile swim challenge at the YMCA last April and the inaugaral Rhinelander Triathlon held this summer.
“We were looking for something to get people motivated during the holiday season and the winter,” said Nieman, who ran the 100-mile swim challenge last year and will spearhead the Triathlon event this winter.
Participants sign up and pay a $5 to participate in the program. The distances for the event are 25 miles of swimming, 225 miles of biking and 60 miles of running.
While the distances may look daunting, the program runs from Dec. 1 to Feb. 28 and participants will accumulate mileage over time using the ammenaties at the YMCA. All the exercise does have to be done in the Y and using Y equipment but those participating do have options.
“We are going to allow the treadmill or the elipitical for running,” Cook said. “And if you take a spinning class, that counts for your biking.”
For those who are not strong swimmers, the rules allow for the use of items to help in that regard.
“We are allowing kick boards and flippers,” Nieman said. “The whole thing will be on the honors system.”
Participants will have to report their mileage on the day they complete their exercise and the results will be posted on a board in the fitness center.
“We did that with the 100-mile swim challenge and we saw six, seven people who you could see were competing with each other,” Nieman said. “One day one would be ahead, then the next day someone else would pass them up.”
While competition between friends can make the event more interesting, Nieman said the goal is just to finish the distances and stay active during the holidays and winter months.
“It is something you have to keep doing,” Nieman said. “You have keep exercising to make these goals.”
Those who complete the triathlon distances will receive a T-shirt and a medal along with recognition at the YMCA.
Both programs are open to YMCA members only.
For more information on these programs, call the YMCA at 715-362-9622 or visit www.ymcaofthenorthwoods.org.