Program Aims to Tackle Weight Issues

Trevor Umbinetti • The Spectator

Trevor Umbinetti • The Spectator

Overweight people are not the only ones struggling with their weight.
Being underweight is also a struggle.

Reality television shows have documented these struggles when shifting towards a healthier lifestyle. One instance of this is the TV reality show, “The Biggest Loser,” where trainers help transform the lives of overweight contestants. In the end, the person who ends up losing the most weight becomes the winner, walking away with a healthier body and money.

For the trainers of this show, they try to help contestants improve their bodies and health, which ultimately transforms their life.

On a smaller scale, Seattle University is hosting a competition called “The Biggest Loser/Gainer,” which emulates much of the “The Bigger Loser” except that it includes those also trying to gain muscle weight.

The participants of “The Biggest Loser/Gainer” are not drastically overweight or underweight. Rather, they are seeking training for a healthier lifestyle and size.

“For people who think their weight is a problem or any guys are insecure about being small, just know that the gym is here and that you can change it,” said Seattle U Trainer Ryan Weinman.

Weinman, who upon seeing a similar program at a school in Auburn, started up this program at Seattle U. After a year of pushing, it finally happened.

Students, staff, faculty and alumni are invited to participate.

The program is set up for eight weeks. Participants must sign up for a minimum of six sessions which cost $25 per session. From there, participants are placed under the training of one of the eight trainers, which forms the teams. In the end, individual success will declare the biggest loser and gainer. These results are based on percent body weight loss for the losers and biggest gainers are based on percent lean body mass.

“[I hope to gain] muscle. But I’ve always been really underweight so this kind of gives me the opportunity to get back to a healthy weight,” said freshman Josh Tenzer. “Putting a competition aspect in there also makes it more fun.”

On the biggest loser side, alumnus Pablo Fernandez, a contestant for the biggest loser category, is also participating in the program for reasons related to health.

“I’m 20 percent body fat and I should be a lot less. Twenty percent is a lot and my doctor said I can stand to lose 15 pounds for my height,”
said Fernandez.

When either gaining or losing weight, there could be potential health problems that arise if participants begin to lose or gain weight in an unhealthy manner. However, these will be addressed throughout the program.

“With biggest gainer, you can’t just eat a lot and win because we’re taking your body fat and subtracting that from your weight and that’s your lean body mass,” Weinman said.

But participants must also keep a healthy diet in mind.
“I’m taking very good care of my diet and that’s about it. I’m pretty aware of not wanting to hurt myself or do anything like that,” Tenzer said.

Weinman also mentioned talking to his clients on how unhealthy diets can negatively affect them, and participants like Fernandez will take note.
“I’ll listen carefully to what they’re advising and I made a commitment to actually do it,” Fernandez said.

Like the trainers in “The Biggest Loser,” Weinman ultimately wants to help transform the lives of his clients.

“I love to completely change someone’s life,” Weinman said.

“I like to see that look your client gets. It’s like an excited look when they come in and work. They don’t have it at first, you know. But then you start seeing them enjoying coming into the gym or being excited for your training session.”

Each trainer will have their own approach to helping their client get in better shape. Times and frequency in a week will be based on each client. Group sessions will also help keep the participants motivated and create a support group.

“I hope that being part of an experience with them, they’ll know more people,” Weinman said. “Maybe that’s why I’m doing my team work outs with them, so they can have that bond, so they can have someone that they can come to the gym with.”

The top three competitors in each category will receive prizes. Though more prizes will be added throughout, several of the prizes have been confirmed, including 2013-2014 floor seats to a men’s basketball game from Seattle U Athletics, an iPod shuffle 2G from Cleveland Elite Training Studio, a two-week introductory/VIP unlimited use gift certificate from Live Love Flow Yoga, one free personal training session for every five pounds of fat lost or lean mass gained from SeattleU Recreation–Fitness and a variety of gift cards by local businesses.

“I want them to feel that feeling when you walk into a room and you know everyone is looking at you, you know everyone knows you’re kicking ass because that’s how I feel and I want others to feel like that,” Weinman said.

Final weigh-ins will be on Friday, April 5.

Bianca may be reached at [email protected]