SGH/Jordan Gerard
The top four winners of the Spring Grove Fitness Center’s “Better U” contest are, from left, Rebecca Splitstoesser, Donna Tweeten, Sandy Deneen and Karen Folstad.
SGH/Jordan Gerard The top four winners of the Spring Grove Fitness Center’s “Better U” contest are, from left, Rebecca Splitstoesser, Donna Tweeten, Sandy Deneen and Karen Folstad.
The Spring Grove Fitness Center held its annual fitness contest Jan. 9 through April 7, and it recently awarded prizes to the top four members who lost the most body weight.

First place went to Rebecca Splitstoesser who lost 13.83 percent of her total body weight; second place was Donna Tweeten who lost 11.74 percent; third place was Sandy Deneen who lost 11.66 percent; and fourth place was Karen Folstad, who lost 10.77 percent.

Each commented how the contest helped them. Some trained personally with Bergey while others used treadmill or elliptical equipment and others walked outside.

“It’s a good way to jump start losing weight,” Folstad said.

Other considerations that went into their weight-loss journeys were watching calories, cutting carbs and concentrating on quality food.

“I have more energy now,” Tweeten said. “It was to feel better and healthier.”

Deneen said she has been able to fit into clothes not worn for eight or nine years.

“I hit a plateau in weight loss and joined the contest to kick start that,” she added.

Splitstoesser explained that she enjoys walking better than she did before the contest.

“It helped me reconnect with outdoor activities,” she added.

There were 15 people who completed the 12-week challenge. Part of the challenge was to lose one to two pounds per week, which is a safe goal to set, said Brandon Bergey, Spring Grove Fitness Center manager.

“It’s a good, safe, healthy goal to set,” he said. “It’s not one extreme to the other.”

The participants had a mandatory weigh-in every two weeks. They each chose code names to keep weights confidential.

The fitness center has held the contest for members since 2008, and it was previously known as the “Biggest Loser,” similar to the TV show.

Spring Grove’s version is different in that everything is not monitored, and contestants aren’t able to dedicate eight hours every day to working out because of their jobs and other commitments, Bergey said.

The contest is now called “Better U” – which has more positive connotations.

This year, the fitness center had a record-breaking contest as the collective weight lost of all of the contestants was 222 lbs., which is about 14 lbs. per person on average, Bergey said. The previous record was 12 lbs.

Cash prizes were awarded to the top four contestants: first place received $400, $300 for second, $200 for third and $100 for fourth.