It’s not just about losing weight.
It’s good to lose weight if you need to lose, but the Greater Fall River Fitness Challenge is about fitness, as the name suggests.
"We don't want it to be totally weight-focused,” said Annemarie Holly, program director for Greater Fall River Re-Creation, which has hosted the fitness challenge for the past 11 years.
“This is the kick-off,” Holly said Saturday morning at Kuss Middle School, just before they opened the doors. “This is the longest running fitness challenge in the United States. We have 20 vendors, demonstrations, and you get weighed today.”
While Saturday was the kick-off, those wanting to join the challenge can still sign up, either at events or by going to Re-Creation headquarters at the corner of Rock and Bedford streets. The challenge ends on April 12. In between, participants can attend workout sessions, or use the key tag they received for joining to access a bunch of fitness deals at local gyms and health facilities.
“We get about 600 people,” Holly said.
While weight isn’t the event’s only focus, prizes are given at the end of the challenge for the most weight lost, judged by percentage of body weight.
First prize is $750, second is $400, and third place nets $300.
Inside the gym at Kuss, tables lined the walls. Participants, who got a health check and a weigh-in just for joining, made their way through tables from Saint Anne’s Hospital, TKO Fitness, and a number of other health-related businesses. Out in the center of the gym, a large group of people demonstrated fitness-seeking to music, moving, kicking, punching, jumping, getting the heart and the muscles going.
Frank Timmons, 43, of Fall River, waited in line but he wasn’t sure if he’d make it to the weigh-in.
“I’m not sure I’m going to go for the challenge,” he said. “I want to see what it’s all about, though.”
Inside the gym, the music boomed and the dancers danced.
During the course of the event, participants can get deals like a $5 fitness class, pool pass or gym day-pass at the Fall River YMCA, one free fitness class per week at SALT, and a lot of other deals at a lot of other places.
The line got longer, everybody edging toward fitness.
Melanie Sanchez, 29, of Fall River had a weight loss goal of 20 pounds, but was just as concerned about the prevalence of diabetes in her family, and how to be proactive.
“I had my son about a year ago,” said Sanchez. “I need a little push."