RSA launches plan to reward ‘big losers’

By Bessie King

From running laps to choosing carrots over chocolate, getting into shape will become a highly publicized process for 10 students when the “NU Biggest Loser” competition kicks off at the end of the month.

The Resident Student Association (RSA), along with the Marino Center will choose 10 contestants to participate in an 11-week fitness program based on the NBC hit reality show, “The Biggest Loser.” The competition will challenge participants to shed holiday pounds through exercise, healthy dieting and a series of physical fitness challenges, which may include swimming and jumping rope, said Smith Anderson, RSA vice president for programming.

“RSA approached us with the idea of making this program to help students realize that their fitness goals can be reached in a healthy and fun manner – exercising or the gym should not be intimidating,” said Kristen Miller, assistant director of campus recreation and director of fitness at the Marino Center.

The program is intended to help students gain confidence in their exercising habits, create a more welcoming atmosphere at the Marino Center and let students know fitness goals can be achieved, Miller said.

The contestants will each have a personal trainer and their own nutrition plan, and a winner will be chosen at the end of the 11-week fitness regimen based on who earned the most points from the challenges. Students’ progress will be tracked through weekly weigh-ins and body fat measurements at University Health and Counseling Services, and logged on the RSA website with photos, videos and discussion boards.

Contestants will also meet with their trainers at least four times a week at the Marino Center. No formal eliminations will take place, but if a participant takes the fitness ideology to extreme levels, such as overexercising or not eating enough, they will be disqualified, Miller said.

“The prize itself will be a more healthy lifestyle – they will have more education and understanding of how to exercise, and I am willing to stop a participant if I see they are not healthy,” she said.

While prizes have not been finalized due to funding concerns, Anderson said RSA is considering awarding the winner a new wardrobe to match his or her new physique.

Miles Klein, a sophomore philosophy major, said the program would be a positive addition to campus.

“It is absolutely a good idea because any incentive to lose a couple of pounds is great. After all, everyone would be a winner,” he said.

Senior psychology major Edward Murkland also supported the 11-week event.

“I think it’s a great idea, and I would do it because it would teach me how to be fit for the rest of my life for free, so why not?” he said.

Anderson said all are welcome to apply to the program and RSA is not looking for any specific body type. Applications are available at the RSA website and the Marino Center office. The deadline to sign up is Jan. 19.

If the series proves successful a second season may take place in the future, Anderson said.

Organizers said they are looking forward to interacting with the contestants, and that it will be a difficult process, but rewarding in the end. Anderson said he hopes the “NU Biggest Loser” program will encourage healthy lifestyles for the rest of the student community.

“I think people in general wish they could be healthier,” he said. “So with this plan others can realize that if the 10 students can do it, they can too, and we can get Northeastern fitter.”

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