Challengers prove consistency, commitment key to fitness


Challengers prove consistency, commitment key to fitness

Sunday, August 09, 2020

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WHILE the top performers in the National Health Fund's (NHF) 10th Anniversary Work-It-Out Challenge might have come from different parishes and walks of life, they all recognised the importance of having the right mindset and level of commitment and consistency when it comes to fitness.

Alicia Hines and Rodrick Boothe were announced as the top female and male, respectively, at a virtual awards ceremony on July 8, 2020, at the end of the 24-week fitness competition.

“When you see these traits in persons and the [level of] interest, you don't really force them to do what is best,” said Work-It-Out Challenge trainer Odean Taylor, who operates from Funrobics Fitness in Portmore. “Once you give them the necessary directives, they act.”

Another trainer for the NHF competition, Karelle Ashley-Jones, co-founder of Jamaica Fitness Association, noted that, in addition exercising four times a week, participants also had to commit to their diets.

“In terms of their nutrition, they consistently stayed away from carbs, rice and bread, and all those things,” Ashley-Jones said. “I think that's what made them come out on top.”

The Work-It-Out Challenge featured exercise sessions, boot camps, dance-off sessions, and proper nutrition, and encouraged lifestyle changes in order to achieve a healthier mind and body.

Hines, who lost 81 pounds during the competition, shed the most weight of the 2019 contestants and she achieved that by sticking to a new diet she adopted before entering the competition.

“Dieting is hard, but it's about the mindset,” Hines said. “Once you programme your mind to do it, it gets easier.”

Boothe was equally dedicated to not eating late, as well as having more fruits and water. He lost 12 pounds as a result, as well as inches from his waist.

Having completed the Work-It-Out Challenge, the top performers have continued their fitness regimes, demonstrating true commitment.

Last year, Hines, 30, was experiencing a breathing problem that made her fear she could die in her sleep. Today, that problem is behind her and she now has a new-found confidence.

“When I'm walking in the street, I feel great,” said Hines. “I feel like I'm the most beautiful woman in the world.

She said she did not enter the competition to win.

“I entered with just the thought of improving myself,” she explained.

Prior to participating in the fitness competition, Hines was informed by her doctor that she was obese and at risk of developing hypertension and diabetes.

“I grew up seeing my grandmother going through a lot in fighting those two diseases. So, if I can prevent myself from getting them, I'm going to do whatever it takes,” she said.

It was with that determination and encouragement from a friend that she signed up for the competition.

“The trainers would push you to do things that you maybe thought you couldn't do,” she said about the sessions, which she found to be very interactive.

For the top male of the competition, before the Work-It-Out Challenge, his doctor told him that his blood pressure was 160/130. A normal blood pressure reading is less than 120/80mmHg.

Boothe, a facilities manager at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, joined the challenge after one of his colleagues signed him up for it because she wanted someone to do the challenge with her. Today, the 44-year-old's blood pressure is normal.

Although he was the only member of his team who completed the challenge, he was consistent with his weekly exercise sessions, which was facilitated by the weight loss and fitness programme.

“If I start something, I like to finish it,” he said.

His major sacrifice was sleep, as he had to train each Saturday, which he continues to do now that the competition is over.

“Because of the vibes, I know I am getting at Sweet Energy, it gives me the boost to go,” he said, referring to the fitness club at Jessie Ripoll Primary School on South Camp Road where he trains.

While Booth recommends pairing regular exercise and eliminating oily foods for anyone trying to lose weight, Hines is reminding that we are responsible for our own health.

“When you're young and you're pushing towards your goals and your dreams, sometimes, because of all of that, you may not find time to look after your health. But, I have learnt that there is no wealth without good health. If you want to enjoy whatever it is you are working for, it is important that you take your health in hand, exercise and keep fit,” she said.

The trainers had some advice, too.

“You have some persons who aren't self-motivated and need help to keep going,” said Ashley-Jones.

According to the Jamaica Fitness Association co-founder, “Motivation is so important. To have somebody there motivating you and telling you to keep going, helps you to do so much more than you could by yourself.”

Many average Jamaicans may not have the benefit of a trainer, as those who participated in the Work-It-Out Challenge participants, but they can still develop the necessary discipline to achieve or maintain fitness.

“You have one body and nobody else can work on that body. You are in control of yourself, and whatever decision you make will affect you negatively or positively,” Taylor said.

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