Liberty Fit Club members did their best to ignore Thursday’s rainy, overcast weather and channel their inner beach bums to celebrate the success of county employees who recently picked up a few healthy-living habits.
As tropical theme music blared in the background, the participants gathered around tables covered with sky blue tablecloths at the Shuman Recreation Center and enjoyed lunch as their friends and co-workers were honored. The grant-funded L.I.V.E. Well program, which spawned Liberty Fit Club, is designed to get government employees excited about healthy living.
“This is our fourth ‘Biggest Loser’-type competition. Each time, I think, it gets better and better,” Assistant County Administrator Bob Sprinkle said. “It’s been a joy watching everybody. It’s important that we do these kind of events because it also helps morale and our overall health of our employees … it’s been a win-win.”
The program combines healthy eating with exercise while encouraging participants to undergo regular health screenings. Although the fitness club aspect is complete, the L.I.V.E. Well program will continue through the end of the year, allowing employees to rack up “points” to win other prizes such as luncheons and gift cards.
A total of 23 employees from 18 different county departments participated in the two-month program. Liberty Fit Club members occasionally spent their lunch hours exercising with a Kinect for Xbox 360. Upon arriving at the luncheon, each person who worked out with the Xbox 360 was given a ticket for every session attended.
After lunch, which was catered by Occasions and included Lowcountry boil, coleslaw, fruit salad and angel-food cake, Liberty Fit Club health promotion leader Laura Troutman made her way to the front of the room. She showed photos from the Kinect sessions, which elicited laughter from the crowd, before announcing the top four weight-loss winners. Each winner was given a certificate and cash prizes that were generated by the $10-per-person fee paid by participants at the beginning of the program.
Erica Smith of 911 communications, Kim Brown of the county records retention center, Jason Jones of the public works department and Quixote McCullough from the tax assessor’s office collected their rewards as their peers cheered. Kim McGlothlin, Liberty County finance officer, won the Xbox 360 for her participation in the twice-a-week workout sessions.
McCullough, the “biggest loser” of the group with an 8.78 percent weight loss, said he ate more fruits, vegetables and whole-grain foods.
“I ate differently,” he said. “I just wanted overall wellness and look better and feel better about myself.”
Although the first two weeks were the toughest, McCullough said, the competition and camaraderie is what made the challenge worth it.
“Jamie Sharp was my motivation … I had to do better than him,” McCullough said of a fellow county employee. “Overall, it was a wonderful experience. I can’t wait until next year.”
Troutman, who also is the county human resources specialist, said the beach theme concept was designed to help participants relax after all their hard work.
“I wanted to bring a relaxing theme,” said Troutman, who donned flip-flops for the occasion. “Although weight is used to determine the winners, my ultimate goal is to promote good nutrition and physical fitness.”