Students shed pounds for trips

Many students have been checking dates and figures for their trips this spring break.

But some students haven’t been checking airline schedules or hotel vacancies. They’ve been checking weight loss and body fat percentages.

Ninety students, faculty and staff have decided to participate in “Suit Up for Spring Break.” The program at the Preston Center is designed to help people safely lose a desired amount of weight and body fat. While there are 10 males who have signed up, an overwhelming majority of the participants are female.

The first progress was checked Feb. 6 and there are check-ins every other Friday.

The program will last up to spring break and at the end of the program, recognition will be given in four categories to those who have made the most progress: male, female, athletic and non-athletic.

Laura Hall, an Exercise Coordinator at Preston, is coordinating the program and assists in check-ins and progress for its duration.

“Men tend to want to put on weight rather than lose it,” she said. “Maybe there could be a program in the future that would encourage that.”

Progress is shown by a chart displayed in the Preston Center. The participant’s weight begins at zero and progresses backwards as weight is lost. If four pounds are lost, the participant’s weight will be shown as going from zero to negative four. Real names are not displayed, and each person has chosen a nickname because of the personal nature of the information.

While there is no structured fitness or exercise program to directly accommodate the setup, Preston does offer regular lab services and tours to assist the students, faculty and staff with their goals. The only thing the program will do is measure weight and body fat. Exercising will be left up to the participants.

Hall recommends losing no more than about two pounds per week to stay healthy. This means that a dedicated person could safely lose up to 16 pounds in this time.

Some people are aiming for goals higher than this. One male participant had already been recorded losing 12 pounds in no more than two weeks, Hall said.

Louisville freshman Anna Moore decided to join the program to help her get in shape and “into a bathing suit” for her trip to Destin, Fla.

She said the program has helped her lose some weight and gain tone.

“It’s helped me eat healthier and work out more often,” Moore said.

Moore’s roommate, Louisville freshman Emily Guelda, is also participating. She said her goal was to become healthier in general, not just for spring break.

“I wanted to have a healthier lifestyle,” she said. “I’ve actually lost weight and gained confidence.”

Matt Thoma, Hall’s assistant, is also helping with the program. He is helping participants check their body fat percentage and offers advice if asked.

“I think this program is mostly being used as a motivator,” Thoma said. “This helps people hold themselves accountable for their success. Many are involved because this is a good way to see a record of their progress.”

Hall said the program was designed to combat the typical unhealthy college lifestyle. And she said “Suit up for spring break” was promoted to alleviate stress associated with exercising in college.

Herald reporter Beth Wilberding contributed to this story.

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