After becoming obsessed with the reality TV show The Biggest Loser, Krista Karo decided to immerse herself into a fitness program similar to one she’d been watching from her couch.
She didn’t hold back. Karo dropped 33 pounds in 10 weeks and won a Biggest Winner Loser program at West Shore Parks and Recreation last year.
“I’d see a bunch of people doing it and it just seemed like fun,” Karo said.
While in the Biggest Winner Loser, Karo started hitting the gym at least two days per week, plenty she thought.
“(The trainers) were telling me that two days was not going to be enough,” Karo recalled.
She ramped it up to six days per week and on the seventh day she would do some light exercise such as hiking with her black lab Indy or cycling.
After one year since starting her weight loss journey, the 24-year-old View Royal resident has shed 50 pounds. “I worked hard for this,” Karo said.
The Biggest Winner Loser is the most popular program at West Shore parks and rec and has been offered since 2006.
“This was when all they reality weight loss shows really took off,” said Kristy Webster, fitness and wellness programer at WSPR.
After the recent weight room expansion, the program has been able to accommodate about 60 people compared to the previous classes of 36. Even with more space in the program WSPR still has about 20 people on each wait list.
“It seems to be a need for the community,” said Webster, adding the average weight loss per person per session is about 15 to 20 pounds. “In this program we keep the cardiovascular at a bit more intensity.”
After completing the 2010 spring program, Karo continued on to complete a second session.
Participants are divided into small groups with a trainer and put through circuits. At the first day of the program everyone is weighed and measured and this is redone on the final day of the course. “It’s kind of like the show,” Karo said
On top of adding a significant amount of physical activity to her life, Karo also changed how she eats. Now she has eliminated sugar and eats only whole foods.
Before joining the Biggest Winner Loser program Karo had taken other programs at the rec centre such as boot camps. Now she enjoys taking the spin classes.
“I was always a bit sporty,” Karo said. “I gained quite a bit of weight when I stopped playing organized sports.”
During her two times around The Biggest Winner Loser program, Karo was exposed to several different types of exercises and nutritional information.
With 50 pounds down Karo says she still has 35 pound to drop. Currently she is cycling about four days a week.
Langford resident Shannon Jackson has been through the program five times, and has also shed 50 pounds.
“For me it’s about the consistency of it,” Jackson said. “Obviously I do this for my health, my goal is to feel healthy. I am 50 so I have lost a pound for every year.”
Even with a busy schedule Jackson has made it a priority to fit the program into her life.
“I had to make the time and then once I started I was kind of hooked,” she said.
Four sessions are offered throughout the year and each is about 10 weeks long. Classes fills up quickly. People of all ages have partaken in the course ranging from teens to people in their 70s.
“People come here with weight loss goals from 10 to 100 pounds,” Webster said. “It can be a bit of a challenge to train them.”
In some cases people are advised to consult with their doctor and even bring a consent form from their physician before beginning the program.
“This gives people the confidence with physical ability to try new things,” Webster said.