RANGELEY — Rangeley’s Better For Life Challenge and Competition, the annual weight loss and fitness challenge, will include two levels of competition this year – one for those looking to lose weight and make a lifestyle change and those seeking to improve their physical performance.

Enrollment for the 2010 challenge will be during the first two weeks in January, with assessments and weigh-ins during the third week. The kickoff event will take place in late January and competition will officially start on Feb. 1.

“Our goal is to nurture an ongoing commitment to a healthy and active lifestyle,” said Jeff Hawksley, fitness director at the Wellness Pavilion.

Competitors in the weight loss and lifestyle challenge will have access to educational classes about weight loss, health and nutrition until the end of May. Over the following three months they will use what they learned to continue their weight loss and lifestyle changes and monitor their own progress. Monthly weigh-ins will be held.

The final weigh-in will take place the week of Aug. 23 to 27, with the grand finale and awards ceremony scheduled for Labor Day weekend.

Entrants in the fitness and strength competition will compete over a 16-week period with the winners of the Superman and Wonder Woman titles being honored at the end of May, the midpoint of the challenge.

The 2009 challenge drew 189 starting entrants, nearly 20 percent of the population of Rangeley, and 110 people finished the challenge. A total of 1,266 pounds and inches were lost and average body fat dropped by an average of over four percent.

Contestants at the weight loss level will have their progress assessed monthly using body mass index, waist measurement and blood pressure taken by qualified personnel. Entrants in the fitness challenge, competing individually and not as part of team, will be assessed monthly for strength and fitness based on a starting baseline fitness level.

The Wellness Pavilion will also be adding exercise and fitness classes to the existing schedule. Classes will be tailored to the exercise level of the members. Hawksley said that those in the weight loss challenge and entrants in the fitness competition will not train together. Classes available in the 2010 challenge will include yoga and pilates, core training, spinning, water aerobics and full body fitness. The expansion currently under construction at the Wellness Pavilion will allow for multiple classes to take place at the same time.

During the first four months, free education classes will be held covering both fitness and nutrition based topics. Entrants may earn up to five points weekly for attending education and exercise classes. There will be a charge for use of the exercise facilities at the Wellness Pavilion for nonmembers.

Several area restaurants will also offer healthy cooking instruction and meals.

Hawksley is currently taking an educational program in weight management, which he plans to use to create what he describes as a more personalized weight management program for participants. There will be a fee for developing the program which Hawksley hopes to have available year round.

As with the 2009 challenge, the exercise component will also feature outdoor activities like ice skating, cross country skiing and snowshoeing.

For more information about the Rangeley Better For Life Challenge and discounted personal training sessions during the competition, contact Hawksley or Lindsay Richards at 864-2900.

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