BETHEL — The Biggest Loser Challenge is coming back to Workout 24/7 in Bethel, and owner Courtney Bennett said it’s a great way to kick-start a long-term weight loss goal for the new year.

The challenge will run from Jan. 9 to Feb. 27 and feature weekly weigh-ins for all participants. The winner will receive $500 in cash, a one-year gym membership at Workout 24/7, a 30-day Arbonne healthy living set, which includes a detox program and skin care regimen, and a T-shirt.

The winner of the most recent challenge, which ran from April 1 to July 1, was Adam Gooley. He lost 23.14 percent of his body fat, totaling 70 pounds.

To enter, participants need to pay a $75 entrance fee, which covers gym membership for nonmembers, or adds eight weeks to an existing membership.

Bennett said the challenge is important to the community as a whole because of the lasting relationships that can develop during the challenge.

“I saw a lot of friendships formed with our first challenge — even after it’s over people will still go hiking together and be active together. (The challenge) also brings health awareness to the community, and it’s just a really fun program,” she said.

To help participants in the challenge, certified personal trainer and Zumba instructor Patty Truman will conduct optional two-day-per-week classes to strengthen the core, and coaches Heather Roderick and Cherri Crockett will provide moral support to keep challenge participants motivated.

Though it can be daunting to begin a weight loss journey and even more so to continue it religiously, Bennett said she believes the biggest roadblock people face is intimidation.

“The gym can be very intimidating, but once (people) get in here and realize they’re part of a group focused on one goal, it makes everything easier,” she said.

A private Facebook page is set up for competitors during the challenge. Only body fat percentage loss is posted, not actual pounds, which Bennett said eases insecurities and maintains privacy.

So far, 16 people have signed up for the challenge. Forty-eight participated in the previous challenge.

To join the Biggest Loser Challenge, visit Workout 24/7 at 32 Parkway Plaza in Bethel or call 207-824-4766.

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