First Place Winners: Yella Fella
Yella Fella, a team consisting of five friends, initially created by Duc Tran, who made the commitment to start working out before the HealthyWage challenge, thought entering would be a great way to increase his motivation and have some fun with friends. He asked friends, Chau Do, Quyen Phan, Steven Le to join and they all agreed that the competition would be a great way to lose weight and perhaps win some cash along the way. Rounding out the team was final member, Rick Dang, who explains how the team initially got started on their weight loss journey, “Our team created a group on Facebook to communicate with one another and to provide each other with periodic updates regarding our progress. We frequently met at a designated member’s home to hold group workouts or at a local park for team runs.”
Yella Fella started the competition out strong by winning the first mini challenge and never let up, winning the next five mini challenges. Winning all six mini challenges in addition to the overall Matchup is an accomplishment very few teams achieve. To stay motivated, the team created their own internal incentives as Rick Dang details, “The team members called and checked up on everyone every week to make sure all the members stayed on target. We also had another incentive that if a member did not meet the goal of 16.59% weight lost then that member would have to pay the other members an extra $25 and pay for an expensive dinner after we were done. That helped us stay motivated!”
Most winning teams realize that the biggest prize, even more than the actual cash prizes, is the chance at leading a healthier lifestyle. Chau Do enthusiastically describes how his life has improved, “My lifestyle has significantly changed due to the HealthyWage Challenge. I have quit smoking entirely! I stayed away from alcoholic beverages and sugary drinks throughout the entire challenge. I have never eaten so many fruits and vegetable in my life! Also, I have developed a routine of running around my neighborhood on an almost daily basis.”
Steve Le, like many of us trying to lose weight, realized it’s not as easy as it had been when we were younger, “The biggest thing I had to change was my diet. My metabolism is not as fast as it was back in high school, so I had to change my eating habits to make up for my metabolism. My worst enemy was food. Had to stop eating out. During the challenge I had to cook everything I ate.”
All the team members plan to put their cash winnings to good use, In fact both Duc Tran and Quyen Phan plan to donate some of their prize money to help others as he “Half of my winnings I will donate to my Church. The other half will cover my expenses for the pass three months of this program. Such as healthy food, gym membership and workout gear/accessories.”
Congratulations Team Yella Fella on an amazing achievement!
Second Place Winners: Thacker Five
The all-family team, Thacker Five, was created after Brad Thacker heard about HealthyWage and the Matchup Team Challenge at his work. He quickly recruited his wife Kalaina, mother Janet, sister Kim and brother Jon to join the team.
Even faced with distance between team members the team was committed to work together as Jon explains,” Several times a week we reported in to each other, and shared successes and encouraged one another to do our best. Two of us live hours away from the rest of the team, and they encouraged us to follow our plans and to exercise. The three that lived near each other went to the same gym to work out.”
While the gym contributed to the team’s weight loss, nutrition and eating right was also a big lifestyle change for all the members as Kalaina shares, “Probably that most important thing I did to loose weight was changing my eating habits. We decided to do a low carb diet, and learned very quickly how many things we normally eat that have so many carbs, so we changed our behavior by n
ot buying foods that would tempt us and not going out to eat. We also planned out our meals, so that we would not be in situations where we were hungry and not having a plan for what to eat. We also stared going to the gym at least 5 days a week and working out for at least an hour with a planned work out.”
Staying motivated with diet and exercise alone is very hard and sometimes people need an extra push, which is where the financial incentive helps. Team Thacker definitely felt the prize money helped as Jon describes in detail, “I have successfully dieted in the past to lose weight for one reason or another. I have successfully been on an exercise program for specific reasons, like participating in the Hood to Coast race several years ago in Oregon. However, I have never been able to combine the two to maximize weight with exercise. The cash prize was 100% the motivating factor to do both. There is absolutely no way that I could have maxed out my weight loss without the diet and exercise together, and the cash prize was the motivating factor.”
The team lost an incredible, combined total of 183 pounds with 4 members losing over 17% of their body weight. They all intend to keep up with their healthy lifestyle choices and stay competitive as Kim shares, “I plan to continue to eat healthy and exercise every day. My family might also come up with a competition to keep it going.”
Keep up the great work and congratulations on a tremendous effort!
Third Place Winners: Phat Boys
The Phat Boys Team consisted of five work colleagues David Driskell, John Rivero, Vince Perez, Alfonso Padilla and Daniel Aguila. When asked about how the team stayed motivated by keeping it simple as John Rivero explains,”1. Join Gym, 2. Start Working Out, 3. Eating Right, 4. Quit soda, beer and junk food, 5. Keeping the eye on the prize!” The strategy worked and Phat Boys lost a total of a whopping 243 pounds, earning them third place in the July 2012 Matchup Team Challenge. Congratulations!
Keep up the great work and congratulations on a tremendous effort Phat Boys!