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Biggest Loser contestants losing both weight and time

By: Natalie Otis, Journal correspondent
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It is down to the wire and Kim Jenkin-Palaferri is the lady to beat. The Auburn’s Biggest Loser contestant laughed Tuesday morning as she revealed her plot to knock the other contestants off the wagon. “Beat Lisa (Swisley),” she said with a laugh. Jenkin-Palaferri’s jabs and jokes in the past week have included e-mailing photos of pie and sending coupons for discounted cakes to the other competitors to break their stride. All jokes aside, Jenkin-Palaferri and Swisley are neck and neck going into the last weeks of the competition. Jenkin-Palaferri has lost a total of 28 pounds and has the highest percentage of weight lost at 14 percent overall. Swisley, right on her tail, has lost a total of 27 pounds. Jenkin-Palaferri, Swisley and fellow contestants Margaret Adolph, Diana Westin, Danee Davis, Heidi Saiz-King, Don Barnes and Keith Turner have lost a combined total of 171 pounds since the competition started 10 weeks ago, and with only a two weeks left, they are pushing hard. The group’s leader, Angela Martin of Adventure Here in Auburn, says the final days are key for the participants as the group has been offered the ability to move from doing workouts at Recreation Park to the Courthouse Athletic Club. “Having the gym has allowed us to add more weight to what we are doing and they are really ready for this right now,” Martin said. “I like a variety of indoor and outdoor workouts, but it is hard to lift a lot of weight outdoors, so a gym is good for that.” The contestants have an unlimited membership to Courthouse Athletic Club for one month. However, the contest winner will enjoy a year’s membership to the Auburn club, which has all the tools in place to stay in shape, including free weights, resistance equipment, stationary bikes, step machines, treadmills and a host of classes. The club also has volleyball, an outdoor pool, a whirlpool and a sauna. Amy Logan, a fitness instructor and a personal trainer with Courthouse Athletic Club, thinks the reason for the contestants’ success so far is that they have stuck with a plan. “That is the hardest part for people,” she said. “People start something and then stop because it gets hard or boring. What is nice about the Courthouse is that we have such a variety of offerings that keeps people motivated.” Like Martin, Logan works with people both in groups and one-on-one, and finds that people who seek out personal trainers get better results because they have a set appointment with someone each week, which they have paid for. “If someone is paying for something they tend to want to get that value and they continue because they see results,” she said. “When people are trying to decide if it is worth the money I like to remind them that if they will spend $20 on lunch or $50 on dinner — they would see even more value in making a commitment to their health.” Having a workout partner can also be a valuable tool to stay committed to something, Logan said. Many of the contestants of the Auburn’s Biggest Loser contest have said it is the group energy and enthusiasm that have kept them motivated through the tough times in the challenge. During Tuesday’s workout the group used eight machines together spending five minutes on each apparatus and targeting different muscle groups with each station. The sweat was pouring off as the contestants moved around the machines. However, the playful conversation that passed the time was centered on the events and outcome of the latest challenge. The group gathered at Recreational Park on Saturday to work with Brad Childs from the Wilderness Institute. Childs designed a challenge for the contestants and the winner took home a year’s supply of Wrigley’s Extra gum. Don Barnes won the challenge, the gum and the status of challenge man because he had beat out most of his contestants during the weekly challenges over the 10 weeks. Everyone agreed that the real challenge was to keep from laughing as they all enjoyed yet another fun outing that was centered around getting fit. Reach Journal correspondent Natalie Otis at natalie otis@gmail.com.