Biggest Loser Contestant Opens Fitness Program in Tofte

By KBJR News 1

October 31, 2010 Updated Oct 31, 2010 at 9:48 PM CDT

TOFTE, MN (Northland's Newscenter)----Two of the Biggest Loser contestants from Season 9, O'Neal and Sunshine Hampton were in Tofte today.

During the course of the competition, the father–daughter pair lost just under 300 pounds.

In an effort to keep up their healthy lifestyle and motivate others to do the same, a new program, called Fitness North was launched.

The Fitness North program is a jump start training program that encourages people to make a healthy life style change towards exercise and healthy eating.

Participants stay in town homes located in Tofte, at the Surfside on Lake Superior Resort.

"This is not a one size fit all program here, for each individual, they have their own individual meal plan, and they have their own individual meal regiment," said Hampton.

Cardio and strength classes, calorie–controlled meals and snacks, and practical nutrition and lifestyle education are all included.

The program is designed around a ten to eleven hour day and has participants engaging in six to eight hours of physical activity. Workouts are done within the facility, and also on trails throughout the area.

"The same thing that they had on the biggest loser is the same thing that we have here, which is seclusion," said Hampton.

"It's good for the ten of us that are here because we can support each other, we're all going through the same thing, it's easy to talk too, you know we share the same struggles, said participant Mike McGinn.

"It's very easy to motivate each other and keep each other going."

What sets fitness north aside from every other weight loss program is the low staff to guest ratio.

Trainers are available to participants 24/7 throughout the program.

"They take you to the point where you want to quit and you think your body can't do anymore," said McGinn.

"They bring you past that and they make you keep pushing and pushing and pushing."

Participants are also taught the basics of nutrition and make their own meals.

"We're learning lots of options how to adapt them for when we go home, things we like things we don't like so we can substitute," said participant Shannon Hanson.

Participants say they've already made a significant lifestyle change since the start of the program.

"It's not even about the numbers on the scale, it's about going home and being happy with your life," said McGinn.

Space is still available for the next Fitness North program which will run November 28 through December 12.

Written and posted to the web: Jennifer Walch