Records are made to be broken and the Fittest Loser At Work Challenge continues to do just that. Now in its fifth year, the At Work Challenge has swelled to more than 395 participants, representing 75 unique businesses, many of which are new to the challenge.

The first step toward a fitter future was to be weighed-in and receive a health assessment provided by Amita Health.

We zipped through five full days of appointments at the Daily Herald with the help of hardworking Amita nurses, dietitians and doctors. At the health assessment, each participant recorded his or her starting weight, as well as tested for body fat, BMI, cholesterol, blood pressure and stroke risk level. Many people walked away with a better understanding of how to take control of their health.

Right out of the gate, Des Plaines-based Giacomos Ristorante Italiano team captain Anna Maria Zito and her resolute team members gave their reasons for joining the 12-week challenge. Team member Diane Labahn says that she “wants to wear a bathing suit without hiding behind a cover up for my 25th anniversary trip this year.”

Fellow team member John Abbinante is looking forward to “throwing my cholesterol meds in the garbage!”

A consistent theme throughout this challenge is teamwork. Vickie LaVoie, team captain to Piyo 5, says that her team “loves the idea of being part of a group and doing activities together.”

Championing the idea of “Team Strong” is Landon’s Angels from Rabine Group. Going above and beyond the requirements for the challenge, they have incorporated internal motivation through weekly weigh-ins and tracking of steps, complete with a weight-loss money jar with the grand prize going to the most body fat lost. They also have started Pot Luck Friday with healthy dishes being brought in for group lunch.

Teams from Nidec-Shimpo America, Our Lady of the Wayside Catholic School and Rieke Office Interiors are all interested in completing a 5K, a first for many of the participants.

Most teams participating have five members, plus a team captain. Teams are given a long list of mostly free activities to participate in during the 12 weeks, provided by Daily Herald Media Group sponsors. The winning team will receive $2,000 donated by sponsor Assurance to give to a charity of their choice.

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