Today’s blog was contributed by Melissa Vitelli (FitTrip Co-chair) and Jessica Houze (FitTrip Chair). Ever wondered how and when FitTrip first got its start? We went behind the scenes and asked two of the program’s co-chairs to give us some background info on the beginnings and evolution of this program. Here’s what we found out: What was the purpose of starting FitTrip? We wanted all the Corporate Sports Unlimited, Inc. (CSU) clubs to participate in a club against club challenge and focus on educating our members on the importance of maintaining and/or gaining muscle when losing weight. We thought what agreat way to do this by introducing a signature club-wide program, and that is how FitTrip was born. What makes FitTrip different from other exercise and nutrition challenges? Because of the popularity of shows like, “The Biggest Loser,” many people primarily focus on the numbers they see on the scale. It is easy to get discouraged this way, and strict weight loss may not mean you’re healthier. FitTrip is a healthy-lifestyle/body transformation program that focuses on fat loss AND muscle gain, which results in a true body transformation. The scale may not change drastically, but you’ll lose more inches and be more toned than just losing weight alone. Why use Hydrostatic Weighing? There are several methods to determine one’s percentage of body fat, but some are inaccurate, inaccessible, and/or expensive. Hydrostatic weighing is considered to be the “Gold Standard”, or the standard to which everything else is compared. It is one of the most accurate methods for determining body fat percentage. We are lucky to work with Body Fat Tests, as they have a mobile truck to allow us to have weigh ins at each of our CSU locations. Why does the program last for 12 weeks? First of all, body transformation takes time. Lasting changes in the amount of fat and muscle can take at least 6 weeks with continuous vigorous training. Secondly, there can be a lot of behavioral adjustments to your current life when you start FitTrip, and 12 weeks gives you ample time to adjust to all of them: establishing a workout routine, changing your diet, logging workouts and food, etc. The vacation/trip theme is carried throughout the program. How do you think this adds to the program’s success, outside of the grand prize? Of course, the grand prize was the true inspiration for the competition’s name, but it also symbolizes the journey that each participant takes during the 12 weeks (and hopefully longer). This competition is an opportunity to discover your limits: physically, emotionally, nutritionally, mentally…You actually travel to new places within yourself. What is your favorite component of the program? I don’t think I have a favorite component. I feel they are all such vital elements that one does not stand out more than the other. With FitTrip being a healthy-lifestyle change and body transformation program, I think each one has its own special place and importance. How has the program changed since it began? The biggest change is perhaps the method of testing; the program began with 2 selected testers performing skinfold measurements on each participant. As CSU has grown, this method became impractical, time consuming, and less accurate than hydrostatic weighing. Other changes include changes in point values, addition of weekly FitChallenges, the redesign of our Guidebook, and the changes in the locations of the awards banquets.