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Contestants start feeling the benefit of reduced weight, improved fitness
By Kent McDill | Daily Herald Correspondent

Fittest Loser contestants, from left, Mike Anderson, Jan Vitullo, Wendy Kreiser, Deb Mirabelli and Frank Valenti at Push Fitness in Schaumburg.


Bill Zars | Staff Photographer

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Published: 4/5/2010 12:00 AM

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The Fittest Loser competitors are entering the sixth week of their weight-loss program, and they are starting to get results beyond the numbers they see at each week's weigh-in.

Going into the competition, the five Daily Herald readers each had a specific reason for wanting to lose weight - a job hunt, a daughter's upcoming wedding, or simply the desire to have more energy to play with the children.

As they approach the midpoint of the 12-week contest, the fitness program conducted under the training of Push Fitness in Schaumburg is beginning to produce the results they were looking for.

For this week's update, the competitors were asked to name a specific activity that they're able to do better, thanks to the weight loss and improved physical fitness.

Mike Anderson, 23, of Palatine

Current weight: 355

Weight lost: 23 pounds, 6.1 percent

"When I started this program, riding the bike for a half hour was difficult. Now, riding the bike for 30 minutes is a warm-up, not an exercise. There are really no specific tasks that are now easier - life in general has just become easier and easier on my back and knees."

Wendy Kreiser, 25, of Streamwood

Current weight: 332

Weight lost: 15 pounds, 4.3 percent

"I am able to get down on the floor to play around with my kiddos for longer periods of time without risking any back pain or knee pain. I'm also able to jog for longer periods of time now. I have not been allowed to run ever since I broke my hip when I was just 10 years old. Now I am able to jog in short bursts."

Deb Mirabelli, 44, of Berwyn

Current weight: 220

Weight lost: 16 pounds, 7.2 percent

"The biggest thing I have noticed being able to do is carrying in bags of groceries from the store. Bringing them up the stairs and into the house seemed a much bigger task a month ago and doesn't seem so bad anymore!"

Frank Valenti, 54, of Bartlett

Current weight: 271

Weight lost: 24 pounds, 8.1 percent

"I drive a pickup for Napa Auto Parts, and before I had a hard time getting in and out of the truck. Now it is so much easier. I have lost 24 pounds and I feel like a different person, like I am 20 years younger."

Jan Vitullo, 50, of Lombard

Current weight: 213

Weight lost: 19 pounds, 8.2 percent

"For the past couple of weeks I have been working on a family project and painting the interior of my sister's new house. I have so much more energy, stamina and drive to complete this project, that it's actually been more fun than work! My overall energy level has risen substantially, which has made everything from cleaning the house to walking on the treadmill that much easier."