New Competition Kicks Off to Help Participants Lose Weight

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"The Biggest Loser," Grand-Island style. It's the concept behind the new Lighten Up Fitness Challenge, which more than 300 teams of two have signed up for.

"We have very young people, we have a couple that we weighed-in that were 75-years-old. We have people that are looking to lose quite a bit of weight, we also have a couple that have come in to say they want to drop the last ten from having a baby a year ago, two years ago. So it's a very diverse group," said Cara Lamburg, senior program director at the Grand Island YMCA, one of the competition's sponsors.

Teams embarked on their 10-week journey Monday with an initial weigh-in.

"Everyone seems really excited, pumped up about it. It's going to be quite the journey for them," Lamburg said.

Organizers said they will encourage participants with emails and group events, as well as the possibility of winning the grand prize of $1,000.

But while there are cash prizes on the line, many participants said the biggest incentive is the opportunity to get back in shape and get in the habit of working out.

"Just to get healthy. Both my husband and I can afford to lose a little bit of weight, and a challenge always makes you work harder at it," said participant Chris Zavala.

Others wanted to help someone they love get back in shape.

"She had a baby last year. I'm hoping this will jump-start her and get her going with her weight-loss, and I think it's going to be a great bonding thing for us to do together," said Gail Blain Pratcher, who's participating with her daughter.

Win or lose, participants said it's about bettering themselves and their teammates.

"It's that satisfaction of knowing that I set out to do something and I've done it," said Pratcher.

The champions will be crowned after the final weigh-in on April 1, 2013.