Contestants share competition experience

July 6, 2018 Rachel No comments exist

After 10 long weeks, the end is finally here for the contestants of the 2018 Florence’s Biggest Loser. For the last contestant profile of the competition, we asked the contestants to share how their overall experience was.

Brian Kress: “I have enjoyed the competition as well as the help from my trainer, Tory, and friendships with a few of the other participants. The facility at McLeod Health & Fitness offers a great variety of exercises, both individual and group classes, so I was never bored. The best thing for me was seeing the progress on the scale and the changes in my body. I am so glad that I participated.”

Courtney Sullivan: “This is my third year at Florence’s Biggest Loser! I love having contestants that are going through similar situations that I am going through, like trying to get healthier. You have contestants that are younger and even older that inspire you in your eating and your fitness levels. This year a co-worker joined me, and it was even more fun! Even the employees at work knew we were in the competition and would cheer us on each week! It is a win-win each year! Hope to see you next year!”

Rick Melton: “My plan was to start a weight loss/exercise routine when the new year began. The “FBL” seemed liked a good way to do that with the accountability of the weekly weigh-ins. Living in Lake City, I wasn’t thrilled about all the trips I was making to Florence. I even thought about dropping out early on because of that. However, I decided to stick it out, and I’m sure glad that I did. The program has exceeded my expectations. I have learned new things about nutrition and exercising and have had lots of fun along the way. The weekly workouts are my favorite part of the program. It’s something we do each week and the encouragement and support of our group and our trainer, Joy, helps make the demanding workouts a lot of fun. The icing of the program was our workout sessions with FMU’s women soccer and volleyball teams. The coaches and girls added another dimension to our training with their stations and their support in helping us do them right. After eight weeks of the BL, I am at 65 percent of my weight loss goal. I firmly believe that the things I have learned and are putting into action are helping me to be ahead of schedule in reaching my final goal.”

Nikki Haffner: “My experience in the competition was great! I am absolutely going to miss the entire competition and all the positive motivation that goes along with every aspect of the program. The group workouts are my favorite, and although they aren’t easy, I always have fun doing them. I am thankful for the best trainer, Tory Zwanziger. He is so dedicated to helping each contestant individually. Every Thursday from here on out, I’m going to miss the accountability of the weekly weigh-ins at United Way. All the girls up there are just so sweet and full of smiles.”

Monte Michelsen: “My overall experience with the competition was positive. I didn’t lose as much as I thought I would, but it’s a great start on this long marathon of weight loss.”

Valda Brown-Graham: “I had a really good experience with the competition. It was challenging. I made some new friends, and I had a great trainer in Joy. She was so attentive and made sure to work with us individually, even though we worked out as a group. Although I did not reach my goal yet, I am so much more conscious of what not to do. The other day, I wanted a taste of something sweet and was tempted by these muffins. In the past, eating those muffins wouldn’t have mattered to me, but now eating healthy does.”

Michael Hesbach: “I had a great experience in this program. I am grateful for McLeod Health and Fitness Center’s support of this program, and it provided them a great opportunity to showcase their facility.”

The 2018 Florence’s Biggest Loser competition will conclude Thursday with a finale event at the Leatherman Senior Center. To see which contestants are crowned the overall Biggest Losers, make sure to read the Friday edition of the Florence Morning News and/or visit

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