FORT MEADE, Md. (March 7, 2013) -- Over the course of eight weeks, 114 gym-goers and dieters from Fort Meade battled to become the biggest loser on the installation.
Stacy Fretwell poses in front of the Gaffney Fitness Center pool Tuesday morning after being named the top woman loser in the annual Dump Your Plump competition. Fretwell lost 13.8 percent body fat during the eight-week competition by swimming an hour a day. (Photo by Brandon Bieltz)
When it was all over, the post was more than 800 pounds lighter through Gaffney Fitness Center's annual Dump Your Plump competition.
On Tuesday, the top finishers were crowned in a brief ceremony at Gaffney's pool.
Matthew Wise was the overall winner, losing 26.81 percent body fat.
Stacy Fretwell led the women's category with a 13.8 percent loss. Mark Hamilton dropped 16.9 percent to win the men's category.
The Deadweight Team of Wise, Francisco Jamison, Alonzo Coley and Mahlon Thomas lost a total of 16.1 percent body fat to take the title in the team competition.
"It feels good," Fretwell said of her first-place finish. "It feels real good."
Organizers said the competition, now in its fifth year, was more competitive than in the past as Fretwell narrowly edged out Yulanda McCowin, who lost 13.6 percent, while the second- and third-place teams were separated by less than half a percentage point.
In total, participants shed a combined 801.8 pounds, with all teams losing 512 pounds and individuals dropping a total of 289.8 pounds.
Last year, 267 competitors lost a combined 1,527 pounds. But this year the average weight lost by a competitor increased from 5.71 pounds to 7.01.
"The dedication was there because people lost weight every single week as opposed to just one big push at the end," said Angie Wanner, sports specialist for the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation and Dump Your Plump organizer. "People were consistently losing weight."
Dump Your Plump, which began Jan. 7, is a flexible weight-loss competition that allows contestants to design their own workout plan and diet.
Participants could enter as individuals or as teams.
Competitors are required to weigh in weekly on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The private weigh-ins measure the percentage of weight lost, not total pounds.
For each week that a competitor misses a weigh-in, a pound is added to the final weight. Missing a total of four or more weigh-ins or missing more than two consecutive weigh-ins results in elimination.
Nearly 300 people registered at the start of the contest, but that number dropped to 114 by Feb. 28 when the competition ended.
Wise won the competition for the second straight year and was awarded the grand prize of an iPad Mini.
The top man and woman finishers were first-time winners. Fretwell participated in the competition last year, but wasn't able to drop enough to win the competition. This year, Fretwell, who swam in high school, switched her workouts from cardio on the treadmill to swimming five hours a week.
"I've been eating right, eating healthier and working out," the Meuse Forest resident said.
Hamilton had a large lead in the men's competition, beating Doug Wise, who dropped 10.7 percent body fat.
This year's competition was Hamilton's first.
"In December I [read about] Dump Your Plump and I thought this would be a good chance to get back in shape," the Severn resident said.
A marathon coach recovering from injury, Hamilton dropped the weight by counting calories, attending spin classes, using stationary bikes and ellipticals, and running outside.
Hamilton now plans to run a half marathon in the coming weeks.
"It's pretty cool," Hamilton said of winning.
* Matthew Wise, 26.81 percent body fat
* Mark Hamilton, 16.9 percent body fat
* Doug Wise, 10.7 percent body fat
* Stacy Fretwell, 13.8 percent body fat
* Yulanda McCowin, 13.6 percent body fat
* Deadweight, 16.1 percent body fat
* The Fat Badges, 10.3 percent body fat
* FTDTL Pudge Club, 10.1 percent body fat
Brandon Bieltz, Soundoff Staff Writer