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60 Day Challenge winners announced

The 60 Day Challenge is over for 2019!

Close to 350 members and non-members took part in the challenge aimed to better participants’ health and wellbeing.

The results have been astounding. People have not only reached their goals but smashed them and are well on their way now to making their efforts throughout the Challenge a more permanent change to their lifestyle, rather than falling back into old habits.

Live Borders staff recently had the tough job of sifting through the nominations from facilities to find three outstanding success stories.

Lynn Wills from the Kelso Swimming Pool/High School was one of the most inspirational stories. The mother of four lost over two stone throughout the Challenge, which she described as ‘life changing.’

“I joined to better my health, it has been such a great experience – going from not being very physical at all to doing as many classes as I could when I could to suit family life,” Lynn said.

“The encouragement of the staff has been fantastic and to have them cheer you on from week one to the end of the challenge was amazing.”

Weight loss was particularly important to Lynn who has avoided surgery by losing 10 per cent of her original body weight.

“I was seeing a dietitian at the BGH and it was going to go down the route of weight loss surgery that I chose not to do, I didn’t want to put myself or my family through that. I am not on that route anymore,” Lynn said.

“My oldest son recently wrapped his arms around me for the first time and it was emotional. These sort of things are life changing for me.”

Lynn is loving her regular fitness classes and often uses the pool for a morning swim. She says if she can do it, anyone can; “I’d love to encourage both women and men, and other plus sized people, that feel like they can’t go to a gym because they don’t fit in. You think when you walk into a gym everyone is really fit and healthy, we are all there for the same reason no matter how big or small you are.”

It is a similar sentiment held by second place winner Craig Turnbull from Teviotdale Leisure Centre.

“You have this feeling about the gym that everyone there is in good shape and they’re looking and feeling good. Being a big guy I was a bit nervous heading into the gym, but since I’ve been going if realised everyone is there for the same reason,” he said.

After close to six years of non-regular exercise, Craig wanted to get back into better shape for his kids and regain some confidence and saw the 60 Day Challenge as the perfect motivation.

“The 60 Day Challenge was a great thing; I’m a bit competitive as well. After I had my measurements taken, all of a sudden I couldn’t hide from anybody – I had to go back and get measured again and if I hadn’t done anything I have just let myself and everybody else down,” Craig said.

“My work uniforms are fitting much better, my energy levels in the mornings are great and all in all, feeling confident about myself again. I still have a long way to go but I feel every time I have been to the gym its giving my confidence a massive boost.”

Craig’s aim was to lose weight for his young family.

“It was tough before, but having that exercise routine getting up and looking after the kids has been a hell of a lot of easier.”

For 78 and 81 year old Carmel and Tom Baker from Eyemouth Leisure Centre, the Challenge was about regaining fitness after a recent health scare.

Carmel was given the all clear late last year to start exercising again after cancer surgery in September.

“We have been going to the gym as often as we can. Since the New Year we have been putting a lot more effort into our health,” Carmel said.

The couple have increased their number of weekly gym sessions, which are always followed by a swim; “With Carmel’s operation on her cancer in September, they operated very quickly. It certainly was a motivation to get ourselves fit again,” Tom added.

The pair will be continuing their efforts as they prepare for a cycling trip later this year.

“What we are aiming to do is to cycle down to Newcastle, get the boat over to Holland, and go from Holland to Belgium all on the bikes. We are cheating a little bit these days – we are on electric bikes,” Tom said.

Selkirk Leisure Centre’s Stefanie Poletyllo used the Challenge to get back into weight work.

A single mother of two that works full-time, time comes at a premium for Stefanie.

“I wanted to try and lose some weight and get back into using weights,” she said. “I went and saw Amy after Christmas and she helped me plan workouts, so if I had 45 minutes or an hour I could run into the gym and on days off if I had longer I could really go for it as well. She really tailored the workout plan for me which was fabulous.”

Stefanie lost 10 pounds and has made big improvements in her upper body strength and toning.

“It’s been brilliant and I got quite addicted to the weights actually and it’s great for your headspace. I have learnt a lot from being involved in the Challenge and working with Amy.

“Everything has changed since I was last at the gym but Amy was fanatic at listening to what I wanted to do.

“You can have a workout that is tailor made for your routine because we all live such different and busy lives.”

If you are looking for some help getting started on a health and fitness journey, contact your local Live Borders’ Health and Fitness facility.

Live Borders is a charity. Every penny you spend with us is reinvested into supporting active, creative and healthy communities in the Scottish Borders.

By James Brosnan