Volkswagen Group South Africa’s BIGGEST loser
In a localised version of hit international reality series, The Biggest Loser, a team of Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) employees have set up their own weight loss challenge to incentivise them to shed the kilos.
After trying to improve their health individually without success, The Body Shop Maintenance team decided to introduce a “Biggest Loser Challenge”.
“We all tried to diet and get fit on our own, but we would only last about one or two weeks before we gave up,” said Dominic Christoffels, who spearheaded the challenge. “So we decided to introduce a Biggest Loser Challenge.”
“We had 23 Body Shop Maintenance employees who wanted to participate and each contributed R100 to a winning kitty. The person who lost the highest percentage of weight would walk away with the total prize money of R2 300.”
The challenge took place over six months – February to July this year – and the challengers weighed in every two weeks with their weight loss updates being displayed on the Body Shop noticeboards.
It has been so successful that the team is planning a “second season” of the challenge, to build camaraderie and encourage closer teamwork.
Over the six months, a total of 135kg was lost between the 21 employees – an average of 6.4kg per person.
At the final weigh-in, the top honour was scooped up by Peter Prinsloo, who lost a total of 20.54kg (21.48% of his initial body weight).
Charlie Wait came in second with an 18.56kg loss (21.01% of body his former weight) and Creswelle Slotto was placed third with a 14.14kg loss (12.51 % body weight loss).
Prinsloo explained how he lost almost 22% of his body weight, saying: “At the beginning of the challenge I had no idea what to do to lose the weight. Then out of the blue, two of my participating colleagues encouraged me to join in their Corporate Triathlon Challenge team by doing the 380m swim.
“I soon started swimming about five days a week to prepare for the triathlon. On the alternate days, I started walking and slowly built up enough confidence to start running. I am now participating in 10 and 15km races and have my sights set on doing a half marathon soon.
“This experience has made me fit, healthy and strong. Am confident and hope that I have inspired my fellow colleagues who were very negative about me doing all of this at my age.”
Runner-up Wait said the challenge had motivated him.
“Both my wife and myself have joined a diet group to maintain the weight loss. I have also started cycling as well as doing spinning classes at the gym,” he said.
Slotto, too, was “a changed man”.
“I now have lots of energy. Peter and I were actually in a Corporate Triathlon Challenge team together and after I did the running leg, I became so passionate about running that I joined the VW Athletics Club,” he said.
“I have involved my family with fun runs while I now participate in 10km runs. My ultimate goal is to run the Comrades Marathon.”
This is not the end for Body Shop Maintenance Biggest Loser Challenge. The team is planning to introduce a Biggest Loser Group Challenge, which will encourage even closer teamwork and motivation to achieve good results.