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Fitness Challenge Brochure

About the Challenge

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Challenge Guidelines

Monthly Calendar of Events

Challenge Activity Record

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Fitness Challenge key tag give me?

Where can I exercise?

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More information

About the Fall River Fitness Challenge

Fitness was brought to the forefront of the public eye in Fall River, MA, in 2007 when several human service organizations, including the Diabetes Association Inc. (DAI), CD REC, Healthy City Fall River and Fall River Boys & Girls Club joined together with personal fitness instructor Amy Jones to challenge adults who live or work in the city to collectively lose a ton of weight (2000 lbs)!. With Bristol County, having the highest prevalence of diabetes in the state, Bill DaPonte, Director of Operations for the DAI saw the need for a this type of program and gathered the necessary partners to make it all happen.  

Through the Challenge, participants gained access to programs and fitness centers throughout the city for little or no cost. These programs were designed to help individuals learn to eat well, lose weight, get fit and prevent Type 2 diabetes. A variety of prizes were donated by local businesses to be awarded to the teams and individuals with the highest percentage of weight loss. The Challenge was a way to call attention to already existing programs, to teach and encourage a healthy lifestyle, and to encourage people to change habits that were destructive to their health. Businesses and social groups were challenged to form teams to compete and support one another.


Activities offered included low cost personal training, discount use of fitness facilities (CDREC Family Fitness Center and Boys and Girls club pool/fitness room), exercise classes (Zumba, Power to Move, Kickboxing, Aerobics and Yoga) a diabetes support group, nutrition classes, monthly team challenges (seven hills challenge, tug-o-war, dodge ball, etc.), and the opportunity to win prizes ranging from “Healthy City” certified restaurant gift certificates to weekend getaways.


After the Fall River Fitness Challenge was issued at a public press conference in January, 2008, the program initiated a huge response, with 1,015 participants coming on board. New fitness classes were added to accommodate the large number of participants. During the four-month course of the first year's program, individuals lost a total of 3,180lbs. The winner of the challenge lost 23% of his body weight (89lbs). The team winners collectively lost 8.2% of their initial body weight. Fifty-five teams were enrolled, including five elementary schools, thee middle schools, and groups from school administration, the post office, community health centers and other local organizations. A personal/group training session was held each night at Community Development Recreation.  There were 40 people each week in the aerobics classes, 70 people in 2 the DAI’s Power to Move classes, 65 participants each week in the Zumba! classes, and even more participating in yoga, kickboxing and other classes.


The media followed the progress of the challenge process very closely as well as interviewed individual participants. Participants were tracked in a central data base and through bimonthly weigh-ins. Many individuals with diabetes attended the support groups at the Diabetes Association Inc, where they receive valuable education, support, and self-management education. When surveyed, 96% of respondents said that they would participate in a challenge again and 72.6% joined as part of a team.


The Challenge culminated in a final fitness rally on May 10 and the award of prizes for the largest percent of weight loss in the male, female and team categories. With over 150 people in attendance, an overall sense of camaraderie and support filled the room as the winners received a standing ovation for the incredible achievements. Congratulations form the celebrity guests, mayor and other public personalities rounded out the day.


Following a successful 2008 Challenge, the collaborating organizations put together new Fitness Challenges in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 with an expanded program and an invitation to participants from Somerset, Swansea and Westport in the Greater Fall River Fitness Challenge. Today's Challenge has eight fitness providers participating and ongoing financial support from both Saint Anne's and Southcoast Hospitals along with Greater Fall River Re-Creation and Partners for a Healthier Community, Inc. 


Many of the events that have been held over the past few years are depicted on the web pages and in the videos linked in the panel to the right.




Click here for Health Fair photos
Click here for the video

Click here for photos & video of the 2013 Fitness Challenge Finale!

Click here to watch last year's Finale retrospective video.

2013 Challenge Announcement
Challenge Announcement

Mayor's Fitness Challenge
Challenge Announcement

2013 Challenge Warm-up Sign-up
Warm-up Sign-up

2013 Warm-up Walk with A Doc
Walk with a Doc video

Twenty-seventh Challenge Event
Twenty-seventh Challenge

Twenty-sixth Challenge Event
Twenty-sixth Challenge

Twenty-fifth Challenge Event
Twenty-fifth Challenge

Twenty-fourth Challenge Event
Twenty-fourth Challenge

Thomas Giunta 5K Road Race
Thomas Giunta 5K

Twenty-third Challenge Event
Twenty-third Challenge

Twenty-second Challenge Event
Twenty-second Challenge

Twenty-first Challenge Event
Twenty-first Challenge

Twentieth Challenge Event
Twentieth Challenge

Nineteenth Challenge Event
Nineteenth Challege

Seventeenth Challenge Event
Seventeenth Challege

Fifteenth Challenge Event
Fifteenth Challege

Fourth Nutrition Event
Nutrition Event

Twelfth Challenge Event
Twelfth Challenge

Ninth Challenge

Couch to 5K Training
Couch to 5K

Eighth Challenge Event
Eighth Challenge

Seventh Challenge Event
Seventh Challenge

Sixth Challenge Event
Sixth Challenge

Challenge Nutrition Class
Nutrition Class

Fifth Challenge Event
Fifth Challenge

Fourth Challenge Event
Fourth Challenge

Third Challenge Event
Third Challenge

Second Challenge Event
Second Challenge

First Challenge Event
First Challenge Event

Fitness Challenge Health Fair
Challenge Health Fair

2012 Fitness Challenge Finale
Challenge Finale

Final 2012 Fitness Challenge Event
Final Challenge video

Seven Hills Fitness Challenge
Seven Hills video

Giunta 5K Race
Giunta 5K Race video

Challenge Kennedy Park Walk
Challenge Kennedy video

Challenge Aerobics at the YMCA
Challenge Aerobics video

Challenge Indoor Workout
Challenge Indoor Workout

Providence Fight for Air Climb

Giunta 5K Race Route Challenge
Giunta Race Route video

Winter Market & Cooking Demo
February Market video

Trustees Super Bowl Long Walk
Challenge video

4th Fitness Challenge at CD-REC
4th Challenge video

Challenge at General Fitness
General Fitness video

Bundle-up Challenge
Bundle-up video

Winter Market at the Challenge
Winter Market

2012 Fitness Challenge Health Fair
Health Fair

2011 Fitness Challenge Finale
Airport Road video

 See all of the past Challenge videos here (bottom of page)