LaHaye hosts losing competition

Students attempt to sweat off unhealthy lifestyles for Lahaye LUser weight loss competition

With the spring semester of classes at Liberty University finally underway, along with luggage and open minds, students have brought their New Year’s resolutions to campus. For students with weight loss goals in mind, LaHaye LUser may be the perfect outlet.

Seeing results — LaHaye LUser will encourage competing students not only to lose weight, but to make lifestyle changes that will impact every area of their lives. Photo credit: Barney Davis, Promotional Publications

The LaHaye LUser competition was started in 2006 and is now overseen by LaHaye’s Associate Director of Fitness Ben Cook. For the past five years, LaHaye LUser has been radically changing the lives of its participants one pound at a time.

“Our goal is to motivate the Liberty community for weight loss,” Cook said in reference to the 2012 campaign.

LaHaye LUser is modeled after the popular reality television series “The Biggest Loser,” which places participants in an environment for optimal weight loss success. The program, made specifically to cater to the needs of Liberty students, is an eight-week fitness regimen that will include access to some of LaHaye’s certified personal trainers. The contestants are required to compete on their own without the assistance of the staff three weeks before their final weigh-in.

“Our desire is to make a bigger impact than just weight loss endeavors,” Cook said.

Cook seems to truly be reaching his goal with the impact LaHaye LUser continues to make in the lives of former participants.

Courtney Warren, a sophomore at Liberty, participated in LaHaye LUser 2011. Warren walked away from the experience not only with a lower number on the scale, but healthy habits which have radically changed her lifestyle even after the competition. Although Warren did not place in the competition, she has lost 60 pounds to date. Warren is even planning on participating in a half marathon in April 2012 and describes her new, lighter self as a “health-nut.”

“These people were a huge encouragement to me. My life has changed drastically,” Warren said.

Another former participant, sophomore Cassie Vitale, said the Lahaye LUser competition improved her life.

“LaHaye LUser not only changed my life, but saved it as well. I was on track for diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and congestive heart failure, all of which run in my family. By learning how to live a healthier lifestyle and lose weight I’ve been able to become a better person,” Vitale said.

Cook explains that in past years many students apply for the competition in hopes of achieving their weight loss goals and of those students, 12 participants are chosen to compete. While weight loss is the objective goal of competing in the LaHaye LUser, the experience is also meant to show the participants how to recognize unhealthy habits and replace them with healthier options.

For winners of LaHaye LUser, there are up to $1000 in prizes. The competition is open to all Liberty students and the deadline to turn in applications is Friday, Jan. 27. The cost to apply is $5. The competition begins Feb. 11 and will end April 28.

For more information, contact the LaHaye Student Union at 592-3148.

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