Fit 4 Change Fitness Challenge





Fit 4 Change Stories


Mississippi Legislators Send a Message With Remarkable Weight Loss

JACKSON, Miss.— Some Mississippi legislators, state workers and civilians have lost an elephant, figuratively speaking. They've shed 3,043 pounds, the weight of an average elephant, and 714 inches from their waists as part of the 2011 Paul Lacoste Sports Fit 4 Change challenge presented by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation.

"For the first time in six years, we are not the fattest state, and I like to think it's because our legislators are leading by example," said Paul Lacoste, athletic coach and owner of Paul Lacoste Sports. "Some of these guys are in their 50s and 60s, and it's just incredible — they are showing others that it is never too late to get your life back." -read more

Meet Sen. David Baria
Team Senate

Getting Involved
I participated last year and looked forward to doing so again this year. -read more


Meet Sen. Giles Ward
Team Senate

Getting Involved
I participated last year and got good results, but was reluctant to participate this year since the "one size fits all" program was really more intense than my 63-year-old body was able to take. When Paul explained that he was mindful of that and had put together a two-tiered approach, I signed up for the 2011 session. Great decision. I arrive each morning knowing that even though the workout is going to be rigorous, I will be able to do everything that is asked of me. -read more


Meet Rep. Lester "Bubba" Carpenter
2011 Paul Lacoste Sports Fit 4 Change
Team House Co-Captain

GETTING INVOLVED
I joined the Paul Lacoste Sports Fit 4 Change program because I was interested in losing weight and getting more in shape. I really enjoy participating in the program! It makes me feel better about myself and the accomplishments I’ve made thus far. -read more


Meet Rep. John Hines
2011 Paul Lacoste Sports Fit 4 Change
Team House Co-Captain

GIVING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY
I chose to participate and to take on the challenge of giving back to my community while helping myself lose weight and getting physically fit. I enjoy the continuous commitment to teamwork, and the fact that not one individual's efforts are greater than those of the group. It's the Musketeer theory- all for one and one for all. -read more


Meet Sen. Perry Lee
2011 Paul Lacoste Sports Fit 4 Change
Team Senate Co-Captain

Getting Involved
I have exercised on my own for many years and decided to see how my program compared to the Paul Lacoste Sports Fit 4 Change challenge. I love the opportunity to get to know other members of the legislature and other participants – and Paul hollering at us, too!!! -read more


Meet Rep. Steve Holland
2011 Paul Lacoste Sports Fit 4 Change
Team House Co-Captain

Getting Involved
From stroke, congestive heart failure, knee replacement and myriad other illnesses, I was told in 2008 to "get fit or get ready to meet my maker." Like Winston Churchill once said, "I'm ready to meet my maker, I'm just not sure he's ready to meet me." The alternative was to get fit, change my lifestyle and take control of my own health. When contacted by Coach Lacoste, I knew it was a match made in heaven. We clicked -- we worked together and we created the current fabulous Fit 4 Change group, which is now in its second year. My body has been transformed (141 lbs lost in 31 months) and my mind has followed suit. At 55, I have more energy than I did at 35. It's all God's uncommon favor and a joy. I plan on celebrating my 100th birthday at CS's with a beer bust and 5K run!!!-read more


Mississippi Legislators Send a Message With Remarkable Weight Loss

JACKSON, Miss.— Some Mississippi legislators, state workers and civilians have lost an elephant, figuratively speaking. They've shed 3,043 pounds, the weight of an average elephant, and 714 inches from their waists as part of the 2011 Paul Lacoste Sports Fit 4 Change challenge presented by Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation.

"For the first time in six years, we are not the fattest state, and I like to think it's because our legislators are leading by example," said Paul Lacoste, athletic coach and owner of Paul Lacoste Sports. "Some of these guys are in their 50s and 60s, and it's just incredible — they are showing others that it is never too late to get your life back."

For 12 weeks, more than 200 participants, divided into five teams: Team Barbour, Team House, Team Senate, Team State and Team Mississippi, have been battling each other, obesity and the country's perception of the Magnolia State.

"This is the best thing to happen to the state of Mississippi — it's not as much about the physical rewards as it is about the togetherness. We are sending a message around the country," said Rep. John Hines, winner of the 2010 Paul Lacoste Sports Fit 4 Change challenge. "Mississippi might be last sometimes, but the truth of the matter is that Mississippi is sticking together and we are making some changes. We are doing it one day, one step at a time."

Legislators are also taking the battle to the community. Not only are they exercising with regular Mississippians every morning, they are also delivering checks to schools to help buy physical education equipment and encourage healthy living with Mississippi's youth.

Each week of the challenge, the legislator who lost the most weight received a $500 check to give to a school in his or her community. The overall 2011 challenge winner, Sen. Haskins Montgomery, won a $1,000 check, and he is giving it to Bay Springs High School in Bay Springs, Mississippi.

"We are trying to motivate them to get healthy," said Sen. Montgomery, who lost 24 pounds and nearly 10 percent of his body weight. "The teachers there have started a fitness program, and I hope the students will exercise more — one hour a day really makes a difference in a couple of weeks."

Civilians who participated in the program agree with Sen. Montgomery. Michael Guarino says he joined the program because he wanted to watch his children grow up, and he says Coach Lacoste was the perfect person to help him get healthy.

"Paul reminds me of that old crazy football coach that would yell and spit in your face in high school," said Guarino, the 2011 Personal Best Award winner for being the most improved. "It didn't bother me at all; I liked the discipline and regimen — it did well for me."

Guarino, who lost 62 pounds, received a $300 check that he is going to donate to Brandon Middle School, where his wife is the PE teacher.

Another Team Mississippi member, Daryl Neely, is now part of the 100-Pound Club. He's lost 118 pounds in the Paul Lacoste Sports Fit 4 Change challenges.

"You feel bad for so long you don't realize that you are sick," said Neely. "When you are losing weight, you realize how much better you are — you sleep better, you work better, you just perform better across the board."

Rep. Mary Coleman, the Week Five winner, agrees and says the challenges have helped drop her cholesterol and blood pressure numbers.

"I just feel wonderful! I get up in the morning excited and everybody tells me 'you look so good' and it just makes me feel good," said Rep. Coleman, who also shed three inches off her waist. "I can put on clothes that I have had in my closet for five years and couldn't put them on. Now I can put them on, so I have a whole new wardrobe."

Rep. Coleman gave her winning check to Walton Elementary School in Jackson. Students from the school attended the Paul Lacoste Sports Fit 4 Change challenge 5K, which marked the end of the 2011 challenge, to run alongside their legislator. She says the students loved running with her and they want to exercise with her next year during the challenge.

The obesity battle will continue this summer with a new challenge for teachers. Fit 4 Teaching will kick off in May and teachers from Clinton Public Schools, Rankin County Schools, Madison County Schools and Jackson Public Schools will be invited to participate.

"I always tell people to 'take it to the next level' and that's exactly what we're doing," said Lacoste. "We will beat this disease, and we'll do it together one person at a time."

Lacoste is not alone in his mission. Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation, St. Dominic's, Jackson State University, The Cirlot Agency, Beverage Association of Mississippi, Mississippi Roadbuilders' Association, Walkabout Technologies, Hederman Brothers Printing and the Mississippi Department of Health sponsored this year's challenge and are committed to healthy living in Mississippi.

Paul Lacoste Sports promotes fitness training, sports performance and the Victory Sports Foundation, a non-profit organization designed to promote amateur sports and fitness in the state of Mississippi.

Meet Sen. David Baria
Team Senate

Getting Involved
I participated last year and looked forward to doing so again this year.

Biggest Accomplishment
The weight loss is a great accomplishment, but the lifestyle changes have to be the biggest.

Setting Goals
My goal is to continue with the regimen after the session ends.

Secrets About Paul
Paul has a lovely wife, though she probably is in need of aggressive therapy

Paul Lacoste Sports Workouts
They remind me of football practice or boot camp; mentally and physically challenging.

Leading By Example: Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation
BCBS's major sponsorship demonstrates that it is truly committed to a healthier Mississippi

Changing Mississippi
Ghandi said "be the change you want to see in the world." I hope that there will be a ripple effect that the program begins.

Final Words
I appreciate the opportunity to get back into shape working with a truly professional group of coaches.

Meet Sen. Giles Ward
Team Senate

Getting Involved
I participated last year and got good results, but was reluctant to participate this year since the "one size fits all" program was really more intense than my 63-year-old body was able to take. When Paul explained that he was mindful of that and had put together a two-tiered approach, I signed up for the 2011 session. Great decision. I arrive each morning knowing that even though the workout is going to be rigorous, I will be able to do everything that is asked of me.

Biggest Accomplishment
Better self-image and better health for lots of us who really need better health.

Dreams for Paul Lacoste Sports Fit 4 Change Challenge
I really do hope the generous sponsors (or other new ones) will continue to be willing to offer this for us. Unless one has served in the legislature, they cannot properly appreciate the stress of the busy days and the "distractions" that do not bode well for overall good physical conditioning.

Secrets About Paul
That his bark is far worse than his bite!

Paul Lacoste Sports Workouts
It's a group of distinctly different individuals, with even more distinctly different views, coming together and encouraging each other when we haven't shaved or put on make-up. What you see is what you get. The camaraderie spills over to our "day" jobs and, without question, we are better legislators as a result of the time we spend together before the sun comes up.

Leading by Example: Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation
My pre-legislative background was in the corporate culture. We, too, had special projects where we tried to "put back" into our communities and to be good corporate citizens. This program is one of the best I've ever seen - and I feel fortunate to be a beneficiary of BCBS's good will and investment.

Changing Mississippi
We receive lots of, probably, well-deserved criticism as we try and legislate. That, unfortunately, is the nature of the beast. I think it is most refreshing to be a part of a program that truly is allowing legislators to lead our state away from its bad habits through our example.

Final Thoughts
It's easy to pick-up a lot of bad habits in 63 years. Poor eating habits; excessive eating; and, a sedentary life-style have been proven to shorten lives. With the love of my life as my wife, two grown children and their spouses, two wonderful grand children and another on the way, I've got a lot of reasons to take care of myself rather than stroking out and having them have to take care of their "Pop." I feel good about myself and am so very grateful for the program.

Meet Rep. Lester "Bubba" Carpenter
2011 Paul Lacoste Sports Fit 4 Change
Team House Co-Captain

GETTING INVOLVED
I joined the Paul Lacoste Sports Fit 4 Change program because I was interested in losing weight and getting more in shape. I really enjoy participating in the program! It makes me feel better about myself and the accomplishments I’ve made thus far.

BENEFITS
I am pleased with the program due to its success with last year’s combined weight loss. The program has also helped to make individuals healthier in order for them to have a longer lifespan.

SETTING GOALS
This program has managed to make a long-lasting impression. I plan to participate in the program during EVERY legislative session.

TRUTH ABOUT PAUL
Paul is passionate and caring … he is really a very nice guy.

PAUL LACOSTE SPORTS WORKOUTS
Paul’s workouts are intense but very rewarding.

BLUE CROSS & BLUE SHEILD OF MISSISSIPPI FOUNDATION: LEADING BY EXAMPLE
It’s a blessing to have such a major sponsor such as the Blue Cross & Blue Shield. I believe that with them on board, more people are likely to give this program a try.

CATALYST FOR CHANGE
I think this program will eventually have a positive impact on state of Mississippi. I feel that by continuing to set an example, we will change lives.

SELF CONFIDENCE
I love working out with Paul in the mornings.  It has impacted the way I feel about myself, as well as life.

Meet Rep. John Hines
2011 Paul Lacoste Sports Fit 4 Change
Team House Co-Captain

GIVING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY
I chose to participate and to take on the challenge of giving back to my community while helping myself lose weight and getting physically fit. I enjoy the continuous commitment to teamwork, and the fact that not one individual's efforts are greater than those of the group. It's the Musketeer theory- all for one and one for all.

WORKING TOGETHER
The biggest accomplishment of the program has been convincing policy makers to lead by example and to work together across partisan and racial lines.

AN INSPIRATION
I would like to see the program inspire communities across the state to create community awareness around healthy lifestyles and fitness opportunities for citizens.

TRUTH ABOUT PAUL
Paul truly has a kind and caring spirit.

THE WORKOUTS
The workouts are structured madness, but they are designed to challenge the body and the mind with the ultimate of goal of total body fitness.

CATALYST FOR CHANGE
It is my hope that this program will create awareness across the nation toward the benefits of leading a healthier lifestyle. This program serves as a notice that Mississippians are committed to changing outcomes for themselves and for our future.

BLUE CROSS & BLUE SHIELD OF MISSISSIPPI FOUNDATION: COMMITMENT
The commitment of a leading health care insurer in this state illustrates the seriousness of the need for all Mississippians to work together to improve overall health outcomes.

A BIG THANKS
I want to say thanks to Jackson State University for their commitment to working with Paul Lacoste Sports Fit 4 Change and the citizens of Mississippi to create a model for total body fitness.

Meet Sen. Perry Lee
2011 Paul Lacoste Sports Fit 4 Change
Team Senate Co-Captain

Getting Involved
I have exercised on my own for many years and decided to see how my program compared to the Paul Lacoste Sports Fit 4 Change challenge. I love the opportunity to get to know other members of the legislature and other participants – and Paul hollering at us, too!!!

Benefits
Weight loss by all means is the most important, especially for those that are not as fortunate as some of us to have a good metabolism. But, I also appreciate the opportunity to get to know the people that we serve with better, personally.

Goals
I hope this program continues to improve on the physical conditions of our bodies, and I hope we learn how to better take care of this complicated machine that God has entrusted to us.

Truth About Paul
He is a good guy under that gruff exterior and wants us to succeed in ALL that we do – not just in losing weight and getting healthy.

Paul Lacoste Sports Workouts
I enjoy them and being challenged by the coaches and my teammates.

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation: Leading by Example
I have paid Blue Cross and Blue Shield for about 37 years. I am proud to be getting some of my investment back. Seriously, I appreciate their commitment to better health for all Mississippians.

Catalyst for Change
I think there are many people looking at the program and the results that we achieved last year and what we will do this year. Hopefully, it will motivate someone who needs to be better fit to live a healthier lifestyle. I appreciate the other sponsors for their commitment to this program and for the coaches' encouragement as we go through the program. They are tops!!!

Meet Rep. Steve Holland
2011 Paul Lacoste Sports Fit 4 Change
Team House Co-Captain

Getting Involved
From stroke, congestive heart failure, knee replacement and myriad other illnesses, I was told in 2008 to "get fit or get ready to meet my maker." Like Winston Churchill once said, "I'm ready to meet my maker, I'm just not sure he's ready to meet me." The alternative was to get fit, change my lifestyle and take control of my own health. When contacted by Coach Lacoste, I knew it was a match made in heaven. We clicked -- we worked together and we created the current fabulous Fit 4 Change group, which is now in its second year. My body has been transformed (141 lbs lost in 31 months) and my mind has followed suit. At 55, I have more energy than I did at 35. It's all God's uncommon favor and a joy. I plan on celebrating my 100th birthday at CS's with a beer bust and 5K run!!!

Benefits
The participants have developed a culture of wellness - it's become a way of life for most of the participants. We eat healthier, we exercise and we commit to making our lives, and the lives of those around us, more pleasant, more productive and richer. And, we look awesome!!!

Future
I want to see each participant take the regimen to the "hinterlands of Mississippi." We can make a change from 50th place to first place only if those being blessed and changed now by the program will lead by example in their hometowns and families. I want the 12-week regimen to become habitual all year long - until we all get too old and then we can coach and supervise!!!

Secrets About Paul
He's a great big teddy bear inside. His passion is contagious and his sincerity of purpose is absolutely second-to-none. But, by day, he's mean as hell!!!

Truth About Paul Lacoste Sports Fit 4 Change workouts
It's brutal but fulfilling; high energy and intensity. It challenges the body and the mind. One must endure. The collegial nature of having your buddies go through it with you makes it bearable and even fun. One need not be rocked to sleep at night after a Lacoste workout.

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi Foundation: Leading by Example Mississippi's foremost health insurance provider, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi, and its foundation put their money where their mouths have been. They have emphasized prevention for years. I know of few programs that will lead to healthy, happy lives like Fit 4 Change does. This is among the strongest partnerships I've experienced between the private sector and public sector. We are all grateful to the Blue's for their interest and support!!!

Spreading the Word
The word is out. The legislature is leading by example in changing bad health habits to excellent health habits. Mississippians don't do enough to take care of themselves. Paul Lacoste Sports Fit 4 Change can be the genesis of a sea change for all Mississippians who want to lead healthy, happy lives.

Priceless Experience
I wouldn't take a million dollars in exchange for my participation in Fit 4 Change. I'm really alive today because of this. I cannot thank Coach Lacoste, my colleagues, Blue Cross and all the other sponsors enough for their investment in positively changing Mississippi. Here's to living well, laughing often and loving much!!!