When I got the first email about the Team Lean Challenge I thought this would be a great way to create some competition and comradery for our staff and get our staff in better physical shape. Several staff members had talked about an in house competition to work together to lose some weight and get in shape but you always ran into the same problems, accountability, a good program to follow, keeping interest and a time limit.  So when this came up I emailed the staff and had them send in a list of names of those that would be interested in the challenge. The token of some cash at the end was a positive nugget to throw in as well.

When the names started coming back I was shocked at the number of people that were interested and willing to compete. I think our first number was 29 and then we finally ended up with 24 team members.

The first weigh in was approaching and some got nervous and embarrassed that their weight would be “out there” for people to see. We agreed as a team that we would know the beginning weight of all team members. If we were going to be accountable for each other we had to know what each of the goals (weight loss) and fitness level for every person on the team was and what they wanted as the end result.

After the weigh-in started the levels of encouragement for each member gradually increased.  The teamwork among several members carried over outside of the day to day school day into working-out, exercising, eating together and making sure everyone was staying positive. One member of the team was feeling like she was letting the team down because she hadn’t lost but a little weight. We convinced her that every small loss was in the positive category and it was integral for our total percentage. She agreed and her weight loss was evident in our winning total.

As the weeks flew by you could see the visible result of everyone’s hard work and dedication to completing the goal. This team had given up the “just competing” to stating “we’re going to win this thing.”

After the final weigh-in there was no lapse in continuing the good habits that had been started weeks earlier. The support for all members was still as evident and present as we waited for the final announcement of the winning team.

The presentation of Pierce County Middle as the winning team was a great recognition of the team’s hard work and dedication. I don’t think it would have been possible without the support of Rusty, Heather, the YMCA and the Team Lean Challenge. We have several of our team continue to lose weight and get into better physical shape due to the challenge of Team Lean. It also fostered several work-out groups in the building and pushed some spouses of team members to get into shape. Thank you to all who were involved in the Team Lean Challenge. It was fun, frustrating, rewarding and satisfying for the Pierce Middle Team.


Perry Tison

Pierce Middle School