Five area residents are all competing in the ultimate health and fitness challenge. On April 4th, these contestants will take a series of fitness tests to determine the winner.
Eyewitness News will be following these five individuals over the next month in their quest to become faster, healthier, and stronger.
One contestant, Jonathan Blando, has been struggling with his weight his whole life. "I was a hundred pounds in first grade and it just kept going up from there."
Blando says his downfall had always been food. A problem many people face, it wasn't that he was always hungry, but just liked to eat.
"Junior year of high school I started really getting into football, losing weight, and I felt good about myself for the first time," he says.
But without a football team in college, and all-you-can eat dining halls, Jonathan's weight began to come back on. At one point during school, his appendix burst, which Jonathan attributes to his weight. "I thought that would change my life, I would get back on the right track, but I didn't...I started focusing on school again, then sitting in a cubicle in an insurance company after I got out--I just ate all day long."
At his highest weight, 363 lbs., Jonathan says he was at his lowest point. Both he and his wife lost weight together for their wedding, but eventually put it back on. Now he says he wants to lose the weight permanently. He plans his meals ahead of time, only buys healthy foods, and makes time for the gym. Which is Jonathan's biggest challenge, as he travels to medical school in Seneca Falls every single day.
"I want to feel good about myself. I want to be around for a very long time for my wife, we want to have kids eventually, and a lot of it is for my future practice," explains Blando.
Jonathan says one day, he wants to be a doctor his patients can take health advice from. His advice to those looking to follow in a similar path? "Everybody should know, it's not always about the number...Make small goals, it gives you something to celebrate throughout the process, just get up and move, something is better than nothing."