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Survival of the Fittest (Town Hall)

The Shrewsbury Health and Racquet Club has challenged five communities' employees to get in gear.

Cupcakes delivered to Grafton Town Hall in January or February will send a message.

Shrewsbury town employees are calling their neighbors the cream puffs of physical fitness.

An upcoming challenge among Shrewsbury, Grafton, Westborough, Northborough and Southborough town employees and officials will be survival of the (physically) fittest.

The Shrewsbury Health and Racquet Club’s ”SHARC Shapes Up the Community” contest will have these town halls competing for health points, bragging rights and a $50 gift card to the club, Owner/President Darline Thorp Yatim says.

Teams from each town hall will attend one 45-minute fitness class for eight weeks, starting the first week of January, Yatim says. Club staff will lead the sessions, beginning with healthy eating. Each town will have a different day. The first six sessions will be held in the towns. The club will host the last two sessions: a FIT-traXX Demo and a cardio dance class.

“Some of these town managers have already worked together on other programs. And they also already have kind of a competitive nature,” Yatim says.

“When I was at Grafton today, apparently some of the Shrewsbury town officials are already trash-talking Grafton, saying they’re going to win, they’re going to send cupcakes there so that they’ll be tempted to eat cupcakes the whole time.”

The club will update its “who’s the healthiest town” standings weekly. Team scores will be pro-rated to account for the difference in team sizes. The team sizes will range from 18 to 30, with Shrewsbury having two teams.

Yatim says the program was inspired by a trip she took to Dean Park, “watching my kids be active.”

“I’m like, ‘All of these parents are just sitting here on our butts with our iPhones, doing nothing,” says Yatim, who has lost more than 100 pounds.

She decided to do something to “get the towns active and the families active.”

The town hall challenge will be a pilot program, she says.

“The hope is it will then spread to police, fire, schools, and then we’ll do all town community members,” she says.

All participants will get a pedometer; a stressball; a two-week guest pass at the club, good only during the last two weeks of the program; and a discounted membership rate to join, which can be used at any time.

Teams will earn points, on an honor system, for positive behaviors such as  exercising, “something as simple as walking,” eating fruits and vegetables, and drinking water, Yatim says. Negative behaviors -- not sleeping at least six hours a night, and drinking alcohol, for example – will cost people points.

“One of the things that I find hinders my personal lifestyle is stress. And it seems that that’s one of the things that hinders most people’s,” Yatim says.

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