Who Wants to Be Healthy?
Two AYSO Regions Put Each Other to the Challenge
By: Aliya Hassan
Would you commit yourself to 14 days in a competitive health challenge? How about daily exercising, weekly weigh-ins, phone call check-ins and diet overhauls? Is that your final answer?
Two AYSO Regions in California were all for it—when Board members from Region 602 in West Covina, Calif., challenged Region 624 in Walnut, Calif., to a competitive “Healthy Living Challenge.” Region 624 gladly accepted.
Soon after, Board members from both AYSO Regions gathered for an initial weigh-in, and decided on the objectives of the challenge: over two-weeks, adopt healthier lifestyles through consistent exercise and wholesome diets – with many choosing to include Herbalife nutrition products.
Kathie Gonzalez, assistant Regional Commissioner for Region 602, came up with the “Healthy Living Challenge” and was the one who obtained a personal trainer for her Board. “One of the parents works at a local YMCA and does work with overweight children,” explains Kathie. “I asked if her if she would be interested in putting together a fitness class for us. We got together and exercised on a field while the kids practiced.”
As fun as the challenge was, it also had a serious side for both Regions: it set a great grown-up example that kids can follow.
And what’s a challenge without a competitive soccer game? Also during the two-week period, the two sides met up for a fun (and intense!) battle on the soccer field. Region 602 took home the win that day, but both teams had fun, got some great exercise and strengthened their Regional bonds.
At the conclusion of the challenge, there were some astounding results. One Board Member from Region 602 was able to reduce her diabetic medication following her two-week routine of two protein shakes for breakfast and lunch and a healthy dinner – which, along with the exercise and other lifestyle changes she made, dramatically lowered her blood sugar count.
Another Board member from Region 624 broke his daily habit of eating drive-thru food and replaced the junk food with protein shakes and other healthy options. After his two weeks was up, he was able to fit into his AYSO Board shirt for the very first time.
Individual awards—such as gym memberships, athletic bags and cash—were given to Board members who lost the highest percentage of body fat throughout the process.
The grand prize, award for “The Healthiest Region”, went to Region 602, who got the help of a trainer and got together as a group for hiking, a mini AYSO boot camp, Zumba and Pilates daily during the contest. Region 602 won a suite at an LA Galaxy game, which was funded by the entry fee each Board member paid to participate.
Throughout this two-week journey, both sides had more than their personal health in mind, they were also thinking about the example they were setting for their kids. Chronic diseases such as childhood diabetes are at almost epidemic proportions in the U.S. with experts pointing to poor food choices and inadequate exercise as significant contributing factors.
By modifying their lifestyles and approaches to healthy living, they hoped that their budding athletes would take notice, and they did. “I just put a little fruit and juice in my protein shakes and they tasted delicious,” shared a Board member from Region 624. “I let my daughter taste some and now she asks me, ‘Mom, can I have some too?’”
While the challenge may be over and the victors in the books, the two Regions are already looking to the future, deciding what their next step will be. “Maybe we can train for a marathon—like a 5K,” wonders Kathie. “We want to stay active and moving, that’s what’s important to living a healthy lifestyle.”
What type of “Healthy Living” challenge would you like to see your AYSO Region do? Share your ideas on AYSO’s Facebook Page at Facebook.com/AYSOsoccer!