MIA accountant adds muscle, subtracts fat to win Biggest Winner Challenge
As an accountant in the Miami-Dade Aviation Department’s Finance Division, Monica Garcia is a pro when it comes to adding and subtracting. For the past three months, she decided to take on a different kind of number-crunching challenge – achieve her personal best in muscle-gain and fat-loss percentages during Miami-Dade County’s Biggest Winner Challenge.
Monica’s hard work and calorie-counting skills paid off with big dividends on October 16 at the 5th Annual Miami-Dade County WellnessWorks I THRIVE 5K Family Fun Day, when she was crowned the Challenge’s biggest individual winner countywide in the Muscle Gain category, earning her a $500 cash prize and one year of health coaching and body composition testing at no cost. Monica’s winning numbers: five pounds of muscle gained while dropping her fat percentage from 21% to 18.8%. So, what was Monica’s formula for success?
First, I had on my team two of my colleagues and friends, Diana Fontalvo and Kelly Quiroz, who were my first motivation. We encouraged each other every day, created a group text chat, shared workouts, what we ate during the day, how many miles we walked or ran and much more to keep us motivated throughout the challenge. I think more importantly than the weight that I lifted, the most crucial thing for me was being consistent. I pushed myself to work out at least three times a week, and I followed the nutrition guidance from the County’s WellnessWorks seminars. I also did the 2021 Mercedes-Benz Corporate Run, which motivated me to increase the number of miles I ran every week. The hard part was the lifting because I am not used to doing it, and yes, that was hard and is still hard! I usually run or bike to work out, so lifting weights was new for me.
The Biggest Winner Challenge started on July 19 with a Bodimetrix UltraSound measurement that assessed each participant’s body composition (total fat mass and total lean muscle mass), height and weight measurements. There was an optional midpoint assessment after the first six weeks and then a mandatory final week assessment on October 9. Online webinars geared towards burning fat and building muscle were provided throughout the Challenge, and wellness coaches were available to help participants develop a plan specific to their targeted goals.
Being the Biggest Winner was a big surprise. Someone from human resources called to tell me I was one of the winners who would be recognized at the 5K, but I never imagined I had won the biggest prize!
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