Challenge #5: Get Fit: The Winners Are…

healthy family challenge

It’s a tie!

Training without a goal is like setting off on a family road trip without your GPS. There’s no guarantee you’ll reach your destination. So this month, we gave each member of the Avaglianos and Lehmans a personalized cardio, strength and weight-loss target. They worked with their fitness trainers and nutritionists to overcome obstacles and shape up. See who hit the mark, why some missed it and what their coaches did to make them move in the right direction.

What the Avaglianos Accomplished
At the start of this challenge, Peggy couldn’t complete a single sit-up and Peter was unable do more than three perfect-form push-ups. But 30 days later that all changed. The entire family reached or exceeded their strength goals. “Sit-ups were a perfect objective for Peggy because she complained about her weak core,” says personal training director Ann Erik of Tilton Fitness. “Plus, they are easy to measure.” And being able to gauge your progress is a great motivator: “Having a target to strive for inspired Peter to make a habit of going to the gym four times per week,” says Peggy. Amazingly, the family lost weight even though they took a 10-day trip to Italy mid-challenge! Here’s what they were aiming for with their workouts.

Peggy’s Goals
Go 2,000 meters on rowing machine in 9 minutes and 30 seconds Missed by only 4 seconds.
Do 5 sit-ups Exceeded by 7!
Lose 6 pounds Achieved! Down to 175 pounds (started at 191 in June).

Peter’s Goals
Walk 1 mile in 15 minutes Achieved! With 28 seconds to spare!
Do 10 push-ups with proper form Exceeded by 2!
Lose 6 pounds Achieved! Down to 272 pounds (started at 285 in June).

Michael’ s Goals
Run 1 mile in 7 minutes and 30 seconds Exceeded! With 32 seconds to spare!
Leg-press 800 pounds for 3 reps Achieved!
Lose 4 pounds Exceeded! Lost 6!

Amanda’s Goals
Go 2,000 meters on rowing machine in 9 minutes and 30 seconds Missed by only 4 seconds.
Do 3 pull-ups Achieved!
Lose 4 pounds Missed by just 1 pound!

How They Did It
★ Passed on a ride. The Avaglianos headed to Italy for some family R&R, but the country’s pasta and gelato didn’t weigh them down. “With all our walking around Venice–sometimes over 40 flights of stairs in one day–we stayed on track with our goals,” says Peggy. Vacations aren’t an excuse to gain weight. Instead, do your sightseeing on foot as much as possible.

★ Got write with themselves. Peggy suggests joining a free website, like or, and logging your food intake and exercise every day. “Being accountable to yourself really makes a difference,” says Peggy.

★ Used a training schedule. “Peter was a little worried about his walking goal,” says Erik, who also created a rowing routine for Peggy. “But following my set plan that includes interval and distance work helps improve speed and endurance.”


What the Lehmans Accomplished

This month the Lehmans’ sweat and tears paid off! Tiffany, Andy and 10-year-old Anna have a lot to be proud of after making huge fitness strides. “You need to be comfortable with basic body-weight movements–lunges, sit-ups, dips, push-ups, pull-ups and rows–before you can begin any formal strength program,” says Andy’s trainer, Wesley Keith of Gold’s Gym. “When Andy was able to complete 50 reps of each of these movements in half an hour, it meant his body was conditioned enough to move to the next level.” Tiffany also achieved what she set out to and feels invincible. “I am amazed at how just believing in myself a little bit and having someone else–my trainer–believe in me has showed me that I can be and do anything I want,” says Tiffany, who lost 2.5% of her body fat.

Best of all, this inspiration was passed from one generation to the next. “My parents motivated me to work out and were so encouraging,” says Anna, who exercised four to five days a week and realized how good she felt when forgoing junk food. “I am happier because I’m healthier and making better food choices. Overall, I’m very proud of myself,” she says. Here’s their tally when it came to taking things up a notch at the gym.

Tiffany’s Goals
5-minute continuous treadmill push Missed by only 6 seconds!
Squat, bench-press and deadlift 120 pounds each Missed each by 50 pounds or less!
Lose 4 pounds Achieved! Down to 233 (started at 250 in June).

Andy’s Goals
15-minute continuous treadmill push Achieved!
Squat, bench-press and deadlift a total of 500 pounds Exceeded by 215 pounds!
Lose 1”  from waist and 1.5% body fat Exceeded! Lost 4.5” and 2% (started at 257 pounds in June).

Anna’s Goals
Do 15 reps each of squats, jumping jacks, toe touches and overhead presses Achieved!
Lose 5 pounds Achieved!

How They Did It

★ Worked their way up. Lass Lassiter of Gold’s Gym helped Tiffany achieve her goals by using interval training and gradually increasing her workouts. For example, with the treadmill push, Tiffany started with 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off; the next session she did one minute on and one minute off, until she hit five minutes. “Every session, Lass pushed me harder and further than I ever thought possible,” Tiffany says.

★ Kept an eye on their plates. Their trainers and nutritionist suggested they cut unhealthy carbs, eat lean sources of protein and consume more fruits and veggies. “Lass has the same philosophy as Stephanie: If you can’t pronounce an ingredient in a product, then you shouldn’t eat it,” says Tiffany.

★ Avoided all excuses. This month the Lehmans were struggling with issues relating to their autistic 7-year-old son, Jack. Yet they were still able to stick with the Healthy Challenge plan. “Life is life, and if we wait for the timing to be perfect to set our goals, we’ll never be able to reach them,” says Tiffany.

What They Won: Both the Avagliano and Lehman families had their choice of one of two Epic home fitness cardio machines provided by Dick’s Sporting Goods: an A30T treadmill with iFit training programs and built-in speakers or an A30E whisper-quiet elliptical trainer (

How did your family get fit this month? Share in the comments below.

One Response to “Challenge #5: Get Fit: The Winners Are…”

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