In 2012, six residents from Oro Valley and Marana have received an opportunity worth $3,500 to become healthier, fit and meet life goals through the Anytime Fitness challenge.

The winners of the fitness challenge were announced last week, with Catherine Reynolds, Erin Brittain and John Miller getting ready to take the yearlong challenge at the Oro Valley Anytime Fitness facility on Oracle Road.

The Oro Valley location opened to the public on Dec. 12.

In Marana, Pamela Maldonado, Jesse Morales and Sara Summers will be taking on the yearlong challenge.

While all six winners were excited to have been selected out of the pool of 78 applicants, some expressed some nervousness about the challenge ahead.

“I am so excited I was selected,” said Reynolds. “I think I cried when they said I got it. It’s something I really want, but I know if it were easy, I would have already done it by now.”

At 28, Reynolds said living a healthy lifestyle and feeling comfortable in her body has been a struggle the majority of her life.

“With my weight gain, I have suffered from depression, sleep problems and a lack of confidence,” she said. “I get short of breath carrying the laundry across the house, my joints creak, and I hide in medical scrubs because they don’t show my flaws.”

For Brittain, she said being notified she won made her excited, but then, right away the nerves began.

“I’m ready to get to work,” she said. “I know it’s going to be challenging, but it’s the accountability I am looking for. It’s what I need.”

At 39, Brittain is looking to get fit and healthy to not only feel better and look better, but also to set a good example for her seven sons, which range between 4-and 7-years-old.

“I want to be active with my boys, and be alive and well for them,” she said. “My current lifestyle with overeating and no exercise is setting myself up for stroke, diabetes, and heart disease. I am on medication for blood pressure, which has a side effect for fatigue. I desire to get off of this medication through healthy eating and exercise.”

John Miller said he was a little shocked to be selected, but is excited because of the number of people for whom he can set an example.

The Pima Community College instructor said he wants to become the “poster boy for Baby Boomers.”

“Educating people about being healthy is my primary goal,” said Miller. “I have been eating bad foods, I was put in the hospital, and told I’ve got to change my ways. Now, I am learning how to eat, and the challenge is losing 50 pounds. That’s what I know I need to lose.”

Currently, Miller is 220 pounds, and is hoping to motivate others to follow his example as he moves forward.

“College-age students are a great target market for fitness, yet all ages need healthy lifestyles,” he said. “I am 60-years-old, and my fitness success will enable me to shout, ‘If I can do it at 60, then anyone can do it.’ The Baby Boomer generation also needs to pack the fitness clubs before they slide into a sedentary lifestyle.”

Summers said she’s nervous with how public the fitness challenge will be, as the contestants will be writing a weekly blog for The Explorer Newspaper.

“I’m worried about being a disappointment,” she said. “Through the blogs, my friends, trainer and family will see everything. But, that could be another layer of motivation.”

To be chosen, Summers said, “I felt thrilled, really excited and relieved. I don’t know how many words there are for excited, but I would say all of them right now.”

At 25-years-old, Summers weighs 340 pounds, and aims to get healthy for her four-year-old daughter.

“I go to work full time at the American Red Cross, and I am going to school for my bachelors’ degree in English,” said Summers. “Too many nights when I come home from work my little girl wants to play with me, I tell her I’m too tired, and I lay down in my bed.”

Maldonado said she is excited to get started, but a little nervous with the fact that the challenge stretches over a 12-month period.

At 42, Maldonado weighs 211 pounds, and is looking to get better for her children.

“I am a single mother of an 11-year-old, highly-energetic boy,” she said. “I want to get healthier for myself first, and my son. I want to live and not dislike my body anymore.”

Morales at 33, weighs 325 pounds and knows the challenges that are ahead.

“I have a lot of weight to lose, and I desperately need to lose the weight,” he said. “I really need to do this for myself and my family. They are the most important thing in my life, and not being able to live my life to the fullest and the longest for them would be a shame. I want to grow old with my wife and see my girls grow up and get married. I want to be able to run around with my grand kids and be healthy.”

(Editor’s Note: The winners of the fitness challenge will be writing about their progress through a weekly blog that can viewed on the Explorer’s Northwest Chatter feature. The winners’ applications and photos will be available starting Wednesday, Dec. 21. Just log on to

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