Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fitness Competition Summary

I need to write something a little more personal, but this will have to do for now. This is the write-up I did for my boss, country director, and a few people in between. Its very numbery, but that is what admin people like in a report, right?


Primary Instructor: Lyndsay Jolley (Community Economic Development G30)

Secondary Instructor: Julia Heitz (Environmental Education G34)

Guest Presenter: Topic-Soy: Rachael Graham (Crop Extension G31)

Guest Presenter: Awards Ceremony: Dr. Luis Valiente

The fitness program in Dr. J.E. Estigarribia began in November 2010, with an exercise class three times a week, attended by 5-8 women. I began by inviting a few teachers who had expressed interesting aerobics classes or those who I knew already walked on their own. Other than this, I didn’t need to do any publicity, the women promoted the class, and then the competition, completely on their own.

The fitness competition began on January 7th 2011 at lasted until February 7, 2011. We had 101 registered women participants; 51 completed the final weigh-in. It was free to attend the exercise class and nutrition presentations, but to officially enter the competition, and thus be eligible for prizes, women paid 5,000G and did an initial weigh-in. The participants with the most points would win. Points were distributed in the following manner:

Point Structure:

1pt- nutrition presentation/cooking class

2pts- exercise class or outside group exercise activity

4pts- per kilo lost

To encourage the women to be active outside of my classes, I created a captain system. A captain was a participant who had signed a contract with me to hold their own exercises activities, usually group walks, and honestly record the attendees and hours on a form I created. The captains were required to submit those forms to me at the end of each week.

[Even the little ones get in on the action]

We had 5 total captains, 3 of whom were consistently active. They logged 61, 111, and 160 hours of exercise per group. In total, 337 hours of outside exercise were logged by the captains and their exercise groups.

On average, 41 registered participants attended each class of my 14 exercise classes. Also, we often had unregistered women attend the class just to see what it was like and about 5-10 children who regularly observed or partially participated in the classes. I would estimate there were 50-55 women and guests at each class on average. I would also estimate of the 101 registered women, 60-70 continued to actively participate in the fitness events. My fitness class logged 547 hours of exercise.

[Name tags]

On average, 28 women attended each of the 5 health presentations.

The participants lost 85.9k (188lbs) total. The top 5 women lost 30.6k (67.2lbs) between them.

At the end of the competition we held an awards ceremony with about 55 people to celebrate the accomplishments of all the women, hand out certificates of participation and final awards.


· Finding a location. Most fields were not willing to ask the men to stop playing soccer for an hour so we could have class. Let me repeat that. The only woman's exercise class couldn't find space because the boys needed to play football, which they could have done in any number of different locations. Yes, I'm a little sore on that point.

· Keeping the exercises challenging but fun.


· Not having to do any publicity. Everything spread via word of mouth.

· ~55 people attended the final awards ceremony even though it rained

· Women seeing tangible results

· Passing by the field on a non-exercise class day, and observing the women doing their own walks, stretches, and other exercises, without my guidance.

Changes for Competition #2 (beginning the end of March 2011)

· Increase fee to join competition to buy nicer prizes and ensure the event covers all of its own expenses.

· Transfer more of the responsibilities of the classes to the women, possibly through the creation of 2-3 concurrent exercise classes in different parts of the city. This would also increase the number of women who have access to the classes.

· Recruit more guest presenters and instructors

· Find ways other than weight loss, to measure participant progress and successes.

Health Topics Presented:

· Diabetes

· The importance of reading nutrition labels

· The health benefits of soy

· Cooking with soy

· Cooking with fruits and vegetables

· Portions

· Calculating intake and expenditure

· Health and weight-loss myths

· Avoiding ‘snake oil’/ quick fix diets and medications

· Food groups

· What is a normal weight/Body Mass Index Calculation

Primary Exercises:

· Yoga

· Pilates

· Zumba

· Strength training (with old bottles filled with water)

· Sprinting drills

· Plyometrics

· Group walks

· Exercise games

· Dances

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Chaocitos Mo, Bienvenidos Tucker

It was raining, he was cute, with big brown eyes, crying, and he came right up to me. I let him in to get out of the rain, let him out again when it was done, but he came back, and hasn't tried to leave since. I'm not emotionally strong enough to say no to that. So I have a dog now... His name is Tucker.

Moab left to go live with Julia, but there was about 2-3 days when I had all 3 pets at the house. Quite a zoo.

[Feeding time at the Jolley Zoo]

Goodbye Old Fridge (and 1 month's salary)

About a week ago the refrigerator part of my refrigerator stopped working. The freezer part, which is not separated from the refrigerator section, was thus doing double duty. I was too busy at the time to do anything about it because of the exercise competition.

[Old Fridge]

I decided not to try and repair the old one, because it was absolutely ancient, never worked really well, was as loud as a freight train, and this was probably just the beginning of its slow death. I've also decided that I'll ask my follow-up to pitch in a bit so that will take the edge off farther down the road.
[Old Fridge. Note the compartment at the top, sans door or partition of any sort. That is the freezer]

Yesterday I was finally able price some new ones in the stores. I first looked around for used ones, but I wasn't able to find any and none of my friends knew of any for sale. I decided to buy one from a friend of mine because I knew that she would allow me to divide the payments of the fridge without charging me interest.

I got the cheapest fridge I could from there, but it still is going to set me back an entire month's salary ouch. Fortunately I've split it up into 3 payments, so that will make it a bit easier, but still.

That said, I'm amazed by how nice the new fridge is. Its so quiet I keep looking at it to make sure its still plugged in. I'm so happy to have an actual freezer, the old one had a freezer, but since it wasn't separated it couldn't even keep my ice cream from melting. Maybe I'll actually be able to have ice now! The door closes completely, I had to use a bike tire to close the other one, so less air escapes. So I'm also guessing it is far more energy efficient, so I won't be surprised if my electricity bill goes down.

[New Fridge. Note the closed freezer compartment on the top]