Mercer Singers strive to be the Biggest Losers in competitive health challenge

The Mercer Singers are hosting the first ever “Biggest Loser” on Mercer’s Campus.
The idea for a way to help music students become healthy has been a long time concern of Dr. Stanley Robert, The Arthur Lowndes Rich Professor of Choral Conducting and Associate Dean of the Townsend School of Music.
“I’ve been concerned for about a year or so with the overall health of my choirs…and the school of music. I have not quite known how to address that, it’s not just something you bring up and people don’t know how to address those things. It’s also partially for me too; I’ve just got to take better care of myself. That’s just kind of where it all started,” said Dr. Robert.
To say that he was excited was an understatement, when a student walked into his office to present the idea of a “Biggest Loser” competition.
Katie Elliott, a student at Mercer, agrees with the program saying “I think Biggest Loser is a great idea. It’s great to have a support system in place when you’re trying to go through with something like this, and I think making it a competition adds a lot of excitement. I am participating and I’m really looking forward to it. I’m hoping to slim down and get in better shape – both of which would help with singing.”
Like the television show there was a weigh-in on Feb. 23.
At the initial weigh-in, the original weight and body percentage was calculated and those that wanted could add ten dollars to the bucket for a chance to win a cash prize.
There will be two prizes available to win, one based on the amount of weight lost and another on the percentage of weight lost.
Dr. Roberts is very excited for the prospects of what this will mean for the music students.
He has set a goal himself to lose up to fifteen pounds. So far there are four other faculty members involved and countless students.
After the initial weigh-in, the real fun begins. Dr. Roberts, along with some of those helping organize, will circulate a workout schedule for those participating.
Anyone who walks into the Music Building can join in. The idea is that together there will be something for everyone to do.
With activities everyday and workout partners, there is the element of accountability that lacks when one has to face the gym alone.
Jessie Fellows, a music major, shared some concern for the program, over all, saying “It definitely makes it easier if you’re doing it with a large group of people. My only concern is some people taking it too seriously, and turning something that could be a healthy change, and turning it into a health hazard. As long as the people involved don’t get too worried about losing as much as possible, as quickly as possible, I think it’s a great idea.”
To keep this from happening, the Biggest Loser has been spread to take place over the course of the rest of the semester.
Beyond the exercise schedule there is also going to be healthy eating and lifestyle choice classes.
It is more than just losing weight; it is also about making a new way of life for all involved.
Dr. Roberts stated that “The idea behind it is for some of us to lose some weight, but also for us to become healthier people.”