There’s a movement among truckers to lose a ton of weight, literally. It’s called the MATS 2 GATS Fitness Challenge. The Facebook fitness contest aims to inspire at least 500 truck drivers to lose a collective 2,000 pounds as a means of getting healthier. The contest launched at the Mid-America Trucking Show in March and will end at the Great American Trucking Show in August.
Truck driver Tom Kyrk spearheaded the MATS 2 GATS Fitness Challenge, and he couldn’t be more excited about it.
“We’re really trying to make this contest big,” Kyrk says. “If we can get 500 people to sign up, we’ll have enough active participants to meet our goal.”
Tech company Tough Tested is sponsoring the contest, wherein participants commit to a healthier lifestyle through exercise and diet. Each participant receives a rubber bracelet and a T-shirt. Tough Tested also will have giveaways if contestants lose a collective 2,000 pounds or more. The biggest reward, however, is losing weight in a supportive environment.
“It’s for support and giving ideas,” Kyrk says. “We’re here to motivate and inspire.”
How It Works
When drivers join the challenge, they provide their current weight and continuously update organizers on it once or twice a month until the end of the challenge. For his part, Kyrk will work with a personal trainer throughout the contest and hold himself accountable by posting his workouts and weighing himself in videos he will share on the MATS 2 GATS Facebook page.
“I’ve agreed to do it publicly because I’m a firm believer in practicing what you preach,” he says.
By posting video of his workouts, other drivers can do them, too.
The MATS 2 GATS Fitness Challenge page features healthy recipes, workouts, inspiring words and more to keep participants on track. Life coach Carolyn O’Byrne offers tips, as does nutritionist John Reed.
All In It Together
Ideally, the sense of community on the page will keep participants motivated and encouraged from the contest’s beginning to end.
“I personally like the community attitude of the MATS 2 GATS challenge,” says Idella Hansen of Real Women in Trucking, who has made her own great strides toward a healthier life. “Many need the encouragement and tips this type of challenge provides. I personally do the three steps forward, one step back, and hopefully this is the ticket for many of us backsliders.”
While there have been other fitness challenges in the trucking industry, this one is different, Kyrk asserts. For one thing, the effort is a year in the making. Driver-turned-videographer Tex Crowley launched the contest last year, but it fizzled out because organizers had too many other commitments. Crowley handpicked Kyrk, his friend, to launch the contest again this year. This time it’s taking off.
At its core, the MATS 2 GATS Fitness Challenge is for truck drivers, but others in the trucking industry are welcome to participate. “It’s about trying to build a sense of community among everybody in the trucking industry,” Kyrk says, “whether it’s dispatchers or recruiters, drivers or family.”
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