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Web journalist Lois Kirkup had let her fitness regime slide, but she's making up for it now
Health Club Challenge participant Lois Kirkup works out with coach Lindsay Forget at the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence.

Times Colonist Health Club Challenge participant Lois Kirkup is stepping out of the Internet shadows.

The 50-year-old is making a splash in print today to report good progress halfway through the Health Club Challenge.

The Times Colonist web journalist says she now routinely hustles up stairs, in and out of training sessions. "I run up the stairs and down the stairs and that was one of the hardest things I had to do."

Kirkup agreed a few months ago to join the Health Club Challenge, thinking it would be a good way to resume a fitness routine after a break of about four months. She joins fellow participants Tania Bonfield, 38, Ashleigh Triplett, 28, Jill Williams, 62, Dennis Guevin, 52, and Kevin Dean, 51.

But unlike the other challengers, whose efforts have been chronicled regularly in the Life section in print and online, reports about Kirkup's progress have been kept to blogs posted on the Times Colonist website.

The Times Colonist Health Club Challenge is a 12-week health and fitness package worth $3,000, consisting of initial testing, body measurements and fitness assessments by technicians at the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence. Participants also met with dietitians to establish healthy-eating regimens and were assigned to personal trainers to help with exercise routines. The challengers were even provided counselling to help with ongoing motivation.

About 350 participants in the At Home Challenge are also taking part and earning chances to win great prizes, while following health tips in the Times Colonist and at

Kirkup said she was always a keen runner and had completed five-kilometre and 10-kilometre runs and two half-marathons. But after she moved to Victoria from Ottawa last September, her exercise program dwindled until all she was doing was walking and yoga.

"My fitness level really went down," she said.

For Kirkup, a new fitness regime that included running offered a good way to meet people in a new city. "I find running is social for me. It's not just exercise - there is a social part."

The one thing Kirkup can't disclose, not even to herself, is her weight.

During the initial weigh-in at the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence, she kept her eyes closed.

Since then, she has not stepped on a scale.

She knows her body is changing since she's stepped up her fitness regime, because her clothes feel looser. But that's all she knows. And right now, she doesn't care.

"My goal right now is not to lose all the weight I'm going to lose [at once]," said Kirkup. "My goal is to concentrate on fitness and healthy eating.


Interested in learning more about fitness options at the community centres participating in the Times Colonist Health Club Challenge?

Check out their websites:

- G.R. Pearkes Recreation Centre, Saanich:

- Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence:

- Juan de Fuca Recreation Centre, West Shore: juan-de-fuca-recreation-centre

- Crystal Pool and Fitness Centre, Victoria: parks-rec-culture/recreation-culture/

- Oak Bay Recreation Centre:, click on facilities and parks and follow the links.

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