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May 2017

E-Town Get Fit Wraps Up Successful Challenge

Elizabethtown resident Kristen Scharf decided to try the 2017 E-town Get Fit Choose to Lose challenge when her friend Simone Heisey was looking for someone to sign up with her. “I really did not know what I was getting into, so I was uncertain what to expect,” recalled Scharf.

E-Town Get Fit is a three-month challenge sponsored by the Elizabethtown Chamber of Commerce and several area businesses and organizations. From Jan. 14 to April 8, Scharf and 76 others participated in the program, which is designed to teach individuals how to live a healthy lifestyle.

Participants, who joined the challenge for a set fee, could sign up as a team of up to five or as individuals to be placed on a team for moral support and accountability. They received free group exercise classes and a discounted gym membership, along with weekly fitness and nutrition challenges and information. “Group exercise class is always a high point,” said Mark Mueller, E-Town Get Fit developer and director. “This class meets every Saturday during the program, and we always have regular attendees who look forward to it.”

According to Mueller, the class includes body weight and resistance exercises using dumbbells and barbells to increase strength and aerobic exercises in order to help increase endurance. “These workouts also help to improve movement and flexibility,” explained Mueller. “It is fun to watch the participants’ improvement as the weeks go by. At the end of 12 weeks, some of them are able to do things they thought they would never be able to do again. Some people are amazed at how aches and pains they have lived with for years have disappeared.”

After a final weigh-on on April 8, Mueller compiled the total weight loss and body fat loss data to determine the winning team, as well as the individual female and male winners. First-place team honors went to “Adjust Weight and See,” consisting of John Rebman, Cheryl Rebman, Natalie Rebman, Rich Miller, and Kelly Monaghan. Team members lost a combined total of 93 pounds and had 1.76 percent total fat loss.



E-Town Get Fit developer and director Mark Mueller (far left) congratulates first-place team “Adjust Weight and See” members (continuing from left) Cheryl Rebman, John Rebman, Kelly Monaghan, Natalie Rebman, and Rich Miller. Miller was also the overall first-place male competitor.


Miller was the top male competitor, and Scharf was the top female competitor.

“My biggest challenge was to realize my abilities were not as limited as I thought I was,” said Scharf. “Mark offered Saturday classes and not only did we exercise, but he put me in the mindset to keep trying all week. On Saturdays, he also gave us our weekly challenges, one for dietary need and one for exercise needs. I wanted to prove to myself I could do it, so I worked at his challenges.”


E-Town Get Fit first-place female competitor Kristen Scharf (right) receives congratulations from event developer and director Mark Mueller (left).

Scharf was pleasantly surprised by how friendly everyone in the program was, even though they were technically competing against one another. “Everyone was trying to encourage others to keep going or saying a kind word of encouragement even if they did not know them,” Scharf shared.

Mount Joy resident John Rebman, who joined the challenge when his daughter was looking for more team members, echoed Scharf’s sentiments. “All the teams and people were supportive of each other,” said John. “Mark runs a great program and couldn’t have been more helpful.”

“Once you change and keep going, it is amazing how much better you feel,” John remarked. “It takes discipline to exercise and eat correctly.”

“Even though the program ended, I still think about what I choose to eat and what activity I have planned for the day,” said Scharf, adding that it has become a routine she is excited to achieve each day. “I would more than encourage people to sign up next year. It was a great experience, even on those days I felt like walking was too painful!”

The 2018 E-Town Get Fit Choose to Lose Challenge will begin in January. More information is available at




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November 2015

New Year, New Lifestyle!

E-town Get Fit: “Choose To Lose” Will Kick Off On January 16, 2016

choose to lose1

If Christmas shopping was an aerobic sport, many area residents would not have to count calories when they sit down to upcoming holiday feasts. Since gift hunting does not typically work up a sweat, local folks may need another way to get in shape after enjoying the rich foods of the season. E-town Get Fit: Choose to Lose is one way for residents to refocus on healthy living.

The friendly weight loss competition, which is sponsored by the Elizabethtown Chamber of Commerce and professional trainer Mark Mueller, will be back for 2016. Mueller is excited to kick off this year’s program, and not just for the weight loss aspect. “The benefits of exercise and activity not only    help you physically, but also mentally,” Mueller shared. “Regular exercise helps us in dealing with stress, depression, anxiety and sleep disorders. It boosts our energy level and aids in positive thinking and uplifted attitudes.”

Interested competitors are invited to visit to register for the competition, which will be held from Saturday, Jan. 16, to Saturday, April 16, 2016. Separate costs have been set for individuals and for teams of five. Single registrants will be placed on a team. The registration deadline is Tuesday, Dec. 1.

Mueller noted that it is necessary for competitors to be present at the initial weigh-in on Jan. 16 and the final weigh-in on April 16. Both weigh-ins will take place at Elizabethtown Fitness Club, located at 626 S. Market St., Elizabethtown. Alternate weigh-in times may be scheduled if absolutely necessary. Two additional weigh-ins will take place in February and March, but they are optional.

The program will include diet and exercise tips from Mueller via email, as well as several free group exercise classes at Elizabethtown Fitness Club.


   Certified Fitness Trainer, Mark Mueller

“Working together as a team, (participants) will compete against other teams to lose unnecessary pounds,” Mueller said. “(Participants) will learn how to ramp up their metabolism through nutrition and exercise, (as well as) how to gain lean muscle while losing fat. Trophies will be awarded to the winning teams, but everyone will be a winner when they choose to lose.”

Last year’s competition saw more than 100 men and women take on nutritious eating and exercise regimens in an effort to lose pounds and boost health. Overall champion Corie Hynicker lost 15.44 percent of her body weight and 9.6 percent body fat. More than 500 pounds were lost by all participants combined.

Participant Tracy Cocker was able to lose 27 pounds in three months, and she gives the program credit. “My (Choose to Lose) experience was one of the best choices I made,” Cocker shared. “Having a team was a big help. Without their help and support, I don’t think I would have made it.” Cocker noted that she went to the gym three to four times a week and she paid attention to what she was eating, as well. Cocker plans to participate again this year with hopes of getting closer to her final goal weight.

For additional details, registration instructions, and a full list of rules, readers may visit



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May 2015

E-Town Get Fit Celebrates Success

The results are in, and area residents have shown that they are serious about getting fit and having fun.

Participants in the first-ever E-Town Get Fit Choose to Lose competition celebrated their success at an awards ceremony on April 22. Choose to Lose competitors began a weight loss journey in January and made their final weigh-in on April 18. The contestants then gathered at Trellis Place in Elizabethtown to hear the results and congratulate each other  on the hard work and dedication that went into the competition. In addition to the awards presentation, the evening included a light dinner of sandwiches provided by a local sub restaurant.


The One Pound at a Time team of (from left) LeeAnn Riegler, Corie Hynicker, and Wendi Grinnell, earned first place in the 2015 E-town Get Fit Choose to Lose competition, which took place from January to April. Hynicker was also recognized as the overall female winner of the competition.

Personal trainer and Choose to Lose organizer Mark Mueller opened the evening with a pop quiz to see how much fitness and nutrition information the contestants retained from the competition.

“What are the three macro-nutrients?” Mueller asked. Participants shouted out the three correct answers: fat, protein, and carbohydrates, which are nutrients that provide calories, or energy. After going over a few other important fitness and nutrition terms, as well as taking time to recognize several local sponsors, Mueller prepared the audience for the results. “I know this is what you are all waiting for,” he said.

The combined weight loss for all participants was more than 500 pounds. The team  dubbed  One Pound at a Time, consisting of LeeAnn Riegler, Corie Hynicker, and Wendi Grinnell, earned first-place honors by losing 72.6 pounds combined. Second place went to    The Five G’s: Sherry Wilkinson, Leonard Weishner, Tracy Cocker, Shirlee Waugh, and Laura Bleacher. The FitBits, Teresa Reginella, Jennifer Goss, and Dixie Kautz, took home third-place honors.

The winning team was led by the overall first-place female winner, Hynicker, who lost 15.44 percent of her body weight and 9.6 percent body fat. “I just followed the plan,” Hynicker said of her effort. “I tried to eat right and exercise.”

Overall first-place male winner Paul Wolgemuth lost 7.64 percent of his body weight and 4.8 percent body fat.

Mueller was pleased not only with the results of the competition, but also with the participation. “We aimed for 60 participants this first year,” he remarked. “We ended up with 115. I just want to say thank you to those who put in the work and to our sponsors for supporting this effort.”

The goal of Choose to Lose was not just about losing weight. “I wanted to teach people to live a healthy lifestyle,” Mueller commented. “I knew if we could do that, lives would be changed. It wasn’t just weight loss.”

For more information about E-town Get Fit, including details about next year’s competition, readers may visit



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Community Invited To Take Weight Loss Challenge

At the beginning of the new year, many individuals make resolutions – to quit smoking, eat healthier, or accomplish any number of other plans. One of the most popular resolutions, by far, is the decision to get healthy and lose weight.

Elizabethtown resident and personal trainer Mark Mueller is often called upon by resolute individuals who are ready to make a lifestyle change. This prompted Mueller to brainstorm a way to help more people who wanted to lose weight but did not know where to start.

Mueller teamed up with the Elizabethtown Chamber of Commerce to come up with E-Town Get Fit: Choose to Lose, a weight loss challenge for the community as a whole. According to Chamber director Ramon Escudero, the weight loss challenge is a great way for businesses to encourage their employees to take the first steps of pursuing a healthier lifestyle. “We are excited to offer this resource to the community,” Escudero said. “This can be the foundation of a healthy lifestyle and something that will provide appropriate venues to build up a healthy community.” Escudero pointed out that a healthier workforce may result in fewer sick days, possibly decreasing insurance rates, and resulting in more productive employees.

The initial weigh-in for the start of the program will be on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015, at the Elizabethtown Fitness Club, 626 S. Market St., Elizabethtown. The challenge will run through Saturday, April 18. The registration deadline is Monday, Dec. 15. Interested residents may sign up as an individual or as a member of a five-person team. Individuals who sign up will be assigned to a team.

Participants need not be worried about their personal weight being displayed for all to see. Four weigh-ins will calculate the weight of each team, rather than each individual, on four different dates during the competition.

The team aspect will help with motivation, as members will be able to exercise together and hold one another accountable. Four group exercise classes will be offered during the challenge as well, and Mueller will also offer training for teams.

Each team will receive 10 points for each percent of body weight lost as a team. Each team will receive 20 points for each percent of fat lost.The three teams that earn the most points will receive trophies, and every participant will receive a certificate.

Escudero noted that sponsors are still being sought for the program. “We are particularly interested in organizations that work in the health and wellness industry,” he said, adding, “This is the right avenue to offer services (to the participants) and to gain some visibility in the community.” Escudero also shared that sponsors would be able to set up displays during weigh-ins and other program events.

Mueller is certified through the International Sports Sciences Association and he is a certified fitness trainer, as well as a specialist in fitness nutrition. He is excited to help community members set goals and achieve them. “I am focused on fat loss,” he noted. “I want (participants) to learn how to eat right and exercise right, so they lose fat and gain muscle. They will learn to eat (healthier) in order to continue being productive and efficient. We eat to gain strength, energy, and stamina.”

Participants will benefit from the program’s website,, and its Facebook page, which can be found by searching for “E-town Get Fit.” Both sites will feature exercise and nutrition tips to help participants as the program progresses.

For more information on sponsorship opportunities, readers may contact Escudero at 361-7188. Interested individuals may register for the Choose to Lose program or find additional details at the aforementioned website.