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    Photo Credit: Various Contestant Profile Photos

The Final 33: Meet the RealJock Nu4You Weight-Loss Challenge Contestants

By RealJock Staff

Last week we were pleased to announce the list of contestants in the RealJock Nu4You Weight-Loss Challenge, with the caveat that we were still waiting to hear from a few guys. Well, we heard back and now have our official list of 33 Weight-Loss Challenge contestants below. Check them out—woo hoo!

Manuel Villacorta and Dennis Allio from Nu4You personally reviewed each application—and they were deeply touched by what they read. There were stories of struggle, heartache, hope, and renewal—and, in the end, it was just too hard to narrow it down to the planned five to 10 contestants. So, in an act of generosity, Villacorta and Allio have chosen a team of 33 guys to be contestants in the Weight-Loss Challenge. As Villacorta puts it, "Because of the great response from the RealJock community we have expanded the number of contestants to give more men a chance to meet their weight loss and nutrition goals."

We've listed the 33 confirmed contestants below, with links to their profiles. Over the course of the next several weeks, we'll feature each of our challenge participants in greater depth, giving you some insight into their motivations and experiences, and giving you the chance to get to know them. Check back on a regular basis to learn more about them, and to track their progress. In the meantime, here's what they can expect.

The Contestants Get Started
Contestants will begin with a group phone meeting with Manuel Villacorta, MS, RD, CSSD, to get them started on the path to renewal. The contestants will be introduced to, the Nutrition for You interactive website, where they'll get advice and training, and find tools for tracking their caloric intake and output. From that point forward, contestants will meet periodically with Nu4You's trained nutrition coaches to get guidance, support, and advice.

What can they expect to eat? Villacorta explains: "The contestants will eat a balance of carbohydrate, protein, and heart-healthy fat. The plan is a customized prescription of caloric intake based upon each person's total energy expenditure. That includes diet, exercise, lifestyle, and metabolism." After taking all of this into account, he'll determine "a safe caloric deficit that will let contestants lose weight at a safe 1.5 to 3.0 lbs per week." The point is not to have contestants shrivel before your eyes—they are going to be losing weight at a healthy, moderate pace. And this is not a generic, corporate diet program—as Villacorta says, "You do not have to buy pre-packaged meals. Instead, we will ask contestants to make healthier choices while shopping for groceries and when cooking and dining out. Diets have a beginning and an end. This isn't that—this is a real life-style change, one from which we want people to never look back."

Meet the Contestants
Our contestants will get started on September 15th; the contest ends on November 15th. For the next two months, we know these guys would love to feel your support, and hear about your own journey through the jungles of weight loss. Feel free to drop them a line and introduce yourself, or start a forum or two celebrating their journey! Here's who to look for, and a little taste, in their own words, of what they're hoping for from joining the challenge:

AlphaDen: "I want to take yoga and triathlon training as far as I possibly can. In order to do that I have to start from workout mentality and, most importantly, a new way of viewing food. Plus, for the first time, I want to take my shirt off at the beach and have people stare (in a good way)."

Ctocity: "Growing up, I was always the 'heavy kid' on the block. In college I thinned down and was quite the 'looker' in my twenties! Then like a switch being turned on, I gained weight when I hit 30 and have been on a permanent diet since! I have tried many diets in the past… some have worked and others have not, but I always seem to settle back to my old ways."

glenn77: "I've been on diets such as the Zone, which focused on balanced eating, but I've lost track of my eating portions and over-all good eating habits. Over the last few years, my weight has increased 20 pounds, and it frustrates me to see how drastically I've changed. I can't fit into my 31" jeans anymore! I am committed to changing my lifestyle, becoming more active, and to feeling good about my weight. Losing the weight/fat would mean higher confidence, better endurance, and looking great over-all. And of course, fitting into my Calvin Klein's again would be awesome!"

laderjacka: "I think the weight change would contribute to more endurance, more energy, and better health. I would hope that playing football would be improved. The opportunity to work with someone knowledgeable in diet and exercise should be a missing piece that can be helpful for me to lose weight, and to feel better. The loss of the weight will help take a strain from my back, and legs. I want very much to lose the weight and to keep it off. I think my future health depends on it."

Ayepa: "I still work out and try to watch what I eat, but it seems as if there is so much misinformation as far as how much I should eat, when I should eat, and trying to apply the information that is factual out there, to my daily schedule such as commuting 2 hours one way daily, seems unattainable."

Olden: "I want to get back into scuba diving again, which will reopen a whole new world that I now only experience in memories from the past."

jkw69: "When I do get in shape and am on a program I can stay on I know I will feel like the me I know I am."

Gr8Pics: "I really do hope I am one of the lucky 5, and plan on making you proud (and my body much healthier and easier on the eyes in the process) if I am selected."

Slightlysmallerbastiaan : "Since July of 2005 I have steadily dropped weight from 410+ to 220 pounds. I did this by watching what I eat, though not as dedicated as I should and mainly working out at the gym 5 times a week, running on the weekends."

Torquere : "My reward is that by this time next year, I want to begin (with my partner) the adoption process of a young child. It was always in my plan to begin that process at 35, and I truly think that I need to get myself in physical and mental shape to prepare for that challenge."

Socaljockintraining: "Coming from a family that is riddled with diabetes, gout and asthma, does not bring much hope to my future well-being, but something about has definitely given me that push to take the leap I thought I would never be able to take."

HCoy : "I think that, being happier with my physical image and ability to manage it, I would be more confident to present myself, to say that I can accomplish something that needs to be done."

Hershal : "If I got in shape I am certain that my health status would change, I would be less tired at the end of the day and I would go out more and be open to meeting people in a social setting."

srm11222: "The primary reason I want to lose weight is because I just want to be healthy and have lots of energy. I have been working with a dietician and personal trainer, but have had very little success. They've never asked why I want to lose weight, what my goals are, etc. In fact, this seems to be the first time I've actually verbalized them to anyone."

shawnrt83: "I am going to lose this weight, I am going to get to the point where I can go buy pants at regular stores. I want to get stares, but not because of how big I am, but because of what I lost and how good I look."

USjock: "When not working I definitely like to hang out with friends, roller coasters, anything to do with the water: swim, scuba, beach, and kayak, tennis, extreme sports, anything out doors, cars, and traveling."

LateBloomer: "The death of my 46 year older sister this year to breast cancer has awakened me to realize how short life really is and how I must engage in it with my best foot forward."

RebelOne: "The long and short of why I would like to participate is that I want to be healthy. While most gay men dream of looking like most male models with a six-pack, I would just love to be healthy and buy regular clothes."

TigerFrank: "In 2004, my father passed away from a series of heart attacks. People are commenting that I look so much like my father and now my doctor is yelling at me saying that I am on the same path my father took."

Kagato : "I'd love advice on how to prepare quick healthy meals that don't require a lot of cooking. Having people who care about my progress, and whom I can be held accountable to is very welcome as well."

Tianesque : "I want to know that I can lose weight, that I can have an athlete's body, that I am not subject to what my genetics say I will be."

WhoMe76: "I feel my desire to make this change is finally here in my life. This change in my life would be amazing. I would be in shape to get my dream job and be healthy and give myself a second chance at life and how to live active."

Jered : "I will participate in this challenge to follow a system and create new eating habits. I now have the mindset it takes to be successful and I strongly desire that it reflect in my physical appearance as well."

Caslon6000: "There is nothing like being slapped in the face with the cold reality of a cancer diagnosis to make one realize, this life isn't going on forever. I need to take care of myself to feel my best, look my best, and enjoy what life I have left as much as possible."

NoNameGuy : "In my entire life I have never put myself out there like this before and it took a bit of agonizing to finally send in this entry. I have tried everything from Atkins, Volumetrics, The Balance by Oz Garcia, The Zone and Weight Watchers. I am currently in WW and have been from one end of the scale to the other."

Matt45710: "Now that I'm starting to finally date, I really want to get back to the thin guy that I used to be, and show up to others in the way that I see myself. I've done a lot of mental self-improvement, and want the outside to match the inside!"

Scotxy : "I want for the first time in my life to be on a journey where I am changing this final chapter in my life and am able to eat right and live right and lose this weight and build muscle. In the end, I'd like to maintain and do the things like hiking/camping/rock climbing/mountain biking later on and do things that I want to get into. I want to for first time since childhood to be able to go to the store and buy named brand stuff or feel normal when at a pool or the beach."

Bigtallguy: "I went to a doctor because I was having pain in my legs and he told me that I was suffering from stress fractures in my shins because I weighed so much. That's when I knew I had to lose weight. Through diet and exercise I was able to get to my current weight and maintain it for quite a while. I attribute it more to exercise, though, and I feel that proper diet is the missing puzzle piece preventing me from reaching my goal."

Tiran: "I want to avoid the high blood pressure, knee issues, and potentially diabetes that my parents and grandparents have or had. And I will be honest: I want to get laid more."

thegaytekeeper: "My partner and I are getting married October 25 of this year and I would love to lose some weight for that, so I can not only feel my best at our wedding, but I want to look my best as well."

jonathan428: "I used to be almost 300 pounds and over the last year and half I managed to lose a lot of weight—almost 60 pounds. For me that a big accomplishment and at the same time it was hard. I was hitting the gym 5 to 6 days a week for almost 3 hours, but unfortunately it is not enough."

norcaldave: "I'm at the point now, where I would like to look and feel better about myself and enjoy life the way it should be enjoyed. I know this means making some changes in my lifestyle, but I have the support of a loving husband to embark on this journey to getting my body and my life back."

rigsby: "I know I'm one of your older members, but it would be nice to see the old guard represented, too. The youngsters aren't the only ones who can benefit from a healthier lifestyle...and you can teach an old dog new tricks."

Good luck guys!