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Public safety staffs shed pounds in contest

COVINGTON -- In jobs where physical fitness could mean the difference between life and death, members of the Covington Police Department, the Covington Fire Department and the Covington/Newton County 911 Communications Center opted to get competitive about getting in shape.

In mid-January, 25 employees gave their New Year's fitness resolutions a boost and got on board the "Biggest Loser" bandwagon.

The overall "biggest loser" at the end of 10 weeks turned out to be Capt. Ken Malcom who lost almost 35 pounds, or 12.04 percent of his overall weight.

"We always look at it as way for employees to have better health, less sick days and less workman's comp time, not just within our department but within the family, too," said CPD Lt. Mark Jones, who, along with Lt. Vic Partee, headed up the competition.

Both Jones and Partee are certified personal trainers through the Coopers Clinic that sets standards for law enforcement fitness nationwide. They are charged with seeing that personnel maintain fitness levels.

"This coincided with our first fitness test of the year, so we were trying to get people fired up for that. We did see an increase on that," he said.

There was a total of 265 pounds lost among the 25 employees during the competition.

Malcom said there was no secret formula for his success.

"We make getting in shape very difficult and there's all kinds of programs and different techniques," he said. "But, really, if you burn more calories than you take in, you're going to lose weight."

Malcom said he started off his day with a 30-minute cardio workout and later did some weightlifting. He also counted calories.

"It wasn't rocket science. I was just burning more calories than I was taking in, and I was focused," he said. "The hard part is getting started and then not giving up. That's one thing this competition did. You had motivation from your peers, and we were always asking each other questions and we shared information. Having that accountability of others around you helped a lot."

Malcom said all credit should go to the physical fitness trainers who guided them through the competition.

"They're certified and are always looking for ways to get us in shape. I'm very proud of the PT staff for doing this and I applaud them," he said.

Malcom said he'd like to lose another 10 pounds, but that wasn't his priority at this point.

"I'm focusing on strength training. My next goal is building some muscle, so I'm going to focus on that now rather than the weight-loss part of it," he said.

Malcom said he is all too aware that being physically fit is a necessity.

"We're in a unique type of work force. It's imperative we stay in good physical condition. In the blink of an eye, we might have to rely on our physical fitness," he said. "It's easy to become complacent and slack off, but we decided, 'Let's get in shape, help each other out and have a little fun in the process.'"