Less cake for Drake: Our fitness challenge begins!

Ten professionals and 10 teams are competing in the 2014 Get Fit Challenge, a spinoff of IB’s popular Fittest Executive Challenge. Who will earn the healthiest marks? Follow along on Facebook then find out at the In Business Expo & Conference on Oct. 22. This week, IB checks in with Ryan Tiffany, Melissa Ripp, Lynette Peck, and Kim Starr of Drake & Co. Staffing Specialists, which is competing in the team challenge.

At Drake & Company Staffing Specialists, we’re always working hard to find the right fit for both job applicants and companies in the Madison area — and this hard work often has us sitting at our desks for most of the day. Our sedentary office life leads to a fair number of lunches at our desks, and although we try our hardest, we often order out — a Panera Bread is less than 20 steps from our door (if you take the elevator, which we often do), and within a few blocks there’s Fraboni’s on Regent, Qdoba, and a new place, OSS Madison, that serves the most amazing sausages and hand-cut fries.

Drake & Company's Get Fit Challenge team: Lynette Peck, Kim Starr, Ryan Tiffany, and Melissa Ripp

So when we heard about In Business magazine’s Get Fit Challenge, we jumped at the opportunity — not only to engage in a bit of friendly competition with other Madison companies, but also to curb some behaviors that became a bit too habitual over this extremely cold and snowy winter. A few weeks ago, the four of us sputtered through our initial assessments at Meriter Health (and all four of us were sore for days), and that was when we knew this Get Fit Challenge was exactly what we needed.

Below is a bit more about the Drake Get Fit team — who we are, what our fitness levels are, and our goals for this challenge:

Ryan Tiffany, placement consultant

My three goals for the challenge are to knock off about 15 pounds, create a healthier diet and lifestyle, and work out six days a week. To shed the pounds, I will continue to work out and really make sure I get into the gym six days a week. I also need to concentrate on eating more fruits and veggies, and I’m going to give up meat during Lent.

Melissa Ripp, marketing coordinator

I’ve always been the girl who reaches for a croissant before fruit and yogurt for breakfast, and I was a long-distance runner for many years for the express purpose of getting to eat a TON of food afterwards. Needless to say, I learned the hard way that that’s not how running works. I always felt marginally healthy until last fall, when the combination of an unexpected move to Madison, getting married, and navigating a new job search proved to be a dream made in stress-eating heaven. I gained 12 pounds in five months.

My goals for the Get Fit Challenge are to lose 15 pounds (so I can fit comfortably into my work clothes again!), get back into running by training for and running a half-marathon in June, and try one new food a week, specifically in the vegetable arena. (When it comes to food, I’m still a 32-year-old picky kid.)



Lynette Peck, placement consultant

Right now, my biggest goal for the challenge is to cut soda out of my life. It’s very challenging, because I get migraine headaches pretty often, and soda is the one thing that seems to help — darn caffeine! However, I’ve already been drinking a bit more tea, and that’s been going pretty well. Another goal is to eat more salads for lunch, and to eat those salads with less dressing — maybe just dipping the lettuce in the dressing and sticking to oil-based vinaigrettes instead of the creamier dressings.

Another goal is to work out three times a week, which is hard with three kids, a husband, and our busy schedules. But when I can’t be at the gym, I’m going to commit to being more active at home — even something as simple and silly as running up and down the stairs for five minutes could really make a difference, or doing push-ups and sit-ups during TV time.

Kim Starr, partner/vice president of legal division

My goals are pretty simple (well, not simple — but you get the idea). I’d like to lose 20-plus pounds, increase my muscle mass, and eliminate meat from one meal per day.

I sit on a balance ball here at the Drake office. One day, it absolutely exploded, and I wound up on my keister. Shortly after that, I was reading In Business magazine and noticed the IB Get Fit Challenge. I figured it was a bit of a wakeup call … so let’s do this!


Now that you’ve met all of us, I bet you’re wondering how we’re going to make this happen, especially at a place where it’s often difficult to get out and get moving. Well, one of our solutions was to bring the healthy solutions to us. Kelly, our CEO, led the charge to “healthify” our kitchen by purchasing a brand-new salad spinner and a blender for morning smoothies. “If the four of you are getting healthy, the rest of us can do it right along with you,” she said.

Hooray for having employers who are also committed to the cause! We’re also planning walks during our lunch hour once the weather improves, and we’ll be making over our breakfast for our weekly Thursday morning meetings.

We’ll be writing about tips, tricks, and our progress in future blogs — especially as they relate to staying active in an office setting. We hope you’ll follow our journey!

Meet all of the competitors here and see who wins at the In Business Expo & Conference

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