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Robards, Wille ready to win at losing with Covenant

Kim Robards of Farragut gets a lesson in weightlifting from Fort Sanders Health and Fitness Center’s Maddie Waites.- Photo submitted
Kim Robards is a self-proclaimed “very competitive” person looking to combine weight loss and exercise goals within a friendly eight-person competition.

“I want to win the contest,” said Robards, 48, a Sugarwood subdivision resident, about Covenant Health Biggest Winner Weight Loss Challenge Team. “I played basketball, softball and track at Farragut High School [Class of 1981]. … I was really athletic in my younger years.”

However, “As a career started, that’s when I just didn’t make time for myself or fitness,” said Robards, joining fellow Farragut resident Janet Wille as two of eight making up the Weight Loss Challenge Team — each needing to lose between 20 and 50 pounds.

Team was chosen from a broad field of applicants based on passing a fit test, including a running evaluation, for this roughly four-month competition starting Dec. 4. The eight are enduring “a very physically taxing” program, said Covenant Health Marathon team manager Tonya Stoutt-Brown.

Robards, looking to lose about 40 pounds, said she’d lost “about four-and-half “ entering the new year.

A champion will be crowned following the annual Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon April 3 in downtown Knoxville.

Champion will be crowned based on “four major categories,” Stoutt-Brown said. “Percentage of weight lost; improvement of overall health, including criteria like body mass index, blood pressure, cholesterol, cardio, strength, flexibility, fasting blood sugar levels, team participation, and ‘paying it forward’ ... help others improve their quality of life through health and fitness.”

All eight had to promise entry into one of four marathon-day events — marathon (26.2 miles), half-marathon (13.1), 5k or team relay splitting the marathon into four different legs — with Robards choosing the half-marathon.

Wille prefers the 5k.

Robards’ roughly 10-hour-per-week routine includes “exercising either at the gym [Fort Sanders Health and Fitness Center] or walking in my neighborhood or doing an elliptical five to six times a week,” she said.

“Doing a run-walk [combination], and I’m up to about four-and-one-half miles.”

Wille said she was diagnosed with diabetes in 2010 while treating high-blood pressure for “five, six, seven years.”

“As I’ve gotten older, I’m 60, I started developing those late-age metabolic problems,” Wille added. “I wanted to try and not live on pills for the rest of my life … because I saw what it did to my father and my father-in-law.”

“I just don’t want to live my later years for that. … Taking insulin and watching [blood sugar] go up and down.”

Robards said she’s “staying under 1,500 calories per day.”

Covenant Marathon Team, which meets each Saturday morning at 8 a.m. with the Knoxville Track Club, is “my favorite day of the week … because I get more out of that than anything,” Robards said.

“That’s the reason I did it.”

As for sticking with her diet-exercise regiment, Robards said, “During Christmas it was tough … but when I lost weight at both weigh-ins, that motivated me right away.

“If I work out first thing in the morning, it’s over with and I already feel good,” she added.

“But I won’t say it’s been easy.”

Wille said her exercise routine includes a “walk-job” combo for “about a half-hour … probably about two-and-a-half miles, five days a week.”

At Fort Sanders Health and Fitness Center three times per week for strength training, Wille said. “I love weight, so I do them about an hour each time.”

Having lost 45 pounds with the Atkins Diet starting in 2009 before “stalling” short of her goal, Wille said she’s “added in carbs … and they’re doing me some good; fruit, whole-grain bread.

“I decided I wanted to take off 25 pounds. I’ve lost three pounds but I’ve gained a lot of muscle. My arms are much firmer and my gut is disappearing.”

Wille, adjunct instructor at Pellissippi State Technical Community College, said she chose 5k because “my husband [Lowell] is a marathoner and my daughter [Cecilia] runs Division III [college] track.”


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