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City Parks has launched its own Biggest Loser contest for its staff as part of its wellness programme. The aim is happy, healthy and productive workers.
BEING called a loser is normally a terrible insult; for City Parks employees in the coming three months, though, it will be a great compliment. That is, if they are participating in the company’s “Biggest Loser” weight loss competition, which was launched by the acting managing director, Geoffrey Cooke, on 1 April.


Acting City Parks managing director Geoffrey Cooke launches Biggest LoserActing City Parks MD Geoffrey Cooke the launches Biggest Loser contest“It is part of our wellness programme,” said the acting head of human resources, Brenda Dlakavu, who is also one of the 28 participants in the competition. “We believe in the adage that a healthy body is a healthy mind, and that it will make our employees more productive.

“We want you to have fun, and we want to create an environment conducive to work,” she told participants at the launch at the Johannesburg Botanical Gardens in Emmarentia.

The competition is based on the reality TV programme of the same name, and focuses on three main areas: changing diets, exercising and educating participants on getting the best results by combining the two. As well as getting two hours a week off work to dedicate to exercise, dieticians would make presentations to explain what the participants needed to be eating, explained trainer Alet van Rensburg.

“The first six weeks will focus on general body conditioning, provided by courses such as pilates, yoga, tae bo and zumba. The last six weeks are more personalised, with participants choosing to do the exercises they enjoy,” she said.

This is meant to show contestants that exercise can be fun. “There are many different forms of exercise; you must find one you love and work it into your life.


Acting City Parks MD Geoffrey Cookes hands out fitness goodies to a contestant, acting head of HR Brenda DlakavuActing City Parks MD Geoffrey Cooke hands out fitness goodies to a contestant, acting head of HR Brenda Dlakavu“You are going to look fantastic after the 12 weeks,” she promised the cheering contestants.

Cooke echoed these sentiments. “Halala in advance of what I know you will achieve,” he said.

“A company’s biggest asset is its people,” he mused, “however, South Africa is the second most obese country in the world, and obesity leads to low productivity.” By running a competition that promoted a healthy lifestyle, City Parks was working towards a happier, more motivated staff.

“We want to be the employer of choice. I think we are already, but we want to stretch that advantage so that no-one can catch up,” he joked.

The winner of the Biggest Loser, as well as the two runners-up, will walk away with fitness equipment worth its weight in gold “to ensure that they can continue with a healthy lifestyle”. A luxury trip to Sun City is also on the cards for the lucky loser.

“The biggest prize of all, though, is getting fit and losing weight,” said Dlakavu.

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