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Contest aims to find biggest Manteca loser
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• WHAT: “To The Core Fitness Challenge,” a 12-week contest modeled after NBC’s The Biggest Loser. Begins Aug. 5.

• WHERE: CORE Performance, located at 1199 Vanderbilt Circle in Manteca. Measurements taken bi-weekly; contestants-only workouts on Saturdays.

• REGISTRATION: Deadline Aug. 5. Fees are: Individuals, $50; teams of four, $80.

• CONTACTS: For more information, contact head trainer Robert Iniquez at (209) 923-2058 or e-mail

Robert Iniquez has very little experience in organizing weight-loss contests.

In fact, he has none.

“This will be our first,” said Iniquez, head trainer at Manteca’s CORE Performance. “I’ve been training people for well over five years now, but as far as big contests go, this will be my first time trying to set up something like this.” 

But the former two-sport athlete does understand competition and how it demands the very best of people.

And that, he says, will be the foundation of CORE’s largest community effort yet.

The 11-month-old training facility is set to launch its “To The Core Fitness Challenge,” a 12-week contest modeled after NBC’s hit show The Biggest Loser.

The contest, which runs from Aug. 5 to Oct. 27, will be open to CORE members and the general public. 

Iniquez said it was important to open up the competition to the community. The spirit of the contest is to change a culture dominated by inactivity, indulgence and a fast-food diet.

“We’re about health and wellness, and we figured if we could reach out and get more interested, you know, that’s a good way to kick-start a healthy lifestyle,” Iniquez said. 

The final day to register is Aug. 5 – the first day of the challenge. Individuals can sign-up for $50; registration for a team of four is $80.

To the victor go the spoils. The individual with the greatest percentage of body fat loss will receive a 48-inch flat-screen television. The team prize is a weekend getaway. An additional prize – a Nike Fuel Band – will be awarded to the individual who loses the most inches.

“People like competition. They like having that competitive edge and trying to win something,” said Iniquez, who played football and ran track at Los Banos High. “We’re hoping it kick-starts a lot of people and their healthy habits. We hope that you’ll continue to eat healthy and work out.”

There are rules to this game. The challenge focuses not on weight loss, per se, but rewards those with the greatest percentage of body fat loss. 

“It’s cool that they put up these prizes but for my wife (Stephanie) and I, we want to be as fit and healthy as we can,” said Tommy Sandoval, a CORE member for five months. “… We’re also pretty competitive in there, too. I know I want to lose the most body fat, so that’s a motivating factor.”

Unhealthy methods of weight loss – such as colonics, laxatives, starvation and surgical procedures – are prohibited.

If you’re going to win, Iniquez says, you’re going to have to earn it. Contestants will receive special CORE bootcamp rates and membership deals, a free contestants-only workout each Saturday, as well as dietary information.

Contestants will be measured bi-weekly.

“I’m not big on weighing yourself. I’d rather look good and weigh 200 pounds than be loose and flabby at 150 pounds,” Iniquez said. “It matters more how you feel.”

“With body fat percentage, you’re actually losing size and inches and getting healthier,” he added. “You can lose 10 pounds in four days without drinking water. You can win a weight-loss competition by cheating. A body fat contest … you can’t cheat that.”

Though he doesn’t have the fame or fortune of The Biggest Loser’s iconic training staff, Iniquez champions the same cause. 

For the last 11 months, he’s been training athletes, stay-at-home mothers, cheer parents and everyone else in between as the lead at CORE Performance, the fitness arm of  Victorious Elite All-Stars cheer. 

His passion burns bright for health and fitness, and it’s reflected in CORE’s growth and reputation. 

Started in August 2012, CORE has more than 100 clients, regular morning and evening classes and a growing list of success stories.

Iniquez is the life-blood of the operation. A full-time salesman with Golden State Lumber in Stockton, he burns the candle at both ends to accommodate his clients. His days begin with pre-dawn bootcamps and end with 1-on-1 sessions and classes nearing the 11 o’clock hour. 

Maria Lewis appreciates that dedication. She has worked with Iniquez for two years now. In a class setting, she says, Iniquez makes you feel like the center of attention.

“I’ve been into fitness my whole life, and I’ve been to a lot of gyms,” said Lewis, who. “What keeps me going back is that it’s like having a personal trainer all the time. When we do classes, I swear it’s like he has eyes in the back of his head. He learns everything about everybody and takes a real interest in everyone.”

Iniquez has transformed couch potatoes into endurance athletes and prepared high school all-stars for the collegiate level.

Now, he’s challenged a community to be the biggest loser.

“It’s something I love doing. I love being there. When I’m there, it doesn’t feel like work,” Iniquez said of CORE’s 7,000-square-foot facility at 1199 Vanderbilt Circle, located in Industrial Park. “I enjoy seeing people transform and the things that they’ve never thought they’d be able to do.”