Were bookmakers in Las Vegas to handicap this competition, they’d have to proclaim the Hefty Boyz as, well, heavy favorites.
There is some good-natured intramural competition going on at Huntsville City Hall for this year’s Scale Back Alabama campaign, which has reached its midpoint.
Mayor Tommy Battle and City Attorney Trey Riley are the Hefty Boyz, teaming up with a goal of losing at least 10 pounds apiece by the mid-March Scale Back weigh-out. Sighed Riley after being recruited by the mayor, “I’m used to being made a fool of in public.”
They have been challenged by a couple of newcomers, Huntsville Strong, the tandem of City Council members Jennie Robinson and Mark Russell.
“Those two are weight-loss wannabes,” Mayor Battle teased.
As he noted, “They didn’t have as much to lose. If you have more to lose, like Trey and me, you have to fight harder.”
“I had asked for years to be a part of Mayor Battle’s team, but he always said that I didn’t have enough potential,” said Russell, who keeps in shape as a high school football official.
Dr. Robinson has a strategy.
“We’re sabotaging the Hefty Boyz,” she said.
To do so, she brought platters of brownies and cookies and placed them at Battle’s and Riley’s seats in the City Council chamber.
Mayor Battle said he’s down eight to 10 pounds from the unannounced weight at which he began the program.
“After watching state wrestling last week, I’m starting to look at the possibility of dropping to another weight class. But right now, I’m still a heavyweight,” he said.
The mayor does a three-mile walk-and-run each morning that includes a “suicide hill” in Blossomwood. Said Battle, “I take Maggie, my dog. I don’t take Trey. Maggie is better company.”
He and Riley also participate in a couple of yoga classes a week and when the mayor finds free time he takes in the “Eye Openers” tennis workout at Huntsville Athletic Club.
More than 1.3 million pounds have been shed in Alabama over the past 10 years through Scale Back Alabama. Healthy Huntsville, an initiative of the Parks & Recreation Department, is partnering with Scale Back Alabama in encouraging participation.
For all the teasing that goes on between the Hefty Boyz and HuntsvilleStrong, there is much seriousness to it.
“We’re keeping this lighthearted, but we’re addressing a serious problem of obesity in Alabama,” Dr. Robinson said. “We’re trying to set an example and also have some fun doing while doing so.”
“We already know that Huntsville is one of the smartest places to live in the country,” Battle said. By helping promote a healthy lifestyle, “we can also make Huntsville one of the fittest places.”