The 2017 WCHL Healthiest You Challenge, presented by UNC Health Care!

For 8 weeks 64 contestants worked in teams to become the healthiest people they could be, all while enjoying all of the amenities of the beautiful UNC Wellness Centers at Meadowmont and Cary!

See their incredible journey below.


Susan Chesser from the UNC Wellness Centers visited the WCHL studio with challenger Kelley Marrale on Wednesday, May 3rd to chat with Ron Stutts about preparing for the Challenge Finale:


You can also hear what you missed at our live Challenge Finale on Monday, May 8th:


And don’t forget to check out all of our photos from the Finale on Chapelboro, and from the TapSnap Photo Booth!

Congratulations to all of our Challenge Winners!!

1st Place Winners

received one-year


to the UNC

Wellness Centers!




2nd Place Winners

received six-month


to the UNC

Wellness Centers!





On Wednesday, April 26th, Haley Prudente, a coach of the A Better Image Printing and UNC Health Care Teams, came in to interview with Aaron Keck about her experience as a coach of the 2017 challenge. Here’s what you missed:


On the UNC Wellness Centers team challengers came from near and far, including a variety of states like Florida, Missouri, Texas, and of course, North Carolina.

Like many others, several challengers wanted to take this journey partly as a tribute to themselves.  As one person wrote, “I have to be able to inspire myself!”  Another team member concurs, “I have spent my whole life taking care of others and neglected myself much of that time. It’s time for me now. I pray that this journey is a defining moment in my life.”

Along that same vein, one challenger from this team shared, “I want to reverse my pre-diabetes and lower my blood glucose numbers, I am also becoming healthier in honor of my dear friend Elliott, who passed away in February.” And, similarly, yet another challenger was inspired to take the challenge by her grandchildren.

Finally one person said, “I am traveling to Italy in May and want to get healthier before I make the trip.”

And speaking of summer vacations, you can find these challengers hiking, swimming, walking alone or with a dog, or playing volleyball when the weather is nice.  Golfing and going to the driving range are other popular activities.


On Wednesday, April 19th, Liz Watt, a coach of the A Better Image Printing Team, came by our studios to talk with WCHL’s Ron Stutts about how the challenge has been going for her team. Listen to what you missed:


The Challengers on the UNC Health Care team are mainly from the Triangle area of North Carolina, with one member from the Bahamas!

In addition to being self-motivated they are almost entirely inspired to participate in the challenge by their family members, mainly their children and parents.

One challenger writes, ” If I lead by example it will in return inspire them to become healthier.”

Another shares that, “After my mom was diagnosed with breast Cancer last October [she] made huge lifestyle changes to empower herself through the best recovery for life! My dad joined her crusade and both have inspired me to want to make lifestyle change.”  She continues, “My three year old daughter is my second inspiration. She warms my soul everyday and I want to be the best mom I can be for her in all domains of life. I want to inspire her, lead her in strength and courage, I want her to grow up being proud of her mom.”

And yet another challenge says, “I would like to be more active, physically fit, and increase my energy level. I also want to learn how to eat better and learn how to implement a healthier lifestyle.”

When these team members get a chance to do activities they enjoy playing softball, visiting the zoo, hiking, biking, and walking, riding on a Harley, and relaxing on the beach with a good book.


On Wednesday, April 12th, Juan Dimate, a coach of the i9 Sports team, along with Angela Byrd, a challenger from the same team, stopped by to talk with WCHL’s Aaron Keck about everything their team has been up to so far. Listen to what you missed:


While there are a couple of Chapel Hill locals on the i9 Sports team, many of the challengers are from other states, including Maryland, Michigan, South Carolina, and West Virginia.

Some of the participants on this team were inspired by their closest family members and friends to take on the Healthiest You Challenge.  Others were inspired by their coworkers and the clients they serve everyday at work.

The challenge has been a personal journey for other members of this team.  As one person shared, “[I] recently retired, [and] I’ve found it’s easy to be more sedentary. I want to change that course, preferring to spend free time getting healthier and stronger.”  Another person says, “I have been interested in this challenge since the first year, and I always wanted to do it. This year I realized that I should quit coming up with excuses not to go for it.”

When these ladies get outside they absolutely love walking and hiking, as well as group activities like biking or kickball.  And, at the end of a hard day, you will find some some sitting outside with some friends and cold beverages.

This team is coached by Juan Dimate and Paige Schmidt.


On April 5th Michelle Whitaker, a coach of the Durham-Orange County Medical Society team, along with Silva Stumpf, a challenger from the same team, joined WCHL’s Aaron Keck to talk about how it feels to be over half-way through the challenge.

The majority of people that make up this team are local, coming from Chapel Hill and Pittsboro.  However, one member is originally from Asheville, while another joins us all the way from Michigan.

There are many reasons why they wanted to take part in the Healthiest You Challenge this year.  One person says, “[I am] retiring soon and want to keep up with my grandchildren.”  Another challenger writes, “I want to push myself to a new level of fitness, though I’m not sure what this will be!”

Another person shares, “This has been my goal for a long time. I have lost weight many times. I feel this is my time to finally reach reach my weight loss goal. I retired from my job as a pharmacist over a year ago so I have time to concentrate and achieve this goal.”  Similarly, someone else told us their inspiration for the challenge is, “Me! I have put on over 30+ pounds and I do not feel the best. I want to jump start this fitness and try to get back into a healthier life style.”

These challengers love walking and hiking outside, as well as jumping some rope.  Playing with grandchildren and farm animals also ranks high among their favorite outdoor activities.

This team is also coached by Mike Valdes.


Matt Bonds of the Chapel Hill Gymnastics team was joined in the studio by Wes Tilghman, of the Town of Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Department on Wednesday, March 29th.  If you missed their interview with Aaron Keck, check it out now!


Afterward, everyone hit the field at Cedar Falls Park for this year’s Healthiest You Kick-Ball Tournament!  Thanks to everyone at the Town of Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Department for putting on this event and allowing us use of their wonderful facilities.

Check out some of the great photos snapped WCHL and here, and some more by the Town at this link.

Challengers on the Chapel Hill Gymnastics team originate from as far as New York state and Kentucky, but several locals are from Durham and Hillsborough.

Most chose to sign up for the challenge because they have specific health goals they are hoping to achieve.

As one challenger shared, “As I get older it is harder to mix cardio, weights and yoga. I am looking for ways to be more effective with my exercise program, and to mix it up a little. I would love to try and add some upper body strength.” Another person has a, “Desire to be a faster, stronger cyclist with more than just strong legs and good cardio function. I want to be more flexible and stronger all around while losing about 10 pounds.”

Some have simply gotten off-track with their exercise routines due to other demands on their time.  Take this challenger, for example, “I want to get back to the ‘healthier’ me I was three years ago. I went back to school to get my degree (DONE!) and now I need to get back to a regular workout routine.”  Another person shared, “I had ‘my baby’ three years ago. It’s been challenging to exercise regularly. I appreciate this opportunity to get some me time to focus on my own health and well-being. I’m excited to kick-start myself into a routine and to get to know everyone!”

Other challengers were also inspired partially by family, like the person who wrote, “I want to become fit as I have 7 year old twin sons and am turning 50 this year!”  And the team member who said their challenge inspiration is, “My mother,” and that “I’d also like to return to previous energy levels and abilities of 2 years ago.”

When the weather is as nice as it is now these challengers absolutely love to hike with family and dogs.  Others enjoy biking on the road and swimming in pools, lakes, or at the beach.

This team is also coached by Eliza Evans.


Michelle Baughman, of the Town of Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Team, stopped by on March 22nd to talk with Ron Stutts about her team’s progress in the challenge, as well as how she got involved with physical fitness.  Check out her interview:


Some of the challengers on this team have traveled from as far as St. Louis and San Francisco to live close to the Triangle, and others come from cities and towns close by, including Chapel Hill, Durham, Burlington, and Raleigh.

This team was largely inspired to accept the Healthiest You Challenge to improve their own health wellness, in the short and long term.  As one challenger shared, “[My grandmother] has several health conditions and constantly encourages me to lower my weight and become healthier so I don’t end up with the same conditions she has.”

Another challenger writes,”I deserve to be a better version of myself. For the past two years, I have been the caregiver for my father in law and for my brother.  During this time, I devoted myself to them and their health, while mine went kaput! And the pounds packed on at an alarming rate! The living arrangements for them has now changed, thus allowing me the free time to take care of myself.”

Others wrote they were inspired because they were, “not liking the way my clothes are fitting and I don’t feel comfortable in my own skin,” and that they were “not getting any younger. The weight does not come off like it used to, so I need some help here!”  And, after receiving some disappointing health news, another team member wrote, “I believe this challenge will jump start my journey to a healthy lifestyle.”

And speaking of that journey, one challenger hopes to accomplish just that by using the challenge to get ready to hike the Long Trail in Vermont!

In lovely weather these challengers love to get out to take walks, including with their dogs or backpacking, while another person enjoys taking pictures on a stroll.  One person loves gardening and golf, while others enjoy bike riding.  They also love to play with their children and spend time with family by a bonfire.


Many of the challengers on the A Better Image Printing team hail from towns close to home, including Chapel Hill, Hillsborough, Siler City, and Morrisville.

Inspiration to accept the Healthiest You Challenge came from several sources, including surrounding loved ones.  As one participant shared, “My family are my inspiration. I want to be proactive and put prevention first. I don’t want to wait until I have a health problem that needs to be addressed.” Another challenger wrote that she was inspired by her daughter.

Others from this team were self motivated.  One person says, “I want to be healthier and lose some weight to have more energy and feel better about myself.”  Another participant says, “I want to be the older person that makes others say ‘age is nothing, look at her.'”

Yet another challenger on this team was inspired by the upcoming Summer Season!

When it does warm up outside you can find these challengers doing all kinds of things.  Some will be walking or hiking, or enjoying a nice bike ride.  Others will be playing in the ocean and kayaking.

The Better Image Printing Team is coached by Liz Watt and Hayley Prudente.


On Wednesday, March 8th, Kevin Minogue, one of the coaches of the Aesthetic Solutions team (pictured above), stopped by WCHL to talk to Aaron Keck about how week one has been going:

The Challengers on the Aesthetic Solutions Team are from all over the country, including Chicago, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Florida, Kentucky, Wilkesboro, and of course, Chapel Hill!

They were inspired to take the Healthiest You Challenge for a number of reasons.   Some challengers were seeking a personal journey to a healthier body and mind.  One challenger says, “I want to be more toned and in better shape overall.”  Another team member writes that her goal is, “to counter my sedentary life while I still have a muscle or two.”

Other challengers on this team were motivated in part by other people.  One person shares that her inspiration is,”My grandson. I want to be able to play with and be there for him.”  The awe-inspiring power of Serena Williams called another person to accept challenge.

And finally, one participant shares that she wants to get ready for her birthday, which is coming up in June.

When these challengers get a chance to get outside they love rollerblading and hiking with family and dogs, and walking on the beach or in nature.


Be sure to check out the great photos we got from our live kick-off show on March 1st, 2017!  And thanks to the TapSnap Photo Booth for the opportunity to take some shots with extra pizzazz!

Pictured above is the UNC Health Care Team at the kick-off with their coaches Susan Chesser and Hayley Prudente.  Susan came in to WCHL to talk to Ron Stutts on the morning of the kick-off and tell everyone about the challenge starting:

You can also hear our live broadcast of the Kick-off Show at the UNC Wellness Center at Meadowmont on March 1st:


During the challenge participants:

  • Got an 8-week membership to use the UNC Wellness Centers facilities.
  • Were assigned to a team of 8 challengers led by a coach and an assistant coach.
  • Got the opportunity to learn more about good exercise and eating habits, planning meals, reading labels, intuitive eating, and why sleep is so important to our health.
  • Accumulated points individually for meeting goals throughout the 8 weeks.  Overall health goals included reducing weight and size, as well as decreasing cholesterol, and systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

The male and female challengers that achieved the greatest number of points both won a free one-year membership to the UNC Wellness Centers!

Oh, and did we mention that challengers had fun and made friends too?!

In order to be eligible to win the challenge, attendance at the following was required:

  • Information Session: Wednesday, February 22nd from 6:00-7:30 pm
  • Kick-Off Show: Wednesday, March 1st from 6:00-7:30 pm
  • Pre-Assessment Test: (Must attend ONE)  Thursday, March 2nd from 6:30-8:30 am OR Saturday, March 4th from 7:30-11:00 am
  • Post-Assessment Test: (Must attend ONE) Thursday, May 4th from 6:30-8:30 am OR Saturday, May 6th from 7:30-11:00 am
  • Finale Show: Monday, May 8th from 6:00-7:30 pm

Thanks to Our Team Sponsors!