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16-year-old goes from 40in waist to 32in waist - and loses 70lbs

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When Bermuda Institute student Paul DeShields, 16, first started taking part in a special island wide high school fitness programme, other students had to encourage him to keep going through the training exercises.

Two years later, it was Mr DeShields who was inspiring other students. He has lost a staggering 70lbs through the fitness regime for high-schoolers.

Mr DeShields was given the ambassador award yesterday after completing the second annual BF&M National High School Challenge for the second time.

This year he was one of ninety participants from seven participating schools that included the Bermuda High for Girls, Warwick Academy, The Bermuda Institute, CedarBridge Academy, The Berkeley Institute, Saltus Grammar School and Mount Saint Agnes Academy.

Participants took part in a four week boot camp that was held twice a week at 5.30am and once a week in the evening. Students were weighed in and given a fitness test at the beginning of the challenge and at the end.

“I was a size 40in waist and I am now a size 32in waist,” said Mr DeShields. “I had to get a whole new wardrobe, and I really feel better in my clothes.”

After taking part in the challenge last year, Mr DeShields carried on with his training that included running, sit ups and maintaining better eating habits. To manage all of this he had to get up every morning at 4.30am.

“The best part of the programme was meeting new people,” said Mr DeShields. He hopes to eventually become a marine biologist. He also enjoys music and drumming.

“I think I have more stamina now, while playing the drums,” he said.

Staff members at the Magnum Power Force gym where he trained, were so impressed by his attitude and achievement that they gave him one years membership to the gym.

Zindziswa Swan, 17, a student at Saltus Grammar School said before starting the programme she was often late for school.

Now she often arrives early despite having to get up at 4am to travel to Hamilton to train, travel back to St George’s for a shower, and then back to Pembroke again to go to school. She was overjoyed to win the weight loss challenge award.

“This is the best day of my life,” she said. “This has made my whole year.”

Her prize was a free trip to New York to attend the United Nations International School Conference in March 2012.

This was also her second year doing the programme. She has so far lost 20lbs and is still working to get to her ideal weight and build up muscle.

She has been working with a personal trainer, at Seaview Health Ultimate Fitness Club in Devonshire.

They have agreed to let her continue training there for free until she has reached her goal. She was 184lbs before starting the challenge and she aims to be 144lbs.

“I had to give up fried food,” she said. “I had to give up soda, candy and pasta and all junk food. The secret is to drink at least two or three bottles of water a day.”

Her mother, Cindy Swan, said she had been trying to get her daughter to eat healthier for some time.

“Sometimes when they get to be teenagers, you have to let them make their own choices,” she said.

Miss Swan said she had been partly inspired by Mr DeShields and his success.

There were also many other winners named including best school, which was this year The Bermuda Institute.

CedarBridge Academy student Jaire Duke, 15, won hero award, and CedarBridge Academy student Ta-Shanae Pitcher Trott, 17, won the most improved fitness award.

They will be featured more extensively at a later date in the Lifestyles section of

The Royal Gazette.

Sarah Fellows, organiser of the challenge and president of Global Arts (Youth Initiatives) Foundation congratulated all the winners, their parents teachers and fitness instructors.

“I hope you all continue to be fitness warriors,” she said.

Paul DeShields, 16, was given the ambassador award after completing the second annual BF&M National High School Challenge for the second time. (Photo by Mark Tatem)
Jaire Duke, Paul DeShields, Zindziswa Swan, and Ta-Shanae Pitcher Trott winners in the second annual BF&M National High School Challenge.

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Published November 24, 2011 at 9:18 am (Updated November 24, 2011 at 9:18 am)

16-year-old goes from 40in waist to 32in waist - and loses 70lbs

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