Hold the Ranch: The Ultimate Loser 

With "Richmond Idol" only a month behind us, it's no surprise that a second television spinoff has made it to our city.

Ditching the cameras, the ranch and even the trademark larger-than-life scale used in NBC's "The Biggest Loser," Liberty Fitness & Weight Loss played host to the Ultimate Loser contest, a 16-week competition for members of its health clubs. Liberty has 42 locations in 16 states, but it was Richmonder Rebecca Barricklow who earned the title of Ultimate Loser.

And what a loser she is. Following the club's weight-loss program, Barricklow dropped more than 60 pounds and 60 inches. She exercised an hour a day at least five days a week, in addition to restricting her daily calorie intake in accordance with the program's five-phase diet. "It did not feel like I was on a diet," says Barricklow, who met with a nutritionist three times a week throughout the 16-week program.

Barricklow's diet didn't leave room for sugary drinks, though soda certainly served its purpose: It was a can of Coke that inspired her to take control of her weight in the first place. Barricklow was drinking a Coke − which she drank for energy − when her 4-year-old daughter told her that soda was "bad for Mommy."

After shaping up her diet and lifestyle, Barricklow no longer has to rely on caffeine to perk up. "[Working out] gives me so much more energy," she says. She may have had to sacrifice an hour a day to hit the gym, but that hour allowed Barricklow to make the most of her time at home and work.

Liberty Fitness is one of several fitness chains for women with a workout circuit. Members spend about a minute at each of more than 20 stations; half the stations are areas for jumping jacks, crunches and the like, while the other half are hydraulic machines, which help tone muscles without bulking them up. Two trips through the circuit takes 30 minutes. Barricklow supplemented her routine with another 30 on the club's cardio machines.

"We really push the importance of exercise," says Mark Schneider, owner of Liberty's two Richmond locations. The hydraulic machines are adjustable to suit beginners and regulars alike, and it's a good thing,

too − 60 percent of new members have never worked out before joining.

Schneider's advice: "Make time for yourself."

It doesn't take a reality show to get healthy, but who knows? "America's Next Top Model" could be just 16 weeks



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