Healthy Holidays at UCSF: “Maintain, Don't Gain!” and “Step It Up!” Challenges

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Pumpkin pie, turkey with gravy, holiday cocktail parties and family gatherings: This time of year is fraught with challenges that make it difficult to maintain healthy habits during the holiday season. Here are two new programs to help you stay in shape during the holiday season.

UCSF Fitness & Recreation is hosting a five-week “Maintain, Don’t Gain!” challenge to help fitness center members control their weight during the holidays. This activity is open to all UCSF students and community members who are members at the Bakar or Millberry fitness facilities.

To participate, members simply add their name to the challenge list on the main fitness floor at either location. Five mini-challenges will be posted per week, and participants will need to complete three of the five mini-challenges in order to earn an entry for the drawing that week. Entries will accumulate throughout the five-week challenge and a drawing will be held at the end (participants are limited to one entry per week).

The grand prize includes a $100 gift certificate to Sports Basement and three personal training sessions. Eight runner-up prizes will be awarded as well.

As part of the promotion, UCSF Fitness & Recreation will be spicing up the Group Fitness calendars at both facilities to include new and innovative classes that are not currently offered on the regular schedule. There will be a focus on shorter, 30-minute classes that allow participants to get in, work out and get on with their day, in addition to special 90-minute Spin classes and a two-hour Zumbathon to be held in the Parnassus gym on Saturday, Nov. 22.

The schedule of classes is available online via the UCSF Fitness & Recreation website and at the front desk of each facility. To increase class participation, members will be offered a free upgrade from standard to premier membership during this promotion, which will allow everyone to participate in group fitness classes. Members who choose not to take advantage of the upgrade offer can buy a 10-pass class pack.

Coinciding with the “Maintain, Don’t Gain!” Challenge is Living Well at UCSF’s program, the “Step It Up!” challenge. This challenge is open only to UCSF faculty and staff. To participate, individuals can sign up online at Participants earn points for walking, exercising, eating well and enjoying treats in moderation. As points tally up, participants become eligible to win giveaways and prizes, including airline gift cards for up to $500 for an individual or $2,000 for a group.

The Step It Up! challenge officially started on Nov. 17 and lasts for four weeks, until Dec. 15. Participants log physical activity and daily steps on the Step It Up! challenge website, with bonus points for maintaining their weight over those four weeks. There will also be secret bonus activities revealed throughout the challenge, including points earned for trying new, healthy habits, mindfully enjoying indulgences and participating in online or in-person learning activities. A detailed breakdown of points and goals is available on the challenge website at

While those holiday cookies might be difficult to dodge, UCSF is hoping to make it a bit easier by offering enticing rewards to incentivize healthy decision-making among its community members. Join one of these challenges and make a promise to keep your health a priority this holiday season.