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Geekfit: Gangplank's "Fat Off" fitness challenge

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You might say collaboration is Gangplank's middle name. Part coworking space, part startup incubator, it's more of a community than a location. The idea is that working together, even if not on the same projects, leads to more ideas and better end results for everyone. For the second year running, Gangplankers will attempt to turn this spirit of collaboration toward getting in shape with a competition they call Fat Off

Fat Off 2010 kicked off this Saturday at the new Gangplank digs in Downtown Chandler, and the big idea being carried over from last year's is that there needs to be more. More time, more interaction and more reward.

To that end, this year's Fat Off will be longer and have a heavy emphasis on participating in the Fat Off community, especially with with fun challenges like roller hockey, dodgeball and ultimate frisbee.

(read more about Fat Off 2010 after the jump)

The goal of Fat Off is for everyone to get healthier, and the motivation is to win. At the kickoff, Katie Charland, Gangplank's director of operations, said the winner will take home everyone's $25 registration fees plus gift cards to Chandler Chiropractic and Urban Tea Loft.

It seemed like even more than the 30 or so officially registered participants showed up for Saturday's kickoff to meet, greet and find out what all they'd have to do to win.

We -- yes me, too -- will be competing to see who can lose the greatest percentage of body mass, but this is no "Biggest Loser." Mass lost is only 30 percent of the competition. The other 70 percent? Just like those college courses you vaguely remember: participation.

The heaviest factor in who wins Fat Off is completing the challenges. Fifty percent of every competitor's points come from taking classes, playing sports or getting a group workout together. The last 20 percent is for virtual participation: sharing about the challenge via social networks or contributing to the Fat Off blog.

At the kickoff, we also heard from a couple of Fat Off's partners-in-fit. First Crossfit gym owner Jason Speck laid down some serious talk about how to get the most out of a workout, then yoga instructor Rebecca Hagman offered some advice and led a mini-yoga session for the group.

Many at the kickoff said they took the challenge last year, only to regain what they'd lost after it was over. Everyone seems to hope that this year's focus on playing together, rather than just dropping the pounds, will be the key to lasting change.

Stay tuned for occasional Fat Off updates. On Friday: whether or not I can hang in the Chandler rollerhockey game.

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