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Thirteen weeks can fly by in the blink of an eye.

Just ask Jeff Carrel and Jessica Lyons, who have taken part in the Fitness Challenge for the past 13 weeks.

The Fitness Challenge, a partnership with Anytime Fitness and the Beatrice Daily Sun, provides three months of personal training, diet planning and personal coaching from certified trainer and Anytime Fitness gym owner Bryan Seibel.

Along the way challengers learn how to make choices that will ultimately lead to a healthier lifestyle. Readers of the Daily Sun have been able to follow their progress each week as the duo blogged about their struggles and successes.

The roller coaster ride came to an end Friday with a head-to-head competition between the two.

For a warm-up, both the challengers engaged in a half-mile race. Symbolic of the progress they’ve made, both set personal best times that would have been unfathomable 13 weeks earlier.

Then, as part of their last official Challenge workout, Seibel had an obstacle course planned.

Included in the course was weight lifting, bicycling and even a little speed-eating. As part of the timed competition, the challengers had to pick between eating a powdered doughnut or taking the time to peel and eat a clementine orange.

“Just like in life you have to make a choice,” Seibel explained. “You can go for the quick food and eath the doughnut or you can peel the (fruit).”

If they were to choose the doughnut they would take a 90-second penalty. Both challengers chose the fruit.

As the workout came to an end and the challengers weighed in for the final time – both waited patiently for Seibel to do the math and announce a winner.

The winner of the challenge is determined by percentage of starting weight lost.

With their eyes on the prize, both challengers recorded an impressive week of weight loss. Carrel lost 12 pounds in the final week and Lyons lost 7. 

In the end, it was one of the closest finishes in Fitness Challenge history, with Jessica Lyons claiming a 0.03% edge over Jeff Carrel.

“You both have worked so stinking hard,” Seibel told them. “It’s been a blast. You’ve pushed yourself. Even today as far as you’ve come, you’re both capable fo so much more. You guys have done awesome.”

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