Eric and Mak met in Grade 11 at Nelson McIntyre Collegiate and have been friends ever since. Their lives have always been wildly different, but when they graduated high-school together, in 2001 at age 18, they were physically similar.
Eric took dozens of jobs around the country, travelled the world, managed/rescued/owned several businesses, and finally settled down to buy and run a cafe. Mak went to university, got married, found a job at which he could work from his house, had three children, and avoided travel.
In 2018, at age 35 and moderately overweight, they entered into a weight-loss competition with one another, with no real stakes or plan. The idea was that since they are similar in height, weight, age, and both had a desire to lose weight, they would make good opponents for one another. No progress was made. Eric became busy helping raise his nieces and managing his business. Mak became busy with his Master's degree and the birth of his third child. The health of both declined.
In 2019, at age 36 and significantly overweight, they decided to try again, with several improvements. The first improvement was to transition the competition from focusing on weight loss to overall fitness. The second improvement was to have a blend of real stakes: money and public embarrassment. The next improvement was to have the competition run for a much longer duration, ending in 2023, the year they turn 40, since fitness is a long-term state that must be maintained. The final improvement was to create a series of checkpoints using objective measurements to curb their natural impulse to find loopholes and game the metrics without truly improving.
Serial entrepreneur; spends his time running the Daily Grind Cafe, which he owns.
Eric and Mak have each contributed $500 CAD to an investment account to be managed by Eric for the duration of the challenge. Eric has a deep love of finance, and intends to demonstrate his investing acumen by growing the account's value. Mak doesn't really care so long as the account's value beats inflation and the base interest rate a simple bond would return. The current value of the account will be reported each Monday during the challenge.
Whoever has achieved and maintained their 'fitness' the best for the duration of the challenge, as measured at 6-month assessments, will receive the current value of the investment account when the challenge ends. More importantly, they will have bragging rights for the rest of their friendship, which will hopefully last at least another 18 years.
Regardless of who wins, increased fitness for both contestants is beneficial. But winning is more beneficial.
DEXA scans, taken by Body Measure, detail the location and amount of lean tissue and fat in the body. The need for detailed scans became obvious the moment Eric and Mak imagined this challenge, because they immediately started inventing ways of cheating in the absence of such scans.
Additionally, Body Measure takes Fit3D scans, producing uncomfortably detailed 3D images and videos of Eric and Mak's bodies. Most male 'fitness journey' articles/videos include topless photos to illustrate progress, but these scans are far more disconcerting, and therefore more on-brand with the public embarrassment aspect of this challenge.
Since this competition is about long-term physical fitness, not just body composition, VO2 max tests provide a measure of athletic ability. These tests will be performed by University of Manitoba's Recreation Services.
From September 2019 to September 2023, Eric and Mak will attempt to improve their overall fitness. Assessments will be performed every 6 months, in March and September, to measure progress and to award points in the competition. The exact dates within March and September are unimportant, since what matters is that both Eric and Mak be tested at the same time.
As the assessments occur, their information will be added below. All assessment data will be posted after redacting birth dates and genitals. The intent of posting such detailed information is to maintain the public embarrassment necessary for Eric and Mak's motivation.
Eric and Mak approached Body Measure and asked for a custom package that would include the tests they needed for the challenge, in the required quantities, shared between two people, lasting the duration of the challenge. Body Measure agreed, and have been very helpful, to the point of standing on chairs to take awkward pictures of Mak trussed up for his DEXA scan.