Wednesday, June 28, 2017 This Week's Paper

Weigh-in approaches for launch of Pierce County Matchup

This is part two of writer David B. Hardt's report on his and his team's, The 5k Freaks, involvement in the Pierce County Matchup weight loss challenge, which kicks off March 15.

The 5k Freaks weight loss team will make their way to the scales this week to see where they will be starting off in the Pierce County Matchup beginning on March 15. The team is excited about the challenge set before them, and they have been preparing for success for weeks.

The Freaks spend roughly 40-60 miles on the road a week, so it might seem that weight loss is a natural side effect, but when training stops it can be difficult to make the best, healthiest choices for refueling. One of the keys to success is finding just the right amount of daily calorie intake needed to maintain a healthy balance, and those on a weight loss quest must avoid overcompensating for calories they’ve worked so diligently to burn. Runners have a propensity to overeat after expending so much energy, but with a little organizing and brain training everything falls in place.

My 5k Freaks buddy Mike and I have made it easy: We simply record our eating on a board right along with our training miles. Weight loss is really rather simple. It comes down to portion control, because the reality is that weight is directly related to diet. The team has been focused on eating more whole grains, fruits and plenty of vegetables through the day. Runners know that lighter bodies move faster, so each member of the 5k Freaks is doing his/her best to pick up their metabolism rate.

This week, after a 10-mile run at Chambers Creek in University Place, the topic of gaining weight was brought up. It can be quite discouraging to look down at the scales and see a higher number, but it is important to remember that muscle weighs more than fat. While running and training, one’s muscle mass may increase, so we have to be motivated by knowing we are making our bodies healthier. Toning up is as important as getting rid of body fat. Some of us have discovered that it is easier to stay motivated if weigh-ins take place every two weeks, so that we don’t get discouraged by temporary increases due to muscle gain.

Justeen Allen, 23, has already shown due diligence and focus in her mission to lose weight and become a healthier overall person. Allen’s persistence and laser-like focus on training is something she puts to use in her daily life. Allen is no stranger to hard work, and she knows the importance of independence. She worked hard in school, fast-tracking herself through the Running Start program to graduate when she was only 16 years old. She enrolled in cosmetology school with the dream of owning her own business, and at just 19 her dream came true. Allen’s business, Salon Kerizma in University Place, grew quickly over the years and has become one of most popular small businesses in the area. “When I am not out running with the 5k Freaks, I am working hard in my salon, continuing to grow the business. We have been here for almost four years, and things are going great.

“Working in the beauty industry for the past six years has made me recognize how important it is to look good, because when you look good, you feel good. Every day that I work, I do my best to help my clients feel even more beautiful than they already are.”

Over the past few years, Allen has also changed her overall look. “I realized that it’s not enough to have beautiful hair. You really need to focus on the whole body. When your body looks good, your hair will glow even more,” Allen said.

In the past, Allen admits her focus was not on health, but on the social scene. When it came to eating, portion control wasn’t even part of her vocabulary. It wasn’t until Allen turned 21 that the reflection in the mirror became alarming. “To be blunt, I was fat, and I just didn’t like what I’d become. I started to do anything and everything I could, from Weight Watchers to the 17-day diet. I even jumped into Zumba at the gym. I quickly realized that the fad diets just didn’t work for me. What it really comes down to is changing your lifestyle choices and how you think about food.”

These days, Allen is more focused than ever, looking at her food and calorie intake more closely. Even though in the past few weeks she has gained more pounds and slightly plateaued, Allen is not concerned. She is well aware that the work she is putting into training is building muscle, which will make her faster, more athletic, and ultimately, a calorie-burning machine.

The 5k Freaks will undergo their official weigh-in on March 15 at the Lakewood YMCA. If you are interested in training with the team or meeting them, drop by at 6 p.m. or visit to learn more. For those looking to beautify and support local small business, Salon Kerizma at 8004 27th St. W. in University Place is happily taking on new clients. Enjoy a 10 percent discount for mentioning this article. For more information or to make an appointment, visit or call (253) 566-2335.

Visit to see a video report on this story on The Dave & Mike Show.