We’ve got a big winner from SpareFoot’s “Biggest Loser” competition.

Tony Emerson, a leader on our Product Team, bested 14 other SpareFeet to claim the “Biggest Loser” crown. During the 12-week program, Emerson racked up a weight loss of 9.78 percent. In second place, but still a winner in our eyes, was Craig Barrett, who leads our Paid Media Team. Barrett notched a weigh loss of 8.62 percent.

“At first, it was all about self-improvement—I was really in it for my own health,” Emerson said. “But as the contest reached the final weeks, it became clear that Craig and I were neck-and-neck for the lead, and it became a real competition.”

So, how did Emerson move out in front of Barrett?

Via MyFitnessPal, Emerson tracked his “macronutrient intake”—pretty fancy, huh?—to strive for a diet breakdown of 30 percent protein, 30 percent fat and 40 percent carbs.

“Most Americans eat a diet heavy in carbs, especially sugar, and it’s extremely easy to overeat carbs, especially sugar. So the name of the diet game for most people should be to reduce carb intake and increase protein intake,” Emerson said. “My diet was entirely whole foods. By calorie, my primary food sources were chicken, pork, eggs, beef and fish, as well as tons of vegetables and vegetable juices to make sure I was meeting my micronutrient needs.”

The macronutrient/micronutrient plan brought Emerson from 196 to 183 pounds. Dr. Oz would probably cringe at how Emerson dropped from 183 pounds to his final weight of 177 pounds, though.

“As Craig and I got down to the wire, we both realized that the other person wasn’t going to play fair with fat loss alone. ‘Making weight’ is pretty common in any sport with weight classes—boxing, MMA, weightlifting and powerlifting—so I implemented a few tried-and-true practices,” Emerson said.

Seventy-two hours before the final weigh-in, Emerson greatly reduced his carb intake, entering what he called “hangry” mode. Twenty-four hours ahead of the weigh-in, he cut water intake to about 1 ounce an hour. Also during the day of weigh-in, he ate calorie-dense food like nuts, protein bars and candy, since anything he consumed during that period would have still been in his stomach.

Two hours before the weigh-in, he hopped into a sauna for about 20 minutes.

“In the sauna, I sweated out about a pound worth of water, which is the margin by which I won the contest. I really have to credit the advice of my MMA buddy Andrew Fiduk, who coached me through the process of making weight, including the sauna recommendation,” Emerson said.

Craig Barrett

Craig Barrett celebrates with champagne and a breakfast taco.

After all that macronutrient/micronutrient/“making weight” stuff, how did Emerson celebrate? He and Barrett chowed down on leftover breakfast tacos from Austin’s Pueblo Viejo and downed some champagne. (Champagne is the beverage of choice at SpareFoot.) Aside from the post-weigh-in feast, Emerson earned the first prize of $300 in cash; each contestant had chipped in $20 for the jackpot.

Katie Luna, a member of SpareFoot’s Amazing Customer Experience (ACE) Team, organized the competition after “several people around the office expressed interest in a weight-loss challenge that would encourage them to take off a few extra pounds.”

“The winners varied for the first six weeks, but in the end, there were only two contestants who remained in the game,” Luna said. “The last three weeks were the most intense—Craig and Tony held nothing back, and focused on winning the grand prize.”

For “legal reasons,” Barrett said he wouldn’t be exacting revenge on Emerson. But he did have this to say:

“Every night, I sacrifice a pigeon in the hopes that a Kraken will rise from the deep and swallow him whole. I am not sure how the Kraken gets to Austin from the coast. Public transportation, I assume.”

You might want to spend some time pondering that. In the meantime, please check out the sponsors who helped make this competition possible.

Jacob Millward

Jacob Millward shows off his prize from Rogue Running.

HEAT Bootcamp and Personal Training
2210 S. First St., Suite A, Austin 78704
HEAT contributed one month’s worth of boot camp training. Emerson won that goodie, but he gave it to Albert Hood, a member of our ACE Team.

RedBird Pilates & Fitness
500 San Marcos St., Suite 101, Austin 78702
RedBird contributed one month’s worth of pilates. Barrett nabbed this prize, but he handed it over to Laura Bishop, a member of our Client Relations Team.

CorePower Yoga
801 W. Fifth St., Austin 78703
CorePower donated one month’s worth of yoga classes. This prize went to Barrett as the competition’s runner-up.

FitChimp coordinated a couple of prizes for the challenge.

“FitChimp wanted to work in unison with the ‘Biggest Loser’ competition to encourage the contestants to use its interactive kiosk for fitness at our workplace,” Luna said.

Bishop won one of the prizes coordinated by FitChimp, a $100 gift certificate from the Inov8 shoe company (another sponsor).

In conjunction with the 12-week “Biggest Loser” contest, we held a companywide weight-loss challenge in April. Jacob Millward, a member of our ACE Team, received a $50 gift card from Rogue Running (also a sponsor) as the companywide winner. FitChimp coordinated the Rogue Running prize.

Photos by Matt Stites and Katie Luna