Maybe the Fitness Challenge should award degree of difficulty points. The Cupcake Cravers could earn a bundle.
Currently, the Cupcake Cravers are tucked toward the bottom of the standings in the annual community weight loss competition to benefit charity.
Their challenge - the team is based out of the Blue Iris Cakery, 606 Robbins Ave., Niles, run by team captain Melissa Yohman-Murphy and her husband and teammate, Steve.
Steve and Melissa Murphy offer up a challenge of temptations from their Blue Iris Cakery in Niles fit to derail most any Fitness Challenge player. And that’s the problem — they are in the Fitness Challenge.
''All day long, all we do is make cakes and cupcakes,'' Murphy said. ''From 8 in the morning till 7 at night, that's all we do. So you see what the problem is.''
Compounding matters is that ''my cupcakes are not your normal cupcakes,'' she said.
They are large, with piles of frosting and lots of extras, such as cookies and candies piled atop the fluffiness or fudge filling dripping out the middles. There's even a hot fudge sundae cupcake built to resemble a sundae complete with two scoops of ice cream (frosting) and glazed in hot fudge (even more frosting).
''There are certain things we have to taste when we're making them,'' she said. ''We're just tasting, not eating.''
Oh, but they're trying - and succeeding, even if the standings aren't being kind.
''I've lost 11 1/2 pounds. Steve has lost 18,'' Murphy said before Thursday's weigh-in.
With six of the 10 weeks of the Challenge gone, the Cravers moved up a spot to 58th place out of 61 teams. They had been as high as 48th place in Week 2.
''We have salad stuff and fruit here in the cooler. We're trying to get it right.''
They exercise at The Well fitness center in Niles.
''My trainer says even if you just walk, it makes a difference. Steve is training hard with his trainer. We keep trying to go forward.
''It's not easy. For us, we just don't quit. We don't quit trying. Even if we do something bad, we start over.''
Other teams are buying their cupcakes and cakes to tempt rival teams off their eating plans.
''Can you imagine?'' Murphy said. ''They're coming to you because your product is the most tempting thing to give to someone else, and we're surrounded by the stuff all day!''
The top three times stayed the same in Week 6 of the Tribune Chronicle-St. Elizabeth/St. Joseph Centers Fitness Challenge - Believers Bulge Busters are in first for the third consecutive week, Kings of Carz are second for the third straight week, and were the leaders of the pack the first three weeks; and The Well Wishers remain in third for the second week.
But there's been a bit of movement up and down the chart, published on Page 5D.
Twenty-seven teams moved up in the standings, 24 teams dropped and 10 teams stayed the same.
Among the biggest movers were:
l Mission Slim-possible, up seven spots to 31st place;
l Noass for NOAS, 20th place; Mother Bread's Children, 30th; and Pound Posse, 39th, all up five spots;
l Why Weight, eighth place; Wii not Fit, 23rd; and Speed Demons, 51st, all up four places.
On the ''oops'' side of the scale:
l The Gingers dropped 10 spots to 55th place;
l Team Bigguns slid nine notches to 45th.
FAT FACTS, SECOND COURSE
Remember, folks, it's a weight LOSS competition. A total 17 teams - that's SEVENTEEN, about 28 percent of the entire field - gained weight this week!
Overall, the 305 players on the 61 five-player teams have lost a total 3,208.25 pounds over six weeks. But only about 190 of these pounds came in the last week.
The Fitness Challenge nearly turned into a weight GAIN competition.
TIPS AND TASTY TIDBITS
Since Fitness Challengers should have built a decent exercise foundation by now, Ryan Foertch, manager of the Humility of Mary Health Partners Competitive Edge Sports Medicine, returns to talk about kicking it up a gear.
When is it time advance it to an intermediate program?
''I would work on increasing either frequency, intensity or time of the workouts,'' Foertch said. ''But only do one of these at a time. As the exercises get easier, you can change one of these, and work toward a more intermediate workout.''
The same goes for moving to advanced training.
''You should always feel that you just worked out after you work out,'' he said. ''You should monitor your heart rate during exercise and keep it within a safe range - 50 to 80 percent - of your target heart rate. Start at lower percentage and work toward a higher percentage.''
The American Heart Association says the target heart rate is staying within 50 to 85 percent of one's maximum heart rate, which can be determined by counting one's pulse.
For example, the Heart Association says that generally the target heart rate zone of a 20-year-old is 100 to 170 beats a minute; 30 years, 95 to 162 beats a minute; 40 years, 90 to 153 beats a minute; and 50 years, 85 to 145 beats a minute.
GROUPS WE'D LIKE TO
TAKE TO DINNER
Each team chose a service organization for which it is playing. Each charity is guaranteed at least $225, with the top 10 teams collecting more for their designated groups, up to $1,350 for first place.
Two teams chose Beatitude House as their service organization - the PsyCare Shake Weight Shedders and Size Matters.
Size Matters captain captain Anna Loney said, ''Founded in 1988 by Sister Margaret Scheetz, Beatitude House has a longstanding reputation in the community of providing education, housing, parenting and counseling services for a host of women and children within Trumbull and Mahoning counties.
''Beatitude House remains a nonprofit, nondenominational corporation of the Ursuline Sisters of Youngstown. Size Matters is inspired by their commitment to the disadvantaged women and children in our community, and we feel they deserve our recognition and support.''
Pam Thompson of the Shake Weight Shedders said of Beatitude House, ''They create homes providing educational opportunities and fostering healthy families, providing them with the opportunity to transform their lives.
''The organization started 20 years ago and has grown from one small building in Youngstown to housing in Warren and recently in Ashtabula.
''Team 18 (the Shedders) has high goals set in hopes to support the Beatitude House with our winnings from taking first place in the Fitness Challenge,'' Thompson said.
Where did they come up with those names? This week, the PB Leftovers explains theirs.
''We organized our team on the deadline date,'' captain Jessica King said. ''There were a few of us from last year that wanted to do it again this year so we just started asking around and formulated our team.''
The team is one of at least nine in the Challenge based out of Panera Bread and O'Charley's franchises of Covelli Enterprises.
''We called ourselves The Leftovers because of the dual meaning - that we all came together as a team of leftovers on the last day, and also because some of us might have some extra weight hanging on from the holiday leftovers!''