Lake Norman & Mooresville

A fitness challenge for a good cause

Thor Colberg recently made a promise to Lake Norman residents: Help me provide food for disadvantaged children, and I'll get you in the best shape of your life.

The Huntersville resident will provide an eight-week fitness and nutrition program to any resident who donates $10 to Backpack Buddies.

First started in Texas, Backpack Buddies is a nationwide charity that provides backpacks filled with nutritious food to disadvantaged children. The idea is that the kids might not have enough to eat over the weekend, when they don't have access to school breakfasts and lunches, so they can take the donated food home for the weekend.

Thor's father, Thor Colberg Sr., first heard about the charity in the summer of 2010 during a conference for pastors involved with Vineyard Church.

The elder Colberg is the lead pastor at Vineyard in Huntersville.

Since the church started participating in the charity a couple of months ago, it has provided a backpack full of healthy food to 10 students from Statesville Road Elementary School every week, said Erica Walsh, who oversees the program at the church.

"This program really resonated with us because it's something we could really do as a church," she said. "The whole concept really fit in well with the mission of our church."

Walsh said it costs $10 to fill each backpack with such food items as cans of meat and vegetables, snacks and dairy products.

The church delivers the filled backpacks to the school every Friday and retrieves the empty bags every Monday, said Walsh.

"We know the first names of the children but we haven't actually met them. We try to not draw attention to them because you never know what's going on in their lives, and they may not want other kids knowing," said Walsh.

Thor Colberg Jr. said he hopes his fundraiser will allow the church to expand its Backpack Buddies charity to even more students.

"I've got two kids of my own," he said. "Anytime I hear about kids struggling that way, it strikes a chord because I think of my own kids not having food on the weekend, and it's kind of heartbreaking."

Your Best Body Challenge, which is modeled after the television show "Biggest Loser," will include six group fitness training sessions, an exercise and nutrition program and weekly assessments and coaching.

"Everyone knows its really hard to lose weight on your own, so why not get everyone together and give them a plan for free and help them improve their lifestyle while raising money for a great cause?" he asked.

Ten people have signed up so far, although there's no limit on the number of people who can participate, he said.

This isn't the first time that Colberg has brought together fitness and charity. Last year, he ran the Push-ups for charity event, which raised $6,000 for the Wounded Warrior project.

During that charity event, local public safety officials raised money for every push-up they completed within 90 seconds. "This time, I wanted to reach out to the whole town and help change the shape of Huntersville," said Colberg, the owner of Thor's Elite Fitness and Bolt To Boot camp in Huntersville..

Those interested in participating in the challenge must register by Feb. 15. The challenge begins Feb. 18.

The top three participants who show the best results in terms of lost inches and pounds will receive prizes with values of $750, $350 and $350 respectively.