Fit Nation is back: Meet the new team

The Fit Nation class of 2015

Story highlights

  • Six CNN viewers have been selected to be part of the 2015 Fit Nation triathlon team
  • They will race alongside Dr. Sanjay Gupta in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon in September
  • The six will share their workouts online as they receive fitness and nutrition training

(CNN)It's January, the busiest month of the year for most gyms. Typically, by February or March, many people lose focus and stop hitting the gym.

This year is going to be different -- at least for the six lucky CNN viewers selected to be part of the 2015 Fit Nation Triathlon team.
    Each participant will be getting a road bike (with all the necessary accessories), a wet suit and a gym membership to prepare them to race alongside Dr. Sanjay Gupta in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon on September 20.
    As they train for their first triathlon with support from fitness and nutrition coaches, they'll blog, tweet and share their workouts online.
    You'll watch and get to cheer them on as they get ready to swim a half-mile in the ocean, bike 18 miles and run 4 miles along the Pacific coast.
    And we hope this year's Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge team will inspire you to make your health a priority.
    If our past Fit Nation team members are any indication, you'll be happy you did. Meet this year's team:
    weight loss, fitness

    The Smooklers (Duluth, Georgia)

    Having a training partner is critical to the success of any life-changing program. Many past Fit Nation team members have trained along with their spouses, partners, friends and family, all with great results.
    This year, we decided to pick a husband and wife duo -- Julia and Eugene Smookler -- to be part of the challenge.
    Julia is a midwife.
    She spends much of her day talking to women about maintaining healthy lifestyles, eating well and staying healthy throughout pregnancy. But Julia admits she has a long way to go toward practicing what she preaches.
    "As a busy mom and working full time, it's just impossible to lose this weight," she says. "But I feel like it's really important to set the standard and to be a good role model for those patients."
    When she and Eugene met, they were both in much better shape, but life got in the way. Julia's father passed away from cancer. Then they had a child, which torpedoed several of their healthy habits.
    Eugene says he wants them both to get in better shape, so they can be good role models for their 3-year-old daughter, Mara.
    "We're ready to hit the reset button and start over, get our lives back, be more productive and have more energy," he says.
    "And be a happier couple," Julia chimes in. "I think it's really strained our relationship."
    Eugene's also looking forward to being able to do "the worm" with the same finesse he had back in college.
    weight loss, fitness

    Linda Garrett (Haddonfield, New Jersey)

    At 67, Linda Garrett is the oldest person to have ever joined our team, but looking at her, you'd never believe she was a day over 50.
    The semiretired psychiatric nurse says having a busy career and raising two children caused her to overlook her own health and fitness. It wasn't until last year when someone at her local gym talked her into doing a mud run that her "inner athlete" came out.
    "I completed it, and I had a ball," Garrett says. "I want to bring that enthusiasm to the Fit Nation Triathlon."
    Working out at a gym several days a week has already helped her keep those "pesky senior citizen aches" at bay. Training for a triathlon, she says she hopes to be in the best shape of her life.
    "I'm a triathlete in my mind. ... I want to make it a reality," she says.
    weight loss

    Robert Lara (Las Cruces, New Mexico)

    Robert Lara, 34, says he is ready to shed the weight he's carried around his whole life and help change attitudes in the Mexican-American community where he grew up.
    At 300 pounds and suffering from Type 2 diabetes, this attorney says, "Enough is enough."
    He's hoping the CNN program will help give him a shot at making changes that stick.
    But his reasons also go deeper.
    "I'm not going to make it past 40 if I don't really focus on losing weight and taking care of myself," Lara says. "My culture has a very ingrained commitment to taking care of our elders, and if I can't take care of myself, how can I take care of them?"
    weight loss, fitness

    Erica Moore (Chicago)

    Erica Moore, 35, says there's no secret to how she ballooned to more than 250 pounds, but she did have a lot of fun doing it.
    "I don't have a down-on-my-luck story," Moore says. "I got fat the old-fashioned way -- a lot of eating, a lot of drinking and no exercise."
    Last year, she decided that she had had more than enough fun getting out of shape -- now it was time to put in some hard work to get back into shape.
    At 34, she took her first swim lessons -- the initial step toward her goal of becoming an ironman.
    She began rowing and running as well, and this year, she says she will prove to friends, family and her community that anything is possible with hard work and determination.
    fit nation, weight loss

    George 'Chip' Greenidge Jr. (Atlanta)

    At 44, Chip Greenidge has been in school a lot of years -- first in college, then grad school and now working on his doctorate at Georgia State University.
    Through it all, his weight has been up and down; now, at more than 300 pounds, he's ready to make a change.
    "I have spent my life in service to others -- encouraging urban high school students to apply, attend and graduate college, and convening a number of activities helping minorities and people of color get involved in civic life," Greenidge says. "However, over the years, I have not been able to really work on my own health and nutrition goals."
      He says he's looking toward the CNN Fit Nation challenge to help him set and achieve those goals, and overcome a family history of high blood pressure.
      "I look to learn so many things about myself in the process -- my strengths and challenges and how I can approach them going forward in life."