Shlomo Golombeck of Clifton, NJ is a multi-talented individual with a magnanimous spirit and a knack for getting things done. A talented musician, he teaches piano, keyboard and voice and performs at events throughout the tri-state area as a one-man band and DJ. Additionally, he is a seasoned camp head counselor and youth director in Passaic. One thing Golombeck admits to having had difficulty with mastering, however, is weight loss and physical fitness. His personal struggle, and ultimate success, with losing weight and getting in shape inspired him to bring what worked for him into his own community.
Golombeck, 23, originally held meetings in his basement for a group of approximately 15 men who each contributed $40, creating a pot to be claimed by the man who would shed the most pounds in 90 days. Affectionately known as the Basement Biggest Loser Challenge, there was initially no formalized program other than a makeshift support group, and a collective commitment to losing weight.
After that first challenge, Golombeck felt that the group would benefit from a more structured program. Based on a recommendation from a local personal trainer, Shlomo embarked on an official 90-Day Challenge with a $1,000 grand prize, facilitated by Master Marcelo Adragna, owner of Invictus Martial Arts and Fitness in Clifton. Under Adragna’s guidance, Golombeck lost 45 pounds, placing third out of 73 participants. Clearly, Master Marcelo’s philosophy works.
“The Master” attributes results to “hard work and dedication. Nothing comes easy but it’s worth it,” Adragna noted.
Golombeck subsequently partnered with Master Marcelo to offer three classes per week to men in the Passaic-Clifton Jewish community. The first 90-Day Challenge attracted 10 men while the next “exploded,” according to Golombeck, with 40 men competing for a grand prize of $1,500.
Master Marcelo Adragna and his wife, Nancy, have managed the Clifton martial arts facility for over 20 years and have successfully partnered with Golombeck to facilitate groups for men that incorporate the unique scheduling needs of the Jewish community (i.e., no more erev Rosh Hashanah weigh-ins!).
Dov Ber Joseph, a 16-year-old Clifton resident currently studying in a Brooklyn yeshiva, speaks about Master Marcelo with unbridled admiration. “Master Marcelo creates a great workout for each individual. He always says ‘No excuses!’ and ‘Keep going!’ He’s very encouraging.”
Fueled by participant enthusiasm and tangible results, Golombeck used social media, flyers, word of mouth and a lot of phone calls to form a group of 45 men to take on a 120-Day Challenge immediately following Passover. The goal was to extend the length of the program with the awareness that people might need some extra time to lose weight after the holiday. Although the 120-Day Challenge was born out of the need to accommodate the Jewish holiday schedule,
Golombeck still feels that a “90-day challenge is the perfect amount of time to lose weight in a proper manner and to really get into a healthy lifestyle.” As a result, his goal is to start a new 90-Day Challenge beginning Thursday, October 27, immediately following the holiday of Sukkot. The grand prize will be $1,500 for a minimum of 40 contestants and up to $3,000 if 60 or more participants take the plunge.
Golombeck plans to continue the Tae Kwan Do and Krav Maga classes he teaches for men and boys with Master Marcelo. Chaim Solomon, who lost 130 pounds after participating in two challenges, winning the $3,000 grand prize after his first 90-Day Challenge with a loss of 75 pounds, also teaches a fitness class at the studio every motzei Shabbat.
Golombeck is working on expanding the 90-Day Challenge into Teaneck and is actively seeking a gym and trainer in the area. Any leads would be greatly appreciated as everyone comes out a winner after a challenge...especially the losers.
By Penina Jacobs