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Explosive Fitness...In The News
The Monitor, by Eric Garza

McAllen -
While most people think of boot camp as something they hope to never endure, a group of six people gathered at La Vista Park in McAllen last week to participate in the Rio Grande Valley's fist Fitness Boot Camp.

"Come on keep going, you're slowing down," Jorge Vela shouted at the group as they high-stepped around cones set up at the park.

Vela started the fitness camp after he got the idea from similar programs held regularly in larger Texas cities like San Antonio, Dallas and Houston. Vela, who has worked as a personal trainer for more than 10 years, said the fitness camp was something he has wanted to do in the Valley since he moved here.

"It's great for parents that are trying to get kids active again, it's just fun," Vela said. "They're not in the house playing Nintendo, they're out doing an activity. Plus they won't have to be worried about them being out in the sun."

He said in today's society, people are so busy rushing from place to place they often neglect their physical health.

"Fitness is something that doesn't get touched on very much," Vela said. "That's why our slogan is 'For a body as tight as your schedule.' The biggest excuse is, "I don't have enough time."

Vela said even though the fitness camp is called a boot camp, people should not be scared to join.

"It's called boot camp, but we're not going to be heating upon you," Vela said. "We're just trying to motivate you."

Dagoberto Perez of Los Ebanos said he decided to join the camp because he became very concerned about his health.

"My goal is to lose a couple of pounds and have more energy," Perez said. "The camp is great because you're not confined in a gym. I've done the gym thing and I enjoy this because it's outdoors and in the open."

Jennifer Mannarelli, the first place winner of the fitness category at the Cornerstone Classic on July 12, was also at the camp last Wednesday. She said she makes sure that exercise is part of her daily routine. Otherwise, she will often find herself grouchy and lethargic, Mannarelli said.

"A lot of people don't consider exercise as part of their life." Mannarelli said. "If you make it part of your daily life, you'll never be sitting there thinking. "Oh my God. I'm a hundred pounds overweight how do I lose the weight?" If you try to stay as fit as you possibly can you won't find yourself in that situation."

The camp is held three days a week for an hour at either 5:30 a.m. or 7:30 p.m. It is open for anyone ages 14 and up. For more information call Jorge Vela at (956) 451-8962.