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Have fun, get fit in the New Year at the YMCA
Gymnastics team-YMCA
First row from the bottom starting on the left: Jayla Wilson, Aubriauna Jones, Jayson Pendelton, Delaycia Fleming, Athena Soto; Second row from the left: Tamia Hall, Alejandra Delgado, Aubrey Villella, Kaiden Dotson; Top row from the left: Erica Mock, Lyric Wilson, Sania Williams. The YMCA gymnastics team competes from August to February, and will be holding open tryouts for the 2019 season in February. - photo by Photo provided.

Vince Gumataotao is no stranger to fitness. As the Fitness Coordinator for the Liberty County Armed Services YMCA, Gumataotao works to develop new ways to entice the community to get fit and enjoy doing so. For 2019, Gumataotao is debuting his 42 day challenge on Jan. 21. Guided, encouraged and led by head fitness coach Gumataotao and training staff, participants will work to lose pounds and inches over the course of six weeks.

The program consists of 12 group sessions two days a week, Gumataotao said. A weight check and measurement is held twice a month, and a meal and nutritional plan is available to those participating, he continued.

“Our first challenge went really well,” Gumataotao said. “It ended on Dec. 24 and it was a huge success. The biggest challenge I put out there was because it was right before the holidays, from Nov. 7 – Dec. 24. The person that lost the most was like 17 pounds and 25 inches, and the average weight loss for the program was 12-15 pounds in six weeks.”

Now that the trial and error is out of the way, Gumataotao’s goal is to get 30 people signed up for the program. As of Jan. 4, Gumataotao said there were at least six people currently signed up.

“It’s a great program for the community,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for 30 years. People train people the way they want to train. You have to train people the way they need to be trained, not the way you train yourself. That’s where I see the difference between trainers. You have to adapt accordingly to those people.”

“The biggest thing is the support,” said Gymnastics Coordinator Brandy Warnock. “Everybody here is supporting you. I can’t wait to participate in the program.”

Gumataotao emphasized 42 days is a great time to lose inches in bounds, because life is a rollercoaster. It takes time, energy and money to come here, and sometimes, people just don’t have them, he said. 

“For them to come here and sign up, once they do that, that’s what drives me,” Gumataotao added. “Their ambition to go above and beyond to do the next step and do what’s good for them.”

The goal, he said, is to increase the percentage of success of the 42 day challenge to at least 30 percent. If you can increase the number, you can show people it can be done, he continued. 

“Six weeks out of your life to give it all you got from where you came from is really nothing,” Gumataotao said. “I just try to make believers out of people.”

In the past, Gumatatao was a former strength and conditioning coach big names in Las Vegas, including UFC and Pride fighting championship MMA legend Wanderlei Silva. 

“I trained him in Vegas for three years, from 2009-2012,” Gumataotao said. Others included singer and song-writer Gladys Knight, whom invited Gumataotao to her home for personal training.

For this challenge, Gumataotao is partnering with Dr. Joseph Pittman at Professional Eye Care, which is where he said he gets referrals from. Pittman is also sponsoring the 42 day challenge, and purchasing the shirts that all participants get, he continued.

The program is open to the community, at a cost of $150 for members and $200 for non-members, Gumataotao said. At the end of the challenge, the participant who loses the most will receive a prize. 

“I want to make it affordable for people, and give them what god has given me and put me here for,” Gumataotao said. “I’ve done other things, but I always came back to fitness.”

The YMCA also offers a competitive gymnastics team, spearheaded by Warnock. The team incorporates kids ages 4 and up to compete, she said. 

“Gymnastics has been at the YMCA for at least eight years,” Warnock said. “The competitive program is relatively new, and I got the position as coordinator in August. We’re making a lot of changes from ages 18 months all the way up.”

Gymnastics is a sport for anyone, she said. That gymnastics background is great—whether the child stays in gymnastics for a career, or goes to a different sport—gymnastics is a huge benefit and it helps with all those later sports.

There are currently 12 kids on the competitive team, according to Warnock. The season is coming to a close, so the YMCA is looking to do open tryouts for the next competitive season in February, Warnock added.

For an extensive list of activities and programs offered, visit

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