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Holidays perfect time to begin fitness challenge
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Participants in a 42-day fitness challenge proudly flex their muscles at the Liberty County YMCA. The challenge began Nov. 12. Professional fitness trainer Vince Gumataotao leads the group, encouraging them to meet their goals. - photo by By Patty Leon

Professional fitness trainer Vince Gumataotao is leading a group of people who decided to approach the holiday season from a healthy perspective.

Gumataotao said approximately 40 people signed up for his 42-day fitness challenge hosted at the Liberty County YMCA. The challenge started Nov. 12 and Gumataotao said he is amazed at how dedicated the participants are, especially during their grueling weekend meetups. During a brisk early morning workout session, two weeks ago, the group started off with an outdoor run and endurance session that included squats.  

On Saturday Nov. 17, during another group exercise session, the participants did a step aerobics class that incorporated light weights, hard pounding step sessions, squats and a full body work out.

Sylvia Prieskern drove all the way from Richmond Hill to join in the fun. “I know Vince from when he worked at the YMCA in Richmond Hill. His classes are intense, but they really work, if it doesn’t kill you,” she said laughing.

Gumataotao, a former bodybuilding competitor, formerly managed and trained people at the 24-Seven fitness center which was located at the Food Lion Shopping Center. Last October, Gumataotao became a paraprofessional at Button Gwinnett Elementary. He loved working with the children and education, but he added that his passion has always been the fitness industry.

Gumataotao started working at the Liberty YMCA three months ago and hit the ground running. His classes have folks of all ages to including a group of teenage girls from Team Nitro Softball, a Hinesville based traveling softball organization. 

The group lifted and pushed their way through an hour session that left most dripping in sweat but feeling elated.

“I love the intensity,” Trudy Ballou said. “I love the challenge. For me it’s about facing my fears and moving through them.”

Gumataotao said the message he wants to spread is that fitness can be fun and creative. Changing up routines and letting people find what they enjoy, will help people stick to a plan. He added folks who plan to start a fitness program now will get a jump start on tackling the holidays. He added it will also make New Year Resolutions not seem so tedious and daunting. 

“This group is really enjoying their workouts and they all help each other out,” Gumataotao said. “My dream is to one day own my own gym but right now I am in a good place, with a great company and great people.”

Gumataotao said more excited classes are forthcoming. For more information on the Liberty County YMCA call 912-368-9622.


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