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Great Health Divide: Fitness options breaking down barriers and getting people fit

Two fitness programs in Cenla are trying to get people moving.
Published: May. 3, 2021 at 3:24 PM CDT|Updated: May. 3, 2021 at 6:31 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Most people already don’t like working out, and on top of that, finding a gym that’s affordable and close to home can be a challenge.

Two new fitness programs in Cenla are trying to change that and get people moving.

It’s an eye opening statistic. Over 20 percent of people in Grant Parish have diabetes, and just under 50 percent of the adult population are considered obese. But our local health director says the problem exists all over Central Louisiana.

“Thirty percent of the people are overweight, and thirty percent are frankly obese, which means you have sixty percent of the population that’s not their ideal weight.”

Region Six Office of Public Health Director, Dr. David Holcombe

That’s where B22Fit comes in, a fitness program located in the heart of Grant Parish.

“You have this facility right here, you can come here from the four corners of the parish and we do, we have people from Pollock, we have people from Colfax, they all come here,” said B22Fit Athlete, Trevor Fry.

Boasting the slogan, ‘Stronger than Yesterday,’ the gym began in a backyard with one box and a climbing rope.

“We started out at Ms. Bonita Armour, the owner’s backyard,” said B22Fit CrossFit Coach, Alayna Seward.

The garage quickly filled with people looking to get fit. And in 2018, Owner Bonita Armour bought the property that was once home to the Dry Prong Junior High and High School gym.

“I did go to school here growing up and actually, I went to this facility for junior high. So it means a lot to me that they were able to resurrect it into this gym,” said Fry.

In less than six months, the old facility, which remained vacant for seven years, was renovated and transformed, with the doors to the gym officially opening on July 1, 2018.

“For everybody that was a student here, it kind of broke your heart, you know because this place meant so much to us and you hated to see it torn down. And then Bonita and her staff were able to come through and like Lazarus, here it is again,” said Fry.

CrossFit Coach Alayna Seward has been at the gym since it first opened. Before that, she would have to drive to Alexandria.

“There was nothing out here, no where to workout. Like I said, I had to drive to Alexandria to work out, I was getting home late,” said Seward.

Now, athletes like Trevor Fry can lift weights or try CrossFit without leaving their neck of the woods.

“Especially some of our CrossFit athletes who compete in CrossFit games, they live in rural areas. They would not have that opportunity to do that unless they had this world-class training facility right here in their backyard.”

B22Fit Athlete, Trevor Fry

On top of fitness, boxing, coffee classes for seniors, camps for kids and so much more, the gym is also planning on opening up a restaurant on campus.

“People can come and learn how to eat healthy and cook. A lot of people around here have not even heard of CrossFit, had never even heard of how to eat properly or good nutrition,” said Seward.

Fitness the whole community is rallying behind.

“Some of the stores are offering healthier stuff so we can tell them what stores to go to, go to the grocery store with them, show them what to eat.”

B22Fit CrossFit Coach, Alayna Seward

Including the Dry Prong Family Clinic which refers people to B22Fit who ask about nutrition and exercise.

“She’ll say go see Alayna at the gym and they’ll come down there, I’ll meet with them, teach them about nutrition and try to get them into an exercise program.”

B22Fit CrossFit Coach, Alayna Seward

Just over the bridge, another fitness program is catching people’s attention.

Camp Gladiator, a new fitness program, uses natural equipment such as pavement and park benches to get people fit. They meet in Compton Park Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“The access, the outdoors, the personal training, the group, all those things make it accessible for some people that otherwise it would not be accessible for them.”

Camp Gladiator Personal Trainer, Lauren Callahan

Athletes that sign up for the program have a certified personal trainer who cares about each athletes’ personal growth.

“You have a personal trainer that knows and cares about your personal fitness goals, whether you are just getting off the couch for the first time and getting into some kind of program, or you’ve been an athlete for thirty years,” said Callahan.

Which can ultimately help manage chronic conditions.

“It does so much for helping to prevent, or manage chronic conditions like diabetes or obesity,” said Callahan.

Both programs say the goal is simple, getting people healthy so they can live out their best lives.

“A lot of times, they’ll sponsor a 5K race, they’ll sponsor a softball tournament, so truly B22 is the heartbeat of Grant Parish,” said Fry.

So that people can get moving and live long, sustainable lives.

“When you’re here to actually help someone because you love them and want them to get better, then the money doesn’t even matter really, we just try to keep the lights on.”

B22Fit CrossFit Coach, Alayna Seward

Camp Gladiator has also added an additional class time on Monday and Wednesday mornings at 5 a.m.. For more information about Camp Gladiator and how to sign up, you can go here. For more information about B22Fit, you can go here.

Both programs offer personal training, group fitness, education and more.

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