The Paul Lacoste twelve week "Fit 4 Change" boot camp is back in full-swing for the third year now. The early morning workouts are geared towards helping state lawmakers get fit and healthy, but elected officials aren't the only ones' benefiting.
Whether it's running on the treadmill or taking a jog through the Jackson State University Walter Payton Center, working out is how Michael Guarino starts his day.
"I plan on running 5K's with my wife who pretty much does that every chance she gets," said Guarino.
Things have certainly changed for Guarino in the past year since he began exercising. In one year he's lost 100 pounds.
"I was basically a walking heart attack, overweight, drank, smoked, sat in a recliner," said Guarino.
Guarino started the Paul Lacoste "Fit 4 Change" boot camp last year. In addition to helping the average Mississippian get in shape, the program focuses on helping state lawmakers shed pounds and get healthy.
"I just think that if you can use exercise as a preventative measure that you should do so and that's why I'm here," said State Representative Adrienne Wooten (D-Ridgeland).
In the first three weeks of this "Fit 4 Change," program participants have lost a combined total of 1,662 pounds, but it's not just weight that people are losing. The program is literally helping save lives.
"I was gravely ill before I started this program," said State Representative Steve Holland (D-Tupelo).
Representative Holland has lost 140 pounds in three years. He credits Paul Lacoste and exercising to saving his life.
"I had congenative heart failure I was at UMC literally dying at age 51," said Holland.
Guarino can credit exercise to saving his life and making him feel much better too.
"My feet don't hurt, my knees don't hurt, you have muscle soreness, but it's a good sore."
Paul Lacoste plans to expand his fitness boot camps across the state to areas like the Delta and the Gulf Coast.
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