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Boot camp exercise program motivates participants

NATCHEZ — Instead of coffee, 48-year-old Edna Carter used the galvanizing effects of 24 women on a mission for an early morning jolt.

The Jefferson County resident woke up at 4:30 a.m., and drove to Duncan Park to participate in a 6 a.m. “boot camp” style exercise program as part of Natchez Regional Medical Center’s Curves Giant Loser contest.

NRMC Marketing Director Kay Ketchings said although the contest sign up period has ended, anyone can attend boot camp.

Carter said the fresh air and exercise kicks off her day with lots of energy. Her goal is to lose 50 pounds, but she mostly just wants to get in shape.

Boot camp is offered 6 to 7 a.m. Mondays and Wednesdays for free and is geared toward beginners. Advanced boot camp, for those already in shape, runs 6 to 7 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and costs $10.

Duncan Park Tennis Director Henry Harris said beginner level athletes walk 1.5 miles around the park at their own pace, jog or walk three laps around the tennis court and then do group exercises.

“I add more (moves) each day and add more minutes each time,” he said.

Wednesday’s session ended at 6:45 a.m.

Participant Sonya Brown, 34, said she does not normally exercise, but she and her cousin Cagney Brown, 20, have a pact to keep working out after the 12-week program ends.

“We push each other,” Brown said.

Laughter and cheers accompanied huffing and puffing at Duncan Park, as the women stayed motivated by having fun as a group.

“(Having fun) is the key,” Harris said. “You try to trick them into exercising without them realizing it, and before they know it, they’re in shape.”

The Curves Giant Loser contest is part of the Soles in Motion program offered by NRMC and is also sponsored by Curves and First Natchez Radio Group.

Contestants had their first official weigh in June 11. The contestant who reduces her body fat index the most out of nearly 80 participants will be awarded $500 in late August.

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