Ventura County takes it off

This is my 100th column and I am forever thankful to all of you who have supported this endeavor. Getting positive e-mails, meeting you in grocery stores, at the gym and at various events throughout Ventura County has truly inspired me to continue shedding light on weight loss, nutrition, physical fitness and overall well being.

None of this would be possible if it wasn’t for the staff of the VC Reporter. Thank you!

This week, my editor has given me some extra space to share with you the first-ever Ventura County Eight-Week Healthy Lifestyle Challenge. For nearly three months, I have busted my bootissimo meeting with independent health club owners, soliciting key sponsors and putting this event together so that we as a county can come together and make a difference by taking unhealthy habits and exchanging them for healthy habits.

My thoughts are that, in order to help the masses, it is of importance to first focus on our community. As you may know, I love Ventura County and I believe in the concept of the hundredth monkey. That’s when, by getting a lot of people working toward a collective goal, you raise the consciousness of a group and elevate your chances for success.

So, in the spirit of the hundredth monkey, I decided to offer our community an organized opportunity for people over an eight-week period to: lose up to 25 pounds, lower cholesterol, flatten abs, tone and tighten the body, reduce blood pressure, stop smoking and increase energy.

To make it fun and more interesting, we have designed the challenge to pit all 10 cities in Ventura County against one another. For example: Ojai citizens may lose 200 pounds as a group compared to Westlake Village taking off 140 pounds. The mayor of the winning city will be awarded a Healthiest City Award.

There will be 10 grand-prize winners who will all receive a beautiful trophy, $5,000 in additional wellness coaching and the opportunity to be featured on a national television show. And to make this inaugural event a moment to remember, we have arranged to have the grand finale held at the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza on March 29.

Applaud our sponsors

We would have had a difficult time putting on this eight-week challenge if it weren’t for the support of Brian Troop of Troop Real Estate. As a leader in our community, Troop and his Troop Real Estate family have not only sponsored the event, but helped us to get the word out. Mr. Troop said when he and his managers decided to get involved, “If one of my agents improves his or her health … this challenge was worth it.”

Also, I would like to thank Sharky’s restaurant. With four locations in Ventura County, Sharky’s, which is known for great-tasting Mexican food that is also healthy, got involved without hesitation. Many people aren’t aware that Sharky’s is in Ventura, Newbury Park, Simi Valley and Westlake Village, but I am.

I would also like to give a shout-out to Rico and Mambo of 103.3 FM (AKA, the Mexicans) because their morning radio show has helped us make this event a success. They have also both released over 20 pounds of fat after taking on a healthier lifestyle. If you get a chance, tune in to their morning show.

Lastly, I would like to thank two-time boxing champion ferocious Fernando Vargas for his support and inspiration. He was forever a proponent of the “805” while launching his new business, “Nawshis Clothing,” and preparing for his upcoming pay-per-view fight with Sugar Shane Mosley. He opened many doors for this eight-week challenge to get off the ground.

Participating health clubs

The way we are able to deliver the information to the community is through our partnership with independent health clubs of Ventura County. The way the eight-week challenge works is that, once you have registered, you choose the health club nearest you between Jan. 14 – 28 and the participating health club will help you get started.

I reached out to every independent health club, but not all were receptive. However, I am honored to acknowledge the following: 1) Bryant Street Gym, Ojai; 2) Mavericks, Ventura; 3) Adventure Boot Camp, Ventura; 4) Total Woman Health Spa, Ventura; 5) Channel Islands Sports, Oxnard; 6) Knock Out Fitness & Boxing, Oxnard; 7) LA Workout, Camarillo; 8) 805 Fitness Center, Westlake Village; 9) Simi Valley Workout, Simi Valley.

I would also like to give special thanks to Pastor Fernie Franco of Victory Outreach, who has encouraged his church to take the eight-week challenge. This touched me because I know God wants us to be healthy and to have a pastor get involved is a true testament that this eight-week challenge has already proven successful.

Your health first

I am a big believer in Zig Ziglar’s statement: “If you help enough people get what they want, you will get what you want.” Taking this approach to this column and this eight-week challenge has been hard work, but the enjoyment of observing others get their lives back is priceless.

I have personally helped thousands of people exchange unhealthy habits for healthy habits and I am confident that those who take this eight-week challenge will succeed. And as a result of putting your health first, cosmic or universal law comes into effect and various areas of our lives upgrade.

If you choose not to participate in the eight-week challenge because you don’t have any unhealthy habits you’d like to replace, do me a favor and encourage others or possibly sponsor someone to upgrade their lifestyle in the areas of nutrition, physical fitness and overall well being. The famous philosopher Confucius said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” and I totally agree. Your encouragement, meaning that you give courage to someone, may prove to be that first step to living longer, looking younger and feeling better.

In closing, I would like to extend a 25 percent discount for the eight-week challenge to the loyal readers of the VC Reporter. You can learn more about the eight-week challenge by going to www.DietFreeLife.com. If you are a member of a participating health club, they will provide you with a 25 percent discount code as well.

Discount code: WW456

Be well and share the health! Happy 2006!!