GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - One group is trying to spread the importance of fitness across the coast and possibly the state. To do that, they are starting a fitness program that is quickly gaining popularity.
Candace Hasan saw Mississippi's obesity rate as a problem that could be solved. So, she and two other trainers got the idea to start the Beauties and Beasts Fitness Boot Camp.
"We wanted to not just open it to gym membership, but bring it outside and just promote being healthy," said Hasan.
For trainer Ja'Don Johnson, this type of workout is nothing new. Boot camps are a common thing in her home city, Atlanta.
"And so when I moved here, it was either you can go to the gym or aerobics class, but it was kind of missing that niche," said Johnson.
So, the three trainers got together and started this program. Their claim is that its unlike any other program on the coast.
"We develop relationships with them. We stay on them, you know. We have a group chat that we send motivational messages to them and if they need any kind of feedback or something personal going on, they can contact us one on one," said Joe Barker, another trainer.
That one-on-one attention is what brought Niecie West to the boot camp. It was easy for her to spot the difference between this workout and a gym membership.
"I would have to say the support, from the trainers and then the group members themselves," said West.
The group is already 38 members strong and is still growing, even during the workout. All it took was seeing the program in action to turn one passerby into a potential client. Sandra Johnson was taking her daily walk when she saw the intense training session in the middle of Jones Park. She said she would much prefer this program over working out alone in a gym.
"When you're working in a large group, it motivates you more," said Johnson.
The trainers want the idea to spread across the state. Until it does, they'll keep moving forward one exercise at a time.
The Beauties and Beasts Boot Camp meets every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 5:30 am or 6:00 PM at Jones Park. The trainers plan to continue the program through the summer and possibly throughout the rest of the year.