South Mississippians paddle board their way to a healthier heart

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The rainy weather didn't stop dozens of South Mississippians who are battling the bulge from reaching a milestone on Saturday. The B. E. Fit team has been working for two months to transform their bodies and minds to live a healthier lifestyle.

The energetic exercise group of more than 60 members is spending graduation day on the water in Biloxi. For eight weeks, they've worked to drop the pounds and pickup a healthier lifestyle.

"This is a comprehensive program that is based on strength training, a lot of running. We had some of our participants run their first 5K. We had a couple of participants lose anywhere from 45 to 14 pounds," said personal trainer Brantley Ellison.

Ellison leads the group. A little more than a year ago, he weighed nearly 300 pounds.

"I did a lot of spin classes. I did a lot of running and nutrition. Nutrition is very important. That is something we offer in our program," Ellison said.

Ellison said to challenge the graduating class one last time, he wanted them paddle board from the beach to Deer Island to receive their medals.

"It is a long way. I did fall," Ellison said.

"It was a serious core workout. All my legs were burning to Deer Island," participant Travis Freeman said.

Freeman lost more than 25 pounds during the program. He admits today's mission wasn't easy, but worth it.

"I have two little kids; a 7-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy. Exercising and being healthy adds some years to my life," Freeman said.

Graduate Gretchen Spence also participated in the fitness fun on the beach. She's dropped 12 pounds over the past two months by just cutting out the fatty food and working out.

"Everyone says they don't have time for exercise. I have three children, but you have to make that time and set a good example," said Spence.

These new exercise enthusiasts hope their new lifestyle will stay with them as they continue their fight to stay fit.

"There is a big difference between needing to lose weight and wanting. When you need to you might, but when you want to you will," Ellison said.

Ellison said Wut-SUP Standup Paddle boards and Rentals supplied the boards, free of charge, for the members to complete the challenge. The next boot camp session starts June 9.

For more information, call personal trainer Brantley Ellison at (228) 223-1997.

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