Inches and pounds lost; muscle and self-esteem gained
■ By Kyle Selby / Reporter
Losing weight and maintaining one’s physical health is no easy feat, and the men and women at The Healthy Hangout were recognized for their accomplishments in the form of celebration last Friday night. The Healthy Hangout held its inaugural Red Carpet Spectacular at the Country Club at Soboba, where 24 dedicated fitness challengers arrived via limousine and had the chance to feel like stars for the night.
The 12-week transformation challenge began July 19; competitors included: Sara Velazquez, Lucy Porter, Emma Acosta, Elisete Alvarez, Rose Vasquez, Sally Gardner, Leticia Chavez, Portia Garcia, Taneika Clark, Trinity McCallum, Ashley Jaouhari, Doreen Orizabal, Rocio Rosales, Misty Sweet, Alfred Chavez, Edwin Garcia, Tim Gardner Jr., Sandi Jeannin, Kristina Raasveld, Portia Garcia, Esli Corona, Trinity Haynes, Kennedy Raasveld, and Ronda Arend.
Each of them dedicated their early mornings and afternoons to exercising regularly and sticking to a specified meal plan that fit their fitness goals, whether that goal is weight loss, muscle gain, or both. Coaches Rachel Breckenridge, Ronda Arend, Tamisha Ambriz, Portia Garcia, Eli Hotchkiss, Jolene Saucedo and Kristina Raasveld were there to help each challenger along the way, motivating them to reach their health goals.
Many of the challengers, coaches and attendees had much to celebrate. Once they finished with their glamour shots on the red carpet at the country club’s entrance, the crowd gathered inside the banquet hall to partake in an elegantly catered buffet dinner. A video chronicling the challengers’ 12-week journey played on the big screen, which enabled everyone present to witness some astonishingly dramatic transformations.
“Before I started my journey, I was 85 pounds overweight. I was out of shape, I was tired, I was weak, and I would fall asleep driving with my kids in the car. That was a breaking point for me,” said Rachel Breckenridge, owner of The Healthy Hangout. She offered some words of motivation: “I encourage you to keep challenging yourselves one challenge at a time. That’s exactly how I started my journey.”
Since pursuing fitness, Breckenridge has participated in 5k marathons and triathlons. Today, she is in the best shape of her life, placing first as an International Natural Bodybuilding Association (INBA) sports model competitor. “You’re your own person. Run your own race.”
Rose Vasquez was the first place winner for the women’s “Inches Lost” category for losing a total of 30 inches from her body measurements. Second place went to Rocio Rosales, who lost 22 inches, and third place was awarded to Taneika Clark, who lost 21 total inches. The only man to place was Edwin Garcia, who lost a total of 26 inches.
Emma Acosta won first place in the “Muscle Gain” category for gaining 3.7 pounds of muscle, while second placer Leticia Chavez gained 3.1 pounds and Trinity McCallum gained 1.7 pounds, which secured her spot for third place. Alfred Chavez took first place in the men’s category for gaining 1.9 pounds of muscle.
Sandi Jeannin took first place in the “Weight Loss” category for losing a total of 22.6 pounds. Leticia Chavez lost 15.2 pounds for second place, and third place winner Elisete Alvarez lost 9 pounds. Alfred Chavez also placed first in the men’s category for losing 22 pounds.
“You guys need to change the name of your organization from ‘The Healthy Hangout’ to ‘The Happy Hangout,’” said San Jacinto Mayor Scott Miller, who presented Breckenridge with a certificate of appreciation on behalf of the San Jacinto City Council. “This room is filled with a lot of happy…This is what really makes a community better, when you have people getting healthy and living in community together.”