Fitness Center’s Boot Camp: Lost pounds add up for charity
By JIM LANARAS / Windsor Correspondent
The regular Saturday “boot camp” at the Structure U fitness center in the Town Green started as usual at 8 a.m. on the first Saturday of the new year. On that day, however, the five members — four of them women–were there to help owner and personal trainer Matt Lesley raise money for the nonprofit, volunteer-staffed Windsor Service Alliance, which has served the needy in Windsor since 1989.
Structure U is donating $10 for every hour its members spend at the boot camps on the four Saturdays in January.
“It’s $40 for four hours of your life. Our goal is to raise $1,500,” Lesley said.
Structure U raised $575 for the Windsor Service Alliance last year and $800 in 2010, its first year in Windsor.
“They are a wonderfully supportive group of loving individuals,” Lesley said. He is quick to credit his wife Dawn for their business’s fundraising endeavors.
“She’s the creative one. I’m here to make them miserable,” he jests as he directs the exercise regimen in the 1,500-square-foot facility at 555 David Clayton Lane.
Structure U, which also has a location in Sonoma, provides one-on-one sessions with a personal trainer. Membership in Windsor ranges between 60 and 90, with boot camp attendance averaging 12.
“We opened the business in a down economy with the aspiration to succeed,” Lesley said. “We were profitable in two months and want to give something back to the community.”
The Alliance provides a weekly food pantry on Fridays, one-time financial aid to help pay a family’s seriously delinquent water bill, Christmas food baskets, a backpack giveaway to elementary school students, a community garden and holds a food collection drive in May in conjunction with the U.S. Postal Service.
Barbara Brown, the Alliance board member who runs the food pantry, said 150 families in Windsor currently receive food. She said the “Stamp Out Hunger” food drive in May collects 1,800 to 2,500 pounds of food.
The Winter Wine Walk in December, at which participants sampled wine and food at more than two dozen shops and restaurants on the Town Green, again sold 200 tickets at $35 each, donating the money to the local food bank.
“The only issue was it was pouring rain,” Brown said. “But the need doesn’t end with the holidays when we get the majority of our donations.”
At Structure U, this month’s boot camps focus on shedding those Christmas pounds while raising money for a good cause. Personal trainer Tony Madrigal said watching members work to get in shape and keep the weight off is satisfying and empowering. “Everyone has a common goal to be more fit,” he said. “You have to change your frame of mind. Fitness is not just about lifting weights. It’s flexibility and balance.”
Members Tina Felly and her husband Ron of Santa Rosa, were at the Jan. 5 boot camp. “We like to support Windsor. It’s a great community, and we get an extra workout with good friends,” she said. She works out three times a week at Structure U and adheres to what she calls a “paleo or caveman diet” of meat, fruits, vegetables, seeds and eggs.
“I lost 150 pounds in two years,” she said, attributing 60 of those lost pounds to her diet. “I cut out sugars, grains and dairy. I don’t eat anything processed, just whole foods.” Her goal is to weigh 220 pounds.
Her husband Ron has lost 40 pounds.
After the hour-long work out that included pushups, leg lunges, sprints around the parking lot and other body weight work, Lesley was ready for the next group of members who filed in and claimed stationary bicycles. It was clear that combining fitness and fundraising suited him.
“I’m blessed. I get to do what I like to do,” he said.
For more information about Structure U and the fundraiser, visit structureu.com or call 837-5244.