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Free Boot Camp in Englewood Targets Those 'Who Need it the Most'

By Andrea V. Watson | January 9, 2015 6:00am | Updated on January 10, 2015 11:06am
 Andrea NaTay is a 34-year-old personal trainer and nutritionist.
Andrea NaTay is a 34-year-old personal trainer and nutritionist.
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Nikki B/GreyMatter Photography

ENGLEWOOD — Are you ready for boot camp, Englewood?

The Resident Association of Greater Englewood hopes so — and is even sponsoring a free eight-week session to help community members live healthier.

The fitness class will run from Jan. 22 until March 10 at Ogden Park, 6500 S. Racine. Andrea NaTay, a certified group instructor, will lead the class, which will meet from 6-7 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday. The sessions will focus on cardio and strength training, incorporating kettlebells, dumbbells and steps.

Those who are interested in participating should arrive 15 minutes early for the first session so they can register, organizers said.

Association President Asiaha Butler said she partnered with the Chicago Park District and NaTay, owner of Forever Fitness Chicago, to offer the program.

 Ogden park in Englewood includes a gymnasium, fitness center, dance studio, a multipurpose room, boxing gym, and a garden.
Ogden park in Englewood includes a gymnasium, fitness center, dance studio, a multipurpose room, boxing gym, and a garden.
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DNAinfo/Wendell Hutson

“One thing we all agree upon is that a healthy community has to start with ourselves so that [we] can be changing the way we eat or exercising more,” Butler said.

NaTay, who organized Englewood's first "Ditch the Weight & Guns 5K Walk & Run" in November and grew up in Englewood, said she prefers to work with residents of lower income communities because they generally have higher rates of diabetes, heart disease and other health issues.

She said that fitness classes shouldn’t only be for the wealthy.

“I try to target a certain demographic, which are those in underserved communities like Englewood, Chatham, Washington Park — the people who need it the most,” she said. 

The fitness trainer said she doesn’t want people to think that losing weight or dieting is the only way you can be healthy.

“I like for people to feel healthy overall, so somebody who is 210 pounds can be healthier than someone 110 pounds,” she said. “It’s not about the weight loss, it’s about their overall health."

Butler said that although a "boot camp" can sound dreary, NaTay, who is also member of the association, tries to make the classes fun. 

“I’m hoping it’s a fun way to bring people together for one common goal, and that’s to be healthy,” she said.

To learn more about the boot camp sessions, visit www.RageEnglewood.org.

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