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Healthy Habits Promoted at the Community Xccelerator

Sonya Warren (left) leads a group of participants in the Community Xccelerator through the initial phase of her yoga demonstration. Yoga Mats for the participants were made possible with a contribution from Yoga Central in Valdosta.

VALDOSTA, GA Local fitness experts shared the role of fitness and nutritional health in the journey towards success and goal execution with participants of Valdosta’s Community Xccelerator. Fitness experts Shawn and Melissa Eikenberry, owners of Winnersville Fitness and FitMix Group Fitness and Personal Training, spoke to the participants about proper nutrition and fitness strategies that any individual can implement based on their current physical condition. 

Program participants listened as the Eikenberry couple discussed the options for maintaining a healthy lifestyle through physical activity and better food choices. 

“The goal of the visit is to explore such options with experts from a local business in our community. As with all of our sessions, this is an opportunity for Xccelerator participants to connect with local resources, become inspired by local supporters to take action towards growth, and feel empowered to perform with intention beyond their current status,” stated DeWayne Johnson, Program Director for Valdosta’s Community Xccelerator.  

The Eikenberry couple, who are both military veterans, bought Winnersville Fitness in 2018. 

Melissa Eikenberry, a pioneer of the boot-camp fitness industry in Valdosta, is a certified Personal Trainer and also holds certifications in Kickboxing, Group Fitness, Personal Training, Barre, Pilates & both regular and Tabata Boot Camp. 

Eikenberry spoke about why she got started and described how her boot camp is unique.

“My boot camp is different because it’s based on actual military boot camp. It’s very intense, non-stop, and outdoors. I rotate it with strength, low-impact Tabata type boot camp to take the pressure off the knees and lower back while still burning calories.”

According to the owners, Winnersville Fitness is an 11,000-square foot gym with top of the line life-fitness equipment. Fit Mix is a unique blend of kickboxing, body-sculpting, yoga, and pilates fitness classes. 

Handouts with more information about both fitness locations were welcome by the program and its participants.

“I think it’s great that our community has [an Xccelerator] program where you can take people into a classroom setting and feed them with the knowledge as to what we’ve learned as far as fitness, nutrition, and starting a business,” stated Shawn Eikenberry.

Also joining the session was special guest Sonya Warren, a yoga instructor with Yoga Central Valdosta. Warren provided a 30-minute yoga and Shavasana demonstration class for the Xccelerator participants, who all came to the session dressed in their fitness attire for the demo. Yoga Central donated to the Community Xccelerator so that each of the program participants could have their own personal yoga mat to use and take home.

"We are very grateful and excited about the generosity of Yoga Central. When asked for their assistance with regard to the session activity, Yoga Central did not hesitate.

Partnerships like that are what makes this community special," commented Johnson. 

Margo Braski, Owner and Operator of Chick-fil-A Valdosta Mall personally delivered a special order of the location's Grilled Cool Chicken Wraps from the restaurant’s catering menu for all of the program participants. Braski also spoke to the group about empowering themselves with food choices that are nutritionally better and suggested items from Chick-fil-A that are considered fast food but do not have a negative impact on health while tasting good.

“Our wraps have fresh romaine lettuce, just a little Monterey Jack cheese, and grilled chicken, inside a flax-seed wrap. That’s it,” Braski explained.

She also gave a recommendation for adding sauces to food. “If you’re looking to really make the right choice, try to cut the dressing and sauces. Even if you have to have that 8-count of Chick-fil-A nuggets, don’t get the sauce. Just eat the protein. Less creamy generally is going to be a better choice.”

Braski concluded, “I think it’s super cool that you guys have a nutrition class inside of a business, financial, and personal development course."

When asked for comments about the session from the Community Xccelerator participants, Kristen Rodgers, an employee with Lowndes County Schools shared the impact that it had on her.

“It was a great session, and I enjoyed it very much. That was the first time I've ever done yoga. I am also going to see what kind of exercise program would be right for me.”

The Community Xccelerator, which is a 20-session program conducted at the Willis L. Miller Library, was developed by the H. DeWayne & Amanda Johnson BridgeBuilder Education Foundation, a 501(c)(3) entity, to connect, inspire, and empower local residents and collegiate students by exposing enrolled individuals to proven strategies for success and regional experts for their personal advice on goal execution, financial and wealth empowerment, business development, and personal improvement.

For more information about how to participate in Valdosta’s Community Xccelerator, email, or call (229) 588-0866.

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