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Deadline nears for Lacoste fitness program

Monday at 5 p.m. is the deadline to register for a free 12-week fitness program led by a former college linebacker who has pushed thousands of people toward healthier lifestyles.

“This is a life-changing program for the people that register and are a part of it,” said fitness expert Paul Lacoste.

Visit www.paullacoste.com for registration for the free bootcamp, Next Level Mississippi 2019, which is made possible by a grant from the Mississippi Department of Human Services and Families First for Mississippi.

Training sessions will start May 20 and wrap up Aug. 8. Sessions will be Monday-Thursday each week from 5-6 a.m. or 6-7 a.m. at KDMC Fitness Center.

A pre-medical evaluation and team meeting will take place Thursday at King’s Daughters Medical Center.
Participants are required to submit a $20 “accountability” payment. The check will not be cashed unless a participant drops out before the program is complete. Participants are also not allowed to miss more than six training sessions.

All participants must also attend the pre-fitness and post-fitness tests and a 5K.

The first day of training and a pre-fitness evaluation will take place May 20. A post-fitness test will be July 31.

The director of the Mississippi Department of Human Services, John Davis, is from Brookhaven and helped get the program here. The program will also take place in Greenville and Pascagoula.

“I learned through the years of doing this after I finished playing pro football. God led me down this road to serve the state of Mississippi and help us destroy obesity and all the related diseases that come with it,” he said.

The program focuses on physical activity and weight loss, but also nutrition and mental health.
Lacoste had a near-death experience in 2013 when he was bitten in MIssissippi by a mosquito which carried the West Nile Virus and passed it to Lacoste.

“I know that I have a purpose and a reason and this isn’t about me, this is about the people we’re able to serve and the people we’re able to help and motivate and inspire,” he said. “The only reason that I’m alive is because of the physical shape that I was in when that happened so my calling and my passion for helping Mississippians is something that also saved my life. You’ve got to be at your absolute physical best and at some point tragedy is going to strike. Give yourself the best chance to live through it because you are healthy.”

Lacoste said the program is designed to assist people in all stages of their journey toward better health.

“People don’t need to be scared or apprehensive and try to get in shape before doing this program,” he said.

Participants are divided into five rows and placement is based on the pre-fitness test results. Marathoners are on the first row, while those who have never been to a gym are on the fifth row.

“You’re going to be training with people who are in the same situation that you’re in,” he said. “We’re going to push you and we’re going to coach you, but we’re going to lift you up and we’re going to build you up.”

This isn’t the first program that Lacoste has started in Mississippi.

In 2010, he challenged the state’s leaders – legislators, elected officials and the governor — to lead by example and get in shape.

His Fit 4 Change program garnered nationwide attention and coverage from major news sources, including CNN, NPR, Fox News, People Magazine and Men’s Health.

In its first year, Fit 4 Change recruited more than 100 legislators, and not a single one dropped out. Over the course of 12 weeks, they collectively lost more than 1,400 pounds.

In 2011, more than 200 people participated in Fit 4 Change, shedding a total 3,043 pounds and 714 inches from their waists.

In 2012, participants lost over 3,400 pounds. Paul Lacoste Sports also launched the Fit 4 Teaching program and 200 Mississippi teachers lost over 3,100 pounds in 10 weeks.
Lacoste is a former All-American linebacker who played at Mississippi State.