It’s 5:30 a.m. and the chaotic sound of grunts and groans echo sharply through the Bob Glass Gymnasium in Perris as more than 50 men, women and teenagers jog in preparation for a boot camp session led by City fitness instructor Laura Sosa.
Sosa leads the class in an intense workout incorporating lunges, power squats and free weights. Only 15 minutes into the workout, sweat is pouring off the bodies of the boot campers, who range from 16 to 50 years old.
But for those enrolled in this class, the tougher the workout the better.
The pre-dawn boot camp is one of several fitness classes offered through the City of Perris as part of its ongoing “Live Well” program, which encourages better health through exercise and smarter food choices.
“The gym can be a scary place, especially for newcomers, because they don't know the machines or routines,” Sosa said. “Boot camp gets rid of all those uncertainties. I make them feel comfortable and make them a part of our fit family. We are a team.”
Sosa’s boot camp draws fitness-conscious folks from Murrieta, Moreno Valley and Fontana as well as Perris. It’s one of several popular courses taught by Sosa, a Perris fitness instructor for 12 years. She also teaches “Fit and Fab” classes for seniors 55 and older, the Wednesday morning Senior Walking Club and courses that emphasize body sculpting and stepping.
“This is about getting people healthy and fit,” Sosa said. “I love seeing the positive results in the people who attend. It’s my passion. The City of Perris is doing an outstanding job trying to improve the health of the community.”
Isabel Biorato, 44, has been attending the boot camp class for two years. It’s an essential part of her commitment to get and stay fit. Since joining Sosa’s class, Biorato said she has shed more than 20 pounds and takes greater care in selecting food choices for her and her family.
“Laura is inspiring and motivating,” Biorato said. “She gives a lot of good guidelines.”
Sylvia Lara, 42, attends the sessions with her daughter, Ashlee, 16. Sylvia has been taking classes led by Sosa for four years.
Sylvia recalled the first sessions that were held at a park before the boot camp class moved to the City gym. Those initial classes, which began several years ago, drew about 10 people. Today, they draw nearly 60.
“Laura knows what she is doing,” Sylvia Lara said. “She knows our limits and she pushes us just the right amount.”
Sylvia attributes her weight loss to Sosa’s intense workout and the nutritional tips and recipes Sosa provides to encourage healthy eating habits.
Boot camp classes are offered Monday through Friday from 5:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. Participants pay $30 to attend three days a week, $50 for five. For more information, contact the Perris Community Services Department at (951) 943-6603.