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Weigh to go to drop extra pounds

By Patrick Rocchio

Councilman Jimmy Vacca paid a visit to a local personal fitness studio to honor a local man on his successful mission effort rid himself of excess weight and live a healthier lifestyle.

Since the New Year, Vacca has been advocating for Bronx residents to eat right and get fit – and has announced innovative new programs designed to help people lead healthier lives.

On Saturday, February 28 – right on the heals of Vacca’s ‘Day Out to Work Out’ – the councilman paid a visit to Mr. America’s Personal Fitness Studio at 1603 Williamsbridge Road to present an award to Frank Amarante. Amarante, a 37-year-old life-long Bronx resident, lost 83 pounds since joining the gym on January 3, 2008.

“Mr. Amarante is an inspiration to all of us, young and old,” Vacca said. “When you see someone with the discipline and dedication to undertake such a difficult task – and meet goal after goal after goal – it should say to all of us that we also have the power to do what we need to eat better, exercise more, and lead a healthier lifestyle.”

Amarante, a salesman and Pelham Gardens resident, weighed about 300 pounds when he was given a gift certificate for Mr. America’s at Christmas in 2007, and has since lost 90 pounds. In the meantime, Amarante has become the number one salesperson at the pharmaceutical company where he works – winning a trip to the Cayman Islands.

“My family got me personal training as Christmas gift,” Amarante said. “I started at 341 pounds, and my mom and the rest of my family were very concerned about my health.”

Amarante said that prior to joining the gym, he had tried a number of different diets including Atkins and South Beach, but that it was the combination of dieting and personal fitness training that finally got results. He is setting even “smaller” goals for himself in the coming months.

“My goal is to weigh 200 pounds – like I did in high school,” Amarante said.

When asked how others can achieve results similar to Amarante’s, his trainer Albert Maldonado said that one word summed it all up.

“It is real simple – commit,” Maldonado said. “Once you place it in your mind that there is something –like weight loss— that you need to accomplish, you are ready to face whatever the challenge. It does not happen overnight. Fitness takes consistent work and discipline.”

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