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Community Profile: Health and Strength Gym Owner Shares Passion for Fitness With Cape Coral Community, Provides Tips for Staying in Shape

Feb 14, 2018 05:00PM ● By Kevin

Members enjoying the Body Pump weight set and exercise class dumbbells. Photo courtesy of Health and Strength Gym on Facebook.

This time of year can be a tough time for those looking to get back in shape, or even to maintain their current weight. With New Year's Resolutions burning out, gyms can start to empty out a bit. If you're finding yourself losing motivation, you're not alone, but we are here to help.

We caught up with Carol Pacheco, who owns Health and Strength Gym with her husband, Michael, in Cape Coral. She shares her story, passion for fitness, and tips for local residents looking to get back into or stay in shape. Do you know a community member who has a story to share with Cape Coral? Let us know!

A Passion for Fitness

"I have [always had a passion for fitness]," Carol said. "I've been a marathon runner [in the past]. I ran 4 marathons back to back over a period of three years. During my running days, I always made time for weight lifting. With kids, I would bring the baby monitor into the garage and lift iron. I just enjoyed working out because I realized my body was transforming over time and it was awesome to see."

Carol said she started having lower back problems after years of pounding the pavement. As a result, she started getting more into weight lifting.

"My muscles were developing more and more, and people began to take notice," she said. "People mentioned i should compete, so over last few years, I've been competing in physique [competitions]. It is an experience I did for myself, but also to inspire others, especially women my age. Most women, by the time they hit their 50s, they hit the couch and eat. I want to help others."

Her last competition was in June in Orlando, where she placed third in masters and third overall. Only four women competed, Carol said, with most of them in their 30s. Her next competition is in June 2018.

"I'm pretty healthy and I don't see why I wouldn't continue on doing it. In the four shows I've done, three were in Colorado and one was in Florida," she said. "I noticed that there was at least one other competitor in her early 60s. There are more men competing in their 60s and 70s. I think maybe women lack the confidence or the desire to better themselves. They have kids, grandkids and eat out. It's hard to keep on a good track."

About the Gym

Michael and Carol are the fourth and fifth owners of Health and Strength Gym. It all started around 1980 and has passed through a few people's hands, and had a couple of name changes, over the course of that time, she explained. Michael and Carol will have owned the gym for two years in September.

The two took ownership as a result of Michael leaving his job in engineering in Colorado. He understood Carol's passion for fitness and suggested she look around 24-hour Fitness, the company for which she worked at the time, for an opportunity to purchase a location. Ultimately, they ended up landing on Health and Strength Gym in Cape Coral.

"I had no idea how hard it was to run a gym," Carol said. "My husband does the business end, and I do the training aspect." The gym employs several trainers under Carol's guidance.

"I love the gym because of the fact that it is geared toward body building," Carol said of the gym, which dons 240 pieces of equipment. They also have group classes, including a high number of Silver Sneakers classes. The equipment is also tailored toward leg training, with a spacious floor and many unique equipment options, including nine leg presses with many different angles, and machines that work the hamstrings and other parts of the quads. There's even a neck machine, which many area football players use, Carol explained.

The gym contains a cycle room, and the only thing it doesn't have, Carol said, is a pool and a sauna. She said she is very proud of the large, spacious facility, which is also home to a shake shop.

"We sell tasty protein shakes and green shakes that we make fresh," Carol said. "We buy fresh kale and spinach and grate the ginger right there. We buy fresh apple juice, peanut butter, chocolate and almond milk. We sell a lot of shakes."

The gym is located at 1722 Del Pardo Blvd. S, Suite 11 in Cape Coral.

Carol Pacheco's 6 Tips for Staying in Shape

  1. Try not to be intimidated by other people in the gym.
  2. Don't be afraid to ask questions on how to do an exercise.
  3. Hire a personal trainer to start for a week or two - he or she can give you more confidence to keep going.
  4. Try the MyFitnessPal app. It graphs your macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, fat) and helps you with what you're eating. It's easy to maneuver and can seem like a game to see if you can get those macros to your target percentages as closely as possible.
  5. People don't always like to hear it, but the nutrition end of things accounts for 70 to 80 percent of your success. That success is based on what you put on your plate.
  6. You can burn more calories for an hour of weight lifting than you can for an hour running. Make weight lifting an integral part of your program. (Calorie expenditure is higher even when at rest with more lean muscle on your body.) 
For a daily class schedule and/or more information, visit Health and Strength Gym on Facebook, or call 239-772-7111.