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Participants get a kick exercising in outdoors

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Wendy Deulus oversees a boot camp session at Ripon’s Stouffer park.

HIME ROMERO/209 Health & Wellness

POSTED July 31, 2013 8:23 p.m.

Physically, Valerie Holloway usually holds her own against people half her age.

For that, the Shasta School teacher thanks her fitness instructor Wendy Deulus for whipping her into the shape she’s in today.

“Wendy has always been encouraging,” Holloway said prior to a recent boot camp session at Mavis Stouffer Park in Ripon.

Her fitness level has allowed her to take part in various activities outside of gym – Holloway said she barely broke a sweat during a recent hike consisting of 7,200-feet elevation of climbing in Oregon – and she enjoys taking time out to play with her grandchildren.

The 50-something-year-old Holloway found out about Deulus through her son and his friends. Prior to that, she would hit the gym by her lonesome, lifting weights and running on the treadmill.

Once introduced to a group fitness class, she saw a whole world open while working out and interacting with others striding for similar-type goals.

“I’ve been in shape most of my life but these classes also made it fun,” said Holloway, who made for a good fit with the boot camp group based on her hard work and effort.

Deulus calls her Monday evening session at Stouffer Park her “Tri-boot Camp.” The group takes part in an outdoor setting, doing 20 minutes of cardio, 20 minutes of strength training, and 20 minutes of core strengthening under the direction of the fitness instructor with about 20 years of experience.

Wendy Deulus is a 1986 graduate of Hughson High and a current resident of Ripon. She looked at becoming fitness instructor as a way to help overcome her shyness.

“I also looked at this as an opportunity to make some extra money and get a free gym membership,” Deulus said. “Along the way, I met some nice people.”

She started working at Brenda Athletic Clubs in Modesto and later In Shape Sport in Manteca, juggling a fulltime job coupled with family duties and spearheading two fitness classes.

Deulus, who quit her job, found that working as fitness instructor / personal trainer was more doable with two children and a husband at home.

In addition to boot camp, she teaches TRX from her home and various classes at the gym including group cycling.

Melanie Stone and Lynae Lucchesi are among the regulars at Deulus’ boot camp and TRX classes.

About 3 ½ years ago, Lucchesi wanted to tone up for her wedding day. She managed to get within that goal through Deulus’ sessions. But she didn’t stop there.

Lucchesi continued the three-times-a-week workouts, enjoying the boot camp setting. “It’s refreshing to work outside (of the gym),” she said.

Stone remembered when she first started the workouts some two years earlier.

“It was horrible,” Stone recalled. “(Wendy) kicked my butt.”

Part of the workout includes running. Stone is at the point where she can do about 1½ miles of cardio.

She also noticed some physical changes.

“I lost 17 pounds,” said Stone, who has also improved her upper body strength. She’s aware of the before and after changes to her body based on the photos taken during Deulus’ sessions.

During boot camp, Deulus has her group of usually eight do a run of over a mile – based on ability – and sprints and burpee-type exercises.

They’ll use the tables and benches underneath the picnic shelter to do incline pushups, laying out the yoga mat along the manicured lawn to do bicycles.

“I’ll do a variation of things (in boot camp) like medicine ball volleyball, lunges, and sprints,” Deulus said.

Holloway enjoys the class.

“I like the workout and the people,” she said. “Everyone here is like family.”

For more information on the class, call Wendy Deulus at (209) 595-1340 or email

Workout tips for first timers

Wendy Deulus has tips for beginning exercisers.

“Try not to do too much,” she recently said.

Deulus, who has 20 years of experience as a fitness instructor, indicated that the proper form to doing any workout is very important.

“I think people are often misguided and just want to get through the workout,” she said.

For that, Deulus believes that first-time gym goers should seek guidance in using the exercise equipment.

Fitness trainers are often on hand to provide such assistance at no charge.

“(People) often don’t take the initiative,” she said. “They should find a workout program to get on.”

Fitness trainers like Deulus are often made aware of the health history of a client.

“We need to know if they had a knee injury. That way we’ll be able to modify (the workout),” she added.

The proper diet is equally important to the workout, Deulus said.

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