Motivation can be a hard thing to come by when it’s about health and fitness. This can become especially challenging in areas where people have tight budgets and are unable to afford memberships to fitness centers or the advice of nutritional experts.
This is where Robyin Morales comes in. As a certified personal trainer and a certified fitness instructor, she works at four east valley community centers: the Robert E. “Bob” Price Recreation Center, 2050 Bonnie Lane; the Cora Coleman Recreation Center & Adult Activity Pool, 2100 Bonnie Lane; the Hollywood Community Services Center, 1650 S. Hollywood Blvd.; and the Cambridge Recreation Center & Water Park, 3930 S. Cambridge St. Her goal is to help people get in shape and establish healthy habits.
“I care about fitness and promoting health within a person,” said the 42-year-old. “If you think about it, fitness affects everything, from people’s mental health to their social life to disease prevention. It is very important.”
Morales, who started working at the community centers three years ago and has been an east Las Vegas resident for more than 20 years, said residents in the east valley are in need of fitness and nutritional education, something they don’t generally have access to due to their average low incomes.
In fact, Morales said most of the people who struggle with unhealthy lifestyles and being overweight on the east side see fitness and nutrition as something unattainable because they are too busy with multiple jobs. They eat fast food, which has low nutritional value but can be more affordable than a homemade meal, she said.
“My goal is to find those people who think that, for whatever reason, they can’t get into shape and tell them that everybody can be healthier,” she said. “That’s the reason I do this and why I don’t work in gyms. They don’t need me there, and I know I can help a lot more people who really need it at the community centers.”
Apart from teaching people how to eat well and establish healthy goals through a balanced diet, Morales’ main focus is on fitness, and she trains people from every age group.
She said it is important for her to look at each person as an individual and to remember that not everyone has the same needs, goals and capabilities, she said.
Her goal is to motivate each person to be fit and accomplish that by making fitness fun so people can be diligent about it.
“Robyn is probably one of the most motivating and understanding people that I have ever dealt with in my struggles,” said Risha Gaitor, who trains with Morales once a week. “She is very motivational, supportive and understanding.”
Gaitor, 34, who started taking Morales’ group fitness classes in 2011, began taking personal fitness classes with her a few months ago. She was 351 pounds when she started and said Morales is helping her with her goal of weighing less than 300 pounds. Even though some of the exercises are hard for Gaitor, Morales tailors them to Gaitor’s ability and provides a fun experience to keep her motivated.
“It is so much fun, and she puts a lot of focus into what I need,” Gaitor said. “She is so understanding, sometimes she even allows me to take my daughter to the class and finds something for her, too. As long as I go and work hard, she will help me out.”
Gaitor said she feels like she is constantly being helped by Morales, who is easily reached on the phone, keeps in touch with people on Facebook and sends out weekly emails to remind people to stay on track.
“She is very loved among her students because she is very motivating to her participants,” said Jeannine McKinnon, recreation specialist at the Robert E. “Bob” Price Recreation Center. “Robyin’s goal is to make sure that everybody is included. She is good about implementing different fitness levels in the exercise so that everyone feels that they are involved and are working toward their goals.”
Gaitor, who has lost about 30 pounds, said that it is greatly due to Morales’ support and motivation.
“One of the best things for me is watching them progress and sharing their accomplishments with them,” Morales said. “Through baby steps, we can achieve something great, and nothing is ever a failure. We just keep motivating and keep trying.”
Contact reporter Maria Agreda at firstname.lastname@example.org