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Program promotes fitness, health for teens

September 7, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Being a teenager is hard enough. Add in social pressures, and it's even tougher. That's why it's important for teens to have healthy role models to help them make smart choices.

Known as Fit Chef Katy, former Food Network contestant Katy Clark shares her passion for healthy living through cooking classes and performance seminars, such as one for teens called Just B You.

"I am a girl who has always been into health and fitness, but I see the younger generation not moving as much. I want them to learn to be beautiful from the inside out," said Clark.

Clark said the No. 1 rule is to make exercise a "seven out of seven habit."

"Know your body" and "push your body" are some of her slogans that hit home with the girls.

"We need to have good stamina and good fitness qualities when we're out there performing and singing because we also dance at the same time as we sing, so it's really hard," said Jazmine Lucero of Bellflower.

Lucero is in the teen band Mozaik that Clark coaches. They in turn helped inspire girls at the workshop.

Rather than lecture, Clark makes a game of healthy lessons, such as a fun taste test. For fitness, they do squat jumps until the balloon falls and then pushups.

Clark's approach to food and fitness is interactive, but she also takes the program one step further with something often lacking at this time in life: self-esteem.

"I think at this age, it's important to teach the girls about self-esteem and eating well and taking care of their bodies and exercising," said Jane Gillespie of Irvine.

But like many moms, Gillespie knows her words can fall on deaf ears.

"I do think they listen when it's someone else," she said.

Of course, ultimately they've got to want to do it.

"They need to choose. There comes a point in kids' lives when they need to choose to go be healthy and active," said Clark.

Clark's workshops vary in price from $25 a person to a flat group rate with nutrition and fitness programs to inspire for all ages.

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