Hometown Heroes: Life Center Fitness

- Life Center Fitness isn't your typical gym. The fitness center in New Port Richey is a place kids can come to be themselves, have some fun and learn a healthier lifestyle.

"Kids that hate gym class and hate playing sports and love playing video games, their parents have to drag them here the first time. Then they're begging to come back," said Coach Michael Pangburn, the man in charge.

Coach Mike opened Life Center Fitness about a year ago. It's for kids ages 5 and up; all skill levels, and all abilities.

"Because all exercises very scalable they can see themselves improving regularly, which is awesome," explained Coach Mike.

Coach Mike even creates his own exercises to make the workout more engaging for the kids.

"One of the most popular exercises I do with the kids is medicine ball smashes. They pick ball up over their head and I tell them to think about something that makes them angry. Then they get to smash it into the ground," said Coach Mike.

Luke Barlow and his sister Alice have been coming to Life Center Fitness for several months and have lost a total 65 pounds.  Luke loves seeing the results of his hard work.

"It's really fun and challenging and I've lost a lot of weight and gained a lot of muscle," said Luke.

Alice is proud of her weight-loss success too.

"I love working out.  I used to be quite overweight, almost obese. When I started working out at the gym, I found it worked for me. Coach Mike is a great trainer," said Alice.

Alice says one of the great things about the center, besides the confidence they've gained and the weight they've lost, is that Coach Mike tries to make it a family affair.

"Not only does he make you push yourself but he tries to get your family involved as well, which makes it a lot easier," said Alice.

And for Coach Mike, seeing these kids get stronger and healthier makes all his hard work worth it.

"Getting kids to improve their self-esteem, their self-confidence, and come out of the box and lose weight and get healthy is just awesome," he added.

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