Southeast Georgia’s health system may have canceled the 2022 Bridge Run, but at least one group of fitness-conscious residents weren’t going to let that stop them from reaching their goal.
Earlier this year, Iguanas Seafood restaurant general manager Mike Harris launched the Team Iguana Fit initiative, based on a program he participated in while working at SGHS, called Team Fit.
He enjoys working out in his spare time, but finding the motivation to exercise or go to the gym when he’s alone can be difficult.
“I knocked it down and went to cheer the others on,” Harris said.
A big handy group was the staff at Iguanas Seafood. He went to Iguanas owner Jepter Butler in January with his idea. He loved it, and from there, Harris came up with an exercise plan and set a goal for the program: to compete in the 2022 Bridge Run a month and a half later.
“The only way to do that was to work together and work at Bailey’s and walk three miles a week,” Harris said.
Harris previously worked for the Southeast Georgia Health System in the Department of Dietary Services before meeting Butler and taking the job at Iguana. The hospital’s Team Fit program was a hit with the staff and quite effective at improving fitness, so choosing not to fix what wasn’t broken, he modeled Team Iguana Fit on it.
The team walked five kilometers each week and regularly met at Bailey’s Gym on Altama Avenue in Brunswick for weight training.
MacKenzie Watson, the head chef at Iguana, is no stranger to exercise. He recently took up kayaking, but joining the fitness team has been a good time so far.
“It’s really good teamwork,” Watson said.
Tahlor Bell and Tyler Cantrell, bartenders at Iguana’s, agreed. Cantrell trains regularly but enjoyed the time spent with his colleagues. Bell also enjoys spending time with her co-workers, but has also enjoyed the benefits of the exercises.
“I lost eight pounds and a pant size, so you know it’s worth something,” Bell said.
The Iguana Fit team has proven to be a huge success. Only one problem arose when it came to showing the results of six weeks of training.
“The end goal was to do the Bridge Run and they canceled,” Butler said.
On the event website, a message informs visitors that a high transmission rate of COVID-19 has led the SGHS to cancel the race to “protect our incredible sponsors, vendors and participants from exposure to the variant highly contagious omicron”.
The race was originally scheduled for Feb. 13, but better late than never, Butler said. Mid-morning Wednesday, a group of around 25 restaurant staff and their friends and family gathered at the foot of the bridge to get their team t-shirts and make the crossing on foot, escorted by two deputies from the Glynn County Sheriff. .
Even Butler’s mother, Susie, got carried away with the excitement.
“I walk every morning. I think I can tackle this bridge,” she said, raising and lowering her arm.
Before even starting the bridge, Jepter Butler was ready to commit to the next objective.
“It’s been a hit, so yeah, we’re keeping (the program) around,” Butler said.
When looking to improve his fitness, Harris said there really is no easy shortcut.
“The hardest part is getting started,” Harris said, and recommended finding a partner you can motivate and be motivated to.
After that, his goal should be just to get better. Rather than immediately aiming for the top or comparing yourself to others, look at your own performance, Harris said.
“It’s not a competition to be the biggest or the baddest or the strongest or the fastest, I’m not preaching that,” Harris said. “I just want to see you move. You’ll see results, and when you see that, you’ll believe you can improve.