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Group moves to put Whitehaven at front of get-fit Memphis push

Councilman Harold Collins and the Whitehaven French Riviera Spa are hosting a Whitehaven health and awareness event in which health, fitness and education are the focus. Whitehaven Health and Fitness Day is set for Saturday (June 23) from 8 a.m. until noon.

The parking lot of the Whitehaven Plaza will be transformed into an outdoor fitness center, where there will be spinning, line dancing, Zumba, weight lifting and Yoga classes.

Whitehaven Health and Fitness Day is a next step for a small group of diverse citizens, ranging from 20 to 74 years of age, who are determined to get fit and lead healthier lifestyles. Led by retired Memphis City Schools coach Gary DeBerry, the dedicated members of Whitehaven's French Riviera Spa meet five days a week to exercise together. The fitness class is called "Early Bird" and it meets from 7:30 a.m. to 8:45 a.m. Monday through Friday.

"These are busy people, however they show up everyday and give 100 percent," said DeBerry. "Ask any of them and they will tell you how much weight they have lost and how better they feel."

DeBerry and members of the "Early Bird" fitness class openly discussed the recent ranking of Memphis as the fattest city in the nation and decided to take action. With the guidance and support of Collins, the group embarked on an audacious journey to make all of Memphis fit – beginning with Whitehaven.

French Riviera Spa Whitehaven General Manager John Brownlee fully supports the group's efforts.

"It's encouraging to see so many people taking steps to improve their health," said Brownlee. "When I arrived at the French Riviera Spa Whitehaven location, I felt a sense of community and I knew there was an opportunity to make a real difference right here."

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