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MailTribune.com
  • SPORTS FITNESS

    Fitness Fanatic

    Charlie LePari is helping others, of all ages, catch the workout bug
  • Busy season is just wrapping up for Charlie LePari. The camps, individual sessions and general hustle and bustle that make up his typical summer will soon fade into fall.
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    • CHARLIE LEPARI
      WHO: Local fitness trainer who owns and runs LePari's Sports & Fitness.
      • WHAT: LePari works with high school athletes and other community members who want to get in or stay in shape.
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      CHARLIE LEPARI
      WHO: Local fitness trainer who owns and runs LePari's Sports & Fitness.

      • WHAT: LePari works with high school athletes and other community members who want to get in or stay in shape.
      • GYM INFO: Located at 317 Jackson St. Website: www.toughgym.com. Phone number: 541-301-0722.
  • Busy season is just wrapping up for Charlie LePari. The camps, individual sessions and general hustle and bustle that make up his typical summer will soon fade into fall.
    So, what will he do with his much-needed downtime?
    "I'm off to Brookings to help out with a volleyball camp there," he says. "And I'll do a lot of training in the gym. There are a lot of people out there that want to be in shape."
    At age 50, LePari isn't just anybody. He has the energy of Jack Lalanne, with a reputation building as southern Oregon's Godfather of Fitness.
    "Charlie is amazing," says Rianna Lee, who has been working with LePari since February. "His enthusiasm and personality makes you want to come back for more. If you're not at the gym, he'll ask you where you've been. He makes you accountable for what you're doing."
    Lee, a former soccer player at the University of Oregon, works with LePari at his facility, Tough Gym, on Jackson Street.
    Lee was so satisfied with his methods that the first-year Crater girls soccer coach decided to introduce her team to LePari's training regimen during a recent four-week camp.
    "He told me he trains high school kids," says Lee, "so being a coach, I want the best training for my team.
    "We worked a lot on speed and agility and ACL (injury) prevention. He makes it fun. There are a lot of games that are building your fitness without you even knowing it."
    Before being hired on at Crater, Lee worked as an assistant girls soccer coach to Emily Miller at North Medford.
    It was Lee who also introduced Miller to LePari's team training camps.
    "He starts them at a pretty basic level and gradually works them up," says Miller. "We did a lot of speed and agility work, which is good for soccer and their footwork, and we finished with strength stuff."
    "It wasn't mandatory so I thought we'd lose some kids," Miller adds. "We really didn't. He is very creative and real upbeat and makes it a lot of fun for the kids. That's kind of a bonus because I'm not that creative. I just have them run lines.
    "Sometimes they take conditioning as punishment, but I want them to learn that fitness should be a lifelong habit."
    LePari enjoys the team atmosphere at his camps.
    "Teams are nice because they get better as a team," he says. "The camps are tough but really fun."
    In addition to the handful of team camps LePari runs during the summer months, he also holds open workouts at Hedrick Middle School on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Cost is $10 for an hour and a half.
    "We get all kinds of people," LePari says. "We get former athletes, or we could get housewives just wanting to get in shape. It's a pretty mixed group."
    LePari is no stranger to fitness. He ran track for Athletes in Action for seven years and won a silver medal at the Nike World Masters Game in 1998.
    LePari, who moved to the Rogue Valley from Los Angeles in 1977, has also coached track at St. Mary's High for about 20 years.
    Recently, LePari has worked with some of the top sprinters in the state. He trained Crater High graduates and current University of Oregon track competitors Jack Galpin and Kelley Beck.
    Galpin won four state titles in the 200 and 400 meter races. Beck was a state title winner in 2009 in the 400 and ran legs on two winning relay squads for the Comets.
    "I've had the opportunity to work with some really good athletes," LePari says. "I've trained some of the top sprinters the last four years. What we work on makes them faster and better at what they do. I know what I'm doing."
    Other coaches come in during workouts and take notes on LePari's training methods.
    Adds LePari: "If you're going to climb Mt. Everest, do you want the guy that reads books about it, or do you want the Sherpa that goes up every day? I'd trust that Sherpa."
    Even with his workload increasing LePari doesn't plan on slowing down anytime soon.
    "I'll be doing this until I'm dead," says LePari. "I really enjoy it."
    Reach reporter Kevin Goff at 541-776-4483, or email kgoff@mailtribune.com
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