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H-E-B's Slimdown Showdown Gets Under Way, Gives Contestants Incentive To Get Fit

Joey Palacios
TPR News
Gene Flores, 36, takes his vitals at the beginning of the competition.

It’s a new year and many people are embarking on fitness goals as resolutions, but a group of 30 people are participating in the fourth installment of a competition by H-E-B to drop the pounds and get in shape.

This is the first week of H-E-B’s 14-week Slimdown Showdown, where 30 participants from around the state are in San Antonio to go through fitcamp, an evaluation of their current fitness level.

"We really teach the principals of healthy eating, portion control, how to cook from home, how to make really simple, easy healthy recipes, but also physical activity," said  Kate Rogers, H-E-B’s vice president of communication.

The contestants will pick what physical activities that interest them. Day one is a stress test and health evaluation.

Gene Flores, a 36 year old from San Antonio, said his ultimate goal is to lose 160 lbs. He said that one day the signs of a heart attack gave him a reality check.

"Something was going on, I just had a lot of pressure on my chest, had a hard time breathing,"Flores said. "You know, there’s so many people who have made jokes about that but it was actually for real this time. I’m like, 'This isn’t right, this isn’t right.' I walked out of there still alive, breathing. This was a sign I needed to make some changes."

Flores is in a metal band and said his weight keeps him from getting on stage.

"Back in 2003 I was energetic, flying around the stage all over the place, up there for hours at a time. I couldn’t go up there right now, I’d die in like ten minutes," he said.

For the rest of the competition, which goes into April, Flores and the other contestants will blog about what is working for them as they lose weight. One eventual winner, who will receive a $10,000 cash prize. For the first time, people watching the competition can participate as well through the H-E-B website for the event.

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules