City of Copperas Cove employees are burning more than the midnight oil these days. They have been burning calories and body fat in an effort to increase their overall fitness and well-being thanks to the city’s employee wellness program.

At Tuesday’s city council meeting, a unanimous vote by council members to allow City Manager Andrea Gardner to execute a license agreement with personal trainer Melanie Torres for the purpose of providing a no-cost fitness camp to city employees will add to the list of options employees now have to stay fit.

“We’re pretty excited that the city is allowing us to offer our time to the community,” Torres said. “It feels good to open up opportunities for the people in the community.”

According to the council agenda, the city implemented wellness measures in 2012 by implementing the tobacco/non-tobacco health insurance premiums and in 2013 added a wellness incentive. For 2014, the same wellness incentive exists, but the requirements to earn the $250 incentive were increased.

City employees must complete five out of six wellness incentives. Once completed, the incentive will be contributed to a full-time employee’s health savings account or flexible spending account when the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

The fit camp, which will continue to be open to the public, is free and will be held from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays and from 1-2 p.m. Saturdays at Ogletree Gap pavilion. The next session begins the first week in April.

“Each session will be four weeks, three days a week for one hour,” Ray Torres said. “Our first session had as many as 75 people.”

An entrance and exit assessment will be conducted on each participant, allowing individuals to track their progress. Trainers will provide instruction on technique and effective workout practices as well.

“This was an easier way to expose them to living a healthier active lifestyle,” Melanie Torres said. “This has brought a lot of people who were on the couch, off the couch.”

City employee Kevin Keller said he will be happy to attend the fit camps once the agreement is finalized.

“Mr. and Mrs. Torres bringing this idea to city staff for consideration demonstrates their desire for involvement in this great community,” Keller said. “With the acceptance of the license agreement, I will look forward to promoting and attending these events.”

To reach Azeita Taylor, the Copperas Cove Herald office at 254-501-7476.

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