Getting in shape and keeping off the weight is a challenge for many people in Central Texas, including Harker Heights resident Vonceil Joseph-Shelborne.

Joseph-Shelborne retired from the Army after serving her country for more than 25 years.

After more than two decades of physical training, she said she knew she had to find a way to maintain the workout discipline instilled in her by the military.

“When I first got out I took off for about six months, and I kind of ‘filled up’ a little bit,” Joseph-Shelborne said. “I realized that somewhere down the line that I didn’t want ‘puffing up’ to be my retirement story.”

Seventeen months ago, she began working out at Heritage Park Fitness in Harker Heights and now spends five days a week at the gym.

“I think it’s the best in town,” she said. “I appreciate the fact that I can come and get assistance with any problem area that I have with my body and work on my goals.”

Heritage Park Fitness owner Michael Sheppard has tailored the facility to benefit the members. “You might be working out next to a doctor or someone in construction … no one cares,” he said. “They are all here for the same reason and that’s to work out and be free of anyone hitting on you or wearing stuff that shouldn’t be worn.”

A longtime professional body builder and personal trainer, Sheppard was pitched the idea to take over the gym several years ago. “Owning any business is hard, but owning a gym that could go under at anytime was very scary,” he said. “I persevered with a great staff and they’ve helped me take the vision and push it out to the community.”

Heritage Park Fitness is very active in the community and offers a variety of kids programs at local schools, Sheppard said.

The gym offers a variety of group classes, from cycling to Zumba, and is open seven days a week.

“I feel like it’s my home,” Sheppard said. “So if you really want a gym that you can feel comfortable at ... and it doesn’t matter if you are big or fat ... we want to help everyone we can.”

Heritage Park Fitness is open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays at 903 Mountain Lion Road, Harker Heights.

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