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Project Fit Families, Pursuing a Dream

Sat, Feb 12th, 2011
Posted in Health & Wellness

Melinda Coscarelli Lutes, Harmony, is on her way to fulfilling her dream. She has established a non-profit organization "Project Fit Families." The immediate goal is to educate children about physical fitness and healthy living.

During her lifetime she has experienced being overweight and underweight. Even as a child with asthma she was interested in sports and fitness. As a teenager she did some modeling and developed an eating disorder.

With both of her pregnancies she gained considerable weight. After the first she managed to lose the excess weight with diet and exercise. After the second she went back to school to learn how to live a healthy balanced lifestyle.

Melinda, after completing her training with International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA), is now a certified fitness trainer, personal trainer, and a nutritional planner.

Making Healthy Living and Fitness Fun

The non-profit organization is "dedicated to helping families achieve optimum health and well being the fun way." Money raised by the organization through fun activities and events will be used for school and summer recreation programs to improve fitness among kids.

Two summer events are being planned which will include a 5k run/walk for families and other fun fitness activities. Activities will encourage participation of the whole family. Vendors will be invited to give information on healthy eating and healthy foods. The first event is scheduled in Harmony at Selvig Park on June 18 and the second in LaCrosse at Riverside Park on July 9.

Melinda insists educating children about healthy eating and fitness is important, in part because kids have an influence on their parents. Kids need to have the information so that they can make better choices and make their own decisions. Her program targets childhood obesity which is a huge problem. Melinda wants to get the message out to combat the bad stuff like "processed garbage." She encourages families to plant a garden.

Kids need to have an incentive to go outside and play instead of spending their time inside playing video games. Her own children have been very involved helping her to come up with interesting and fun activities.

Melinda acknowledges that the organization is a work in progress. Its only been about a year since she earned her certifications. The organization website has just been launched recently and still isn't complete. The website is The website will eventually have healthful recipes, upcoming events, activities and more.

Melinda admits that the events planned for this summer are going to be a learning experience for her. Her short term goal is to learn from the events to help develop a blueprint for future events. She wants to expand into more communities and more states. She wants to build something a little different from other organizations and recognizes that their are others with a similar mission.

She hopes to grow the website into another phase involving social networking so people can share activities, interact with other families, and so on. However, she wants this to be somewhat limited as she doesn't want to add to sit down time in front of a computer.

Her dream is to one day have "Project Fit Families" be a household name. Melinda wants to continue to work with more and more communities as she feels it can benefit their communities. She says she has had many people ask her what they can do to help. She has met with Fillmore County Health Educator Brenda Pohlman and has been asked to speak at the Fillmore Central early childhood educational program.

A Separate Business

Melinda has a separate for profit business that is completely separate from "Project Fit Families." Besides her regular job at a Harmony insurance agency, Melinda offers fitness classes.

Melinda conducts "Zumba" dance classes in Harmony at the Community Center on Tuesday nights from 7-8 p.m. and in Lanesboro at the Coffee Street Fitness Center on Friday nights from 5:30-6:30 p.m. The classes cost $20/month. Zumba is the fusion of Latin and International music into a dance/fitness program. It was first introduced in 2001 and now is practiced in 110 countries around the world.

Hot Body Bootcamp classes are held in Harmony at the Community Center on Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 5 a.m. and in Lanesboro at the Coffee Street Fitness Center on Monday and Wednesday at 4:45 p.m. and on Friday at 7:00 a.m.

Melinda is a certified life, health and wellness coach. She conducts nutrition classes and life coaching upon request. There is a possibility that she will add some fitness classes in Mabel.

Home workout parties is another avenue to fitness available. These parties would be like a Tupperware party, only ladies would workout instead. The parties would allow Melinda to give participants more one on one attention.

Melinda is able to help establish and implement corporate wellness programs for companies. You can contact Melinda Coscarelli Lutes at 507-951-9980.

Healthy living is her passion. Melinda says she has lost a lot of weight and is more healthy. "I am living proof, if I can do it, anybody can do it."

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