Eduardo "Eddie" Cantu, Hidalgo County Precinct 2 Commissioner, participates in a community wellness expo at the Precinct 2 Indoor Sports Complex on Saturday, Oct, 5, 2019, in Pharr. (Joel Martinez |

The Hidalgo County Wellness Department hosted their first monthly Community Wellness Expo on Saturday morning at the Precinct 2 Indoor Sports Complex.

Normally utilized for baseball training, the sports complex played host to local fitness enthusiasts and others looking to begin their journey to the land of gains.

Amid the sound of reggaeton and hip hop music were shouts of encouragement from trainers. Spread out on the artificial turf of the indoor baseball diamond was rowing machines, stationary bikes, skiing machines and medicine balls.

The wellness program was initially available for Hidalgo County employees, but Hidalgo County Precinct 2 Commissioner Eduardo “Eddie” Cantu explained that the county plans to open it up to the community and promote healthier lifestyles.

“What we’re going to try to do is have this event once a month on Saturday, from 8 (a.m.) to 11(a.m.),” Cantu said. “As it grows, then we’ll expand that time that’s needed.”

The program offered high intensity interval training and yoga, as well as healthy food vendors who provided samples of their low fat, low calorie meals and cold-pressed juices.

“You need at least two things; you need to work out and you need to eat better,” Cantu said . “A lot of people may be working out, but they’re not eating well, so they’re not seeing the results. A lot of people eat really well, but they might need a little more fitness.”

Cantu explained that staying fit can be as simple as going for a walk outside or joining a gym.

Yoga instructor Cassandra Dean gives direction during a yoga session during a community wellness expo at the Pct. 2 Indoor Sports Complex on Saturday, Oct, 5, 2019, in Pharr. (Joel Martinez |

“In this case, this is free to our county employees during the week, and on Saturday, once a month, it’s free to everybody,” Cantu said.

Taking advantage of the fitness program was Brandy Salinas of Edinburg, who said that the program helps her and her husband stay active and eat healthy.

“It motivates us, especially being with a group of people,” Salinas said. “I think it’s awesome. It gets the community involved. We enjoy it.”

Precinct 2 Chief of Staff Armando Garza has been participating in the program for nine weeks and is already seeing results.

“I come Monday, Wednesday and Friday at, as they say, the ungodly hour of 5 a.m.,” Garza joked. “It’s been a challenge and a sacrifice, but I feel better, more alert, and I feel more energetic.”

Garza explained that the county is trying to pass on these healthy lifestyles to the county employees and the rest of the community.

“We’re here to let people know that if you want to start eating better and living healthier, these are all the options that are available to you,” Garza said. “These aren’t all of them, but we’re trying to bring as many as we can. We want people to know that they have options and choices to make to try and get healthier and live longer.”