CSUN’s 3 WINS Fitness Promotes Healthy Living in Underserved Communities

  • Two student instructors pose for a picture

    3 Wins student instructors. Photo courtesy of Steven Loy.

  • Instructors leads a group of participants in a fitness regimen.

    3 Wins instructors lead a group of participants through various fitness regimens. Photo courtesy of Steven Loy.

  • Instructors leads a group of participants in a fitness regimen.

    3 Wins instructors lead a group of participants through various fitness regimens. Photo courtesy of Steven Loy.

Nearly 18 million adults and adolescents in California were overweight or obese in 2011-12, according to a study done by UCLA. The majority of these people were living in underserved communities with limited access to health and fitness information.

3 WINS Fitness planned to change that.

In 2011, California State University, Northridge professor Steven Loy took on the task of creating a free program that supports the community in health training and nutrition education in their Healthy You diabetes prevention program. Originally called 100 Citizens, 3 WINS Fitness goes to local underserved communities and provides free exercise and health training. The program is run almost entirely by CSUN kinesiology students and volunteers.

“Almost 80 percent of Americans are not sufficiently active,” Loy said. “Many people do not know where to begin or how to start exercising. We try to eliminate that problem and create a sustainable system ​by tailoring a workout regimen for their body capability.”

Loy’s dream for 3 Wins Fitness was to make it sustainable, replicable and scalable. Personal fitness instructors can be prohibitively expensive for individuals. Loy solved this by making it possible for students to gain valuable intern and volunteer experience by becoming instructors. This allowed the program to be run entirely by students, while also maintaining its own financial independence.

“We are saving the participant a tremendous amount of healthcare dollars,” Loy said. “Unhealthy lifestyles can cost a tremendous amount in medical bills. What we are trying to do is help people steer clear from these costs and improve their quality of life by providing a free exercise and health education program.”

Jazmyn Jasso, MS ’17 (Kinesiology) is a program manager for 3 WINS Fitness who found herself intrigued by the program when she was a CSUN kinesiology student.

“I was looking for field experience to help me decide if this was something I would want to do. So, I started off as an instructor,” Jasso said. “It gave me the opportunity to engage the community in a real-world environment and apply my education.”

After working as a student instructor, during her undergraduate years, she was hired by Loy as program manager, to oversee various 3 WINS Fitness locations, making sure they run smoothly and collecting data. She was also one of two program managers responsible for the expansion of the program opening 10 new sites this year.  Jasso said that in the future, she would like to be involved in the organization’s administration and program development throughout California and across the country.

3 WINS Fitness has 21 locations, including five that were created by Jasso and four fellow graduate students at several Cal State Universities. Each location is run independently and entirely by students and volunteers looking for on-the-job training. The student instructors base their exercise programs on individual and community needs.

“Our goal now is to expand throughout LA County, the state and across the country,” Loy said. “We’ve created a program that works, and now we are focusing on creating more locations.”

3 WINS Fitness continues to exceed expectations. In 2012, First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign challenged faith-based and community organizations to participate in an international competition by sharing a video and opening up their program to the world. 3 WINS Fitness won the popular vote in the video competition, and Loy was invited with his students to visit the White House in 2013.

Loy said that although he is the founder of the program, it would not be possible without the countless students who do the ground work.

“The mission of 3 WINS Fitness is to create a community of people who take their health into consideration for themselves and their families,” Loy said. “Through instilling healthy living information, we have the opportunity to reach generations, as these people pass on these lifestyles to their children.”

The community is invited to 3 WINS Fitness Summit on April 18, at El Cariso Community Regional Park, 13100 Hubbard St., Sylmar. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m., with a one-hour exercise class to experience 3 WINS Fitness at 8:30 a.m. There will be a health fair after the program from 9:30-11 a.m.