Laura Morgan

Loco & Loving It

Every weekday Laura Morgan's alarm clock goes off at 4:45 a.m. She heads to Bluffton to meet 20 people ready to get sweaty, dirty and pushed further than they ever thought their bodies would go. She teaches this first camp from 5:45-6:45 a.m., followed by a second from 8:15-9:15 a.m. and finally a third from 5:30-6:30 p.m. It's called Loco Boot Camp and those who survive their first day may leave thinking they truly are "loco" for getting themselves into it. That's where Laura comes in. "My passion is motivating individuals who think something is unachievable," she said. "I found my passion in college when they told me I was too short to run and I told them, 'don't ever tell me I can't do something.'"

In college Laura studied health, recreation and physical therapy. After college she moved to Florida, began a career in City Planning and began to neglect her health. "I blew off running and eating well for three years which caused me to gain 65 pounds. I was in bad shape physically and mentally," Laura said, "Coming back to Hilton Head strengthened me. When I got home I took a long look at myself and realized I needed to make a change."

Laura joined another boot camp on the island where she worked to get back into shape. She eventually moved up to Assistant Trainer, and about a year ago decided to start Loco. "I started Loco to give back to everyone else what I had gotten. When you start seeing positive changes it becomes a snowball and everything else starts turning around," said Laura. "You can immediately tell that I'm no Barbie doll. I drink beer, eat pizza and enjoy my life, but in moderation. Nobody wants to be on a diet forever."

Besides feeling better, Laura has also seen some dramatic improvements in her health. She used to take pain pills and get spinal injections to deal with back pain. Now she no longer takes the pills and hasn't had an injection in three years. In addition, she avoided neck surgery by strengthening the muscles in her neck.

In only a year she has seen some positive changes in the individuals she trains as well. "There are half a dozen people out there with artificial hips and knees surpassing everyone else. At a gym people typically do the same exercises so they end up neglecting certain muscles. At Loco we concentrate on different muscles which helps improve present injuries and avoid future ones." Laura said. "There are two types of people: ones who make excuses and ones who do. I can see the light bulb go off in people's heads when they realize it's time to stop making excuses and start making changes."

Although Loco is still new, Laura has plans to expand in the future. She currently offers regular and yoga camps in both Bluffton and Hilton Head and is starting up a new camp this month in Beaufort, but is still looking for the perfect instructor.

Another one of Laura's passions is for breast cancer patients and survivors. She has participated in several fundraisers and is hoping to get her own fundraiser started soon. "I was really excited about doing a three-day, ten-mile-a-day walk for breast cancer that would end on 10/10/10, but the funds weren't there this year. I am hoping to find a sponsor and create an annual event. I've learned to never underestimate the power of a survivor."

Laura Morgan's also works a part-time job, usually lunches in the car, Loco in the evening and returns home around 7 p.m. in time to conquer a mountain of paperwork and get to bed by nine. Her weekends include more administrative work and a 20-mile run. Although some may question where she finds the energy to get through the day, she admits her secret is all in the work-outs. "Some days just start off wrong: you burn breakfast, hit every red light on the way to work and then some jerk brings in jelly donuts and you can't help but give in. When you start your day off with 20 of your greatest friends and 650 calories burned, you may still hit every red light, but it won't matter because you'll have your Bruce Springsteen cranked up, singing at the top of your lungs and maybe, just maybe, when that jerk brings in those jelly donuts you will be able to turn them down!"

Up Close:

Laura's Tips for a Healthier Life:
1. Drink half your body weight in water (ounces) per day. If you are working out or in the heat drink your full body weight!
2. Try to move your body six days a week and shoot for at least one hour of cardio per day.
3. Get at least seven hours of sleep.
4. Don't drink soda! If you must, drink regular sugar rather than artificially sweetened beverages.
5. Stay away from salt.
6. Learn to read labels.
7. Eat real foods and don't fall for fad diets. Diets try to trick your body and it is smarter than you think.
8. Most importantly: JUST START! You are halfway there when you find that first motivation in yourself.