Our Community - Oscar Lara - "Building healthy bodies and strong minds in San Pedro"

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 12, No. 34            September 5, 2002

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Oscar Lara

Health and fitness has become the "in thing" for people throughout the world.  Whether you do it to get in shape or relieve stress, this pastime has spread like an epidemic around the world. In San Pedro, Oscar's Gym is the place to visit for those looking for a trimmer body. This week The San Pedro Sun is happy to feature the owner of the island's fitness center - Oscar Lara.

    Oscar was born in San Pedro on June 12th, 1959 to Leonor Marin and Benigno Lara (both deceased). His family, consisting of two brothers and six sisters, lived a simple life but enjoyed the natural and carefree way of island living. After completing his elementary school studies, Oscar entered the job market as a lobster fisherman in order to help his family with their day-to-day expenses. After engaging in long fishing expeditions for two years, Oscar moved on, and was hired to do maintenance work at Paradise Hotel. As the hotel grew, so did Oscar's involvement in the tourism industry. He was first promoted to water sports manager and eventually became a dive guide, a job he enjoyed for the next five years. Oscar then tried his skills at construction and was hired as assistant project foreman for the Victoria House building project. Upon its completion he moved to Benque Viejo del Carmen and for the next two years he worked in the agricultural field.

   After returning to San Pedro, Oscar went back to work as a dive guide and was also hired as a night bartender at Ambergris Lodge. He next joined the management team of Fido's Hotel until this establishment was sold and he moved on to manage the Spindrift Hotel bar for the following three years.

   Oscar then made a decision to pursue a hobby of his, selling barbecue, which he did from his little eatery called Anita's Grill. His finger-licking barbecue soon became a "must have" treat for the residents and visitors of San Pedro. Oscar's next move was to open a vegetable shop on Pescador Drive - another business that was embraced by the community.

    Although Oscar was able to earn a living from all of his previous occupations, he found his true "niche" in his next business venture. A very athletic person, he always enjoyed exercising and lifting homemade weights. Living in an era where health and fitness was a priority, and with the rapid development of San Pedro, Oscar thought it would be worthy to build his own gym. So, eleven years ago, he opened the doors to Oscar's Gym and as of this day, the fitness center has grown to twice its original size, boasting a membership of 250 clients. Oscar takes pride in the fact that many trained and molded bodybuilders have come about as a result of his gym, including Edwin Ramirez who holds the titles of "Mr. Belize Senior" and "Mr. Central America".

    Mr. Lara commented, "I enjoy my job very much. I really like to see the vitality and strength the trainers gain by working out and it makes me feel good that I am adding to their healthy growth." This local weight lifter's next step, he explained, is to open a gym in San Ignacio.

    A family man as well, Oscar Lara is the husband of Elena Hob Lara and the father of two children: Oscar (13) and Carlito Gabriel (18 months). Besides fitness, Oscar is known as a skilled dart and pool player, and also enjoys deep-sea fishing. He boasts a trophy for the "Heaviest Marlin" from the Belikin Spectacular Fishing Tournament.

    Oscar Lara has given his best to many occupations, businesses and clients, and all were important to him. He has also managed to train a champion at his fitness center. But what is most important is that Oscar Lara provides a needed service to San Pedro, helping to build healthy bodies and minds, essential for the growth of "Our Community."

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