HONESDALE – March is National Nutrition Month and was incorporated through Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

There are various community outlets where the public can go to focus on being healthy and working on good nutrition.

Among them is the Wayne County YMCA.

Manuel Lusquinos, health coach, encourages everyone to get educated so they can make informed decisions about their health.

Lusquinos has 45 years of experience working in a variety of health-related positions such as a physical education and health teacher and a trainer.

“I was the stereotypical fat kid,” he said. “I was always picked last.

“When I was around 16 years old I had a growth spurt, but with Murphy's Law, the weight didn't come with me so I was the tall skinny kid.”

Lusquinos added he eventually got fed up with his body type, but knew nobody could fix it but him.

“I joined a boy's club and started doing some weights,” he said. “The exercise director gave me a program to start and I've been going ever since.

“Now I'm 61 and I'm still at it. I'm running, I learned martial arts and was even a trainer.”

Lusquinos was also a state trooper in New Jersey and later joined the FBI, where he was trained as a certified fitness instructor. He retired in 2008 and currently works at the Wayne County YMCA.

“I've earned a lot of certifications, but the most important is my experience,” Lusquinos stated.

“I don't have high blood pressure and I don't have high cholesterol. I'm like this because I want to be.

“I completely transformed my life and my body.”

He added he wants to get his knowledge out to inform the public.

“I want to enlighten people,” Lusquinos said. “All I want is to try helping someone.”

He added proper nutrition is for everyone regardless of their body type.

“Everyone should exercise,” Lusquinos stated. “Make it a part of your every day life.

“About 80 percent that happen to our bodies we cause ourselves. The other 20 percent is things we can't control, so why worry about it?

“Don't worry about what you can't control, but control what you can. That's freedom.”

Lusquinos added exercise is important, but so is good nutrition.

“A good exercise workout program will not outrun a bad diet,” he said. “It won't matter if you work out if you're still eating crappy food.

“Everyone should develop muscle to the best of their ability and be strong.”

At the YMCA there are various groups you can join to learn more about being healthy and getting good nutrition.

There's a health group that covers a variety of topics that relate to health, such as disease, exercise and prevention. The group meets on Tuesdays.

There is also a cardiac group that meets on Thursdays. They talk about medications, heart and circular issues, blood pressure and heart rates.

EKG's are sometimes given in the group.

The YMCA also offers workshops called Live Like You Care that are about nutrition.

“They touch on a variety of topics,” Lusquinos stated.

“We can help with exercise programs, nutrition advice and everything in between.

“I encourage people to take that step, get information and at least make an informed decision. I really want to help people and that's why I do this.”

Tina Hoehn, executive director of the YMCA, added nutrition is very important.

“Exercise and nutrition go together,” she said.

“There are a lot of options in the community for people to join with others and learn about healthy living.

“Sometimes it's easier in a group than trying to tackle it by yourself. We are right here to help them.”

Hoehn added proper nutrition, exercise and getting enough sleep are extremely important for healthy living.

For more information on the Wayne County YMCA and the programs offered, visit http://www.ymcawayne.com/ or call (570) 253-2083.