Tom Trevino

What is the Mayor’s Fitness Council and what does it do for the city? Our health and fitness writer Tom Trevino sat down with the Chair of the council, Mary Ullmann Japhet.

Japhet is the Associate Executive Director of External Affairs for San Antonio Sports, and will soon take over as Chair of the Mayor’s Fitness Council (MFC).

RR: So, what exactly is the Mayor’s Fitness Council?

Mary Ullmann Japhet

MUJ: The Mayor’s Fitness Council is comprised of individuals who share an interest in promoting public health, personal and corporate wellness, good nutrition and active living. It serves as a catalyst to advance our efforts to become a more healthy and fit community. It was created in May 2010 with a state grant obtained by Mayor Julián Castro’s office, and has evolved to include the full council and an executive committee. Many members of the community serve on the council’s media, fitness, nutrition, healthy schools, worksite wellness, and policy committees. MFC members are volunteers, and we have wonderful staff support from the mayor’s office and the SA Metropolitan Health District.

RR: What is the long-term goal of the MFC?

Yoga in the park. Photo by Tom Trevino.

MUJ: The mission of the Mayor’s Fitness Council is to transform San Antonio into a healthier and more active community in which citizens, groups, and organizations achieve targeted health and fitness goals. The MFC serves as the lead partner for the SA2020 Health & Fitness initiative. Our goals are aligned with SA2020’s bold vision to make San Antonio’s residents among the healthiest in the nation by 2020.

RR: What has the MFC done for the city so far?

MUJ: In a relatively short time, the Mayor’s Fitness Council really has made great strides. Our 2012 annual report spells out the details, but some highlights include re-branding our community’s online resource for health and wellness, We’ve also engaged 35 children in our Mayor’s student ambassador program, conducted healthy schools summits, launched neighborhood walking groups, and an endorsement initiative for local fitness-oriented events and programs. We’ve also promoted Fitness in the Park, which offers free group exercise classes in city parks, and have been a partner in Síclovía.

RR: What kind of programming or events are on the horizon?

MUJ: All the programs I mentioned are ongoing, and we’re excited about the next Síclovía, which will be held on April 7. There are several other community-wide initiatives in the planning stages, and we look forward to sharing those details very soon.

RR: Where can people go for more information on the MFC?

MUJ: For more information on the Mayor’s Fitness Council visit our web page.

RR: How can folks get involved and contribute to the goals of the Mayor’s Fitness Council?

MUJ: It’s going to take all of us to make San Antonio one of the healthiest, most fit cities in the nation. The MFC wants to lead a sustained community-wide effort with involvement of city government, citizens, business, non-profits, schools, and health leaders. The easiest way to get involved is to learn more about our efforts, and participate and spread the word! You can connect with us via FitCitySA.comFacebook and Twitter. Anyone interested in serving on the Mayor’s Fitness Council and/or one of our committees can contact Christina Dahlstrom at

Tom Trevino is a writer, artist and wellness coach based out of San Antonio. His column, The Feedwill address health and fitness issues and dispense practical advice for San Antonians attempting to wade through the often-confusing diet and fitness world. He holds a B.A. from the University of Texas, with training and certification from the Cooper Institute. He has a fondness for dogs, the New York Times, and anything on two wheels. When he’s not writing, training, or cooking, you can find him wandering the aisles of Central Market.