- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 3, 2002

NEW YORK Free weights and a step machine have their place in fitness training, just not in Al Caceres' world.
The former U.S. Marine trains like a man readying for battle.
He devised a 75-minute workout offered as a class at the New York Sports Club. Even the class name, Military Training Camp, suggests "mental and physical toughness required."
Three times a week for five weeks, a group of about 10 men and women meet at the gym on Manhattan's Upper West Side for the short five-block warm-up run to Riverside Park.
For this training camp, Mr. Caceres is just the right mix of drill sergeant, doting father and best friend. By 6:15 a.m., he is leading numerous sets of push-ups and sit-ups, sometimes counted in blocks of two minutes. For 20 to 30 minutes, the group does short sprints up a steep hill or across a volleyball sand pit.
Some of the hardest workouts have been when men and women carry each other up and down what feels like the steepest hill in Manhattan.
Not everyone in the group is strong or fit, but women certainly hold their own.
A 5-foot-5-inch woman once carried a reporter, who stands at 5-foot-11 and 185 pounds, on her back up the hill.
Mr. Caceres, with a USMC tattoo on his calf, encourages competition, but also camaraderie. The group was made to do 40 extra push-ups after leaving one member behind on a run. He got to count off.


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