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Denver Santa spends his offseason in the gym

Health concerns led Santa to change habits
Posted at 12:42 PM, Dec 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-11 14:42:15-05

DENVER — When we think of Santa, most of us picture a red coat, white beard, and a big round belly.

But one Denver Santa actor is trying to change that image for himself, and hopefully others.

Andy Farr's jovial personality and thick white beard make him a natural fit for the role of Santa, and it didn't hurt that his middle section helped him fill out the suit. But a few years ago, a doctor told him he needed to make some changes.

"I was in for my annual physical, and (my doctor) said sort of jokingly, 'I’m going to schedule your heart attack for August,'" Farr said.

Farr had previously been a member at the YMCA of Metro Denver, so after that doctor's appointment, he signed up for a personal trainer. Now, he's a regular at the Schlessman Family YMCA.

His trainers say working with "Santa" was a little intimidating, but they try to give him a well-rounded workout.

"We’re thinking about the different body parts and muscle groups he needs to use to accomplish things," said Brian Jones, a lifestyle medicine manager. "Climbing up a chimney, the back and arm muscles he would need to do that," Jones said.

Farr has lost about 20 pounds and has dropped out of the danger zone for heart disease. He says he's not concerned about becoming too thin for the role of Santa. In fact, he knows a couple other Colorado "Santas" who make health a big part of their lives.

"One is a karate instructor in Loveland, and one owns a yoga studio down in Colorado Springs," Farr said.

There is one problem, though, for a Santa trying to be healthy: The milk and cookies kids all over the world leave for Santa on Dec. 24.

"You don't always have to leave a cookie, maybe you have something else to leave, like hummus," Farr suggested.