The People of Tucson: Fitness Instructor Ron Holland


By Stacey Gregory

After a distinguished career in the United States Air Force — where he trained SWAT members and helped overweight airmen meet physical fitness standards — Ron Holland looked for a warm place to retire. Tucson’s intimate community feel was just what this officer ordered, and he moved here in 1988. He joined The University of Arizona Police Department, starting one of the first bicycle patrols in the nation, which led to his fitness certification. Before he knew it, he was a personal trainer, eventually opening his fitness business, Tucson Transformation Gym, where he used his military background to develop one of the earliest fitness boot camps in the nation. In addition to getting you in shape, he has plenty of recommendations on how to spend your time in Tucson.


Tucson’s climate offers almost limitless opportunities for outdoor fitness, and Holland knows where to go for a walk or run. Just west of “A” Mountain is Tumamoc Hill, a 3.1-mile paved out-and-back trail that gains 800 feet in just 1.5 miles, delivering an exceptional workout and spectacular city views. You can skip the incline for the Loop River Path, offering 131 miles that follow along Tucson’s river beds. For those in central Tucson, Gene C. Reid Park is a 131-acre urban park that offers paved paths that wind around a 9-500-seat baseball stadium, two man-made ponds, public pools, a 24-acre zoo, and much more.

Holland’s Taste of Tucson

When Holland is looking to fuel his body, he has a few suggestions for a variety of cuisines. He visits JPS Seafood Fish Market and Restaurant for their reasonably priced, delicious, and always fresh authentic Mexican seafood.

“The ceviche is my favorite dish. Also, the shrimp cocktail, the 7 Sea Soup—really everything is just good there,” said Holland.

According to Holland, the best pho in town is found at Lee Lee International Supermarket. This superstore is the largest of its kind in Arizona, bringing you flavors from more than 30 countries and regions around the world. You can shop for all sorts of groceries, including produce and seafood you won’t find anywhere else, and get prepared dishes at the deli. You’ll also find a wide variety of saki and other Asian beverages. And when you’re looking for a relaxed vibe, he says The Cup Cafe at Hotel Congress is the way to go.

“This place is really laid back. They have a great espresso martini, and the fish tacos are delicious. It’s in Hotel Congress that’s a great place to stay and has live music in Club Congress,” said Holland.