They are passionate frontline warriors fighting a daunting war. They tirelessly continue the battle one client, one day and one meal at a time. Their weapon of choice: good nutrition and fitness. Like most warriors, they have a refuse-to-lose attitude. They are Tooele County’s professional fitness and nutrition coaches.
Lisa Nelson, 31, of Grantsville, relates to her clients’ journeys on a personal level because before she became a certified health coach, she too used a medically designed eating program to lose 25 pounds. She now shares the information she learned through her website, LoseWithLisa.com.
“I actually started the week before Thanksgiving and did it through the holidays,” she said. “It was really great. My cravings were gone and I was losing weight and feeling really fantastic. I had a lot of friends and family that were noticing my weight loss and wondering what I was doing so I just decided I would be the one who would help them through it.”
That’s how she became a health coach. Her program focuses on low glycemic index foods and the importance of establishing habits of health.
“Habits of disease are just as strong as habits of health,” she said.
That’s why she teaches her clients how to establish good eating habits. She’ll remind them of what their individual motivators are when they are struggling. The plan involves eating six smaller meals per day that are protein and carb balanced. The meal replacement program offers clients medically formulated meals that are used as tools to help clients establish healthy eating habits and reach their goal weight.
“All the while, we’re teaching them how to eat without those so when they are done with their weight loss, they know how to go to the grocery store and pick out things that are going to help them maintain their new goal weight,” she said.
Susan Johnsen, of Grantsville, and a client of Nelson’s, gained weight while taking care of her mother when her mother developed dementia. Johnsen, 55, knew she was gaining weight.
“I attributed it to getting older and feeling less healthy,” Johnsen said. “My back hurt. My neck hurt. My knees started to hurt. I gradually put on 30 pounds.”
The catalyst for Johnsen’s lifestyle change came last December when she stepped on the scale during an anniversary trip with her husband and was astounded and disgusted at what the scale had to say. She decided to start eating better and exercise. It took her until March to lose just eight pounds. She knew she wouldn’t keep it up if it kept coming off so slowly. She had been friends with Nelson and knew Nelson had become a health coach. She kept thinking she should call Nelson and see what her program was about, although she wasn’t crazy about the idea of a program.
“I just wanted the magic bullet,” she said.
Once she decided to join the program she was committed to it. She feels Nelsons’ role of keeping her accountable with weekly texts or calls was crucial to her for losing weight. Her total weight loss was 40 pounds in four months.
“We all stand there with our arms wide open waiting for you to come in and ask for our help. We’re glad to help you,” said Ty Bateman, owner and certified personal trainer at Get Fit With Ty on Main Street in Tooele.
With obesity being a huge problem in Tooele County, the 45-year-old Tooele resident said it is not for lack of resources. If all fitness facilities in Tooele County were being utilized at maximum capacity, the area would need more facilities to accommodate its residents, said Bateman.
“You have options here,” he said. “You have people who are willing to help. There are several other practitioners in Tooele County. There’s no way that we can all serve all 66,000 people. There’s no way. I’m looking to get 200 clients, but there’s several other trainers out there that are trying to do the same thing that I’m trying to do, and that’s trying to help the people. This is our passion of choice.”
Bateman started his fitness training in eighth grade and fell in love with feeling fit. He did bodybuilding for a while, getting so muscular that he had trouble touching his shoulders because his arms were so big. Like many people, he fell off the fitness wagon for a time and gained weight. When he returned to fitness six years ago, he decided to become a certified trainer. He realized he loved sharing knowledge when people would ask him for advice. It is that love of fitness and helping others that drives him as a personal trainer. At his facility, he coaches between 40 and 50 clients.
Bateman said his program is 90 percent nutrition and 10 percent exercise.
“You work out one hour a day and eat and recover the other 23 hours to prepare for that one hour,” he said.
Bateman offers his clients a choice of two or three one-hour classes per week or one-on-one sessions. He also offers all his clients a detailed meal plan. His meal plan includes a shopping list, a prep list and a calendar of what to eat and when. He also sends out regular emails with information and motivation.
He repeats often to his clients through emails and face to face how much he cares about each of them and wants their success as much or more than they do.
“Who doesn’t waste $25 to $40 a week on junk?” Bateman said. “You have to make the commitment and invest in yourself if you want results.”
There are common factors in each fitness and nutrition program, the most common being good nutrition and the importance of eating the right foods in the right portion sizes at the right time. Bateman believes in eating five or six smaller meals a day verses skipping breakfast and eating a large lunch or dinner. His meal program is very similar to the Curves Complete nutrition program.
Grantsville resident Colette Boulden, 44, is the owner and certified fitness coach at Curves in Tooele.
“You can’t out exercise a bad diet,” she said.
Boulden has recently trained on Curves Complete, the company’s relatively new nutrition program that focuses not only on healthy eating and exercise but also the motivation and emotional journey of weight loss.
“It’s about progress, not perfection,” said Boulden.
One of Boulden’s members, Tooele resident Karrie Middaugh, 47, agreed. She has battled obesity from the time she was young. She lost more than 104 pounds using the online Weight Watchers program.
“I didn’t start exercising until I had already lost 25 pounds,” she said.
But even the most successful members still have daily struggles. There was a time when she was offended by naysayers who were surprised that she had lost the weight without surgery.
“I worked hard on this,” she said. “I watched every single thing that went into my mouth.”
Middaugh met Boulden after she had lost most of the weight and though she lost the weight through a different program than the facility where she works out, Boulden helps Middaugh stay accountable by monthly weighing and measuring.
“For me it was a good thing to start having the measurements each month and weighing in,” she said. “That’s another accountability thing. Sometimes when you’re losing weight you don’t see it. The scale might stay the same and you might plateau or go up a little bit, but if you’re taking your measurements and you really are working on the nutrition part, you’re going to see a change somewhere.”
All fitness and nutrition coaches agree on one thing: Changing nutrition habits is the most important aspect of their clients’ battles. Those who utilize their services will have success. The measure of that success depends on the length of time applied and the discipline of adhering to the program.
“I’m trying to teach a lifestyle,” said Bateman. “I’m not here to change anybody overnight. You have to stop thinking about immediate gratification.”
Losing weight and getting in shape is a personal journey for everyone. The reason they start, the reason they stay motivated and the reason they choose a plan are all different. That’s where the passion of the fitness warriors comes to play in each individual’s battle.
“Everyone is at different levels and their knowledge is different,” Boulden said. “That’s why we are called personal fitness coaches or personal trainers. It’s our job to find out what the client’s need is and what will help them lose weight.”