EAST COUNTY — Heather Hackett spent most of her childhood shying away from the limelight.
She didn’t run around the playground with her classmates or spend hours by the pool. She wasn’t one to raise her hand in class or go out of her way to make new friends. Instead, Hackett simply kept to herself as her weight continued to spiral out of control.
“I just never tried anything or dared to do anything,” Hackett said. “Being overweight engulfs everything about you. Your self-esteem is low, and you are constantly worried about what you look like. … It was a constant struggle for me every day.”
With each passing day, the realization that Hackett needed to make a lifestyle change became more apparent. But it wasn’t until a then-19-year-old Hackett was standing in the middle of the fitting room that the realization finally hit home.
“I was standing in the fitting room and I could no longer fit into a size 14, and I realized I would have to go up to a size 16,” Hackett said. “I didn’t want to go to a plus store because I thought I was too young, so I knew I needed to do (something).”
It’s been 10 years since Hackett decided to take back control of her life, and now with her weight finally under control, she is hoping to teach children the importance of maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle through her new business: I Train Your Kids.
After graduating from Bowling Green University in 2002 with a degree in business education, Hackett moved to Columbus, Ohio, where she began working as a personal trainer. In didn’t take long for Hackett to specialize. She became a certified youth fitness trainer and officially started her new business last month, fulfilling a dream she has harbored for the past five years.
I Train Your Kids offers personal training and nutrition counseling to children ages 5-17 throughout Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton and Sarasota. Unlike other weight-loss programs and companies, Hackett refuses to put any of her clients on a diet. Instead, she simply focuses on teaching children the importance of nutrition.
“I was the fat kid growing up,” Hackett said. “My way of thinking is if you have two kids and you tell one of them that you’re going to put them on a diet, then they feel as if they’re being punished. But if everyone is making a healthy lifestyle change, then it’s no big deal.”
Hackett offers individual classes as well as Family In Training sessions, which provide an opportunity for the entire family to work out together. Additionally, Hackett also offers outdoor fitness boot camps for various fitness levels and ages.
Personal training sessions are available both in and out of the home with nearly all workouts taking place outdoors. Prices and session times vary, depending on the type of training and the child’s age, with a typical hour-long session costing roughly $75.
“It kills me to see overweight kids that are going through what I went through because (obesity) affects every aspect of your life,” Hackett said. “I want kids active. I want them up and moving around.”
For more information on I Train Your Kids visit www.itrainyourkids.com or contact Heather Hackett at 735-5822 or [email protected].
Contact Jen Blanco at [email protected].