“The full look” is my monthly post about the person or people I profiled in my monthly email, redshoes news. In each issue, subscribers get a “‘Sneak’ peek” at someone I think is doing cool things. Below is the entire interview. To subscribe to redshoes news, click here. Thanks for reading!
I met Heather while working at LifeTime Athletic, and later took one of her always-packed fitness classes. I love her style of teaching—she’s casual, funny, and motivating—and how hard she pushes us. Heather is doing some rad things in the fitness industry, including making some new videos and tutorials for her website. I’m excited to introduce you to this inspiring spark plug!
Hey Heather! Tell us about you.
I grew up in St. Louis, Missouri, met my husband at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and then moved to Chicago. We now live with our two kids in Minneapolis.
At the University of Michigan, I received a BFA in Dance. I’ve danced since the age of 2, so this was a natural path for me. Upon graduating, I danced a bit professionally, worked as a recruiter, was a paralegal, went to law school for a year…. But while I worked at all of those different jobs, I always taught fitness classes at Crunch and Equinox. Teaching was a side gig, but it always kept me creative, healthy, and happy.
What classes do you teach and where?
I teach Cardio Kickboxing, Barre, Total Body Conditioning, Hot Yoga Sculpt, Core Conditioning, and a combination of everything. Currently, I teach at LifeTime Athletic, Athleta, Lululemon, and area high schools for special events.
You have Type 1 diabetes. Will you tell us about that?
Near the end of my senior year at college, I was experiencing the typical diabetic symptoms—extreme thirst, lethargy, frequent urination, and blurred vision. After a couple of weeks like this, I went to the hospital and was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. It was December of 2000. I use an insulin pump to better control my blood sugar levels. It’s a constant struggle and some days are more difficult than others. But in all honesty, I feel fortunate to have a condition that I can (somewhat) control.
How did you get into teaching group fitness?
I’ve been teaching fitness for 13 years. In Chicago, I took a Cardio Kickboxing class (it was my first group fitness class) and the instructor asked me after class if she could train me to teach. It seemed like a fun challenge, so I accepted. I will never forget how much I practiced in front of my closet mirror in my tiny bedroom apartment. My poor roommate probably had nightmares of me counting to eight! Getting into fitness was not a deliberate thing, but in retrospect it was a very natural step for me.
What motivates you to do what you do?
My family motivates me daily—I want to be a good role model to my children. They need to see me be passionate about life, work. And with work they see me taking care of my health. I want them to understand that success isn’t measured by money or stature, but more by what good you are doing in the present and for those around you. My husband motivates me to be the best me I can be and to simply focus on that. He reminds me daily that I am enough, and that I have a responsibility to shine. My students, both in person and those that work out with me through video, motivate and inspire me. Their stories, struggles, triumphs, insecurities, honesty, and feedback make me a better instructor every day.
Challenge is a huge motivator for me. If you tell me it’s not possible, I’ll prove you wrong.
Who’s helped you succeed as a fitness professional?
Katie Haggerty, a fitness leader at LifeTime, has been a mentor to me ever since I moved to Minneapolis. She pushed me outside of my comfort zone and into teaching formats that were new to me. Katie is always challenging me to learn more, share my knowledge with as many people as possible, and never doubt my passion. I would not be where I am today without Katie.
Can you tell us about your fitness videos?
Getting involved with fitness videos was also an organic process that I had not planned. It started when I filmed a couple of fitness videos with LifeTime, then flowed into filming with Fitness on Request, a kiosk-based group fitness program. Soon after that, my other mentor, Patrick Goudeau, called me from L.A. to choreograph and shoot a video with him. He started a series called “Patrick Presents” as a way of endorsing and introducing new faces to the fitness industry. Patrick flew me to L.A. to film Kickbox Burn, and we spent last year presenting at fitness conferences. In retrospect, filming fitness videos totally makes sense for me because it’s consistent with my mission to inspire others through fitness to love their bodies today.
What’s in the near future for you and Heather C Fitness?
In terms of videos, I am currently working on some quick cardio and strength workouts (no equipment needed) that my peeps can download from my website. It’s so exciting to share these workouts because they are actually what I do at home when I can’t get to the gym! I’m also working on filming another cardio kickboxing DVD.
This year I’ve also started training instructors as a Master Instructor at LifeTime, and will also be presenting at conferences.
What would you like to do even further down the road?
It’s funny—with most things in my life, I look ahead and have a plan. With fitness, I’ve really found that I’m best if I just focus on my mission, my students, and my projects. When I am truly in the moment is when new opportunities pop up and the next challenge begins.
Where can people find out more about you or connect with you?
My DVD and future workouts can be found on my website, www.heathercfitnes.com. Class schedules and special events are posted weekly on my Facebook page.