Heather Perez, a fitness member of Spooky Nook Sports, knows that with hard work and step-by-step goals, results happen. At 22 years old and 251bs, Heather found herself in a break up with her high school sweetheart and fiance. With this difficult upheaval in her life, Heather decided it was time for a change and to find herself. "He was all I knew. Without him, I didn't know who I was or where I was going. I needed to find a way to be happy on my own - I needed a change, not to win him back but to win myself back." The weight in her heart inspired her to lift the weight from her body, so Heather joined a gym, Spooky Nook Sports. Like most people who are self conscious about their weight, Heather was nervous to join the gym for the first time. ''There was a shame involved for me that I had let myself go so far," she says. "I was scared to death that people in the gym would look at me and think, she doesn't belong here!" With apprehension, she started off on a stationary bike and later moved to group exercise classes where she met friends and instructors with similar goals. "I love The Nook. The staff members are so friendly, and it's super clean, and the fitness equipment is the best. The Nook has everything I need to be successful in maintaining and smashing my next goals!"
Not only did Heather start exercising, but she also educated herself about healthy eating and nutrition. Her family did not support her efforts and Heather found their eating habits reflected fast food and heavy Italian meals. She started to realize with her family's strict environment, she was using food as a comfort in times of stress. She began calorie counting with frozen low fat meals, then found the Super Food System endorsed by Lori Harder, a fitness model who also struggled with weight issues as a child. After three years of training and dedication, Heather dropped 83 lbs. and weighs an impressive 142 lbs. "Last summer I ran a Warrior Dash and a Spartan Race, and I am constantly pushing myself in the gym," she says. "My next goal is to do 1 O unassisted pull-ups and complete a Tough Mudder." Heather's journey began with heartbreak, but ended with remarkable results. Although she met some opposition from her family at the start of her journey, the majority of them are now very supportive of Heather's new healthy lifestyle choices. Heather is healthier and happier than ever. "Everyone has the ability to change what they don't love about themselves," she says. "Know that you are worth the effort!"
TIPS ON MY LOSS
"I very much love weightlifting! After I lost most of my weight through cardio, I still felt I didn't look and feel the way I thought I would after accomplishing what I had. I saw the number on the scale that I wanted to see, but there was still something more I wanted ... to get stronger, and gain lean muscle, and push myself to become better! Now my days are scheduled by muscle group: back/ biceps, shoulders/triceps, legs/glutes. I try to work abs in most days and still get to BodyCombat on Tuesdays! Proper form over a personal record is very important to me. Injuries can keep you out of the game long term, while proper form keeps you progressing! Lifting has for sure given me more confidence in my day to day life. I'm no longer focused on getting skinny. I believe that strength is healthy and beautiful! Lifting at the Nook is great too because everyone is so accepting and never makes me feel like I shouldn't be there because I'm a girl. They encourage me like they would anyone else and that inspires me!"
STATS ABOUT HEATHER
FAVORITE WORKOUT MACHINE "My favorite machine is tough, but I love the functional trainer the best because it's so versatile and allows you to take a different approach to your training. I love to think outside of the box.
FAVORITE HEALTHY MEAL Muffin tin egg frittatas with spinach
and ground turkey
FAVORITE GROUP EXERCISE CLASS LesMills BodyCombat
FAVORITE TIP "I set daily reminders on my phone that pop up and remind me, 'Hey, you got this!"
MY MANTRA No excuses. Do what you can, then do more.
ROLE MODEL "Fitness Model Lori Harder and CrossFit Athlete Lauren