Gym owner fosters workout camaraderie
Healthy habits, such as losing weight and getting regular exercise, are more successfully established at CrossFit when members are in a group environment that offers support.
League City resident and Friendswood business owner Heather Hitchcock-Prenatt says her CrossFit gym has been seeing people undergo outstanding physical changes as a result of people helping other people.
Since her CrossFit Friendswood franchise opened its doors, Hitchcock-Prenatt said, "We have been abnormally successful at helping people reclaim their lives and get healthy. It's cheesy, but we're changing lives; we're really changing lives.
"We have unlocked doors for them," she said. "We have people come in who have never done anything halfway athletic, and they find themselves losing weight and getting stronger. I get a lot of tears. They come in looking to work out, but they end up getting something different."
The difference, said Hitchcock-Prenatt, is in the CrossFit approach and the support.
"Basically, what we do is high-intensity, constantly varied, functional movement," she said. "That is, we do a lot of Olympic lifting, body weight exercises like pullups, pushups, situps, total-body conditioning. And we do it in a group setting, it's part class and part personal trainer because there is a lot of individual attention."
However, what seems to be making the biggest difference in keeping up personal resolve is the interaction within the group.
"There's a weird dynamic that takes place in our gym," Hitchcock-Prenatt said, "You've got the 65-year-old grandma being pushed by the 25-year-old firefighter. Our workouts change every day — you never make it the same twice — but it's the support among our members that push them beyond what they would normally do."
Although she describes herself as always having been a health and fitness enthusiast, Hitchcock-Prenatt is new to the field as a profession. Educated at Eastern Washington University, she has a degree in communications as well as electronic media and film.
After spending five years as a radio host and disc jockey for jazz and hip-hop stations, Hitchcock-Prenatt said she spent eight years in corporate America marketing for an exterior restoration company that handled building maintenance for skyscrapers.
"Then I just felt like God had a different calling for me," she said. "My faith is a big part of who I am. I prayed and said, 'Show me what you have for me.' I was CrossingFitting for about six-months when I knew that this was my answer. I had found my niche."
Although she enjoys what she does for a living, Hitchcock-Prenatt said it is the people she works with that make it a rewarding experience.
"There's a very common misconception," she said. "People seem to think you need to be an elite athlete to do what we do. We have everyone, every age, shape size, no matter what level you're at, you can join, and it works.
"There's something there," Hitchcock-Prenatt said. "God's opened a door there and is letting people from all walks of live come in and change their lives."
NAME: Heather Hitchcock-Prenatt
OCCUPATION: CrossFit Friendswood owner and trainer
FAST FACT: Previously, Heather Hitchcock-Prenatt spent five years as a radio host and disc jockey for jazz and hip-hop stations.
Julia Bishop Beautie is a freelance writer. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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