Trainer uses personal experience to help others

Published 2:52 pm Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Tiffany Fletcher was walking around the track at Winchester-Clark County Parks and Recreation one February afternoon in 2017.

She had been walking consistently, taking the first steps to change her life for the better. Fletcher had noticed signs around the track in the weeks prior, something about a wellness hallenge. But that February day, she saw a table set up for interested participants.

“One day they were doing sign-ups in a room off the walking track, so I walked in and asked some questions,” Fletcher said. “I was very fortunate that the first person I talked to there was Jeff Lewis who convinced me immediately to sign up.”

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Twelve weeks later, Lewis, WCCPR director, announced Fletcher as the 2017 first place winner in the women’s category. Fletcher, though, even bested the top male finisher. She lost the highest percentage of body weight, 18.6 percent, overall.

The Wellness Challenge inspired Fletcher to keep going; as of February 2019, she has lost more than 140 pounds total. But her journey isn’t over yet.

“I knew fitness was the key to keeping it off,” Fletcher said. “And so the more I did it, the more I fell in love with it.”

Now, Fletcher, 29, focuses on building strength and has been teaching others how to do so as well.

Fletcher is currently working part-time as a National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) certified personal trainer. Though, she said she would like to move to full-time in the future.

Fletcher is also a qualified Zumba fitness certified instructor and Silver Sneakers certified instructor.

“I’ve made fitness my life,” Fletcher said.

Fletcher started offering personal training sessions about a year ago. She also teaches a few classes at WCCPR: Zumba at 5:15 p.m. on Mondays, Silver Sneakers at 9:30 a.m. Wednesdays and Fridays, Homeschool Gym at 12:30 p.m. Fridays, Zumba at 10 a.m. Saturdays and more.

“Some days, I’m at the gym three different times a day for three different things,” Fletcher said. “So I can have a client or class in the morning, then another client in the afternoon. I teach the evening classes. Then usually my workouts are in the evening.”

Scheduling her time has been challenging since she’s not working full-time as a trainer quite yet. Outside of training, Fletcher likes to spend time with her 10-year-old son, read and find ways to stay active off the clock.

Fletcher, a Morgan County native, said her slogan is: personalized attention from someone who’s been there. She has been heavy all of her life, and she knows what it’s like to want something but not know how to start.

“I started in the TRX class not being able to use the straps at all,” Fletcher said. “I had to do everything from the bar or on the floor with modifications for everything. And I know how it feels not be able to do a burpee or not be able to do a full pushup without modification. And I know how hard that journey can be because you know how to do it, it’s just doing it is the hard part. And it’s a really special feeling to be able to help other people do that.”

Fletcher said her favorite part about being a personal trainer is seeing people make progress.

“My favorite part is the moment when a client notices that they couldn’t do that a couple of weeks ago, and they did it,” Fletcher said. “So if I challenge them to grab a heavier weight for certain exercise, and they can do it or if they went from a modified to an unmodified version of the exercise. Or when we do measurements, and they see that their measurements had changed, even though they were bummed a minute before because their scale wasn’t moving. It’s stuff like that, the small moments like that.”

Fletcher said she recalls being nervous when it came to working with some of her first clients. She wanted to ensure they had a positive experience.

“I don’t want to turn them off the idea of exercise because as a kid, as a young adult, until I was 27, I was so intimidated that I if I had had one bad experience, I would have never set foot in the gym again,” Fletcher said. “And I don’t want to be that person for anyone. So the first client was making sure that they had a positive experience. And they would want to come back.”

Fletcher said she still tries to make each session a positive experience for her clients, but she’s more confident now than she used to be.

“I’m a nerd,” she said. “I like to know why I’m doing whatever exercise I’m doing. And I think my clients appreciate that. I explain a lot about why we’re doing this.”

Fletcher said one of her favorite strength training workouts is TRX.

“It looks intimidating, but it’s not,” she said. “ … I still love some Zumba. It’s just a lot of fun while getting your cardio in. And I do a lot of running. And I attend the classes at Parks and Rec; all of those are fun to switch it up and keep things interesting. So I never get bored.”

When Fletcher was first starting to run, coming up on her first 5K, she ran into a group of people who are now some of her closest friends at WCCPR. They invited her to go for a run with them, and Fletcher said she didn’t think she could keep up.

“I almost didn’t,” she said. “But I did. And they were super encouraging. And it was the first moment I felt like I could fit in that kind of community. And now we’ve done tons of events recently that I didn’t think I would ever do. We ran a half tough mudder together last year, I’ve done 5ks and 10ks and tons of different events like that.”

The key to fitness, losing weight, etc., Fletcher said is finding something you love and do it consistently.

“Find something that you love whether that’s a person at the gym or a class at the gym,” Fletcher said. “It doesn’t have to be six days a week … if you find something you love that you can do consistently, then it’s going to make a change. It doesn’t have to be a full-time job to get fit.”

Fletcher will talk more about her experience and tips and trick at a special panel during the Wellness Challenge. Fletcher and other fitness instructors and members will share their weight loss stories with you, including the varied routes through which they were able to maintain weight loss success during Walking the Walk: Lifestyles for Continued Health and Wellness at 6:30 p.m. March 13 at WCCPR. Participants can also ask questions and share thoughts on options, goal setting and more.

Fletcher said she hopes to help or inspire others like the folks at WCCPR and the Wellness Challenge did for her.

“It was a huge part of the reason that I stuck around in the gym wife and I just really can’t say good enough things about the opportunities you have with the Wellness Challenge,” Fletcher said.

As for the future, Fletcher said she’s walking a new track, and this time, she’s the one inviting others to join her.

“Fitness is the key to keeping the weight gone, now that it’s gone, and I plan on making sure that never comes back,” she said. “So making it my job helps keep me accountable, and it helps other people.

“I couldn’t ask for a better career.”

About Lashana Harney

Lashana Harney is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. Her beats include schools and education, business and commerce, Winchester Municipal Utilities and other news. To contact her, email or call 859-759-0015.

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