Heather Matthews is a personal trainer, fitness nutrition specialist, NPC competitor and fitness influencer on Intellifluence. In her bio, Heather writes that exercise and nutrition played a big role in helping her get sober 7 years ago. Heather has since opened a personal training and nutrition business for women. Heather writes that the most rewarding part of her job is seeing clients change their lifestyles. She emphasizes fitness is not just about weight loss and looks- it’s about bettering yourself. You can follow Heather on Instagram to learn more.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got into fitness?
Yeah, it’s actually a pretty cool story. I was an addict for 10 years, addict and alcoholic, and towards the end when I was trying to get sober, I had been through five rehabs. Nothing really worked.
One day, I was sitting at my desk at my job and I’m like, “I’ve got to change everything, including the people that I’m hanging around with.” I’m like, “Who doesn’t drink or do anything like drugs or unhealthy at all?” I thought to myself, “Well, people who are competing in the bodybuilding shows, right?” I had been going to like boxing classes for about four years, so I was a little bit into fitness.
That day I left, I joined a gym and I found a trainer that same day and said, “I want to compete in a show,” and signed up and that was it. It took me right to sobriety. It’s been seven years.
After a few shows, I really wanted to help other women, not even just with addiction but with self-confidence issues, because I think that’s where my addiction was rooted, I didn’t have the confidence that I should have had, so I started this business, HLM Fitness. It started just as personal training one-on-one. It still is that, but we’ve also moved to online, moved into nutrition. It’s mainly just, not only to get women in shape, but even more so to help women build their confidence enough to make good decisions, the best decisions for them.
It’s been awesome. It’s really worked out great. I’ve actually had some girls go to rehab themselves who were training with me and then after a few sessions, came clean about their addictions and I didn’t even know they had any issues. I’ve had girls get out of bad marriages, everything. It’s been really cool.
How do you go about maintaining balance, like your daily day-to-day activity your average days? It seems like you have a lot going on. How do you juggle it all?
Every day is different. I’m super organized. Structure is part of this sobriety thing for me, too. I meal prep every week. I have all my meals in the fridge, I’ve got all my daughter’s stuff. My husband’s a vegetarian, so I get all his stuff ready on Sundays. We are good to go as far as food. Then I’ve just got my schedule every day and I just check it off, check it off, check it off.
At the end of the day, my husband and I make sure that we have time just to sit on the couch and watch a show on Netflix every single night if we can. That’s our time that we get to see each other because I think that’s really important, too.
I also am very lucky because I can take Wednesdays off and some parts of other days and work nights so that I can be with my four-year-old daughter, too. It’s very structured, but it works, yeah.
What advice do you have for people to stay on track with their goals (fitness, specifically) throughout the entire year, not just the first three weeks of January?
It’s going to sound silly and you learn this in school, but it’s so true: Write it down and be specific. What is your goal? Not just “lose weight.” How many pounds do you want to lose? What is your plan? How many days are you going to go to the gym? What day? What time? Everything needs to be written down, worked into your schedule, and then it’s a lot easier to follow it.
Then I also suggest every two weeks, if you need to write it down again, go over your goal as it started. If you have new goals, maybe just check in and make sure that you’re still following that original goal, too, because yeah, week three is pretty much it and everybody’s done. Writing it down and then forcing yourself to go in. Every couple of weeks, just take a moment, write it down again, go over it, and go over your plan again.
I was curious about motivation. Obviously, you’re planning it all out, you’ve overcome a lot of struggles. Is it ever an additional struggle to just go through the motions for maintaining fitness or even writing about fitness content?
Well, the competitions were really my motivation for years and I just did my last one in 2018 at NPC Nationals. I decided to retire and after that, I realized, yeah, I needed the motivation because I was just not as interested as I’d been for the last five years. I signed up for, it was a Spartan, I unfortunately had to cancel it, but goals like that, another race.
Or actually, this is one of them, too, being an influencer on Instagram and working towards building a following and stuff like that. Your followers need to be able to relate to you. They want to look up to you, in a way. If I’m not keeping up with my physique and my nutrition, then why would they listen to me? You know what I mean?
Let’s talk brand collaborations. As an influencer, I’m interested to hear what your favorite ones have been over the years if you have a few that you can narrow down.
Well, I’m still doing one with Femme Luxe. They’re a clothing line and I love their stuff. Actually, I’m working on one right now. I’m not even trying to give them a plug or anything but [GhostBed] sent me a GhostPillow, it’s this new thing.
It’s an $85 pillow. They’re amazing. Amazing. What I have to do is create a post, talk about my review of the pillow, and I’m also going to have to tie it to whatever your page is about, so I’m going to talk about how important it is to get sleep in order to make good fitness decisions and nutrition decisions and just everything. That’s how I’m going to tie that in. That’s probably my latest favorite one because that pillow is awesome. It’s taken away my neck pain. It’s crazy.
Do you have any parting advice for people that are looking to get started in the influencer world, especially fitness?
I just started my page two years ago. I wasn’t really an Instagram person. I had a great following on Facebook because it was more local but my sister who’s 13 years younger was really into the Instagram-type of app, so I had her help me set it up. In the beginning, I really just wanted to show people what I was doing. I wasn’t looking to beg people to follow me with my posts and stuff like that. I think that’s a huge part of it because I think people get turned off by that.
They say “When you have a job, don’t think about the money. The money will come if you love what you do.” It’s the same thing with Instagram. Just be yourself as much as possible. Don’t try to impress anybody or anything like that and the right people will end up following you.
That’s how it built up. It’s not huge right now, I think I’m at 11.1 in two years, so it’s not that great but I’m not really concerned about getting 24 million followers. I’m happy about posting real stuff, just being real and being relatable.