CARP – Through a lifestyle change of her own, Carp’s Kelly Betts wants to bring fitness and healthy living to the 60-plus community.
The former school teacher moved to the Carp community, near West Lake Village, with her husband around four years ago.
“My husband’s job brought us to Ottawa from Oakville,” Betts told West Carleton Online from Allice’s Village Café last Monday (Dec. 16). “It was the greatest idea. We found Carp and the kids love it.”
Betts taught French immersion for 12 years in Oakville. She’s done a bit of substitute teaching at Huntley Centennial Elementary School and is adjusting well to the smaller community.
“The teachers know every kid in the school,” she said. “It feels like family. Carp feels like home.”
Leaving teaching full time gave Betts an opportunity to try something new in the business world and to follow another interest of hers. Shortly after her second child in two years, Julia, now nine, and Jake, 11, Betts and her husband Chris had some weight to lose and some lifestyle changes to make.
“I was around 50 pounds overweight,” Betts said. “After I had the kids, I wanted to make a lifestyle change. We both did.”
Betts started researching her goals and got to work.
“In about a year, in a healthy way, I was able to lose that weight and a bit more,” Betts said.
During that process, she also became certified as a personal trainer in 2008.
“People started to ask me how I did it,” Betts said. “At the time I wasn’t qualified to say. So, I started to taking some courses.”
Betts combined her certification with her teaching responsibilities. She also started teaching fitness classes.
“When I moved here, it was an opportunity,” Betts said. “I started to look at who I could work with. Most trainers target people in their 40s and 50s. But there are lots of people in their 60s, 65 to 75, newly retired who have more time, want to become fitter, but don’t know where to start. They don’t want to walk in to a gym where people are younger and the gym doesn’t really have courses geared for them.”
So Betts targeted her studying, her programming and her services at that age group and launched the business Thrive Older Adult Wellness.
Thrive provides fitness programming and coaching from small 60-plus group fitness classes in Carp, to one-on-one fitness coaching. Healthy eating and weight loss coaching to a Global Flavours Cooking Course.
For many of these programs, Betts will come to you.
“I know there’s a demand for it,” Betts said. “Mobile personal training. Going to people’s homes. I did a lot of that in Oakville and it was popular. Very convenient. I bring all the equipment necessary.”
Betts will also offer small group classes in the village. An eight-week program, an hour a week. There’s a 40-minute fitness block followed by a 20-minute learning block.
It’s not just a fitness class,” Betts said. “We work in small numbers. I get to know everyone and teach them skills that will work for them. I teach students things they can use when they leave the class. Safe, active and appropriate – there’s lots of options. People have way more control over their fitness then they think.”
Betts loves working with beginners and has programs that take in to account specific health challenges such as diabetes and heart issues.
“They shouldn’t feel excluded,” Betts said.
Betts is also a certified healthy eating coach. She says the importance of what you put in to your body can not be underestimated.
“I’ve noticed a lot of people are confused by healthy eating,” she said. “There’s a lot of information out there and a lot of it conflicts. My approach is teaching people what are healthy meals that will keep you on track to reaching your goals that are also delicious. We’ll get you started, and you can go from there.”
Betts says it is important you like what you eat.
“When you get so strict you aren’t eating things you like, it isn’t sustainable,” she said. “People think you have to live off of salads and that’s just not true.”
Betts has some tips and tricks and offers some local ideas as well.
“We love to incorporate (neighbour) Saucy B Sauces because it has a lot of flavour and it’s healthy,” Betts said. “People don’t have to be chefs. I’m not. I just cook for my family. I do have to develop recipes and they are my guinea pigs. What I show clients about healthy eating is how I live at home.”
And as someone who got stuck in that cycle of eating processed foods, she knows the challenges of making those lifestyle changes.
“You can get stuck in a rut,” Betts said. “It becomes a challenge to change those habits. We don’t teach restrictive diets. Those don’t tend to last. There’s no quick fixes.”
For more information on Thrive Older Adult Wellness, visit their website here. Betts says for those who are interested but concerned about expenses, to reach out to her and engage in a no commitment consultation.