A Nevada woman would love to do her part to make Nevada one of Iowa’s healthiest towns.

Nanette Heginger, 39, became certified as a personal trainer through ACE (American Council on Exercise) this past year and now looks to help local people change their lives through proper health, nutrition and exercise. Working independently, with no affiliation to any other business, Heginger hopes to save her clients money while helping them use the resources they have in their homes and in their community to meet their goals.

"I believe that we can all live healthy and fit lives regardless of financial or social status," Heginger said.

One of the things Heginger strives to emphasize most with her work is how health is a family matter. "I believe health starts with the family and should be taught and led by example at home," she said.

This summer, Heginger has begun a free program to emphasize "family, fun and fitness." On Wednesdays this June (12, 19, 26) and July (10, 17, 24), Heginger is reading "Books in the Park" at Hattery Park, Sixth Street and Q Avenue. She will share books and songs that encourage active movement for children of all ages. She will also share age-appropriate fitness, nutrition and health information for the families and child care providers who bring children to the programs, which will run from 10-10:30 a.m. (A donation of $1 per child would be appreciated.)

For the past seven years, Heginger has worked as an in-home child care provider in Nevada. She did this, she said, to be at home with her younger children until they started school. It was also a natural fit for someone who loves to work with children, she said.

Now, as she seeks to teach fitness and health in the community, Heginger said, "It only makes sense to combine my love of fitness and my love for children. If we teach kids at an early age how to live actively and how to make proper food choices, they will live healthier lives as they grow."

Reading books that encourage action, and dancing to music are two of the simplest ways that parents and relatives can help promote fitness for the young people in their lives, she said.

Heginger’s decision to become a personal trainer stems from belonging to an extended family that has experienced a number of health issues, most related to diet and obesity. "I started researching on my own about how to help my family members and how I can prevent my own children from ever experiencing things like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type II diabetes, inflammation, et cetera. That research, and my love of the outdoors and an active lifestyle, led me to the decision to certify as a personal trainer."

Her own family – which consists of husband Burton Heginger, an insurance agent for Triplett Companies in Ames; son, Elijah, who will be a fifth-grader this fall; daughter, Gracie, who will be in kindergarten this fall; and daughter Joi, who lives in Oklahoma and works in human resources – lives a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle, but Heginger said she doesn’t force that choice on any of her clients. "But I do encourage and help all of them to make better food choices based on their individual needs."

Vegan isn’t the best choice for everyone, she admits, "but I do believe that everyone can benefit from a diet rich in whole and natural foods."

Along with her ACE certication as a personal trainer, Heginger also holds a bachelor’s degree in natural history interpretation from the University of Northern Iowa. She has lived in Nevada for the past six years; she grew up in Ames.

She is working cooperatively with the Ames First United Methodist Church to offer cardio/strength classes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from noon-12:45 p.m., this summer, and she works cooperatively with the Nevada Community School District to offer its employees special pricing for personal training.

Heginger is offering three sessions of small group personal training in Nevada this summer: June 17-28, July 8-17 and July 29-Aug. 9. The sessions are $40 per person and are offered from 5:30-6:30 a.m., Monday-Friday. Call her at 515-290-0005 for more information, or email: nrheg@hotmail.com.

People who are overweight/obese or who are trying to fight some health issue associated with obesity – these are some of the very people Heginger hopes she can help. But she’s available to help people with all types of wellness goals.

"I work with clients of all ages, from children to older adults. I work with clients who are currently fit and are looking to improve in fitness or in a specific sport-related goal." And what she really enjoys, she adds, is "working with people who are new to fitness or who have been away from a regular exercise schedule and are looking to get back on track."