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Exploring Life & Business with Heather Glenn of Move Nourish Thrive

Today we’d like to introduce you to Heather Glenn.

Hi Heather, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
My journey into the field of health & wellness started when I was working as a CPA and Corporate Financial Analyst and was spending long hours sitting behind a computer. I felt isolated from the world in my cubical and felt unfulfilled by the work I was doing. My career wasn’t offering me the opportunity to impact people on a personal level or in a meaningful way.

I have always had a passion for lifting others up, guiding them, cheering them on, and ultimately empowering them to change their lives for the better. I knew that I needed to find a career that would allow me to more intimately connect with people, inspire them to take action for change, and to be an anchor point for them as they sought to improve their lives and feel fulfilled themselves.

I started to explore other career options. One area that had always interested me was health and the human body. I’ve always enjoyed being active and exercising, it’s given me strength, confidence, and stability in my life especially when times were challenging. It has also been a way for me to meet others and feel part of a community of people who were striving to improve themselves.

With the encouragement of my mom, I decided to get certified as a fitness professional and start working with clients to help them reach their fitness goals. Shortly after, I left my finance career to pursue fitness full-time. After working in a gym setting for a couple of years, I knew I wanted to challenge myself professionally but didn’t want to work as a manager in a big box gym. An option presented itself to start a fitness business with two other women and I jumped at the opportunity to be my own boss and grow my own company.

In 2004, I started my first business, an outdoor fitness boot camp for women, in the San Francisco Bay Area. We grew our company to as many as 15 locations serving thousands of women from California to Austin, TX to Chicago, IL. in just a few short years. It was exhilarating and exhausting all at once!

My career began to pivot again when my two boys were toddlers and I realized that I wanted to spend more time with them. I no longer wanted to be away from home from sun up to sun down 5-6 days a week or traveling all around the Bay Area in the wee morning hours. I wanted more time with my kids but still wanted to make a big impact in my community.

Over a few years time span, I began to taper back the size of my boot camp business and started coaching women in their fitness and nutrition online in virtual coaching groups. This allowed me to help women all across the country while working from home during the hours that I chose to work. It was the perfect combination of challenge, impact, and flexibility to be with my family. As my online business grew, I eventually decided to sell my boot camp business and move fully online.

During the last few years of running my boot camp business, and my first few years of being a mom, I started to struggle with some health issues. Mostly chronic fatigue and digestive discomfort. My son was also dealing with eczema at 9 months old and I didn’t like the option given to us to use steroid creams on his skin.

This is when I was fortunate enough to meet a holistic nutritionist who worked at a pediatric functional medicine office. She assured me that we could clear up his skin naturally using foods, supplements, and diagnostic lab testing. Sure enough, she was right! When we got to the root cause of his inflammatory issues and took action on those causes, his skin cleared up.

At that same time, I was struggling with my energy and mood and was having bouts of anxiety. I started with my conventional doctor who did some basic labs and found nothing abnormal. She wanted me to take antidepressants as a solution. I didn’t want to rely on medication to make me happy or keep me calm. I wanted to know why all of a sudden I wasn’t feeling like my old self.

My life coach at the time recommended that I see a functional wellness practitioner. As I began my work with this practitioner, I started to see improvements in my energy and mood. This sparked my interest in learning more about functional wellness so I started exploring educational programs.

I knew that I needed to help more people find success with functional nutrition and wellness because our current health care system was failing us. In fact, it had failed my mom who passed from lung cancer after having it twice. I believe if we had been able to get to the root causes, we could have supported her body in healing and recovering.

In 2013, I began my first functional wellness educational program to develop my skills as a Functional Nutrition and Wellness practitioner. Over the last 9 years, I’ve completed several certifications and advanced training programs to hone my skills as a functional nutritionist, holistic health coach, behavior change specialist, digestive health practitioner, and True Cellular Detox practitioner.

My ultimate goal is to educate and help as many people as I can on the power of root cause wellness and supporting the body to heal itself through food, lifestyle changes, and detoxing at the cellular level. We live in a toxic and stressful world and our bodies have not evolved to manage all of the toxins and stressors we encounter each day.

We also eat a lot of modern food items that our body doesn’t recognize as food. I want to teach others how to reduce their toxic load, nourish their bodies, and move in a way that keeps their cells healthy and them feeling alive in their bodies, maybe for the first time ever!

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
My journey as a business owner and entrepreneur has been anything but smooth! While it’s been a challenging journey, it has been rewarding and has helped me to grow immensely. Probably one of the biggest challenges I’ve had to face is managing a business with employees during an economic downturn.

After the 2008 housing market crash, many in the Bay Area lost jobs and homes and had to cut expenses. We lost a lot of fitness boot camp members who simply couldn’t afford the monthly expense. During this time, we had cut staff, close a few locations and reduce our own take-home pay.

At certain times, we owners decided to forgo paying ourselves in order to keep our employees on staff. As you can imagine, this was very stressful both professionally and personally. Ultimately things turned around but it was a tough few years weathering the storm and our business model changed a lot through the process.

There have been other challenges such as new competitors in the market, building websites and membership portals, developing talented employees, developing my own leadership skills, and learning how to lean on others for support all while working to fulfill personal goals as they evolved.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about Move Nourish Thrive?
My functional nutrition & wellness business is called “Move Nourish Thrive” and I started this company under the legal name “Thrive Nutrition & Wellness LLC” here in Colorado after moving here from California last Summer. My company is focused on helping women to overcome chronic fatigue, digestive issues, brain fog, and other health challenges so that they feel energized, focused, and capable of thriving in their careers, at home, and in their communities.

A common thread I gather from prospective clients is that they don’t know who to go to to get help with their health concerns. They feel unwell but are not finding answers, solutions, or support from conventional medicine or traditionally trained nutritionists. The diet industry has completely confused them on how to eat to fuel their bodies, lose weight, and regain their energy.

They can’t seem to find anyone who is knowledgeable and willing to take the time with them to truly understand what is going on with their health and guide them on their journey to feeling better.

Most of my clients are looking for a holistic approach to their health and want to get to the root cause of their health issues rather than masking symptoms with medications or surgeries. They want to learn how to eat for their body’s own bio-individual needs and because they are busy, they need simple ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

This is ultimately where my business comes in as a solution for them. I take a root cause, bio-individual approach to my client’s health and nutrition. I want to help my client uncover blocking factors like hidden infections, toxins, dysfunctional body systems, nutritional deficiencies, and unsupportive eating patterns. When we’ve identified blocking factors we can remove them so that the client’s body can do what it does… heal itself.

I work to understand what’s on my client’s plate and help her to incorporate supportive habits that can fit into her life. I match my client’s pace so if she wants to “run”, incorporating a lot of changes and doing a lot of testing and assessments at once, I offer her that. If she needs to go at a slower pace and start with simple changes and assessments, I offer her that instead.

My clients have said that I truly listen to them and treat them as a partner in their nutrition and wellness plan. I’ve been told that I have a calm manner and that my clients don’t feel rushed through our sessions. They appreciate my methodical approach to making changes and appreciate the education on how their bodies work and why they might be feeling unwell.

In addition to working on a bio-individual nutrition plan, I also help my clients uncover blocking factors through lab work and other assessments. This helps us take an even more individualized, root-cause approach to their overall wellness plan. We generally also include some therapeutic supplements based on our findings as well as lifestyle changes. These changes include reducing stressors (emotional, physical & chemical) as well as incorporating rejuvenating practices.

Currently, I offer several coaching programs that vary from 3-6 months in length. I offer a general nutrition program for those who want to tune up their nutrition and achieve optimal health. I also have programs that are specific to improving digestive health and reducing toxic load, brain fog, and chronic fatigue.

My programs not only include coaching sessions with me, but also my time researching, reading labs, and developing specific nutrition recommendations and health protocols. My clients can also reach me during the week by sending text and voice messages through a voice app. This is a great way for them to ask clarifying questions and get support as they are implementing their practices.

This gives them the sense that I am truly by their side on this journey. I offer resources, recipe books, and other tools to help my clients meet their nutrition needs and health goals. If my clients are looking to build strength, endurance, and overall fitness, I have an online fitness community and online workout programs they can tap into as well.

I believe what really sets me apart is that I’ve personally been in many of my client’s shoes. As a busy mom and business owner, I’ve pushed my body (and stress levels) to the limits. I’ve had to reclaim my own health with a busy schedule. I’ve had to do a lot of my own learning and research to uncover the root causes of my own health issues. I’ve learned to be my own best health advocate and to manage my own health plan.

I know the frustrations of trying to find answers and good care through our current health care system. I know how exhausting it feels to hunt for answers and solutions and find nothing. I’ve personally lived through debilitating chronic fatigue and uncomfortable digestive issues. I’ve lived in a body that was toxic from mold and heavy metals. I’ve had an immune system that was in overdrive and dealing with neurological issues.

Through it all, I found very few answers from mainstream approaches. It took removing the blocking factors (infections & toxins), improving function, and cleaning up my environment to get my own health back on track. I’m still a work in progress but each time I’ve been through a health challenge, I find my way out by getting to the root cause and using foods and lifestyle changes to support my body in healing itself.

Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
Find a mentor who has done the work, or started a business, in the field you are interested in. Learn from them and then start taking small action steps each day. Try not to spend too much time watching what everyone else is doing and instead create something you think is needed, and create it from your unique perspective.

Take messy action! This is how you learn and develop your service, product, or offer. You won’t always know what people truly want until you roll up your sleeves and get real feedback from real people. Learn how to accept feedback without taking it personally. Every time you fail or disappoint someone it’s an opportunity to get better.

Never stop learning, but don’t stay stuck in learning mode. You need to also take action on what you learn to develop that skillfully. Read or listen to personal development because building a strong mindset is what will pull you through the toughest times in your business.

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Image Credits
Erin Ashford and Tracy Stettner

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