For Heather Nusbaum, movement is life. And it’s her new business, too.
Nutree Fitness opened Jan. 7 across from Killeen High School on North 38th Street. Nusbaum, 39, is a National Academy of Sports Medicine-certified personal trainer with additional specialties in corrective exercise; performance exercise; P90X and MELT hand and feet; TRX Level 1 and 2; PIYO; and K9 Fit Club.
“One of the reasons I got into personal training was through fitness, I was able to solve my pain and realized if I could do that for me, I could do it for others,” Nusbaum said.
Her journey of physical transformation started more than five years ago when she realized she weighed two pounds less than her Army husband, Eric Johnson, with his linebacker shoulders. As a child, she ran marathons and danced, but then she was diagnosed with “dysfunctional knees” as a teenager and suffered with pain 24/7 and started to gain weight.
Yet Nusbaum was determined to lose the extra weight and pain, so she and a friend gave up sodas, moved more and changed their diets.
“Later, we started P90X, and over the next few years, I lost 70 pounds and completely eliminated my knee pain,” she said.
Nusbaum, an accountant with a master’s degree in business administration, eventually became a certified P90X instructor, plus got certified in other fitness programs.
The recently renovated 2,000-square-foot center has a variety of equipment, like kettle bells, medicine balls and Bosu balls, and a larger area for classes with a smaller area for personal training.
A special floor made from recycled rubber reduces shock on the joints.
Nusbaum and three other certified personal trainers teach the classes, including Kettle-Bell Fitness, MELT Hand & Foot, and P90X and Zumba and do one-on-one training.
The company name comes from the English translation of her German name, Nusbaum, which means nut tree.
But what really separates Nutree Fitness from other competitors is the “Paws for Fitness” program. It’s Nusbaum’s brainchild and her facility is Central Texas’ only center that offers fitness classes for owners and their dogs together.
“The program is designed to create a safe and fun environment for you and your canine companion to get fit and healthy,” said Naubaum, who is the only personal trainer certified to teach this class.
During a 45-minute session, the owners with their dogs went through a series of exercises starting with a warmup of walking then lightly jogging inside the center. The pace increased as they rotated among four exercise stations.
When the owners squatted or did planks, they received wet kisses and wagging tails, but the dogs behaved well and worked out just as hard.
Nusbaum observed and gave instructions but never touched a dog, saying everything is about an owner interacting with their dog.
She said one of her goals is to build relationships with veterinarian clinics to help their pet clients that have weight, health and other medical issues.
Dexter, a 12-year old mutt, surprised his owner with his energy level.
“He did better than I thought he would do,” said Marlys Smith, who is also taking fitness training for her back pain with Nusbaum.
Tina, a feisty 3-year-old terrier and Chihuahua mix, seemed to bark out commands to her owner Alysia Perkins to keep up the pace.
“I enjoyed it and I think she did too because it’s hard to get home after work to play with her,” said Perkins, a personal trainer.
“It was a good bonding time,” she said.
As the class ended, Nusbaum was the first to applaud the owners and their dogs for a job well done.
What started years ago as a personal fitness life change for her is now changing lives for others, something Nusbaum never expected.
“It’s a unique way to bond with your dog and a great way for people to feel and look better.”