Health and Wellness Promotion alumna becomes The Healthy Gene entrepreneur
After changing her own life through fitness and nutrition, Heather Chisenhall was drawn to the Health and Wellness Promotion program at College of Lake County (CLC). Once she completed her associate degree, the Navy veteran started personal training out of her garage. She's successfully built her passion into a business, The Healthy Gene gym, in Libertyville.
Chisenhall worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant out of high school and then joined the Navy where she built up confidence in herself and her ability to lead and coach others. After being stationed at the Great Lakes Naval Base in North Chicago, she turned to her local community college for more education.
"CLC was a good fit because it is close to home," said Chisenhall. "I already knew I loved learning about how the body works so the exercise science classes were a no brainer. The big difference was in the delivery from faculty. The instructors did a great job providing relevant and interesting material."
While it was CLC's recent work with the Chicago Blackhawks professional hockey team that initially drew her attention, Chisenhall chose to study Health and Wellness Promotion at CLC because the program empowers students to help others through prevention of illness, injury and disease through health, wellness and fitness.
"My practicum at CLC showed me I had little interest in working in a typical gym setting," said Chisenhall. "I believe the normal in and out mentality in most gyms is part of the overall health problem, so I set out to do it differently."
The Healthy Gene started with a just a few clients and weights in her garage. In April 2019, she opened a personal training studio in an old warehouse next to the Metra train station in Libertyville.
"Seeing the physical and mental changes of my clients is very exciting and inspirational to me," Chisenhall said. "I assist in helping them achieve a lasting health and wellness routine for the long term. The journey of life and health doesn't have an end point. It is something that needs to be consistently worked on."
Chisenhall stays connected to her roots at CLC through teaching at the college. She is also pursuing her master's degree in public health at Northern Illinois University.
The Physical Education (PED) department recently changed its name to the updated and more accurate term, Kinesiology (KIN). You'll find degree programs and classes like the ones Chisenhall took to become a personal trainer at www.clcillinois.edu/programs/kin.