Salem after school program teaches teens healthy habits - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Salem after school program teaches teens healthy habits

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Running through the halls of Salem High School has changed some students' lives.

"I've lost a total of 40 pounds," said Michaela Utz, a Salem High School junior. "It amazes me. I look back at old pictures and I'm like, ‘Wow, did I really look like that?' It embarrasses me to look back and see myself like that."

Utz is one of more than a dozen students staying after school to exercise.

"I'm a completely different person," said Utz.

Personal trainers from Spa Fit in Salem volunteer their time every Tuesday and Thursday for the free after-school class.

"We're trying to teach these kids that exercise should be a part of their daily living," said Stevie Long, a certified personal trainer and Spa Fit co-owner.

"[They] get a good workout without people looking at them strangely. What we like to do is make them feel comfortable and good about themselves when they come in here; there's no pressure at all," said Teke Abshire, a certified personal trainer and Spa Fit co-owner. "It just boosts their confidence, it makes them secure, it makes them happier."

The mother/daughter team teaches students healthy eating habits, exercises they can do at the gym and at home. 

"I feel so much better than I did, eating the things I do, I don't even want to go back to the junk food," said Utz.

The teen's story is motivating others.

"I like coming here and working out with my friends. It's a fun environment and you feel good after you leave," said Ashley Goodfellow, a Salem junior.

"It feels amazing. I never thought I would be the type of person who changes someone's life because of exercise; it makes me really happy," said Utz.

The class encourages each other to get healthy and stay healthy.