By Jaymie L. White
Special to Wreckhouse Press
STEPHENVILLE – Carla Cooper-Letiec has turned her passion for health and wellness into a thriving new business. Striving Transformations is aimed at guiding others to reach their goals by focusing on getting healthy from the inside-out.
“I’ve been in sports since I was young. I was in figure skating since I was two, right up until I graduated from high school and then I started coaching it,” said Cooper-Letiec. “I’ve been coaching the Stephenville Skating Club now for over 15 years, but over the last couple of years I haven’t been coaching as much because I’ve been focusing more on my business.”
Cooper-Letiec has a degree in social sciences, but as much as she loved it, she knew there was still a part of her that wanted to provide more wellness in the community aside from just her contributions to figure skating.
“I went and did my personal training certificate and I loved it. So I went back and I did my nutritional certification and my group fitness certification to teach group fitness as well, and then I did transformation specialist and DNA-based test coach. So I became an elite certified coach and I’m just one course away from becoming a master coach, so I’m looking forward to that.”
As with everything in life, Cooper-Letiec acknowledges there are ups and downs, but it is worth it because you are constantly learning from each new experience.
“I actually did a bodybuilding competition back in 2019. I was ready for a challenge, so I did that, and it was not only physically but mentally exhausting and challenging as much as it was a great experience. I don’t regret it. I really enjoyed the process. There was a lot to it, but it made me realize how strong I actually was and through that whole process I learned so much from working with other trainers and other athletes. I learned so much from that experience, mentally especially, that I share with a lot of my clients.”
Cooper-Letiec has a unique perspective that allows her to relate to her clients and share in their experiences.
“I was going down that road, not looking after myself as much. Of course your first priority always are your children, but when they’re babies, that’s all you think about 24/7. So when Grace was around two, I knew I had to really kick myself back into gear and it was so hard. I have pictures and videos of myself, just blood, sweat, and tears, just trying to get back onto the horse again. From my own experience and with my education, there’s so much to share with others. I have a lot of relatable stories with my clients. I think that’s what’s really important because a lot of my clients are moms, new moms, busy moms, and I get it. There are ways around it I’ve learned that work, where people don’t give up so easily. There are struggles, but there are ways around it and we are so much stronger than we think we are.”
Once a coach for Beachbody, Cooper-Letiec enjoyed the experience, but felt like she could do more on her own. This is how Striving Transformations was born.
“It was a slow process at first until I spoke to the right people and read the right books, did my research, and then I literally just went out with a bang. I did a bunch of advertisements. Overnight I came up with the name, started a group, and just started talking about it, getting the word out there, and it quickly took off very successfully, and I’ve only been in it now for a couple of years. It’s still in the growing process, of course, but it’s getting there.”
Striving Transformations focuses mainly on customized health plans.
“I have all-inclusive plans as well as just training plans or just nutrition/mentorship, but the all-inclusive is the most popular program I offer because it doesn’t just focus on getting fit, it focuses on getting healthy from the inside out. We go through the whole triage process. We get to know each other, the goals and needs of clients, any health issues, what has worked in the past, what hasn’t worked in the past, and then we talk about ways they can build strength through movement, through nourishment, and the mental health piece goes hand in hand with your wellness journey as well – those three main areas of wellness.”
Clients get 100 percent personalized training and nutrition mentorship, daily feedback, full support, and accountability, all done through a user-friendly app.
“It’s all virtual right now since COVID. I was doing a bit of in-person in the gym, but it really took off for me during COVID because the virtual thing, it worked. With people not being able to get into the gym we found really creative ways to make it work at home. They get a full workout library with all the demonstrations. They get VIP access to my Facebook group – recipes, grocery lists, meal prepping tools, all kinds of things.”
Striving Transformations also offers bootcamps for individuals to take part in. Cooper-Letiec said she tries to do at least four a year, and registration for her current bootcamp, which is scheduled for May 9, opens on Monday, Apr. 25.
“What differs between the bootcamps and customized plans is they are a variety of workouts for all levels. We will do modification moves, intermediate to advanced moves, and I will provide some nutrition mentorship as well, but it’s not as targeted to specific needs and goals. We all come together in an online group. It’s a supportive community, with lots of recipes, giveaways, and mental health sessions.”
Cooper-Letiec said the support she received from the community, her family, and her clients has been nothing but amazing.
“I could not ask for anything better. My wife, she is a mental health peer support worker, so she has a lot of connections when it comes to mental health services. So we’ve paired up a few times to help support my clients with that component of their health and wellness journey. It’s hard. I am also working a corporate job, so I am trying to juggle many hats, but with my family, it is good to know I have their support to know that I’m not crazy. I’m not going in the wrong direction. Everybody feels like this is what I’m meant to do, which means so much. So I’ve got to say the feedback from my community and family as well – I can’t stress enough how much it means to me.”
Cooper-Letiec is incredibly thankful to get to wake up each day and offer these services to clients, and hopes to one day own a studio and have people attend in person as well as virtual.
“I always said if I could help just one person it would make my world, and to know that I’ve helped hundreds of people and know that I’m going to help so many more, it just makes it all worth it. It’s a lot of work. Doing just one customized plan takes me days, but it’s what I love to do, and knowing I’m going to help these people with all of these different backgrounds, just learning their stories, knowing how I can help them and motivate them is indescribable. It makes me so happy.”