This interview is part of the Real Talk Real Women interview series, where we bring you the life-changing, heart-warming and inspirational stories behind the most successful women in health and fitness. Make sure to follow us on Instagram for the latest interviews! For this installment, we are joined by Diana Chaloux – LaCerte.
Let’s start off with a general introduction. How would you describe yourself, what are you all about and how did you get involved in health and fitness?
Hi there! My name is Diana Chaloux – LaCerte. I am an entrepreneur, author and WBFF Pro fitness athlete. I co-own Hitch Fit Gym and Hitch Fit Online Personal Training with my husband Micah LaCerte. We work with people here in the Kansas City area at our two gym locations, and also have clients in 71 countries across the globe that we work with via our online plans. I am passionate about a few things in life. My faith and relationship with Jesus, my husband and family, and fitness – helping others transform their bodies and lives by adopting healthy new lifestyles, and my cats.
I’ve been active since I was a child, and was involved with sports at a young age. I became a personal trainer in 2002, but didn’t become passionate about transformation until 2005 when I went through my own personal journey. I weighed 175 lbs at my heaviest. I was unhappy and making poor choices. I decided enough was enough and started pursuing my fitness dreams and goals! That led to WBFF Pro status, magazine features and covers, and a lot of fun fitness opportunities. These were all lovely things. But the greatest reward was taking back my life, and being able to fully pursue what God has placed in my heart to do in a healthy and fit body. I understand transformation from both sides, and that’s why I want to see others experience it for themselves.
You are the co-owner of Hitch-Fit, what does that stand for and what is your mission?
Hitch Fit stands for transformation. Hitch Fit is a lifestyle. It’s not a quick fix, it’s not a “diet”, it’s a process by which you don’t just change what your body looks like on the outside, you change how you feel and you change how you experience life. Our mission is to make the world a more fit and healthy place, one person at a time. To be able to guide people through a transformation process, and see how they change and grow, to see how they start to love and embrace their bodies, to see how they increase confidence and want to get out there and conquer the world, there’s no greater feeling than being a part of that journey. It’s priceless.
Now the actual “Hitch” of Hitch Fit was actually derived from a nickname my husband Micah had! When the movie starring Will Smith “Hitch” came out, his friends started calling him that because he had introduced multiple couples who ended up getting married! The nickname stuck. He developed a brand for himself in the days of MySpace, and that carried over when we started the online business in February 2009, and then opened our first gym in August 2009.
How important are the people around you when it comes to your success?
The people you surround yourself with are SO important to success. Surround yourself with negative people and they will drain your energy and your imagination. Surround yourself with positive, encouraging and successful people and they will help build your confidence and chances of success will skyrocket! One of the first things we advise people to do when they begin a transformation process is to eliminate as many negative people or situations from their lives as possible. There are positive people that you can begin associating yourself with and aligning yourself with, just look up and out and you will find them!
On your website you state that you focuses on not just physical transformation, but life transformation. What do you mean by life transformation?
We call it a life transformation because the physical results end up just being the icing on the cake. The real transformation is what happens on the inside. We see people on day one who are lacking confidence, they don’t believe in themselves, they may lack energy, they are confused or desperate to make a change but aren’t sure how to do it.
The fascinating thing that happens when you go through transformation is that it’s not just your body that becomes stronger. Your mind becomes stronger too. When you’re equipped with new knowledge and skills, that is powerful, and that has a ripple effect that flows into every other aspect of life. What we see is an incredible boost in confidence, increases in energy, and most important a change in the mindset, so clients finally start believing in their own ability. When you teach someone to believe in themselves, they are empowered to start tackling new challenges in every aspect of life!
How important is forming new habits in this transformation and how do you go about this, with your clients?
The key to transformation, and the key to maintaining results once transformation has occurred is all in habit setting. It’s simply not possible to achieve physical goals and then stay in a fit and healthy place for life without instilling healthy daily habits. To aid in this process, the first thing we do is provide the roadmap for success. Our plans are very extensive and detailed.
Once they have the plan, the key is just taking things one day at a time and one choice at a time. It’s getting in a habit of making good choices consistently day by day that leads to new habit creation. There’s a learning curve, but I tell people it’s like starting a new job. At first it feels awkward and you’re not sure exactly how to do everything, but within a week or so, you know the flow and everything just becomes a part of your regular routine. That’s exactly what we want to see happen!
You’re fighting against the obesity epidemic, how serious is that epidemic and what needs to change to stop it?
The obesity epidemic is incredibly serious. It’s not only affecting adults, but it’s severely affecting children. Obesity leads to a wide variety of health problems and diseases, it prevents people from leading their lives to the fullest. What needs to change to stop it? Well that’s a complicated question. I don’t think there is one easy solution because the epidemic is the result of such a wide variety of factors. A few of these are: lack of education; lack of high quality food; busy lifestyles; high stress; lack of exercise and activity; lack of understanding proper portions; easy fast food options; a food industry that is most concerned with making money over protecting health.
There are also some that have genetic challenges and some who lack motivation to make healthy choices for themselves. We have to start though and do what we can. We say we want to help one person at a time, because transformation, overcoming obesity challenges, these are really personal things. Everyone has different motivators and reasons for wanting change, we want to help people identify those motivators and then help them make the good healthy choices day by day until they get to a healthy place.
We need education, we need focus on preventing disease rather than treating it once it’s already developed, we need healthy food to be accessible to people, we need truth out there, not fad diets and quick fixes that are only compounding the problem.
Many of our readers are extremely inspired by the amazing women who come on Real Talk Real Women. But some of them are also close to giving up, feeling they have already tried everything out there. What advice would you give them?
Never give up! Remember that it’s about a lifestyle. Never give up on leading a fit and healthy lifestyle, the opposite, living an unhealthy life, is not worth it. Now the number one thing I see time and time again, with people who are frustrated when it comes to wanting weight loss and fat loss is confusion on the nutrition piece of the puzzle. Some are frustrated because they are trying various workouts, and their body isn’t changing. This is because the biggest piece of the puzzle is not the workouts, it’s the nutrition. Many are frustrated because they are eating healthy foods and not seeing changes in their body. What they don’t understand is that there is a big difference between just eating healthy foods, and then eating healthy foods in a way that actually changes what your body visually looks like. There are strategies to the types of foods, how much of these foods and the timing of these foods that all come into play. Some get frustrated because they think they have to starve themselves or cut out food groups or have no variety with their food choices. This is false!
So step one is approaching your fitness goals with a new mindset, one that embraces making healthy long term lifestyle changes. Step two is the action plan, and making sure that the plan includes not just exercise and workouts, but also a sound, healthy approach to eating. Then relax and take things one step at a time and one day at a time. Have realistic expectations. It takes time to change a body! Be prepared, be consistent, and be diligent. These are not negative things, just the opposite, they are positive and will lead to the freedom that you’re looking for.
Whatever you do, don’t quit. Love your body, take care of your body, you’ve only got one to live in!
Tell us about your greatest success story this far?
I’ve been blessed to be a part of a lot of great success stories! A couple that pop into my mind right off the bat are the story of Vickie, at 58 years of age she was contemplating suicide. She saw a friend of hers who had gone through Hitch Fit and decided to reach out. She worked with me via our online plans for 2 years. In that time frame she lost 50 pounds, achieved her goal of competing in a fitness show for the first time, and it changed her so much she got her personal training certification and is now a trainer at Hitch Fit Gym in Kansas City!
Another of my favorite stories is that of Belinda, a 55 year old entrepreneur who had some health scares. She was ready for change, but doubted her ability to make it happen. We set an initial goal of losing 20 pounds. Once she got started she was unstoppable! She ended up losing 36 pounds, got off her blood pressure medications, and even started doing triathlons!
I also think of Andrea, a breast cancer survivor who after going into remission decided she was going to tackle her fitness goals and make real lifestyle changes. She did two programs with me and lost 50 pounds. She wanted to get six pack abs, and boy oh boy did she ever achieve that goal. She’s such an inspiration.
There are so many. I think of my moms, with multiple kids, who decided to make time for themselves that impacted their whole family. I think of my gals in their 40’s and 50’s who thought it was too late to make changes who ended up getting in the best shape of their lives. There are so many great ones. You can read the success stories here.
You’ve also written a cookbook, there are many thousands of cookbooks what makes yours different?
The Hitch Fit Living Cookbook starts off with a chapter explaining the different macronutrient groups, what they are, why they are important, and how they affect your body. Education is such an important key to long term success, so even though the cookbook is healthy recipes, I wanted it also to be an educational tool.
What are the 3 most important things in your life and why?
I guess I already answered this one in the first question;
#1 Faith – My relationship with my savior Jesus is the most important thing in my life. He is the reason for everything.
#2 Family – my amazing husband Micah and my family that I’m so blessed to have!
#3 Fitness – It’s what God called me to do. It’s a blessing to be able to work in this industry, reap the benefits of this lifestyle for myself, and pay it forward by helping clients all around the world make positive healthy changes for themselves!
Where can people go to learn more about you online?
Stay tuned for the next interview of Real Talk Real Women!