About The Healthy Me Project
The Healthy Me Project is dedicated to offering programs and education that inspire people with all abilities to embrace a healthy lifestyle, while encouraging every person involved in the organization to be a role model for healthy living.
As a certified yoga and Pilates instructor, Roberta Hughes realized that after 12 years in the fitness industry, she had never come into contact with a client with a developmental disability. That all changed in June 2011, when she met Briana. Briana was 23-years-old at the time. Standing 4’8″ tall and weighing 227 pounds, she was obese and unable to walk without her knees giving out on her.
When Roberta first started training Briana, she had more questions than answers. She trusted her knowledge as an instructor, and was guided by intuition. Roberta took the time to get to know Briana and was humble enough to let Briana be her teacher. While Roberta taught Briana about fitness and nutrition, Briana taught Roberta about people with disabilities. Briana opened Roberta’s eyes and made her realize that she is more like her than different.
After working one-on-one with Briana for more than two years, Roberta was amazed by her transformation. She had lost more than 100 pounds, could move her body with ease, and had gained strength, stamina, and confidence in herself. After seeing Briana surpass her health and wellness goals, and gaining her own confidence in working with a person with disabilities, Roberta decided there was a need to introduce more fitness professionals to clients like Briana.
In 2014, Roberta approached Lifetime Fitness with the idea of creating a program that would bring fitness professionals and people with developmental disabilities together. The partnership with Lifetime Fitness allowed The Healthy Me Project to offer their inaugural All-STARS program in a state-of-the art fitness facility with some of the most highly educated fitness professionals in the nation. In 2016, The Healthy Me Project voted to transition from Lifetime Fitness to 24 Hour Fitness for Healthy Me All-STARS. The transition allowed for more people with developmental disabilities to actively participate in the program, by offering more locations closer to where each Athlete lives.
Roberta’s original intention for The Healthy Me Project was to help people with developmental disabilities fight obesity. That thought was inspired by Briana and the research that led me to learn that 96% of adult women and 71% of adult men with Down Syndrome are obese. After completing three sessions of Healthy Me All-STARS in November 2015, Roberta’s intention is to “inspire and teach people how to Power their Dreams through fitness, nutrition, and healthy choices.”
“Power Your Dreams” was created by Roberta through the inspiration of working with Hanna, a 21-year-old woman with Down Syndrome. Hanna, who had never been obese, enrolled in Healthy Me All-STARS and shared her dream to compete in a triathlon. Sharing this dream with her Mentor, Mary, caused her participation in a triathlon where Hanna placed 13th out of 42 women. Hanna was the only one competing with a developmental disability and one month later, Hanna and her Mentor completed a Lifetime Fitness Indoor Triathlon. Hanna’s new dreams are to become a certified fitness professional, serve as an ambassador for THMP and hike a 14’er in the Spring of 2016.
Today, THMP has many Athletes like Briana and Hanna. Like everyone else, our Athletes have hopes, dreams, and ambitions. Roberta is dedicated to supporting these dreams and helping them come true through health, wellness, fitness and nutrition initiatives.
“I am inspired by the possibility of fostering an inclusive training environment for all people regardless of ability. I am excited to see what 2016 has in store for us!” ~ Roberta Hughes | Founder of The Healthy Me Project