Heather Stanton

Heather Stanton. Photo credit: Courtesy photo

The Blaine County Recreation District (BCRD) FitWorks center at the Community Campus in Hailey is a busy place. In addition to the fully equipped gym where people run, ride, and pump iron throughout the day, the facility also offers 15 different fitness classes ranging from from Barre to Zumba.

There are up to eight classes a day starting as early as 7:30 a.m. and running until 5:30 p.m. and fitness manager Heather Stanton oversees the class schedule, works with all the instructors, and helps put the community at the center of the schedule. If you visit Fitworks, Heather might be at the front desk to welcome you and answer any questions or she may be teaching a spin or body-sculpt class to a devoted following. No matter where you interact with her, her warm smile, energy, and organization is something members appreciate.

Heather joined the BCRD in February after working for many years as a fitness instructor in the Valley at both FitWorks and High Altitude Fitness. “I’ve been teaching for 15 years and know most of the instructors, which is great because I get to work with my friends,” Heather said. “In addition to that, my favorite part of this job is working with the public. I like the everyday interacting. I also love to work out and I’m paid to work out, which is pretty great!”

The creative aspect of teaching classes also makes this job a great fit for Heather. She said, “You always get to try something fresh. With the endless supply of ideas for fitness on the Internet, I can incorporate new trends and ideas for motivating people into my classes.”

Music is a big part of this, too. “My favorite genre for my spin classes is fast EDM music, but I always mix it up,” Heather explained. “If the music sucks, the class sucks, so I spend a lot of prep time creating playlists. I’ve been doing this for a while now so I have some great lists that I can rotate. If I make a new one, I do the workout on my own first to see what is working, what is dragging, what I thought I’d love but I hate, and fine-tune everything. I’m really into Spotify right now because I can rip and tear it to get just what I want.”

Heather said that she also likes the fact that she gets to teach two such different classes. “It’s really important to get your heart rate up and sweat. which is what spin does, but weights make a big difference in your daily life. Building and maintaining muscle mass is good for metabolism, strong bones, and so many other things. Strength training is such an important part of fitness that some people don’t want to do. The class makes it fun.”

While she is still new to the job and learning quite a bit about FitWorks, Heather said she already has seen how the membership community is at the center of everything the facility does. “Our class flow, class offerings, and gymnasium time are all based around what the community wants,” she said. “Whether it’s pickleball, indoor soccer, aqua aerobics, or yoga, we listen to what our members need and do our best to provide that.”

Part of Heather’s job also allows her to try new classes and to experience what members experience, which can also lead to serving the community even better. “Recently, I got to try a Pilates class, something that was new to me,” she explained. “It was great, and at the end of the class I was chatting with the teacher who told me she didn’t really have a sub for the class. I then met a woman who came in who told me she used to teach Pilates and was interested in getting back to teaching. I connected her with the teacher who needed the sub. That’s the kind of thing I wouldn’t have known unless I took the class.”

Heather moved to the Wood River Valley from Park City, Utah, in 2000, planning, like so many, to stay a summer. Though she came from a great mountain town, she also fell in love with this one and, after working that first summer for family friends at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, she got her next job at the former Sun Valley Athletic Club. “That was my social circuit, for sure,” she said. It is also where she met her husband, Frank, to whom she has been married for nearly 15 years. He was rehabbing a blown-out knee, she was teaching a spin class, and the rest is history.

Though she continued to teach when the Sun Valley Athletic Club folded, Heather went back to her experience in retail, working at Sturtevants, Sturtos, and Silver Creek Outfitters before transitioning into her new role. “What I liked best about retail was interacting with customers and I love that I still get to talk with people all day at the BCRD.”

Five questions for Heather:

WRW: What is the favorite trip you’ve taken in the past year?

HS:  Well, I am planning to go to New Zealand within the next year. Frank used to live there and we can’t wait to go and just explore. Frank is from England, so we also go there quite a bit to see his family and my twin nieces.

WRW: Where do you go for a special date night?

HS: We go to Despo’s every Friday. That’s our thing. I alternate between the Richard Burrito or the KMT and always have an ice cold beer.

WRW: How do you like to spend your time when you’re not at work?

HS: I ski in the winter, but not as much as I used to. In the summer, I love to hike and mountain bike, but hiking is my favorite. There are so many places to go, you can have music, you can go with friends, think and just be alone, be social … every hike is different.

WRW: What’s your favorite trail?

HS: I usually do River Run because it’s right outside my door. I can blaze up the mountain, so it’s really convenient. But I really do like to do Proctor and that area when I have time.

WRW: What are you looking forward to most this summer?

HS: Everything! I am excited to have some time to play outside and just to enjoy the sun and the long days. There are fewer people in the gym during the summer because everyone is out enjoying this beautiful place so, unlike a lot of jobs that really amp up in the summer, I think I will have flexibility and I’m excited for that.

Next time you’re heading for a workout at FitWorks, be sure to say hi to Heather or stop in for one of her great classes. And if you have someone to recommend for this column, email production@woodriverweekly.com, subject line: someone to meet.