Photo: Heather Lyons
Photo: Heather Lyons

Daytonian of the Week: Heather Lyons, helping Daytonians become their best selves 

We’ve got so much love for our born-and-raised Daytonians. However, there’s an extra special place in our hearts for those who’ve come from near and far to plant their roots here. 

Heather Lyons fell in love with the Gem City while visiting frequently from out of town for one of the many community classes and workshops offered in Dayton. Labeling Lyons as a “go-getter” would be an understatement. 

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“I started coming to Dayton regularly about four years ago,” Lyons said. “My love for Dayton started with a class that I took at “The Nucleus”, which was then located in the Oregon District, called Purpose Spark. That class itself, led by Gregory Bogard, was amazing. The ties to the people in the Dayton community that I made during that class, were life changing. I met people who were passionate and driven. People who were following their dreams and not afraid to dream big!”

Her motivation was put into action and that diversity Lyons found in Dayton pushed her to move here less than one year later. Since calling Dayton home, Lyons has started her own business, BodiesbyHeather, that has changed lives, just as hers was changed those four years ago. 

Heather in her BodiesbyHeather gym with clients
Photo: Heather Lyons

Lyons’ runs a successful personal training and nutrition counseling business at 150 S. Patterson Blvd. in Dayton. The fitness coach is our Daytonian of the Week because she is a true Dayton cheerleader in all that she does in and out of the gym.

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“I knew that I wanted to be a part of the Dayton community,” Lyons said. “I am super passionate about learning all that I can in the field of health and fitness so that I can stay healthy and so that I can serve my clients to the best of my ability! I like to take my fitness outside of the gym whenever I can in the form of kayaking, hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, yoga, etc.”

💪What inspired the idea to start BodiesbyHeather? Have you done anything like this before? 

“I got into the health and fitness industry after growing up an overweight child. As a child, I most of the time felt depressed, lethargic and very out of touch with my body. That all changed when I first found fitness and then learned how important the food that I was putting into my body was. I started training other people because I wanted to help others get a taste of what “good” felt like. ... I’ve been a CrossFit trainer for 10 years and have attempted some personal training a few times before. I really enjoyed it, but I was afraid to go after what I really wanted, which was my own business in the health and fitness industry. I can honestly say that my time and the amazing people that I’ve met in this city inspired me to take a chance! I did and it has been one of the biggest, scariest and most rewarding adventures of my life! Without the support of the Dayton community, I don’t know that I would be where I am now!”

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Heather in the BodiesbyHeather gym.
Photo: Heather Lyons

💪Who was or has been a female role model for you in your life and leading up to starting BodiesbyHeather? Have you met more role models through this process? 

“Leading up to this point in my life, most of my role models have always been men. I think I used to always wish that I was a guy... They were always the ones who were up to the things that I wanted to be doing. My time spent in Dayton has taught me that simply isn’t true! There are so many courageous women here in Dayton who are living big lives! Some of the women that have inspired me have been the ladies I lived with here in Dayton, Jessika Wray and Bridget Flaherty of Empower HER. They were the first example that I had of unconditional love and support. They helped me realize how important connections with other women were. How important it is for us women to support each other. They founded Empower Her. Which seems very fitting.”

Lyons at an Empower HER event.
Photo: Heather Lyons

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💪For someone who has never had fitness or health coaching, what would you tell them they could expect? 

“They can expect to be welcomed — exactly as they are. I meet people at their current level of fitness and help them reach their goals. They can expect a bit of awkward humor and a whole lot of me believing in and encouraging them to be the best version of themselves! I don’t want people to just live. I want them to live well!”

💪For you, what has been the most rewarding part about being a personal trainer? 

“Getting to watch people change and grow as individuals. Seeing my clients lose weight and being able to start moving their bodies more efficiently is pretty awesome, but have you ever gotten to bear witness to people starting to glow in front of your very own eyes? My clients learn health and fitness habits that help them to feel better in most aspects of their life! They sleep better, have more energy, start feeling more confident in their bodies and their abilities to tackle big things! It is the most rewarding thing I have ever experienced! I am humbled by it every day.”

Heather doing a handstand outside of Warped Wing.
Photo: Heather Lyons

💪How would you describe Dayton's network of women? 

“I think the network of women in Dayton is getting stronger everyday! That’s part of what I love about this city. I’ve ran businesses in small towns before and sometimes it was a struggle— usually being the only female, I often felt judged, disrespected, and like I was just “less than.” I have never felt any of those things while being an entrepreneur here in Dayton. I have been fully supported while building my business here.”

💪When you're not empowering health and supporting people in general, how do you like to spend your free time in Dayton? 

“Since I’ve fallen in love with Dayton, I have fully enjoyed exploring all that this dynamic city has to offer! Cute plants from Luna, coffee from Ghostlight, festivals at Riverscape, yoga at Speakeasy, improv classes at the Black Box, late-night dinner with friends at Lucky’s, renting and riding bikes around town, and of course, training out of CrossFit Involve! There are always fun events being hosted around town — classes and workshops. I’m someone who loves to connect with other people and love learning, so those are always fun!”